Tuesday, 25 June 1957
Dáil Éireann Debate
Go ndeonfar suim nach mó ná £278,440 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íochta an mhuirir a thiocfas chun bheith iníochta i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31ú lá de Mhárta, 1958, le haghaidh Tuarastal agus Costas Roinn na Gaeltachta, maille le Deontais le haghaidh Tithe agus Ildeontais-i-gCabhair.—(Aire na Gaeltachta).
Mr. Lindsay: When the Dáil adjourned on Wednesday afternoon last, I was dealing with the affairs and administration generally of that section of the Department of the Gaeltacht known in this country and in other countries as Gaeltarra Éireann.  For the benefit of the House, I might state briefly that Gaeltarra Éireann activities include the production of knitwear, tweeds, toys, certain types of school bags and linen, mainly embroidered. This industry, as I have already stated, had its beginnings in the days of the old Congested Districts Board. The centres of the knitwear and crocheting industries have largely been the same ever since. There have been cases where new centres have been set up and where the labour content in certain of them has increased from time to time.
There have also been cases, particularly recently, where the labour content, especially in the knitwear industry, has declined with a fall in production. In the course of the Minister's opening statement, he used a rather queer statement, having regard to replies given to parliamentary questions put down by me in relation to the labour content of the knitwear industry and in relation to production. On page 3 of his opening statement, the Minister said:—
“The position is not quite so satisfactory in the cases of the knitting industry and the toy industry and special consideration will have to be given in these industries in order to gear production to market requirements.”
One of the first essentials in the gearing of production to market requirements—I take it the objective would be to increase production and to seek bigger, better and wider markets for that production—is the appointment at once of a production manager. The last Gaeltarra Éireann production manager died in or around 1953. He has not been replaced, except in the queer way of giving an already fully occupied official of that Department—the tweed designer—something like £300 a year extra as acting production manager. Such a state of affairs in relation to production is not, in my opinion, calculated  to improve production in any way, particularly where the management, control and inspiration for higher production is in the hands of a man who must already be over-occupied at his own job of designing.
Perhaps the Minister will tell the House what exactly he means by gearing production to market requirements. Does he mean a continuation of what is in operation at the moment in these centres where production has been decreased by reason of the fact, as stated by the Minister in reply to several parliamentary questions to me, that the sales of this material were not as great as the amount produced?
In the main, the girls who work in these centres work hard. The manageresses in charge of them work equally hard. Many of these centres in the remote Gaeltacht districts are devoid of the amenities to which the manageresses were accustomed before going there. In my opinion, their work there is to a very large extent vocational, having regard to the small amount of money they earn. Of course, the girls who work in these industries enjoy the advantage of having them near their homes and it meets with the overall desire not alone of this Parliament but of the whole of the country to keep as many as possible of these girls at home.
I understand that within the past couple of months in centres of which I have personal knowledge certain of these girls have been allowed to go. Some have left of their own accord, but, significantly enough, their places have not been filed. Where did they go? Did they seek employment in other types of work? They did not. They emigrated. All of it is due to the fact that what they produce, according to the official replies given to me and information at my disposal, is not being sold as widely and in as large quantities as it might be. When I was in charge of this Department, it was, as I think it could reasonably be said now, in its infancy. Long before the Department was set up and long before I ever knew that I would be put in charge of it, there were certain happenings in relation to Gaeltarra  Éireann, its management and control that merited, to say the least of it, inquiry.
The system of sales for Gaeltarra Éireann is conducted partly by established civil servants and partly through agents who are not civil servants, but who are employed on a commission basis and who are allocated certain areas. In addition, they are sometimes, as I hope to point out in detail, confined to certain articles. For instance, in the City of Dublin, there is one agent for tweed alone. There is another agent for linen and knitwear. There are two other agents. The City of Dublin agent for linen and knitwear has the Counties Dublin, Louth, Meath and Wicklow. The remaining 22 counties are divided—I speak from recollection now—almost equally between the other agents—one for the south-west and one for the north-west and west.
It will, I am sure, be a matter of some interest for Deputies to know the wages paid in these centres. I do not propose to go into them in any great detail. I just want to give the House and the country an idea of how this industry that is so long on its feet is now in a position to let workers go and at the same time try to keep them working. I am satisfied that the rates of pay are not adequate to meet living costs imposed upon these people. They are certainly not the wages that would entice our people to stay at home.
In the knitting centres, the rates of pay of the workers, excluding those in respect of whom the details will be found in the Book of Estimates, are as follows. Those who work machines get 1/5½ per hour, if they are of average standard. Those who work circular machines get 1/7 an hour. The same standard is applied. Hand-knitting is paid at the rate of 6d. per hour; crochet work, 5½d. an hour; winding, a penny, 1¼d., or 1¾d. for two ounces of yarn, according to the kind of yarn. In the finishing centre at Tourmakeady in County Mayo, the rates are based on age and the service of the worker rising to a maximum rate of £3 15s. per week to each worker on reaching 21 years of age.
 In the crochet centre at Bruckless, the position is something better. The assistant supervisor in charge of the crochet work gets £4 10s. per week. In regard to the linen and embroidery centres, girls work at piece-rates based on 6d. an hour. For finishing, washing, pressing, and so on, again girls are employed and, again, for time rates based on age and service the wage rises to £3 15s. per week for all workers on reaching the age of 21. For the purpose of the criticism which I propose to offer of the administration and management of this section of the Department, I should like Deputies to bear in the mind the princely figures earned by our girls whom we exhort week-in and week-out to stay at home in their own country. Everybody knows, on looking at the Book of Estimates, what is earned by the Civil Service section of this industry. Salaries generally are not very high except for those holding superior executive positions and then, even with bonuses, I think you will not find any of them reaching £1,700 a year or so— all of which is known and subject to whatever inroads can be made upon it by the Revenue Commissioners in each year.
Let us move, then, from the wages paid to the workers and the salaries paid to the civil servants on to the commission earned by the agents. There is one agent for the whole of the country and for Great Britain for toys. Admittedly he probably employs subagents or travellers. However, I will take the years 1952 to 1956 and give the House and the country the total commission paid to these agents for work which I shall submit and, I hope, prove, is very inadequately done—and it is no wonder it is inadequately done because when a man reaches a certain figure by reason of income-tax, surtax, and all the rest of it, there is very little incentive to go any further.
In the year 1952, the agent for toys received £2,710 in commission. In 1953 he received £5,042. In 1954 he received £5,948. Who would be Taoiseach of this country when there are vacancies for agents as profitable as that? In 1955 he received £5,137. In 1956 he received £3,874. Deputies might do  well now to look at the series of questions I have been directing to the Minister for the Gaeltacht in English for the very special reason that this is a matter that affects the nation as a whole, affects our export trade and affects various facets of the lives of our people The questions were answered in Irish. The Minister is perfectly entitled to do that. However, as this section of the Department would like, the import of the answers given in Irish would not be felt so widely.
The sales agent for linen and knitwear in the City of Dublin and the Counties of Dublin, Louth, Meath and Wicklow for the year 1952 drew as commission £4,016. In the year 1953 that same agent drew £1,766. In 1954 he drew £2,125. In 1955 he drew £3,200 and in 1956 he drew £2,766. The agent for the southern counties in the same years earned £2,329 in 1952; £2,006 in 1953; £2,607 in 1954; £3,036 in 1955 and £3,436 in 1956. The western agent was not there in 1952. He started in 1953 and earned £2,101. In 1954 he earned £2,415. In 1955 he earned £2,775 and in 1956 he earned £1,994.
The tweed agent for the City of Dublin does not do the work. He is ill. He does not employ anybody to do the work for him. There is no necessity for him to do it because he is supplied with a member of the existing staff of Gaeltarra Éireann, a warehouseman, who draws his salary from Gaeltarra Éireann as a ware houseman and gets a certain percentage of the commission. How can a warehouseman do the job of the other man and draw commission in respect of it and probably be told he is part-time and, at the same time, draw his full salary for the job at Westland Row? That is something that may interest Deputy J. Murphy, particularly, having regard to the questions on the Order Paper to-day about people in certain established jobs getting part-time work elsewhere. That is something which I am sure will interest fair-minded Deputies on the Government side of the House.
In 1952 this tweed agent for the City of Dublin earned £655. In 1953 he earned £1,908. In 1954 he earned £4,242. You will find people in this  country who will tell you that Deputies are too well paid. In 1955 the figure for this agent's earnings was £3,306 and in 1956, it was £2,239. He did not do a bat in that year; he did not employ anyone in the strict sense of the word. Admittedly, a little of his commission was taken away, but these commissions are very high.
I know agents travelling for tweed firms and linen firms whose commission is barely over one-fifth of what the agents of Gaeltarra Éireann are paid. I know one particular man, travelling for a most reputable firm in this country, who gets 1 per cent. commission. Gaeltarra Éireann agents get 5 —at least 5. There was one case where it was 6¼ until it was reduced recently, in the words of the Minister, to bring it into line with the others— but only when attention was drawn to it.
We have an agent in Germany for Gaeltarra Éireann and in 1952 he drew £856; in 1953, £4,581; in 1954, £4,047; in 1955, £6,326; and in 1956, he is down to £1,387. We have an agent in America. In 1952, he earned £1,721; in 1953, £2,453; in 1954, he is down to £909; in 1955, he is up again to £1,769; and in 1956, he received £4,902. People who say that they are losing faith in this country should take heart. There are great jobs here—great jobs.
Mr. Lindsay: The amount received from the sales of knitwear in 1942-43 was £100,416. That figure has remained more or less static down the years, sometimes going above £100,000, sometimes going below it, until in 1956-57, it reached a total of £124,546. Having regard to increasing prices, in 14 years that is the increase in production—is it very appreciable?
Tweed is the product in regard to which a remarkable increase is shown and it is a tribute to those responsible, particularly the weavers, particularly the workers who work for small wages  and who turn out tweed of such design and standard and quality that it has increased its market from £51,110 in the year 1942-43 to over £262,000 in the year 1956-57. Toys have shown some increase but not very much.
The standard trade discount allowed on knitwear over the whole country is 13 per cent.—that is, where goods are standard and of the recognised Gaeltarra Éireann quality—which, when the goods are standard, is very good. In reply to a question last week or the week before the Minister told me that these knitwear goods were divided, upon examination by experts, into three classes—standard, which would be sold in the ordinary way less 13 per cent. trading discount; substandard but saleable; and substandard and unsaleable. Now, we can ignore altogether the “substandard and unsaleable” because no price is put on it. The Minister tells me, in a parliamentary reply, that the substandard and saleable is priced and the agents are informed of its general quality and the price—which, I take it, is either a lesser price than that for a standard quality or a higher percentage trading discount is allowed on substandard goods.
Deputies—and the country—will be surprised to know that perfectly good standard Gaeltarra Éireann knitwear was invoiced from the Gaeltarra Éireann headquarters, the invoices being initialled by the manager of Gaeltarra Éireann, at the price stated, less 13 per cent. That, in itself—an invoice bearing the price, bearing a trading discount less 13 per cent., signed by the management of Gaeltarra Éireann—means only one thing, that those are standard goods. As I said, Deputies will be shocked to know that while these girls are working for 1/5½, 1/7 and in some cases for 6d. an hour, standard goods of Gaeltarra Éireann were being sold as substandard and a percentage reduction trading discount given on them as high as 25 per cent. and in some cases even higher.
It is very hard to believe that. That might happen for a little while in the  average business house, but the management of an averagely well run business house upon discovering it would, I feel sure, get rid of the sources of the evil. But when you find that this section of the Department, which is politely referred to here each year as a social service, when you find civil servants in this country, where civil servants enjoy an extremely high reputation for honesty and integrity and for fearless concept of duty at all times, turning the blind eye——
An Ceann Comhairle: The Deputy must make the charge, if a charge is to be made, against the Minister, not against civil servants. The Minister is responsible to this House. The civil servants are not here; the Minister is.
Mr. Lindsay: When you find the Minister standing over that kind of conduct, what are we to expect? I shall not delay the House with long and detailed examples but I want to quote a few instances of the type I mentioned. I forgot to tell the House when dealing with the agents that they sign a letter of acceptance of their appointments in which there is a variety of stipulations. Paragraph 4 of a letter of appointment, dated 12th May, 1952, the terms of which were accepted by the linen and knitwear agent for the City of Dublin, the County of Dublin and Counties Louth, Meath and Wicklow, says: “You will have to fulfil the duties imposed on you from time to time by order of the Parliamentary Secretary”—the Parliamentary Secretary was in control then—“as duties suitable for the post and you will always have to pay due heed to the directions of the manager of Gaeltarra Éireann with regard to your duties, with regard to the sort, amount and area of sales inside your agent's district and with regard to any arrangement that may be necessary regarding trade with any particular customer.” I take that simply to mean that the person appointed would have to do the job under the directions of the manager or management generally of Gaeltarra Éireann and that any arrangement with a customer would be dealt with beforehand by the agent with the management.
 While I am on that letter of appointment I can also tell the House that paragraph 8 stipulates that the Parliamentary Secretary—the Minister now—“can put an end to the agency at any time by giving three months' notice in writing, but in cases of misconduct the Parliamentary Secretary”—the Minister now—“can end the agency without notice and without stating a reason.”
In my view it is misconduct if a substantial amount of goods, invoiced less 13 per cent. and obviously standard, are sold at a discount of 25 per cent. It is misconduct not to approach the management or those responsible beforehand prior to making any such arrangement with any customer. These positions are whole-time positions and an agent doing his work must of necessity give a great deal of time to it, so much so, in my view, that other avocations followed by agents would interfere considerably with the carrying out of their work as whole-time agents.
I found that to be the case. I found that the agent for the City of Dublin and the four counties I have already mentioned is, on his own telling, the sole owner and sole director—there will be play about “sole owner” and “sole director” here—of a firm trading in the same goods, trading abroad and in certain instances trading at home in this market, contrary to the conditions upon which he gets the goods from Gaeltarra Éireann for his company.
In additions to the figures I have mentioned by way of commission there is a company, the name of which is well known to the Minister, in which this agent has an interest. When the Minister told me in reply to a parliamentary question that he was not satisfied that he was the sole owner of that business, that another director had been elected on the 19th December last, I could hardly believe that the Minister—not by himself, but by some official—would not have taken the same steps that I took and gone to the company office and found out that this company was originally a company of 9,000 £1 shares, 4,500 held by an Englishman and the other 4,500 held by this agent on the 10th December last.
In fairness to the agent, it should be  stated that he notified Gaeltarra Éireann that he was now sole owner, but the Minister must take advantage of a technicality in company law to find that he is not because on the 19th December the English partner's 4,500 £1 shares were transferred to the Dublin agent and the secretary of the company in this proportion—4,499 £1 shares were transferred to the agent, who already held 4,500 shares, and in order to comply with the technicality of the Companies Acts one £1 share was transferred to the secretary of the company.
The Minister tells me the agent is not the sole owner; there was another director elected on the 19th December, the Minister says with great solemnity. The position now is that of the £9,000 capital of that company the knitwear and linenwear sales agent for Dublin City and County and Counties Louth, Meath and Wicklow has 8,999 shares and the little girl in the office has one £1 share.
The Minister says that the agent is not the sole owner, not the sole director. The agent himself told me personally that he was; he informed Gaeltarra Éireann that he was but of course he must be covered at all costs, and, mind you, I do not blame the Minister for this. I want to be fair to him. He has been acting as Minister for the Gaeltacht since 20th March and I believe that the present Minister had not a free hand in the matter of this agent whom I dismissed for misconduct as a result of an official inquiry held by the officials of the Department and competently superintended by the permanent head of the Department. He had not got a free hand; he got a direction because this agent, who earns this princely sum by way of commission, was able to persuade people in high places that he was dismissed because of political prejudice. If it was political prejudice I want to put it on the records of this House that the action I took was agreed to by the staff of the Department.
I am amazed that the Minister allowed himself to be handled in this way, to make a decision against what must have been the best advice  offered to him in the Department. When I took the step the permanent head of the Department agreed with me. There was only one detail on which another member did not agree. He felt that the agent should have got a month's notice. When it came to the handling of public moneys, as they were handled in this case, I was satisfied that a month's notice would be too generous a treatment for that kind of conduct.
When you sell standard goods in one area, say in Dublin City, to the big houses, as they have been sold at a trade discount of 25 per cent. and the man from the West, or the man from the South, sets out to sell his wares less 13 per cent., what does he find? He finds that his area has been flooded by the Dublin houses who got the wares less 25 per cent. or some higher percentage than 13 per cent. and the agent for the area cannot sell it less 13 per cent. The Minister had evidence in his Department of a complaint from the southern areas sales agent, complaining that he could not sell Gaeltarra Éireann knitwear in the South of Ireland because the Dublin houses were able to sell it at a lower price. That is the position that obtained prior to the inquiry I held into this matter. I was precluded from having this inquiry as exhaustive as I should have liked, owing to the limited time at my disposal and to the fact that we were thrown into a general election when the inquiry was actually going on.
Let me give an example of what I mean and of what I am stating positively to be true. On the 15th March, 1955, a Dublin firm was supplied with 2,160 garments for £2,580, less 13 per cent. On the 28th March, 1955, an invoice was sent to the same firm for 1,196 garments at a cost of £1,138 1s., less 13 per cent. On the 31st March, 1955, there were invoiced to the same firm 1,120 garments, £932 1s. 9d., less 13 per cent. The latter two of those invoices were initialled by the manager of Gaeltarra Éireann.
Those three transactions were on the 15th, 28th and 31st March, 1955. On the 18th June, 1955, three months later, you find the first reference to a claim  from this particular company for 25 per cent. Note well, the goods went out as standard goods less 13 per cent. trading discount in March. In June the company asked for a special discount of 25 per cent. That is the first hint.
Not until the 19th July, over a month later, did I find a query from the manager of Gaeltarra Éireann written down. It is there in black and white for the Minister: “Ask”— I am not using this man's name—“the City of Dublin knitwear agent what this is all about?” On the 27th July, 1955, a strong letter, that is how it is described, was received in the office from the sales agent for the southern area complaining that the garments, the same type of garments, were to be found in his area at a lesser price than he could sell them.
Does the matter end there? Is the company's claim for this special higher percentage rejected or is it allowed then and there? There is no record of any further inquiry being made with the company. The only record is: “Ask the agent what is this all about?” The manager must have asked the agent and the agent must have told him, because we find on the 13th September of that year a memo from the manager of Gaeltarra Éireann that this special discount be allowed by reason of the fact that these goods were substandard.
Here are goods the invoices for which went out, two of them signed by the manager himself, and marked less 13 per cent. There was no question of their being substandard and it is significant that when the company claimed the special discount they did not say that the goods were substandard. I accept the explanation given by the manager of Gaeltarra Éireann to me personally, in the presence of the senior officials of the Department, when he told me that this higher percentage had been offered by the agent without prior authority. Why should a man who initialled invoices for standard stuff less 13 per cent., in March of 1955, six months later enter a memo. in the particular file saying, and specifying these garments by their trade numbers, that they were substandard, that he examined them himself  and asked the agent to sell them as best he could?
On being questioned about that the manager agreed that he had no means of verifying whether they were substandard or not. In addition to that, and to lend support to the view that these garments were not substandard, the southern areas sales agent positively stated to me, in the presence of the senior officials of the Department, that the garments for sale in his area at a lesser price than he could offer them, were not substandard nor were they faulty in any way.
The House, I hope, will get a more detailed explanation from the Minister in relation to those three items than he has given to me in reply to a parliamentary question put by me when he said he was satisfied that the higher percentages were authorised by the management. Technically that is correct. Technically they were authorised by the management but they were authorised by the management in retrospect. They were authorised by the management under duress from this agent.
The manager of Gaeltarra Éireann, who by the way is not now doing his regular duties, told me that he was somewhat under the influence of this particular man. The Minister, in reinstating this man, put somebody back into Gaeltarra Éireann with access to Gaeltarra Éireann stores, with access to Gaeltarra Éireann employees, and who, admittedly, is a man who is able from time to time, and has been doing it down the years, to coerce the management into doing what he wants.
The amount of extra discount that was given on those three orders to this Dublin firm in March, 1955, is £332 8s. 4d. That, scattered over a few of the centres where girls work for 6d. an hour, might have made some little difference to them and their economic happiness. The Minister knows—he has it on record—that there was only one officer of this Department who challenged this kind of thing. Significantly enough, that officer is not in the Department of the Gaeltacht now; he was allowed to leave. I would commend the Minister, and ask him to  commend it in turn to his successor, to examine the closed borough that is Gaeltarra Éireann. Men come; they rarely go—they are rarely let go—but the officer who challenged these percentages has gone.
I asked the Minister in a parliamentary question the reasons for giving a higher percentage discount than 13 per cent. to certain Dublin traders and who they were and he gave me the name of this Dublin trader who got the three consignments in March, 1955, and the Minister had in front of him the admission of the manager that he was forced to do it by reason of this agent's “strong character”—as the manager of Gaeltarra Éireann put it— and by reason of the fact that he was a good customer of Gaeltarra Éireann. I will tell the House and the country how good a customer he is of Gaeltarra Éireann and how he has every reason to be, because of the facilities he gets from moneys over which the Minister has charge.
I could set up a company to-morrow morning if I knew that I was going to get almost unlimited credit from a Government-sponsored company and that I did not have to pay, except in rare cases, until I got my own money in. Will the Minister tell this House how much at this very moment is owing to the accounts of Gaeltarra Éireann from this company which is virtually owned by the present agent whom the Minister reinstated because the Minister's standards of misconduct and my standards of misconduct do not happen to coincide? Let me add that I believe that, in his heart of hearts, the Minister's standards and my standards are the same, but he has been fooled in this case and he is trying to make the best of it now.
Mr. Lindsay: I will sit down right now and tell no more if the Minister  gives me an undertaking that he will set up a public inquiry into the affairs, the conduct and the management generally of Gaeltarra Éireann. I will sit down right now if I get that undertaking.
Mr. Lindsay: I shall be interested in the reply and I ask Deputies to take note of the three consignments in March, 1955. The Minister has told me in black and white in the Dáil Reports that the reason higher percentages were given was that the goods were substandard when he had the evidence before him of the then manager—I do not know what this man is now—that these goods were not, in fact, substandard, that he had no means of verifying it, that it was six months afterwards, but that he did it by reason of the “strong character” of the agent.
Mr. Lindsay: Deputies have heard me reading out the commission paid to agents. I do not know what the profit on tweed is, but, since 1946 up to date, Gaeltarra Éireann has supplied this firm of which this agent has 8,999 shares out of £9,000 capital, with £250,206 worth of tweed, on condition that he sells it in the foreign market. The House will be told that he did not sell it in the home market except in one instance: it is common knowledge that this agent sells, not alone tweed, but all the wares of Gaeltarra Éireann, not alone in his own area, but in the other agents' areas, and that he sells tweed all over the country. It is common knowledge among the trade, and Gaeltarra Éireann has lost custom over this practice. One sales agent stated  to me in the presence of senior officials of the Department of the Gaeltacht that his commission in 1956 dropped by £800, by reason of the fact that he failed to get the orders he had got before from people who resented Gaeltarra Éireann goods being available in the area cheaper than they could buy them from him.
It is very easy to do business to the tune of a turnover of £250,000 with one customer, and to be a good customer when you have unlimited credit. I want the Minister to tell us the amount of money owing to date to Gaeltarra Éireann by this firm which is owned by this agent.
Gaeltarra Éireann use a certain amount of linen for processing and embroidery. Nobody knew better than the knitwear and linen agent for the City of Dublin and surrounding counties the quality of that linen and the kind of linen that Gaeltarra Éireann used. Last year, this agent sold—I will use the word “sold” for the moment—a quantity of linen of a quality and type which was never before used by Gaeltarra Éireann and which would never be used by them and succeeded in getting from the management of Gaeltarra Éireann a credit note for tweed to the tune of £109. That linen would be resting in Gaeltarra Éireann's stores to-day as unsaleable, were it not for the fact that there are a few people in Gaeltarra Éireann who do not close their eyes to things like that. He was made take it back.
That is the man the Minister reinstated and that is a transaction in relation to which the permanent head of this Department thought fit to visit a very severe punishment on the manager of Gaeltarra Éireann. The Minister, I take it, will not deny in his reply that the manager was so punished financially. However, the man who was able to coerce that unfortunate official into taking an article that was dud and getting for it a credit note for over £100 towards his own account has been allowed back into the environs of that organisation again, and if I might say so, goes back stronger than he was before, because he now feels that he has backing because he was able to  persuade somebody in high places that his dismissal was a political dismissal. I know it went out to Government Party supporters all over the country that the dismissal was a political dismissal. From the few facts that I have put forward already, is there anybody on that side of the House now who will say it was a political dismissal? I see people over there who are in business; I see people who teach the Catechism to the children of this country. What do they think of this transaction?
Mr. Lindsay: In the course of this inquiry which I held—and it was conducted by the permanent head of the Department—certain figures were supplied. These figures were challenged by this agent as incorrect and there again we have the rather curious position of a man who was able to challenge  official figures compiled by a reputable official, so reputable, in my opinion, that I put on record in the Department before I left my appreciation of him.
This agent has now been put back by the Minister into a position where he can bully and intimidate these men who are trying to do their duty under very difficult circumstances. It is, of course, extraordinary that in the course of that inquiry the recollection of certain people was very faulty. I do not believe now, any more than I did then, that all this substandard racket was going on without the knowledge of people who pretended they did not have such knowledge. It might be asked why this agent does no business in the Counties of Wicklow or Dublin. I can accept the position that in County Dublin the people would go into the bigger Dublin wholesale houses; I do not accept that position for the Counties of Meath, Louth or Wicklow. Of something over £3,000 commission in the past year, £22 odd was in respect of orders in County Louth, £1 15s. 10d. in respect of County Meath, none for County Dublin and none for County Wicklow.
Still, the Minister tells me that he is satisfied with the outside activities of this agent in this company, a company which is the favoured child of Gaeltarra Éireann, and an agent who is not impeded in any way by reason of that in doing the duties of his office as agent, full-time. In thriving towns in County Meath, he can place only enough orders in the year 1956 to earn him £1 15s. 10d. In County Louth, his earning were £22 odd in 1956 and £40 the year before. In spite of that fact, in reply to a question put to him by me, he told me that the figure of £24 as given by the officials of the Department was a fantastic figure, that it could not be true and that it was not true. To use his own words, he had at least five good customers in the towns of Drogheda and Dundalk. But that was the extent of the good customers—never more than £50 in the past three years and under half that sum in two of them.
Is the Minister satisfied that the products of Gaeltarra Éireann in knitwear and linen are being sufficiently pushed  in the Counties of Dublin, Louth, Wicklow and Meath? If he is, and he accepts the view that the people in these counties would prefer to deal with the Dublin wholesale houses, then all I can say is that, if the Dublin wholesale houses are engaged in a large-scale substandard racket, it pays the people from these adjoining counties to come in and get it more cheaply than they would from the agent going out. Even the Cork people come to Dublin to buy the cheap stuff. The people in the West refused to place further orders or reduced their orders considerably. That has happened in Counties Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim. Complaints have reached the office, both orally and in writing, in relation to these matters.
Yet, when I put down a question a fortnight ago asking the Minister if he had received a letter from any trader complaining about these higher percentages in the Dublin area and regretting that he could not place any order because of that, the Minister said that he had not got any such letter. I take it that he is relying again on some sort of technicality devoted to the order of accuracy. I had not got a copy of the letter and I could not frame the question strictly within the terms of the letter; therefore, if the question did not coincide with the terms of the letter which was received, although the general import was the same, the Minister feels himself entitled to deny that he received any such letter. But the letter is there. Letters are there. They are in the office. Not alone were there oral complaints and written complaints, but there was one instance in which a certain trader was so irate in the offices of Gaeltarra Éireann with this agent that the agent had to rush out by another door in order to avoid being assaulted.
I would like the Minister to tell the House and the Country if there is any charge to this agent's company for storage of goods? Is there any change in the price of goods purchased on paper by this agent when there is a subsequent general change in tweed prices? My information is that this agent, on behalf of his company, can  order large stocks of tweed on credit, leave them there at the prices then obtaining and, should there be a fluctuation upwards in price subsequently, the price goes up to everybody else but not on that particular agent's stuff, which is being stored free of charge. That stuff cannot be touched.
In the course of my series of questions to the Minister, I asked him the names of the houses and the amounts of money by way of extra discount given, and the reasons therefor. I will give the Minister a copy of a document showing where one firm was left out of his reply and that firm got an extra discount to the tune of £428 15s. 10d. I am not saying that the Minister withheld that because, after all, the Minister can give the House only the information that is supplied to him. The answer will probably be again that this sum did not fall within the framework of the question I asked. Still, it is £428 15s. 10d. extra discount given, for no reason other than that this agent was able to place his order with the company, say nothing about it, come back to Gaeltarra Éireann and say there: “You will give it now, or lump it.” And they gave it.
On the 20th March, 1956, another Dublin firm got £196 4s. extra discount to which they were not entitled for any valid reason appropriate or applicable to the giving of trade discounts. On 31st August, 1954, on 15th April, 1955 and on 16th March, 1956, there was given to yet another Dublin firm a total of £354 10s. 6d. by way of extra discount for which no valid reason is given. On 15th June, 1955, 17th June, 1955, 26th July, 1955, and 22nd August, 1955, there was a total of £57 12s. 5d. given to still another Dublin firm without good and sufficient reason. In the months of November and December, 1954—in fact, a substantial amount of it in one month—there was given to another Dublin firm £208 10s. 6d. by way of extra and additional discount for which there is no good and sufficient reason apart from the bullying in retrospect. It is easy to get orders if you can do it that way. I have a copy of the document showing the extra firm that is left out in the  Minister's reply, if he wants it, but I think he will be able to come across it all right.
Does any businessman in the House know of a situation where a customer can come back to his supplier up to six months after receiving the goods, and give no reasons except that the agent promised it, looking for extra discount? I do not know of any and I do not know of any firm or business house that would keep such an agent in employment for any length of time.
I have said enough on the question of standard goods, substandard and saleable goods and substandard and unsaleable goods. I hope the Minister, for his own sake, will be able to explain to the House why he said, in regard to the goods which were subjected to a higher percentage than 13-25 in some cases, sometimes less than 25, in a few instances higher than that—that that was done by reason of the substandard quality of the goods when he had evidence before him on official files showing that the manager acknowledged that such was not the case. I hope the Minister will be able to explain that to the House and to the country.
Deputies will note, and the Minister will note, that where application was made by those firms for increased discount an allegation that the goods were substandard was never made by them. It was made afterwards by the manager who sent them out as standard and six months afterwards suddenly remembered that they were substandard. I hope the Minister will give a better reply than he gave me when I asked him was he satisfied that in all such cases where a higher percentage was given it was justified.
In other words, we had the curious situation arising from that reply that  the Minister knows nothing of his own knowledge in relation to these goods. That is probably as it should be. I am not requiring the Minister to go to Westland Row and examine all these things himself. Far from it. The Minister has there, I take it, a competent staff of examiners who grade these goods and it would be only fair to the people who examine these goods and who grade them as standard that this matter should be cleared up once and for all.
The Minister probably knows—it is certainly well known in his Department—that there is general unrest, discontent and distrust in this whole industry, particularly in relation to the sales end of it. I would ask him, in the interests of the girls who work in these industries, in the interests of the manageresses and supervisors who spend long hours directing, teaching and superintending, to clear it up. I would ask him, in the interests of the country and of the industry as a whole, to have an inquiry into this matter. If I am wrong in the allegations I am making here I shall be the first to apologise. If I have told one untruth here this evening I am prepared to withdraw.
I have not come here, I have not devoted considerable time and study to figures, merely for the sake of being awkward. I feel very strongly on this matter, particularly when one contrasts how badly done the job is at the sales end with how badly the workers are let down by those at the top. The House will not be surprised to hear that these things were done under duress at the instance of this agent.
Mr. Lindsay: Only in so far as it gives an example of surprise. Deputies will not be surprised that people can be treated in that fashion when they hear that an inquiry was started at the end of the year, that it was continued until March and was to be resumed in the Minister's office in Earlsfort Terrace at which the senior permanent officials and the three agents were to be present and that this agent refused  to turn up. Deputies will not be surprised at how the orders of the management to Gaeltarra Éireann were flouted. The Minister may have very little respect for me personally——
Mr. Lindsay: ——but he must have some respect for the dignity of an office, irrespective of who is the holder. When a man flouts the authority of the permanent head of the Department that is employing him, flouts the authority of the Minister who is the political head of the Department, how can the Minister justify bringing back such an evil influence into the midst of honest men? I know what the Minister will say. He will talk about the reason that are in writing for this man's dismissal. But is there not an overall picture? The reasons the Minister has were those formally issued by the officials. But there is a general trend of misconduct in this case meriting more than reinstatement and an effort to close the matter at that.
I am asking the Minister to set up an inquiry into the affairs and management of this industry generally, with particular reference to the outside interests of agents, whether they conflict in any way with their duties as agents of Gaeltarra Éireann in relation to this substandard business, and particularly in relation to the item of dud linen planked on Gaeltarra Éireann. The Minister has some experience of evidence; he has some experience of the types of charges sometimes made against people. I do not think he will have any difficulty in finding the appropriate word to apply to that particular transaction. Has the Minister taken note of the complaints made by the western agent and by the southern agent that this practice, resorted to fairly generally and with impunity by the Dublin agent, was detrimental to the trade? That evidence is on record in the Department in black and white.
Mr. Lindsay: I hope the Minister will let us know in reply whether he has investigated all the allegations that were made, not alone with regard to the selling of tweed but to the selling of knitwear as well. These allegations are there in writing; they are contained in the report of this inquiry, furnished to me by the Minister himself. In the course of replies to a series of parliamentary questions asked by me as to whether he would state the reasons given by Dublin traders when they applied to his Department for a trade discount of 25 per cent. on knitwear, the Minister stated that the traders in question claimed discount by sending in debit notes. No reasons were given for the claims on the debit notes and there was no record in his Department that these traders gave any reason for their claims in any other way.
Mr. Lindsay: It is not the Flight of the Earls anyway. I regard this as an important matter, so important that it can bear repetition. The Minister knows perfectly well that that reply is, to say the least of it, not accurate. Reasons were given and the reason given invariably is that the agent——
Mr. Lindsay: Anybody who is receptive of the truth will have no difficulty in coming to the conclusion, first, that there was irregularity; secondly, that the dismissal of this agent by me was not a political one; thirdly and finally that the whole situation is one which demands the closest scrutiny. The Minister would be fair to himself as well as to others if he sets up, or commends his successor to set up, an inquiry  into these matters because I am satisfied that I have touched only on the fringe of all this. I am as satisfied of all that as I am that the information given to me was not all of the information. It was not satisfactory. It was not complete. It is within the Minister's power and competence to see that these matters are put right and the public mind is set at rest.
I can assure the Minister that there is a considerable amount of unrest in the public mind in regard to the whole affairs of Gaeltarra Éireann. I think of the misguided strike in one of these centres about a year ago due to the over-enthusiasm of the girls on the one hand and the lack of experience possibly of the well-intentioned supervisor on the other. However, after some time we managed to get the matter straightened out with the help of some of the officials of the Department. I was then merely the Deputy in the area who took an interest in the matter.
Afterwards I tried by way of ex gratia payment to get something for the girls in lieu of the time they were out. Everybody was horrified. Everybody was utterly shocked to think that anybody would try to give money to people for work they did not do. I explained that I thought it an essential for the sake of goodwill. “Not at all,” I was told. “You could not do that with public moneys.” If you could not do that with public moneys you could not do it in respect of all that has been done over the years in the connection I speak of and to what extent God only knows.
Liam Mac Cuinneagáin: Bhí sé sin an-shuimiúil ar fad agus má tá leath an mhéid adúirt an Teachta Mac Loingsigh fíor do mholfainn don Aire féachaint isteach sa gceist. B'fhéidir nach bhfuil an scéal chomh holc agus a luadh anso. Is fiú don Aire iniúchadh géar a dhéanamh ar na nithe a luadh anso. B'fhéidir gur mhaith an rud é Bord a bhunú chun an t-iniúchadh sin a dhéanamh. Is mór an trua má tá na nithe sin fíor mar déanfaidh sé damáiste do cheann de na tionscail is mó a raghaidh chun tairbhe don Ghaeltacht. Bheadh an scéal olc  go leor dá mba tionscal a bhí ann a bhain le háit ar bith sa tír, ach nuair a bhaineann sé le tionscal atá ag dul chun tairbhe do mhuintir na Gaeltachta agus do mhuintir an Iarthair tá sé i bhfad níos measa.
Is dócha go mbeidh na páipéirí lán amárach de na nithe adúirt an tIar-Aire. Chun meon na ndaoine a shásamh agus chun na daoine a shásamh is gá na nithe adúirt an t-Iar-Aire a bhréagnú nó Bord a bhunú chun na nithe sin d'iniúchadh agus más fíor iad féachaint chuige nach dtitfidh siad amach arís. Níl d'eolas agamsa faoi na nithe sin ach an méid adúirt an t-Iar-Aire agus bhí seisean ábalta eolas d'fháil nach mbeadh ag an ngnáth-Theachta.
Maidir leis an Meastachán i gcóir Roinn na Gaeltachta, déarfainn gur maith an rud é ní atá chomh tábhachtach leis an nGaeltacht a chur fé Roinn Rialtais agus Aire fé leith a chur ina bun. Bhí a lán cainte le blianta anuas faoi cad dob fhearr a dhéanamh chun cuidiú leis an nGaeltacht. Dúradh dá dtéadh an Ghaeltacht ar ceal go n-imeodh an Ghaeilge. Bhí tuairimí ann gur cheart Bord a bhunú; gur cheart féachaint chuige an scéal a leigheas trí mheán mhuintir an Gaeltachta iad féin agus gur cheart údarás a chur ar bun.
Sílim féin gurb é seo an tslí is fearr agus is tairbhí chun fóirithint ar an nGaeilge agus ar an Ghaeltacht. Níl dabht ar bith nach bhfuil toradh mar ba chóir ar an méid oibre a deineadh ar son na Gaeltachta ó cuireadh an Stát seo ar bun. Rinne gach aon Rialtas a bhí ann go dtí seo a lán. Do réir dealraimh níl an toradh do réir na hoibre a rinneadh. Sílim féin gur gá athbheochaint ar spiorad na náisúntachta i measc an aosa óig.
Mar adúras cheana, sé an aidhm atá ag an Roinn (1) an teanga Ghaeilge a shábháil sa Ghaeltacht agus í a leathnú ar fud na tíre agus (2) an cultúr Gaelach a spreagadh agus a leathnú, ní hamháin sa Ghaeltacht, ach ar fud na tíre. Tá daoine ann adeir gur cóir dúinn aidhm eile a bheith againn, sé sin, feabhas a chur ar saol geilleagrach agus shoisialach mhuintir na Gaeltachta. Bíodh gur gá an dá aidhm sin do chur i ngníomh níl iontu ach “stepping stones,” mar  adéarfá, chun an chéad dhá aidhm a luaigh mé a bhaint amach.
Is minic a phléann daoine na cúiseanna is fearr le fóirithint ar an nGaeltacht. Sílim go ndéanann siad dearmad ar fad ar an aidhm ba chóir dóibh a bheith rompu. Níl aon amhras nach shin iad an dá aidhm ba chóir a bheith againn—sé sin, an teanga Ghaeilge a shábháil i measc mhuintir na fíor-Ghaeltachta agus ansin an Ghaeltacht a leathnú ar fud na tíre. Is gá iad sin a dhéanamh.
Tá daoine ann agus cuireann siad an cheist seo: “Cad na thaobh go bhfuilimid ag tabhairt an oiread sin aire don Ghaeltacht?” Cuireann scéimeanna don Ghaeltacht imní ar mhórán daoine, freisin. Is gá an Ghaeltacht a shábháil mar is sa nGaeltacht atá tobar fíor-uisce na Gaeilge. Is ann atá na daoine a fuair an Ghaeilge óna dtuismitheoirí. Is ann a tugtar an teanga ón athair don mhac agus ó na tuismitheoirí don chlann. Is ann, freisin, atá an spioraid beo. Tá an teanga Ghaeilge beo agus tá an cultúr Gaelach beo ann fós. Is gá féachaint chuige nach dtiocfaidh a thuilleadh laghduithe orthu. Chun é sin a dhéanamh, beidh ar an Roinn nua i bhfad níos mó a dhéanamh ná mar a rinneadh cheana.
Maidir leis an dá chuspóir a luaigh mé cúpla nóiméad ó shin a chur i ngníomh, is gá slite a cheapadh chun é sin a dhéanmh. Tá mórán cúiseanna leis an meath atá ag teacht ar an nGaeltacht, nach bhfuil an Ghaeilge á labhairt anois mar ghnáth-theanga in áiteanna ina labhairtí í 20 nó 30 bliain ó shin. Is í príomh-chúis atá leis sin ná an imirce—imirce i measc an aosa óig, imirce chainteoirí Gaeilge ón Ghaeltacht, imirce ón Ghaeltacht go Sasana, go hAlbain agus go dtí cathracha na tíre seo féin.
Cúis leis an imirce is ea easpa slí bheatha sa bhaile, easpa slite chun am saor a chaitheamh. Dá bhrí sin, chun an imirce a leigheas, is gá slite a cheapadh chun cabhrú le hiascaireacht sa nGaeltacht. Tá na ceantracha Gaeilge go léir comhgarach don fharraige. Tá cáil na hiascaireachta ar fhormhór na Gaeltachta. Má dhéanann an Roinn, fé mar atá tosnaithe acu ar  an obair, báid mhaithe a chur ar fáil do mhuintir na Gaeltachta agus má tugtar oiliúint do na leaids óga chun tugtar oiliúint do na leaids óga chun bheith ina n-iascairí maithe, má cuirtear céanna agus calaphoirt níos fearr ar fáil, cabhróidh na nithe sin go léir le tionscal na hiascaireachta. Má cuirtear monarchain ar bun cosúil, mar shampla, leis an obair a déantar sna Cealla Beaga, cabhróidh sé le cosc a chur leis an imirce. Is féidir, fosta, mórán a dhéanamh mar gheall ar iascaireacht intíre, sé sin, bradáin, bric, agus mar sin, ar na haibhne agus ar na locha. Tá tús curtha leis an obair sin. Ba chóir don Roinn féachaint chuige go bhfaighidh an Ghaeltacht a cuid féin de na buntáistí a bhaineann le hiascaireacht intíre.
Arís, is féidir leathnú a dhéanamh ar fhoraoiseacht sa Ghaeltacht. Tá talamh ann atá fóirstineach. Tá na hoibritheoirí ansin. Tá córas againn chun foraoiseacht a chur ar siúl in áiteanna eile ar fud na tíre. Sé mo thuairim go ndearnadh fíor-bheagán don Ghaeltacht maidir le foraoiseacht go dtí seo. Bhí cúiseanna leis sin. Ní fada ó cuireadh tús le hathphlandáil crann in Éirinn agus, mar gach tús, bhí an tosnú mall. Ós rud é go bhfuil tús maith déanta againn sa treo sin, ba cheart buntáistí scéimeanna foraoiseachta a thabhairt anois do na ceantracha Gaeltachta. Ceapaim gur mór an tairbhe a thiocfas as rudaí mar sin chun obair a thabhairt do na daoine nó scéimeanna móra eile a bhfuil daoine ag caint fúthu, scéimeanna mar monarcha agus mar sin de. Ní mórán a chosnós an talamh agus ní mórán a chosnós na crainn agus tá obair ann ar feadh na bliana do dhaoine a bhfuil an Ghaeilge acu.
Cé nach féidir a lán barraí a fhás ar thalamh bocht na Gaeltachta, mar sin féin ní ceart do Roinn na Gaeltachta ná don Roinn Talmhaíochta féachaint ar an talmhaíocht mar rud nach féidir a chur chun cinn sa Ghaeltacht. Is féidir. B'fhéidir nach bhfuil seans talmhaíocht a dhéanamh mar bhíos sí ar siúl in Oirthear Thír Chonaill nó i gContae na Midhe ach is féidir speisialtacht a dhéanamh, mar shampla, ar phrátaí nua, na tithe gloine, agus dul níos faide ná sin. Ní féidir liom anois rudaí eile a lua, ach tá go leor  rudaí mar sin ann, mar inniún agus glasraí fá choinne na mbailte móra, ar féidir iad a fhás go maith ar thalamh phortaigh. Prataí luatha—is féidir sin a dhéanamh agus tá a lán nithe eile is ar féidir leis an Roinn Talmhaíochta a fheabhsú sa Ghaeltacht.
Sean-nós feirmeoireachta a bhí ann—beagán prátaí agus beagáinin coirce. Níl maith ar bith bheith ag plé le rudaí mar sin. Is ceart athrú mór a dhéanamh ar an saghas feirmeoireachta. Chuige sin sílim gur féidir leis an Roinn úr—iad féin agus an Roinn Talmhaíochta—mórán a dhéanamh d'fheirmeoirí beaga na Gaeltachta.
Tá cuartaíocht ann. Is féidir a lán cuairteoirí a thabhairt isteach go dtí na tráigheanna, na bailte beaga, na cnoic agus na sléibhte agus saol sócúlach na ndaoine. Is maith an áit shaoire í do dhaoine as bailte móra. Is gá bealaí móra d'fheabhsú. Is gá deontaisí a thabhairt do thithe chun go mbeadh siad ábalta lóistín agus aíocht a thabhairt do chuairteoiri a thiocfas isteach ann.
Deirtear gur olc an rud é cuairteoiri a thabhairt isteach, go mórmhór ó Shasana, go dtí an Ghaeltacht. Ní dóigh liom é. Tá an radio agus mar sin de ag cur isteach ar an Ghaeltacht. Ní féidir linn ár gcinn a chur sa ngainimh agus gan teagmháil leis an domhan taobh amuigh. Sa saol atá ann inniu caithfimid dul ar aghaidh. Ní féidir linn “Iron Curtain” a chur timpeall na Gaeltachta.
Tá daoine ann adeir nár mhaith an rud é monarchain a chur sa Ghaeltacht, mar tá dainséar ann go ligfidís isteach daoine a thabharfadh drochshampla do lucht na Gaeltachta. Caithfimid troid in aghaidh na tuairime sin. Má tá dainséar ann, caithfimid rud a dhéanamh chun an dainséar a chur ar ceal.
Leis na rudaí sin go léir a luaigh mé chun cuidiú leis an nGaeltacht, tá go leor slite eile chun cuidiú leis an nGaeltacht, chun obair a chur ar siúl, sa dóigh go gcoinneoimid formhor an aosa óig sa Ghaeltacht, agus chun líon na ndaoine a mhéadú ann, agus ardú ar líon na ndaltaí ag dul go dtí na scoileanna náisiúnta. Beidh orainn na rudaí adúirt mé a dhéanamh chun  na daoine óga sin a choinneáil. Ceantar a luaigh mé sa díospóireacht anuraidh. Teileann, níl ann ach cúigear ar fad san aois-ghrúpa fiche bliain go 40 bliain, sé sin, daoine in-phósta.
Chun na rudaí sin a dhéanamh. beidh airgead riachtanach, agus caithfear deontaisi a thabhairt. Cuir i gcas, ceist na mbóithre, a luaigh an tAire, nuair a bhí sé ag caint ar an Meastachán, bóithre sa Ghaeltacht, scéimeanna uisce agus séarachais, mionoibreacha mara beidh airgead go leor de dhíth leis an obair sin a dhéanamh.
Ní maith an rud é, sílim, bheith ag tabhairt Meastachán agus Fo-Mheastachán, b'fhéidir, isteach i rith na bliana. Mholfainn don Aire agus don Rialtas ciste a chur ar fáil, cosúil leis an gCiste Forbartha Náisiúnta, abair Ciste na Gaeltachta, sa dóigh nuair a bheadh scéim thábhachtach le déanamh, ar bhféidir í a dhéanamh i mbliana, nár ghá fanúint i gcóir Fo-Mheastacháin, nár ghá fanúint go dtí an bhliain seo chugainn. Cuir i gcas, má shíleann an Roinn go bhfuil gá le rudaí a dhéanamh, go bhfuil deithneas leo ghearrfadh Ciste na Gaeltachta amach cuid mhaith den “red tape.” Ní bheadh iachall ar an Aire troid a chur suas gach bliain chun airgead d'fháil. Bheadh an Ciste sin ar fáil i gcóir oibreacha áirithe.
Tá rud amháin curtha fé chúram Aire na Gaeltachta a tógadh ón Roinn Oideachais, deontas an £5. Do réir chaint na ndaoine sa Ghaeltacht— bhí tuismitheoirí ag labhairt liom i rith na bliana—sílim go bhfuil riaráistí móra go dtí le gairid le híoc an deontais sin. Bhí an scéal an-mhíshásúil ar fad.
Sílim gur ghnáthach an deontas a íoc roimh Nollaig gach bliain sa dóigh go raibh tairbhe le fáil sa Gheimhreadh ag na páistí a bhí cáilithe chun na deontaisí a fháil. Sílim le cúpla bliain anuas nár híocadh cuid de na deontaisí go dtí deireadh na bliana airgeadais, nó b'fhéidir fíu amháin ina dhiaidh.
Tá ceist eile ann agus is deacair tabhairt fé, sé sin, stát-sheirbhísigh  agus daoine cosúil le Gardaí a bheith ag obair sa límistéir ar a dtugtar an Ghaeltacht agus gan an Ghaeilg acu nó gan Gaeilge ró-mhaith acu. Níl mé ag rá gur ceart cur isteach orthu sin ar chor ar bith. Ní ceart, ach tá cuid acu agus b'fhéidir gur mhaith leo aistriú a fháil go dtí cuid eile den tír, go Baile Átha Cliath nó go dtí cathair eile. Tá fhios agam go bhfuil an scéal mar sin. Tá stát-sheirbhísigh agus gardaí a chuaigh go dtí an Ghaeltacht, b'féidir 10 mbliana nó 20 bliain ó shin, gan mórán Gaeilge acu agus ar mhaith leo anois dul go dtí áit éigin eile. D'fhéadfaí ansin daoine a bhfuil Gaeilge acu a chur isteach sa Ghaeltacht ina n-áit.
Sé mo thuairimse nach cheart postanna sa Ghaeltacht a thabhairt ach do Ghaelgeóirí, go speisialta na postanna ardanna. Tá a lán postanna arda ann a bhfuil cáilíochta speisialta ag teastáil lena n-aghaidh agus de gnáth ní bhíonn Gaeilge ag na daoine a ceaptar. Dá airde an post is amhlaidh is riachtanaí Gaeilge a bheith ag an duine a ceaptar. Is uafar an rud é go n-iarrtar mar cháilíocht do phost beag de thuarastal £6 nó £7 Gaeilge a bheith ag na hiarrthóirí, nuair nach mbíonn sí riachtanach d'iarrthóirí ar phostanna níos tábhachtaí. Ba cheart go mbeadh sé mar riail ag Aire na Gaeltachta teagmháil a bheith aige leis na Ranna go léir ionas gur Gaeilgeoirí amháin a bheadh sna brainsí éagsúla atá ag feidhmiú sa Ghaeltacht agus sna gníomhaireachta Stáit eile, cuir i gcás Gaeltarra Éireann, agus mar sin de.
Sílim gur maith an rud don Roinn stiúrthóir a cheapadh do gach Gaeltacht. Tá Gaeltacht amháin, Gaeltacht an deiscirt, nach bhfuil stiúrthóir ar bith ceaptha inti go fóill. Ba cheart an scéal sin a leigheas go tapaidh. Má ceaptar na daoine ceart déanfaidh siad obair mhaith don Ghaeltacht, daoine le meoin agus dearcadh Gaelach, daoine a bhfuil fuinneamh acu agus a bhfuil taithi acu ar na daoine sa límistéar ina mbeidh siad ag obair. Is maith an beart na stiúrthóirí sin a cheapadh mar beidh teagmháil aca leis an Roinn agus le gnóthaí na Gaeltachta. Pé scéal é, má mholann  na stiúrthóirí scéimeanna agus mura dtugtar go leor aird orthu ní bheidh mórán céille ann. Is dócha go mbeidh fonn mór orthu obair mhaith a dhéanamh agus, mar adeirtear i mBéarla, má bhionn cúpla “blanks” acu imeoidh an díograis agus cuirfidh sin siar iad.
Tá mórán scéimeanna ag na comhairlí contae. Mholfainn do Roinn na Gaeltachta teagmháil a bheith acu leis na comhairlí contae éagsúla sa Ghaeltacht, áit a bhfuil comhairlí contae maithe cosúil le comhairle Thíar Chonaill.
Liam Mac Cuinneagáin: Is féidir le comhairle chontae mhaith a lán a dhéanamh ar son na gceantracha so ina gcuid oibre féin agus tá a lán scéimeanna is féidir le comhairle chontae a chur ar siúl má gheibheann siad cuidiú ó Roinn na Gaeltachta. Is maith liom a fheiceáil go bhfuil tús á dhéanamh anso. Deir an tAire go bhfuil £77,000 á chur ar fáil le haghaidh deontas feabhsuithe san Ghaeltacht chun scéimeanna uiscíochta agus mar sin a sholáthar agus go mbeidh na scéimeanna seo fá bhraghaid na comhairle contae. Tá sé sin mar is cóir. Is féidir a lán eile a dhéanamh fosta.
Bhí mé sa Ghaeltacht anuraidh agus chuala mé na paidreacha á rá i mBéarla. San mbaile agam féin, áit sa Ghalltacht deirtear cuid de na paidreacha i nGaeilge. Ba mhaith an rud é na paidreacha sa séipéal agus mar sin de a rá i nGaeilge, áit a bhfuil Gaeilge ag na páistí.
Déarfainn gur féidir a lán a dhéanamh agus dul i mbun na hoibre mar is cóir, an spiorad ceart náisiúnta a bheith i measc an aosa óig, deireadh a chur le himirce go speisialta sa Ghaeltacht agus saol sóisialach agus geilleagrach níos fearr a chur ar fáil ansan, tithe maithe a thabhairt do mhuintir na Gaeltachta, feabhas a chur ar iascaireacht agus ar bhádaí agus ar chalaphoirt, foraoiseacht a spreagadh agus airgead a chaitheamh ar chuartaíocht sna ceantracha sin  chun na daoine a choinneáil ansin. Níl mórán maitheasa a bheith ag plé le rincí agus damhsaí agus céilithe agus rudaí mar sin nuair atá na daoine ag dul chun siúil as an Ghaeltacht. Sin é an phríomh-aidhm ba cheart a bheith againn, na daoine óga a choinneáil ansin. Má fhanann na daoine óga a bhfuil Gaeilge líofa bhlasta acu, is féidir linn rud éigin a dhéanamh. Má imíonn siad, má cuirtear glas ar na doirse, ní maitheas ar bith bheith ag plé le mórán de na rudaí a bhfuil daoine ag plé leo le 20 bliain anuas. Bíonn daoine ag gearán faoi dhaoine a mbíonn dearmaid ghramadaí ina gcuid cainte, ag plé le gramadaigh na Gaeilge agus mar sin de. Tá na daoine a bhfuil an Ghaeilge go binn blasta acu ag fágáil na tíre, mórán acu nach bhfuil ag teacht ar ais. Cuir stop leis sin agus beidh an chéad chéim, an chéim is tábhachtaí, tógtha againn.
Mr. Blowick: As I gradually began to understand the Gaeltacht Services Division of the Department of Lands, as it was then, I was afraid that what had occurred in the years following the cessation of the 1914-18 war would happen in the years following the last war. From approximately 1920 until almost 1930, the Gaeltacht industries were almost completely wiped out. That was due to many reasons. I am very glad and proud to learn from the Minister's opening speech this evening that there has been very steady progress in the years following the last war, particularly since 1948. That is very heartening even though some Deputies feel that more progress should have been made. I am more than satisfied and very pleased with the progress that was made in the work of the Gaeltacht Services Division, particularly in the tweed and other industries, such as toy-making, glove-making, knitwear, etc.
The tweed industry has shown a remarkable increase. That is largely due to good management and hard work on the part of certain officials in Gaeltarra Eireann. In 1948, when I first took over, the storehouses held a huge quantity of tweed that was of very poor quality. It was unsaleable.  It can truly be said that that was nobody's fault. The Minister at the time, Deputy Moylan, and his officials did their very best to dispose of that tweed but during the war years very peculiar conditions existed. A vast quantity of inferior quality tweed was turned out and the moment the war was over and things became more or less normal, particularly in the British industries, tweed that was quite good for war time purposes was left on the hands of the Minister at the time. I inherited about 160,000 yards of tweed that was practically unsaleable. We managed to dispose of it without any great loss.
I remember working with the director and other officials of Gaeltarra Éireann in those years. I was determined to put the industry on its feet. I realised then, and I am glad to see that I was right, that if we were to continue selling Irish homespun tweed we would have to manufacture a good quality and produce a range of patterns that kept constantly in touch with fashions. The men in the Gaeltacht Services Division got down to that task and the report the Minister gave the House to-day, that the sales of tweed have trebled, from £108,000 in 1950, to £277,000 to-day, proves that their efforts have borne fruit.
The Minister—I understand that he will have a successor in the very near future—should be very proud of the fact that practically all the industries have been completely overhauled and equipped with the most modern machinery. That is a big step forward. It is not easy to get money from the Minister for Finance for these things. Each Minister always looks for more than he can expect to get from any Minister for Finance. Nevertheless, great strides have been made and it is very heartening to see these advances.
The principal reason I rose to speak was to point out to the Minister one method of keeping the Gaeltacht alive and keeping as many young people as possible there. It has nothing to do with the work of the Minister's Department as it is now constituted. I am referring to forestry. I believe that my pushing of forestry in the Gaeltacht areas during my term of office did as  much, or even more, as any other work in keeping at least some of the young men at home.
Very often I feel sorry that there could not be some kind of union between the Department of the Gaeltacht and the Department of Lands, particularly in regard to the Gaeltacht areas. I know it would be impossible and that it would mean overlapping, but I would advise the Minister not to forget his colleague, the Minister for Lands, and to get him to push forestry as hard as he possibly can in the Gaeltacht areas.
It is a grand thing to speak Irish, but I want to tell the Minister that it is not because the young men in the Gaeltacht, or outside it, speak Irish or English that they emigrate; they emigrate because of economic necessity. If we want to keep them at home, there is only one way to do it, regardless of whether they speak English or Irish. We must give them employment at home. There were good wages in England up to a short time ago, but now I am told the conditions there for the working man are not as good as they used to be. Nevertheless, we must give the young men employment in the Gaeltacht areas, if we wish to keep them at home.
Forestry is one of the best possible means of providing employment in these areas. The quality of the land is very poor and some of it is not capable of growing trees, even of less than commercial quality, but the majority of it is. The Minister, whether he be Deputy Lynch or Deputy Moran, would be well advised to push forestry as much as possible, without at the same time losing sight of the industries that have been run by the Gaeltacht services, such as the toy industry, knitwear, gloves and, above all, the tweed.
I should like the Minister to say what he is paying at present for sea rods and other seaweeds and what he thinks will be the future of the industry as at present constituted. I should also like him to tell us what success has attended the research into the processing by ourselves of sea rods  and seaweeds around the coast here. Research was going on in my time and also later when Deputy Lindsay became Minister. I understand that there was a prospect of some success attending that research. I was very keen on it myself. If we could process the sea rods and seaweeds ourselves, it would be much more profitable and would give much more employment.
It is very heartening to see the figure of close on 300 new houses and almost the same number of reconstructions in the Gaeltacht. That is excellent work. If we want to expand our industries there and to sell our products, we must put on the market a product as good as any other firm. Gaeltarra Éireann should be capable of doing that, because, as I have said, they have a factory newly built and equipped with the most modern machinery. By keeping in touch with modern developments and fashion they should be able to produce an article second to none. The way Irish tweed has taken on the American market, where competition must be fierce, is proof of the fact that the Irish homespun tweed at present is a really first class product. By keeping up that good quality, the slump that almost wiped out the industry in the first world war will never occur again.
Pádraig Ó Domhnaill: Ba mhaith liomsa freisin labhairt i nGaeilge ar an Vóta seo mar dhein an Teachta Mac Cuinneagáin. Tá brón orm, áfach, nach féidir liom é sin a dhéanamh ós rud é go nglannan na Teachtaí as an Teach agus an pobal on ngléacas chomh luath agus thosnaíonn duine ag cainnt trí Ghaeilge anseo. Ar an ábhar sin, tá brón orm go gcaithfidh mé mo  thuairimí a thabhairt ar an Vóta seo trí Bhéarla. Suas le deich mbliana ó shin, do rinne mé a lán de mo chuid oibre mar aturnae inár dteanga féin Tá na laethe sin imithe anois.
Pádraig Ó Domhnaill: Ba mhaith liom go mór é sin a dhéanamh ach tá faitíos orm nach mbeadh mórán de na Teachtaí eile i ndon mé a thuiscint. I should like very much to continue in Irish, but if I do so the House will become deserted.
Mr. O'Donnell: Probably not. That is the answer. Deputy McQuillan has put his finger on it—it does not make any difference. This Estimate each year reminds me of Nero. We are fiddling and fiddling while the Gaeltacht is burning.
Mr. O'Donnell: Native Governments, since we got our freedom, have been only fiddling with the Gaeltacht. It irks me to hear Ministers talk about little mushroom industries. We have got to make up our minds on one thing. What are we trying to save— the land which forms the areas of the Gaeltacht or the Irish speakers on it? If it is the land we are trying to save for afforestation and other things, then  thank God for coast erosion; but if it is the Irish speakers we are trying to preserve, I am prepared to do all in my power to help in that object.
It is almost 40 years since we got our freedom. At that time, we had a very large Gaeltacht and a very great number of Irish speakers. Despite what native Governments have done, that number is dwindling and dwindling year by year and I lay the blame on one policy and that is the policy of compulsory Irish.
I think that a language is a badge of nationality. Latin and Greek are no longer badges of any particular nationality; it is the spoken language which is the badge of nationality and it is the spoken language that we should set out to preserve. Look around the House and see the number of young Deputies we have on all sides of the House. They were brought up in the national and secondary schools and taught through the medium of Irish. How many of them can speak Irish to-day and how many of them do speak Irish to-day? Then look around the House and see gentlemen like the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach and a few others who acquired their knowledge of Irish voluntarily through the Gaelic League because the vernacular was what we were taught. We were taught in the language of the rest of our forebears, although the Irish language continued to be the spoken language of the Gaeltacht.
I think our approach to the subject is completely wrong. Instead of having compulsory Irish in the schools; instead of giving teachers additional fees for teaching through the medium of Irish and instead of giving doctors additional fees for practising in Gaeltacht areas, we should concentrate more on making the children Irish speakers. I know that I will be asked how we are to do that. My suggestion is to give every child in this country three months in the Gaeltacht and I will guarantee that at the end of the period he will come out of it a native Irish speaker, provided you do not ask him to go to school during those three months.
Mr. O'Donnell: Or to do examinations. Let us go down to Ring and look at the magnificent work being done there. Let us look at Rannafast and see what has been done there and in the various other Gaeltacht areas. If the children were required to go there and mix with the Irish speakers, they would come out not alone with a knowledge of the Irish language but having had a very good holiday. Every household in the Gaeltacht areas could be fully employed and occupied if we sent the children down to them for three months of the year, and not only for the summer months but for all the year round. Every house could become a hostel for these children and every owner could become a fear a' tighe and a bean a' tighe teaching the language they know and teaching in the módh díreach and the módh scartha. We can get that only by going to the Fíor-Ghaeltacht and if we do that, we will have each house fully employed teaching these children through the módh direach and every inch of ground will be cultivated to provide for these children the vegetables they will require.
I think it is time—and I am not referring to the present Minister or the Minister who will succeed him—to get down to the fact that we are losing the Gaeltacht and losing it very fast. Immediately it goes, the language goes. There is not much use in passing examinations or having sufficient knowledge to be able to write or read a letter in Irish, unless we keep our language alive. I hope that no modern industry will be set up in the Gaeltacht and that we may be able to employ these people without bringing in foreign technicians, because that is one of the methods by which we have endeavoured to wipe out the Gaeltacht.
Let us realise the amount of money which we are voting for the Gaeltacht. The Gaeltacht is diminishing and is it not time that we realised that it is diminishing? Is it not time that we got together to see what we can do to prevent it diminishing further? My suggestion may not be a good one, but it is an alternative, and it is worth trying. I know students who have procured the Fáinne and gone on to the university,  but the mere fact that they were compelled to learn Irish makes them detest the language. For most of the older people here, who were members of the I.R.A. and Sinn Féin, it was a pleasure to go to the Gaelic League classes at night and try to pick up new words and phrases in Irish. Through repetition, they eventually acquired a knowledge of Irish.
Mr. O'Donnell: Exactly. The Deputy has put his finger on it—because it was banned. Once it was made compulsory, it was a different matter. There is one thing about the Irish people—you can lead them, but you cannot drive them. While they were being driven, we lost the language, but while they were being led, we went places. If we realise that the spoken language is our badge of nationality, we will be getting some place. We will be getting Irish speakers and giving full employment to the people in the Gaeltacht areas. We will be making the fear a' tighe a hotelier in the little house he owns and he will be cultivating the little plot of land he owns.
Believe it or not, I know a Gaeltacht at the moment in which most of the native speakers are branded as shoneens simply because they play a game which is not Gaelic football. I would not like anybody to misunderstand me because I have the greatest respect for Gaelic football, but I am thinking of Aranmore Island and of the place called the Rosses, where, if you searched the entire area, you could not possibly procure a Gaelic football pitch up to the standard required by the G.A.A. I do not think the G.A.A. should lower the standard of their pitches, but there are people there who are associated with soccer players across the water and they should be catered for. I have seen soccer matches in my own native Rosses where not one word of English was spoken. They should not be branded as shoneens, if they do not play Gaelic football. We are driving them away from the ideal we are trying to achieve. I am not casting any aspersions on the G.A.A., an organisation for which I have the greatest respect.
Mr. O'Donnell: That is fair enough. We should not brand these Irish speakers as shoneens when they play a foreign game, when they have no alternative game to play. I know a player from the Fíor-Ghaeltacht on Aranmore Island who was honoured by Ireland last year by receiving a cap for playing professional soccer. I do not see why he should be branded as a shoneen.
These are only suggestions I am throwing out. We should remember where these Irish speakers live. Let us not forget that. What we are trying to do is to acquire an expert knowledge of the spoken language. If we want scholars let those people who can afford it go to the universities and acquire a full knowledge of the written language there; but if we are to cater for the labourers' sons, the farmers' sons and the shopkeepers' sons, let us do something for them by giving them a holiday in the Gaeltacht and let them try to converse with their neighbours in the Irish language.
Deputy Cunningham referred to stiúrthóirí or directors in the Gaeltacht. That is what is wrong with it. There are too many stiúrthóirí and directors sent to the Gaeltacht. Let us send down people to try to learn the language we have got.
Mr. O'Donnell: Cut out the £5; there is no necessity for it. I remember some 12 or 14 years ago Gardaí procuring additional salary for coming down to Irish speaking districts and  district justices who did so also got additional salaries. Doctors, if they had a knowledge of Irish, got preference in appointments to these districts. What is happening to-day? I practise in the courts and when we hear Irish spoken, it is only when we have some unfortunate person who does not understand English.
Mr. O'Donnell: It then becomes necessary to procure an interpreter. The Gardaí are being paid extra money and the district justices receive certain emoluments because they are Irish speakers, so why then is there a necessity for an interpreter?
Mr. O'Donnell: Of course it is—more hypocrisy and nothing else but hypocrisy. More Irish is spoken in the Orange City of Belfast to-day than in the City of Dublin. More is being done by the voluntary body of Comhaltas Uladh for the módh díreach of Irish speaking than is being done by the Department in Dublin. We have a new Minister—or we will have one within a week—and I hope he will sweep clean. What we want is employment in the Gaeltacht and the only method of giving that employment is sending people down to live with us. If you do that you will preserve the language as it was in the old days, as a Deputy from Sligo-Leitrim has rightly pointed out, when it was compulsory not to learn it, and then when it became voluntary, we got to work.
Pádraig Ó Fachtna: Tá sé tuigthe go maith ag na daoine atá i bhfathach leis an Ghaeilge a shábháil nach fiú bheith ag gabháil d'athbheochaint na Gaeilge má théann an Ghaeltacht ar ceal. Tá fhios againn uilig go bhfuil an Ghaeltacht ag éirí níos lú in aghaidh na bliana agus go bhfuil tréan-iarracht de dhith len í a shábháil.
Tá barúil ar fud na tíre gur daoine as an choiteann iad muintir na Gaeltachta, gur féidir leo mairstint gan bia gan obair—sin an sean-rud a dtug  siad “The Celtic Twilight” air agus tá sé in am deireadh a chur leis an bharúil sin. Tá rud ag muintir na Gaeltachta atá de dhith ar an tír mar tá sí chun a náisiúntacht a choinneáil, sin an Ghaeilge, agus má tá sí de dhith orainn caithfimid amharc chuige go mbeidh obair lán-aimsire ag muintir na Gaeltachta. Tá sé amaideach a shilstin gur féidir leis na daoine atá ina gcónaí sa Ghaeltacht an teanga a shábháil trína n-iarrachtaí féin. Caithfimid obair a chur ar fáil do na fir sna ceantracha sin.
Pádraig Ó Fachtna: Tiocfaidh mé chuige sin. Tá obair lán-aimsire de dhith do na fir agus do na cailíní, na fir go háirithe. Maidir le monarchain, b'fhéidir gur féidir rannóg ar leith a chur ar bun i Roinn na Gaeltachta do dhéanamh taighde agus fiosrúchán ar cad iad na scéimeanna agus na déantúisí is mó a bheadh oiriúnach don Ghaeltacht agus chomh maith leis sin an méid airgid áitiúil a bheadh le fáil.
Fé mar adúras cheana, b'fhéidir go mbeadh sé níos fearr ligint do na saineolaithe na saghsanna monarchan a phiocadh amach, ach mholfainn féin, mar rud amháin, monarcha a chur ar bun do leasú talún agus múnláin agus iad sin a dhéanamh as slata mara.
Pádraig Ó Fachtna: Sé an chúis go mba mhaith liom monarcha a bheith againn chun na rudaí sin a dhéanamh ná go bhfuil an bun-ábhar sa Ghaeltacht féin. Fosta, tá comhlucht in Albain ag déanamh an tsórt oibre seo agus, do réir mar is eol dom, tá siad sásta monarcha a chur ar bun nó cuidiú a thabhairt le monarcha do chur ar bun i gContae Dhún na nGall.
Fá dtaobh de na tithe gloine, sé mo bharúil gur féidir mórán a dhéanamh. Fá dtaobh díobh seo mo chomh-Theachta, ó Chontae Lughbhaidhe, an tAire Gnóthaí Eachtracha, Proinsias Mac Aogáin, a chuir tús leis an obair sin sa Ghaeltacht. Is cuidiú mór do mhuintir na Gaeltachta na tithe gloine sin. Fé mar is eol dúinn go léir, tá muintir na Gaeltachta ag brath go mór ar na tithe gloine agus ar na trátaí agus na hinniúin a fhásann iontu cionn is go bhfuil a gcuid talún chomh hole. Tá suim mheasartha airgid á déanamh acu astu.
Do dhein an Teachta Mac Cuinneagáin tagairt don fhoraoiseacht. Ní gá dhom mórán a rá faoi sin ach sílim go dtiocfadh leis an Roinn cuid mhór a dhéanamh fá sin sa Ghaeltacht. Níl an talamh atá inti oiriúnach do ghnáth-bharraí agus dá bhrí sin sílim gur féidir a lán a dhéanamh ó thaobh na foraoiseachta.
Mholfainn fosta gan aon oifigeach a chur imbun scéime ar bith sa Ghaeltacht mura bhfuil an Ghaeilge go maith aige. Tá cúis gearáin mhóir ag muintir na Gaeltachta faoi sin. Tagann daoine go bhfuil postanna arda acu isteach sa Ghaeltacht agus gan ach an Béarla acu. Níl fhios agam an mbíonn ar na daoine sin dul fé scrúdú béil ach, cibé ar bith, ní leor scrúdú béil, im bharúil. Ní muintir na Gaeltachta an sclábhaíocht agus gheibh na Béarlóirí an t-airgead maith. Sin fíor-dhroch-shampla. Mholfainn don Roinn gan aon duine a cheapadh feasta agus a chur i gceannas scéime ar bith sa Ghaeltacht gan Gaeilge a bheith aige.
 Rinne mé tagairt cheana do chuairteoirí. Dúradh go mb'fhéidir nár mhaith an rud é cuairteoirí a thabhairt isteach sa Ghaeltacht agus Béarla a labhairt inti. Tá aithne agam ar cheantar amháin a dtéann mórán daoine ag cuartaíocht ann gach bliain agus níor deineadh dochar ar bith sa cheantar sin. Ag an am chéanna, sílim go mba chóir do Ghaeilgeoirí, i mBaile Átha Cliath agus i mbailte móra eile, cumann a chur ar bun chun Gaeilgeoirí a mhealladh chun na Gaeltachta. Ansin, thiocfadh leo dul i gcomhairle leis na daoine atá ina gcónaí sa Ghaeltacht agus áiteacha sna tithe a chur in áirith do na cuairteoirí. Do chuideodh sé sin le muintir na Gaeltachta agus, ina theannta sin, chuideodh sé leis na daoine a dteastaíonn uatha feabhas a chur ar a gcuid Gaeilge.
Nuair a bhíos ag caint ar Mheastachán na Roinne Oideachais do mholas scrúdú béil do na scoláirí a bheadh ag dul fé scrúduithe na Meán-Teistiméireachta agus na hArd-Teistiméireachta. Má dhéanann an Roinn Oideachais é sin, sílim go rachaidh i bhfad níos mó daoine óga a bhfuil an Ghaeilge acu go dtí an Ghaeltacht. Cuidíonn na Coláistí Gaeilge go mór le muintir na Gaeltachta agus dá mhéid coláistí a bheas inti sea is fearr.
Níl aon rud eile le rá agam ach rath Dé a ghuidh ar obair an Aire úir. Guidhim go mbeidh feabhas mór ar staid na Gaeltachta i gcionn tamaillín. Tá sé soiléir do gach éinne anois gur gá tréan-iarracht a dhéanamh chun an Ghaeltacht a shábháil nó caillfear í agus, má imíonn an Ghaeltacht, imeoidh an teanga Ghaeilge fosta.
Rúnaí Parlaiminte an Taoisigh (Donnchadh Ó Briain): Ní raibh fún bheith páirteach sa díospoireacht seo go dtí gur chuala mé an méid adúirt an Teachta Pádraig Ó Domhnaill. Níl fhios agam cad é an bhaint atá ag Cumann Lúthchleas Gael leis an díospóireacht seo ná a rialacha, ná cad é an bhaint atá ag Gaeilge éigeanteach leis an scéal. Sé seo Meastachán na Roinne nua seo, Roinn na Gaeltachta agus ní thuigim go bhfuil aon bhaint ag an dá cheist sin leis an scéal.
Nílim ar aon-aigne leis na tuairimí  a nocht an Teachta Ó Domhnaill mar gheall ar an dá cheist agus go háirithe leis an méid adúirt sé mar gheall ar Ghaeilge éigeantach. Sean-phort is ea é sin. Ba chóir é a chur ar leataobh, go háirithe sinne atá inár nGaeilgeoirí. Do bhí an tsean-bollscaireacht sin ag na daoine a bhí i gcoinne athbheochaint na teangan.
Nílim ar aon-aigne leis an Teachta Ó Domhnaill nuair adúirt sé nach bhfuil dul chun cinn déanta agus nár deineadh rud ar bith gur fiú trácht air le blianta. Do deineadh dul chun cinn; do dheineadh mórán agus tá mórán le déanamh fós.
Nílim eolasach mar gheall ar staid na teangan agus staid na ndaoine san Gaeltachta go léir sa tír chun tuairim a thabhairt ar an scéal fé láthair sna Gaeltachta go léir sa tír. Mar sin féin, nílim den dtuairim go bhfuil bunús leis an olagón atá ar siúl fé láthair go bhfuil an Ghaeltacht ag imeacht chomh tapaidh is adeireann daoine áirithe. Níl Gaeltacht Chiarraí ag imeacht ar chor ar bith. Tá mórán daoine óga imithe ón nGaeltacht, ó Chorcha Dhuibhne. Tá a fhios sin agam. Tagann siad anso go Baile Átha Cliath nó téann siad ar fuaid na tíre mar mhúinteoirí, gardaí, banaltraí, cléirigh agus i bpostanna eile mar sin—agus, faraor géar, téann cuid acu go Sasana agus b'fhéidir níos faide ó baile. Mar sin féin, ní fíor go bhfuil an Ghaeilge imithe i léig sna ceanntair sin. Tá eolas agam ar Chorcha Dhuibhne agus, fé mar tuigtear dhom, a mhalairt ar fad atá fíor ann. Breis agus bliaín ó shin thug mé cuaird ar gach teaghlach sa cheantar. Sé a fuair mé amach ná nach bhfuil an teanga ag imeacht i léig sa cheantar sin ach go bhfuil an scéal níos fearr ann anois maidir le labhairt na teangan ná mar bhí tríoch bliain ó shin.
Deirtear liom go bhfuil an scéal níos fearr in Árainn ná mar bhí sé tríocha bliain ó shin. Tá an Ghaeilge dá labhairt in áiteanna anois as a raibh sí ag imeacht roinnt bliain ó shin. Tá sí níos láidre in áiteanna ná mar bhí sí tríocha bliain ó shin.
B'fhéidir nár leor na rudaí na rudaí rinneadh agus b'fhéidir go bhfuil a lán eile le déanamh fós. An obair a rinne an Roinn Oideachais, na múinteoirí  náisiúnta, agus cuid mhaith de na sagairt sa Ghaeltacht, chuaigh sí chun tairbhe don Ghaeilge agus do mhuintir na Gaeltachta. Fiú amháin na Gardaí le Gaeilge a cuireadh go dtí an Ghaeltacht agus na hoifigí rialtais eile a cuireadh go dtí an Ghaeltacht, chuaigh an obair a rinneadar chun tairbhe do staid na Gaeilge sa Ghaeltacht.
Tá a lán lagaí eile le leigheas fós. Ní féidir sin a cheilt. Tá súil agam go mbeidh ar chumas na Roinne agus an Aire nua tabhairt fé na rudaí sin go léir agus an leigheas d'fháil. Is deacair na fadhbanna atá le réiteach a réiteach ach tá an réiteach ann. Gheofar an réiteach chun an Ghaeilge a choimeád beo sna ceantracha seo. Tá dhá cheist ann—an teanga féin agus saol geilleagrach na ndaoine. Ní mór dúinn obair a thabhairt dóibh agus iad a dhéanamh níos sásta sna ceantracha seo. Caithfidh na Ranna rialtais go léar chomhoibriú lena chéile chun an cuspóir seo a bhaint amach. Ní mór do na daoine cloí leis an Ghaeilge.
Tá muintir na Gaeltachta ag braith air go mbeidh na daoine sa gcuid eile den tír taobh thiar díobh. Fé mar adeirim, tá an dá rud ann—an Ghaeilge féin, agus obair a chur ar fáil do na daoine. Sin iad an dá rud nach foláir don Roinn seo a dhéanamh. Ní labharfainn in aon chor murach gur theastaigh uaim a rá nach raibh mé ar aon-aigne leis an dTeachta Ó Domhnaill faoi Ghaeilge éigeantach. Is trua liom nach i nGaeilge ar fad a labhair sé, rud is féidir leis a dhéanamh. Tá meas agam air ach thabharfainn comhairle a leasa dhó. Ba cheart dó dul i gcomhairle leis an dTeachta Ua Maolchatha, treoraí a Pháirtí, ag féachaint do na tuairimí a nocht sé, nuair do labhair sé ar an Meastachán agus é ina Aire, i dtaobh na cainte seo a bhí ar siúl ag an Teachta Ó Domhnaill faoin nGaeilge éigeantach, ceist atá ag déanamh tinnis dó. Níl a thuilleadh le rá agam anois. Guidhim beannacht Dé ar obair an Aire nua.
Cormac Ua Breisleáin: Is Meastachán é seo a bhaineann le croí an náisiún seo, na ceantracha Gaeltachta atá scaipthe ar fud an chósta. Ba mhaith liomsa cúpla focal scoir a rá ar an  Meastachán seo. Ba mhaith liom comhghairdeachas a dhéanamh leis an Roinn mar gheall ar an méid oibre atá déanta acu sa Ghaeltacht. Rinne sí a cuid oibre go maith. Tá dóigh níos fearr ar mhuintir na Gaeltachta ná mar bhí orthu blianta ó shin. I ndiaidh a bhfuil déanta ag an Rialtas agus i ndhiaidh a bhfuil déanta ag na scéimeanna chun cuidiú le muintir na Gaeltachta, is mór an trua go bhfuil níos mó daoine ag imeacht as an Ghaeltacht ná mar d'imigh nuair a bhí an scéal níos measa sa Ghaeltacht.
Dúirt mé go raibh dóigh níos fearr ar an Ghaeltacht anois ná mar bhí uirthi san blianta a chuaigh thart. Chuidigh scéim tithe na Gaeltachta go mór leis an Ghaeltacht. Na tithe atá ag na daoine sa Ghaeltacht anois, tithe breátha follaine is ea iad. Sílimse go dtiocfadh leis an Roinn agus leis an Rialtas níos mó a dhéanamh chun cuairtoirí a thabhairt go dtí an Ghaeltacht. Má tá dóigh bhreá ar na tithe beidh ar chumas na ndaoine féachaint i ndiaidh na gcuairteoirí.
Sinne atá ar an gcomhairle chontae i dTír Chonaill, táimid ag déanamh ár ndíchill maidir le scéimeanna uisce agus bealaí móra a thabhairt do na ceantracha sa Ghaeltacht. Tá a fhios againn go bhfuil an t-airgead gann ach mura bhfaighimid cuidiú ón Rialtas ní bheidh ar chumas na chomhairle contae na scéimeanna sin a thabhairt do na daoine.
Tá lúcháir orm a fheiscint go bhfuil airgead ar fáil le haghaidh na scéimeanna seo—airgead a gheobhaidh an chomhairle chontae agus a cuirfidh ar a cumas scéimeanna uisce a thabhairt do na ceantracha nach bhfuil scéimeanna uisce acu fós.
Tá lúcháir orm fosta a chlos ón Aire go bhfuil tionscal an bhréidín ag dul ar aghaidh go maith i dTír Chonaill agus go bhfuil an bréidín ar díol ní hamháin sa tír seo ach ar fud an domhain mhóir. Tá lúcháir orm a fheiscint go bhfuil a thuilleadh arigid ag dul isteach sa tionscal sin i gCill Chearra. Tabharfaidh sin a lán oibre do na daoine in áiteacha ar nós Gleann Colmchille. Tá súil agam go gcoimeádfaidh sé a lán de na daoine óga sa bhaile.
 Sílim gur ceart cuidiú a thabhairt ní hamháin don Ghaeltacht ach don Bhreac-Ghaeltacht. Má táthar chun an Ghaeilge a choimeád beo bríomhar, is ceart an Bhreac-Ghaeltacht a dhéanamh níos Gaelaí ná mar atá sí. Tá an Ghaeilge beo ansin go fóill ach le cuidiú beag d'fhéadfaimis í a thabhairt thar n-ais ar fad sna ceantracha seo leis na scéimeanna atá beartaithe ag an Aire agus ag an Rialtas. Sílim gur ceart cuidiú a thabhairt don Bhreac-Ghaeltacht chomh maith leis an bhFíor-Ghaeltacht.
Má fhaigheann an Ghaeltacht bás sin deireadh leis an teanga. Tá a lán daoine ann a bhfuil an tuairim acu go bhféadfaí an Ghaeilge a shábháil sna Sé Contaethe Fichead dá bhfaigheadh an Ghaeltacht bás ach níl an tuairim sin agamsa. Sílim dá bhfaigheadh an Ghaeltacht bás nach mbeadh ann ach cúpla bliain go dtí go mbeadh an Ghaeilge marbh ar fud na tíre.
Ba mhaith liom trácht ar an spiorad Gaelach agus an spiorad náisiúnta atá sna Sé Contaethe. Go Tír Chonaill achan bhliain tig na céadta scoláirí isteach sa Ghaeltacht leis an Ghaeilge a fhoghlaim. Dá mbeadh an spiorad céanna sna Sé Contaethe Fichead atá sna Sé Contaethe, ní bheadh moill ar bith an Ghaeilge a thabhairt ar ais sa tír seo.
I gcás mhuintir na Sé Contaethe, go speisialta an t-aos óg, tá an spiorad náisiúnta, an spiorad Gaelach, beo ansin agus bhí riamh. Ba cheart d'aos óg na Sé Contaethe Fichead iad sin a leanstan san obair mhaith atá siad a dhéanamh.
Tuigimid uilig nach bhfuil scoláirí na Sé Contaethe ag fáil mórán cabhrach san obair sin. Ina dhiaidh sin agus uile, ní siad an obair seo ó bhliain go bliain agus ba cheart don náisiún bheith iontach buíoch díobh.
Tá díomá orm nach bhfuil an tionscal cniotála ag dul ar aghaidh chomh maith is ba mhaith liom. Tá súil agam nach fada go ndéanfar rudaí áirithe leis an tionscal seo a cur ar aghaidh níos fearr ná mar atá fé láthair. Sé an dainséar atá ann, má dúntar síos tionscal ar bith acu, go n-imeoidh na cailíní go hAlbain agus go Sasana agus nach dtiocfaidh siad abhaile.  Ansin, féadann an Roinn an tionscal sin a dhúnadh síos ar fad.
Ar an ábhar san, ba mhaith liom go bhféachfadh an tAire úr isteach sa cheist sin agus an tionscal cniotála seo a choinneáil beo, chun na cailíní seo a choinneáil sa bhaile. Beidh sé iontach deacair iad a thabhairt ar ais.
Tá súil agam go dtabharfaidh an tAire úr achan chuidiú don Ghaeltacht sa dóigh go dtig linn sa chomhairle contae dul ar aghaidh le scéimeanna atá luaite againn—scéimeanna uisce do na bailte móra agus scéimeanna den tsórt san. Má thig linn beatha na ndaoine a fheabhsú sa Ghaeltacht agus má thig linn obair a thabhairt don aos óg sa bhaile, níl dabht ar bith go n-éireoidh linn. Mura ndéanaimid sin, sin deireadh leis an Ghaeilge sa tír seo. Ar an ábhar sin iarraim ar an Aire úr gan fanúint níos faide, mar caithfimid obair a dhéanamh anois má tá an Ghaeltacht le sábháil don náisiún.
Aire na Gaeltachta (Seán Ó Loingsigh): Ba mhaith liom ar dtús a rá go n-aontaím leis na daoine adúirt go raibh an Ghaeltacht á cúngú gach bliain. Is mór an trua é sin—d'ainneoin gach iarracht a dhein gach Rialtas ó bunaíodh an Stát. Caithfimid a admháil go bhfuil na daoine ag fágaint na Gaeltachta, agus go bhfuil siad ag fágaint na n-áiteacha eile ar fud na tíre chomh maith, ós rud é nach bhfuil slí bheatha go maith acu. Níl sé chomh maith, is dóigh liom, is tá sé in áiteacha lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht; sin an chúis go bhfuil na daoine ag fágaint na Gaeltachta, cion níos mó ná mar atá ag fágaint na coda eile den tír.
Mar sin féin, ní ceart cur i leith an Rialtais ná dearnadh faic ar son na Gaeltachta leis na blianta atá imithe. Tá neart oibre déanta ins gach Gaeltacht. Tá súil agam gur féidir linn b'fhéidir níos mó a dhéanamh ná mar deineadh go nuige seo. Sé sin, is dóigh liom, an fáth ar cuireadh an Roinn nua seo ar bun. Níl sé cinnte go ndéanfaidh an Roinn nua obair níos fearr ná mar deineadh go dtí seo. Ar a laghad, beidh cumhacht agus údarás an Aire níos mó ná mar bhí nó a bhíodh ag Rúnaí Parlaiminte chun an Ghaeltacht a chur ar aghaidh  agus chun níos mó daoine a caomhnadh sa Ghaeltacht.
Nuair a chuir an Teachta Mac Loingsigh tús leis an díospóireacht seo, dúirt sé nach raibh mórán nua anseo, sé sin, sa díospóireacht nó sa ráiteas a chuir mise fé bhráid an Tí. Ní raibh mórán anseo, mórán nua, ón am a cuireadh Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng ar bun blianta ó shin. Bhí sé sin fíor. Is trua go raibh sé fíor. Nuair a cuireadh deireadh leis an Oifig sin, caithim a rá agus caithfidh gach éinne a rá gur beag a deineadh ar son na Gaeltachta ó shin.
Nuair a tháinig Fianna Fáil i gcumhacht i 1951 cuireadh an Oifig sin, Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng, ar bun agus cuireadh Rúnaí Parlaiminte ina bun, chun chomhshnadhmadh a dhéanamh ar an obair i ngach Roinn ar son na Gaeltachta. Chomh maith leis sin, cuireadh coiste idir-rannach ar bun agus ceapadh ar an gcoiste sin oifigeach ó gach Roinn Stáit a raibh aon bhaint acu, beag nó mór, le hobair na Gaeltachta. Tháinig an coiste sin le chéile beagnach gach re seachtain. Sa tslí sin, b'fhéidir leis an gcoiste agus leis an Rúnaí Parlaiminte an obair sin go léir a choimeád fé na bráid. Aon áit ina raibh obair le déanamh, scéimeanna nua le cur ar bun nó rud éigin a bhí in easnamh, cuireadh an rud sin i bhfeidhm. Is féidir linn a rá gur deineadh dea-obair ar son na Gaeltachta sa tréimhse sin.
Ní gá dom ach tagairt a dhéanamh do roinnt de na rudaí a deineadh sa tréimhse sin. Ar dtúis, leathnaíodh Achta na dTithe a bhí i bhfeidhm don Ghaeltacht agus tugadh deontaisí do na daoine sa Ghaeltacht chun uisce reatha agus séarachas a chur ar fáil.
Tugadh deontaisí chun tithe a thógaint, agus thug na scéimeanna seo uile slí do na daoine sa Ghaeltacht fanúint sa bhaile. Rud maith a bhí i scéim Tithe na Gaeltachta. Rud maith leis a bhí sa scéim chun fo-stáisiúin leictreachais a chur ar bun sa Ghaeltacht ionas go mbeadh na daoine ansin i ndon a gcuid móna a dhíol chomh héasca agus a bhí siad i ndon í a dhíol in aimsir an Chogaidh.  San aimsir sin ní raibh mórán deacrachta ag baint le díol móna ar fuaid na tíre. Ach chomh luath agus d'imigh na laethe sin b'éigean don Rialtas margadh nua a chur ar bun. Is ansin a cuireadh suas na fo-stáisiúin leictreachais.
Rud eile de, bhí gearáin ag muintir na Gaeltachta, agus ag daoine eile san Iarthar leo, nach raibh caoi cheart ar na bóithre. Ní ar an obair a chuirfeadh scéim leasú bóthar ar fáil amháin a bhíodar ag smaoineamh; bhíodar ag smaoineamh freisin ar na cuairteoirí a thiocfadh go dtí na ceantair sin dá mbeadh na bóithre níos fearr. Chuir an Rialtas £400,000 ar fáil gach bliain ar feadh ocht mbliana chun feabhas a chur ar na bóithre sa Ghaeltacht agus, ag an am céanna, chun obair a sholáthar do na daoine.
Nuair a toghadh an Rialtas nua i 1954, cuireadh críoch leis an Oifig a chuir na scéimeanna sin ar fáil do na daoine—Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCúng. Ní raibh ach ocht gcruinniú den choiste sin ann ón am a tháinig an Rialtas nua isteach i 1954 go dtí an t-am a cuireadh an Aireacht nua ar bun. I rith an dá bhliain sin ní dearnadh faic ar son na Gaeltachta. Cuireadh an Aireacht nua ar bun i mí Deireadh Fómhair, 1956. Admhaím nach raibh mórán ama ag an Aire chun scéimeanna a chur ar bun. Ach, ná déan dearmad, bhí an tAire in a Rúnaí Parlaiminte ar feadh tréimhse fada roimhe sin. Ní fheicim aon fhianaise sa Roinn faoi aon obair a deineadh ar son na Gaeltachta le linn an tréimhse sin. Is trua nach raibh aon rud nua sa Vóta seo d'ullmhaigh sé agus atá anois os comhair an Tí.
Bhí moladh ag an Teachta Mac Cuinneagáin gur ceart saghas ciste a chur ar bun ar son na Gaeltachta—rud éigin mar an gCiste Forbartha Náisiúnta. Níl fhios agam ar léigh sé an Leabhar Meastachán. Má léigh, chonaic sé go bhfuil ciste fé leith bunaithe le haghaidh na hoibre seo. Tá £77,000 sa chiste sin le scéimeanna a chur i gcrích, scéimeanna nach bhfuil ar chumas na gcomhairlí contae iad a dhéanamh leo féin gan cabhair ón Rialtas. Bha mhaith liom, más féidir, an ciste fé leith sin  a dhéanamh níos mó. Ba mhaith liom a rá, áfach, go mbeidh níos mó airgid le fáil amach anso le haghaidh na hoibre sin.
Rinne an Teachta Mac Cuinneagáin tagairt don deontas £5. Dúirt sé go raibh gearán aige go raibh riaráiste mór gach blian in íoc an deontais— nach raibh sé íoctha roimh an Nollaig. Ach tá gearán eile agamsa: amanta nuair a théim thart ar fuaid na Gaeltachta cloisim na páistí ag caint i mBéarla. Measaim uaireanta, agus táim cinnte dhe i gcúpla cás, go bhfuil an deontas £5 á fháil ag na páistí sin. Bhí an scéim sin dá riaradh ag an Aire Oideachais sarar cuireadh an Roinn nua seo ar bun agus ba mhaith liom a rá go bhfuil súil agam go bhfuil gach duine atá ag fáil an deontais sin ag labhairt na Gaeilge, ni hamháin ar scoil agus ar na bóithre ach sa tigh chomh maith.
Aontaím go bhfuil gá le stiúrthóir i ngach Gaeltacht. Do piocadh triúr stiúrthóirí ach níor fostaíodh ach beirt mar dhiúltaigh an tríú fear an post. Tá stiúrthóir anois i nGaeltacht Thír Chonaill agus in Iarthair na tíre, agus tá súil agam go mbeidh ceann eile fostaithe i gCúige Mumhan sar i bhfad. Ní bheimid ag súil le rudaí móra ó obair na stiúrthóirí seo i mbliana. Caithfimid seans a thabhairt dóibh dul thart agus aithne a chur ar na daoine agus eolas a fháil ar na deachrachtaí atá ag baint le saol na Gaeltachta. Sa tslí sin beimid i ndon ceangal a chur ar bun idir an oifig i mBaile Átha Cliath, na hoifigí eile ar fuaid na gceantar sin agus na daoine sa Ghaeltacht.
Rinne an Teachta Ó Bláthmhaic trácht ar fhoraoiseacht. Is fíor gur an-obair í an ghoraoiseacht do na daoine sa Ghaeltacht má tá talamh le fáil ann. Ach ní furast talamh a fháil sna ceantair sin. Nuair a bhí mise i mo Rúnaí Parlaiminte dúradh liom go raibh a lán talún le fáil sa Ghaeltacht. Cuireadh cigire go dtí na ceantair sin ach fuair seisean amach nach raibh talamh ar bith le spáráil ag na feirmeoirí ann.
Sin deacracht fé leith atá ag baint le foraoiseacht sna ceantracha sin. Má bhíonn an talamh maith a dothain  chun crainn a chur tá sí úsáideach i slí eigin eile do na feirmeóirí sna háiteacha sin.
Chuir an Teachta Ó Bláthmhaic ceist orm mar gheall ar earraí mara. D'fiafraigh sé díom ead é an praghas a bhí á thabhairt ag an Roinn. Sé an praghas sin ná £550 in aghaidh an tonna nuair a bhíonn na hearraí sin tirim agus tá deontas nó bónas breíse le fáil de 2/6 go 10/- an tonna ag na daoine a soláthraionn cúig tonna nó níos mó d'earraí mara.
Dúirt an Rúnaí Parlaiminte nach n-aontaíonn sé leis an Teachta Ó Domhnaill sa méid a dúirt sé i dtaobh Gaeilge éigeantach sa Ghaeltacht. Aontaím leis an Rúnaí Parlaiminte. Ní féidir é sin a rá le muintir na Gaeltachta. Má tá an Ghaeilge acu agus má thagann an t-am go mbeidh Gaeilge éigeantach sa Ghaeltacht tá sé in am deireadh a chur leis an Ghaeltacht. Pé scéal é, ní dóigh liom go dtiocfaidh an t-am sin go deo. Tá fhios agam go bhfuil an Ghaeltacht ag cúngú in aghaidh na bliana ach tá neart Gaeilge á labhairt ag na daoine sa Gaeltacht agus tá níos mó Gaeilge á labhairt ar fud na tíre, nó, ar a laghad, tá níos mó daoine, go bhfuil eolas acu ar an nGaeilge ná mar a bhí fiche bliain ó shin, cé go bhfuil níos mó de mhuintir na Gaeltachta ag dul thar lear ná mar a chuaigh cheana.
Ní dóigh liom gur ceart an iomad a rá faoi pholasaí ginearálta don Ghaeltacht. Fé mar is eol do gach éinne beidh Aire nua ag teacht isteach san oifig seo i gceann tamaillín. Beidh deireadh ag an údarás atá agamsa ag baint leis an oifig seo, b'fhéidir, ag deireadh na seachtaine seo. Mar sin sílim gur ceart léiriú an pholasaí nua atá le chur i bhridhm a fhágaint don am i láthair.
Tá ceist eile ann áfach. Ní ceist mhór í ach rinne an Teachta Mac Loingsigh iarracht ar cheist mhór a dhéanamh di, sé sin, an cheist i dtaobh na lascainí agus an ceist a bhí á plé aige, ní hamháin inniu ach leis na seachtainí anuas nuair a bhí sé ag cur ceisteanna ar an gclár agus freagraí á dtabhairt agamsa. Cuireadh im leith le linn na ceisteanna sin a bheith  á gcur síos aige gur thugas an freagra dó i nGaeilge d'aon-ghnó chun dalladh mullóg do chur ar na daoine, chun an fhírinne do cheilt orthu. Níl sé sin fíor, agus ós rud é go bhfuil seans ann go n-abhróidh sé é sin arís má leanaim leis an cuid eile den ráiteas seo i nGaeilge, caithfidh me iompó ar an mBéarla anois i dtreo nach mbeidh aon mhí-thuiscint ar éinne fén méid a bheidh le rá agam ar an gceist sin
Mr. J. Lynch: As I have just said, I regret that the occasion has now arisen, possibly on my last day acting as Minister for the Gaeltacht, that I should address the House in English on a matter appertaining to the Department of the Gaeltacht. I am not one of those people against whom it could be alleged that he is a Gaelic snob. I believe that at times it is just as well that anybody who knows Irish should speak English if there is the possibility that people listening to him might understand him better, or if by speaking English he could indicate to them that those who are interested in the revival of the language are reasonable people and that there is no desire on their part to speak Irish only in order to make those listening to him feel at a disadvantage. In this case I shall speak in English in order to make sure that no Deputy in the House will misunderstand what I have to say.
In relation to the questions put down by Deputy Lindsay on the matter of the dismissal and the reinstatement of an agent in Gaeltarra Éireann, let me say at the outset that in answering in Irish those questions which were put down in English I was doing no more than following a direction given by Deputy Lindsay himself when he was Minister. The direction was to this effect—it is so stated in writing in one of the files which I have seen myself— that where Deputies who understood Irish put down questions in English for oral answer in the House, the answer was to be given to them in Irish unless in any particular instance  a Deputy asked for it in English. In any event, I agree entirely with the Minister's direction in that respect and I do not think it is right that any Deputy who specifically asks for a reply in English should be denied it. In not one single instance did Deputy Lindsay ask me to repeat a reply in English. Had he so requested, I would have done so.
Mr. J. Lynch: I take it Deputy Lindsay is not trying to insult the intelligence of the Deputies by implying that they put down questions that are not important. If a matter warrants the putting down of a question it is to be assumed that it is sufficiently important to the Deputy himself and to the public inasmuch as that it appears as a parliamentary question. That was the ruling given by the Deputy when he was Minister and that is the ruling I followed in this case.
First I want to assure Deputies that there was no attempt whatever made by me to conceal knowledge from the House. Secondly, on every occasion that Deputy Lindsay asked these questions the answers were given to him as fully as I could possibly get the information from the Department.
Mr. J. Lynch: I do not agree for a moment that in any respect there was an attempt made by any of the officers in the Department of the Gaeltacht or in the Gaeltacht Services Branch of the Department to withhold any information from me. In respect of the questions submitted by Deputy Lindsay, I was given the entire information that I asked for and the Deputy, in turn, was given all the information he requested in his questions.
Thirdly, before I go too deeply into the specific matters complained of by the Deputy, I should like to refer to some allegations he made in respect of the wages paid by Gaeltarra Éireann to knitwear workers and tweed workers. As regards flat knitwear, the  rates paid are based on those laid down for fourth year workers in the agreement made between the hosiery group of the Federation of Irish Manufacturers and the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union. With regard to hand knitwear, the rates paid are in line with those paid by other manufacturers and their agents in Donegal and Connemara. I think that will answer the Deputy's questions in that respect.
With regard to tweed, those who are engaged in the tweed industry in Kilcar factory are paid on the basis of the agreement made through the agency of the Labour Court subscribed to by the Employers' Federation and the trade union concerned and those are the rates applicable to the entire country. There is just a slight reservation but that is only from the point of view of time and it does not apply now. Up to recently, as a result of a number of people being in the factory who were not fully trained, the full rates of wages had not been paid to them. But it was agreed that a time limit would be put on the payment of the lesser wages to some of these workers. That time limit has long since passed and, since it has passed, the full rate of wages is being paid to these workers. Again, I think that fairly answers the allegation made by the Deputy in that respect.
On the day the Deputy first spoke, last Wednesday, he began by making allegations in a general way against the integrity of the civil servants employed in the Gaeltacht Services branch of the Department of the Gaeltacht. So far as I could ascertain, the Deputy's charges in that respect are completely groundless. It is a pity that he should use his privileged position in that way to attack officials whose integrity, in my opinion, is beyound question, when these officials are not in a position to answer for themselves. So far as it can be done, and so far as the injury can be rectified, I am doing so now in that I can assure the House and the country—as Deputy Lindsay has so often used that phrase in the course of his remarks— that there is no foundation whatever for the allegations made by him against the integrity of these officials.
Mr. J. Lynch: I certainly shall. In so far as an allegation has been made against my own personal integrity by the ex-Minister, I am afraid I can only leave the House and the country to judge for themselves. If there was no personal allegation, perhaps I will accept that, judging by the look on the Deputy's face now.
Mr. Lindsay: On a matter of personal explanation, I want to make perfectly clear that what I said made no imputation against the Minister personally. Anything I said was not meant to make, and did not in fact make, any imputation against the Minister personally. I added that if he had a free hand in this matter, he would not have done what he did.
Mr. J. Lynch: That in fact is an allegation against my competence to hold the office I have, even though temporarily, but I want to assure both Deputy Lindsay and the House that no influence was brought to bear on me in respect of the reinstatement of this agent.
Let me start at the beginning. Deputy Lindsay said that long before he was put in charge of this Department, he knew that there were happenings in Gaeltarra Éireann that merited inquiry. As far as I remember, the Deputy was made Parliamentary Secretary in July last year. He was appointed Minister immediately on the resumption of the Dáil after the Summer Recess. That was some time in October.
Mr. J. Lynch: On 24th October. But the ex-Minister did not stir a hand in respect of the happenings that he knew merited inquiry until the 8th January, 1957. The ex-Minister has already made a reference to an incident, an “effort” he says, at Christmas, 1956, by some person to whom he did not refer but who, it is obvious, is this agent he has so often mentioned, to anticipate the likely consequences expected by a guilty conscience.
 I do not know what happened. We have no first knowledge of what happened at Christmas, 1956, and I am certainly not going to throw out here in this House what I have heard in respect of what happened. At all events, whatever happened at Christmas, 1956, when Deputy Lindsay returned to his Department immediately after Christmas, he set about this inquisition, this inquiry into the discounts that were allowed and allowable in the Dublin area. That inquisition continued on from 8th January until 19th March and on the forenoon of 19th March for the first time, this agent who was being accused of certain misconduct was brought before the Minister in his Department. I should like to remark on the significance of the date, 19th March, 1957. Deputies will remember that they took their places in this Dáil for the first time on the afternoon of 20th March. On that morning, the agent concerned was summoned to the Minister's office——
Mr. J. Lynch: The 15th or 16th. He was there that day, and there was another conference or inquisition summoned for 19th March. On the night of 19th March, the Minister signed a letter, had it delivered by hand to the hotel in which this agent was staying, informing the agent that he was dismissed on certain grounds, and these grounds were stated.
Mr. J. Lynch: In any inaccuracy of which I am guilty I shall accept the Deputy's correction without question. The three grounds on which the Minister decided to dismiss this agent were: (1) that he is now the sole director of a company—the company was named—and for that reason he is not in a position to give full-time attention to his position as agent; (2) that he sold goods in sales areas of another agent, and (3) that he arranged with certain shopkeepers without previous permission—I am translating as I go along—from the manager of Gaeltarra Éireann, and without informing him that he had so arranged, that they would receive a discount of 25 per cent. on certain knitted goods, matter which was damaging to a trade.
I shall refer to specific instances later if the Deputy requires me to do so. The first question was that the agent was a director of a company, a company that purchased goods from Gaeltarra Éireann. He was an agent for linen and knitwear. The goods he purchased from Garltarra Éireann through his company were tweeds. I am satisfied, and any officer of the Department with whom I have discussed the matter is also satisfied, that the type of goods and lengths of tweed that this agent's company, his independent company, purchased from Gaeltarra Éireann were lengths for which Gaeltarra Éireann had not a sales service through the medium of which they could sell themselves. This company had established on the Continent and in Britain certain contacts for the sale of short lengths of tweed, sales for which Gaeltarra Éireann sales organisation was not geared and in relation to which Gaeltarra Éireann, as a manufacturer of tweed, were very happy to have an outlet such as was provided by the company with which this agent was associated.
The Deputy has made certain play on the fact that the agent was the sole owner. The reason he was dismissed was because it was alleged that he was the sole director. Whether he be sole owner or sole director, the fact is that there is another director.
Mr. J. Lynch: He may be by far the substantial owner. It has been stated to me, and I accept it beyond question, by the officers of Gaeltarra Éireann that this company performs a most useful function in disposing of these tweeds, tweeds which otherwise they might find difficulty in disposing of; secondly, I am informed that this agent has never taken a holiday at the expense of Gaeltarra Éireann.
Mr. J. Lynch: Not alone does he work hard in the ordinary business of selling that knitwear in the district allotted to him but he goes beyond what might be expected of an agent in furthering the sales of Gaeltarra Éireann and in establishing display centres and paying for them out of his own pocket. As well as that, he bears whatever extra expense is required for the pushing of these goods in the area allotted to him—that is, in Dublin and in what might be described as the home counties.
With regard to his directorship of this company, when he purchased whatever interest he had in the company he immediately informed the Director of Gaeltacht Services and the Secretary of the Department of Lands, who is the accounting officer for the Gaeltacht Services Division. No objection was raised. In fact, I would be correct in saying that his action in that respect was welcomed inasmuch as it gave an outlet to Gaeltarra Éireann for these lengths of tweed which they would have found it difficult to sell otherwise.
As Deputy Lindsay has said, he  ultimately purchased the interest of the other director. Again he informed the Director of Gaeltacht Services and, through him, the Secretary of the Department of Lands. No objection whatever was raised in that respect either. But, whether or not objection was raised, from the evidence before me I am satisfied by and large that this agent gave all the attention required to pushing the sales of knitwear manufactured by Gaeltarra Éireann and all the attention commensurate with the terms of his appointment.
Mr. J. Lynch: I shall deal with these later. In so far as I am dealing with this allegation against him as one of the reasons for his dismissal, it should also be stated that each of the two main agents—the one for the South and the one for the West—had then and still have interests other than those for which they are employed by Gaeltarra Éireann. It is, perhaps, unnecessary for me to go into the outside interests of each of these agents.
Mr. J. Lynch: Since the Deputy has interjected that these interests are not conflicting, one of the agents happens to be a director of a woollen company; the other agent has purchased a very substantial farm.
Mr. J. Lynch: I do not say that is wrong. On the contrary, it must be realised, as the Deputy pointed out, that these men are liable to three months' notice. They are not permanent and, as far as I understand, they get no higher commission on their sales than those normally given despite what Deputy Lindsay says.
Mr. J. Lynch: It should be understood that these positions are not permanent. Neither are they pensionable.  The commission is not in any way out of the ordinary. Deputy Lindsay suggests that 1 per cent. would be sufficient.
Mr. J. Lynch: Or, rather, that men in comparable positions get 1 per cent. from their companies. If one applies that to the total remuneration earned by these men, the highest would have been £800 a year, ranging down to less than £400 a year, in the four years quoted by the Deputy. When one realises that each of these agents has to finance all his own travelling, purchase his own car, buy his samples— in fact, from Gaeltarra Éireann— carry on whatever entertainment one has to do in these positions——
Mr. J. Lynch: ——one realises it is ludicrous to suggest that the commission given might be cut to the extent of one-fifth. I am assured that in fact the commission, taking one year with another, a bad year with a good one, is by no means excessive, and in order to ensure that the best man is obtained for the purpose of pushing these sales, the commission given is about what would attract a good man.
The second point on which the agent concerned was dismissed was that he sold goods in another agent's district. First of all, there was an allegation made by the southern agent, at one of the conferences held by Deputy Lindsay a few days before he went out, to the effect that Gaeltarra Éireann goods were found on sale at Shannon Airport and that these goods were not sold by the southern agent, even though Shannon Airport was within his district. That was accepted as an act in breach of his conditions of appointment by the agent in the Dublin area. But the fact is that those who run Shannon Airport—Aer Rianta or whoever it is—are responsible for the goods on sale there. They have their own distributing centre in Dublin and all goods of that description sold in Shannon Airport are supplied  by that centre. Gaeltarra Éireann goods sold in Shannon Airport are not supplied by the southern agent. As far as Gaeltarra Éireann agents are concerned, they are legitimately purchased in Dublin and put on sale in Shannon.
Mr. J. Lynch: There was a suggestion of goods being put on sale in Cork. That is the only other instance of goods being on sale in the southern area. I do not know how long ago it happened; I think it is a matter of some couple of years. At all events, there was no attempt to prove, nor has it been proved—and I do not know if it is capable of being proved—that these goods were in any way supplied by the agent——
Mr. J. Lynch: These were the two allegations—they might be described as trivial allegations—on which it was sought to put the man out of his position. There were two other instances. One was a case of goods being sold in the western agent's district. Again, this happened about three or four years ago. They were sold to a shopkeeper in Donegal. Again, the only item that could be alleged with any proof whatever against the company with which this agent was associated was that they sold tweed in Ireland when they were restricted to Europe and Britain——
Mr. J. Lynch: I did not interrupt the Deputy; at least, I interrupted him only on one occasion in the course of the case he was making. I wish he would allow me to make my case. In fact, I am not making a case; I am just giving facts.
Mr. J. Lynch: £189—some years ago by this company. So far as is known, that shopkeeper transferred some of the goods to another shopkeeper in Donegal. There is no other knowledge as to how the other shopkeeper came by it——
Mr. J. Lynch: That is the only instance in which sales of tweed took place by this company to anybody in the country. As I said, £189 was the sum involved. It was brought to the attention of the agent immediately that his company was not permitted to sell in Ireland. It was brought to his attention by the officers of Gaeltarra Éireann. The agent was advised not to permit his company to do that again and it never has happened since.
There was one other instance where a shopkeeper from the West of Ireland, I think, had possession of patterns. The patterns were supplied by the company with which the agent was associated as a result of a personal request, but no sale was effected in any way. The Deputy is laughing——
Mr. J. Lynch: There is no use in sniggering or laughing. The Deputy took exception to the Parliamentary Secretary's sniggering at something the Deputy said the other day. He should let me make my case.
The third ground was that he arranged with certain shopkeepers, without the prior permission of the manager of Gaeltarra Éireann and without telling them that he so made arrangements, that they would get 25 per cent. commission in respect of certain knitted goods. I do not know what is the usual practice for travellers who travel for certain firms, but I am sure that the traveller who  makes a suggestion about discounts to a shopkeeper, be he a retailer or a wholesaler, must know that he would have to have the authority of those who are employing him. Similarly, as a practice of trade, those who buy these goods must know the same thing.
I believe it happens—in fact, I know it happens—that travellers or agents say to shopkeepers who buy goods: “I will try to get you a higher discount,” in one case or another; but, at all events, whether the agent concerned did promise or make suggestions that certain shopkeepers, wholesalers or retailers would get discount in excess of the usual amount, the fact is that not in one single instance was a discount given in excess of the 13 per cent. allowed, without the specific permission of the management of Gaeltarra Éireann——
Mr. J. Lynch: The fact remains that not in one single instance—and remember this is the third ground on which the Deputy decided to sack the man— was an extra discount given without the permission of the management.
Mr. J. Lynch: These were the broad facts which I had to investigate when I assumed office as Acting-Minister for the Gaeltacht. It is pretty obvious from the manner in which the Deputy has conducted his campaign, despite what he said in regard to the use of the word “vendetta”, that he had spleen to exercise against this individual.
Mr. J. Lynch: I suggest that in this campaign the Deputy did not care whom he hurt in order to justify his action, having regard to the fact that he made allegations against civil servants who could not defend themselves.
Mr. J. Lynch: I would like to ask again, if the Deputy was satisfied that there was a case for dismissing this man, why did he, on the eve of his leaving office, hurriedly cause a letter to be sent by hand from his office to the hotel in which this man was staying? If there was such a case, could he not have left it to the direction of the Minister who was following him? I suggest it was very significant——
Mr. J. Lynch: I do not know to what extent the scandal has been disclosed in relation to the facts as I have given them here. In relation to this matter, I want to say before I leave it that I never knew the man concerned nor the sky over him.
Mr. J. Lynch: The Deputy has stated that the officers of his Department agreed entirely with his action. I have found no evidence of that. He was told, I understand, that to dismiss the man without notice was perhaps something he ought not to do.
Mr. J. Lynch: My information was that this was by the permanent head of the Department. However, let us not bring in these officials—it is not fair to them. I am satisfied from the advice given me and from the information I have got that my action in restoring this man received and still receives the approval of the officers of the Department of the Gaeltacht.
Mr. J. Lynch: No attempt was made by me to influence them in any way. In regard to specific points made by the Deputy in the course of his remarks he suggested that the manager of Gaeltarra Éireann was given different functions to perform in respect of that office——
Mr. J. Lynch: ——and he alleges that it arose out of this transaction entirely. First of all, as the Deputy knows, before he left office himself, the duties of the housing section of Gaeltacht Services were transferred to his Department and were put under the control of a principal officer of that Department. Up to this time, the Assistant Director of Gaeltacht Services had been performing these functions in respect of Gaeltacht houses. When the duties of that branch of the services were taken from him, as a result of the setting up of the Department of the Gaeltacht and of the transfer of these duties to the principal officer in the Department, he had a certain lessening of his duties and as  a result of his previous experience as manager of Gaeltarra Éireann, he was given certain duties in relation to the management of Gaeltarra Éireann with which he was familiar. The assistant manager was put on special duties in relation to stocktaking and I think it is completely wrong to suggest that it was only because of the manager's complication in this respect that his duties were transferred. It is entirely wrong.
Mr. J. Lynch: Apparently £109 worth of linen was sold by the agent's firm to Gaeltarra Éireann and the manager was, in fact, the person who effected the purchase. He credited the firm with that £109 and, some time later, when the nature of the transaction became apparent to the Director of Gaeltarra Éireann, the manager was directed to return the linen to the company and to cancel the credit note that was given in favour of the company. Because there was a certain departure from procedure in that single respect, there was an increment held from the manager, but beyond that no punishment was imposed and there was nothing sinister, even though the Deputy appears to think so, in the whole transaction. To-day was the first time I heard about it. It all happened in the time when the Deputy was in office, but apparently it did not justify any action except that taken in regard to the manager. I might say that the linen was apparently purchased for a purpose which later it was found it could not be put to.
Mr. J. Lynch: It was the company with which the agent was associated. Without being naïve about it, it was the agent himself who effected the sale, but actually the sale was not effected. A quantity of linen was delivered and, having regard to the manner in which it was effected, by credit note instead of purchase by a cheque having being made over, it was decided that the goods would have to be returned, and it was decided that certain action be taken in respect of the manager.
Mr. J. Lynch: There was another suggestion made by the Deputy in respect of an officer of the Department who was transferred from that Department because he raised certain questions about discount. That officer was a staff officer and he passed the confined examination for junior executive officers. He was assigned to another Department because there was no appropriate vacancy within his own Department for him. There is nothing sinister in the transfer of that officer from Gaeltarra Éireann to another Department. He passed the junior executive officer examination and took up the next appropriate appointment that was available for him.
Mr. J. Lynch: Another suggestion was made by the Deputy that goods made for this company were stored for it in Gaeltarra Éireann and were sold at a price below that charged to other companies. The fact was that goods were ordered from time to time by the firm concerned, the firm with which the agent is connected. As I have told the House, they were goods of a type that were not very readily disposed of. Markets had to be found for them abroad, but they were paid for at the price which was fixed at the time of the transactions between the company and Gaeltarra Éireann. That follows the normal practice of trade and certainly the normal practice of Gaeltarra Éireann.
The current amount due by that company to Gaeltarra Éireann is, I understand, £9,370. I am told that credit is allowed to companies and individuals who deal with Gaeltarra Éireann on the basis of reports from trade associations and banks. That was done in this case just as in the cases of other customers.
Mr. J. Lynch: Another point raised by the Deputy was in relation to complaints received from shops throughout the country that they were not able to sell Gaeltarra Éireann goods because these goods were on supply in their areas at a cheaper price. The first intimation to that effect from any shop  came some couple of weeks before the Deputy raised a question in this respect and it came from a firm in Ballina. One can only wonder what inspired the writing of that letter.
Mr. J. Lynch: The question referred to asked the Minister whether he had received any complaints from any trader in this State within the past month that he could not give orders to Gaeltarra Éireann because Dublin traders were getting a higher percentage trading discount, thereby permiting them to sell knitwear in his area cheaper than he could buy it from Gaeltarra Éireann. The letter concerned made no reference to Dublin traders and I can only conclude from that that there was somewhere a bad advice of proofs.
Mr. J. Lynch: There was only one other letter from a firm in Galway and it raised the question about the delay in paying their own accounts. It referred to price competition, due to their customers being offered Gaeltarra Éireann goods cheaper than they could offer them. It said their stock was too high, due to defective merchandise received from Gaeltarra Éireann and unfair price-cutting. That was the only other letter that could be remotely connected with the Deputy's question, and it certainly made no reference to Dublin traders.
With regard to the general import of the Deputy's remarks when he referred to sub-standard goods, Deputies might be forgiven if they thought all Gaeltarra Éireann stuff was sold as sub-standard and that, only in the Dublin area. The fact is that, in the year 1956, in respect of which the Deputy asked a question, only 8 per cent. of Gaeltarra Éireann goods were found to be sub-standard.
Mr. McMenamin: I was quite unaware that the Department handled any sub-standard material and, as regards the export trade in these products of this industry, I should like the Minister to tell me is the Department the sole exporter to the United States of its own goods; are they sold at an economic price; and thirdly, are any sub-standard goods permitted to go out to America?
Mr. J. Lynch: The Deputy was not present during the debate, but I will answer his questions simply. The Department has agents in the United States and these agents get commission. First of all, 8 per cent. of Gaeltacht goods were found to be sub-standard and sold as such. The entire of that amount was sold. Lest it be suggested or believed that all of it was sold in the Dublin area, I want to say that, of that 8 per cent., 47 per cent. was sold in the West of Ireland, 12 per cent. in the South and 41 per cent. in the area of the agent concerned. When I say “sub-standard” I should really say “unsatisfactory”.
It does not always imply that the goods sold at a greater discount were sub-standard. It has happened that some of these goods were not sold within a reasonable time by the shops because of the discrimination of purchasers. They probably objected to design in some respects and to the colour schemes in other respects. These were some of the goods sold in the Dublin area. As the Deputy knows, the competition in that respect in the Dublin area would probably be higher than that in any other part of the country.
In so far as an allegation might be made that the sales of Gaeltarra Éireann knitwear goods are not as high as they ought to be, I understand that all over the country a great number of people are producing knitwear goods and the competition is becoming keener and keener with the result that some  of the smaller people have been put out of business.
Mr. J. Lynch: I have told the Deputy that the rates given are commensurate with the rates given elsewhere. It was suggested that I, as Minister, was responsible for some of the girls in the West of Ireland emigrating because positions in Gaeltarra Éireann knitting centres were not being filled. It was the Deputy himself, when he was Minister, who directed that vacancies were not to be filled.
Mr. J. Lynch: The reason for that decision by the former Minister was that a goodly quantity of Gaeltarra Éireann knitwear was not disposed of when the Minister left office, and for some months before it.
Mr. J. Lynch: In particular, relating to the year we are dealing with. The reason was because the market was glutted with knitwear goods. As it was a manufacturing company, I think the Minister was quite right to treat them as a business organisation and not to allow production to increase unless sales commensurate with the production could be effected, which was not being done in any sales area.
Mr. J. Lynch: With regard to the discount and the special cases mentioned by the Deputy, I have here some cases in which the increased discount was sought by firms in the Dublin  area. The records of the Department indicate, in respect of one case, that the goods were sub-standard; ditto in respect of the second case; a sum of £7 5s. 9d. in the third case to maintain the goodwill of the company——
Mr. J. Lynch: A sum of £4 11s. 1d. in respect of sub-standard; another sum ditto; another sum with a Dublin firm of £20 15s. 3d. for goodwill purposes; another sum of £59 13s. for goodwill purposes; a sum of £47 3s. for goodwill purposes; a sum of £27 0s. 1d. goodwill, and there was one other case of sub-standard goods. I would remind the House again that in no case was that discount allowed without the consent in writing of the manager of Gaeltarra Éireann.
Mr. J. Lynch: The Deputy suggested I should have satisfied myself in respect of these goods as to whether they were standard or sub-standard. I have no means at my disposal to do so except the records of the Department. I have no means whatever of following up these goods——
Mr. J. Lynch: ——except by reference to the Department's records. I do not know if I have dealt with every point made by the former Minister. I hope I have gone as far as is necessary to indicate that, having regard, first, to the three points made as the basis for the dismissal of this agent, they were not justified. If there was another ground, it is a pity the Deputy, when he was Minister, did not state it on the minute which is the record of the basis for this man's dismissal.
Mr. J. Lynch: I have examined the general background of the case in respect  of which the Deputy suggests there ought to be a full public inquiry, suggesting scandalous imputations against the officers of Gaeltarra Éireann. I have found there is no justification for the holding of such an inquiry, having regard to the weakness of the three grounds on which the dismissal was sustained, having regard to the time when the inquisition was commenced, the time the dismissal was effected and the manner in which it was done. I suggest the matter is not entirely—I do not want to use the phrase “above suspicion” but at least it makes one think as to what the motives were.
Mr. Lindsay: My motive was in the interest of public expenditure. Will the Minister not deal with the point of the three orders in March, 1955, on which a total of £332 8s. 4d. extra was given and explain it in detail to the House?
Mr. J. Lynch: Perhaps I should deal with this. I did not think it would be necessary for me to do so. The Deputy referred to the fact that there was no production manager in Gaeltarra Éireann. He suggested—in fact, I am glad now the Deputy did remind me— that the designer performed the functions of the production manager. It is true, and the Deputy knows it well, that, for many years and on several occasions since the old production manager died, Gaeltarra Éireann have inserted advertisements and have sought far and wide to recruit a competent production manager but have so far failed. For that reason, they required the designer to perform some of the functions of the production manager. He was given an allowance in respect of the extra duties, not of £300 per annum as suggested by the Deputy but of £50 per annum.
The Deputy also referred to a staff officer getting commission from a tweed  agent in Dublin who had nothing to do with this allegation. The staff officer was getting a gratuity of £60 a year for extra work involved in the absence of a production manager. The point I am coming to is this. First of all, the loss of the production manager very much affected, naturally, the standard of goods, the supervision of the manufacture of goods. Goods came into the depot in Dublin which were passed as sub-standard but when they found their way to the shops in some cases they were found to be defective in form or other respects, notably in many cases in the matter of design or colour formation. For that reason some of the goods were unsatisfactory rather than sub-standard and were difficult to sell by these concerns. For that reason demands were made in many cases for extra discount and it was given.
I understand that these were the goods to which the £332 8s. 4d. mentioned by the Deputy referred, but at all events the Deputy himself appreciates the difficulty that Gaeltarra Éireann had in this respect—a difficulty which continues. Until such time as a competent production manager is available these difficulties will arise.
Mr. J. Lynch: I have no record of that and I have been unable to establish that the Deputy's allegation in that respect is right. It is here in the official record that the goods were sub-standard. I tried to explain that some goods might have got out through the sales machine which were, in fact, sub-standard even though they got into the shops.
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