Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Malting Barley Imports.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - National Income.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Emigration.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Castor Sugar Manufacture.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fair Trade Commission Inquiry.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Irish Shipping, Limited.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Anthracite Supplies.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Oil Refinery Site.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Railway Sidings at Galway Docks.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Waterville Hydro-electric Scheme.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Transport for School Children.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Gairm Scoil i gConamara.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - New Primary School at Ardara.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Donegal Schools.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Land: Priority in Allocation.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Allocation of Waterford Lands.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Kerry Road Repairs.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Repair of Embankment.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Division of Longford Estate.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Exchange of Holdings.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Forestry Workers' Wages.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Waterford: Forestry.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Land Commission Expenditure.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Maintenance of Prisoners.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fertilisers for Farmers.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Marketing of Herrings.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Soldiers: Cost of Maintenance.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Letterkenny Telephone Kiosks.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Embassy and Consular Staffs.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - E.S.B. Interest Payments.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Shannon Remedial Measures.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Office of Public Works—Mechanical Engineers.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Donegal River Drainage.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Tolka Flooding Grants.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Local Authorities' Interest Payments.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Labourers' Cottages in Tipperary.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Acquisition of Dublin Site.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Helmets for Motor Cyclists.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Expenditure on Roads.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Donegal Water Supply Schemes.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Buncrana Housing Repairs.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - County Kerry Building Schemes.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Payment of Disability Benefits.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Midwives' Allowances.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Applications under Health Act.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Disabled Persons' Allowances.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Medicine Supplies.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dispensary Doctors' Services.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Galway Hospital Committee.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Donegal Hospitals.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Mental Hospital Food Outlay.
Question on Adjournment.
Order of Business.
Financial Resolutions, 1955-56.
Financial Statement. - Budget, 1955.
Financial Resolutions. - Resolution No. 1—Income Tax and Sur-tax.
Financial Resolutions. - Resolution No. 2—Death Duties.
Financial Resolutions. - Resolution No. 3—Death Duties.
Financial Resolutions. - Resolution No. 4—Stamp Duties.
Financial Resolutions. - Resolution No. 5—General.
Financial Resolutions. - City and County Management (Amendment) Bill, 1954—Committee Stage (Resumed).
Financial Resolutions. - Seed Production Bill, 1955— Second Stage.
Financial Resolutions. - Estimates for Public Services.
Committee on Finance. - Vote 27—Agriculture (Resumed.)
Committee on Finance. - The Adjournment.
 Do chuaigh an Ceann Comhairle i gceannas ar 3 p.m.
Mr. McQuillan: asked the Taoiseach if he will state the percentage of our total malting barley requirements which was imported in 1954.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach (Mr. O'Sullivan): Since imports are brought to account under the headings of the Official Import List which does not separately distinguish malting and feeding barley, it is not possible from the import statistics to provide the required information. However, from a comparison of these statistics and the particulars of licences issued for the import of malting barley, which might have been met by imports included in the aggregate imports of barley for the year, it is estimated that imports of malting barley in 1954 did not exceed about 0.06 per cent. of the average annual requirements of barley for malting in the previous five years.
Mr. McQuillan: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there is plenty of malting barley available in parts of the country and that the farmers——
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a separate question entirely.
Mr. Spring: asked the Taoiseach if he will state the amount of the national income in each of the years 1950 to 1954, inclusive, detailing, as far as possible, the approximate contribution from each industry, and giving particulars of the output and productivity of each such industry.
Mr. O'Sullivan: I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to circulate in the Official Report a statement showing the estimated national income for each of the years 1950-1953, together with the income originating in each of the principal branches of economic activity. The corresponding figures for 1954 are not yet available. In the context of national income it is necessary to interpret the Deputy's request for information on the contribution of each industry as relating to broad economic sectors.
As regards the value of output the statement also gives the available information on the value of gross and net output of (a) all industries and services covered by the Census of Industrial Production, (b) such industries producing transportable goods, (c) agriculture (including turf produced by farmers). There is also shown the available index numbers of the volume of output for each of these sectors, distinguishing the volume of gross and of net output in the case of agriculture, and giving as well the index numbers of the volume of output per wage-earner engaged in industry. Productivity figures for agriculture cannot be produced in the absence of data on the number of man-days or man-weeks worked annually in that sector.
Following is the statement:—
 TABLE 1.—National Income by Sector of Origin, 1950-53.
|Agriculture, forestry and fishing||104.4||114.3||126.2||134|
|Distribution and transport||57.6||60.2||59.2||61|
|Other domestic (including personal and business rent)||59.7||63.8||67.2||70|
|Public administration and defence||28.3||31.2||33.3||36|
|Provision for stock appreciation||—13.0||—18.8||—1.8||+3|
|Rest of World:|
TABLE 2.—Value of Gross and Net Output of Industry and Agriculture
|Year||Concerns covered by the Census of Industrial Production||Agriculture (including turf produced by farmers)|
|All Industries and Services||Transportable Goods Industries|
|Gross Output||Net Output||Gross Output||Net Output||Gross Output||Net Output|
* Not yet available.
TABLE 3:—Volume of output and volume of output per wage-earner engaged in industries covered by the Census of Industrial Production and volume of gross output and of net output of Agriculture.
|Year||Concerns covered by the Census of Industrial Production||Agriculture (including turf produced by farmers)|
|All Industries and Services||Transportable Goods Industries|
|Volume of output||Volume of output per wage-earner engaged||Volume of output||Volume of output per wage-earner engaged||Volume of gross output||Volume of net output|
*Not yet available.†Provisional.
Mr. J. Brennan: asked the Taoiseach if he will state, in respect of each county, the number of persons known to have emigrated to countries other than Great Britain since 1st June, 1954.
Mr. O'Sullivan: The only information available regarding the Deputy's question relates to emigration by sea to countries outside Europe. The number of emigrants from Ireland of Irish or British nationality who travelled via Irish ports to countries outside Europe in the period 1 June, 1954, to 31 March, 1955, was 3,248. In addition it is known that the number of emigrants from Ireland of Irish or British nationality who travelled via ports in Britain or the Six Counties to countries outside Europe in the period 1 July to 31 December, 1954, was 922.
I propose, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, to circulate in the Official Report a statement giving the analysis by county of last addresses of the total of emigrants through Irish ports above mentioned. A similar analysis for those who emigrated through ports in Britain or the Six Counties is available only in respect of the full calendar year 1954.
Following is the statement:—
EMIGRANTS from Ireland* of Irish or British nationality who travelled by sea via Irish ports to countries outside Europe during the period 1 June, 1954, to 31 March, 1955, classified by county of last address.
|County||No. of Persons|
* Exclusive of the Six Counties.
†Including last address in the Six Counties and Britain.
Mr. J. Brennan: Does the Parliamentary Secretary realise that I did not ask about the number of persons of British nationality? I only wished to get the information in relation to Irish emigrants.
Mr. O'Sullivan: In the question which the Deputy put, he asked for the number of persons known to have emigrated to countries other than Great Britain and did not specify that. Consequently, the answer had to be prepared as set out.
Mr. J. Brennan: Would he not assume that the question was in relation to emigrants from the Twenty-Six Counties?
Mr. O'Sullivan: If the Deputy puts down another question of a more specific character he will get that information.
Mr. O'Malley: and Mr. J. Lynch asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that Comhlucht Siuicre Eireann, Teoranta, propose to manufacture castor sugar; whether he has received representations from private firms objecting to the proposal, and, if so, if he will make a statement in the matter.
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. Norton): I am aware that Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann, Teoranta, propose to manufacture castor sugar and I have received representations in the matter on behalf of two firms. The Sugar Company were engaged in the production of castor sugar before the war but discontinued production because of supply  difficulties during the emergency period. Some years ago the company intimated to the Minister for Industry and Commerce that they proposed to resume the production of castor sugar and, after careful consideration, the Minister agreed to the resumption by the company of this activity.
The company have completed their arrangements for the manufacture and distribution of castor sugar and I see no reason to intervene.
Mr. O'Malley: Is the Minister aware that the most important feature of this case is that the Sugar Company are the only authorised concern who can import sugar and that Messrs. G. and J.F. Burke, Limited, of Limerick and Messrs. Daly, Limited, of Cork have to purchase their raw materials from the Sugar Company? Is the Minister further aware that during the war years, from 1939 to 1945, Messrs. Burke of Limerick were the only firm in the Twenty-Six Counties supplying castor sugar and is he also aware that a number of expensive additions were made to the plants of those two firms and that they will be very badly hit if the proposals of the Sugar Company are allowed to go through? Is the Minister further aware that the Irish Sugar Company have preferential treatment from C.I.E. as regards freight charges?
Mr. Norton: I am not aware of the allegations made by the Deputy in the last portion of his comprehensive supplementary. The Irish Sugar Company are the only firm to import sugar under authority given to them by this House, of which the Deputy is now a member. The price charged by Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann to their customers is based on a level which affords a considerable chance for private firms of competing with the Sugar Company for the custom available.
In reply to the remaining part of the supplementary, I may remind the Deputy that a representative of Burke's, who was interviewed in the Department towards the end of 1951, informed the Department that they could not object to the Irish Sugar Company manufacturing castor sugar,  as the Sugar Company was in the business before the war. He said, further, that they were able to compete with the Irish Sugar Company before the war in the Limerick area and that they could compete with them again in the Limerick area and outside it.
Mr. O'Malley: When the Minister mentioned the price of raw cane sugar, was he aware that the price the Sugar Company pays is 40 a ton and that the price Messrs. Burke and Daly have to pay is 59/6 a cwt., plus delivery charges, and would the Minister not agree that there is no parity in those charges and that, therefore, the Sugar Company are, in fact, getting preferential treatment?
Mr. Norton: They are not getting preferential treatment. What the Deputy and the House should understand is that the Sugar Company was set up by this House and is the Deputy now attempting to prevent them from making a commodity like castor sugar, which is a by-product of the other type of sugar? Is the Deputy suggesting that the company should throw away the castor sugar or go to the trouble of re-processing the sugar at the expense of the consumer?
Mrs. O'Carroll: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce why flour, wheatenmeal, bread, confectionery, fresh fruit, vegetables, milk and mineral waters have been excluded by the Fair Trade Commission from the current inquiry into the supply and distribution of grocery goods and provisions; and if the commission propose to hold a separate inquiry into the supply and distribution of these items.
Mr. Norton: I am informed by the Fair Trade Commission that, in deciding upon the scope of the current inquiry, which is being held on their own initiative, they endeavoured to include only those goods for which the channels of distribution were broadly similar. For this, and other reasons peculiar to some of the items, the goods mentioned by the Deputy were excluded from the scope of the current inquiry.
 With regard to the last part of the Deputy's question, I understand from the commission that they have taken no decision as to whether separate inquiries will be held in relation to these goods. Should they so decide, they are required by the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1953, to give due notice of intention to do so.
Mr. T. Lynch: and Mr. Donegan asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether Irish Shipping, Limited, propose to build a number of ships suitable for the Irish coastal trade.
Mr. Norton: Irish Shipping, Limited, have two colliers and a coastal tanker in commission and three dry cargo vessels on order, all of which are or will be suitable for operation in the coasting trade.
Dr. Esmonde: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he is aware that householders have difficulty in obtaining supplies of anthracite, and, if so, if he will make a statement in the matter.
Mr. Norton: There were reports last winter of shortages of anthracite in certain areas notwithstanding increased production from home sources, but I am not aware that householders have difficulty at present in obtaining supplies. In order, however, that there may be no shortage next winter, I have arranged that the allocation from Great Britain will be increased substantially and that the importers will take up the full increased allocation whilst, at the same time, absorbing the entire production from home sources.
Mr. Bartley: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce (a) what site, if any, has been selected for the proposed oil refinery, (b) whether a new manufacturers' licence will be required for the project, and, if so, what conditions will be attached thereto, and (c) what duties and functions have been assigned to the Industrial Development Authority in relation to the preparation of a scheme by the promoters.
Mr. Norton: As regards (a) of the Deputy's question, I have no information as to whether a site has been selected for the proposed refinery, while as regards (b), I have not yet received any financial proposals concerning the project and I am, therefore, not in a position to say whether a new manufacture licence will be required. In regard to (c), the Industrial Development Authority, which has handled all the negotiations in this matter so far, will carry out any further discussions that may be necessary with the promoters and other interests; they will examine in detail the proposals submitted and will eventually furnish a comprehensive report on the project to me.
Mr. Bartley: Arising from the Minister's reply, could the Minister confirm or deny a rumour current that options have been taken by the promoters on two sites?
Mr. Norton: I am not responsible for rumours.
Mr. Bartley: Is the Minister aware that there is a common belief that options have been taken on two sites?
Mr. Norton: I have no information about options being taken on any site.
Mr. Bartley: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he has received a letter recommending a harbour in County Galway as a suitable site for the proposed oil refinery, and, if so, whether the letter has been forwarded to the oil companies concerned.
Mr. Norton: I have received representations regarding the possibility of having the proposed refinery located at Galway. I have not passed these representations on to the companies concerned as I consider it would be inappropriate for me to interfere in a matter which is primarily one for the promoters who will be investing their money in the project. As I mentioned in a reply to Deputy Kenny on the same subject on the 3rd March, 1955, however, it is open to local interests to bring the suitability of local sites to the notice of the companies.
Mr. Bartley: Has the Minister so informed the people who wrote to him?
Mr. Norton: Oh, yes. All persons who wrote to me have been informed this is primarily a matter for the firms concerned and that the Minister would not forward any representations on the principle that God helps those who help themselves. If these local people want a refinery, the least they could do is to sit down and write to the companies concerned.
Mr. Bartley: The only information these people have is what the Minister gave them.
Mr. Norton: That is all the Minister has himself.
Mr. Bartley: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that there is a difference of opinion between C.I.E. and Galway Harbour Commissioners as to which of them is responsible for the construction and maintenance of railway sidings at Galway docks, and, if so, if he will state what statutory provision governs the matter; further, if he will make a grant from the National Development Fund to the appropriate authority for the execution of the works in question.
Mr. Norton: No approach has been made to me about the matter to which the Deputy refers, nor has an application been made for a grant from the National Development Fund.
It would be a matter for the parties concerned to seek legal advice if there is doubt as to where the responsibility rests for constructing and maintaining railway sidings at the Galway docks.
Mr. Bartley: Is the Minister serious in suggesting that his Department cannot tell either of these authorities who is statutorily responsible for these constructions?
Mr. Norton: The Department has no function in interpreting a whole lot of legal agreements, some of which have their roots in an original agreement entered into back in 1864. The interpretation of the agreements is a matter for lawyers and, if needs be, for the courts, and the Department has no  function or right to interpret the agreements.
Mr. Bartley: Is the Minister aware whether each of these companies has copies of the documents?
Mr. Norton: It is an agreement between the authorities concerned which should be taken into a court of competent jurisdiction.
Mr. Palmer: asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if, in relation to the proposed development of the hydro-electric scheme for the Cummeragh River, Waterville, he will state (1) the date on which it was decided to defer development work pending the outcome of the inquiry as to its effect on the fishing and tourist industries in the neighbourhood, (2) whether any local group, vested interest or any other person approached either his predecessor or himself with a request that development should be deferred, and, if so, if he will give details of such representations, and by whom and when they were made, and (3) whether the E.S.B. was informed of such representations, and whether directions were issued to the board in regard to them and, if so, the nature of such directions.
Mr. Norton: I am informed by the E.S.B. that a decision to defer development of the hydro-electric scheme for the Cummeragh River, pending an investigation of the effect of the scheme on the fisheries and, consequently, on tourist traffic, was taken by the board in December, 1953. No representations were made to me that development work should be deferred, but representations were made to my predecessor in January, 1953, by local tourist interests, who expressed anxiety that the development might have adverse effects on the fisheries and tourism. I do not think it would be appropriate that I should name those by whom the representations were made. These representations were brought to the notice of the E.S.B., but no directions to defer the development were issued. The E.S.B. were informed by my Department in  December, 1953, that the Minister would view with concern a proposal not to proceed with this scheme.
Mr. Palmer: Would the Minister state if the present Attorney-General, Deputy McGilligan, made representations at any time to the present Minister, or to his predecessor, on any aspect of this problem?
Mr. Norton: The present Attorney-General certainly made no representations to me about the matter, and never even mentioned any aspect of it to me. I cannot say whether he made any representations to my predecessor, but I do not think that the file shows that he did.
Mr. O'Hara: asked the Minister for Education if he is aware of the hardships endured by the children of Doobeha, Ferrus area, Crossmolina, who have to travel about three miles to Glenmore school, and, if so, if he will arrange to have transport facilities provided for them.
Minister for Education (General Mulcahy): I am aware that there are school-going children in the townland of Doobeha who have to travel about three miles to Glenmore school.
The difficulty in this case is that the Department's regulations require that there shall be sufficient children eligible for transport available to ensure that the daily average number of children conveyed would reach at least ten. In order to be eligible for conveyance to school by a transport service a child should be between six and ten years of age and reside not less than two miles from the nearest suitable national school, or be between ten and 14 years of age and reside not less than three miles from such a school.
According to the information at my disposal there are seven or eight children residing in Doobeha who are eligible for conveyance to school on a State-aided transport service, and a grant towards the cost of the provision of a transport service would not, therefore, be permissible under the  regulations. My Department is, however, in communication with the reverend manager with a view to having the matter further investigated.
Mr. O'Hara: Would the Minister not consider changing the regulations so as to facilitate these people in view of the mass emigration from these areas?
General Mulcahy: There are a number of matters in relation to the provision of transport services for children in sparsely populated and widely scattered areas which are a source of constant consideration, investigation and discussion. The matter will be borne in mind when our conversations with the reverend manager are taking place and before they are concluded.
D'fhiafraigh Gearóid Mac Pharthaláin: den Aire Oideachais an abróidh sé cén dul chun cinn atá déanta i dtaobh scoil ghairmoideachais a bhunú ar an gCloich Bhric nó in áit eicínt eile i gConamara ó thuaidh.
Risteard Ua Maolchatha: Níl aon tairiscint ós comhair mo Roinne chun scoil ghairm-oideachais a chur ar fáil ar an gCloich Bhric. Tá Corr na Móna ainmnithe mar ionad scoile i scéim forbairte Choiste Ghairm-Oideachais Chontae na Gaillimhe, ach ní féidir a rá i láthair na huaire cá fhaid go mbeidh socrú cinnte déanta 'na thaobh.
Gearóid Mac Pharthaláin: An bhfuil an tAire ag rá go bhfuil Corr na Mónadh agus Corandulla i gcoimhlint lena céile le gairmscoil a fháil?
Risteard Ua Maolchatha: Nílim ghá rá sin. Tagrann an cheist don Chloich Bhric. Dubhairt mé nach bhfuil an Cloch Bhreac ach trí mhíle ó Chorr na Mónadh áit atá faoi bhreithiúnas ag Coiste Gairmoideachais na Gaillimhe chun na críche seo.
Gearóid Mac Pharthaláin: An abróidh an tAire ar mhol sé ceann den dá áit seo le h-aghaidh scoil a bhunú innti?
Risteard Ua Maolchatha: Nior chuireas aon tairiscint cun an choiste.
Gearóid Mac Pharthaláin: An n-abrann an t-Aire nach bhfuil tairiscint in a oifig chun scoil a bhunú ar an gCloich Bhric?
Risteard Ua Maolchatha: Níl.
Gearóid Mac Pharthaláin: Freagraíodh ceisteanna san Dáil mar gheall air.
Mr. J. Brennan: asked the Minister for Education what progress has been made towards the erection of a new primary school at Ardara, County Donegal.
General Mulcahy: A grant has been sanctioned by my Department towards the cost of the erection of a new national school at Ardara, County Donegal, and the Commissioners of Public Works are making the preliminary arrangements for the building of the school. I understand from the commissioners that they hope to be in a position to invite tenders for the work at an early date.
Mr. Blaney: asked the Minister for Education whether he has yet sanctioned the final plans for the new technical school at Milford, County Donegal.
Mr. Blaney: asked the Minister for Education what is the present position in regard to the proposed new technical school at Carndonagh, County Donegal.
General Mulcahy: With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle I propose to take Questions Nos. 15 and 16 together.
I have not yet sanctioned the working drawings and specification of the proposed new technical school at Milford but I hope to be in a position to do so at an early date. The position regarding Carndonagh is that revised sketch plans are at present under consideration.
Mr. James Tully: asked the Minister  for Lands if, in regard to the allocation of land, he will state the degrees of priority given by the Land Commission to (a) landless men, and (b) tenants of vested council cottages.
Minister for Lands (Mr. Blowick): Cottiers and landless men are considered for allotments if sufficient land is available after the Land Commission have dealt with the more pressing needs of deserving persons among the classes of displaced employees, evicted tenants, local uneconomic holders and possibly others.
Mr. Kyne: asked the Minister for Lands whether the resumed holding of Gleeson on the Crichton estate, Ballymacmague West, Dungarvan, County Waterford, will be allocated this year, and, if not, when.
Mr. Blowick: It is not yet possible to say when these lands will be allotted. Lettings have been made for this year in order to cover outgoings but I hope that in the spring of next year the Land Commission will be in a position to carry out the final allotment.
Mr. Spring: asked the Minister for Lands if he is aware that the road through the lands at Roscullen, Creagh estate, Castlemaine, County Kerry, is badly in need of repair, and, if so, if he will arrange to have it repaired.
Mr. Blowick: Repairs to the road serving this estate are being carried out and will be completed at an early date.
Mr. Spring: asked the Minister for Lands when repair work on the embankment at Roscullen, Creagh estate, Castlemaine, County Kerry, will commence.
Mr. Blowick: It is expected that the work of repairing the Roscullen embankment will commence shortly. Temporary repairs already executed by the Land Commission have removed  any danger of immediate flooding of the lands.
Mr. Carter: asked the Minister for Lands why the Land Commission have not proceeded with the division of the Ward estate, Mucknagh, Killae, County Longford.
Mr. Blowick: The Land Commission did not obtain possession of this estate until last February and since they had not then decided upon their proposals for the allotment of the lands they made certain lettings to meet their outgoings for the season.
I anticipate that allotment will take place when these lettings expire.
Mr. Sheridan: asked the Minister for Lands what action is being taken by the Land Commission in regard to the applications for exchange holdings, which were submitted a year ago by two of their tenants, who reside in Bawnboy and Crossdoney, County Cavan.
Mr. Blowick: The applications of the two tenants in question for migration have been noted by the Land Commission.
Mr. Davern: asked the Minister for Lands if he is aware that the wages of road workers employed by Tipperary (South Riding) County Council have been increased by 10/- per week, and, if so, whether he is now prepared to increase by a corresponding amount the weekly wage of all men employed by the Forestry Branch of his Department in South Tipperary.
Mr. Blowick: The increase of 10/- a week which has recently been sanctioned in the wage rates of road workers employed by the Tipperary (South Riding) County Council will be applied to forestry workers in the South Tipperary forests with effect as from 1st April, 1955.
Mr. T. Lynch: asked the Minister for  Lands how many acres of land have been acquired by the Forestry Division of his Department in the Cheekpoint, Faithlegg, Woodstown, and Dunmore East areas of County Waterford; further, when it is proposed to commence planting operations thereon.
Mr. Blowick: Subdivision proposals in respect of one holding of which 87 acres are on offer to my Department are at present being considered by the Land Commission. It is hoped to commence negotiations for the purchase of a further area of 89 acres very shortly. On the basis of present offers the initiation of a forestry scheme in this district is contingent on the successful conclusion of these negotiations.
Donnchadh Ó Briain: asked the Minister for Lands if he will state, in respect of sub-head C (1), Vote 48, the sums expended during the financial years 1953-54 and 1954-55, respectively, and the amounts of the unexpended balances of the Grants-in-Aid as at 31st March, 1953, 1954 and 1955.
Mr. Blowick: The figures requested by the Deputy in respect of sub-head C (1), Acquisition of Land (Grant-in-Aid), Vote 48, are as follows:—
|Net Expenditure||Balance on Hands|
The exact figure for the balance on hands at 31/3/1955 will not be available until the account is closed in September next.
Mr. Spring: asked the Minister for Justice if he will state, in respect of food alone, the cost of maintaining a prisoner in Mountjoy Prison (a) at present, and (b) in 1939.
Minister for Justice (Mr. Everett): The cost of feeding a prisoner in Mountjoy Prison over the year 1954 was £31 15s. 11d. In 1939 the cost was £11 6s. 1d.
Mr. Egan: asked the Minister for Agriculture whether, in view of the fact that it will be impossible for farmers in the flooded areas of the Shannon Valley to grow a hay crop this year unless fertilisers are provided, he will accede to the recent request of the Shannon Farmers' Association to provide such fertilisers as soon as possible.
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Dillon): No. I am afraid I cannot agree that it will be impossible for farmers in the flooded areas of the Shannon Valley to produce their usual crop of hay this year unless fertilisers are applied.
Mr. Egan: Does the Minister intend to accede to the request of the Shannon Farmers' Association in any way? Does he intend to accede to the recent request, of which he has particulars?
Mr. Dillon: I am not quite sure that I know to what the Deputy is referring. If he refers to a suggestion that there should be a further distribution of fertilisers under the relief scheme, I can assure the Deputy that everybody suffering from distress, and coming within the category entitling them to relief of that character, has been provided for.
Mr. J. Brennan: asked the Minister for Agriculture if he is aware that 8,000 herrings recently landed by local fishermen at Malinbeg were allowed to perish because sale could not be effected, and, if so, if he will take steps to prevent such an occurrence in the future.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture (Mr. O. Flanagan): I am aware of the occurrence referred to. I am informed that the fish in question were landed about 9 p.m. on Thursday, 21st April, but were not offered for sale to the representative of An Bord Iascaigh Mhara at Killybegs until about 11 p.m. If the board's representative had been contacted about 9 p.m. arrangements could have been made to have the fish taken to Dublin with other fish from Killybegs by the regular lorry service. This was  not possible at 11 p.m. as the journey to Malinbeg from Killybegs and the return would cause too much delay. The fish were also offered to other buyers in Donegal, but it is understood that none was interested as the fish could not in the time available have been sent to Dublin in time for the early sales on the Friday market, although one buyer at Malinmore who had a quantity of fish for dispatch to the Dublin market expressed his readiness to buy the herrings if landed at that port.
It is not clear why these herrings were not taken by Killybegs station for conversion into fish meal, and this is a matter into which I propose to make further inquiries. It is understood that the fish were not of sufficiently good quality for kippering. As local demand for the Friday trade had been filled the Dublin market was the only outlet for the herrings and the board's representative offered to supply boxes if the owner decided to send them there for commission sale. He decided not to do this. My Department and An Bord Iascaigh Mhara are only too pleased to help fishermen in every way possible to dispose of their landings at a fair price but I must point out that it is impossible to make arrangements to ensure that fish landed at any place, at any time, and in any quantity will find a market. I can only suggest that fishermen should bear in mind the difficulties likely to be experienced by them in disposing of catches landed late in the week which must rely on the fresh market for sale. If earlier notice of this landing had been given it would have been possible for the board to have the fish transported to Dublin in time for the Friday morning market.
Mr. Spring: asked the Minister for Defence if he will state, in respect of food alone, the cost of maintaining a private in the National Army (a) at present, and (b) in 1939.
Minister for Defence (General MacEoin): The daily cost of the standard ration at present is 3/1. The daily cost of the standard ration in 1939 was 1/3.
Mr. Cunningham: asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs if he will consider erecting two telephone kiosks in Letterkenny.
Mr. Blaney: asked the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs whether he will reconsider his decision in regard to the provision of additional public telephone kiosks in Letterkenny.
Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (Mr. Keyes): With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 30 and 31 together.
It is proposed to provide a second kiosk in Letterkenny, but because of the large number of places with prior claims it will be some considerable time before the kiosk is erected.
Mr. Blaney: Do I understand that the decision has been taken to erect another kiosk in Letterkenny, and arising from that, may I ask the Minister if he could indicate at what point this kiosk is to be erected? Is there any indication of what point in the town at which it will be erected?
Mr. Keyes: I understand there are already some kiosks in the town and we are anxious to provide another, but it will probably be six months before the work can be carried out. When the time comes a suitable site will be selected for it in the town.
Mr. Blaney: I take it that the Minister will give full consideration to the present position of kiosks in the town and when he has considered that I would ask the Minister to realise that one further kiosk in Letterkenny will not be at all sufficient. Both of the present kiosks are situated in the centre of the town and it follows that if there is to be any improvement it must be effected at both ends. One further kiosk is not sufficient and I would ask the Minister to bear that in mind in deciding the matter.
Mr. Spring: asked the Minister for External Affairs if he will state, in respect of each of the years 1950 to  1954, inclusive, the total cost of maintaining our embassy and consular staffs and premises abroad, specifying the sum for (a) each country, (b) salaries, and (c) other expenses.
Minister for External Affairs (Mr. Cosgrave): The preparation of the reply to the Deputy's question in the form in which he requires it has involved a considerable amount of work which has not yet been completed. If, therefore, the Deputy would be good enough to repeat his question in a week's time, I hope to be in a position to give him the information sought.
Mr. Spring: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the total sum paid by way of interest by the E.S.B. (a) since it was established, and (b) in the last financial year.
Minister for Finance (Mr. Sweetman): Interest payments by the E.S.B. up to the 31st March, 1955, in respect of advances to the board from the Exchequer amounted to £19,380,000, of which £2,051,000 was paid in the financial year 1954-55.
As regards other interest payments, I would refer the Deputy to the accounts of the board, which are presented annually to the Dáil.
Mr. Egan: asked the Minister for Finance if he is in a position to state when the American expert to advise on remedial measures for the control of the Shannon will start his investigations.
Mr. Sweetman: The Government of the United States of America have now intimated their willingness to accede to our request for expert advice on the question of the flooding of the River Shannon and have offered the services of a member of their Army Corps of Engineers. The Irish Government have gratefully accepted the offer and conversations are proceeding as to when the services of the officer concerned may become available.
Mr. Aiken: Would the Minister say  if the investigations will be wide enough to consider the effect of lowering the levels of lakes which overflow into the Shannon basin?
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a separate question.
Mr. Sweetman: Every problem concerned with the matter will be brought under review.
Mr. Sheldon: asked the Minister for Finance if he will state the number of mechanical engineers, Grade II, permanent and temporary, employed by the Office of Public Works at present, and at comparable dates in 1953 and 1954, respectively; further, if a university degree in engineering is an essential qualification for these posts.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance (Mr. Donnellan): In the mechanical engineering division of the Office of Public Works there are employed at present five officers, four established and one temporary, of the status of Engineer Grade II (Mechanical).
On the 1st May, 1953, the number employed was five, one established and four temporary, and on 1st May, 1954, the number was four, all temporary.
A university degree in engineering is not an essential qualification for these posts.
Mr. Sheldon: Could the Parliamentary Secretary say if a qualification similar to a university degree is necessary?
Mr. Donnellan: Yes.
Liam Mac Cuinneagáin: asked the Minister for Finance if he has been asked to co-operate with the Six Counties authorities in connection with the drainage of the cross-border Skeoge River at Burnfoot, County Donegal, and, if so, what action he proposes to take in the matter.
Mr. Donnellan: The answer to the  first part of the Deputy's question is in the negative, but a letter was received by the Commissioners of Public Works on last Saturday, 30th April, 1955, from the Ministry of Agriculture, Belfast, stating that it had been represented to them that arrangements had been made to have the portions in County Derry of two watercourses adjoining the abandoned Derry-Lough Swilly Railway cleaned by the railway company and the farmers concerned, but that such work would be useless unless the portion of the watercourse in County Donegal, which was represented as being under the control of the Irish Land Commission, was also cleaned. The commissioners were asked to bring the matter to the notice of the Land Commission. The watercourse referred to is, presumably, the Skeoge River. I am having inquiry made as to the position.
Mr. T. Byrne: asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware that applicants for grants for reconstruction, repair or improvement of houses damaged by the Tolka flooding are not entitled to another grant for 15 years, and, if so, if he will, if necessary by the introduction of legislation, waive this limiting restriction in the case of such houses, and thereby allow the applicants the right to apply in the normal way for any further grant.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government (Mr. Davin): Grants for repair or improvement works on houses under Section 12 of the Housing (Amendment) Act, 1954, are not restricted by reference to the payment of a previous grant under the Housing Acts.
Mr. Spring: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state, in respect of each of the last five financial years, the total sum paid by way of interest by local authorities throughout the country.
Mr. Davin: The total amount of interest paid on stocks, loans and bank overdrafts by local authorities  other than harbour authorities, vocational education committees and county committees of agriculture in each of the last five financial years is estimated as follows:—
|Year ended||31st March, 1951||£2,011,000|
|,,||,,||31st March, 1952||£2,333,000|
|,,||,,||31st March, 1953||£2,812,000|
|,,||,,||31st March, 1954||£3,335,000|
|,,||,,||31st March, 1955||£3,948,000|
The figures for the year ended 31st March, 1955, are subject to revision.
Mr. Spring: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state the total sum paid by way of interest by the Dublin Corporation (a) in the last five financial years, and (b) in the financial year 1954-55.
Mr. Davin: The total sum paid by Dublin Corporation in the last five financial years by way of interest on stocks, loans and temporary bank overdraft is estimated at £5,128,400. The sum paid in the financial year 1954-55 is estimated at £1,355,000. Those figures are subject to revision.
Mr. Davern: asked the Minister for Local Government whether he is aware that, as a result of the restoration of his former lands to Colonel R. B. Charteris by the annulment of the Tipperary South Riding Compulsory Purchase (Labourers Acts) Town of Cahir, Order, 1954, labourers' cottages will have to be built on a most unsuitable site, which is threequarters of a mile from the town, which will entail greatly increased cost for site development and sewage and water amenities; and, if so, if he will state (a) the reasons why he annulled the order, (b) who will be responsible for the extra cost involved, and (c) if suitable transport will be provided for the workers in the alternative site suggested, which is both backward and unsuitable.
Mr. Davin: Under the Order in question the Tipperary (South Riding) County Council sought to acquire a site in Cahir Park Estate which is used as a town park and recreation grounds and by the local G.A.A. Club, the  District Nursing Association and the Irish Countrywomen's Association. All of these bodies, together with the owners of the adjoining Cahir House Hotel, objected to the Order.
The evidence given at the inquiry showed that the compulsory alienation of this property would disrupt important recreational and social facilities at present enjoyed by the inhabitants of the town, that the provision of houses on the site would be contrary to town planning principles and that an equally suitable alternative site is available about half a mile from the centre of the town and can be got by agreement. I am not aware that the cost of development of the alternative site would be greatly in excess of that of the proposed site. The foregoing are the considerations which led the Minister to annul the Order and, in view of the facts stated, (b) and (c) of the Deputy's question do not call for a reply.
Mr. Davern: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the proposed alternative was a bare, barren hill? The nearest tree or bush is miles away —almost at Mitchelstown, 18 miles away. Is he further aware that the owner of the land in question has no fewer than 2,000 acres inside which he is firmly entrenched and surrounded by what are better known in Tipperary as the famine walls and that each and every attempt by workers to penetrate inside those famine walls has been unsuccessful up to now? The reasons given are quite flimsy. The Countrywomen's Association have a temporary garage and the G.A.A. have a temporary letting of a field. One excuse is flimsier than another. Will the Parliamentary Secretary say if he will have inquiries made which will disprove the statements which were in no small way responsible for the decision of the sworn inquiry?
Mr. Davin: I am aware that local opinion on the selection of the park site was practically evenly divided. The Deputy knows that the decision compulsorily to acquire it was taken on the casting vote of the chairman. I am sorry I must differ with the Deputy on this matter, but I can assure him  that all the considerations he has referred to were taken into account before this decision was arrived at.
Mr. Davern: I take it this is an example of the democratic rights which the present Government told us were being restored to local authorities.
Mrs. Lynch: asked the Minister for Local Government when he will be in a position to confirm the compulsory purchase order for the acquisition of the Marrowbone Lane-School Street area, Dublin.
Mr. Davin: The Minister hopes to be in a position to give a decision on this order in the near future.
Mrs. Lynch: asked the Minister for Local Government if, in view of the fact that recently several motor cyclists have died as a result of head injuries, he will reconsider his decision not to make it compulsory for motor cyclists to wear crash helmets.
Mr. Davin: As indicated in reply to the previous question put down by the Deputy on this subject, the Minister favours the use of crash helmets as tending to lessen the effects of motor cycle accidents. He is still of opinion, however, that persuasion rather than compulsion is the better approach.
Mr. MacBride: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state the total expenditure from public funds, whether local or central, on public roads within the State in each of the last five financial years, showing, if  possible, the amount expended on (a) the making of new roads, (b) road widening and improvements, and (c) road maintenance.
Mr. MacBride: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will state the public funds, whether local or central, from which public moneys are expended on public roads within the State, and the amount expended on public roads, including expenditure on the making of new roads, the widening and improvement of roads and road maintenance, from each such fund in each of the last five financial years.
Mr. Davin: With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 43 and 44 together and as the reply includes a tabular statement to circulate it with the Official Report.
All expenditure on the public roads in the country is met out of the local road authorities' funds in the first instance and where a grant has been made available from a State source recoupment from that source is made at different times. In any financial year, therefore, the expenditure from each source would not reflect the overall position of expenditure on road work within the year. I am, therefore, giving the provisions for road works in each year so far as they are available in the Department. The bulk of these provisions are naturally expended on works within the year.
Separate particulars are not available to show the amounts applicable to the making of new roads or widening of existing roads. Such particulars are included under the heading of improvements.
|National Development Fund||—||—||—||1,037,637||1,565,051|
|Employment and Emerg ency Schemes Vote||229,306||206,669||232,831||345,557||298,79|
|Department of Industry and Commerce||—||—||—||—||120,00|
|Local authorities' funds:|
|(b) Raised by loan||162,980||172,050||241,717||173,179||40,116|
Mr. Blaney: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will make available a grant from the National Development Fund towards the cost of providing a public water supply for the Fanad peninsula, County Donegal.
Mr. Blaney: asked the Minister for Local Government if he will make available a grant towards the cost of providing a regional water supply for the Fanad Gaeltacht, County Donegal.
Mr. Blaney: asked the Minister for Local Government what is the present position in regard to the Rossnakill-Tamney water supply scheme.
Mr. Davin: With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, it is proposed to take Questions Nos. 45, 46 and 47 together.
Proposals for a water supply scheme for Rossnakill and Tamney were submitted by Donegal County Council in 1940 and resubmitted in 1947, but, because of the inadequacy of the source, were not approved. Subsequently a number of other possible sources were investigated and the county engineer's report was considered by the county council last December. A copy of this report was not received in the Department until yesterday, but an inquiry was received from the county council on the 20th January as to the amount of State assistance which would be made available for a regional scheme for North Fanad. Such a scheme would also serve Rossnakill. The maximum rate of subsidy by way of contribution to loan charges in respect of Gaeltacht water supply schemes is 43? per cent., but consideration is at present being given to the representations made by the county council that Gaeltacht water supply schemes should be subsidised at a higher rate, whether from the National Development Fund or otherwise.
Mr. Blaney: Am I to take it that, until the Local Government Department, arising from these questions, got in touch with the local authority in Donegal, no report whatever was received from these people in regard to this matter, although decisions were arrived at last December by the Donegal County Council?
Mr. Davin: When the Deputy reads the reply carefully he will see that the Department could do nothing more at the moment.
Mr. Blaney: I am not asking the Parliamentary Secretary about the Department. I am merely asking him to say whether or not it is a fact that from his reply it can be taken that no report whatever was received from the Donegal County Council officials in connection with this matter until the Department of Local Government got in touch with the Donegal County Council during the past week arising from these questions I have put down?
Mr. Davin: When the Deputy, if I may say so, without disrespect, reads carefully the lengthy reply I have given him, he can, as a member of the Donegal County Council, come to his own conclusions.
Mr. Blaney: Further arising from the Parliamentary Secretary's reply, I have asked him a specific question dealing with three questions on the  Order Paper. He has evaded that issue in every way. It is not a question of reading, and with your permission, I would like to raise this matter on the Adjournment.
Mr. Davin: I suspected the Deputy was going to do that, anyway.
An Ceann Comhairle: I will communicate with the Deputy.
Mr. Cunningham: asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware of the grave dissatisfaction that exists among ratepayers in Buncrana because large sums of money allocated for the repair of the houses at Maginn Avenue were not utilised to the best advantage, and, if so, if he will have the matter investigated.
Mr. Davin: I am aware that some dissatisfaction has been expressed by ratepayers in Buncrana regarding the cost of acquisition and repair of houses at Maginn Avenue, Buncrana. I have received no evidence of unnecessary or wasteful expenditure from local funds on this project, which would warrant a special investigation.
Mr. Cunningham: Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the cost of these unsatisfactory repairs has been so excessive that it has been decided not to seek recoupment from the tenants, but rather to saddle the ratepayers with part of the cost? Does that not indicate that there is something there which needs to be investigated and will the Parliamentary Secretary see to it that investigation does take place?
Mr. Spring: asked the Minister for Local Government if he has received proposals from the Kerry County Council for the erection of cottages at Ballylongford, and, if so, what is the present position in the matter.
Mr. Davin: Approval was given in principle on 28th October, 1954, to a proposal of the Kerry County Council to use a site at Rusheen, Ballylong-ford,  for housing purposes. I understand that plans for the erection of 12 cottages on this site are being prepared at present.
Mr. Spring: asked the Minister for Local Government whether he received proposals from the Kerry County Council for the erection of further houses at Lahercannon, Tralee, and, if so, when work on the project will commence.
Mr. Davin: No proposals have been submitted by the Kerry County Council for the erection of further houses at Lahercannon, Tralee.
Mr. Spring: asked the Minister for Local Government whether he has received a proposal from the Kerry County Council for the erection of two further houses at Desmond Avenue, Castleisland, and, if so, when; further, whether he has sanctioned the proposal and when work will commence.
Mr. Davin: The present proposal of the Kerry County Council for the erection of two additional houses at Castleisland was submitted on the 11th May, 1954, and a lay-out plan of them on the 30th July, 1954. Approval was given on 9th August, 1954. The council have not yet completed preliminaries to the invitation of tenders and I am not in a position to say when work on the erection of the houses is likely to commence.
Mr. R. Barry: asked the Minister for Health whether he is aware of the reduction in payment of home assistance to persons who qualify for disability benefit under the Health Act, 1953, and, if so, if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Health (Mr. T.F. O'Higgins): I am aware that some public assistance authorities have reduced payment of home assistance to persons who qualify under the Health Act, 1953, for a disablement allowance. This action on the part of these authorities is contrary to the whole spirit and intention of the scheme.
 I have taken special steps to make known my views on this matter, including the sending of a circular letter to local authorities on the 26th February last stating that I was in full agreement with the terms of a circular letter issued by the Minister for Social Welfare on 8th November last in which he requested public assistance authorities to exercise their discretion in a manner favourable to recipients of home assistance and not to regard the grant of a disablement allowance as an automatic reason for discontinuing or reducing to an equivalent extent the payment of home assistance. Moreover, in March last, I joined with the Minister for Social Welfare in the issue of a public statement giving our views in this matter.
I am now considering with the Minister for Social Welfare what further steps should be taken.
Mr. R. Barry: Arising out of the question, would the Minister consider the introduction of amending legislation in order to put right the conditions laid down by the Act which enables the persons supplied by the public authorities——
An Ceann Comhairle: That is clearly a separate question.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Action will be taken very shortly.
Mr. Kyne: asked the Minister for Health whether a decision has yet been reached in regard to the proposal to grant an allowance to midwives similar to that granted to doctors under the Health Act, 1953, and, if so, the nature of such decision.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: As I explained to the Deputy in reply to his previous question on 10th February, it is necessary to consider this question in conjunction with the extension of maternity services to additional classes and some time will elapse before I am in a position to make a full statement in the matter.
Mr. Coogan: asked the Minister for  Health if he will state, in respect of the West Galway area, the number of persons (a) who applied for free medical treatment and for maternity cash grants, and (b) whose applications were successful.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: I am informed by Galway County Council that, in respect of the area west of the River Corrib, the number of persons who applied to date for inclusion in the general medical services register was 2,828; 2,561 applications were successful; 80 were refused, and 187 are under consideration by the health authority. One thousand and seventy-one applications were received for maternity cash grants; 842 were granted; 125 were refused and 104 are under consideration by the health authority.
Mr. Coogan: Arising out of the reply, is the Minister aware of the dissatisfaction caused in West Galway by the operation of these schemes, and will the Minister give a direction with a view to implementing these schemes in the manner originally intended?
An Ceann Comhairle: That is a separate question.
Mr. James Tully: asked the Minister for Health if he will state the number of persons (a) who made applications to the Meath County Council under the Disabled Persons (Maintenance Allowance) Regulations, 1954, (b) whose applications were recommended for acceptance, and (c) whose applications were refused; further, the cause of the delay in making payment to those whose applications were accepted.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: The Meath County Council have intimated that to the 29th April (a) 354 applications under the Disabled Persons (Maintenance Allowances) Regulations, 1954, were received, (b) 102 of these applications were allowed, and (c) 94 were refused. Payment of allowances is made each fortnight and commences on the payment date following the grant of allowance.
Mr. James Tully: In view of the unsatisfactory position in this matter,  would the Minister consider having it reinvestigated because I believe that it is being treated by the officials in that county as if it were of no importance?
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Under the provisions of the Health Act, I am debarred from interfering.
Mr. James Tully: asked the Minister for Health if the holder of a medical card is entitled to medicines free of charge.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: The holder of a medical card and the persons who are entitled, as dependents, to avail themselves of the general practitioner service are entitled to medicine free of charge provided such medicine is recommended by the district medical officer.
Mr. James Tully: Arising out of the reply, if that is so will the Minister say if it is in order for a dispensary doctor to give a prescription to a patient and tell the patient to go to the local chemist and buy the prescription?
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: I think the reply which I have read should cover the position. If the person is entitled on the general services register to free medicine, that person is entitled to have the prescription given free if prescribed by his doctor.
Mr. James Tully: asked the Minister for Health whether a dispensary doctor is entitled to refuse to attend a patient, who is insured or who holds a medical card, if the request for attendance is sent by telephone.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: An insured person as such is not entitled to receive general medical services from the district medical officer but he may qualify for these services as a person unable to provide them for himself or his dependents, by his own industry or other lawful means.
A district medical officer is obliged to afford medical care and advice to  any person resident in his district whose name is entered in the general medical services register and to the dependents of such person whether his services are requested by telephone or otherwise. In this matter of summoning the district medical officer, it is, of course, expected that eligible persons will behave reasonably by summoning him only when his services are really necessary and, when the circumstances of the illness or of distance permit, will on the first occasion on which they require his services after their admission to the register present their medical cards to the doctor as proof of their eligibility.
Mr. Coogan: asked the Minister for Health if he will state (a) the names of members of the visiting committee of the regional sanatorium, Merlin Park, Galway, and (b) the number of visits paid by them and the number of complaints attended to.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: There is no visiting committee for the regional sanatorium, Merlin Park, Galway. The sanatorium is controlled and managed by the Western Health Institutions Board, which is comprised of two members from each of the County Councils of Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo. I understand that on the occasion of meetings of the board it is the practice for members to visit from time to time the patients from their respective areas. Records relating to these visits are not kept by the board.
Mr. J. Brennan: asked the Minister for Health if he will sanction a grant from the Hospitals' Trust Fund for the repair of Glenties district hospital.
Mr. J. Brennan: asked the Minister for Health if he will state the use to which Glenties district hospital will be put after the new hospitals at Letterkenny, Dungloe and Carndonagh have been opened.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I will take Questions Nos. 59 and 60 together.
 As I have already informed the county council, it is not possible at this stage to come to a decision as to the future use to which Glenties district hospital will be put, but the position will be reviewed when the new hospitals at Letterkenny, Carndonagh and Dungloe have been completed and the enlarged Killybegs sanatorium has come into operation for a period.
I regret that owing to the heavy demands on available funds for essential building projects I am not in a position to authorise the making of a grant from the Hospitals' Trust Fund towards the cost of carrying out repairs at Glenties district hospital.
Mr. J. Brennan: In considering the position, would the Minister keep in mind that a poster widely displayed during the last general election campaign explicitly stated: “Vote Fine Gael and save the Glenties hospital”?
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: All relevant matters will be kept in mind at all times.
Mr. Spring: asked the Minister for Health if he will state, in respect of food alone, the cost of maintaining (a) an inmate of Grangegorman Mental Hospital, and (b) a patient in Rialto Hospital (i) at present, and (ii) in 1939.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: (a) According to figures supplied to my Department the average daily cost of food per patient in Grangegorman District Mental Hospital during the year ended 31st March, 1939, was 10.37d. The corresponding figure for year ended 31st March, 1954, was 2/10.08d.
(b) In 1939 Rialto was not regarded as a separate hospital and accordingly the cost figure requested by the Deputy is not available. The average daily cost of food per patient during the year ended 31st March, 1939, in all the institutions under the control of the Dublin Board of Assistance was 1/1¼d. The average daily cost of food per patient in Rialto Hospital during the year ended 31st March, 1954, was 4/8.
Mr. Davern: With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I desire to raise the subject-matter of Question No. 40 on the Adjournment.
An Ceann Comhairle: I shall communicate with the Deputy during the evening.
The Taoiseach: It is proposed to take business in the following order:— Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 6 (Vote No. 27). It is not proposed to interrupt the consideration of Government business to take Private Members' time.
The Dáil went into Committee on Finance to consider certain financial motions.
Minister for Finance (Mr. Sweetman): Despite some setbacks, such as the disappointing harvest and the widespread winter flooding, the economic picture for 1954 is, on the whole, satisfactory. In all the main branches of the economy progress was made. The external trade returns showed a further improvement, consequent on a turn for the better in the final quarter of the year. Exports were higher and our import bill, thanks to increased home production, was smaller. Non-trade earnings, which go so far to offset the trade deficit, were well maintained. The result was that receipts from abroad virtually balanced external payments. A remarkable feature of last year's external account was that our traditionally heavy deficit with the dollar area was turned into a small surplus.
In other spheres of activity, also, advances were made. Output in manufacturing industries increased and both employment and earnings in these industries reached new heights. Agricultural production responded to improved markets and the provisional 1954 returns show an increase in output  notwithstanding the bad harvest weather. These advances were made in conditions of internal balance. Prices—retail and wholesale—remained reasonably steady in 1954 and domestic investment was financed almost entirely from current savings. Since the turn of the year, however, there have been some signs of an increase in the trade deficit. This is the picture, as I see it, in the broadest outline. I now propose, as is customary, to fill in some of the detail, beginning with the balance of payments.
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS.
The deficit for 1954 is estimated at £5,500,000, the lowest figure since 1946. We earned a slight surplus with the dollar area, which, though it may be purely temporary, is a phenomenon without precedent in our records and is, therefore, worthy of comment. It resulted from a falling-off in dollar outlay while dollar earnings were maintained at a high level. Since most of the dollars we earn still come from invisible rather than merchandise exports, there is obviously much room for expansion of direct trade with the dollar area. We look forward to efforts on the part of our exporters to strengthen and widen the foothold they have already gained in that highly competitive market.
There was also an improvement in our trade balance with the rest of the world outside the sterling area, to which an increase in exports contributed. I have every hope that this improvement will be maintained, particularly as additional assistance and encouragement are now available to exporters as a result of the Government's decision last autumn to extend the activities of Córas Tráchtála, Teoranta, to Continental and more distant markets.
BALANCE OF TRADE.
Imports last year amounted to £180,000,000, almost £3,000,000 less than in 1953, while exports were £1,000,000 more at £115,000,000. The overall improvement in our trade balance was, therefore, just short of £4,000,000. It was only in the last  quarter of the year, however, that the trade pattern changed for the better. During the first nine months the excess of imports over exports was £5,000,000 greater than in the corresponding period of 1953. Imports in that period were higher while exports were reduced by the slump in British demand for our sugar products. In the last quarter of the year, however, imports fell by £6,000,000 and exports rose by £2.7 million. It was as a result of this welcome change that we finished the year with a trade deficit almost £4,000,000 less than in 1953. In the first quarter of this year the trade gap widened despite an increase in exports. This was due mainly to replenishment of stocks of wheat and other cereals and of various raw materials. Imports of machinery and fertilisers also increased.
The continued overall expansion of exports is most welcome, particularly as it is a volume increase and is based on an improvement in agricultural production. Total sales of cattle off farms were higher last year than at any time in the past 20 years. The increase in exports of cattle and beef has, in fact, more than compensated for the decline of over £10,000,000 in exports of chocolate, chocolate crumb and confectionery. Exports of cattle increased in value by £8.8 million and by no less than 163,000 in number while exports of dressed beef and veal increased by 17,000 tons or £3.8 million in value. There has been an even greater rate of expansion in the number of cattle exported in the early months of this year, the total in the first quarter being over 75,000 greater than in the first quarter of the previous year. Exports of bacon and hams in 1954 were £1.7 million higher at £4.4 million. As against these increases, less eggs, poultry and pork were exported. Sizeable markets were, however, obtained for a number of industrial items, including cardboard, for instance, exports of which increased by £800,000.
Some apprehension has been expressed that the increase in cattle and beef exports may be at the expense of  stocks. It would seem, however, that the decline in stocks has been insignificant both absolutely and in relation to the volume of exports. Between January, 1954, and January, 1955, cattle numbers fell by less than 23,000 or 0.6 per cent. of the total. The favourable market conditions have encouraged farmers to build up their stocks and the most recent figures of cattle under one year, which are the key figures for future output and exports, show a rise. The lower mortality rate of young cattle, because of improved veterinary services, has helped to maintain stocks despite the rise in exports. Provided the farming community take advantage of the veterinary aids available, it should not be beyond the capacity of the country to maintain cattle exports in all forms at last year's level of approximately 870,000; in fact, we should be able to go well above that figure as time goes on.
The fall in imports in 1954 is explained mainly by increased home production which lessened our dependence on certain foreign products. There were decreases in wheat, maize and sugar. Wheat imports fell both because stocks were drawn down and because home supplies were greater. Increased domestic production of feeding stuffs accounted for our smaller purchases of maize. The reduced export demand for sugar products, accompanied by a drawing down of stocks built up in the preceding year, caused a drop in imports of sugar. On the other hand, more raw materials were required to sustain the continued rise in national production. Purchases of agricultural machinery from abroad increased from £1.8 million to £2.5 million, while the number of agricultural tractors imported increased from 4,360 to 5,377. The decline in imports of consumption goods was not at the expense of the general level of consumption which rose last year.
TERMS OF TRADE.
Import prices, which had been falling practically unchecked since September, 1951, continued to decline in the first half of 1954. In the second half of the  year, however, this falling trend was reversed and import prices are now more than 3 per cent. above the level of a year ago. Export prices were slightly lower on average in 1954. In view of the tendency for import prices to rise, there is a danger that the terms of trade may deteriorate further this year. In that event we shall have to export more if we are to keep a reasonable balance in our external payments.
There was an increase in 1954 in industrial as well as in agricultural production. The provisional figure of the volume of production in all industries and services covered by the Census of Industrial Production is 2 per cent. higher than for 1953. The biggest advances were in the assembly and construction of vehicles and in engineering. There was some falling off in local authority housing but this was largely counterbalanced by a rise in private building. The indications are that physical capital formation was about the same as in 1953.
Despite the difficulties encountered last year, there was a further improvement in the value and volume of agricultural output. Gross output was some £6,000,000 higher than in 1953, the volume being over 4 per cent. greater. The increase in production is attributable to improved veterinary and technical services, to increased mechanisation of farm operations, to the greater application of ground limestone and fertilisers and to the rehabilitation of land and farm buildings. Agreements have been signed recently with the American authorities for the application of a total of £2,950,000 from the American Grant Counterpart Fund to certain projects which will bring further benefits to our agriculture. These are the eradication of bovine tuberculosis, the provision of pasteurising plant at creameries and cream-separating stations and the continued subsidisation of ground limestone. The expenditure of this substantial sum, which we owe to the generosity of the United States Government and people, the  more extensive use of mechanical equipment and the acceleration of rural electrification should lead to still greater productivity in agriculture, which is the main prop of our economy and the basis for our security and prosperity.
EMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT.
Over the eight years from 1945 to 1953 there had been an aggregate fall in the number of males engaged in agriculture of 100,000, representing an average annual decline of 12,500. The outstanding and gratifying feature of the employment returns for 1954 is that no further decline took place. Last year's provisional figure of 421,000 was the same as for 1953. In manufacturing industries, employment showed a further rise in 1954 and in the December quarter exceeded 150,000 for the first time. Our improved employment experience is reflected in the number of persons registered as unemployed. In recent months the figures have been running at a level some 5,000 to 6,000 below the 1954 figures.
PRICES AND EARNINGS.
Wholesale prices fluctuated little in 1954 and there has been no change in the index of retail prices since August. Wage rates and earnings generally remained stable. Prospects for price trends in the coming months are less settled. The cost of living may be affected by the rise in prices of imported materials. We can meet this effectively only by exporting more, which means, in the first place, producing more and doing so more efficiently. This is the way to keep up and even improve our living standards in face of a rise in import costs. No real or lasting protection is given, in these circumstances, by increases in money incomes alone; indeed, if we sought refuge in this, we would risk being costed out of the export markets on which we rely so much for our prosperity. I would, therefore, enter a plea, in the national interest, for a careful and reasonable attitude on the part of employees and employers alike, lest both internal and external stability be jeopardised and  development be seriously retarded. It is important to keep the production lines open in the interests of better living standards for all and to avoid any interruption which might mean an irrecoverable loss of both earnings and investment.
INTEREST RATES AND SAVINGS.
A National Loan of £20,000,000 was successfully floated last autumn with— as I am happy to acknowledge—the unqualified support of the Leader of the Opposition and of all Parties in the House. The effective yield to redemption was 4½ per cent., the lowest rate for a National Loan since 1950. Housing authorities and organisations such as the E.S.B. and Bord na Móna, whose interest charges are related to the Exchequer borrowing rate, have also benefited from this reduction in the cost of borrowing.
The lower level of interest rates thus established is desirable for the stimulus it affords to investment and national progress. It was for that reason particularly gratifying that the Irish banks, in recognition of the national interest and in spite of the difficulties it caused for them, refrained from raising their lending rates when the Bank of England rate was raised in January and again in February last. On the one hand, our external payments and receipts have not been seriously out of line, while, on the other, the need to press ahead with capital development, both to give employment and to raise national living standards, means that a rise in interest rates here should, if possible, be avoided. In this sphere, however, as in many others, we cannot insulate ourselves fully or for long from the influence of trends in the world outside nor can we fail to keep a close watch on tendencies at home, so as to continue to take such action as we can to protect our own economy.
While the total volume of savings is not disappointing, the upward trend in small savings has unfortunately been interrupted. Net sales of savings certificates and deposits in the savings banks came to £5,000,000 or £640,000 less than in 1953-54. Withdrawals of deposits and sales of certificates for  investment in last year's National Loan appear to have been higher than usual and this may account in part for the failure of the figures to show an increase. It is none the less disappointing that the upward trend in small savings appears to have lost its impetus. It should not be necessary to speak of the value and significance of thrift both for the individual and for the nation. Small savings make an important contribution to the financing of the State capital programme. The yield to the investor in savings certificates, being tax-free, is particularly attractive having regard to the course of interest rates in recent times. It is, in fact, the equivalent of 5½ per cent., subject to tax. I shall have more to say later on the subject of savings and I hope before the end of the year to arrange for a more intensive campaign to interest all sections of the community in the attractive facilities for saving which lie to their hands.
On the whole, 1954 was a good year. Reasonable stability of prices and freedom from any major industrial disputes enabled progress to be made in output, exports and living standards. The cost of imports has risen in recent months and there may not be an equivalent resilience in export values. This, therefore, is a year for watchfulness lest forces be released which might disturb our internal cost and price structure and upset our balance of payments. For that reason, the Budget must be constructed in such a way as to moderate, rather than aggravate, any unsettling tendencies in the economy.
II—CAPITAL BUDGET, 1954-55.
I turn now to the capital expenditure of the State last year and to the programme for the current year. I should draw attention at the outset to a change I have ventured to make in the presentation of the figures of State capital outlay. For my own convenience—and I hope also the convenience of Deputies—I have transferred to the paper entitled “Tables in connection with the Financial Statement”, which has been circulated, some of the tabular  matter hitherto given in the Financial Statement itself.
As indicated in Table II of the paper I have mentioned, capital expenditure financed from the Exchequer in 1954-55 was £32.86 million, against a Budget estimate of £39.49 million. This outturn follows the pattern of preceding years in which capital expenditure was also some millions less than the Budget estimates. Actual, as distinct from estimated, expenditure has been fairly stable around £33,000,000 for some years past. A discrepancy between forecast and outturn is not uncommon in large-scale programmes of capital works. Delays and difficulties can emerge at any stage from planning to the clearance of the final payments. The tendency, when framing estimates of this kind, is to set the target of achievement as high as possible. Such optimism is, perhaps, natural but it needs to be moderated by realism if estimates are not to promise achievements beyond what experience shows to be practicable. In making forecasts for the current year I have acted on this principle and, I hope, brought the estimates into closer accord with the probable outcome.
Although the weather was unfavourable for building and construction works generally, development work on land, forests and bogs was well maintained last year. Issues for electricity development, hospitals and telephones were some £4,000,000 less than anticipated. The rain brought a profit to the E.S.B. in the form of a reduction in purchases of coal, with the result that the Board was able to defer some of its financial demands on the Exchequer. Receipts from the Hospitals Sweepstakes were above expectations and this, combined with overestimation of building progress, also lessened the draw on the Exchequer. Irish Steel Holdings, Limited, continued to do well and financed its operations during the year without recourse to the Exchequer for capital. It is not possible as yet to determine what amount of permanent capital will be needed by the Company, but last year's provision of £250,000 is being retained to allow of capital within that  limit being available for the Company if required.
While borrowing from the Local Loans Fund by housing authorities declined somewhat in 1954-55, a contribution of £1.8 million was made from State funds to finance housing in Dublin through the taking up of part of last year's Corporation issue. This issue, which was for £5,000,000, was underwritten by the Minister for Finance jointly with the Irish banks.
The total expenditure of almost £33,000,000 is indicative of steady progress in national development. Since assuming office, the Government have been giving considerable attention to the subject of capital expenditure and a full review is being conducted of this important sector of public finance. The review is aimed at securing optimum results from public investment, both economic and social, and also at enlarging the supply of capital for private enterprises of a productive character. Full economic development cannot be achieved by investment in the public sector only; productive investment in the private sector is indeed a prime necessity if our resources in men and materials are to be fully and efficiently utilised.
The financing of the Capital Budget last year, together with the deficit of £1,631,000 on current account and the £120,000 borrowed for defensive equipment, involved a net borrowing of £32.07 million after allowing for loan repayments of £2.54 million from local authorities and other borrowers. This borrowing was raised from the following sources:—
|(1)||Small savings and net investment income of Departmental Funds||7.58|
|(3)||Bank Advances (net)||2.00|
|(4)||Net decrease in cash balances of Exchequer and Funds||0.64|
|(5)||Sale of securities from Departmental Funds||2.65|
 For the most part, the funds required for capital expenditure during the year were provided from Irish savings but an increase in saving will be necessary in order to sustain and raise the level of investment.
III—CAPITAL BUDGET, 1955-56.
The total capital expenditure for the current financial year is shown at £34,000,000 in the Table which I have referred to earlier. The individual estimates making up this total have been drawn as realistically as possible in the light of actual progress in recent years and cover the following services:—
|Schools and other State buildings||2.02|
|Min Fhéir, Teoranta||0.08|
|Irish Steel Holdings, Ltd.||0.25|
|Alginate Industries (Ireland) Ltd.||0.01|
|National Development Fund (Expenditure)||2.50|
It will be seen from these figures that substantial expenditure is again in prospect this year to finance housing and sanitary services, to provide modern school buildings and to supplement moneys available from the Hospitals Trust Fund for the construction and improvement of hospitals. The conservation and development of our natural resources is of paramount importance to the economy, and Exchequer assistance for this purpose is afforded by the provisions for land reclamation and drainage, electricity and turf development, fisheries, afforestation and transport. The provision for advances to the E.S.B. has been reduced to £4,000,000 in view of the power to borrow from sources  other than the Exchequer which the Board possesses under recent legislation.
IRISH SHIPPING, LIMITED.
Irish Shipping, Limited, have, with Government approval, been carrying out a programme of replacements and additions to their fleet which will enlarge their earnings and will also provide additional Irish-owned tonnage to safeguard essential supplies in the event of a future emergency. The Company, which has a fine record of efficient and profitable operation behind it, has financed the purchase of new ships to the extent of about £3,750,000 out of its own resources but now finds it necessary to seek new capital to complete its programme, which includes provision for tanker tonnage in addition to dry cargo vessels. It is expected that an instalment of about £1.5 million will be required to defray payments maturing in the present year for ship construction and the necessary provision has been included in the Capital Budget. This investment will increase our earnings of foreign currency and provide additional employment for Irish seamen and is also a prudent reinforcement of our economic security.
NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND.
The estimated cost of all the projects approved up to the present for financing from the National Development Fund is just over £6,000,000, which is more than covered by the issues of £8,000,000 made to the Fund. Roughly £3,000,000 has been expended in the past two years on road improvements, drainage and other approved projects. Some projects, though approved, did not progress much beyond the preparatory stages last year but will be well under way this year, notably the scheme for the eradication of bovine tuberculosis in the Sligo and Bansha areas. Other projects are at present under consideration and some of them will become charges on the Fund in the course of the year. In all, it is estimated that expenditure from the Fund in 1955-56 will reach £2.5 million. The  provision which the House will be asked to vote for the Fund this year will be determined by reference to commitments accumulating as the year advances. There has been a marked improvement in economic conditions, as is evidenced by rising production in agriculture and industry, as well as increased employment, and, in these circumstances, therefore, it should be possible to utilise our financial resources to a greater extent for projects yielding a permanent increase in income and employment, with lesser emphasis on short-term schemes to relieve unemployment or provide amenities. The Fund will, of course, continue to provide a reserve for contingencies calling for immediate action but I hope that the need for short-term measures will decline in this and future years as opportunities of permanent employment increase.
NET BORROWING, 1955-56.
Loan repayments of £2.83 million will be available to meet the estimated capital expenditure of £34.07 million, leaving a balance of some £31,000,000 to be raised by borrowing. In our circumstances, it is to our own people that we must look to provide the greater part of the funds needed for national development. Investment of our savings under successive native Governments in the relatively short period since 1922 has already yielded results in greater agricultural potential, increased power supplies, improved housing, modern schools and hospitals, Irish air and shipping fleets, forestry expansion and other developments which justify the foresight and courage of those responsible. The progress already made demonstrates how much can be done to improve the economy and to utilise our resources through capital investment and the application of modern techniques.
In relation to the capital programme and the borrowing it entails, I would like to put before investors the consideration that investment in Ireland, whatever form it takes, yields a double dividend. Besides the direct return on the sum invested, there is an increment which I can hardly call invisible, for it is real and tangible enough, arising  from the fact that in so far as investment in Ireland brings a net increase in employment or output there will be more goods to handle, more customers for our shops and manufacturers and better conditions of everyday living. These considerations will, I hope, weigh with investors and induce their support for Irish issues.
Those whose means allow for small savings only or who are unfamiliar with the management of investments can also contribute to national development. Every pound saved and invested in Ireland, whether through the ordinary banks or the savings banks or by purchasing savings certificates, becomes available to support new industries and development works generally.
We who live and work here must recognise that our personal fortunes are bound up with those of our economy. It is broadly true to say that none of us can hope to become much better off or attain a higher standard of living unless the country as a whole is developed and made more prosperous. It is equally true that this development, if it is to be done at all, must be planned, financed and carried out by ourselves. There is no outside agency that we can rely upon to finance this work for us and the Government can operate only within the limits of the means placed at their disposal by the ordinary members of the public. I would ask every Irishman: Do you want to see this country more prosperous in ten, 20 or 30 years' time? Do you want to see better employment opportunities at home for your children as they grow up? We all want to see production increasing not only to yield bigger incomes for the producers and their families but also a margin which can be used to provide better health services and more generous provision for old age and the contingencies of life. If we want all these things, we must save now and in the coming years. Our savings, whether they be little or much, are the motive power that sets more wheels turning and more hands to work. The favourable economic  conditions prevailing at present should enable us to save more and to accelerate progress in realising our economic and social ideals.
IV—CURRENT BUDGET, 1954-55.
One of the Tables circulated in connection with the Financial Statement shows how the 1954 Budget turned out as compared with the estimates which my predecessor set before the House in April, 1954. Excluding Road Fund finance, current expenditure exceeded the estimate by £1.87 million. The main explanation of the excess is that this Government, in accordance with the principles on which it was formed, reduced the cost of butter to the consumer by 5d. a lb. and honoured in full the arbitration award to public servants. Expenditure on these two items came to £1,980,000.
Excluding motor vehicle duties, which go to the Road Fund, the actual revenue received by the Exchequer exceeded the Budget estimate by a mere £200,000, an increase of £650,000 in tax receipts being offset by a shortfall of £450,000 in non-tax revenue. The additional receipts came mainly from income tax and corporation profits tax, the yield from customs and estate duties being somewhat less than was expected. Some particulars of the yield of the various taxes may be of interest. Tobacco brought in £21.9 million, beer £7.9 million, oil £7.8 million, and spirits £7.5 million. On the inland revenue side, income tax and sur-tax produced £23.5 million, estate duties £3,000,000 and corporation profits tax almost as much. Other significant contributors to the Exchequer were stamp duties £1.8 million, and entertainments duty £1.3 million. The non-tax revenue total of £16.85 million included £6.6 million from the Post Office, £4.5 million of interest and dividends on Exchequer assets, £1,000,000 of surplus income from the Central Bank, £1.76 million of land annuities and £1.14 million from the American Loan Counterpart Fund to cover interest on the Marshall Aid Loan.
In the event, there was a deficit on current account for the financial year 1954-55 of £1.63 million which is an indication of the difficulty with which  I was faced in preparing proposals for a balanced Budget this year. It now remains to present these proposals to the House.
V—CURRENT BUDGET, 1955-56.
ESTIMATES OF REVENUE AND EXPENDITURE.
The White Paper presented to the Dáil a few days ago shows the estimate of revenue at £110.62 million while current expenditure, at £112.70 million, exceeds the revenue figure by £2.08 million. By comparison with the actual figures for last year, the estimate of revenue shows an increase of £3.9 million, although last year's reliefs are costing £600,000 more this year. On various occasions during the past six months I ventured the opinion that the confidence engendered by the policy of the Government was showing a beneficial effect on trade and on our economy. The buoyancy of the revenue is a proof of the soundness of that opinion. Gratifying though the improvement in revenue is, it nevertheless falls short of matching the estimated increase in expenditure. This shortfall, together with the fact that last year closed with a deficit, which we have to overcome this year, accounts for the difference between revenue and expenditure as detailed in the White Paper.
Of the gross increase of £4.2 million in expenditure compared with last year, £1.8 million arises on Central Fund services. This is due to the additional provision required for the service of debt both by way of interest and sinking fund and is an inevitable concomitant of borrowing for national development. I must emphasise, however, that it is a gross increase and that the estimate of revenue allows for the receipt of additional interest and dividends of over £850,000 from State capital assets. Moreover, part at least of the remainder of the increase in debt charges is recovered in the form of taxation on the extra income and expenditure generated by the capital programme and is therefore allowed for indirectly in the revenue estimates.
 This leaves the butter subsidy— which was introduced but only partly met from revenue last year and is costing no less than £2,000,000 this year—and the additional cost of health services as the main reasons why expenditure is in excess of revenue on the White Paper figures. Even if I were to make no other provision I could claim it as a satisfactory achievement if I were able to provide these benefits this year out of revenue at existing rates and still balance the Budget. Unhappily, unlike my predecessor, who, last year, could draw on C.I.E. for “£1,000,000 or so”, I can invoke no similar fairy godmother to solve my problem.
While the Government are determined to prevent avoidable expenditure, I have in prudence to make some provision for expenditure which, though not now foreseen, may make its appearance before the year is out. In the light of the experience of previous years I have decided that a sum of £750,000 will suffice under this heading. This provision has the effect of increasing the difference to £2.83 million.
Last January the Government decided to hold the retail price of tea at its then level notwithstanding the abnormal and steep rise that had taken place in world prices. Tea Importers, Limited, were enabled to effect this by adding the deficiency to the guaranteed overdraft that the Company normally operates to finance its purchases. The considerations underlying this decision, which will be effective until the price of this year's harvest is known in September, were explained and debated at length on the Supplies and Services Bill and on the Vote on Account. As then stated the Government felt that so steep a rise in world prices could be due only to temporary causes and that it would be undesirable to jolt our economy by submitting it to temporary fluctuation. A rise in the retail price at that moment might easily have had influences of a permanent nature on our  national cost structure. By blunting the impact and by averaging the price over a period less hardship will be imposed on the consumer.
Since then world tea markets have turned. Almost every day we see references in the newspapers to falls in the price of tea. The outcome of the recent auctions in Ceylon may be taken as further evidence of the overall trend. The latest issue of a wellknown economic journal reports:—
“The tea boom is over... the auction room in Mincing Lane is closed for the third time this month; no one wants to buy tea just now.”
So far, therefore, events have justified the Government's decision. No one can as yet forecast how far prices on the world market will have fallen by September and until that is known it is unwise to decide what course must then be taken. Accordingly, I do not propose to commit myself one way or the other until the whole problem can be reviewed in the light of all the circumstances then prevailing.
OLD AGE AND WIDOWS' AND ORPHANS' PENSIONS.
I have referred to the need to provide this year from revenue for the continuance of the butter subsidy, the expansion of the health services and, in addition, contingencies not covered in the Book of Estimates. I intend, however, to provide for another item of expenditure even though it aggravates my immediate problem.
When the Government was formed we set forth the objects towards which our policy would be directed during the lifetime of this Dáil. No member of the Government expected to achieve all of these aims concurrently or in the immediate future; they were, rather, the long-term goals towards which we would advance. Accordingly, it is necessary to consider the priority in which our objectives should be approached. After the items to which I have referred, I think all the Parties comprising the Government are agreed that there is a rather large group who have the first claim because of their dependent position in society and the straitened circumstances in which  many of them find themselves. I am happy to be able to announce that the Government have decided to increase old age pensions by 2/6 a week, that is, from 21/6 to 24/- a week; blind pensions and widows' non-contributory pensions will be increased by the same amount. The scales of pension for those who do not qualify for the full rate will also be increased. In all, some 200,000 pensioners will benefit. In addition, the allowance for orphans will be raised to 7/- a week. Legislation to give effect to this implementation of one of the points of the Government's declared social policy will be introduced at once. I have no doubt that the Dáil will facilitate its early passage so that the administrative arrangements will be completed in time for the increased rates to operate as from Friday, 29th July next. The cost this year will be £900,000 and in a full year about £1.25 million.
This provision for improved social services increases the apparent difference between revenue and expenditure to £3.73 million. It will be increased still further by two tax concessions to which I will now refer.
Some of our small breweries have been finding it difficult to keep going in recent years. I am afraid there is no way in which a Minister for Finance can assure these concerns of being able to expand their existing markets. Nevertheless, I feel it incumbent on me to make a contribution towards preserving the smaller breweries and the employment they give locally. Previous Ministers for Finance endeavoured to ease their position by lightening their liability to excise duty. As a result of concessions given in the past the first 5,000 barrels brewed in any year carry a rate of duty 30/- a barrel less than the standard rate. I propose to increase this rebate by one-third to 40/- a barrel. The resultant loss of revenue this year will be about £20,000.
However difficult my position, I feel that the family is deserving of special  consideration. I accordingly propose, in relation to income tax, to increase the tax-free allowance for each child from £85 to £100. This means that a married man with one child will not be liable to income tax unless his earnings exceed £533 a year or £10 5s. a week. With two children a married man will be exempt unless he earns more than £666 a year and a married man with three children will not incur liability to tax unless his earnings are in excess of £800 a year. The cost to the Exchequer of this increase in the allowance for children will be £100,000 in the current year. The relief will benefit 27,000 individual taxpayers and will, in fact, exempt completely from income tax some 3,000 families.
Some little time ago the Minister for Health set up a committee to examine the feasibility of instituting a scheme on a national basis by which people could voluntarily provide by insurance for the medical expenses with which they might be faced in the event of illness overtaking them, their families or dependants. It is possible already to effect somewhat restricted cover of that nature. I propose to take advantage of the Finance Bill to introduce an entirely new relief into the income tax code in order to show my wholehearted approval of the principle that our citizens should, where they are able, make their own provision for such expenses. In future, anyone who enters into a voluntary contract of insurance to provide for the expenses of medical care and attention in case of sickness will be entitled to deduct the premium paid to his insurance company under that contract before computing his income tax liability. The cost this year need not be taken into account because there is at present far too little of such insurance. I sincerely hope that this relief will serve as a gesture and as an incentive to our people to make such provision when they are earning and in good health as will enable them to retain their independence in face of the adversity that illness often brings. If the committee to which I have referred is able to devise a suitable scheme, the contributions payable under it will similarly attract income tax relief. It is not usual for a Minister for Finance to express the hope  that the cost of a tax relief will rise year by year, but I can genuinely do so in this case because of the principle of personal independence involved.
The only other income tax matters I need mention are, first, that I propose to extend to future stock issues of Dublin Corporation and other local authorities the privilege of nondeduction of tax from dividends—a concession which I hope will make these issues more attractive to investors—second, that I propose to extend the exemption for charities so as to relieve profits of a trade exercised in the carrying out of a primary purpose of the charity and, third, that the Finance Bill will also contain a provision confirming the Agreements with Canada on Income Taxes and Death Duties.
There I must leave income tax, at least until I have received and considered the report of the Industrial Taxation Committee, which I understand is approaching the end of its deliberations.
I might, perhaps, at this stage refer briefly to some other changes in tax law to be included in the Finance Bill, although they do not affect my budgetary arithmetic.
Two Financial Resolutions on estate duties will be moved this evening. One is connected with the confirmation of the Agreement with Canada on Death Duties and is necessary because of the possibility, in exceptional circumstances, that property now free might become chargeable as a result of that Agreement. The second Resolution relates to a provision for aggregation of certain assurance policies in order to stop a method of avoiding estate duty. Certain estate duty provisions of a relieving character, which I need not detail now, will also appear in the Finance Bill.
Credit-sale agreements have to be produced to the Revenue authorities and stamped with impressed stamps of amounts varying usually between 3d. and 2/6, whereas hire-purchase agreements can be stamped with a 6d.  adhesive stamp. For general convenience, I propose to bring credit-sale agreements into line with hire-purchase agreements. I shall move a Resolution to authorise this change.
I intend to repeal in the Finance Bill the stamp duty chargeable on the certificates of notaries public.
MOTOR VEHICLE DUTIES— TRACTORS.
Deputies who represent creamery areas will, I am sure, agree that the present method of delivering milk to creameries is extremely wasteful of the producer's time. In order to encourage a more efficient method, I propose to reduce from £31 10s. to £8 the road tax on those farmers' tractors which are used for reward solely for the carriage of milk to and from creameries. The necessary provision will be included in the Finance Bill.
I must now revert to the apparent gap between revenue and expenditure which, as a result of the tax concessions, has become £3.85 million. For some years it has been the practice to deduct, as being proper to borrowing, the excess over £400,000 in the amount required for defensive equipment. This deduction was made on the ground that £400,000 was in all the circumstances as much as the taxpayer should be asked to meet from current income. On that precedent, which, I think, is not unreasonable, £400,000 out of the total provision of £800,000 this year may be classed as a borrowing rather than a revenue charge. The gap in the Current Budget is thus narrowed to £3.45 million.
Whatever differences of view may exist on the question of subsidies, all of us, I think, are agreed that any subsidisation of foodstuffs should be confined to basic necessities. The existing subsidies have, therefore, been reviewed to see whether some relief could not be obtained for the taxpayer by ensuring that the call on him for assistance is reserved to essential  items and that he is not asked to bear an unnecessary burden on top of the heavy load he has to carry in any event. Any reasonable means by which we can reduce the charge on the taxpayer for subsidies must obviously receive careful consideration. For several years prior to the abolition of rationing in 1952 the principle operated was that subsidy should, broadly speaking, be reserved for flour used in the baking of bread. Subsidised flour was not made available for industrial uses such as the making of cakes, confectionery and biscuits. On the dismantling of controls, however, subsidised flour became available without restriction for luxury and less essential commodities. It is now intended to revert in some respects to the earlier situation and to arrange that the subsidy will be reserved, as far as practicable, for bread, for flour for home-baking and essential foods like sausages. A suitable scheme is being prepared by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who will announce the details at an early date. It will effect a saving this year in flour subsidy payments of the order of £450,000. This saving reduces the gap to £3,000,000.
SAVINGS AND OVERESTIMATION.
Last year savings and overestimation yielded £5.25 million as shown in the first of the Tables. This, however, was £500,000 less than the total allowance of £5.75 million made by my predecessor at Budget time. Of that allowance of £5.75 million no less than £1.75 million related to specific items —defensive equipment, social insurance, transfer of Gaeltacht roads to the Road Fund, etc.—most of which were taken into account this year when framing the Estimates and, therefore, are not available to me now. Moreover, this year's Estimates were, perhaps, more carefully sifted than usual before publication. While it is impossible to detect every instance of excess provision or to foresee every possibility of saving, I could not with prudence reckon general overestimation this year at as high a figure as was taken in recent years. In 1953-54 overestimation was £3.6 million and, last  year, if the shortfall were entirely deducted from the general provision, £3.5 million. In the light of the close scrutiny I have mentioned, I do not think I can safely put it higher than £3,000,000 this year. This, however, as Deputies will have noted, is sufficient to balance the account without any increase in taxation.
This is the first Budget introduced by this Government since it was formed last June. It provides £2,000,000 for the subsidisation of butter and almost £750,000 for additional health services, it provides for increased old age, blind, widows' and orphans' pensions, it grants relief to income tax payers with dependent children, and it provides for the additional cost of the tax concessions made last year. These benefits amount to no less than £4,250,000. More than that, the Budget does all this without any change in rates of taxation although it carries a net £1,000,000 more for the service of the debt for capital development, although there is no £1,000,000 for me from C.I.E. and although I have allowed for the £500,000 of overestimation not realised on my predecessor's forecast last year. It does all that on sound principles on which we, in this Government, can build with safety and with results which will enure to the benefit of the economy. It marks the first instalment, but only the first instalment of our plans. Building now on this foundation, given ordered world conditions and reasonable internal stability, we will be able to advance in quiet confidence towards the remaining objectives outlined in the declared policy of the Government.
Mr. Lemass: Now we know who won the fight—Labour.
Mr. MacEntee: I will perhaps crystallise my criticism of this Budget by saying that I am glad it is the present Minister who brought it in and not myself.
General Mulcahy: We are all glad.
Mr. MacEntee: It is a Budget which tells us that the Taoiseach—who, in 1952, pledged himself, if not implicitly,  then by implication, that taxation could be reduced by £10,000,000—has been compelled to swallow his words. In a speech on the eve of the general election, the present Attorney-General led the electorate to believe that his Party was pledged to reduce taxation to the extent of twice £10,000,000, or £20,000,000 in all. To-morrow, when they read the Minister's speech, those who voted for the Fine Gael candidates on the basis of those pledges will know it was for them a beautiful dream. They will know the pledges were never seriously intended. They will know they were like, shall we say, the Commonwealth planks which used to figure so largely in the Fine Gael platforms.
There is not much to congratulate the Minister for in this Budget, but one tribute I cannot withhold from him and that is the fact that he has compelled even the Taoiseach to swallow the Budget—just as, a few weeks ago, he compelled the Attorney-General to make the abject confession that he had deliberately misled the electors when he said that Fine Gael in this year would immediately reduce taxation by £20,000,000.
Mr. McGilligan: I never said it.
Mr. MacEntee: Despite the Fine Gael pledge to grant a substantial tax reduction, this Budget gives virtually no relief to the taxpayer. There is no reduction in the standard rate of income-tax. There is no reduction in the duty on beer. There is no reduction in the duty on spirits. There is no reduction in the duty on tobacco. The prices of all these commodities to-morrow will be the same as in June, 1952, the same as they were in June, 1954, and the same as they are to-day. If anybody wants me to believe that one of the strongest influences operating in favour of Fine Gael and the Labour Party at the last election was not the pledge to reduce the poor man's pint——
Mr. O'Leary: You did not worry about it.
Mr. Lemass: Are you worrying about it now?
Mr. Cunningham: Deputy O'Leary stopped worrying.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy MacEntee—without interruption.
Mr. MacEntee: ——then I will say he must have been much less aware of public opinion and of what the trend and drift of political opinion was in this country than I was.
I do not say any of this in criticism of the Minister's Budget. I say it in criticism of those politicians who were so lavish with their promises on the election platforms, but who, to-day, are so niggardly in performance.
Let us contrast the position as it exists to-day with the position which existed when Fianna Fáil took office in 1951. We had an almost superhuman task to tackle. We had inherited a budget deficit from the Coalition of about £7,000,000. We had inherited pledges to put through a social welfare programme and a health programme— both of which had been long promised by the Coalition and which had not been implemented—to the extent of £8,000,000 a year. In addition, we had a balance of payments deficit of £67,000,000.
To-day, we have heard from the Minister in the opening part of his statement the record of achievement of the Fianna Fáil Government during the three years it was in Government. My successor was handed over a Budget which would have balanced, if we had been in office, with a modest surplus of about £275,000. It shows a deficit to-day. The Minister refers to the difficulties of preparing a balanced Budget. Those difficulties are of his own creation. There would have been no deficit on the Fianna Fáil Budget of 1954. It was a sound Budget and, as I have said, it would have shown a modest surplus.
Mr. McGilligan: There was 5d. on butter.
Mr. MacEntee: That modest surplus, unlike the Budget which we have had to-day, was achieved after doing two things. It was achieved after granting substantial reliefs to the extent of  almost £1,800,000, £893,000 in tax reliefs and £900,000 in reduction in the price of bread.
Mr. Norton: Why did the people fire you out?
Mr. Cunningham: Go back to your Labour conference.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Will the House allow Deputy MacEntee to make his speech without interruption?
Mr. Norton: Do you want another election?
Mr. MacEntee: In addition to those substantial reliefs, we put into operation an extended health service and a greatly enlarged social welfare service. If the condition of the people is much better to-day than it was in 1951 we have to thank the Fianna Fáil Government and the Fianna Fáil Budgets for that.
Mr. O'Leary: The civil servants are better off.
Mr. MacEntee: As the Minister has stated—and it is more significant, perhaps, than anything else—the balance of payments deficit, which was running against us at the rate of £67,000,000 a year in 1951, has been virtually resolved. There is virtually no adverse balance of payments against us to-day. I do not think the Minister for Finance will join with some of those who allege that the economy of this country is any less sound or stable because we have overtaken the deficit on our balance of payments.
That deficit, in 1951, threatened the stability of our whole economy. It threatened the employment and the livelihood of every worker in this country and it was a difficult task for us to tackle. It was a task which brought upon us a great deal of political odium. It placed us under great handicaps at the general election but I am glad to say that we were not afraid to face up to the task. I am glad to say that we faced up to our responsibility in regard to it so that, as the Minister has admitted, it is now under control. The Fianna Fáil Government  brought the balance of payments under control. Let us hope that the Minister for Finance will not allow himself to be driven to do anything which would jeopardise the existing satisfactory position.
But, while all this is satisfactory, while it is satisfactory that the Minister has not been driven to save the faces of the Taoiseach and the Attorney-General by granting tax concessions where tax concessions, having regard to the expenditure and the commitments which the Government has voluntarily shouldered, could not be given, while it is all to the good—and I am prepared to congratulate him on that—the housewives of this country who voted for the Coalition Parties on the basis of solemn pledges to reduce the cost of living will also have something to say to-morrow.
The cost of living was the main issue in the last election. I am not going to produce some of the leaflets which were produced during the election but I have here one headed “Bleak Outlook for the Housewife”, and there follows the list of prices which were increased over the three years or so that we were in office.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: Is butter on the list?
Mr. MacEntee: No, but coal is and the very first item on the list is: “Coal prices up by 10/- a ton” but this month they are going to be increased by 12/6.
Mr. Rooney: Whose fault is that?
Mr. Killilea: Whose fault was it then, super-financier?
Mr. MacEntee: Not only are coal prices to go up but, if it was not for the Fianna Fáil coal in the Park, there would have been no coal in Cork, no coal in many parts of the country a few weeks ago.
Mr. Rooney: Why did not you see Mr. Butler about it?
Mr. MacEntee: I do not want to get into these refinements of the controversy. I prefer to stick to the one  point, that the cost of living was the main issue in the last general election and, bearing that in mind, will Deputies turn to page 9 of the Minister's statement where, under the heading “Prices and Earnings”, they will see this statement:—
“Prospects for price trends in the coming months are less settled. The cost of living may be affected by the rise in prices of imported materials.”
I suppose the Deputies will refer me to the qualification “imported materials”. Coal is an imported material but that did not deter either the Fine Gael Parties or the Labour Parties from saying that, if they were in office, coal, instead of going up by 12/6 a ton—as it will this month—would come down by 10/- a ton.
Mr. Rooney: Go back to Mr. Butler about it.
Mr. MacEntee: It does not matter to the Fine Gael Deputies very much apparently—except when they meet the housewives. When the housewives meet members of this House they will have something to say to them. For the Minister for Finance has told them to-day that, instead of prices coming down in accordance with the solemn declarations made by the Labour Parties and the other Parties to the Coalition, they will continue to go up. No doubt, the Tánaiste will plead the butter and tea subsidy, as the Minister has pleaded it, as an indication of the Government's concern about the prices of certain commodities. In fact, one might almost say that some passages in the Minister's speech were an attempt to whitewash the Government's record, if one could use the phrase, with tea. But who is paying for the tea subsidy and the butter subsidy except the consumers? I heard some neophyte among the Government Benches, a neophyte among Cabinet Ministers, say “The Government”. Where does the Government get the money to pay for these subsidies? Will the Minister for Health tell me that? I think it was he who interjected the remark. Where will the Government get the money to pay for the tea subsidy and the butter subsidy except out of the consumers' pockets?
 If it were not for these subsidies, taken forcibly out of the taxpayers' pockets, out of the consumers' pockets, in the form of taxation, some significant reliefs, some significant reductions in taxation might have been given in this Budget. If it were not for these, we might, for instance, have been able to reduce the price of the pint or the price of spirits or the price of the ounce of tobacco. I do not think it would have been a wise thing to do. We fought the election of 1948 and lost it on that issue. We said it was better that the people should have cheap bread, butter and tea than cheap beer or cheap spirits but that was not what the Coalition said. You said it was better for the people and for the country as a whole that the people should have cheap beer and spirits. Now you are giving them neither. That is in fact what it amounts to. Prices are higher to-day, both for tea and butter, than they were in 1948 and, of course, the price of the pint and the price of the glass and the price of the packet of cigarettes remain, as I said, what they were in 1952 and 1954 and what they were to-day and what they will be to-morrow.
Mr. O. Flanagan: Tell us about the price of cattle?
Mr. Killilea: And pigs. What about pigs?
Mr. Rooney: What about the British market now?
Mr. MacEntee: Where, too, are the enormous social benefits which the Labour Party promised the people? They were going to have increases in unemployment assistance, increases in unemployment insurance. Everybody's income was to be brought up to the level which the person might normally earn in his ordinary avocation. We were going to have increased family allowances and increased children's allowances. You are getting, of course, concessions which will cost £1,250,000 in a full year but will cost only £900,000 in this year. I do not want to deny that every little counts, but the real fact of it is that your  performances are falling far short of the pledges you gave the people. If it were not for these pledges which were given so irresponsibly and are being so niggardly fulfilled, tax reductions might be given and let me say this, that a reduction in taxation is long overdue. There is no reduction in taxation in this Budget.
I notice some people are laughing because there are no reductions in taxation. They find that a matter of glee. I wonder will they laugh when they meet the publicans next as they go round looking for subscriptions? I wonder will they laugh when they go around to the civil servant and point out to him that although his remuneration may have gone up by 100 per cent. or so since 1939, taxation on his income has gone up by nearly 300 per cent.? I wonder will they laugh then as they are laughing now at the mere idea that a member of the Opposition was pleading for some concern, some consideration for the taxpayers of this country and particularly for the income-tax payers. We cannot with the present burden of taxation restore health to our economy. We cannot put our industries into a competitive position and we are simply not going to give to the people of this country any incentive to labour so that they may gain the utmost from the fruits of their toil.
Mr. Norton: The Deputy wrote that speech before he heard the Budget.
Minister for Finance (Mr. Sweetman): I move:—
(1) That income tax shall be charged for the year beginning on the 6th day of April, 1955, at the rate of 7/6 in the £.
(2) That sur-tax for the year beginning on the 6th day of April, 1955, shall be charged in respect of the income of any individual the total of which from all sources exceeds £1,500 and shall be so charged at the same rates as those at which it is  charged for the year beginning on the 6th day of April, 1954.
(3) That the several statutory and other provisions which were in force on the 5th day of April, 1955, in relation to income tax and sur-tax shall have effect in relation to the income tax and sur-tax to be charged as aforesaid for the year beginning on the 6th day of April, 1955.
(4) It is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that this Resolution shall have statutory effect under the provisions of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1927 (No. 7 of 1927).
Resolution put and agreed to.
Mr. Sweetman: I move:—
(1) That the agreement between the Government and the Government of Canada for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to duties on the estates of deceased persons which was concluded on the 28th day of October, 1954 (in this Resolution referred to as the Agreement) shall be confirmed and shall have the force of law.
(2) That subsection (4) of section 7 of the Finance Act, 1894 (which provides for relief in respect of duty payable in a foreign country) shall not have effect in relation to succession duty chargeable under the laws of Canada to which the provisions of the Agreement apply.
Resolution put and agreed to.
Mr. Sweetman: I move:—
(1) That notwithstanding anything contained in Section 4 of the Finance Act, 1894, where the property which passes on a death, but in which the deceased never had an interest, includes any policies of assurance on his life, or moneys received under such a policy, or interests in such a policy or moneys, all the policies, moneys and interests so included (except any in respect of which estate  duty neither is payable on the death nor would be if the duty were payable on estates of however small a principal value) shall, for determining the rate of estate duty to be paid thereon, be aggregated so as to form one estate, and the duty shall be levied at the proper graduated rate on the principal value thereof.
(2) That the provisions contained in paragraph (1) of this Resolution shall have effect in relation to any death occurring on or after the date of the passing of the Act giving effect to this Resolution.
Resolution put and agreed to.
Mr. Sweetman: I move:—
That as respects any credit-sale agreement within the meaning of the Hire-Purchase Act, 1946 (No. 16 of 1946), or any instrument (other than such a credit-sale agreement) which is an agreement, or a memorandum of an agreement, made for or relating to the sale of any goods, wares or merchandise—
(a) whether under hand only or under seal, stamp duty under the heading “Bond, Covenant or Instrument” in the First Schedule to the Stamp Act, 1891, shall not be chargeable thereon, and
(b) in a case in which stamp duty as aforesaid would be chargeable thereon but for the provision contained in paragraph (a) of this Resolution—
(i) if under hand only, the exemption numbered (3) under the heading “Agreement or any Memorandum of an Agreement” in the said First Schedule shall not apply thereto and stamp duty under that heading shall be charged thereon, and
(ii) if under seal, stamp duty under the heading “Deed of any kind whatsoever, not described in this schedule” in the said First Schedule shall be chargeable thereon.
Resolution put and agreed to.
Mr. Sweetman: I move:—
That it is expedient to amend the law relating to customs and inland revenue (including excise) and to make further provision in connection with finance.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 27:—
Before sub-section (3), page 15, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—
(3) Notwithstanding sub-section (2) of this section, where a delegation to an officer is made under this section—
(a) the manager may, in any particular case of the performance of the function, inform the officer that he has decided to perform the function himself, and the function shall thereupon be performable in such case by the manager and not by the officer, and
(b) if the officer is satisfied that, in any particular case of the performance of the function, performance would, on account of the importance of the decision involved or on account of any other reasonable consideration, be more appropriately effected by the manager, the officer may refer such case to the manager, and the function shall thereupon be performable in such case by the manager and not by the officer.
Mr. Briscoe: I should like to refer to Section 17 as it will be now amended. I am not quite clear about the position and I should like the Minister again to refer to it when we move the Adjournment. I should like that the Minister would clarify the section as amended. First of all, in the City of Dublin we will have two permanent  assistant managers, but it is not clear under Section 17 if it is intended to confer managerial status on other officers and if so how these officers are to carry out their new duties, particularly in view of sub-section (4) whch provides that the approved officer is liable for surcharge as well as the manager. I wonder if I am misreading the section. It certainly is not clear to me. What I want the Minister to answer is this: Is he confining the activities that are referred to in Section 17 to the assistant managers or is he permitting the appointment of other officers by the manager in certain cases? I wonder if the Minister would let me know that.
Minister for Local Government (Mr. O'Donnell): The Deputy will understand that the general principle of the section is to ensure the continuity of ultimate responsibility for the manager. That is the general principle in the section and the amendment—to have some continuity of responsibility—and of course that must be vested in the manager.
Mr. Briscoe: Then the manager may appoint an officer who is not an assistant manager?
Mr. O'Donnell: Certainly.
Amendment put and agreed to.
Mr. O'Donnell: I move amendment No. 28:—
Before sub-section (8), page 15, to insert a new sub-section as follows:—
(8) Where a delegation to a Dublin assistant city manager or assistant county manager (in this sub-section referred to as the officer) is made under Section 13 of the Act of 1940, the following provisions shall have effect notwithstanding anything contained in that section—
(a) the manager may, in any particular case of the performance of the function, inform the officer that he has decided to perform the function himself, and the function shall thereupon be performable in such case by the manager and not by the officer, and, for the purposes  of such performance, the substitution specified in paragraph (c) of sub-section (4) of the said Section 13 shall be deemed not to have been made.
(b) if the officer is satisfied that, in any particular case of the performance of the function, performance would, on account of the importance of the decision involved or on account of any other reasonable consideration, be more appropriately effected by the manager, the officer may refer such case to the manager, and the function shall thereupon be performable in such case by the manager and not by the officer, and, for the purposes of such performance, the substitution specified in paragraph (c) of sub-section (4) of the said Section 13 shall be deemed not to have been made.
Mr. Briscoe: We agreed to take both this amendment and amendment No. 27 together.
Mr. O'Donnell: I should like to make a verbal alteration to amendment No. 28. I should like to add the words “to an” after the words “Where a delegation to a Dublin assistant manager or” and before “assistant county manager” in sub-section (8).
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Section, as amended, put and agreed to.
Amendment No. 28a not moved.
Mr. Desmond: I move amendment No. 29:—
In sub-section (1) to delete paragraph (a), lines 5 to 10, inclusive, and substitute the following:—
(a) Immediately following the election of the council of a local authority and at the first meeting of such council, the manager shall submit to the council for their approval the name of the person he proposes to appoint to act as  his deputy on such occasions when he is unable for any reason to discharge the duties of his office.
There should not be any great difficulty about this amendment. The general experience has been that after an election it is usually not known to the members of a local authority who is to act as deputy for a manager during a particular period of sickness or holidays. They do not know what is going on and there have been occasions where certain orders made by a deputy manager have come to the notice of the members only nine months after they have been made and the members do not know who has made them. That could happen quite often in cases where the manager would be on holidays or on sick leave, and I think there should be some provision made in the Bill whereby the members would be informed who would act for a manager on occasions of sickness or holidays. That is the idea of this amendment.
Mr. O'Donnell: I have a considerable amount of sympathy with the Deputy's point of view, but under the information section of the Bill the chairman or council, by a simple majority, may request the manager to give this information, and I think that might meet the Deputy's point. The manager would be bound to give the name of the deputy he proposes appointing.
Mr. Desmond: I know that but it reminds me of the radio talk “Information, Please.” I do not know why council members should have to ask for this information. I think there should be provision made in the Bill whereby council members would not have to seek that information. The manager should be in a position to tell the members of a local authority who his deputy will be.
Mr. O'Donnell: The Deputy will appreciate that a manager may change his mind about who his deputy is likely to be. The Deputy can visualise a situation in which a council holds its first meeting and at which time the manager may have an official in his mind whom he would like to appoint but during the year the conduct of that  deputy might be such as to cause the manager to change his mind about his appointment. I can assure the Deputy that he has power, as a member of a local authority, to demand the name of any deputy whom the manager proposes appointing and he could go further under the requisition section and say that every six months the manager should submit the name of the deputy he proposes appointing in the event of a deputy being required. I think that should meet the case.
Mr. Desmond: I do not think so. When the Act is in operation there may be instances like those of which Deputy McGrath and myself are aware where we had cases in Cork and probably in other counties under which orders were made and where the members of a council inquired about something about which they did not agree and it was three or four months afterwards before they found out who had made the orders. The Minister may say that we may ask for that information but I think that would not prevent the manager from changing his mind. Under Section 4, the manager could come along and say that while he intended appointing a certain official to act as deputy he had changed his mind because of the unsuitability of that official.
I do not see why the Minister could not give the added protection necessary in this section in order to guarantee continuity. If the person who is named, for instance, falls ill something will have to be done. Continuity is very important. That is why we are so anxious to ensure that there will be continuity and that the members will know who will act as manager should the county manager be called away or be absent for any other reason.
Mr. Briscoe: I appreciate what Deputy Desmond is trying to bring about by this amendment. There is a slight difference between the City and the County of Dublin, I admit, though the circumstances are not entirely dissimilar. In Dublin the position will be that the manager may consult the Lord Mayor, if he is going away, in  connection with the appointment of a deputy. It does not follow that if the Lord Mayor disagrees——
Mr. O'Donnell: Perhaps it will shorten the matter if I say I am prepared to consider the position between now and the Report Stage.
Mr. Briscoe: Would the Minister safeguard the position in Dublin?
Mr. O'Donnell: This will be of general application. It will apply to every local authority. I realise there is a good deal in it and I am prepared to consider it between now and the Report Stage.
Mr. Briscoe: We have two assistant managers in the City of Dublin. Under the Bill as it stands, the city manager, if he is going away, will appoint a deputy. He will consult the Lord Mayor. The Lord Mayor may not agree but, notwithstanding that, the city manager can go ahead and appoint his deputy. That is unsatisfactory.
Mr. O'Donnell: But that is not the purpose of this amendment.
Mr. Briscoe: No, but the amendment would cover the position. I do not know whether Deputy Desmond appreciates that the Minister has an overriding power over the manager's nomination. The manager may suggest his deputy and the Minister may not approve of that suggestion. In that event the position is not protected. I think Deputy Desmond wants to have the name of the deputy known; that will be acceptable to the council, and it should be acceptable to the Minister. If the Minister is prepared to accept the amendment, he should accept it in the fullest sense of what Deputy Desmond has in mind and not leave the position such that, having passed this amendment, we may subsequently find ourselves out of court because the Minister may disagree with the manager's nomination. The amendment should be drafted to make the position absolutely clear and to give the continuity that is asked for. If the Minister accepts that——
Mr. O'Donnell: I am not accepting anything, but I have said I will consider  the matter carefully between now and the Report Stage.
Mr. Briscoe: If Deputy Desmond withdraws his amendment, the Minister having agreed to bring in an amendment to meet the situation, and it is subsequently found that the Minister's amendment does not cover the position, what will the situation be then?
Mr. O'Donnell: Deputy Desmond has clearly indicated that what he wants to know in advance is the name of the deputy. Unfortunately, he has gone somewhat further than that in his amendment: he wants the name of the deputy not only given in advance but also submitted to the local authority for their approval.
Mr. Briscoe: And he wants the Minister to accept it.
Mr. O'Donnell: I am prepared to go this far with the Deputy: he should know in advance the name of the deputy.
Mr. Desmond: May I say I took that for granted? I am assuming that the manager will appoint as his deputy someone who is thoroughly competent and that the members in their wisdom, realising the competence of the official so appointed, will agree.
Mr. O'Donnell: There would be no necessity to submit the name. It would merely be a case of letting them know in advance. I am prepared to amend the section to that extent on the Report Stage.
Mr. Briscoe: I am not disputing that the Minister should have an overriding power and control. I am asking that the manager should nominate his man to the council, the council should approve and the nomination should then be forwarded to the Minister for the Minister's approval.
Mr. O'Donnell: There is no law whereby the council must approve.
Mr. Briscoe: But the Minister is going to make the position so.
Mr. O'Donnell: I am not, and Deputy Desmond did not ask me to do that.
Mr. Briscoe: Deputy Desmond wants the name of the deputy who will act as manager in the absence of the manager submitted to the council, and he wants that agreed in advance.
Mr. Desmond: We only want the name.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister says that is no guarantee that he will be accepted. The Minister may not approve of the manager's nomination, or the council's approval of it. That is what I want to get Deputy Desmond to understand. I hold there should be some addition to the amendment whereby, since the Minister has that overriding power, he should exercise it then and, if there is any dispute, that dispute should be resolved long before the necessity arises for the deputy to take over. That problem might arise at a time when the council might be faced with a very critical situation, and it would be better to know in advance. In the case of Dublin we have two assistant city managers. The Minister might say that we could appoint either. The manager could then go to the Lord Mayor and propose his deputy. The Lord Mayor might agree on behalf of the council, but the Minister might not approve. It would be very unsatisfactory if an incomplete amendment is accepted now. I appeal to the Minister to make the situation absolutely watertight.
Mr. Desmond: I appeal to the Minister to untangle this. It is more complicated than I thought. I do not see what the difficulty would be if, say, after the local elections the manager names a certain official as his deputy. Now, in 12 months' time that deputy may have left; it would naturally be the duty of the manager then to inform the Minister of that fact and appoint another deputy to act for him.
Mr. O'Donnell: I accept that.
Mr. Desmond: Deputy McGrath is familiar with the point I am making. If members of the council do not know who the deputy is they may have difficulty in the absence of the manager.
Mr. O'Donnell: I accept that and I will bring an amendment in.
Mr. McGrath: If this deputy is not required to act for 12 months and the council and the manager have agreed——
Mr. O'Donnell: The council have no right whatsoever to be consulted.
Mr. McGrath: ——and that name is not sanctioned by the Minister when the time comes for him to act maybe in 12 months' time if the Minister then comes along and says: “Well, I will not have him, he is not suitable,” what will the position be? What Deputy Briscoe suggests is that when the manager selects his deputy and informs the council that name should be submitted——
Mr. O'Donnell: That is a matter for the manager.
Mr. McGrath: But what Deputy Briscoe suggested is that the name should be submitted when he is appointed, not when he comes to act, maybe in 12 months' time.
Mr. Briscoe: Is the Minister accepting?
Mr. O'Donnell: If the Deputy refers to Section 18, sub-section 2 (a) he will find that covered.
Amendment No. 29, by leave, withdrawn.
Section put and agreed to.
Amendment, No. 29a not moved.
Sections 19 and 20 put and agreed to.
Amendment No. 29b not moved.
Section 21 put and agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 22 stand part of the Bill.”
Mr. Briscoe: On the section. I was going through this bit by bit. All these deal with different persons and in Dublin we were hoping that when the next appointment of manager is made it will be a manager exclusive to the City of Dublin. Does this end the dual  assistant managerships? I do not understand what (2) means. The assistant manager, I think, is in the county and is not acting in the city at all and it is now proposed to make him a permanent Dublin City Assistant Manager. I cannot understand that. This is an assistant manager who is operating in an adjacent territory and, in my opinion, anyway, might easily become promoted as a candidate for the managership of the county, but why he should be a permanent assistant city manager when we already have two—perhaps the Minister would explain that to me?
Mr. O'Donnell: Is the Deputy referring to sub-section (3)?
Mr. Briscoe: Sub-section (3)? Then, it is a different person.
Mr. O'Donnell: I know it is.
Mr. Briscoe: We are dealing with different persons and areas. I dealt with this question about the appointment of our housing director on a previous occasion. I accept the position of sub-section (1). Mr. Keane is and has been a Dublin Assistant City Manager for a number of years and we are all glad to see that the Act is making provision to make him a permanent assistant city manager. The Lord Mayor will, I believe, help me out there.
Mr. A. Byrne: We are 100 per cent. with Mr. Keane.
Mr. Briscoe: But then, we come along and we are appointing another assistant city manager who is not in the employment of Dublin Corporation at all.
Mr. O'Donnell: The Deputy will appreciate that as soon as we de-group, all these titles will be changed.
Mr. Briscoe: I do not know that that is fair. I do not think it is fair to tack on to us in the City of Dublin——
Mr. O'Donnell: Section 14 of the Bill provides for it.
Mr. Briscoe: Where does it provide? This is a very long section—perhaps  the Minister would tell me where does that bring the assistant county manager into the City of Dublin? I do not understand this.
Mr. O'Donnell: I think it is the opposite of what the Deputy has said.
Mr. Briscoe: I want the Minister to be patient with me and let me understand what is being done.
Mr. O'Donnell: Look at sub-section 6:—
“On the commencement of an Order under sub-section (1) of Section 14 of this Act, Eugene O'Keeffe, if immediately before such commencement he held the office of Dublin Assistant City Manager, shall become by virtue of this section the manager for the County of Dublin.”
Mr. Briscoe: I am not a lawyer and I do not think the Lord Mayor is a lawyer. On the one hand, under sub-section (2) we create a new permanent city manager for the City of Dublin by bringing in an assistant manager from County Dublin and we are told that we are entitled and justified in doing that, because if an application is made to separate the two areas and if the Minister grants it under certain circumstances after consultation with his colleagues, then this man will become manager for the county—for the separated area. But there is no guarantee in this Bill that the Minister will grant the request for the separation of the areas. There is no undertaking by the Minister that he must do that. He gives an undertaking in the Bill that he will consider it. He will consult with other Ministers concerned, such as the Minister for Health, and then he may, if he likes, grant this separation, but meanwhile we have made an individual who is not an officer of the Dublin Corporation——
Mr. O'Donnell: Mr. O'Keeffe is at the moment temporary assistant city and county manager—that is his title.
Mr. Briscoe: That is his title, but the Minister will admit that this particular officer——
Mr. O'Donnell: I am not going to  discuss the merits of a particular officer. It would not be fair to do so in this House.
Mr. Briscoe: I am not discussing the merits of the individual. The Minister has no right to suggest that I intended doing that. I am keeping away from personalities. What I am concerned with is that an officer who is not an officer of the City of Dublin is now being made a permanent Assistant Dublin City Manager whether he is a temporary one in his title or not. He certainly has been acting for a great number of years as assistant county manager, and I want to tell the Minister now that unless there is some guarantee given that there will be a separation of the areas and that then this officer will go out to the county as manager in a certain eventuality, I am not going to allow this particular section through altogether.
I do not know what my colleague, Deputy A. Byrne, feels about it, but it seems rather strange that—over the wishes of the local authority, over the wishes of the Local Appointments Commission, that we have heard so much about—we inscribe in an Act of Parliament a permanent office to an officer whom we may afterwards have to take into our employment if the situation does not develop of the separation of the areas. Sub-section (3) of this Section 22 provides:—
“Immediately before the commencement of an Order under sub-section (1) of Section 14 of this Act, Timothy O'Mahony, if then holding the office of assistant county manager for the County of Dublin, shall cease to hold that office, but such cesser shall not qualify him for any superannuation allowance, gratuity or like benefit.”
I do not know what that means. If the suggestion was that Timothy O'Mahony was to become a permanent assistant city manager of the City of Dublin we have no quarrel because this is an officer who is serving the corporation. We know him. We are satisfied with the big job he is doing. But he is not getting a permanent position. If Timothy O'Mahony was  provided for in sub-section (2) we would have no quarrel because he is one of our assistant city managers. I do not know what happens. It is so confused. We bring Mr. Keane back again and the sub-section deals with his superannuation, gratuity, and so forth.
Sub-section (5) provides for Mr. O'Keeffe and so does sub-section (6). I do not object to the Minister's making Mr. O'Keeffe permanent assistant county manager. I have no objection to that at all and I do not think the county people have an objection to it. At the moment, we have a very serious matter going on between the county and ourselves. We took in 6,000 acres of county property to make what we call the added area of the City of Dublin. City of Dublin officials are negotiating with County Dublin officials as to what compensation the City of Dublin will have to make the county for the increased burden on the ratepayers as a result of the loss of their property. The county manager, who is county manager of both areas, has to keep out of it because there is a conflict and he cannot agree with both. The negotiations are being conducted by Mr. O'Keeffe as assistant county manager on behalf of the county with our people. Now we are going to make him a permanent assistant city manager.
What confidence can we have in a situation where a man who is at present the assistant county manager and who is acting in the best interests of the county residents and ratepayers is now to become our assistant city manager? I think the whole thing is becoming ludicrous. I ask the Minister if he will agree to make the change and make Mr. O'Keeffe permanent assistant county manager. Why bring him in to us? If he is appointed under this provision and if he retires then his superannuation will be on the backs of the Dublin City ratepayers—the superannuation of a man who is serving for another area altogether. Surely Deputy A. Byrne understands the point I am making  and perhaps he will help me in asking the Minister to make the change.
Mr. A. Byrne: I lost all interest in this Bill when, at the beginning, we failed to get our own town clerk and clerk of the council. I have not studied the Bill since. Our clerk of the council was treated badly.
Mr. O'Donnell: I think, in fairness to Deputy Briscoe, I should refer to this matter. He may be under a genuine misapprehension.
Mr. Briscoe: Apparently I am.
Mr. O'Donnell: There is no intention whatsoever of bringing Mr. O'Keeffe into the city administration. Sub-section (2), which reads as follows——
“If, immediately before the commencement of this section, Eugene O'Keeffe was a temporary Dublin Assistant City Manager, he shall become by virtue of this sub-section a permanent Dublin Assistant City Manager.”
—was so drafted because Section 10 (2) of the Act of 1940 provides:—
“(2) Every office of Dublin Assistant County Manager shall always be held by the same person as holds the corresponding office of Dublin Assistant City Manager.”
There is no intention whatsoever of bringing him into the city administration.
Mr. Briscoe: If we have a guarantee that there will be a degrouping, I have no quarrel. The Minister reads out a sub-section from a section of the Act of 1940 but Mr. O'Keeffe was not then under it.
Mr. O'Donnell: I must give him the title.
Mr. Briscoe: It dealt with the grouping under the manager of the city that took over these other areas. The city manager was, first of all the city manager. In addition, he was Dún Laoghaire Borough Manager and county manager as well. With regard to the assistant managers of the City of Dublin and other officials in those areas, there was a whole lot of changing  and swopping around. I think Mr. O'Keeffe came from Donegal.
Mr. O'Donnell: That is to his credit.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister should not try to push me into an argument about personalities. I am only trying to point to the silly situation. A man who was secretary of the Donegal County Council was brought down to Dublin and made assistant county manager.
Mr. O'Donnell: I wish to goodness you would get some of your Dublin men out of Donegal. We would be much better off.
Mr. Briscoe: I do not know that there is a Dublin man in Donegal. I do not know that they go there. I do not know whether or not Mr. O'Keeffe is from Dublin or Donegal but the fact remains that he was secretary to the Donegal County Council.
Mr. O'Donnell: And to the Dublin County Council.
Mr. Briscoe: First of all, he was promoted from County Donegal to become secretary——
Mr. O'Donnell: Was it promotion?
Mr. Briscoe: Call it anything you like. He was moved, shifted, kicked out of Donegal, if you like, into the secretaryship of County Dublin.
Mr. Davin: Deputy J. Brennan is sitting beside you.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister is beside you.
Mr. O'Donnell: I know that the Deputy is under a misapprehension in this matter. May I refer him to subparagraph (a) of sub-section (5) of Section 10 of the County Management Act of 1940 Incidentally, this was not brought in by me. It reads:—
“(a) If the county secretary of the County of Dublin is a candidate and suitable, the said commissioners shall recommend such county secretary.”
They shall recommend him to the position of assistant manager.
Mr. Briscoe: That was not about Mr. O'Keeffe. He was in Donegal in 1940.
Mr. O'Donnell: He was not. In 1940 he was serving his country as an officer in the Irish Army.
Mr. Briscoe: He was not in County Dublin.
Mr. O'Donnell: But he later did become secretary here.
Mr. Briscoe: That makes it all the worse.
Mr. O'Donnell: I am trying to clear up a misapprehension.
Mr. Briscoe: Whether or not it is a misapprehension, I strongly oppose making assistant city manager a man who has never served in the Dublin Corporation.
Mr. O'Donnell: I have no option.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister has all the options he likes to take into his hands. He can amend.
Mr. O'Donnell: You passed the Act of 1940.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister is amending Acts.
Mr. O'Donnell: You did not put down any amendment to this.
Mr. Briscoe: I put down a few amendments for Report Stage. The Minister knows that already, I am sure. I make a present of this to the Minister; none of us is prepared to say that those who framed the managerial Acts or those who supported them believed they were perfect. They always believed that the managerial system was on trial, that it was in an experimental stage and that it was only by experience in the Department and on local authorities that we could get to a stage where we could bring about gradual improvements towards perfection in the system. I make a present of that to the Minister. So that, when the Minister says that we did this or we did that, I say: “All right. There were many mistakes made.”
Mr. O'Donnell: I tell the Deputy now that I am not bringing Mr. O'Keeffe into this city administration. Is that fair enough? Mr. O'Keeffe is not coming in.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister has read for me a certain sub-section of Section 10 of the Act of 1940. May I throw this back at him—using the phrase as a figure of speech? Sub-section (5) of Section 10 says:—
“In relation to the first appointment to one, but only one, of the offices of Dublin Assistant City Manager (not being the office mentioned in the next preceding sub-section of this section, if the appointments mentioned in that sub-section take effect) the following provisions, in so far as they are applicable, shall apply and have effect in regard to the selection by the Local Appointments Commissioners of a person to be recommended by them for such appointment, that is to say:—
(a) if the county secretary of the County of Dublin is a candidate and suitable, the said commissioners shall recommend such county secretary;”
Mr. O'Donnell: That is in relation to the first appointment.
Mr. J. Brennan: It only relates to the first appointment.
Mr. O'Donnell: That is all. There was never a second one made.
Mr. Briscoe: It was only for the purpose of getting him there.
Mr. O'Donnell: Yes, and we never had another case since.
Mr. Briscoe: I know, but what I am talking about is that it did not say in Section 10 of the 1940 Act that the next step after that was that he became a servant or official of the city administration.
Mr. O'Donnell: He is not becoming one. I can assure the Deputy of that. I must give him that title but he will not have anything to do with the administration of the City of Dublin.
Mr. Briscoe: And the City of Dublin will not be responsible for any pension or superannuation?
Mr. O'Donnell: No, but I must give him the title laid down in the 1940 Act.
Mr. Briscoe: Although the Minister admits that it is all wrong, that it is all nonsense?
Mr. O'Donnell: I do not admit it at all.
Mr. Briscoe: Then the Minister is standing over it?
Mr. O'Donnell: The Deputy is not cross-examining me. He may be Hallsbury, if he wishes, but he is not cross-examining me.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister will not get me into a bad humour.
Mr. O'Donnell: I have done my best. I can assure the Deputy that he has done it with me many times.
Mr. Briscoe: No. We are both good humoured men.
Mr. Davin: Accept the Minister's assurance.
Mr. O'Donnell: I gave the assurance that Mr. O'Keeffe will not be responsible for the administration of the City of Dublin in any way. I must give him the title of assistant city manager because I am bound to do so under the 1940 Act, although in fact he will be attached to the County of Dublin, but I must give him that title.
Mr. Briscoe: If the Minister will give us the assurance that he is going to separate the areas I will be much happier because it is a somewhat bigger thing. I am accepting the Minister's explanation but I want to understand it. I want to get on the records the interpretation of the position. Will the Minister be good enough to explain sub-section (5) of Section 22 and its practical application? What does it really mean?
Mr. O'Donnell: You would have to take (5) and (6) together:—
“(5) Immediately before the commencement of an Order under sub-section  (1) of Section 14 of this Act, Eugene O'Keeffe, if then holding the office of Dublin Assistant City Manager shall cease to hold both that office and the office of assistant manager for the County of Dublin, but such cesser shall not qualify him for any superannuation allowance, gratuity or like benefit.”
That is quite clear, if the Deputy will refer there to the title which he has got—“holding the office of Dublin Assistant City Manager shall cease to hold such office and the office of Assistant Manager for the County of Dublin.” He is Assistant Manager for the City and County of Dublin. That is his official title and if he shall cease to hold that office, “such cesser shall not qualify him for any superannuation allowance, gratuity or like benefit.” Sub-section (6) says:—
“(6) On the commencement of an Order under sub-section (1) of Section 14 of this Act, Eugene O'Keeffe, if immediately before such commencement he held the office of Dublin Assistant City Manager shall become by virtue of this section the Manager for the County of Dublin.”
I think really there should have been added to that, when he holds the office of Dublin Assistant City Manager he automatically becomes assistant county manager but, as I said before, the fact that he is Dublin City Assistant Manager is merely a title but he does not intervene in the administration of the City of Dublin.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister agrees with me because he has just let it drop. Why not call him Dublin Assistant County and City Manager? The Minister let it drop.
Mr. O'Donnell: Although it is not written in, that is the exact significance of it.
Mr. Briscoe: It is easy to amend that Act and change the title.
Mr. Desmond: Now that this Dublin affair is apparently near completion——
Mr. Briscoe: It is not near completion.
Mr. Desmond: This aspect of it apparently is. I would like to draw attention to sub-section (1). I do not know the gentleman. I have nothing for or against him. It states there:—
“If, immediately before the commencement of this section, John P. Keane was a temporary Dublin Assistant City Manager, he shall become by virtue of this sub-section a permanent Dublin Assistant City Manager.”
May I ask the Minister why should this have been confined to Dublin? I think the Minister is aware that the same position arises in Cork. Why should it be that the law as made in 1955 should apply in Dublin and not in Cork? I would like the Minister's view on that.
Mr. O'Donnell: Mr. John P. Keane has been a deputy manager of this city for a good many years and owing to the expansion of the City of Dublin and the extension of the social services and amenities I consider that, as he has been a deputy manager for many years, he should now become a permanent assistant city manager.
Mr. Desmond: Yes, but if you do that in Dublin—and I give the Minister credit for doing it—why is it that a similar provision does not apply in Cork? I am anxious to have this matter cleared up. In Cork, an official of outstanding merit over many years' service is being denied what is being given in Dublin. I have approached nobody about this. It seems, in local government, when we come across officials with whom we are all satisfied —I mean all Parties—and when we are satisfied that that official is highly competent in the administration of the local authority, all that is to be ignored and there is to be favouritism —to which I am not objecting—and a certain concession is offered in Dublin and denied in Cork. I would like the Minister to have that clarified before we go further.
Mr. O'Donnell: I understand that  the gentleman the Deputy refers to in Cork is only there about eight months.
Mr. Desmond: The Minister knows, and I am sure his officials could check in the Department, that this official— he has not asked me to mention this one way or the other and has not discussed it with me; I am doing it in my own good faith — has been acting in such capacity for many years back. If the Minister will read an amendment tabled by Deputy Corry — Deputy MacCarthy can bear me out, I think— it is quite clear that this person has been carrying on duty over a period of years.
Mr. O'Donnell: I understand the county manager down there has made application to the Local Appointments Commission to have this position filled and, of course, that being so, I cannot step in.
Mr. Desmond: I would like to have this matter cleared up between now and the Report Stage. When did the county manager do that?
Mr. O'Donnell: I understand it was done on two occasions recently.
Mr. Desmond: I intend to follow this up on the Report Stage. In view of the fact that this has been done for Dublin, we in Cork are entitled to the same concession provided the official concerned gives the service for which he is paid and, in fairness to this official, I will say he has given excellent service.
Mr. Briscoe: I am sorry to be intervening again but the Minister has made the position worse by his last intervention. The Minister justifies the permanent appointment of Mr. Keane because of the services he has rendered, with which nobody quarrels, and because of the additional works, the growth of the city and also the social services in it. Then in connection with Mr. O'Keeffe he says that according to the Act of 1940, he had to be appointed as assistant county manager. Why is it that in the case of Timothy O'Mahony who is described as holding the office of assistant county  manager for the County of Dublin, there is no description whatsoever of him as an assistant city manager while the man who is not in the city at all is described as the assistant city manager. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary could give us an answer to that but we must have some explanation other than what has been given.
Mr. Davin: I think the Minister has gone out of his way repeatedly to try and explain that.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister will appreciate there seems to be some peculiar situation that certain officers who are in fact assistant city managers and who are so described will be made permanent and that in connection with an assistant county manager who is now to be a permanent assistant city manager he has to have that description because of the 1940 Act. How is it then that Timothy O'Mahony who is in fact acting in the city as an assistant city manager bears no such description in the Act but is described as an assistant county manager? It is difficult enough to understand local authority legislation and to interpret it without having such a situation where you have something that is black described as white and something that is white for the purposes of the Act described as black. Perhaps the Minister will tell me that because I am in complete confusion about it.
Mr. Corry: I have a very definite objection to legislation being brought into the Dáil for the City and County of Dublin which does not apply to other counties. We have individual names here and apparently nobody thinks of an officer as operating unless he has served in Dublin. We have an assistant county manager at present operating in Cork since as far back as 1942-43. I do not see his name mentioned here to be appointed as assistant county manager.
Mr. Davin: I am not saying this in any disrespectful way but the Minister explained that before the Deputy came in and he will see it on the record.
Mr. Allen: The Minister said he was eight months acting.
Mr. Corry: I query that immediately. He has acted practically every year since 1942/43. Again he acted in 1946/47 and every year since then up to the present day. As a matter of fact he has acted nine full months last year, as I have reason to know, and he is at present acting assistant county manager. Surely if he is considered competent to act every year since 1942/43 as an assistant county manager he should be competent now to be appointed in a permanent capacity. I think it is ridiculous to select certain individuals just because they happen to be in Dublin and include them in a special Act of Parliament. I see no sane reason why this person's name should not be in this Bill and I suggest that the Minister should amend it on the Report Stage.
Mr. Davin: The Minister answered that.
Mr. Briscoe: What answer did the Minister give?
Mr. Allen: He said he was only eight months there.
Mr. Corry: I contradict that statement.
Mr. O'Donnell: I have no doubt that the Local Appointments Commission will take his experience into consideration when making the appointment.
Mr. Corry: I think the whole position is ridiculous. Why bring a man away from there each year and bring him back in as assistant manager for three or four months and now for 11 months? On account of that practically a quarter of his time for the past ten years has been spent as assistant county manager. He was also town clerk in a town where a penny in the £ produces only £70 or £80, and is his whole pension now to be thrown back on that town where it will take up to 9d. or 10d. in the £ to superannuate him? These are the things that to my mind should be taken into consideration in a matter of this description. I think it is very wrong to allow a thing like this to happen. Unfortunately, because of the manner in which this Bill has been pulled in and out of the House, nobody knows  when it is on or off. It is just a regular juggling match.
Mr. O'Donnell: And the Deputy spent three and a half hours on it here discussing a section which was not opposed.
Mr. Corry: And then it is brought in here again unknown to anybody.
An Ceann Comhairle: The House orders the business and I should like that the Deputy would please confine himself to the section.
Mr. Corry: I am confining myself to the section and unless I get a guarantee that an amendment will be brought in here on Report Stage on this question of assistant county manager I shall oppose the section.
Mr. Bartley: I have been listening to the discussion on this section between Deputy Briscoe and the Minister and perhaps the Minister would now try to enlighten my mind on the matter. Is not the cumulative effect of Sections 2, 5 and 6 aimed at producing the result that the person named therein will cease to be, if in fact he was before the commencement of the Bill, temporary Dublin Assistant City Manager, and become the manager for the County of Dublin?
Mr. O'Donnell: That is correct. It would take effect eventually when the thing would come along and be agreed.
Mr. Bartley: What I want to ask the Minister is: Is there no less cumbersome method of producing that result than these three sections?
Mr. O'Donnell: No, unfortunately. I should like to refer the Deputy to sub-section (2). The position held by Mr. O'Keeffe at the moment is that of temporary Assistant Dublin City Manager. That is the title at the moment. Though he does not take part in the administration of Dublin City affairs his title is that of temporary assistant Dublin City manager.
Mr. Bartley: If he is not in fact a temporary manager at this particular time he cannot become a permanent one?
Mr. O'Donnell: That is right.
Mr. Bartley: Why cannot the transition take place from the position of temporary manager for Dublin City to that of manager for the county?
Mr. O'Donnell: For this reason: that the provision made in the Act makes permanent the man who has been temporarily in that position.
Mr. Briscoe: He was only a name.
Mr. O'Donnell: And that is what he will be still. I am referring to the title.
Mr. Briscoe: For God's sake, would the Minister settle the matter now?
Mr. O'Donnell: But I have.
Mr. Sheldon: I cannot understand the necessity for the section at all, if the Local Appointments Commission can appoint the gentleman referred to. Why can these appointments not be left to the commission? What is the necessity for providing that a certain person shall hold a certain office?
Mr. O'Donnell: This is a completely different situation. We are degrouping here and in Cork they are not degrouping. Mr. Keane, the gentleman referred to in sub-section (4) of this section, is retiring this year.
Mr. Briscoe: Not this year.
Mr. O'Donnell: In a very, very short time. I did not create the title which this gentleman holds. These titles were given under the 1940 Act.
Mr. Davin: That is the position.
Mr. O'Donnell: They are all degrouping but not at this particular stage. My difficulty is that I have explained the position to a number of Deputies, while some Deputies are out of the House and the Deputies who have been absent have not heard the explanation, come in and ask questions and we start all over again.
Mr. Sheldon: It is all very well to say that there is to be degrouping but why must there be provision in regard to a certain case?
Mr. O'Donnell: Because this gentleman has got a claim under the 1940 Act. That Act gave the Dublin county secretary certain claims and certain rights and a certain status.
Mr. Davin: And a certain title.
Mr. O'Donnell: The county secretary of Dublin has certain rights under the 1940 Act.
Mr. Sheldon: And why is it necessary to repeat it?
Mr. O'Donnell: Because he is in a temporary capacity only as Dublin Assistant City Manager.
Mr. Sheldon: Did that Act give him any functions?
Mr. O'Donnell: Yes. I am providing for the day when there is degrouping.
Mr. Corry: The Minister has brought in this legislation for Dublin.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has said that five times.
Mr. Corry: The Minister has picked out an individual in Dublin who will not have to go before the Appointments Commission like individuals of his kind in every other county.
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy has said that before several times.
Mr. Corry: A point has been raised here and brought to our notice.
An Ceann Comhairle: I do not want to interrupt the Deputy and I do not want to be rigid in my ruling but I heard the Deputy say that four or five times.
Mr. Corry: What I am stating now is that there was provision in a previous Act for the Dublin City Manager and an individual was picked out and given certain rights that do not apply to any other individual in any other county in the country. Now we have the same thing brought in again concerning individuals again in Dublin City. The Minister has come before the House on the plea that this Bill confers certain additional powers on local authorities. He said he was going  to give local authorities wide scope but I say that the manner in which the Minister has brought this Bill into the House——
Mr. O'Donnell: And under Deputy Smith's Bill last year——
Mr. Corry: I am not talking about Deputy Smith's Bill but about this one. I am suggesting to the Minister that the best thing he can do is recommit the Bill.
An Ceann Comhairle: It is only a section of the Bill we are discussing now.
Mr. Briscoe: The man referred to in sub-sections (5) and (6) of Section 22 was originally appointed as secretary to the county council.
Mr. O'Donnell: Of Dublin County Council.
Mr. Briscoe: He has since become assistant manager and there is now a different secretary.
Mr. O'Donnell: The 1940 Act gave the same privilege to all county secretaries.
Mr. Briscoe: This refers specifically to Dublin.
Mr. O'Donnell: There is another section that deals with Dublin County.
Mr. Briscoe: I am only dealing with the one name in the Bill. This Bill proposes to enact that the county manager in a certain area shall be Mr. O'Keeffe; therefore, every county secretary is immediately ruled out from applying to go before the Local Appointments Commission.
Mr. O'Donnell: If the Deputy reads the section, he will find that that point explains itself.
Mr. Briscoe: According to sub-section (5) there will only be one assistant city manager.
Mr. O'Donnell: Does the Deputy know who the county secretary of Dublin is?
Mr. Briscoe: I do not. There is a county secretary.
Mr. O'Donnell: Who is he?
Mr. Briscoe: Probably Mr. O'Keeffe.
Mr. O'Donnell: Exactly. His official title is county secretary, but he is a temporary assistant manager.
Mr. Briscoe: This is getting under my skin.
Mr. O'Donnell: I can assure the Deputy it is getting under my skin, too.
Mr. Briscoe: The Minister has a difficult job in getting this over. He should not think that this is a personal issue between himself and myself at all. The situation is a peculiar one. We have been discussing here a man as a temporary assistant manager.
Mr. O'Donnell: Who is the county secretary.
Mr. Briscoe: That has only emerged now. He has to be that until he is made manager. Therefore, he is holding two positions.
Mr. O'Donnell: That is right.
Mr. Briscoe: I think this is worthy of some simplification. Deputy Bartley asked quite rightly why choose the most cumbersome formula. The Minister is creating a situation and legislating for that situation.
Mr. O'Donnell: I took a bad headline: I copied this out of Deputy Smith's Bill when he was Minister for Local Government.
Mr. Briscoe: That is probably the reason, too, why the Minister adopted the Fianna Fáil Budget to-day.
Mr. O'Donnell: The Deputy's was the hapenny Budget. Do not forget that.
Mr. Allen: And the Minister has adopted the Fianna Fáil scale of taxation.
Mr. O'Donnell: Go out and ask the old age pensioners and the widows  and orphans is ours a Fianna Fáil Budget.
An Ceann Comhairle: Deputies will discuss Section 22 now.
Mr. Briscoe: It is no use the Minister saying Deputy Smith has this or Deputy MacEntee has the other. I could go back to another Minister. There were all kinds of changes down through the years. The original Managerial Acts were changed from time to time.
Mr. MacCarthy: There was a special one in 1929 for Cork City.
Mr. Briscoe: There have been all kinds of controls. This, as Deputy Bartley says, is the most cumbersome formula one could possibly have.
Mr. O'Donnell: So long as it achieves its objective, is it not good enough?
Mr. Briscoe: What is the objective?
Mr. Davin: Not to prejudice the position of the man concerned in any way.
Mr. Briscoe: I object to the objective being achieved by making me believe that, without coming through the City of Dublin, a man can become a permanent assistant city manager of Dublin City. How that can be considered a reasonable objective I do not know. I do not know whether an amending Act will be necessary to de-group. Certain consequential situations will arise and the Minister will have to bring in legislation to deal with those situations. I want the Minister to describe this man in this Bill by his proper title. I want him to amend the  1940 Act, if necessary, and call him, notwithstanding what he said in the 1940 Act, Dublin County Assistant Manager and not Dublin City Assistant Manager. If the Minister will not do that, then I shall have to bring in an amendment on the Report Stage because I think this is wrong.
Mr. Sheldon: The one point on which I am still not clear is in relation to the question of necessity. It has now transpired that Mr. O'Keeffe is still secretary of Dublin County Council. As far as I can see Section 10 provided quite specifically that he could become county manager. At the time of the passing of the 1940 Act, however, Mr. O'Keeffe was not in this position. Is it because he was not then in this position and because he was not then named that he now has to be named to clear up this situation? Is that what it really boils down to?
Mr. O'Donnell: No.
Mr. Sheldon: The more I read it the less I understand it. To begin with, I do not see why this House should legislate that a particular person must hold a particular post.
Mr. Briscoe: In advance of its being created.
Mr. Sheldon: That seems undesirable in itself. The House will not know when any section of the Bill is to come into force when it is finished with the Bill.
Mr. MacCarthy: That precedent was set in 1929 in connection with Cork when a certain person was nominated and his name included in the Act.
The Committee divided: Tá, 66; Níl, 45.
|Barrett, Stephen D.
Burke, James J.
Casey, Seán. Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Doyle, Peadar S.
Esmonde, Anthony C.
Finlay, Thomas A.
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Glynn, Brendan M.
Hession, James M.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Lindsay, Patrick J.
Costello, John A.
Crotty, Patrick J.
Desmond, Daniel. McGilligan, Patrick.
Madden, David J.
Murphy, Michael P.
O'Higgins, Michael J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.
O'Sullivan, Denis J.
Palmer, Patrick W.
Sheldon, William A.W.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Corry, Martin J.
Crowley, Honor M.
Davern, Michael J.
de Valera, Eamon.
de Valera, Vivion.
Hillery, Patrick J.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Moher, John W.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Ryan, Mary B.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Doyle and Casey; Níl: Deputies Corry and Killilea.
Question declared carried.
Section 23 agreed to.
Question proposed: “That Section 24 stand part of the Bill.
Mr. Briscoe: On the section, would the Minister explain this a little more?
Mr. O'Donnell: Section 24 is the commencement section.
“This Act shall come into operation on such day or days as may be fixed therefor by Order or Orders of the Minister either generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision and different days may be so fixed for different purposes and different provisions of this Act.”
Could I explain it any more?
Mr. Briscoe: I have read all that. I still do not know what it means.
Question put and agreed to.
Section 25 agreed to.
Amendment No. 30 not moved.
Mr. Sheldon: I move amendment No. 31:—
At the reference to the County Management Act, 1940, in the third column, before “22” to insert subsection (7) of Section 16”.
This amendment was already discussed.
An Ceann Comhairle: It fell with amendment No. 5.
Mr. Sheldon: I was about to explain that. I said it had already been discussed. I have moved it and I now want the Chair to put it.
An Ceann Comhairle: It fell.
Mr. Sheldon: With respect, this is a different method of achieving the same result.
An Ceann Comhairle: The question is that at the reference to the County Management Act, 1940, in the third column, before “22” to insert “subsection (7) of Section 16”.
Question put and amendment declared lost.
Schedule and Title put and agreed to.
Bill reported with amendments.
Next stage ordered for Wednesday, 18th May, 1955.
Minister for Agriculture (Mr. Dillon): I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. The Bill before us is designed to continue, in permanent and somewhat amplified form, existing emergency legislation providing for the maintenance of satisfactory standards in the production, processing and sale of agricultural seeds.
Between the development of a strain of seed by a plant breeder and its availability in commercial quantities to farmers, are many stages of reproduction and multiplication. The earliest of these can be undertaken in the Plant Breeding Station in which the strain is developed but, as the quantities increase,  further reproductions must be carried out on farms. The necessity for securing that in these later multiplications the desirable characteristics of the strain will be preserved is obvious. Such objectives cannot, however, be achieved in a haphazard manner and supervision is required in relation to the various steps in reproduction, from the selection of growers, the preparation of the land and the inspection of growing crops, to the harvesting, drying and cleaning of the seed and its subsequent warehousing and sale.
Facilities for carrying out these various operations cannot readily be provided by individual growers working independently. Some measure of coordination and direction entailing the employment of trained staff and the provision of plant and equipment is, accordingly, required. Virtually all countries now engage in seed production and schemes of one or other kind are in operation to ensure that the general standards of quality of seeds are maintained at a satisfactory level and to provide that seed of special merit is marketed under recognised designation mark, seal or tag which will indicate to the buyer that the seed is of special worth. While many such schemes are voluntarily operated, there is none the less the necessity for some statutory powers to ensure that certain aspects of production will be safeguarded as, for example, prevention of cross fertilisation and protection from misuse of names or designations such as “certified.”
The present Bill is in accord with this modern trend. It is concerned with two aspects of seed production. The first is the production, processing and sale of good quality commercial seeds and in this respect it is at present confined to the common root seeds, namely, kale, mangel, turnip (including swede turnip), rape, sugar beet and fodder beet. Power is, however, being taken to add other seeds to the list should the necessity arise. The second aspect of seed production with which the Bill deals is the provision of certain powers in relation to the operation of schemes for certification of seeds.
 In so far as the production, processing and sale of root seeds is concerned, the Bill contains nothing in the way of new legislation, and in fact its introduction flows from the policy of replacing emergency legislation by permanent enactments.
The temporary legislation replaced is the Emergency Powers (No. 254) Order, 1943, and certain subsidiary Orders and it may be well to recall the origin of this temporary legislation.
In pre-war days, this country's normal source of supply of common root seeds was Britain. Early in the war years, exports from that country were prohibited and difficulties immediately arose in securing sufficient of these seeds for our needs. Faced with this situation, my Department invited the principal seed merchants to co-operate with it in the production of root seeds in the country. Two associations of seedsmen entered into the business and have continued in it since with a considerable measure of success. Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann went into the production of sugar beet seed and you will be familiar with the progress which the company has made in that field. It is of course open to other qualified persons or firms to engage in the business.
It is not impossible that outside sources of supply might become difficult in the future and there is, therefore, good reason for persevering with home production and making the country independent of imports as far as possible, quite apart, of course, from the economic advantages of providing seed growing farmers with a cash crop.
As I have mentioned previously, it is not sufficient merely to produce seeds but to ensure that the seeds grown are of standards of quality equal to anything available from elsewhere and in fact strains of seeds developed and propagated in the country should give more satisfactory results than imported strains produced under other conditions of soils and climate. With a view to ensuring that these proper standards will be attained provisions are included to provide that firms having licences to produce seeds will be in a position to provide proper facilities for supervising production at all stages between sowing and sale.
 Another important section of the Bill prohibits the growing of certain seeds in certain areas in order that such areas may be preserved for the production of other seeds, mainly with the object of guarding against grass fertilisation. At the moment the growing of mangel and sugar mangel plants to the seeding stage is prohibited in a wide area in Munster in which Comhlucht Siúicre Éireann has been carrying on the production of sugar beet seed and this arrangement has worked satisfactorily.
Part III of the Bill contains provisions relating to the certification of seed. Certified seed is backed by State Department or other certifying authority to the effect that the growing and processing has been supervised by the certifying agency according to the conditions of the relevant scheme and that, as far as is reasonably possible, the authenticity and merit of the seed can be vouched for. The production of certified seed is well developed in various countries and in fact has been operated with very considerable success in this country since 1931 in relation to seed potatoes in which a valuable export trade exists. A similar trade might be developed in other certified seeds and to this end my Department has been operating, on a voluntary basis, schemes for the production of certified seed of wheat and of a new strain of perennial ryegrass.
It is intended to continue these schemes and to develop others on a voluntary basis but there are certain aspects of them which require some statutory authority as, for instance, the preservation from misuse of seals, tags and labels which, it is hoped, will become recognised as indicating the quality of the seed. Also, of course, provision must be made to prevent the loose application of the fundamental term “certified” to any but genuinely certified seed and it is to this end that Part III of the Bill is mainly directed. These provisions are, however, enabling and, in keeping with my general policy, I propose to employ them only should evidence of improper practices come to light which might necessitate my doing so.
Mr. Walsh: I welcome this Bill because I think there is nothing more important from the agricultural point of view than pure seeds and good seeds. I believe that, as a result of the experiments that have been carried out. with beet seeds in particular, and, in the past year, with wheat seed, this country is well suited to the production of seed. Our beet yields and wheat yields have increased as a result of producing our own foundation stock of seeds.
I welcome this Bill for another reason, that is, that it indicates a change of policy on the opposite side of the House. The Minister certainly has changed his outlook regarding our ability to produce seeds. Not many years ago he told us that we were not able to produce them here and that it was ridiculous for us even to attempt to do so.
Mr. Dillon: When?
Mr. Walsh: In the past. In 1948. As a matter of fact, the Minister went out of his way to prohibit the production of turnip seed, swede, by not providing a market for them and by free importation.
Mr. Dillon: Nonsense.
Mr. Walsh: There was free import of British seeds at the time.
Mr. Dillon: I hope there will be again.
Mr. Walsh: The embargo that was there was taken away with the result that I had to restore it when I came into office in 1951. However, the Bill shows a change of attitude on the part of the Minister. I welcome that change because, as I have said, we can produce our own seeds.
There are one or two points in connection with this Bill that I would like to have clarified. One is in regard to the people who may be given a licence to produce seeds. As far as wheat and beet seeds are concerned, there is no difficulty. In the case of beet you had only one company producing the seed and dealing with the produce of that seed. Similarly, in the case of  wheat, you had a certain number of people engaged in production, the millers and their agents and when it came to selling the produce you were dealing with the same people again. But, in the case of root seeds, for instance, we will be up against this trouble that there are seed merchants in the country who may be very anxious to get into a particular area to produce seed, for instance, swede. Who will regulate the licences? Is it the Minister? Will he take the responsibility of saying that so-and-so will go into this area and so-and-so into another area? Will the farmer who is living in that area and who does not wish to participate in the scheme be permitted to produce his own seed?
These are points which require clarification and which can be discussed further on Committee Stage. They are points about which I am not perfectly satisfied without that clarification. I could not give the Bill the support that I would wish to give it until these points are clarified.
In the past a situation arose regarding the production of beet seed. In parts of my constituency, in Carlow and Kilkenny, beet seed and mangold seed were being produced. There is the danger of cross-pollination, cross-fertilisation. We had to discontinue one or the other. We lost the production of beet seed which was transferred to Munster. A similar situation may arise with regard, for instance, to kale and swede or turnip. If the company produce kale seed in a particular locality, I take it that cabbage or turnip or swede cannot be produced in that area. Will the Minister take the responsibility of defining the areas?
Mr. Dillon: Who else can?
Mr. Walsh: That is the point on which we want clarification. If a group of farmers wish to produce their own turnip or swede in a particular district and seed merchants wish to produce kale there, which party will get the Minister's support?
Mr. Dillon: Whoever is there first, I suppose.
Mr. Walsh: That is the point.
Mr. Dillon: Is not that the only sensible thing to do?
Mr. Walsh: Possibly it may be the easiest way out.
Mr. Dillon: Is not it the sensible thing? If a man is already established, you would not bring in another man and put the first man out.
Mr. Walsh: There was a similar situation regarding mangold seed and beet seed.
Mr. Dillon: Yes.
Mr. Walsh: The Sugar Company came in at the time, rightly so, I admit, and the mangolds had to be left on one side and beet seed had to be produced instead, because of cross-pollination. The same thing may arise in future.
Mr. Dillon: Yes.
Mr. Walsh: The areas must be segregated.
Mr. Dillon: Yes.
Mr. Walsh: Otherwise, I welcome the Bill. Once these points are clarified, as they will be, I am sure, on Committee Stage, I am perfectly satisfied.
Section 17 amazed me. The Minister is making provision to bring back the inspectors. That is the one thing in the Bill that amazed me. I thought he would find some means of avoiding the use of the word “inspector”. He is driving them in, not over the farmer's fences this time but through his gates and on to his land and destroying his property. I suppose these things will happen, that even Ministers may change their minds but it is good to see this change of mind, not merely on the principle of producing our own seeds but on the necessity of inspectors sometimes going in on the farmer's property.
Mr. Donegan: I also would like to welcome the Bill and I am glad to see that it is welcomed, except for a few disguised barbs, on the far side of the House. I think it is a contribution, while an indirect one, to the desire of  the Minister to see a contract system for most agricultural produce. In many years we had the situation developing where farmers had a glut of the commodity in one year and a dearth of that particular commodity in the following harvest. This has resulted in a rather leapfrog economy, which means that at one moment you are up and the next you are down. If this Bill is introduced it should provide a market for the production of seed and I think that many large seed firms will do their utmost to help the Minister in his desire to create the situation where the seeds for Irish farms will be grown at home and under the best conditions.
I see that brassicas and other seeds in that class are specifically mentioned by the Minister as seeds which he should include in the Bill. I am very glad that is so but I would like to see also corn seeds. The Bill, I think, is being introduced on the lines developing in similar countries because it is an accepted fact that in places like New Zealand certain areas are set aside for the production of grass seeds. Similarly you have areas in Lincolnshire and other counties in England where particular types of seed are grown such as in the case of Lincolnshire, the Lincolnshire red glow.
I would like to see corn included because I believe that within my own constituency there is an area which would be ideal for the production of pure lines. I refer to the Cooley peninsula which is completely cut off except at one side by the sea, has a mountain range running down its centre and is flanked on the other side by wonderful areas of limestone. We have 470 farmers each farming less than ten Irish acres. There we have a very high quality corn production; I would say that 20,000 barrels are produced in the Cooley peninsula each year and two-thirds of that if sold for seed because of glut is certainly fit for seed. The Cooley farmers would be willing to assist the Minister with regard to the implementation of this Bill and to operate it with him.
I would also suggest to the Minister that a certain variety of Atle wheat should be grown in Cooley and that no other spring wheat should be grown  there. I am quite sure that the large seed firms would give them on contract a much greater price than the normal price attaching to that particular type of wheat. The geographical situation of the peninsula would ensure that there would be no mongrel varieties produced and we might reach a situation where instead of having the best seed Atle wheat that is sold by the merchants—I refer to an English pure line Atle—we might have a situation where the best wheat would be regarded as that which was produced in this Cooley peninsula.
Similarly we could have a variety of oats produced there which I would say for quality would be on a par with any of the varieties of oats grown in Donegal, our premier oats producing county, or in Scotland. I speak from experience because I think it is an ideal place because you have there these farmers who have nothing else to look to but some kind of quality trade. If the Minister includes corn seeds in this Bill and if he would include Cooley in the scope of the Bill as far as corn seeds are concerned he would build up a stock of pedigree corn seeds which would be invaluable to the country.
Let me refer to paragraph (g) of Section 9 which says: “any other class to which it (the Bill) is applied by Order of the Minister”. The former Minister for Agriculture spoke about Section 8 under which an offence under any section of the Act might be prosecuted by the Minister. It is a very different thing for a Minister to state that in his Bill he has got the right to prosecute, if the Bill passed by the Oireachtas is not complied with, from a member of the Opposition stating he would send five fields full of inspectors to any particular farmer who had not complied with his Emergency Powers Order. I think we all know the present Minister, Deputy Dillon, is more emphatic on the point that the Irish farmer should do just what he likes and I do not think Deputy Walsh need have any worries on that score. I believe the Bill is an excellent one and will be a great contribution to Irish farming.
Mr. Dillon: I accept Deputy Walsh's  intervention in the spirit in which I suppose it was offered. He will agree with me that, apart from the serious observations he made in the opening stages, the latter part of his contribution was genial codology. I accept it as such. Will I be pardoned for saying, however, that I raised an eyebrow when Deputy Walsh said that he is pleased to note my conversion to the policy of breaking down the farmers' fences and bursting open their gates. It is the first time since Deputy Smith initiated that policy that I have heard a Fianna Fáil ex-Minister for Agriculture adopt it and I will dare to say that if Deputy Walsh appears to adopt it now it was never operated while he was Minister for Agriculture and I do not believe it would be operated if he were ever Minister for Agriculture again.
Mr. Walsh: I thought you were adopting it.
Mr. Dillon: I do not think the Deputy or I ever adopted it. I shall carefully note the representations made by Deputy Donegan. I think paragraph (g) here is designed to enable me, with the approval of Dáil Éireann, to include other types of seeds if and when the necessity for that arises but I think it is true that much of the power here sought is rendered necessary by the very reasons dwelt upon by Deputy Walsh, the danger of cross-pollination and the necessity of segregation of areas where these brassica seeds are to be grown. Deputy Walsh seems to challenge me by saying: “Who is going to do the segregation?” In the last analysis who can do it but the Minister for Agriculture? If Deputy Walsh says to me: “If you have that power and duty, by what principle are you going to operate it?” I would be very glad of his advice.
It is no question of fundamental principle to me. Naturally I would deem it my duty to dispose of each application for a licence to grow certified seeds in a given area on the basis of equity and justice but it seems to me that the general principle of equity and justice ruling in such cases would be that if a man applied for a licence  to grow a particular brassica seed exclusively in a certain area I would have to take adequate steps to ascertain that nobody else was actually growing brassica seeds in that area. If on inquiry it transpired that somebody else was engaged in a genuine business of growing brassica seed in that area I would be bound to prefer the title of the person who was already there.
I think I would be bound to protect the title of the person who was already there and say to the newcomer: “There is a man growing seeds in that area that would cross-pollinate your seeds. You will have to grow elsewhere and find an area sufficiently remote from the other man's.” Supposing you got one other man in the parish who was growing cabbage seed as a hobby and the rest of the parish formed a good co-operative society for the production of kale seed on a sound commercial basis and that the society said to me: “We want to get this thing going; the parish agent has training in this seed production business and we could make a good thing of it.” I would have to consider carefully declaring the area one in which only kale seed could be grown and would have to notify the other person that he could not continue his hobby in that area for fear of endangering the business of the others.
You might get a general case in which two or three fellows were running a small scale seed production business and some big fellow came along to produce seeds in a big way. In that case I would be justified in saying “no” to the person who wanted to produce on a big scale. The fact that the other people were small does not give the big man the right to brush them off. They are there and they have a right to do what they have been doing if they are doing it honestly and in accordance with the best standards.
We can only assume that whoever happens to be Minister for Agriculture will take every reasonable precaution to see that equity and justice will be done and that having heard all sides he will have to give his decision subject to the overriding safeguard,  which is no mean safeguard, that if the Minister for Agriculture should act irresponsibly, the matter can be raised here in the Dáil and he can be made to answer for his action by parliamentary question or by raising it on the Adjournment or, if necessary, by motion or on the Estimate; and if anything approaching grave injustice has been done it is in the power of the Parliamentary Opposition to put down a motion forcing the Government of the day to provide time to discuss the action of the Minister if the front benches of the Opposition declared that it was a matter that required investigation. I do not know any other means by which we could operate the powers provided in legislation of this kind.
If nobody thinks that such equitable operation could be workable I would welcome their advice on how best it could be worked. I welcome the contributions to this debate including the general codology and I hope it will provide the basis for success in the future. I should like to say to Deputy Walsh that I think he is mistaken, as I believe so many Fianna Fáil people are mistaken, in believing that we can do nothing in this country except on the basis that we are permitted to do it less efficiently and more expensively than any other country in the world. I have no interest in that approach at all. If I did not believe we would ultimately build up in this country a seed production business which would draw custom from the rest of the world on the ground that our seed was better than could be got anywhere——
Mr. Walsh: We are on a sound foundation as regards seed production. We have it in beet and in wheat and there is no reason why we should not have it in other things.
Mr. Dillon: I do not think the Deputy should hypothecate and I should like to say that it is wrong to believe that there could be no seed producing business in this country except on the basis of a protected market where the seed producers would be allowed to get the permanent right to exploit to the limit of their desire. My aim is to offer seed to our  farmers and say to them: “Look here, if you do not want our seed there are thousands of people clamouring for them elsewhere.” The Irish farmer must have first claim on what we produce but if he thinks he can get better elsewhere do not worry. We can sell the seeds in foreign countries and they are roaring to get them. That is what I would like to see developed in a Bill of this kind, and unless I could see the prospect of such a development I would have no interest in this type of legislation. But I do see a future in this.
As Deputy Walsh has said, we have produced seed here with which we can compete with any part of the world and which are sought after abroad. I should like to see that developed in relation to rape, kale, and all the other seeds which we contemplate growing through this Bill. I think it is a mistake to assume that unless everybody is agreed that there is to be protection for a project of this kind in perpetuity it cannot succeed. The measure of its success is how far it can expand and grow in competition with all comers and I have not the slightest doubt that in the long run we can produce seeds in this country under legislation of this kind which will command a market in any country in the world.
Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 18th May, 1955.
The Dáil, according to order, went into Committee on Finance and resumed consideration of the Estimates for Public Services for the year ending 31st March, 1956.
Debate resumed on the following motion:—
That the Estimate be referred  back for reconsideration.—(Deputy Walsh).
Mr. Moher: When I moved that progress be reported last week on this Estimate I produced irrefutable evidence of the potentialities of the Friesian breed as a producer of a good steer. A number of Deputies in the House have since dubbed me as the sworn and avowed advocate of the Friesian. That is not so. I merely produced data, facts and figures, to explode once and for all the hoary theory that the dual purpose Shorthorn was the best cow in the world. I had explained earlier on that I was not unmindful of the capabilities and I shall now try to tell the House something of the potentialities of the Jersey cow.
I think the Jersey has a very important part to play in our dairying economy. I come from a dairying county in which there are many small dairy farms; I have often pondered on this particular aspect of our farming economy, and I have come to the conclusion that, while the larger dairy farms may be quite suitable for the larger breeds, such as the dairy Shorthorn and the Dutch Friesian, such large breeds have no place whatever on the small dairy farm.
The Dutch Friesian has an easy average 1,000 gallons milk potential; and from the data available it would be easier for us to get that 1,000 gallons from the Dutch Friesian than it would be from the Irish dairy Shorthorn. Now, on the larger dairy farms I believe the steer should be kept at least to the age of one and a half to two years. These farms are large enough to finish these beasts.
The only really satisfactory dairy breed for the small dairy man is the Jersey. A peculiar pattern presents itself on the small dairy farm. Any Deputy who is conversant with that pattern is aware that the calves are sold within a week after birth; if they are not sold then, they are ferried out when they are six to nine months old. This practice has been described as the Trojan odyssey of the Irish calf. Indeed the peregrinations of the unfortunate Irish calf put the exploits of Ulysses in the shade; it is moved from farm to farm and passed through a  chain of blockers, wringers and all kinds of spivs before it ultimately reaches the big farm.
Another reason why the Jersey should have a place on the small dairy farm is because the relative economy of the 600-gallon Jersey is equal to the 1,000-gallon Shorthorn or Friesian. Deputies are aware, of course, of the very high butter fat content of the Jersey cow. Another factor in arguing the relative merits of the different breeds is the food units consumed and the relative production in return therefor. The smallholder can carry more Jersey cows than he can of the larger breeds because the Jersey, being on the average about 7 cwt. and the Friesian or Shorthorn being in the region of 11 to 12 cwt., the consumption rate of food in the case of the smaller animal is very much less.
Deputies are aware that there is a certain snobbery in Irish dairy farming. In my constituency, the farmer is not assessed by the number of acres he has; he is assessed by the grass of so many cows. That is the phrase that is used to describe the size of his farm. That being so, an increased number of cows might inflate his position socially.
We have never had in this country a small-farm economy. That is one of the reasons why we hear so much about the distress suffered by the small dairy farmer. The small dairy farm has been used for the past 50 years as a kind of satellite subsidiary to the larger beef farms. The calf produced on the small farm is moved out at an early age. So many people are involved in this movement that the small farmer in the last analysis receives a very small proportion of the profit from the birth of the calf to the time when it reaches six or nine months. The general practice on a small farm is to move the calf some time between September and December.
The small farmer must be made to realise that he can only survive as a specialist. He can only become a specialist if he is provided with the high-powered conversion units which will give him an adequate return for his labour. There must be concentration. A 50-acre farm down in Cork  bears no relationship to a 20-acre farm within seven miles of Dublin. Living close to the built-up areas, a farmer can specialise and thereby get a higher return per acre from his 20-acre farm than can a man with six times that amount of land 100 miles away from Dublin.
If the small farmer is to survive he must be given an independent economy of his own. He must cease to be connected to this inept and improvident beef industry of the flat lands and the Midlands. He must not be tied to the rancher and the beef farmer. He must be given an independent economy. But for 50 years the policy of the Department of Agriculture has, in the main, been to use the small farmer as the satellite subsidiary of this inept and improvident beef industry. That is why there is this tendency for the small man to disappear. He will survive only if he is given the essential specialist conversion units—a better cow, a better pig, better grass yields and higher crop yields. That is the only way in which we can ensure the survival of the smallholder.
The small dairyman as a calf rearer —say even to the nine months stage— has taken all the risks associated with calf rearing in that nine months. Remember that all the calf graves lie by the fences of the small dairyman. When the animal has reached nine or ten months the risk, at least to a very great extent, has passed. We know from Professor Murphy's survey of the Milford area of the enormous casualties suffered by those farmers in the dairying areas who attempted to carry the calves over that risk-laden period —I think it was something in the region of 20 per cent. Now, with improved vaccines and improved drugs— we have aurofac and sulphamethazine and other drugs which are of considerable use. We have the sulpha and hexachlorathaine to get rid of the parasitic diseases of calves but there is no drug which will rid the calves of the external parasites that have attached themselves to the hides of the calves, the wretched people, the parasites of middle-men who are living off the hides and skeletons of the unfortunate calves.
 That is why I advocate the Jersey cow for the small man. Let him forget altogether about rearing calves. Remember New Zealand is one of the most highly competitive countries in the world so far as the output of dairy products is concerned, per cow and per acre. They started on Shorthorns. The original cow population of New Zealand was entirely Shorthorn and they crossed, not by importing Jersey cows but by importing Jersey bulls. They crossed their whole cow population into Jerseys and it places them to-day in one of the soundest and one of the most unassailable positions in the world as far as the export of dairy produce to a competitive market is concerned.
When I come in here people say I am a crank. Well, at least I have the advantage that I bring a fresh mind to this House and a new approach. I have the privilege of being able to disagree with people on my own side of the House as well as with the Minister for Agriculture himself. He may hold a view, but I have maintained and I stated here when speaking on his Estimate last year that there is a permanent record in the Irish Department of Agriculture and every now and then the Minister is given by the permanent staff the menial job of putting on the disc and doing what the Americans call disc-jockey. On one side it plays: “The dual purpose cow is the best in the world”. Turn up the other side and what do we hear?—“We can never again compete as exporters of dairy produce in the competitive markets of the world”. That has been the position; that is the contradiction on either side of that record.
Take the pattern which evolved after the war. We went into a sellers' market. We were selling our dairy produce in a market where dairy produce was scarce. We found ourselves in the peculiar position of importing into this country butter from New Zealand, 14,000 miles away, produced cheaper and landed here cheaper than we could produce it in Ireland. Then we went into the sellers' market and exported processed cheese to the English market. What happened? The very minute the Canadians and other  exporters of cheese were in a position to come into the British market, the very minute competition returned, we were forced into the position of gathering up our impediments and clearing out. We are out now for cheese and butter and there is a challenge where chocolate crumb is concerned. Remember that if you cannot compete in one dairy produce product you cannot compete in any.
We have to face the position that with the improvement in our grass— the Minister talks about sending experts to advise farmers to various areas in the country and one of the primary jobs of those particular individuals will be to show the farmers how to treat grass as a crop and not as a gift of God or an accident of nature — once we increase our grass production and once we teach our farmers a modern grass technique one of the things we can be assured of is that we are bound to have as a permanent feature of our economy a certain exportable surplus of dairy produce. Are we to be placed in the position of permanently selling at a loss subsidised Irish dairy produce in the English market? No matter how long that record is played, no matter how often the thing is repeated, we must provide an economic conversion unit in the competitive cow. We must give our farmers the same tools to compete with as their competitors have in the British market. There is no use in our howling about things, our farmers will have to be put in the position of being given instruments that are as competitive as their opposite numbers elsewhere have. We live in a world where there is no respect for anything small. It has been the pattern of this century that anything small is crushed out and trampled on. We are supplied here with statistical abstracts. Study the figures and what do they reveal? We have the Land Commission creating something like 1,200 new holdings a year, and, I say, in the main on the present basis of our agricultural economy holdings which will make a demand for further increased social services. What is happening at the other end? You have consolidation of small holdings, elimination and liquita  dation of exactly twice that figure, so that on that basis the small man is being continually and relentlessly crushed out. That is the pattern which evolves to us to-day for anybody who wants to go to the trouble of studying the figures.
Recently I had a rather peculiar experience. It was in connection with a man who had spent almost 50 years in America. When he came back he tried to trace his relations and his home and all that was left was the ruin of the old house he was born in. A new generation had come since he had left; the old people were dead, and the family had disappeared; all that was left was the ruin of the old home. The lands, in the meantime, had been absorbed by a big landowner close by.
I do not want to be sentimental on this Estimate but one of the things he did was to go to the owner and seek permission to examine the ruins. The only thing he could recover from the ruins to take with him was the hearthstone of the old house. He had the hearthstone of the old house dug up and transported to America to be incorporated in the home of his family in exile in the United States. That is the pattern of Irish agriculture. That is the tragedy. The small man is being continually squeezed out and he is being squeezed out mainly by the bad economic pattern to which he has and is subjected. The small man must be treated in a different way as, otherwise, this consolidation will increase in momentum and no matter what the Land Commission may do they will not be able to replace by division the number of holdings that will be consolidated and absorbed in any given year.
I do not come to talk in this House without having some idea of the solution. I have just a few pointers in the direction of a solution. I say, first of all, teach our small dairyman the value of scientific grass and crop production. Secondly, give him a Jersey herd and a better pig. Then, straightway, you have given him a new outlook, a new hope and the title deeds to survival. That is my belief as far as the small  man is concerned. Remember that 60 per cent. of the farms of Ireland slide down the scale from 50 statute acres and bear in mind, at the same time, that in some of the most progressive countries in the world the average farm is no more than 25 acres. That is the position in some of the Scandinavian countries. Yet, because they have adopted a scientific and high-geared production system, they make a first-class living on those farms.
Not so long ago I was speaking to what would be the equivalent here of a professor of agricultural economics. This man from Copenhagen University was studying here the pattern of Irish agriculture. In the course of conversation with him I mischievously asked him: “What is your ambition?” I was thunderstruck by his reply—his ambition was to own ten hectares of land. One of the things I say is that, despite the fact that our fight for freedom was synonymous with our fight for the control of the soil of Ireland, there is evidence that, as a race, we have lost our love for the land. Our educational system lays no emphasis on love for the land.
If we study the curricula of our educational system we will see that, in the main, it is geared to supply material for the Civil Service, the seminary, the teaching and other professions. The whole educational system is geared to cater either for the university or for the Civil Service. The majority of our rural population will not go beyond the national school. There is no word about love for the land nor is anything taught in the national schools that will create an interest in the youthful and impressionable mind as far as the botanical and physical structure of the land is concerned. The very opposite is the case in Denmark. The Danes have their folk schools and practically 80 per cent. of their population pass through those folk-schools. The preface to the meeting of any Danish society or organisation is the singing of a Danish folksong. Here, that is completely absent.
We have a peculiar snobbery in our rural set-up. The very minute people on the land accumulate money they do not think in terms of trying to place their second son on another farm. They  think in terms of apprenticing him to the law or of making him a doctor. In their view, he must be a professional man. Obviously their attitude is that the yardstick by which you can measure social progress and upliftment is to have the next generation members of the various professions. In my view this bias and this prejudice must be attacked also. We all admit that, on those small farms, limitations set by size can be offset by intensity of production. That is what has made those small Scandinavian countries what they are.
If you want to make sure or to guarantee the survival of our small farms, you will have to give them food conversion units that will give the maximum return for the minimum intake. In other words, you will have to give them a cow that, with the minimum amount of food, will give the maximum return and profit and similarly a pig that will do likewise. If you could give them a better cow and a better pig and teach them a better grass and a better animal husbandry you would put them some way on the road to finding a solution of their problem. However, if one Minister for Agriculture after another keeps hollering across the House that we have the best Department of Agriculture in the world, that our system, our cows, our dual purpose Shorthorns and our large Yorks are the best in the world then we know it is only a matter of time until we shall have effected the absolute disappearance of the smallholder.
One of the evils which have beset this country is continuing emigration. Somebody once said that the lifeblood of a nation is its young men and young women. On that basis, this country has for years had a severed artery through which we have been slowly bleeding to death. We now know we have reached the stage when we have a disproportionate amount of old people. Emigration has been our greatest catastrophe. Remember every able-bodied man and woman leaving the shores of Ireland represents an enormous capital loss.
 I wish somebody who is a better mathematician and a better statistician than I am would try to assess the capital loss involved to the State by the emigration of an able-bodied man or woman. Fifty years ago the expenditure by the State on the individual was at a minimum. To-day, with increased social services, with the State coming so much to the aid of the individual from childhood to manhood, the figure must be enormous. You can multiply the capital loss represented by the net emigration of able-bodied men and women and thereby assess the recurring capital loss to the State in sterling. Emigration is the severed artery by which we are slowly but surely bleeding to death.
There is another aspect of the matter. There is the consequential loss. By the time a boy or girl reaches 18 years of age the State has expended to the maximum, and in the normal course of events should expect, at that age, some return for that expenditure. The position is that, at the time when that particular individual is at the stage when his or her brain, brawn or muscle should help in building up our economy and should give something in return to the State which has so generously helped in his or her upbringing, he or she crosses the gangway of the emigrant ship and the return which should be ours goes to the building of the country to which he or she emigrates. That is the pattern here.
You can start as many industries as you want but the picture here has been, not so much the absorption of our surplus population as the urbanisation of our rural population. We have one of the lowest rural densities of population in Europe. If we had increased agriculture, if we had some sane and sensible agricultural policy, there is every hope that we could considerably increase the density of our rural population.
These are the factors which have to be considered. I would not like to be the Minister who would sit over there and say: “We have plus this on exports and plus that on exports.” The whole thing is all cod. There is a problem to be solved. We have not  got at the root of the problem and these small increases will fluctuate according as the demand for the market across the Channel operates one way or the other. That has been very much the pattern of Irish agriculture. When there were pluses it was when the demand existed on the other side. When there were minuses it was when the demand declined. At this particular period and for the last ten or 12 years Britain has been going through an industrial boom. Suppose, in a settled or stabilised world, we had a recession in purchasing power in Great Britain, what then would the position be? Would not the pluses be very soon replaced by minuses? The unfortunate part of our set-up here is that we started 50 years ago with a Commonwealth economy and we cannot get away from it even now.
Something has been done in land reclamation and all the reclamation has been in the bogs. We have been perpetually in the bog. Travel through the country anywhere you want to and you will see marginal land on the foothills that was once comparatively fertile land, land which maintained that population which has disappeared into the mist of emigration within the past 100 years. I believe that the potential there is as great as, and possibly many times greater than, the potential of bog reclamation. We have done nothing whatever to reclaim the marginal lands.
Speaking in this debate last week I pointed out the huge market that exists for the New Zealanders in England for mutton carcases. Is there not something to be examined here? Our season is the opposite to the New Zealander's season. He comes in with peak production in the opposite season to us. Surely we could come in when he seasonally disappears and try to increase production on our marginal lands and on our foothills. The examination of increased production of mutton and wool requires the immediate attention of our Department of Agriculture.
I want to say something else in connection with the utilisation of the foothills and the marginal lands. There is nothing more utterly ridiculous than  to see a man 2,000 feet up trying to keep the same cow as we could have, say, in the Golden Vale. If we were people capable of making a survey of the position, would it not occur to us that the sensible thing would be to put in there an animal whose genetical and environmental background puts that animal in the position that it is a known hill forager and a good survivor in the hill country? We have here the Kerry breed. Nothing has been done about it. There is a Kerry Society even in England. I doubt if there is one in this country. The breed is being preserved for us at the other side. Then there is the Ayrshire.
I could produce facts and figures but I do not want to confuse the House by giving too much data in regard to breeds. The hardy hill breeds should have some consideration in our economy.
The Minister and the whole Department of Agriculture is a huge propaganda machine, all the time geared at high power trying to assert that the dual purpose Shorthorn is the open sesame to every problem facing Irish agriculture. The relative facts and figures should be placed without bias before the people. That high propaganda machine should be reversed and put to its normal function which should be to analyse the facts and figures and make them available to the farmers so as to educate them and to help them.
I am a lone voice in this House. Look round you here. You know what my value as a propagandist in this House is, with eight or ten people listening. You know that on any other Estimate there is a queue of Deputies waiting to speak in the House. When it comes to the Estimate for Agriculture, the basic industry in this country, the arch on which our whole economic structure rests, you have a few old “Droighnains” like myself and nobody else.
Tomás Ó Deirg: Sílim gur ceart dúinn líon-daoine fhagháil don Teachta mar sin, má's féidir.
Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted and 20 Deputies being present,
Mr. Moher: I have dealt at some length with the question of breeds and I will now say a few words on our failure to produce them. The only way by which you can measure the capabilities of any animal is, of course, by some system of recording. We have for many years in this country had a breeding system which was very much a hit and miss affair. We have dug our hands deep into the taxpayer's pocket year after year and we have brought in bulls here and we do not know whether they were improving or depressing our milk yields. All evidence points to the fact that those superhybrids that we had imported here in the main had a depressing effect on our milk output per cow. We have various breeding stations all over the country but very little is being done. I am aware that some scratching of the surface of the problem is at the moment taking place here and there but we have no expert team of people who are fully qualified to go into this huge job as it should be undertaken. We are lagging behind.
Mr. O'Donovan: What does the Deputy mean by superhybrids?
Mr. Moher: It might be an extravagance.
Mr. O'Donovan: On that basis we will accept it.
Mr. Moher: I have spoken loud and long in connection with what we have done and what we have failed to do in regard to dairy bulls, but there is one aspect of our breeding economy in regard to which we are at the moment in a very complacent mood. We have no right to be in that mood in this connection, that is, in regard to our beef economy. Beef bulls have been brought in here and nobody knows anything about them. There has been no progeny testing of beef bulls in this country; no progeny records of any of the beef bulls we have in the various stations here exist. We know that in the country of origin, which is in the main Great Britain, they have done very little in the matter of the progeny testing of beef bulls. In England there is the traditional set-up there of the  squire in his tweeds at the show-ring. They have developed this set-up in which a certain individual—he may be titled or he may be the local squire— has this annual function of going to the local show to adjudicate on the various bulls presented.
There is practically nothing done by way of giving us data in connection with the performance of these beef bulls. But we do know that in America some real work has been done in regard to the progeny testing of beef bulls. As I said very early on in this debate, one of the greatest tragedies which have overtaken us is that we have regarded and continued to regard Great Britain as the stud of the world where bulls either for milking or beef breeds are concerned. If we could widen our horizon and look further afield we would get far better value for our money than we could possibly hope to get over there. We have been doing an extraordinary thing. We have been importing into this country animals whose records refute their usefulness as either dairy bulls or beef bulls. This method of visual selection which has been a feature of the old squire in his tweeds is as useful and as logical as the beauty contest with a bull inspector at the local cross-roads or the Department inspector in the pig house of the local pedigree pig breeder.
If we want to get factual evidence we have to turn our minds to those people who have done something even in the beef world from the angle of progeny testing their bulls. In America they developed a technique in which there are pointers in the selection of beef bulls which are far more useful than this practice of visual selection. They have adopted a rather rough and ready system there, that is, of measuring, one, the calf's weight at birth, two, his weaning weight, and three, his daily rate of gain over the first 12 months. Examination under these three headings would give far better results and a surer indication of the potentialities of the bull than any judge could give or hope to get from visual selection. Remember the same holds for beef as for dairying. If animals were measured even on that rough and ready system which I have indicated  I feel sure, as statistics indicate fairly well, we would be able to acquire a better quality animal.
Mr. O'Donovan: You do not think our beef cattle are inferior?
Mr. Moher: No. If the Parliamentary Secretary wants to put me on the witness stand I would be here until tomorrow evening. At the moment we are in an advantageous position. Our position at the moment is that even our stores are probably superior to those that are produced in England. But we cannot afford to be complacent. Let us turn to the United States and see what they are doing. The Parliamentary Secretary has possibly studied some of their surveys as I have done. As between the progeny of one animal and another there have been variations of as great as £20 at the finishing date. It is vitally important that you get the strain of bull which will produce, even in the beef world, the greatest liveweight gain, the highest grade of meat for lowest intake of food. Is that not good economy?
Mr. O'Sullivan: Nobody would disagree with that if one could achieve it.
Mr. Moher: Some of the top-class stock have a gain of from 8½ to 9 cwt. in the first 12 months. I think myself that we should widen the horizon and examine the beef bull position, and if we could get better value in the United States, go there. After all it cannot be all one way they buy our blood stock. Recently there emanated from one of the Government Departments, in spite of all the hullabaloo about Tulyar, a certain document pointing out that he was the greatest money spinner of all time.
Mr. T. Lynch: He has earned only £14,000 so far.
Mr. Moher: I should like to refer now to the tuberculin testing of cattle. There is one peculiar feature in regard to this matter. We know that in some counties the reaction rate has been exceptionally high. I do not want to give a figure for a very good reason but it has been a disturbing figure. Is it not an extraordinary position that we  find ourselves here now eliminating, because they are reactors, a very high proportion of our dairy cows in a certain area when a very high proportion of them should have been eliminated long ago as pensioners? Is that not a peculiar business? That is one of the most disturbing things about this scheme. We have slipped in this matter for quite a long time, and I maintain that our tuberculin testing of cattle has been accelerated by the rapid progress of the tuberculin testing scheme in Great Britain. We know very well what has been going on across the water in this matter.
It is vitally important for us that we should proceed with all haste to reduce the incidence of T.B. in our cattle. One of the features I should like to mention to the Minister is the fact that housing is a big factor in the elimination of T.B. We know ourselves that it is useless to eliminate one set of reactors unless the replacements can be put into sanitary houses; you are getting rid of one bane of reactors but their replacements will react again in six months if they are not properly housed. If we have not as a prerequisite good housing much of our efforts and expenditure will have been wasted. The Minister has now got to administer the farm buildings scheme to the extent that every dairyman in the country should be in a position to get such a grant that he would be encouraged to have a sanitary cow byre and I believe that if a survey were made of the dairy farmers of the country we would find in a very high proportion of the cases it would mean a complete replacement of their existing cow byres.
From the veterinary angle—and I should point out that I speak as a layman—we know that a general cause for the spread of T.B. among our live stock is unpasteurised skim milk. Skim milk forms the stable diet of calves for a number of months in the year. If the milk is not pasteurised you cannot eliminate T.B. and I would ask the Department and the Minister for Agriculture in all haste to proceed with the erection of pasteurisers in our creameries. I would ask the Minister to make available grants, and to make  them retrospective to those who have already installed pasteurisers because these people are doing important preliminary work in the eradication of bovine T.B.
I shall turn now to pigs and pig production. The Minister has warned us that we are now approaching the position when we are leaving a seller-market and being forced into a competitive one. We are in the position of having to ask ourselves if we have a competitive animal. Are our farmers able to say that the animal they are producing is able to compete with that of other countries who are exporting to the English market? I say they are not. For years we have been crowing side by side with the dual purpose Shorthorn about the large York. As far back as 1906 the Danes began improving their pig production methods. We are now doing some small work in pig testing in Grange and we have to wait until next year before we have a progeny testing station in the Munster Institute in Cork. You have had in Denmark 50 years of intensive genetical examination of a particular breed and all through the years we have ignored the position and now we come along and find we are not able to compete in the British market.
Irish bacon has been selling at a loss abroad and we know that the British Food Ministry under the 1948 Agreement are the bulk buyers of Irish bacon and have been selling that bacon at a loss. I propose to try and place on the records of this House some comparative figures which will show the advantageous position of our main competitor, the Dane. In pig feeding trials conducted by Dr. Senior and Professor Sheehy of the Albert College to test the results from barley fed at varying degrees of fineness, we get this very disturbing figure: we get the conversion rate of 4.22 lbs. of meal fed for each liveweight pound of meat produced. By way of apology for the best pig in the world, we get this conclusion:—
“It is possible that an unthrifty strain was unwittingly used.”
The report goes on:—
“It has been observed on previous occasions in this Department that considerable variation can be found among different strains of the Large White pig with respect to growth and rate of ability to convert food.”
That is a rather disturbing conclusion from two very eminent men. I would venture to say, without fear of contradiction, that one of the leading animal dieticians in Europe is our own Dr. Sheehy. Anybody who knows anything about the work he has done must admit that he is one of the outstanding men in his particular field in the past 25 or 30 years.
He stated recently that the 12 st. pig takes somewhere between six and nine cwt. of meal. Again, he says:—
“Not alone is there extraordinary variability among our commercial pigs from the point of view of capability to convert pig food into bacon, but there is a similar and perhaps greater variability in respect of the quantity of bacon they produce. Such is the Irish commercial pig both in respect of food convertibility and quality of carcase. Even with the best husbandry, it is an unsuitable foundation on which to extend a stable pig production.”
Those are the conclusions drawn by one of the ablest men we have to advise us.
As far back as 1914 and 1915 the Danes were getting a conversion rate of 3.82 lb. of meal per lb. liveweight increase. The report of a test recently carried out on 3,424 Landrace pigs gives a varying return, ranging between 2.73 lb. and 3.4 lb. of meal per lb. liveweight of meat produced and an average of 3.06 lb. per liveweight increase. That is the average conversion rate available as a result of a recent test on the Landrace carried out in Denmark.
I know that the Minister last year and recently literally went into a tail spin in expatiating on the danger of introducing this dangerous pig disease, atrophic rhinitis. He said veterinary advice debarred him from considering the importation of Landrace pigs to improve our stock. Last year we had myxomatosis. The best veterinary  advice the Minister could get advised him not to introduce into this country another virus disease. The Minister waxed eloquent when he said that in the parish of Kilcolman in the county of Roscommon he was eaten out of house and home by these wretched rodents; he said that he was in the awful position that the rabbits in the parish of Kilcolman enjoyed diplomatic immunity and extra-territorial rights because of the fact that they had their habitat in the local graveyard and the Minister could not go in to gas them out of it.
Our farmers last year went out and flouted the law. There was a complaint in Cork recently about shortage of vegetables and the farmers were abused for not producing them. Did anyone ever see the depredations wrought on a plot of cabbage by rabbits? They will clear out every cabbage overnight. They will clear out turnips and carrots. This year there was peace and ease and quiet and the prospects are that there will be a plentiful supply of vegetables because the rabbits are not there to destroy them. The farmers last year took the law into their own hands and they gave the Minister's advisers one of the greatest jolts they ever got. They satisfied themselves first that there was no danger in introducing myxomatosis; they introduced it and we all know the devastation wrought amongst the rabbit population. I am not for a moment exulting over the sufferings of the rabbits. The disease was a horrible one, but we can see now that it was very effective.
This year the bogey is atrophic rhinitis. Perhaps I am dropping a bombshell when I say that there is a lucrative business over the Border; Republican sows are being smuggled across and mated to half-bred Landrace boars. Despite the warnings of the veterinary section of the Department of Agriculture, half-bred Landrace pigs are at the moment thriving in the Republic.
We all know the devastation that can be caused by foot and mouth disease. Nevertheless we import bulls. Probably they go through a double quarantine, but the fact remains that  we import them and there is no evidence that any imported bull ever introduced foot and mouth disease because the necessary precautions were taken. There is the implication, however, that the importation of Landrace pigs would introduce atrophic rhinitis. If the necessary precautions are taken there will be no danger of introducing that disease. It is our proud boast that we have here disease free pigs. We have no such thing. There is a very high mortality rate here in pigs from oedema.
The innuendo is that atrophic rhinitis is endemic in the Landrace. That is not so. Away back in 1927 or 1928, 7.8 per cent. of all the pigs under test in Denmark failed to reach slaughter weight. In a recently-published survey which embraced 3,424 pigs, only 1.94 per cent. failed to reach slaughter weight. Does that figure suggest that the Danish Landrace is ridden with, or endemic to atrophic rhinitis? Not at all; the facts are that we have no figures that we could put up for our large white York from the point of view of any tests being made, but we keep on prating and hollering about the dangers that exist. I believe the farmers here will take the law into their own hands, if the Department or the Minister fails to come to their aid by trying to provide them with a conversion unit that will put them in competition. They will take the law into their own hands and get that pig themselves. That is my belief.
In this matter, there are various factors to be considered—the number of vertebrae, thoracic and cerebral measurements. It is a highly complicated job and others who have made a study of it have worked out formulae which they have on their files. We have not a figure. We are now about to start. Where will the Irish pig feeder be in three years? We cannot expect to improve in five, six or seven years. We cannot hope to put our feeders in a competitive position with people who have being doing since 1906 what we say we shall do next year. Is not that logical?
Then we have Dr. H. Clausen, the Danish director of pig-testing, telling  us that a wild pig taken out of the zoo and mated with Landrace boars—that is a wild pig mated to first-class Landrace boars—will bring the progeny, after five crossings in seven years, to a commercially competitive position with the existing commercial pig in Denmark. Those are the facts given by a man who knows what he is talking about.
They have been testing their Yorks in England for a number of years and we are going to start the same thing. Are we going to travel along the same road and discover the same mistakes? Here are the findings of an experiment carried out by Professor Cooper at Wye College, Kent:—
“No progeny of a large white boar has yet given an economy of gain of 3.23 conversion ratio at any British testing station, still less have given anything like the Danish figure of 3.06 economy of gain.”
Actually recent experiments at Wye College, Kent, under Professor Cooper, obtained the figure of 3.7. Not one of the boars so far tested comes within striking distance of the Danish average with their Landrace food conversion ratio of 3.06.
Dr. Sheehy has commented somewhere that with better rations, still better ratios could be obtained even here with that same pig because we have to realise that the bulk of Danish pig food consists of barley, skim milk, pollard, grass or fodder beet. Their pigs are not fed on what one might describe as a very high plane of nutrition. The Landrace is finished on a 200 lb. kill weight on an average of 4¼ cwt. of meal equivalent. It varies somewhat and some of the tests show that a figure as low as 3¾ cwts. of meal per 200 lb. kill weight can be obtained. Professor Sheehy says that to get a 12 stone pig here it requires something between six and nine cwt. of pigfeed.
We have other factors. The average Danish sow has an average of 15.5 pigs per year reared to slaughter weight. The British sow has an average of 12.2. Then when we come to factories comparison — and then I think we shall have enough of pigs and bacon as well —for every 100 lbs. of dead weight pig delivered Danish factories produce 83.6 lbs. of bacon. The generally accepted figure for the Irish factories is 75 lbs. In this country we are told that the sale of offals pays all factory costs but the Danish figures show that after taking out costs and factory expenses there is a profit of 26/- per pig after the disposal of offals. That figure in itself would indicate a close examination of the figures returned from the Irish bacon curers.
Before I conclude I want to say something about a subject on which I was arguing earlier—that is that the basic pattern of our agriculture was a factor in our high emigration, migration and rural depopulation. The low earning power, the low density of population on our farms, have forced us into the position that there has been wholesale emigration and wholesale migration. Something like 44 per cent. of the country's total industrial development is centred here in Dublin City and the balance of something over 50 per cent. must be distributed among areas outside of Dublin. That leads one to believe that the opportunities for the absorption of the rural population are rather meagre in relation to the huge area outside greater Dublin. We can only expect a solution from a completely revolutionised agriculture. There seems to be no opportunity for the surplus population in our small towns or on the land but to emigrate. If one were to study the figures something like 20 per cent. of this year's capital investment goes to agriculture. The reverse should be the case. You cannot develop agriculture by a starving of capital investments. There may be differences of opinion as to how you can put capital into agriculture.
We know very well that the present Minister did not help in the matter of putting capital into agriculture. We know there was what one might call the inter-Party blood bank. There were no voluntary donors and when the Minister wanted to get somebody whom he could press into service as a  contributor he went after the grain growers. He scalped the grain growers. By one act he considerably diminished their income and consequently bled them of capital. The point is that there has been over a long period a capital starvation in Irish agriculture. You can no more develop Irish agriculture on a basis of a starved capitalisation than you can develop industry. We want a new approach to our agricultural problems and the substantial infusion of capital if we are to alter substantially the pattern of Irish agriculture. Remember the pattern has not altered in the past 50 years. The mechanics may have altered but the general pattern of Irish agriculture remains the same.
I have spoken at some length on this debate and I am sure there are a few Deputies whom I have subjected to an endurance test.
Mr. O. Flanagan: The contribution of the Deputy has been very valuable.
Mr. Manley: I have been lured into this debate by some of the statements made by Deputy Moher. I have been very impressed by the originality of his ideas and by his contribution here this afternoon. I must, further, pay him the tribute that no contribution I have heard from anybody in this House on any topic has been as detached from political taint as that of Deputy Moher. I compliment him on that. I do not agree with everything he has said but I have been struck by the profundity of his knowledge in regard to cattle breeds and pig breeding. Evidently, he has a bias in favour of the Jersey cow. I do not intend to go into that controversial topic now. In my view, it is an open matter at the moment. Deputy Moher must, however, admit that our farmers are advancing scientifically and that they are still free to have the cattle of their choice. There may be something in the suggestion that those breeds should be zoned off in different areas but, while some of them are new, the Shorthorn has been very well tried in this country.
In the far distant past of our chequered history, the Shorthorn proved to be the mainstay of our existence as a nation. In generations past,  when we had a flourishing woollen industry which was destroyed by penal legislation from across the Channel and when we had a flourishing linen industry which, also, was destroyed and when strong efforts were made to ruin our live-stock trade those efforts failed because the Irish farmer stuck tenaciously to the Shorthorn breed of cattle. I am not advocating the Shorthorn but, in present circumstances and in the present set-up of things international, and from what we know from statements made here by the Minister and the ex-Minister, Deputy Walsh, we are convinced that we are lucky at this moment that we, too, have stuck so well to the Shorthorn breed in recent years.
There is no factor in our economy that brings in so much money to this country as our live stock. When we realise that something over £53,000,000 comes into this country from our exportable surplus we must admit that it is the sheet anchor of our economy. Deputy Moher has spoken at length on the various breeds of cattle. Evidently, he is an expert on that matter. He spoke with great earnestness and great conviction. Let us remember, however, that the Shorthorn breed has been tried out and has never been found wanting in all our chequered history and that the others are still new. I feel it should be left to the choice of our own people to select what suits them. At the moment, if we had nothing but herds of Jerseys in this country we would have an exportable surplus of butter—and the small exportable surplus which we have at the moment has to be subsidised to get a market for it outside our shores. We have to bear that fact in mind.
Deputy Moher also dealt with the bacon industry in this country. I cannot conceive how it is that with all that we heard in our schooldays about Irish bacon, its quality and its flavour, the position still is that our bacons are graded second-class and third-class on the British market. It is a reflection on ourselves and it is a reflection on our own Department of Agriculture that they have not succeeded in educating our people to produce the  type of pig and adopt the type of ration that will produce the type of bacon that is palatable to the people across the Channel.
Deputy Moher spoke about the small farmer and said he is being crushed out of existence. I agree with him to a certain extent. I believe he is crushed out of existence for the want of capital. I know farmers and their life is one long continual struggle trying to hold on to their homes—and that has been the case with their people for generations before them. They have never been able to rise to a level that would give them any independence by reason of lack of capital. It is extraordinary that while we all admit that agriculture is our basic industry, no matter on what side of the House we may sit, it has never got the proper nursing from the Department of Agriculture which it requires. We have loans and grants for various things but I submit they are just palliatives. Undoubtedly, they help but they are not sufficient to tide our people over any critical stage or to give them that independence which we should like to see them enjoy on their holdings.
Deputy Moher spoke at length about cereal production. It is paradoxical to find that here, where we have a tradition of producing ample supplies of barley and oats, we have had to import barley during the past two years. We had an assurance from the Minister the other day that he has good anticipations that that will not be necessary during the coming year and I am glad of it. I hope it will never be necessary in this country again. We can produce feeding barley here as well and much better than most continental countries. Surely, with the potential we have here, we should be able to produce the very maximum amount required. I believe there is a market in this country for 3,000,000 barrels of barley and I believe it will not be overproduced in the immediate years to come.
There are lamentations about the reduction in the wheat acreage but, if we are to believe the assurance of the  Minister, the reduction will be negligible as compared with last year. The position was—and evidently the previous Government were cognisant of the fact—that something had to be done to reduce the acreage under wheat.
Let us bear that in mind and let us face up to this problem in a realistic way. It could have been done in various ways but the fact stood out very forcibly and clearly that there were being set up in this country a whole lot of wheat ranches. That was because of the position that existed here in 1954. That is not desirable at all in this country because these ranches would be set up to the exclusion of the small farmer, the middle-class farmer, who produces here in times of emergency and who produces as a duty to himself, his family and the nation.
These are just a few matters to which I wished to refer. I had no notion whatever of intervening in this debate but I was impressed by the contribution of Deputy Moher and rose to make these few remarks.
Mr. Allen: I was not expecting to take part in the debate to-night. I thought Deputies on the Government side would do a little more in defending the Minister and the Estimate. I am surprised that there is only one sole representative of the Government on the benches opposite.
The Minister for Agriculture last week, in introducing his Estimate, started off by complaining and objecting very strongly to people telling him what he should not do. He did not want to hear that at all. He just wanted to hear their suggestions as to how he could do things better than he was doing them.
If we spend a few moments this evening investigating and examining what the Minister did in his administration of the Department in the last year and how he managed the affairs entrusted to him by Dáil Éireann 12 months ago it will be of advantage to the House. The Minister for Agriculture took office early in June last year. A number of problems arose during the following few months. He  had to face, not shortages or famine conditions, but something that is very important in our economy, that is, a number of saleable surpluses of agricultural produce which he was charged with finding a market for and selling to the advantage of Irish agriculture.
First and foremost he had butter. Within a couple of months of the Minister's appointment as Minister for Agriculture he realised that, owing to the magnificent manner in which his predecessor managed the affairs of the country in his three years of office, we had a surplus of butter last year. We will call it milk, whether it is converted into butter, cheese or any other product into which milk can be converted. Did the Minister for Agriculture proceed to sell that surplus milk? How did he proceed to sell it? He had spent a great number of years in this House condemning former Ministers for Agriculture for exporting our surplus and giving any kind of subsidy in respect of it. I heard him hundreds of times when he was on this side of the House, saying that he would be dead and he would be damned and he would be everything else before he would pay the damned British to eat our food. How often did we listen to the present Minister as Deputy Dillon telling that to the House and the country and preaching it off the platforms and condemning the Minister for the time being?
I am glad the Minister has returned to the House. We often heard him condemning his predecessors in office because they dared to subsidise the export of any agricultural product. He vowed solemnly here that he would be dead and damned rather than pay the bloody British, as he described them, or any other foreign people, to eat our food. Within six weeks of taking office he proceeded to pay them 10d. a lb.
I do not agree that the Minister was paying them anything, because they had sufficient butter if we never sent a pound to them. I do not agree with what the Minister said formerly, when in office, that he was paying the British to eat anything belonging to us. He was not. Even though he was paying the subsidy, he was not paying the  British. I hope, as a result of his education over the years, we will never hear from him, either as a Deputy in Opposition or as a Minister, that he was paying people in foreign countries to eat our food. Those people could do without our food. If the Exchequer was at a loss in subsidising the export of food, the Minister was not paying anybody outside this country to eat it. He was exporting it because it would not sell at the price our producers needed to produce the commodity. That is the reason why it cost a subsidy of 10d. a lb., or roughly that, to export our butter.
At the same time as we had that exportable surplus and full market for butter, the Government, in their wisdom and judgment, or for some reason, subsidised the Irish people to eat our butter. Remember it is not a subsidy to the farmer; it is a subsidy to the consumer in this country. The Government paid them 5d. a lb. by way of subsidy to reduce the price of butter.
As Deputy Walsh pointed out, in the month of May last year, on the market in Dublin and in towns throughout the country, the people would not buy New Zealand butter at 3/10 a lb. This morning I was in a grocer's shop in County Wexford. The grocer showed me first-class farmers' butter, mild salt, that he was offering at 3/1 a lb. He said that, although there were very many customers, working-class people, coming into the shop they would not buy a pound of it. They bought the 3/10 creamery butter.
Mr. Dillon: Did you buy any?
Mr. Allen: I did not require the commodity. I do not require butter, either creamery or farmers', at the moment. I was assured that the butter was first-class quality. The grocer told me he used it himself and had been using it for the past fortnight as it came in. He assured me it was the best and that at 3/1 a lb. the people would not buy it from him.
Mr. Dillon: So what?
Mr. Allen: It was first-class.
Mr. Dillon: So what?
Mr. Allen: They did not buy it. That is an indication——
Mr. Dillon: Of what?
Mr. Allen: ——that the people want the dearest and what they consider the best butter. The Minister failed miserably to deal with the surplus of butter that we had last year. He would talk about shortages, I am sure, if he found any. He took office with full and plenty of every single product as a result of the policy of Deputy Walsh when he was Minister for Agriculture over the previous three years.
I will come on to another agricultural product, pigs and bacon. Did anything happen in the last 30 years that was more sad or that showed such lack of appreciation by the Minister for Agriculture than the handling of the surplus of bacon and pigs that we had last year? Nothing that has happened in the history of this House was more degrading to Irish organisation and to a Minister for Agriculture than the mishandling by the Minister of the bacon position last year. Within a month or six weeks of the Government taking office, letters were issued from Government Departments to the bacon factories in this country threatening them that if they did not reduce the price of bacon drastic action would be taken. Was the Minister for Agriculture aware of that at the time?
Following on that the retail price of bacon was fixed and at the same time the price of mill offals, which were always controlled by the Minister for Agriculture, were put up by £4 or £5 a ton. The bacon factories responded within a few weeks as the threats continued and they reduced the price of pigs from, say, £10 to between £7 and £8 per cwt. The result was that hundreds of farmers producing pigs were almost bankrupt in the latter end of last year because of the Minister's action.
In the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture money is provided for the Pigs and Bacon Commission and we wonder what that commission was doing and what the Minister for Agriculture was doing. Had he any  concern for the interests of pig producers? In the previous 12 months mill offals were being sold at a fair price that enabled farmers to get a profit. This was due to the management of the offals by the then Minister for Agriculture which enabled farmers to make a profit on pig production. That is not so to-day and it has not been so since August of last year. The Minister should be ashamed to come to this House without a proper explanation as to why it was necessary to reduce the price of pigs without any compensating advantage to the consumers of bacon. The only thing that happened was that the pig producers had their prices reduced anything from £2 to £3 per cwt. while at the same time the price of offals went up from £4 to £5 a ton.
Has the Minister any apology to make to this House in regard to the situation? Is it any wonder the Minister in his opening statement was on the defensive from the very beginning? He did not want any of these matters to be considered, the price of pigs, the price of offals or anything else. The farmer is forced through the price of offals, to subsidise the price of bread and flour. That is what it means. It was to save in subsidy on bread and flour that the price of offals was put up by Government intervention. The more the millers got for wheat offals the less was required to subsidise bread and flour. The Minister should be ashamed that he sat in the Ministry of Agriculture and allowed that to go on, permitting people in pig production in this country to be put out of business. If things go on as they are for another year, there will not be the slightest difficulty in dealing with pig production or with surplus bacon; there will not be one ounce of it to export and it is doubtful if we will have half enough for our own use. The people are going out of pigs and getting rid of sows as fast as they can.
Apart from mill offals having to pay for wheat and flour subsidies there is another Government undertaking which is muscling in. If people come with their lorries to load offals at the mills in Dublin, they are told that if those  offals were transported to their town by C.I.E. they could buy the offals for so much a ton less. If that is not muscling in I do not know what is. I would like the Minister to check up on that if he has any interest in seeing that the farmer gets mill offals at a fair price. The Minister's predecessor in office so managed, without expense to the Exchequer, the price of offals from month to month that the farmers and the pig producers were able to get a fair return for their produce. That is no longer happening.
The question of the growing of wheat has been discussed very often inside the last five or six months. When the Minister took office he had something like 500,000 acres of wheat growing in the country and within a few weeks of taking office a campaign started in the organ of the Press supporting the Government, supporting the different groups that form the Government of this country.
Mr. Dillon: Like Mrs. Everywoman in the Evening Press.
Mr. Allen: There was a campaign because of the big wheat acreage that was sown in the country last year. Even a Congress of the Labour Party that sat in Wexford passed resolutions.
Mr. Corish: That was the National Convention.
Mr. Allen: Whatever it was, they passed resolutions which they had on the agenda condemning the growing of so much wheat.
Mr. Dillon: The Deputy could not get his congress to pass any resolution at all.
Mr. Allen: A campaign was begun about the racketeers who were growing the wheat. The Minister knows very well——
Mr. Corish: I do not remember the Labour Party passing these resolutions.
Mr. Allen: I read it on the local papers and when I raised it in this House previously I was not challenged on it.
Mr. McAuliffe: The Labour Party was never against the growing of wheat.
Mr. Allen: When I raised the matter before I did not give the name of the paper but I will check up on it and withdraw it if I am not correct. It was discussed at the Labour Party Congress in Wexford, I think, some time at the end of the year. The Minister for Agriculture and all the other groups opposed to wheat-growing in this country can give only one valid reason for the reduction in the price of wheat. That reason was that only racketeers were growing it. I say now that 98 per cent. of the wheat grown last year was grown by farmers who owned their own land. Less than 2 per cent. of the wheat grown was on conacre and the people who grew that wheat were not racketeers. Some of them were farmers' sons and some of them were agricultural labourers.
Mr. Dillon: Queer labourers.
Mr. Allen: Most of the conacre wheat was grown in two-acre or three-acre lots by small farmers and that wheat was less than 2 per cent. of the total.
Mr. Dillon: Nonsense!
Mr. Allen: I challenge the Minister to check up on every single acre grown in conacre in Leinster or any other part of the country where wheat was grown. A more despicable campaign was never carried on against the decent farmers of this country than that engaged in by the Minister. It was despicable and the Minister should hang his head in shame for having carried it on. He talks every other day in the House about the freedom which the farmers of this country should enjoy. He talks about their God-given right on their own land. Why, then, should he hold them up to odium by carrying on this unjust campaign? Why reduce the price of wheat at a time when farmers' costs—their rates, the cost of machinery and the cost of everything else they have to buy—had gone up? His reason for it was that racketeers were growing wheat and I say that a more dishonest campaign was never carried on against the people who, in their families' interests and in  the general interests of the country, decided to grow wheat.
At the moment farmers are paying higher rates, they are paying more for their manures and more for their machinery than when there was a higher price for wheat. In no single instance have the farmers' costs come down this year. The Minister is well aware of that, and if he wants to know any more about it he has only got to consult his Department officials. Many of the men whom he called racketeers were friends and supporters of his own Party. They were men who owned the land on which they grew the wheat. The Minister has also spoken about a surplus of wheat. Last year we were paying £31 or £32 a ton and now we are importing from the ends of the earth inferior maize at about £30 a ton. Surely wheat is more valuable for stock feeding than maize is and if we had a surplus of wheat the more of it we had the better. We should not be importing maize, barley or any other cereal and until this country gets a Minister for Agriculture with a different outlook we shall make no progress.
The Minister spent a considerable time over the introduction of his Estimate but during that time he never mentioned tillage with the possible exception of his reference to the racketeers who grew wheat. He was not the slightest bit concerned as to whether or not a sufficient amount of wheat, a sufficient amount of beet or of potatoes or of the other things that come from the earth of this country were grown in the country. Every year for the past 12 or 15 years an effort was made through advertisements in the daily papers to encourage the farmers to grow more, but the present Minister for Agriculture has not the slightest concern for what goes on in the fields. We knew the Minister's background and we thought that when he would come to occupy a responsible Ministry he would face things in a different light from the past and that he would realise that the economy of this country needed——
Mr. Dillon: One more cow, one more sow, one more acre under the plough.
Mr. Allen: ——much more tillage crops. We could do with another 1,000,000 acres of tillage and we would not be creating any surplus whatever. If we had a Minister for Agriculture capable of organising the sale and the storage of those crops when they were grown we would be much better off, but we have not got such a Minister, although he talked this year about barley growing. I agree that we should produce all the barley we need for coarse grain so that we would not require to import any maize. I hope that this harvest the Minister will have made some arrangement to take the barley off the farmers' hands. Most of the farmers will use the combine and will have their barley harvested within a couple of weeks, and I hope some provision will be made to provide buyers, or at least to take the barley off farmers' hands within a couple of weeks. Is there any organisation which will do that at short notice?
Mr. Dillon: No. I have told the farmers that there is no prospect of the barley being taken off their hands within a week or two.
Mr. Corry: Or a month or two months.
Mr. Dillon: Every barrel of the barley will be taken off their hands before the end of the year at not less than 40/- a barrel.
Mr. Allen: I think it is a shame that the Minister has not made some such arrangement. If the barley is not taken off the farmers' hands at short notice the scheme will break down and the farmers will be at a considerable loss. The biggest part of the crop will be grown in the Leinster counties with perhaps a certain amount in Cork and the greater part of it will be harvested by the combine. It must be in the mill for drying within 48 hours. If there is not some organisation beforehand to take that barley off the farmers' hands a lot of it will become a total loss. I hope we will not have to come in here at the end of the year to complain about that lack of organisation. Between now and the harvest  period something should be done. There is the question of sacks. There is the question of cartage and so on. The majority of the farmers who grow barley have no means of either storing or drying it.
Mr. Dillon: The Deputy should advise them to cut it with a reaper and binder and stack it.
Mr. Allen: Let the Minister go out and tell them that.
Mr. Corry: The Minister will do what he did with the oats in 1948: feed it to the rabbits.
Mr. Allen: We remember occasions here when the Minister talked about jailing farmers who used obsolete machines.
Mr. Dillon: I do not remember it.
Mr. Allen: He talked about the man with the horse and a tin can tied to the horse's tail. He said that man should be locked up in a mental hospital. If the farmers are encouraged by the Minister to buy the most up-to-date machinery, then they are entitled to use that machinery. They have their machinery now. Thousands of pounds have been invested in the purchase of combines. They are there for better or worse. The farmers will use them and it is up to the Minister to make arrangements to take the wheat, or anything else, off the farmers hands when it is cut. I hope I shall not have to advert to that again.
Mr. Dillon: I am telling the Deputy to advise the farmers to cut it with a reaper and binder and stack it.
Mr. Corry: I am telling the Minister that he will not be here for that.
Mr. Dillon: Deputy Allen cannot say that he was not told in time.
Mr. Corry: We shifted you before, and we will shift you again.
Mr. Allen: The farmers do not need advice as to what method they should adopt in harvesting their grain. They are quite capable of harvesting it; and it should be left to the farmer to use  whatever method he considers the most advantageous to him.
Mr. Dillon: The reaper and binder may well be to his best advantage.
Mr. Allen: I hope we have heard the last about the racketeers growing wheat in this country.
Mr. Dillon: I hope we have. We scattered them. They are on their way out.
Mr. Allen: The Minister can well be ashamed of himself. It was the wheat racketeers who grew the wheat to feed the people during the war, and they did it without any artificial manure.
Mr. Dillon: The Irish farmers fed nobody but themselves and their own.
Mr. Allen: They fed everyone in the country. They were not called racketeers then. Deputy Dillon, as he then was, had very little sympathy with them. We know his views on other matters, too, and they were not helpful to the nation in time of emergency. However, that is all past and gone now. Eggs are another agricultural product, but the Minister did not even want to mention eggs.
Mr. Dillon: They were 1/9d. per dozen when I came into office.
Mr. Allen: He said the farmers had priced themselves out of world markets for eggs, for butter, for cheese and almost for bacon. What did he mean by pricing themselves out? We would like him to explain that when he comes to reply.
Mr. Corry: He does not know.
Mr. Allen: Is it because of the price they are getting for milk? Is it suggested they should take a lower price for milk delivered to the creameries than they are getting at the moment? We would like an answer to that question. Have they priced themselves out of the market because they are getting 1/4 or 1/5 for milk delivered to the creameries? Have they priced themselves out of the market because of the maize-meal and the maize-corn and the expensive offals which are helping to pay the subsidy on bread  and flour? Remember, it is the expensive offals they feed their poultry in order to produce eggs. It might be economic for them to produce eggs to enable them to sell them in some other market. Has the Minister helped in that respect in any way?
Mr. Dillon: When did the bottom fall out of the poultry market?
Mr. Allen: Has the Minister not sat on one side and permitted another Government Department to put up the price of offals against the egg producer? Was it not that that put the egg producers out of the market and not any act of the egg producers themselves? Only one-third of the eggs produced two years ago are being produced to-day. The Minister may suggest that if eggs are produced in October, November and December the producers will find them economic. I wonder. Consider the present price of offals which the egg producer has to pay in order to save the Exchequer the subsidy on bread and flour.
In what way did the farmers price themselves out of the cheese market? In what way did they price themselves out of the chocolate crumb market? The suggestion at the back of all this is that the farmers should produce milk at the price at which the Minister thinks they should produce it in order to please him. The same is true in relation to eggs and bacon. That is the suggestion irrespective of whether or not it is economic to produce. The Minister knows quite well that agricultural production will decline if the farmers are not getting an economic price for their produce. That is the key to agricultural production.
It is no use the Minister shouting about overproduction of wheat or pigs or butter or cheese or anything else. It is no use his saying the farmers have priced themselves out of the market. Of course he means the British market, though he did not say it in so many words. The farmers want an economic price. They will not produce unless they get an economic price.
In what way have the farmers priced themselves out of the market? The  Minister should advise his colleagues in Government that their efforts from day-to-day are putting up costs against the farmers. The farmers have little or no control over their own costs. The industrialist cannot continue in production unless he gets the cost of his raw materials, his wages and his overheads and a selling price which will give him a reasonable profit for his effort and his energy. The efficient farmer is entitled equally to his overhead costs, to his rent and his rates, to fair maintenance for himself and his family and a decent standard of living, plus a selling price which will give him a fair margin of profit for his industry.
As in the case of an industrialist, if he is not getting those he cannot increase output. The Minister is well aware of that and knows that in several respects within the next year agricultural production in this country, unfortunately, will fall sharply. The Minister knows, but he is doing nothing, taking no steps to prevent it. Steps could be taken and what everyone wants—no matter on what side of the House he may be—is to get the largest possible production from the land. I want to say—and it has been said from this side of the House 1,000 times—that the key to increasing production is more tillage. Unless our farmers are prepared to produce crops and given a fair price for them when produced, unless they are given the opportunity and encouragement to increase the tillage acreage by at least another 1,000,000 acres, we will not make the progress desired by everybody.
The Minister concerned himself mainly with cattle production. It is very easy to discuss cattle production at the moment, because I suppose there has not been in the last century a greater boom or higher prices for cattle than we have at the present time—and have had for some time past. On this side of the House we are delighted that the farmers are getting such good prices for their live stock. The only thing wrong is that they have not sufficient live stock to sell. In what way could we have more live stock to sell at home or abroad?  That is the problem. I still maintain —and it is our policy, and that is where we differ——
Mr. Dillon: We have more cattle than we ever had before.
Mr. Allen: —fundamentally from the Minister for Agriculture—that we must get more tillage crops. It is a matter for the Minister and his Department so to organise affairs that the farmers will be enabled to produce more tillage crops and that an organisation will be built up to arrange to market and store those crops that are surplus to the farmers' requirements, whether wheat, beet, oats, barley or potatoes, or any other tillage crops. That is what we lack in this country more than anything else. Thousands of farmers lack storage for their own grain or facilities to hold it for any length of time after the harvest. The Minister is aware of that. What has he done about it? We know there are farm-building schemes, but I suggest to the Minister that there is one direction in which he could bend his energies and those of his Department and direct the money which is being voted to him, and that is by providing much larger grants than he has given up to the moment for the storage of grain on farms and for the purchase, by loan or otherwise, of dryers that will temporarily, at any rate, dry the grain until it is taken off the farmers' hands.
Until that is done we will not have greater production from the land here in cereal crops. Much could be done in that matter if the Minister would get down to it and admit it. We want him to do that because we believe it is in the best interests of agriculture. He is the leader of agriculture at the moment and should give a lead by asking the farmers, and helping them in every possible way, to increase tillage in this country to feed animals and human beings. There is no use in talking about having more live stock until we have food to feed them with. Over 60 per cent. of the live stock of this country is underfed and starved throughout the winter——
Mr. Dillon: Hear, hear! It is true for you.
Mr. Allen: ——because of the fact that we are not producing enough cereals, enough turnips and other food to feed these cattle in the winter months. The Minister talks about better grass——
Mr. Dillon: Silage and hay.
Mr. Allen: ——and we highly approve of better grass and grasslands, but it must be remembered that out of the 12,000,000 acres of arable land we are said to have in this country some 9,000,000 acres are under grass. That will feed our stock for six or seven months of the year, but for about five months they must be fed on something else.
Mr. Dillon: Silage and hay.
Mr. Allen: They must be fed on something else. We know all about silage and hay and the amount of it you could have, but so long as the Minister will continue to talk of silage and hay we will still have 50 or 60 per cent. of the live stock of this country fed on the most expensive product that is available to-day and it is costing about £8 per cwt.—beef. That is what we are feeding——
Mr. Dillon: Not if they got enough silage and hay.
Mr. Allen: ——to our live stock. The half of them are being fed on beef at £8 per cwt. The Minister and the country could well afford to subsidise farmers to grow tillage crops. It would cost less and be more economic than feeding live stock on beef. When we have half of our live stock starved during the winter for the want of sufficient food we cannot make any progress.
The Minister suggested the other day that it was only necessary for a Shorthorn cow to get hay and a little silage for the winter and that she would live quite well. We can go down through any of the dairying counties at the present moment and the cattle are all out on the grass and the great majority of them are barely able to waddle around. It will be the end of the year before they recover. If the Minister could do something about that——
Mr. Dillon: I doubled the grants for cow-houses.
Mr. Allen: It is no good for a hungry cow to stand in a house.
Mr. Dillon: It is a good beginning to give her a bit of shelter.
Mr. Allen: She is as well out as in a house except that she will have the shelter. There will be no progress so long as the cattle are hungry or fed on bad hay. When it comes to July, which we generally find is the wettest month in the year——
Mr. Dillon: You can make silage then.
Mr. Allen: It will take about another 20 years, with the greatest possible effort, to get all the people who are making bad hay to make good silage.
Mr. Dillon: Not if you will help me.
Mr. Allen: I shall give all the help I can.
Mr. Dillon: I do not hear you giving much so far.
Mr. Allen: We want better leadership from the Minister in that respect. We want him to encourage farmers in the dairying counties where the least tillage crops are grown and the largest herds of cows are kept, whatever breed they may be, and where the big majority of them are starved during the winter months, to grow tillage crops. We want the Minister to encourage the farmers in those counties to grow more cereals for the feeding of their stock in the winter. We suggest also that the Minister should double or treble the present amount he has given for the erection of corn lofts for the storage of grain. He should give larger grants to encourage the farmers to erect those grain stores. On every farm where there is none at the moment, the farmer should have his own storage for whatever grain he might have. I suggest the Minister should provide loans at a reasonable rate of interest to enable the farmers to buy dryers where they are going to harvest their grain with a combine.
Mr. Dillon: Would you not buy them a binder and reaper instead?
Mr. Allen: The Minister always claimed great liberty for the farmers. If I were he I should leave it to their own judgment as to how they would harvest their grain.
Mr. Blowick: They cannot manage their stock without your telling them how to do it, but they can manage their grain.
Mr. Allen: If the Minister for Lands would cease interrupting me I might be able to proceed with my speech. The production of cattle and the breeds of cattle we should have in this country is a subject that has occupied most of the time since the debate on this Estimate opened. The Minister spent a lot of his time the other day telling us of the great properties of the dairy shorthorn and of the danger that existed of the dairy shorthorn being eliminated. I have always advocated the Shorthorn breed. Almost 20 years ago, when I was a member of a committee of agriculture, I was one of those who succeeded in persuading the committee at that time to give no subsidy in the way of premium to any breed except to the Shorthorn. However, as the personnel of the committee changed in the succeeding years the outlook changed—but, as far back as 20 years ago, I and a couple of others succeeded in doing that.
The Shorthorn is the breed we know best in this country but the Minister should not boast too much about that breed. We know quite well that over the past 20 years the milking properties of the Shorthorn breed have seriously deteriorated because of the kind of breeding that has been in operation. Anyone who keeps a dairy cow or who has anything to do with dairying will know that the big outcry all down the years from Limerick, Cork and Tipperary, where they produce all the cows and the milk—and the Minister is aware of it—has been about the low yield from those cows. As each four or five years passed by, the yield fell. The beef properties of the animals were improving each year but the milking qualities were  deteriorating. That was the main and, in fact, the sole reason why the Shorthorn breed came into disfavour with the people who depend mainly on what milk the cow gives for their economy. The calf has improved, if you like, and so has the price which the farmer will get for it. Nevertheless the amount of milk the cow will give over her lactation period is far more important.
No farmer will keep in his herd any cow that is not economic, irrespective of what type of calf she may breed. As a long-term policy, I suggest that the Shorthorn breed is fundamental to our cattle-breeding economy. There is plenty of room for other breeds. For instance, the Friesians will be tried out. I believe they are not the bad and dangerous breed to the cattle industry that the Minister thinks they are. However, that will be found out as time goes by. It is only after ten, 15 or 20 years that we can fully decide whether or not they are suitable from the point of view of breeding for the economy of this country—and that will be decided by the ordinary rank and file of farmers throughout the country.
At the present time, we have a boom in beef production, in stores, and so forth. I want to suggest that the money being spent by committees of agriculture in giving premiums to beef breeds—say, the Hereford or Aberdeen-Angus breeds — should be fully switched and that instead the Minister should help to maintain the Shorthorn breed. I suggest he switch from committees of agriculture whatever money the Department gives in the way of premiums and that no premiums whatever be given in respect of beef breeds from now on. I will defend that suggestion in any place. The Hereford and the Aberdeen-Angus are the two main beef breeds. The societies that control and look after those particular breeds are well able to cater for them. If they want to give them prizes, and so forth, it is up to them to do it, but I think that, with beef prices at their present level, the Minister should switch whatever money is provided by committees of agriculture, or that is available to them, to giving increased premiums to the Shorthorn breed.
Mr. Dillon: I think that is a good idea.
Mr. Allen: I have always advocated that and, as I have said, I was a member of a committee of agriculture which, 20 years ago, had that in operation. There is much more justification now for that step than there was at that time. This year, the Wexford Committee of Agriculture had experience of having returns made in respect of Shorthorn premium bulls on which the committee were paying a premium. They did not get one-third of the service necessary in order to qualify them to earn that premium. In some instances, they scarcely got any at all. The big change was all towards the Hereford and Aberdeen-Angus. It is an absolute waste of public money to subsidise beef breeds. They are quite capable of looking after themselves at the present time. The money thus spared could be devoted to the Shorthorn breed. The amount would be so small that you could not spread it over all the heifers of the Shorthorn breed but you might supplement it and possibly encourage farmers to keep those earmarked heifers.
I want to suggest, further, that a crisis will arise within the next 12 months or so because of the shortage of in-calf heifers which we shall have in this country. At the moment, a farmer who keeps cattle and who is accustomed to having a number of springing heifers and sending a good number of heifers in the year to service, realises that it would pay him much better to sell those as stores. Therefore, you will have a severe shortage of heifers in calf inside the next couple of years if beef prices remain as high as the are now. The Minister should take note of that now. I do not know what to suggest to him but nevertheless the Minister could——
Mr. Dillon: There is no use in telling me of a difficulty if you have no suggestion to resolve it.
Mr. Allen: It is the Minister's problem and responsibility and this country is paying him and his Department and he has taken on that responsibility.
Mr. Dillon: You are getting £600 a year yourself tax free. Come on.
Mr. Allen: I fully appreciate that the Minister is worth ten times what he is getting.
Mr. Dillon: And you are getting free travelling expenses to boot, to give me your advice.
Mr. Allen: The Minister should not make too many complaints. Any farmer will say when the Minister complains that he is inadequately paid, “Where would you be if you could not take a joke?” The Minister must take a joke, whether it is fair play or not. While he has accepted the Ministry, he must stay there. I hope that in the coming year he will not make as big a mess of it, if we have agricultural surpluses of any kind, as he made in the last.
Mr. Coogan: By the slaughter of calves?
Mr. Corry: Would the calf over there keep quiet?
Mr. Dillon: God help them, they are upset.
Mr. Davin: By the Budget.
Mr. Allen: No Minister will ever be able to operate a firm or rigid cattle breeding policy. The people should be given, what they have and always have had, free choice as to the type of cattle they breed. It is the duty of the Minister so to spend whatever money is made available to him in the direction that he believes is in the best interests of whatever breed is to be maintained as the foundation stock. The Minister can do that with advantage.
I hope that as a result of the establishment of the insemination stations, by the use of bulls of high milk background, the milk yield of the Shorthorns and dairy Shorthorns will improve. I say to the Minister with all respect, that if the milk yield of the Shorthorns does not improve, the Shorthorn is doomed, irrespective of what the Minister can do about it. If the Shorthorn does not give sufficient milk to pay for its keep, it is not worth having in any herd.
 I was surprised at the Minister boosting the Shorthorn for the best part of an hour. He suggested that the best way to breed store cattle was to cross with an Aberdeen Angus bull. You are bound to have good stores but that matter could be left to the farmers. They are well aware of that. The unfortunate thing at the moment is that only Aberdeen Angus or Herefords are being bred by the farmers. Eight out of every ten calves in this country are Aberdeen Angus or Herefords. The number of milch cows and heifers that will have calves in the coming year will drop almost to zero unless each farmer in his own herd supplies his own requirements.
You could have a very grave shortage of milk in this country within the next year or two. Instead of increasing our herds and increasing cattle output you will find a very serious depletion because of that fact. It would be good national policy to encourage all cattle owners and all those who have heifers two years old and two and a half years old to put them all to breeding. It would be good national economics. Irrespective of whether they are Herefords, Aberdeen Angus or any other breed, they will all have calves. That is the only way in which we can increase our cattle population.
In connection with the eradication of bovine tuberculosis, I have a suggestion to make. It is a matter that is engaging the attention of all cow owners. Under the Live-stock Breeding Act the Minister controls the licensing of all bulls. All bulls must be licensed under that Act before they can be legally kept by farmers. I believe the Minister has power to make a regulation that no bull can be licensed, even at the local licensing session, until they have passed the T.B. test. Every bull that is given a licence should have passed the T.B. test and there should be a certificate there on the licensing day before they will be examined by the officers of his Department.
Mr. Dillon: Why?
Mr. Allen: The Minister is aware that all bulls shown in Ballsbridge and Cork and the places where the Department  select premium bulls must be certified free from tuberculosis.
Mr. Dillon: Yes.
Mr. Allen: Not all those examined are found to be free from tuberculosis.
Mr. Dillon: No.
Mr. Allen: A good percentage of them react and such reactors have been brought to the local markets in the country and farmers have purchased them and have kept them for service. While you are spending public money in trying to eradicate tuberculosis, which is most desirable, you are perpetuating it by licensing bulls that have tuberculosis. It would be quite simple to carry out my suggestion. Possibly, it would not be done immediately but it could be brought in in the next licensing session or next spring. All bulls at service should, in the first instance, before being licensed, be certified free from tuberculosis. They may have been reared at a cow that was full of tuberculosis, which would help to spread it.
Mr. Dillon: Would it not be rather hard to ask a man to pay the veterinary fee to get a bull tested for tuberculosis before he knew the bull would be passed? He may spend two guineas having it tested and then the bull might not pass.
Mr. Allen: You can include them in the free testing without any trouble. It is quite possible to do so. While we are on the question of bovine tuberculosis I would like to have one matter cleared up. Take a farmer in an area outside the scheduled area. If 30 per cent. of his herd are found to have tuberculosis, is there any scheme for replacing those cows? There is a scheme in operation in Bansha, Sligo, Clare—the intensive areas— whereby cows are replaced. A farmer has made the point to me that one-third of his cows, in a 20 or 30-cow herd, reacted and he was anxious to replace them but could not afford to do it. He wanted to know what the Department would do about it and he asked would  any encouragement be given to farmers to replace reactors. That is a matter for consideration by the Minister. It will be a very important matter from now on.
It is a serious matter for the farmer if one-fourth or one-third of his herd react and he has no means of replacing them. If he sells the reactors, he will probably get 50 per cent. of the cost of new heifers, but he cannot afford to buy them.
I suggest to the Minister that, provided such a farmer undertook to maintain a tubercle-free herd, some help should be given, that the reactors should be taken from him and sold and replaced with heifers from Grange or wherever the Department keeps these heifers. I make that suggestion. It may not be feasible but it does seem nonsensical to continue testing herds and finding a good proportion of reactors if the farmer cannot afford to get rid of the reactors and if they remain in the herd.
The farmers are aware of the seriousness of that position. Some farmers can get rid of the reactors but others will not attempt to do so unless there is some incentive given to them. The farmers should be encouraged to get rid of the reactors. That encouragement could be given by replacing the reactors on condition that the farmer would maintain a tubercle-free herd. I do not know whether it is possible or not but something might be done in that direction.
There is one other type of live stock with which the Minister might concern himself. It seems that now and in the foreseeable future we are going to get good prices for meat of all types except pig meat. It looks as though we are going to get an economic price for beef and mutton. In regard to mutton, there are more possibilities for increasing our total live-stock production than in regard to cattle. A big increase in cattle might create its own problem but even a doubling of our present flocks of sheep will create no problem whatsoever. We should be able to provide the food for them and it should be the Minister's policy to increase the total and to encourage stock owners to increase their numbers of breeding sheep. We could thus within  12 months increase our total amount of mutton and we would also have the wool for which we have a very good dollar market.
It would be a great advantage to this country if a campaign were carried on now, which is the proper time of the year for it. There has, admittedly, been an increase in the flocks over the last two years but there is still plenty of room even to double our existing flocks and we will get a substantially increased income for the country by doing that and doing it in a short time. I throw out that suggestion to the Minister and I hope he will adopt it because it would be of advantage to the agricultural community.
The Minister told the House about the increase in the value of cattle and sheep over 1948. He valued the whole of the cattle at £40 a head and the sheep at £7. I think he overshot the mark very much because the average value of all our live-stock cattle would not be £40 a head any day of the year; neither would sheep average £7. When the Minister is trying to boast he should be a little more careful about his figures and not exaggerate by any more than double what the amounts were.
The Minister also went back on the old device of describing the conditions under which he assumed office in 1948. I had hoped that with three years in office and three out of it the Minister would have grown up and that he would not engage in the childish pranks he was engaged in six years ago. When he took over the Ministry he was young and over-enthusiastic. He made a lot of wild statements. The very first time he introduced the Vote for Agriculture I think he made a statement about the condition of the country when he took over. It was most unjust and the Minister knew it quite well.
Mr. Dillon: It was the literal truth.
Mr. Allen: It was most unjust the way he spoke about the cattle stocks, the sheep and pig stocks and the condition of the land.
Mr. Dillon: Read it out.
Mr. Allen: I have not got it here with me.
Mr. Dillon: Get it and read it.
Mr. Allen: I think every time the Minister reads it a blush of shame will come to his cheek.
Mr. Dillon: No, there will not. It was the gospel truth.
Mr. Allen: It is not worth while going back on it now.
Mr. Deering: What about your own record?
Mr. Allen: The Deputy is only a baby in the House and he should not talk. The Minister went back on this Estimate again about the condition in which he found the country and about all he did to improve it. He was going to drown the British in eggs, to choke them with butter and I do not know what else.
Mr. Deering: You have lost a lot of the time of the House talking about cattle.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Deputy Deering should not interrupt. He will get every opportunity of making his own statement.
Mr. Allen: There will be ample opportunity for Deputy Deering to say what he has to say much more intelligently than I have done. I can assure him I will not interrupt and I will have manners while he is speaking.
Mr. Deering: I am a friend of the Minister.
Mr. Allen: We will get back to the Minister. I suggest in all honesty that when the Minister came to the House the other day he should have given an account of his stewardship over the last year. He did not do that; he was on the defensive in every respect because he realised that he made a mess of things during the last year when he had surpluses of every single item of agricultural produce. Surpluses were left to him by his predecessor in office  and he failed to handle them. There was one occasion before when the Minister was faced with a surplus because of his own propaganda, and that was a surplus of oats. He betook himself to the furthest parts of America so that he would avoid the criticism and the furore that would envelop him. He did not want to face the farmers at that time. He failed to market that surplus or to help the farmers who produced it to market it and he should be the last one to talk about conditions.
The Minister took over this country in 1948 after two or three of the worst famine years in our history as far as weather and crops were concerned. He took over at a time when well over 100,000 head of cattle had died because of weather conditions. He took over after seven years of a world war when there was famine and scarcity all over the world.
Mr. O'Sullivan: Economic war, you mean.
Mr. Allen: The Parliamentary Secretary was at the sucking bottle stage when the economic war came along. I move to report progress.
Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
An Ceann Comhairle: On the motion for the Adjournment, Deputy Blaney  gave notice that he would raise the subject-matter of Questions Nos. 45, 46 and 47 on the Order Paper.
Minister for Local Government (Mr. O'Donnell): Perhaps he did not know I was taking them.
Mr. O'Sullivan: That Budget has upset everybody over there.
Mr. Davin: Could we find the missing man?
Mr. Bartley: Perhaps he has had an emergency call; a messenger has gone to find him.
Mr. O'Donnell: In fairness to Deputy Blaney, I do not want to take advantage of his absence.
An Ceann Comhairle: If the Deputy gives notice, he might reasonably be expected to be in the House to raise the matter.
Mr. O'Donnell: The House was very indulgent with me earlier to-day and I should like that the same courtesy would be extended to Deputy Blaney.
An Ceann Comhairle: It is quite irregular. I shall adjourn the House.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.35 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 5th, 1955.