Wednesday, 3 June 1959
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Casey: When this debate was adjourned last night, I had all but concluded and I do not propose to take very many minutes to do so now. I had been commenting on State aid to  Irish industry, and I had been endeavouring to urge on the Minister the importance of making it known quite clearly to everybody concerned that one of the fundamental justifications for State aid, by way of loan, grant or guarantee, was the provision of employment opportunities for our own people at home. The Minister shares that view. In replying to a question put by me yesterday, he said that the main objective of industrial policy was to increase employment opportunities for Irish nationals. That is what I always understood the position to be and I had the mistaken impression that everybody else realised that as well. I was shocked to discover that that objective is not appreciated by certain industrialists in this country.
Mr. Casey: I am not endeavouring to suggest that the Minister has any direct responsibility in relation to any individual firm. I am simply informing him that his policy, and the policy of his Government, is not appreciated by certain elements by whom it should be appreciated.
Mr. Casey: Surely the Minister has some responsibility for Government policy? I am simply informing him of this and urging him to take some steps to convey to all concerned the policy of the Government on this matter. It came to my notice quite recently that if this policy is known to certain industrialists, they certainly do not act upon it. Recently, there was brought to my notice the case of a firm which was established largely by aid from the Industrial Credit Company.
Mr. Casey: I have not referred to this case. I was on the point of coming  to it last night when progress was reported. I shall be very brief but I think this case indicates the point I wish to put. Here was a firm set up by State aid from the Industrial Credit Company employing as manager an Irishman, an ex-Irish Army officer, who inherited the post at a time when the trading position of that company was extremely low, and when the operatives employed in that firm were on very short time of two or 2½ days per week.
By the diligence and industry which this Corkman applied to this Cork industry, in quite a short time after his first year's work, there was full employment for the operatives and the shareholders enjoyed a dividend for the first time. At no time was the competence of this man in question. He had been complimented by the directors on his achievements and he appeared to be doing quite a good job. Everybody acknowledged that—nobody denied it —but when he had put the industry on its feet, when the trading position was satisfactory and everything was proceeding as all of us would desire to see, quite suddenly he was put out of office and was replaced by a non-national. That is the objection I have to this whole matter. He was replaced by a non-national who had no experience whatsoever, good, bad, or indifferent, of the industry concerned, a man who had never before been in a carpet factory. He was brought in here and an Irish national was put out of employment.
That Irishman has no choice now except to pack his bags, uproot his home and take his wife and children to Great Britain. On realising that position, I felt that something should be done about it. I had a long correspondence with the chairman of the Industrial Credit Company but not with a view to having this man reinstated because he is so fed up with this country, when he found such a thing could happen, that under no circumstances would he go back into the employment of that company. The chairman of the Industrial Credit Company dealt with me with great courtesy, but the whole affair ended up by my ascertaining that in such  matters the chairman was absolutely powerless, just as the Minister has conveyed in reply to my question that he is powerless as well. I am suggesting that it is a dreadful state of affairs that moneys provided by the Irish taxpayers to set up Irish industries can be used in this way.
I know the Minister would share my point of view; I know this Government would share it; I know previous Governments would share it; and I am suggesting that the Minister should take some steps to bring to the notice of all concerned, particularly to firms set up here by moneys provided through the Exchequer, that the fundamental justification for the State extending these facilities and these inducements to them is that they will employ Irish people at home, when Irish people are available and competent to carry out the jobs.
Mr. Sweetman: I do not propose to delay the House very long. I just want to refer to two or three small matters of general policy. I do not wish to refer to the general policy in respect of the closure of railway lines per se but I do want to suggest where railway lines are being closed—and I appreciate the legal position in respect to closure—as a matter of general policy, steps must be taken quickly to ensure that the provisions of the Transport Acts in relation to abandoned railway property are enforced. It is particularly important at the present time in the light of the drive to eradicate bovine tuberculosis. If railway lines such as those at Tullow are not vested at the earliest possible opportunity in the owners on either side from whom the land was originally acquired or if the local authority is not dealt with at once, it will be virtually impossible for anyone whose land borders the railway to put his farm in the position of being adequately accredited. If there is danger of infection from trespassing animals round the disused railway line, where that runs dividing a man's farm, it prevents him from becoming accredited. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that steps be taken by C.I.E. and by the local authority, if the local authority comes into it, for  the purpose of over-bridges, and so on, to carry out the provisions of the Act at once and to ensure that there is no delay in a person who has land adjacent to what was a railway becoming accredited under the anti-T.B. scheme.
I have no doubt that, once that matter has been brought to attention, those concerned with it will use the utmost speed in dealing with it. I had some experience of two lines in that respect. I am not making any critical complaint about the personnel but it does seem very hard to get over the machinery of the Acts. The delay involved in one case had, through a practical temporary solution being found, no adverse effect, but if there were delays in dealing with the matter, I can see it at present having considerable adverse effects.
The other questions arise in the same way and particularly in relation to the town of Naas. Considerable expense was incurred by C.I.E. in converting Naas railway station into a bus depot. Since that conversion, the railway station in Naas has been used as a most satisfactory bus depot. It was satisfactory not merely from the point of view of pull-in but from the point of view of the facilities there in relation to the buildings. Apparently a decision has now been taken as a matter of general policy, and not merely in relation to Naas alone, that where a line is closed, all the buildings on that line will go out of commission altogether. The result in Naas has been that the bus depot has been moved from the railway station down the town to the post office or to somewhere down the town. The people of that area regard it as waste. Public money was spent some time ago on converting the railway station into a most suitable bus depot and I suggest that the recent move is bad economy. The decision should be, as a matter of general policy, that, even though the line may not be used for railway purposes, where the buildings are satisfactory for bus depot purposes, they should be so retained.
In his opening statement, the Minister referred to whiskey sales in America. Quite clearly, I am no judge of the suitability of advertising whiskey in  America. It seemed to me that the campaign in the New Yorker was far and away over the head of the possible consumer who would consume Irish whiskey, we hoped, in the States. It seems, however, that those concerned in that campaign were right and that those of us who had not the contact with the American market were wrong. The response from that advertising campaign in the New Yorker has been most heartening, I think the Minister will agree.
The New Yorker is not the type of American magazine, the reader of which, in the ordinary sense, one would expect to indulge in coupon-posting for badges or anything else. Yet they have succeeded in obtaining a coupon response which is quite extraordinary. I hope that, having got the interest in that way, it will produce results in sales at a later stage. It is undoubtedly a tribute to those responsible for that advertising campaign— an advertising campaign which I freely admit I thought was far and away above the heads of the likely consumers.
We have a long way to travel in relation to breaking-in on the whiskey market in America—largely because of the action of the present Minister for Industry and Commerce and his Government 15 years ago. They deliberately decided then, as a matter of policy, that they would retain spirits for revenue purposes in this country and push it up. The Scotch whisky distillers found that the British Government adopted an entirely different approach and assisted them in every possible way to export and to break into the American market. They did break into the American market. They broke into it at that time as a result of the facilities and assistance given to them by the British Government of that day. In consequence, we are going into the American market for whiskey late—not merely late against the competition of the American whiskey industry but late in relation to the market previously captured by the Scotch distillers in the light of the facilities then afforded to them. I know that the reason was a revenue reason of that day. It may have been an  excellent reason at that time, but it was only a short-sighted point of view and, in the long run, that policy has made the position far more difficult. In that connection, I want to express a point of view which I expressed here and in relation to which I think the Minister will entirely agree with me.
If, in any State-sponsored body, particularly C.I.E., Aer Lingus, Aer Línte, any body of that sort, a customer asks for a whiskey and soda, that customer should be treated in exactly the same way as I would be treated in Holland if I asked for a gin and lime there. If I asked for a gin and lime in Holland, or a gin and tonic or a gin and anything, I will get Dutch gin. I will not be offered Gordon's gin or Power's or Cork gin. I will be offered Dutch gin if I ask for a gin in Holland.
Similarly, if anybody here asks for a whiskey and soda they should, primarily, be supplied with Irish whiskey, even though we may not think that it is as good in soda as in water. On occasion I have heard people employed by what I call a State concern—the Minister knows the type of company to which I am referring, C.I.E. or Aer Línte—being asked for a whiskey and soda and I have heard waitresses ask: “Scotch or Irish?” That is the wrong approach. The approach should be that Irish whiskey should be supplied. By all means we want to satisfy tourists, who may not always want Irish whiskey, but the primary duty of every person in the State, and more particularly in any State-sponsored body, should be, if a person asks for a whiskey, to give him an Irish whiskey and if he asks merely for a gin, to give him Irish-made gin, rather than give him a Scotch whisky or a Dutch gin, as in the case which I have instanced.
I do not think there would be any difference in the approach of the Minister and myself to that problem. It is one that should be very specifically stated by the head of every State-sponsored body and instructions to that effect given right down the line. It is only within the last five weeks that I heard the reverse happening. I heard a man asking in a State-sponsored bar for a whiskey and soda and the reply of the barman was: “Do you want Scotch or Irish?” That was  the wrong approach altogether. The approach should be: “Do you want Power's, Jameson's or Paddy Flaherty?” or whatever Irish whiskey may be in stock, and to make sure that the Irish product is pushed. A word in this House from the Minister in support of the point of view I mention might perhaps change the position.
Mr. Sweetman: The Industrial Grants Act? Then I want to say, if that is so, that I thought it was in relation to the Industrial Credit Company as well, but I shall say on this Estimate that it is nonsense for anybody to suggest that money provided by the Industrial Credit Company is not public money. It is one degree less responsibility for detailed administration, of course, but it is public money none the less. While I agree wholeheartedly that in the negotiation of any loans to industry, or to a particular industry, by the Industrial Credit Company, nothing whatever should be published, at the same time I do not accept the point of view that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has on occasion expressed to me that no details whatever should be furnished by him to the country in relation to loans by the Industrial Credit Company.
If a loan, a guarantee or an umbrella —call it what you will—is given by the Industrial Credit Company for any large and substantial sum—in the case that I have in mind, rumour has it that the amount that is involved, or is contingently involved, is over the £3,000,000 mark—then the country has the right to know that its resources to such an extent are being pledged. The fact that the loan is not being made under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Acts means that the return is not made to the House. There was a case made here by the Minister and by others that the system provided under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Acts was a cumbersome  system. I agree, but it had its advantages and one of its advantages was that there could be no fantastic rumours going about in relation to the amount of finance made available to anybody under those Acts.
The return was made. The examination that there was, was perhaps unduly protracted and also the method of examination, but the Industrial Credit Company, in my experience, is a better type of examination, subject to one comment which I shall make in a moment. It was a better type of examination and I understood clearly here when we were changing from the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Acts procedure to the Industrial Credit Company that it was the free loan negotiation that it was desired to facilitate and with that I entirely concurred. I do, however think that in very large cases where the resources of the State are being pledged to a significant degree there is an obligation on the responsible Minister to make clear to the House the extent of the guarantee. I think members of this House, and whoever happens to be on these benches, have an obligation to ensure that the resources of the State are not being disposed of in too lavish a manner in that way.
When you get into figures of the size I have mentioned—the story that is going is that only about £500,000 is being put up by the proprietor concerned and that £3,500,000 is being put up by the Industrial Credit Company, actually or contingently, as the case may be—that is a type of transaction the full details of which would have been made known in the quarterly or six monthly return of the Trade Loans Acts and should now be covered. Certainly failure to disclose the relevant information in relation to that type of case can do nothing but harm.
I want also to refer to a procedure which I understand is operative in the Department of Industry and Commerce at the present time in relation to the issue of duty free import licences and perhaps also to quota arrangements, but I am not so clear on that matter. As I understand it, the position at the present moment is  that if a person, call him retailer A, wishes to get a certain type of goods which he considers is not made here, he has to write to the manufacturer of allied, or similar goods, and ask him to give him a letter stating that they are unable to supply these goods or anything similar, or any satisfactory substitute, shall we say. That is all right in theory but what inevitably happens is that the manufacturer, in perhaps five cases out of ten, does not reply at all in writing. Perhaps he may telephone or perhaps he may ignore the query altogether.
Months go by and various reminders are sent to the manufacturer. There is still no reply forthcoming and the particular importer is held up and cannot get the goods in. That seems to be a most unsatisfactory method of procedure. There should be a specific procedure by virtue of which it would be laid down, if such a letter from a manufacturer is a necessary part of the system—and on that I am not prepared to comment, not having seen the working of Industry and Commerce from the inside—that on production of proof of the issue of a letter of that sort, perhaps by registered post, failure to reply to it within a fortnight would be equivalent to saying that the firm in question could not supply. It is most unfair where firms will not answer and will merely keep people on the long finger, not enabling them to know what is involved.
It is also most unfair that in relation to an application like that, the manufacturer rather than the Minister should be the person who decides on the quantity of the goods that should be imported if the goods are not being made here. Theoretically, perhaps, that does not happen, but in practice it always happens. In practice, any importer will tell you, if you ask for an import licence for 20 gross of a particular article and get a letter from the manufacturer saying he would not object to the importation of ten gross, he will get his licence for ten gross. Nobody ever looks beyond the letter from the manufacturer concerned. That is handing over to a private individual  a function that is and must remain always the sole function of the Minister for Industry and Commerce for the time being.
I am afraid in recent times I came across an even worse incident in connection with such an application. The person concerned applied for a licence to import a certain type of goods. He furnished to the Department copies of the letters he had written to the only manufacturer there is in the country of similar type goods. He had got no reply to these letters. The Department had got in touch with him and asked him why he was looking for such a big licence. The official concerned got in touch with him by telephone and he told the official that he wished for that amount because he hoped to make a tender and get a contract from a certain named firm. In fact, I do not mind disclosing the name of the firm. It was C.I.E. Within two days the manufacturer concerned telephoned the importer and asked him why had he complained to the Department that no reply had been received to his letters. He said it was because it was a fact. The manufacturer then told him: “I know why you want to get these goods in. The Department told me you wanted to bring them in to sell them to C.I.E.”
That was a gross breach of faith by the Department in disclosing to the manufacturer concerned where the order went. In fact, the manufacturer concerned, who apparently also had contacts with a retail firm, tipped off his retail firm to put in another quotation to C.I.E. That is reprehensible in the extreme and I do not believe for a minute that the Minister would stand over a practice like that. I shall give the Minister the names if he wishes. I hope that the mere mention in this House of the gross breach of faith in the disclosure concerned will make sure it never occurs again. I do not want to make that in any way a political matter. I am quite satisfied that the Minister would not stand over that for a second, any more than I would. Unless it is clearly accepted by everyone that the confidential nature of any discussions with Departments will be respected by the Civil Service and  by the Ministers concerned, any confidence cannot be engendered among the general public with whom they are dealing.
I must confess I was amused when I read the Minister's introductory statement by his references to electricity. I remember Deputy Lemass, as he then was, fulminating on this side of the House about the slow rate of progress in relation to rural electrification when we announced it would run at 50 areas a year up to its conclusion. That was quite absurd, quite ridiculous. I think the figure the Minister mentions now is 45. I also remember Deputy Lemass, as he then was, fulminating, making the welkin ring in relation to special service charges. Having got his votes on that fulmination from people in the remote areas, he is now apparently converted to the view that he can do nothing about it.
I might finally, in relation to electricity, refer to the question of excess capacity. I remember Deputy Lemass, as he then was, fulminating when it was suggested by us that the estimates in the White Paper, which he had forced down the throats of the E.S.B., were unreal estimates and were bound to result in there being an excess producing capacity ahead of consumption. The effect of excess producing capacity ahead of consumption is to make electricity dearer, because you have got to provide for the amortisation and interest on the plants when they are not needed. It is interesting to note that the Grey Book published by this Government bears out the point of view that we then put to the House and shows that Deputy Lemass, as he then was, was wrong in that. In any event, on that aspect, I think we shall have another more favourable opportunity of discussing the position in greater detail.
I do not want to say anything else in relation to this Vote. If the Tánaiste would give us an opportunity, I could say more, preferably at public meetings outside rather than in this House, because that would not get us anywhere. If the Tánaiste would give us the opportunity of a general election, I should like to refer in detail to the  promises he made in relation to employment, the promises he made in relation to emigration and the promises he made in relation to the cost of living. A general election is what the people would like as a means of showing the way he went back on those promises.
Mr. Cummins: If there is one Estimate which should be given unanimous approval it should surely be the Estimate for Industry and Commerce, as the Estimate mainly responsible for the initiation of projects designed to create the type of employment the country requires. It will be admitted that the Minister and his officials are doing their work very well. Seldom have we seen in the State such an impressive and all-out effort to come to grips with our economic problems. The Minister has gone as far as any Minister can go in a predominantly private enterprise economy towards doing his part to solve our problem. As explained in the White Paper, there is no readymade solution to the problem which concerns every member of the House —unemployment and emigration. Any plan, any solution must be a long term one, if it is to be lasting and real.
Moneys spent on aviation, for instance, should not be grudged. The success of Aer Lingus is a source of pride and satisfaction to all of us— pride in the ability of Irish tradesmen and technicians to keep pace with modern transport developments and satisfaction in the knowledge that the service is creating and will continue to create the real wealth we need. The transatlantic service deserves the confidence of the House. This service suffered a set-back in 1948 but with the courage and initiative which we have come to associate with Industry and Commerce, under the Minister, it is at last under way.
The transatlantic air service is and will continue to be a dollar earner and a source of employment for the type of young men which the country can ill-afford to lose—airmen, radiomen, navigators, technicians and designers. These men, these specialists, are the men we need if we are to keep in step with the advance which modern  civilisation is making in scientific and mechanical achievement. Let me repeat that this service earns sound money and gives sound employment and will continue to give more and earn more as the years go by. Those who come after us will thank us for it and those who to-day seek to detract from its potentialities are simply not facing the facts, in my opinion.
Córas Iompair Éireann has been the target of much criticism in recent years, but it must be admitted that there is a “new look” about it in recent months. I am not referring purely and simply to the pretty hostesses, although I must say it was a happy thought to introduce them. It is a human touch which from the point of view of the tourist trade will pay dividends.
I do not think that outside of Dundalk the great achievement of the Government in connection with the Dundalk Engineering Works is fully appreciated. The shadow of unemployment which seemed about to fall on the employees of this great concern was lifted almost overnight and every man is, or soon will be, back at his job. It was a wonderful transition and a great feat of organisation.
The trade journal, Irish Builder and Engineer, for February this year noted that there were 49 proposals under discussion in the Department of Industry and Commerce and with the Industrial Development Authority—21 for the establishment of new industries and 28 for the extension of existing concerns. The article went on to say that the total investment in new undertakings initiated in 1958 was almost £30,000,000. That included the Verolme Shipyard at Cork, involving £5½ million, the oil refinery at Whitegate and the Dundalk Engineering Works. The number of projects now in the Department, as the Minister told us in his opening statement, is 180.
I submit, Sir, that this is a record of solid work, the foundation of a sound economy requiring only an effort on the part of the people—employers and workers—to see us through the testing time. In this connection, it is a good augury for the future that the trade  union movement is now happily united in the one Congress and it should be possible to achieve closer and more frequent consultation between employer and trade union.
Both employer and employee have a vested interest in the country's prosperity. If we can establish here a tradition and a reputation for industrial stability, the foreign investors and the foreign buyer will be encouraged to come here to invest and to buy. The only way to ensure such stability, which means, simply, absence of strikes and lock-outs, unrest and unreasonable wage demands and, as a corollary, the absence of any unnecessary increase in the cost of living, is regular meetings between employers' representatives and trade union representatives, all fully alive to their heavy responsibility which is nothing less than our existence as an independent nation.
We cannot hope to compete with highly industrialised nations unless we can maintain the high quality of Irish goods of a specialist nature—Irish tweeds, Irish linen, Irish whiskey, for instance. Much good work has been done in this connection, but I believe there is room for greater expansion.
In this highly competitive world, it is advertising that sells. Money spent on advertising should not be grudged. If you do not advertise—sell yourself, as you might say; shout your wares from the housetop—you cannot stay in business. So any campaign of advertising should be embarked upon willingly and looked upon as an integral part of our export drive.
All concerned with the good name of the country in general and the reputation of our capital city in particular should, I believe, welcome continuation of the efforts to have the ban on container traffic into Dublin Port lifted. One can understand the anxiety of Dublin dockers that the unlimited use of containers may cause redundancy, but it must be recognised that this method of transporting goods, particularly fragile goods liable to excessive pilferage, is an accepted development the world over. If this ban is persisted in, it will create a prejudice in the minds of shippers against the port of Dublin—a prejudice that  must lead to a reduction of tonnage coming into the part and a resultant loss of work to the dockers concerned.
So it might be well if these men would cut their losses now. There was a time when Irish ports were the “forgotten ones” of world shipping. That condition was brought about by powers hostile to Irish national interests. It would be a tragedy if we ourselves were to be the architects, as it were, of a new prejudice. However, the problem is not an easy one to solve. I am sure the Minister has the best wishes of all Deputies in his efforts to find a solution.
In the long run the future prosperity of the country depends upon ourselves—businessmen, professional men, farmers and workers. They can rest assured that whatever they invest in the country's industry or commerce, be it money or brains, skilled or unskilled, will, in the long run, yield handsome dividends.
Mr. Desmond: There are three points I want to mention briefly. I wish to draw the Minister's attention particularly to complaints all over the country in relation to the question of price versus quality of tea. Whether the price is 5/6d. or 8/- a lb. I am afraid as far as the tea of the housewife generally is concerned, there seems to be little or no difference in the quality. Would the Minister make some attempt to discover why there is such differentiation in price when there does not seem to be a corresponding difference in quality? I fear there is more dust in some of the dearer packets of tea than in some of the cheaper ones. It seems the price is now based not on the quality of the tea but on the name on the packet.
The second point I should like to mention briefly relates to statements made by the Minister himself, other Ministers and Ministers of other Governments regarding the desirability of increased production for the export market. The Minister for Lands has often said that not alone was it essential in his view to increase production for the export market but he lined up with the Minister for Industry and Commerce in saying that  it was essential to produce for the export market at the lowest possible prices. There is commonsense in that; we all see the wisdom of it, if we hope to gain a foothold in any export market for our manufacturers, but I should like to ask the Minister how much sincerity is behind all that?
We are giving certain State moneys here by way of grants for the erection of factories and the provision of machinery with a view to increasing exports. That is essential and it is a blessing for the people concerned, but I wonder is there a really thorough examination in relation to the selection of certain localities as against others for the establishment of factories catering for the export market? I have in mind, as perhaps the Minister may know, the proposed setting up of a heavy industry a few years ago in Kinsale. As we all understood, that was a case of a factory intended to help our export trade. The present Minister and his predecessor were naturally greatly interested in it but I cannot understand why, with all the expert assistance at the Minister's disposal, such as the I.D.A. and so on, it should be assumed that a town like Kinsale which has a harbour would not be suitable for a factory and why that factory should be planked away in the midlands in a county miles from the sea and dependent on long distance rail transport to the nearest port.
I should like to know what system of examination is used to select such sites in various localities. The Minister may say it is up to the local people concerned to offer their wares, as it were, and that full examination and sympathetic consideration will be given by his Department. That sounds all right. However, the loss of that factory was one thing but the switching of it from a town with the benefit of a harbour to an inland area is something about which I have grave doubts. It is true to say that Kinsale is, thank God, gaining something now but let us not run away from the fact that this is mainly due to the determination and initiative of the local development association which continues to struggle to secure such industries in face  of official opposition in the past. I hope that such cases will not recur.
Finally, I should like to draw the Minister's attention again to a matter with which I think he should deal fairly—the advantages offered in Cork Harbour at present for industries based on the facilities we now enjoy from the oil industry at Whitegate. In reply to questions at various times the Minister made it clear that he would not put at the disposal of people in Ireland who may be prepared to invest some money, information which is essential to enable the people to realise the numerous synthetic products that can be based on the materials which, we may say, are discarded at Whitegate. The Minister has plenty of experts to advise him as to whether that should be done in booklet form or otherwise.
The last speaker mentioned emigration. We are all interested in that problem but I consider that we in the South must look at that problem in and around our own area first. After all it is not much comfort to us to know, as the last speaker mentioned, the numerous proposals there are in the Department when we cannot see any of these projects coming to Cork Harbour where we feel they should be directed.
I would suggest that the Minister should have a discussion with a Ministerial colleague of his, for instance, in regard to the old Army fort at Crosshaven. That fort is certainly obsolete from a defence point of view and without casting any reflection on anyone connected with it, or the Department, may I say that it is about as useful for defence as a pop-gun would be to a farmer who wanted to shoot crows? At this stage, when we know there are possibilities of establishing other industries, why does the Minister not take into his confidence bodies such as the chambers of commerce in Cork and elsewhere and see what are the prospects of having some smaller industries established, bearing in mind the proximity of the oil refinery?
I suggest we should not wait until some industrialist comes along with a proposal prepared, perhaps, with the help of a foreign industry that wants  to establish itself here, to erect a factory. Let us not wait for that when all the time young people are emigrating in search of employment in Great Britain. More employment could be given to people all around the hinterland of Cork city and harbour. Unfortunately, many industrialists are not aware of what might be done. Some of them to whom I have spoken have made it clear that they would welcome some official guidance in regard to the numerous synthetic products that might be put on the market if they got some little assistance through advice which is available to the Minister from his own experts.
Mr. Cunningham: During this debate and in statements outside by various persons and groups, we have found a rather alarming attitude towards the industrial drive which began 25 years ago or so. We have met with the same attitude towards the fostering and developing of the Irish language itself. Going round the country at the moment we have waverers and merchants of gloom who say that our industrial drive in the last 25 years represented so much wasted effort.
We had a similar statement made in the House last night. I do not agree at all and the majority of the people do not agree that the policy at that time was a mistaken one or that the execution of that policy was a waste of effort.
It may be that a fair number of the industries set up with state assistance, with protective tariffs and with the other aids which Governmental policy down the years has given, has failed. Some of them have not pulled their weight or produced the results expected from them. But that can happen in any sphere. The farmer who plants trees does not expect all of them to grow and they all do not grow but very many of the industries with various kinds of State assistance have flourished and flourished to such an extent that they have supplied the home market with excellent quality goods. Furthermore they have developed a very important export trade. What has been done and the energy put into these efforts has been well worth while  for that reason and also for the reason that it has given to the Irish people opportunities of using their own energies, their own intellects and the raw materials available to them.
We have reached the stage at which Irish industry is established on a very firm footing so that we can hope for a share, even though it be a small share, of the world market. That is important and it does not matter whether there is a Free Trade Area or not. Whatever kind of Free Trade Area there is, no matter what countries are involved in it, we must continue the policy we have been working over the last 25 years. We must provide opportunities for investment and for work and we must have an industrial economy no matter what happens in relation to the Free Trade Area. It is an admission of defeat, a song of gloom, to say that in view of the Free Trade Areas which may come into existence all the work of the past generations has been worthless. That is not the case, and it is doing no good to the country or to our industrial arm to have people, especially people in the interested spheres, making such statements.
The question of transport for Donegal has been under consideration for some years by various Ministers. It has been admitted that Donegal presents a problem in the transport sphere. At the moment there are three or four different transport authorities there. Over the week-end there was an announcement by the company operating the last remaining rail service within the county that they made application to the Transport Tribunal for permission to close two railways. That new situation will within the next few months aggravate an already dangerous traffic problem in Donegal. It is true that the Government have decided to give extra grants over a period of five years for the reconstruction of the main roads within the county in order to cater for the extra traffic which is being and will be thrown on the roads.
This last remaining rail service in the county, which connects North Donegal with South Donegal and  Lifford with Letterkenny, is a diesel service. It would be very unwise at the present time to take a decision to close those lines. Until such time as some decision is taken in regard to the closing of the railway from Portadown to Derry which railway these lines to Donegal connect, until such time as some decision is taken on the internal transport of the county, and as the roads in Donegal are brought up to a suitable standard, no consideration should be given to the closing of the railway or, if consideration is given to it, the actual closing should be left in abeyance until the picture is clear one way or the other.
Since the Undeveloped Areas Act was passed, Donegal has gained less from that Act than most other counties in the West. It is very difficult to get industrialists to go to an area such as Donegal which is very much on its own. Unless the Minister and the Government direct industries our way we shall remain a Cinderella county. It has been suggested that another sugar factory is required in the country. Experimental beet growing was carried out in Donegal a few years ago and I would urge that consideration be given to turning over the alcohol factory, say, at Carndonagh to the production of sugar from sugar beet. We have the land suitable in Donegal. Potato growing has been fostered by the Labbadish starch factory but our farmers and workers there would benefit very much from the establishment of a further sugar factory.
Application has been made by the Donegal County Council to the Derry Harbour Commissioners for the transfer of the pier at Moville. This pier is owned by the Derry Harbour Board. The general impression is that when the State was founded and when other such places were handed over to native Government this place was overlooked. There is outside ownership of Moville pier with the result that cargo boats or passenger boats cannot put into Moville pier. The result is that very few boats are allowed to dock there at all. When the export trade in potatoes was in full swing, we had the spectacle of lorries bringing the potatoes to Derry and bringing them across the Border, with all the delay involved therein and  being confined to ordinary trading hours across the Border, which reduced the number of runs to two per day, whereas boats up to 800 tons could come in at Moville, from which the potatoes could be shipped.
The Donegal County Council have not received any satisfaction, although it is over a year since they last met the members of the Derry Harbour Board. It was indicated to them at one stage that there was no anxiety on the part of the Derry Harbour Board to hand over the pier. Incidentally, the pier was at one time transferred by the Donegal Grand Jury to the Harbour Board in Derry.
In view of the failure of the county council to have this matter dealt with satisfactorily, I would urge the Minister to use his good offices to secure the amenity the people of the area and of Donegal are very anxious to have. It would be a great benefit to trade in north-west and north Donegal to have the pier under the control of a harbour master who would have a say in determining what boats could come in. It would also help the tourist industry if tourist boats could put in at the pier.
Mr. T. Lynch: I was disappointed with the Minister's speech introducing the Estimate because I expected to hear something about what had been done and, instead, the speech referred to what was about to be done and, in the Minister's words, what we are on the threshold of doing. At column 564, Volume 175 of the Official Report, the Minister said:
“These approved projects assisted by Foras Tionscal, under the provisions of the Undeveloped Areas Act, represent a total capital investment of £5½ million and are expected to employ about 4,000 workers; 38 of the projects assisted by Foras Tionscal are in production, and there are also 22 further projects for which assistance has been promised.”
 I am like Deputy Desmond—that means nothing to me. Deputies are able to get up here and tell us about the depressed areas. The western part of my constituency is amongst the most depressed areas of the country. The one-time fine towns of Tallow, Lismore and Cappoquin are dying towns. There is no use in making suggestions for the promotion of an industry in these places because, when one does so, the next thing one hears is that the factory is being established in Dublin.
The Minister came into office two years ago, and everything was supposed to get cracking. Instead, we went into a pipe dream on free trade and we are still in it. The Minister and his officers have been abroad investigating our position with regard to the Free Trade Area. There are many industries in this country that are protected. If we allow the Germans, the Dutch, the Swedes and other people to send their products here duty free, I do not see what good that will do us, as far as our trade with them is concerned. It might upset us to some extent. If we allow their products in here and give them preference, we may lose certain preferences we enjoy for the greatest part of our exports in the British market. These are matters which we could consider. We should face realities, not indulge in pipe-dreams.
The Minister was able to keep us going on the question of free trade for over a year. Then we had the questions of the referendum and the Presidential election to distract public attention from the economic situation. That seems to be an old Fianna Fáil policy or trick.
The fact is that there are 30,000 fewer men working, despite the fact that the electorate were full sure that the Minister had a crock of gold worth £225,000,000 and 100,000 jobs up his sleeve. For a man in the position of the Minister to have gone out to the country and to have put that over was the equivalent of putting over a confidence trick to get the people to support him and his colleagues in order that they might form a Government. He knew there was no truth in what he was saying and his statement on the  Estimate shows that there is not a vestige of truth in it, because now, after two years, he has projects that can employ 4,000 people. In order to keep his promise to provide 100,000 jobs, he will have to be in office for another 25 years. I do not think the people are inclined to wait that long. Many of them will be too old and will have gone too far.
I cannot refrain from replying to Deputy Cunningham. As far as factories are concerned, he described Donegal as the Cinderella. He then said that Donegal was getting extra grants for roads. As far as road grants are concerned, Donegal is certainly not the Cinderella.
When people talk about establishing new industries here, they invariably refer to the importance of knowhow and production, low costs of production and high standards of quality; if we have all these, they say we will be able to sell the stuff. I seldom hear people talk about what is the most important thing in industry. I refer to the salesman, the man who sells the product. If I might be allowed to make a comparison, it is just the same as the fishing industry. If the fish are sold, the fish will be caught. But the fish will not be caught if the fish cannot be sold. We are constantly subjected to symposia and lectures—lectures on administration, lectures on management and everything else—but we never hear a word about salesmanship and promotion. We could do with some salesmanship.
I notice we have increased the sales of our whiskey in the United States. Let me give the House now a recent experience on the part of two Irishmen in London. They are not hard drinkers. They would not need to be. They went from one big pub to another in London asking for two Irish. They were told they had not any Irish, invariably by a barman who spoke with an accent similar to their own. They asked the barmen why they did not stock Irish and they were told that no one came round to sell it. In English pubs one occasionally sees a bottle labelled “Irish Whiskey”. It is so bad that no respectable distiller  would allow his name to be put on the bottle.
These are the things Córas Tráchtála should investigate. As far as the promotion and selling of Irish whiskey in Ireland are concerned, the distillers have not very much to do. It is very easy to sell it. The salesman for Irish distillers just goes round and takes orders. One could hardly call him a salesman. We need something better than that to get into the markets in Britain and the United States. In order to increase our sales we shall have to set up a sales service manned with a competent high pressure sales staff.
It has been said very often, and it was repeated in this debate, that we should encourage foreign investors. For years, we have been discouraging foreign investors from coming in here. On occasions when it seemed possible to bring foreign investors in public men got up—some of them supporters of my own—asking: “Why could we not do this ourselves?” That is like saying you could bring a man, who never worked anywhere but in the fields, into a factory and set him working making steel. Unfortunately, these public men are reported in newspapers outside the country and the result is that manufacturers in other countries have an idea they might not be welcome here.
The simplest way to build up goodwill—we do it every day in our ordinary lives—is to deal with the people who are dealing with you. We do not seem to do that right up to the top. We seem to be very anxious to purchase the goods we need from countries which take practically nothing at all from us. During the year I put down questions to the Minister asking about goods brought in from behind the Iron Curtain.
Mr. T. Lynch: If the goods are cheap, I suppose the temptation to  buy is there. Surely we ought not to take advantage of buying from behind the Iron Curtain just because the goods are cheap. Surely we ought not to take advantage of sweated labour and slave conditions. Even if these things were not so, we ought not to deal with people who do not deal with us. We should deal only with those countries that are prepared to deal with us. I visited a State-sponsored body this morning and I saw a good deal of stuff there from countries with which we have a very poor trading balance. These goods were being pushed by an Irish salesman. I would prefer to see English and American manufactures sold here, or the goods of any country which has a reasonable balance of trade with us.
The Minister has said he is toying with the idea of erecting a nitrogenous plant here. I heard Deputy Dillon speak on that yesterday. He said we were more in need of phosphatic manures here. Now I always view these promotions with great suspicion. So sure as that plant is erected here, so surely will the Irish farmer have to pay a great deal more for his raw material. I doubt if it is a good policy to establish an industry in order to employ a group of men in one county while, at the same time, putting a burden around the necks of all the people in every other county. We should take advantage now of the opportunity to import Chilean nitrate. We have the ships; we have the money. We should bring in Chilean nitrate and build up the fertility of our soil. Then, if another war comes, we shall not be as badly off as we were in 1939 when our soil was spun out as a result of the war that had just been fought. I refer to the economic war.
In relation to C.I.E. I am sure it is a matter of interest to everybody in this country—or it should be—that wherever and whenever possible we should put our freight traffic on the rails. I do not think it is a good example to see great State-owned companies, with railway sidings on their premises, bringing in their stuff by diesel trucks  when a great deal of it could be carried by the railways. I should like the Minister's attention drawn to that.
I have not very much criticism to make about the Tourist Board and what they are doing. They get a very small Vote for the industry they are carrying, and they have a great deal of promotion to put through. They cannot do everything right but I give full marks for a lot of the very clever promotion work they have done. A constituent of mine made the complaint that in some of the promotion they were doing and in some of their work, it appeared that public money was not being spent in the right way. I had an idea that he was wrong and I made inquiries about it. I did not have to approach the Tourist Board to make the inquiries because my relatives and friends send me magazines, and so on, from America and I get magazines with ordinary leaders and no advertisements at all.
I am referring to the Bunratty Castle project which is a splendid idea —I am giving my view on it, and I think it is. I was told that it costs up to 10,000 dollars for one page for an advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post. That is a lot of money just to put in: “Come to Ireland and spend your holidays there”. People might say it was or it was not a good idea. The Tourist Board are spending a large sum of money on the restoration of Bunratty Castle. I received another paper which has an enormous circulation, the Chicago Tribune, which gave pictures of Bunratty Castle, its whole story, its legends and so on, and said that it was being restored. I got another magazine from Boston and the story also appeared in the American magazine Look. I got my information from those magazines by accident. I am sure there are hundreds of others. I came across it in English newspapers as well and because it is a bent of mind I think it is a great thing to preserve a magnificent castle like Bunratty. That is something for which we should give the Tourist Board full credit. It is great advertisement promotion and it is something that is there all the time.
About five or six years ago, we in Waterford made representations to the  Minister and the Tourist Board about bringing cars into this country in the months of April, May and June. We showed that it was costing something around £16 to bring a car from Great Britain to Ireland at that time, and that people in England could bring a car with four passengers to Norway or Sweden for about £4. I am very glad to say the Minister and the Tourist Board took this matter up with C.I.E. and British Railways. I do not know how they managed it, but they got a special rate for the months of April, May and June which are slack months in the year when we can do with such tourists. That has been a great success in Rosslare and we were given the alternative of giving up the passenger traffic and having the boats coming into Waterford.
Of course, there are diverse opinions about this matter, but I should like to give credit to those concerned, and to say that it brings in a type of tourist in the off-season who is a reasonable spender. It is well worth while drawing attention to that. Away back in the piping times of peace when there was a rugby match, an Irish international at Twickenham, it was possible to go from Dublin to London for an excursion fare of £1 return, going on Friday night and coming back on Saturday, but it could not be done for anything like that now. I believe there should be more such day trips.
At that time also, there were cheap week-end tickets during the months of April, May and June and it was a very long week-end. Usually they arrived at Rosslare on Saturday morning and left the following Tuesday evening. That is a matter which is well worth the consideration of the Minister through the Tourist Board and of C.I.E. through their own channels: the giving of these week-end trip facilities. A man might be able to take five days off and come to fish to Dublin, Cork or Rosslare, as the case might be. I consider that would be a reasonable line for the Tourist Board to follow.
The last thing I want to mention is —it is something that has been complained of by Deputies from the country down through the years—the enormous draw which Dublin has for  industrialists. I know the Minister would have great difficulties in regard to this matter and I know also that there are people who might want to get assurances from the Minister and his Department. The Minister would then be in a position to say: “In my opinion, this factory should be situated outside Dublin, if possible.”
I am not saying this in any spirit of hostility to Dublin but I think that Dublin is drawing many more of the industries being launched than even its population warrants. On the last occasion on which a reply was given to a question of mine, I was told that 160 factories had been opened in Dublin city and county, whereas in all the other 25 counties, there were only something like 23 industries started. That is out of all proportion, and I put that in all calmness to the Minister. I am sure I have the support of Deputies on both sides of the House in that.
The Minister said that, during 1958, exports, which stopped slightly short of the exceptionally high figure of 1957, the highest ever recorded in the history of the State, came to £130.7 million. He continued:
That figure, as I have said, was slightly below the 1957 record but it was reached notwithstanding a set back of over £7 million in cattle exports. Substantial exports of bacon, frozen beef, mutton and lamb, chocolate crumb preparations, beer, glass and glassware ... helped to make up that decline in cattle shipments.
I say to the Minister that he had no hand, act or part in the promotion of any of these industries. As far as bacon, frozen beef, mutton and lamb, chocolate crumb preparations, beer glass and glassware are concerned, they are not his babies.
Mr. Corish: In his introductory speech, the Minister dealt with the position in Dundalk arising out of the closing down of the Great Northern Railway works in that town. Deputy Cummins and some other Deputies, during this debate and on other occasions, congratulated the Minister for the speed with which he had come  to the assistance of the thousand odd men employed in Dundalk. The Minister did not deny that he was responsible for the alleviation of unemployment there, nor did he repudiate any suggestion that he was even partially responsible for the provision of further employment in Dundalk.
I appreciate the difficulty the Minister had at that time, and I also applaud him for the efforts he made to make sure that a thousand men would not be rendered unemployed in the town of Dundalk. Something had to be done. I spoke during the Budget debate and on the Vote on Account and suggested to the Minister that what he had done in Dundalk, where he had to deal with an abnormal unemployment situation, he could also do for other towns in Ireland and, indeed, for the whole country, if he and his Government decided to approach the problem in the same way as that in which they did in Dundalk.
However, I did not visualise, and I am sure other Deputies from County Wexford did not visualise, that the Minister would use his position to see established in Dundalk a company— which I will describe as a State or semi-State company—to go into direct competition with firms engaged in a similar type of manufacture in Wexford town. It is very difficult for me, and for other people who have little knowledge of company law, to follow the intricacies of the establishment of the various companies in Dundalk, consequent upon the closing down of the railway workshop and the establishment of the Dundalk Engineering Works.
I want to make it perfectly clear from the beginning that I am neither envious nor jealous of what has been done for Dundalk because something had to be done and, as I said, to the Government's credit and the Minister's credit, they acted fairly quickly, but I am concerned when part of their efforts may have a detrimental effect on the workers of Wexford, with whom I am primarily concerned. In his speech last Wednesday, the Minister sought to assure the firms and workers in Wexford that the Dundalk company  would not go into competition with Wexford firms engaged in the manufacture of agricultural machinery, and he referred to a discussion that had taken place at a meeting of Wexford Corporation. He said that certain of the speakers at that meeting were misinformed, and ever since then, he has protested that this is a private company. It is nothing of the sort. As far as I am aware, practically all of the money has been advanced from State sources.
It has been protested by the Minister on other occasions—and Deputy Sweetman referred to it today—that the Industrial Credit Company could not be regarded as a State source of finance. As Deputy Sweetman pointed out, the money is advanced by the State, by the people of the country, to the Industrial Credit Company and that company in turn advance it to various other people. As far as I am aware, the Dundalk Engineering Works was established on 2nd October, 1957, and was advanced a sum of £500,000 by the Department of Industry and Commerce—under what guise, I do not know. That is the information I was given from a section of the Department and I have no reason to doubt that it is true. On 30th September, 1958, the Industrial Engineering Company was formed with a nominal capital of £1,000,000.
I get quite confused about this, especially when I remember that as far as the Dundalk Engineering Works are concerned, the Minister for Industry and Commerce appointed the directors, appointed the chairman of the directors. Still, he says these firms in Dundalk are not either State or semi-State companies. He stated in his speech:—
An independent commercial organisation, in which virtually all the capital so far issued has been taken up by the Industrial Credit Company Limited, has been built up consisting of five manufacturing companies and a holding and development company.
He says this is an independent company which has nothing to do with the Government, nothing to do with  the Minister for Industry and Commerce, but it is a peculiar thing that practically all those who are directors of the Dundalk Engineering Works are also directors of the Industrial Engineering Company Ltd. I suggest, and I do not say this to the Minister's discredit, that it was on the initiative of the Government that this second company was established, the Industrial Engineering Company Ltd., and again it seems to me that the Minister is wrong. He may be technically right, but taking it all over, he is wrong when he says there is a substantial amount of private money, or that a substantial amount has been raised by way of loan other than through the Industrial Credit Company for the establishment of the Dundalk Engineering Company Ltd., and for the establishment of one of the subsidiary firms, Frank Bonser Ltd. As far as I can gather, and I do not profess to know much, if anything, about company law, all that seems to be invested by private people who happen, in the main, to be directors, clerks and managers is £505. It makes one suspicious of the Minister's statement that this is not a semi-State or a State company when we know that the Industrial Engineering Company, Ltd., with a nominal capital of £1,000,000 was advanced £300,000 from the Industrial Credit Corporation out of which they advanced £294,000 to the Dundalk Engineering Works, Ltd., for the premises and plant presumably for the four concerns mentioned in his speech by the Minister.
I do not take any exception to what the Minister has done. I want to point out that he and the Government are responsible for the establishment of a concern in Dundalk which proposes to engage in the manufacture of agricultural machinery. The Minister also says that these facilities that are available from the Industrial Credit Corporation are available to other firms. Here are his exact words: “There are certainly no advantages or facilities available to that Dundalk Company which are not equally available to all other firms in the country.”
I want to put this question to the  Minister. If I and four of my colleagues went up with £100 each and said we proposed to engage in the same type of work as Dunlops do in Cork city, would I be treated in the same way? If I and four of my colleagues with £100 each said we proposed to engage in the manufacture of ropes, would we get the same facilities as the Dundalk firm, now proposing to engage in the manufacture of agricultural machinery, got in this case?
I think the Industrial Credit Corporation, in advancing money for the manufacture of agricultural machinery, should have attached to the advance of that money a condition to the effect that they would not compete with existing firms engaged in the same type of work. I do not think that is unreasonable. Here, it means that the Government have advanced a substantial amount of money through the Industrial Credit Corporation to a company to compete with two firms that have been established for the past 120 years and that have, generally speaking, given satisfaction as far as the home market is concerned and contributed in a great degree to exports in that long period of 120 years.
The Dundalk concern does not propose to engage in the production of dutiable agricultural machinery which is the main output of the Wexford firms and in the production of which they have the most immediate prospect of expanding the scale of their operations.
If the Minister says that the Dundalk concern will not compete with the two Wexford firms in respect of dutiable agricultural machinery, if he can give that guarantee, surely it contradicts what he has said with regard to this firm not being a State or a semi-State concern? I am informed, and I am empowered to say so, that the Minister gave an assurance last Friday to the two firms concerned that there was no competition as far as  dutiable goods are concerned, but is there any guarantee from the company which he describes as a private company? So far as I am aware, there was a refusal to give that guarantee by directors who have a nominal interest, an interest to the extent of £500 as against the interest of the taxpayer of this country to the tune, I think, of £150,000,000, it being the nominal capital of Frank Bonser and Co., the firm engaged in the manufacture of agricultural machinery.
I want to know if the Minister has anything to add to what he said on 27th May or anything to add to what he said to these firms on Friday last. I have an interest primarily in the workers; I am not so much interested in the firms themselves. Whilst the establishment of this concern in Dundalk will do, I am sure, a tremendous amount of good for Dundalk, I believe and it is the belief of the firms concerned in Wexford and of the workers that in a very few years to come it will have a detrimental effect on employment down there.
I do not begrudge Dundalk workers what has been done for them, but I suggest it has been done with State money. The Government should have tried to sponsor or to establish some firm which would not compete directly with the private enterprise firms I have mentioned in Wexford town. If we are at such a loss for industrial products in which to engage in manufacture, it seems a bit draft to ask Germans, Dutch, Americans and British to come in here. If we are so bereft of ideas as to what industries we should establish, we should give up any notion of asking foreigners to come in here to establish new industries.
That is all I want to mention on the Estimate. It is of vital importance to the people whom I represent in Wexford town. I trust the Minister will be able to give a stronger assurance than he has given up to this that Wexford workers will not be adversely affected by this State or semi-State company which was sponsored by him and established out of moneys provided by the Industrial Credit Corporation,  moneys which were advanced to that Corporation by the people.
Mr. Coogan: On this Estimate, the Minister for Industry and Commerce has to give this House an account of his stewardship. When he was seeking election to office, the main plank in his platform was that he would provide 100,000 jobs in five years. The Minister has now been three years in office and many people are waiting for these 100,000 jobs to open up. The matter is becoming a joke. It is not fair to talk in that fashion when there is no intention of putting it into effect.
The Minister has to account here for public bodies such as the E.S.B., Bord na Móna and C.I.E. I shall make a brief reference to Bord na Móna. I wonder if it would be such a great paying proposition without the turf burned by the E.S.B., which is supplied by contract. No wonder our electricity charges are so high.
That brings me to the E.S.B. I have protested here before and I do so again now against the indiscriminate cuttingoff of current. The Board should give at least three days' notice. They say, that the consumer gets two months' notice. People are at sixes and sevens in this regard. I understand that the E.S.B. send out half of their bills one month and the other half the next month. Mrs. A. tells Mrs. B.: “You are time enough; I have only paid mine this month.” The result is that Mrs. B.'s electric current is cut off the next month—she not understanding the position that the bills are staggered so that half the people receive bills one month and the other half receive their bills the succeeding month. Goodness knows, the E.S.B. charges are high enough and the people are entitled to consideration.
I put it to the Minister that he should ask the Board not to be so high-handed in cutting off electricity. It is very strange that we have a surplus of electricity. If it were a question of a private supplier, we would have that surplus sold off at a cheaper rate but of course the E.S.B. has no competition; they hold the whiphand and they can administer the lash as it suits them.
 Another concern which comes within the Minister's ambit, to some extent at least, is C.I.E. One notes the enormous amount of railway stock lying rusting throughout the country. It is about time that much of it was sent to Haulbowline as scrap. It may be safe to hold on to some of our steam engines. We have changed over to diesel oil but if our diesel supplies were cut off where would we be? Possibly we have put too many of our eggs in one basket and therein lies the danger.
The State provides something over £6,000 for the Galway-Aran steamer service which is run by C.I.E. also. In Galway we had the experience of C.I.E. refusing to allow their boat to cater for liner traffic. I can assure the Minister that feeling is running pretty high over this matter. This is a body which we are subsidising and I think we are entitled to a better return than that. The Minister should look into this matter and see what is at the root of the trouble; there is something sinister about the whole thing. We were told by C.I.E. at one stage that the conditions of the licence of the boat would not allow it to be used for the purpose we wanted, but it is rather strange that we have heard nothing about that since it transpired that the licence is the same for the tenders at Cobh as at Galway. C.I.E. became silent on that question and brought up the question of insurance. As I say, there is something sinister about this and it will have to be unearthed. It is very strange that these people, who get handsome sums of money from the taxpayers, can just turn up their noses and say that they will not give the boat as a tender.
Another matter which was brought to my attention is the question of hotels. We welcome the granting of licences by the Minister to bus companies from outside the country because these buses come to the private hotels. C.I.E. directs all their traffic to their own hotels. Other people think they are entitled to portion of what is going and they feel that C.I.E. should not be taking the whole lot.
C.I.E. have also been granted a monopoly of transport throughout the country. I put it to the Minister that in Connemara where C.I.E. cannot  meet the requirements of all the people —it is a sparsely populated area—the Minister should now relax some of the restrictions and let the private lorry owners, in that area at least, meet the needs of the people. That is not too much to ask.
I also notice an increase under Córas Tráchtála. I suggest that this Board should get in touch with our various Irish organisations abroad— we have enough emigrants to keep us going—and encourage the purchase of Irish goods abroad.
I also notice an increase under the heading of Mineral Development. It is not much but still it is there. I wonder if the Minister could give us any indication as to what mineral development has taken place in the last year, or what he hopes for in the coming year. There is also an increase under the heading of Geological Survey, it is not much—an increase of £1,000. Can the Minister state what minerals have been discovered in the past year or what hopes there are for developing them? We have heard of fire clay and other minerals but I would ask the Minister to let us know the position as far as County Galway is concerned. There has been some probing there and we are interested in the outcome. I should also like to ask the Minister if he has finalised any of the industries for which proposals were before him and were earmarked for County Galway.
I could speak on tourism but I do not know whether tourism is such a great “take” as people say. In my area the season lasts only for three months during which we are all working hard, but for nine months of the year people are just lying idle, as it were. They develop their industry, build their houses and extend them and I feel that the Department, through the Tourist Board, could make a case for certain concessions in regard to rates. I know that this matter may come under a different heading but I feel that where people have developed their premises, or built additions to them and incur heavy rates on these premises, which are lying idle for nine months of the year, the Board should consider putting  a case to the Minister with a view to securing a reduction in their rates for that period.
Mr. Lindsay: There are a few observations which I should like to make on this Estimate. On the transport side, it has always been a matter of wonder to me that on the long journeys there should be, side by side, a road service as well as a rail service. I am sure the point has been considered from time to time but I should like to know, through the Minister, what the objections of C.I.E. would be to a curtailment of the C.I.E. road passenger service, and indeed much of the road freight services, on these long distances, and if what might be described as a criss-cross service, supplying the bigger stations en route, would not be more advantageous in the long run.
On the question of plates for haulage, a complaint has been made to me that in a certain part of my constituency the Department of Industry and Commerce is either giving, or about to give, plates to certain people operating tractor-trailers where lorries are already in adequate supply. I do not know whether consideration is being given to this matter with a view to granting these haulage plates. I do not see how it can be done very well in view of the existing situation. The Minister knows as well as I do that very often complaints are founded on a feeling that something might happen or even on false rumours. I should like to see the matter cleared up. I am referring particularly to the Achill Island district. The existing haulage people there say they can do all the work to be done and that any further issue of these plates would greatly jeopardise their living.
With regard to the E.S.B., for which again the Minister is responsible, I should like to pay a compliment to the work of that body, and the work of the kindred organisation, Bord na Móna. Whenever they set out to do a job, they do it extremely well. It may be a dear job, but in the long run it is probably worthwhile to have it done well, even dearly. There is one  aspect of the E.S.B., rural electrification, about which I have a complaint to make. It may not amount to a complaint. It may simply amount to a suggestion I should like to put and which, I am sure, every Deputy has put from time to time to the rural electrification section of the E.S.B.
I am referring to the supply of light and power to outlying villages and not-so-accessible scattered houses here and there. I would not mind so much the refusal to supply light and power to isolated houses at the ordinary rate—I can appreciate the financial difficulties involved—but in villages, particularly in the west of Ireland—you have them from Donegal to Cork and probably inland as well —where there are from 10 to 15 or more families in each village, an effort should be made on a longer term policy to meet their requirements. I am accustomed to the usual phrase we get at the end of the invariably polite letters from the E.S.B. saying that it cannot be done and that they had to have regard to the cost and so on. I know all that and I know that in fact it is probably true, but, on a longer term basis, I think it would be possible to meet the requirements of these people.
Even on a post-development scheme, the E.S.B. found that in remote places where they had intended to go, gas had been installed before them. The contrast between the light and power supplied by the E.S.B. with the oil lamp became so violent that the people who did not take the E.S.B., in the first instance, turned to either of the principal companies supplying gas in this country. I do not say that these people are not doing a very good job themselves. In fact, if I might say so in passing, the Gaeltacht Department has used gas on the Aran Islands, where it would not be possible to bring E.S.B. cables. But I am not talking about islands at all. I am talking about the villages, the glens and hillsides that could be facilitated if a point were stretched to meet them.
Goodness knows, the people in such villages I have in mind—and they are not confined to my constituency—have lived for so long under such hardships,  and very often in primitive conditions, that when an amenity such as electric light and power is, perhaps, not within their reach but within their sight, a point should be stretched to bring it to them. These are the places from which the people are clearing out. Eventually, they will become ghost villages, unless something is done in that line to look after them.
If I might go back for a moment to transport, there is dissatisfaction in the west of Ireland with regard to the workshops. I have had talks recently with people who work in Ballina. Some of them are now becoming redundant. There is one man in particular who is something over 40 years of age with six children and he is being compensated at the rate of £3 1s. 2d. per week, with no other job available to him. Their solution—and to me it appears to be a reasonable solution— is that if the work of that district, Sligo, Ballina and Westport, in the repair and maintenance of buses were left to Ballina town, this reduction in staff would not be required. I would ask the Minister in regard to the C.I.E. workers in the town of Ballina to ask, in turn, the Board of C.I.E. to give the matter particular attention. Ballina is a town over which the Minister and I have had political disagreement. It is one town that has been hard hit during every Government. Something has always happened. When any industry was mooted for the town, something always seemed to strike it down. It happened in Fianna Fáil's time and it happened in our time. So that, if there is anything in the way of work for fathers of families and heads of households there, every effort should be made to see that at least the status quo is preserved.
On the matter of tourism, I want to express a view, not necessarily a Party view, but something to which I have given a bit of thought. I think that Bord Fáilte are very probably making a mistake, not in giving large grants for the extension, development and even building of new hotels, but because they are confining their activities to actual hotel premises. As far as hotel accommodation goes in this country, we are not badly off, having  regard to our short season. Again, our hotels, relatively speaking, are dear. We attract to the country the maximum number of tourists who are able and willing to pay the tariff rates obtaining. It is the other kind of tourist to whom we should pay attention, the man from somewhere near, from England or Scotland, particularly from the bigger centres, who has so much to spend and says: “I should like to spend it in Ireland but where can I get a suitable place in Ireland within my budget?”
In that respect, I think our people could be directed by some sort of plan, programme or even propaganda, to cater for tourists in country houses in every rural area in a manner racy of the soil. At present if a tourist, whether from inside or outside the country, calls at a country house in an out-of-the-way district where there is no hotel, and asks for tea or a meal, he is told that people do not do that kind of thing. He is told that, not because they do not do it, but because the people think what they have is probably not good enough for people arriving in a manner which shows they have a certain status in life every different from theirs.
I remember doing a tour in Scotland on one occasion. What struck me was that one could stop at any house, big or small, and get meals which were the everyday meals of the week. I do not see why our people could not produce such a meal—bacon and cabbage if it is going, plenty of freshly-made scones and country butter for tea time, our own rashers and so on. At present, when they do agree to give somebody a meal, very often a child is dispatched out the back door to buy something fancy in the neighbouring shop and bring it back, instead of saying: “Yes, we will give you what we have ourselves.” By developing that and by paying attention to the extension of the houses through extending the rooms and bathrooms in the neighbourhood of the more quiet and very excellent seaside resorts, they would be miniature guesthouses. If that were done in the neighbourhood of the very many lakes which are now being developed for fine fishing and coarse fishing, you  could cater for the man with the small budget. There is not very much work involved in it. Bord Fáilte, through the vocational schools, might make some advance in that direction through classes in carpentry, metal work and the domestic economy sections of the schools.
With regard to industry generally and looking for aid and even looking for local aid for the setting up of an industry, I am a firm believer that industry in this country, in so far as it can possibly be done, should be the by-product of our principal industry— agriculture. I often wonder—I do not say this to the Minister by way of complaint or anything like that, because I never said it before or brought it to the notice of anybody—if in regard to protective tariffs we are not doing a certain amount of damage to the ultimate solution of the Partition problem of our country, having regard to the traditionally industrial North and the traditionally agricultural South.
That is why I think it would be important to some extent to keep industrialisation here on the agricultural byproduct line. It might not be a bad thing if there were some consultation along those lines with our industrialists in the North. After all, it is all our own country. It might be a channel through which some exploration could be made with some success. It is only a thought which I am throwing out to the Minister for what it is worth. If he rejects it as nonsense, I can only say that I have given the matter some thought.
The Department of Industry and Commerce is a very big Department. One must sympathise with any Minister who controls such a vast organisation, not only from the administrative side but from the point of view of the supervision of State bodies and semi-State bodies in respect of which the Minister must take less or more responsibility. From the publicity point of view, this Department certainly obtrudes itself more on the public than the much bigger Department of Agriculture.
The Department of Industry and Commerce is the Department which  handles most of our cost of living problems, our unemployment and our emigration problems. It is for that reason that I make a sympathetic suggestion to the Minister. I think that half way between one general election and another is really not the time to ask anybody what he did two and a half years ago or what he is likely to do two and a half years hence. Probably the most important thing we have to watch at the moment is to ensure that we will preserve what little faith the people have in public men and public institutions. If some impetus were given that would even come within sight of the Bill to which the Minister referred, the people might regain hope and the future of the country could be assured at least for a long time to come.
Mr. Wycherley: I do not come from a great industrial area and neither can I claim to be a great industrialist, but I should like to draw the Minister's attention to my anxiety and desire to try to do something in that line for the area from which I come. It was at one time a hive of industry. We had the flax growing industry which was a very important one. It brought more money to the farming community in that area than any industry I know of.
Unfortunately, nothing practical was done to get the flax processed locally, with the result that it was only a wartime crop and, when the war was over, the industry collapsed. Linen will always be necessary. It is a very essential commodity and before the art of growing flax dies completely, I think it would be a very good thing, indeed, if the Minister would direct his attention and that of his supervisory staff to that area because the necessity is there to give industrial employment. There will always be a surplus of population from the rural areas. Up to the present time, there have been only two avenues open to them, chiefly the Civil Service and emigration. The people of West Cork in particular did well in the Civil Service and, when they emigrated, they also did well in other countries.
However, I should much prefer to see the surplus population provided for  locally, if it were possible to do so. The only way it can be done is by the Minister and his Government taking a more active and lively interest in the development of industries in that undeveloped area.
The area I represent comes within the scope of the Undeveloped Areas Act, but, infortunately, for some reason of which I am not aware, the parties concerned with the running of that Act did not concentrate any of their activities on that area. Some people may think that was due to the neglect of the people themselves. I do not believe it was. In West Cork we do not claim to have the know-how and we hold it is the duty of the body which has been set up to develop industry to devote more time and attention to it in that undeveloped area.
The Minister made one reference to West Cork when he mentioned the exploration at the Allihies. We have great deposits of copper there; we believe they are there and would like to see them developed along the lines of the Avoca development. Perhaps time and money will bring that about. The copper is there but the money is lacking for the exploratory work.
Twenty years ago we had several slate quarries in West Cork and all the local authority houses were covered with locally-produced slates. That gave a good deal of local employment. As time went on, even local authorities were prevented from using home-produced slates and were compelled to use tiles which were also produced in this country. I believe that was a wrong decision and that the local authority should have been encouraged instead to use the locally-produced material which was far and away superior to anything else that has been produced since. West Cork slates were of excellent quality though they may have been slightly dearer than tiles. Because of their quality, I think they were a better proposition and they gave local employment which was a very important factor in such an area. The art of slate-making, like the art of growing flax, is dying out and unless something is done to restore the  industry, slate-making will also become a thing of the past.
Mr. Wycherley: Perhaps the Minister, when converting timber into nylon stockings, would consider giving West Cork an opportunity of having an industry established there where we have so many large forests.
During the year, Foras Tionscal approved grants amounting to £733,895 for industrial projects located in the undeveloped areas, bringing the total grants approved for that purpose to date to £2,232,740. Of the total amount of grants approved to date, approximately £1,110,684 has been paid out, leaving outstanding commitments of £1,123,056. These approved projects assisted by Foras Tionscal, under the provisions of the Undeveloped Areas Act, represent a total capital investment of £5½ million, and are expected to employ about 4,000 workers.
I should like to ask the Minister whether there is any scheme for the employment of workers in my area under An Foras Tionscal or the Undeveloped Areas Act. Over £5,000,000 is to be expended in the next five  years and I would like to know if any of that money is going down my way.
Mr. Wycherley: ——but by beating the door often enough and hard enough we may be able to attract the Minister's attention sometime. A local development body has been set up in West Cork. There were small development committees in the towns which did not seem to be getting anywhere. A very large body representing all West Cork was formed quite recently and I am sure the Department will hear a good deal from them in the near future. They are an intelligent body of men anxious to help their fellow countrymen to provide a living for the people at home. The important thing is to provide more male employment if at all possible. A few men employed locally means a few extra families in an area and it is far more important than the employment of girls.
We had a very sad spectacle last year when the one industry we had in Skibbereen, employing 20 girls, closed down completely and transferred its business to Mullingar. The Minister disclaims any responsibility for what happened then but I feel that in a matter such as that, when it did happen, in justice to the area, measures should have been taken immediately, as they were taken in Dundalk, to provide alternative employment. No such measures were taken in our case and unfortunately all 20 girls were forced either to go to Mullingar or emigrate. We all deplored  that. The Department did fall down on their job on that occasion in not providing employment at that time for those displaced persons. Every girl who left meant there were 20 men in West Cork who would not get wives.
Mr. Corry: This is one of our most important Estimates and if we are at any time to check the emigration of our young people, it is through this Department we can do it. I should like to congratulate the Minister on the changes I have seen in my constituency. When I came into this House first, we had a vote here known as the Haulbowline Estimate and every six months, there was an auction in Haulbowline to sell off all the machinery that was left there by the British. The few men who were employed there at that time were there for the sole purpose of keeping that machinery oiled and cleaned for export or for scrap.
To-day there is at Haulbowline a steel industry of which, due largely to the activity and enterprise of the Minister, we can all very well be proud. I remember the pessimistic outlook that was evident when it was established. How could they compete with British steel industries? However, that industry, if it did nothing but supply the essential parts for our farm machinery during the emergency period, was well worth starting, but it has carried on step by step and now there is to be this big development there.
Unfortunately with the mixum-gatherum Government in office from 1948 to 1951 and from 1954 to 1957 opportunities have been lost. Money that was voted for the development of  Irish Steel disappeared. Could we have any account of what happened the £250,000 that was voted in 1953 for the development of the Irish steel industry at Haulbowline? To what use was that money put? What gap did it fill when the mixum-gatherum were in charge of operations? In any event, we see from the Minister's statement that further expansion is planned and every step taken in this direction means that more young men will be kept at work and there will be less emigration.
There is the same position as regards the Cork Dockyard. I remember a period when appeals were made to the Cosgrave Government for a subsidy to enable people to be employed in that dockyard. Through the ineptitude of those in charge of the harbour at that time, that dockyard was sold for scrap, and sold for scrap at a very small sum. The dockyard machinery, and so on, was purchased for about £7,500. The derelict dockyard was, in the end, taken over by the Government, at what price I do not know. It had to carry on during the emergency without any of the essentials of a dockyard because they were not available. Now, according to the Minister's statement, the dockyard has been taken over again and 1,800 people will be employed there. The usual amount of employment at that dockyard has been between 200 and 300 since the Government reopened it. That means that there will be room even for a few hundred of Deputy Wycherley's constituents and they are welcome.
That is the situation in one town in my constituency. Thanks to the energy of the late William Dwyer, there is a fine industry in another town in my constituency, Midleton. There is a flour milling industry and a distillery in the town as well and there is practically no unemployment, that is, for anyone who wants to work. Of course, there is the section who will not work but it is a very small section, as far as my constituency is concerned.
I well remember my colleague, the former Deputy O'German, weeping and wailing about the condition of affairs in the town of Youghal when he was here as a member of the inter-Party  Government. He complained of the large number of young men who had to emigrate from the town each year. What is the present position there? I should like to quote from a speech by the former Deputy O'Gorman as chairman of the Youghal Urban Council. Welcoming delegates there, he said it was a town steeped in history, a town which prided itself on being the premier resort of the South, and was one of the most highly industrialised towns in Ireland which had no unemployment. That statement was made by Mr. O'Gorman in April of this year. It represents the present position in regard to the town of Youghal and it is a very happy one. It would be a happy condition of affairs in any constituency.
I remember that when the attempt was made to start industries in this country, the dread of unstable Governmen had the effect that people were not prepared to invest their money in them. Thank God, we have got beyond that position and can face the future under different circumstances.
If there is a serious attempt to keep our people at home, not alone must an industry be established in each town but a new industry or the extension of an existing industry must be undertaken in every town every ten years. The Department must be prepared to work up to that position. If emigration is to be stemmed, there is no use in talking about stemming it by getting people back to the land because, as far as I can see, all Governments have been breaking their necks trying to get more of them off the land. Wherever an industry is started, there is nobody left on the land because all that a man has to sell is his labour and he will not work at 50 per cent. of the wages that he can get in the poorest industry. Fifty per cent. of the wages obtainable in the poorest industry is about as much as the ordinary farmer can knock out of his farm at the present day. There is no good in bluffing or pretending that that is not the case. That is the position as far as the agricultural community is concerned.
A few years ago, speaking on the Estimate for the Department of  Industry and Commerce, I suggested that steps should be taken to establish a tractor industry here. Henry Ford made tractors here at one time. He went back to Britain with his tractor factory and left us the motorcar industry instead. Can anyone visualise what would happen in this country if there were a five-year war? How long would it be before all the various makes of tractors—German, Czechoslovakian and all the rest of it— would be out of action? There are about 35 different makes of tractors used in this country at present, from different countries, and no man has the same make of tractor as his neighbour. In view of the present rate of mechanical development in agriculture, there should be room in this country for two heavy agricultural machinery industries.
Mr. Corry: The Dundalk Engineering Works would not scratch the problem. A man trained on a railway would know nothing about it. The Minister should devote attention to that matter so as to avoid tragedy in the event of a long period of war. He should bring in one decent tractor suitable to the needs of this country and give the manufacturers a monopoly if they manufacture here. That is the remedy. The opening is there for it. I do not know what genius decided to impose a tariff on combine harvesters. Where are they made here? What is the tariff for? On how many articles of agricultural machinery are there tariffs, although they are not manufactured in this country or even assembled in this country? Where is the use in putting a tax of that nature on the backs of the agricultural community? Why is it done?
Mr. Corry: There is a fine country right along from Clonakilty, crying out for industries and a good man like Deputy Wycherley could shake up the people concerned and keep after them, as I had to do. I can point to-day to a town in which there is no unemployment, where all the people are working. Deputy Wycherley should keep after the people concerned and get industries established in his town. There is plenty of room there and I have mentioned one industry that could be established.
I have one worry in regard to all this. On two occasions during the past twelve months I went to the Department of Industry and Commerce. We know about all the grants that are flying around here. I was seeking a grant or loan for Irish industries run by Irishmen who are anxious to extend. I was told that there was nothing doing, that there was something wrong with the machine or the works. I suggest that whatever is wrong with the machine or the works, which prevents one Irishman from getting the grants that are so freely given to foreigners, should be removed. One of the cases in which I was interested was an industry in Charleville. The other was in Fermoy. I suggest to the Minister that he should find out the reason for the hold-up and, if it is due to any flaw in legislation, the flaw should be remedied. We can extend employment in these places if we get a little help and if the Irishmen who are prepared to put their money into industry get a little help. They ought to be more entitled to it than all the “jackeens” of Dublin.
I wish to take this opportunity of calling the Minister's attention again to the condition of Cobh harbour. You are now having a very large  development in connection with the shipbuilding industry in Cobh. But you have no berthage. You have nowhere in which to tie up your ship while she is waiting to go into your dockyard because the Harbour Commissioners who got £250,000 or £300,000 recently are spending it all in the tail-end of the stream. That is the position that obtains in Cobh. I know it. I have had discussions with the Dutch firm down there and with the General Manager of the dockyard company. That will be one of their headaches and one of their worries.
Some years ago, when the Minister was down in Cobh, these difficulties were pointed out to him by the representatives of the Urban Council and the Deputies for the Cobh constituency area. We were promised then we would get a larger representation on the Cork Harbour Board. We did not get it. Now that we have a Chamber of Commerce in Cobh, I wonder will that Chamber of Commerce get proper representation? Remember, the main industries are in Cobh. It is there you have the oil refinery. It is there you have Irish Steel. It is there you have the dockyard. Surely the area that holds all those is not properly represented by a few merchants at the tail-end of the stream in the City of Cork? Let us have that position rectified now. I think we are entitled to that, and I suggest the Minister should seriously consider the matter.
We have now reached the position where our full requirements of domestic sugar are produced from our own beet in our own factories. Is there any hope that we may be able to stop importing the raw sugar used for manufacture of chocolate crumb and expand our own industry sufficiently to meet those requirements? I believe there is room there for an expansion in agriculture. Despite Deputy Dillon's statement here about beet and wheat going up the spout, we have now reached the stage in which this country has grown not alone enough wheat but too much wheat. We have now reached the stage at which we have too much wheat. We have reached the point at which we have to curtail the acreage of wheat.  That proves that the Irish farmer, when there is room to expand, expands just as quickly, or more quickly perhaps, than the industrialist does. Let us see if we can continue that expansion along the right lines with a consequential cessation of all sugar imports in the future.
If we are to find any solution to our emigration problem it will have to be tackled from the point of view of finding more employment for our people in industry. I am glad my constituency is now beginning to benefit from industrial expansion. It has been a long time waiting for it. We owe our present improved position to the present Minister for Industry and Commerce. In fairness, it must be said that any setback suffered was suffered during the period when the mixum-gatherum Government was in power.
Mr. Sherwin: The last two speakers here referred to their own constituencies. I shall refer to Dublin. My first concern is with the unemployed in the Dublin area. It has been my experience that it is almost impossible to get a job for a man in Dublin City. Jobs can be got for girls. I have myself got girls jobs but, since I became a Councillor four years ago and, more recently, a Deputy, I have not succeeded in getting one single man a job. I have found that impossible. Naturally I view the position with alarm, the more so when I realise what the true picture is and balance that against the Minister's optimism. It is not my intention to kick the Minister in the shins. Unlike the Opposition, I have no axe to grind, but the fact remains that the Minister spoke during the last general election and said that he expected to put 100,000 men to work. Recently, I was reading some of the speeches made in the past. I distinctly remember reading a speech in The Irish Press of 5th February, 1932, in which the Taoiseach said there was no reason why 20,000,000 people could not be maintained here.
Mr. Sherwin: I just want to remind the Minister of the great expectations  of his Party. Those expectations were not fulfilled. Yesterday Deputy Dillon spoke here for an hour and a half; he rambled everywhere and he got away with it.
Mr. Sherwin: The Minister is the Minister for Industry and Commerce. He is responsible for his statements in the past. He is certainly responsible for unemployment. As I have already said, unlike the Opposition, I have no axe to grind, but I am concerned as a Deputy. I have people coming to me every day looking for jobs and I cannot get jobs for them. It is very disheartening.
As I said, the Minister is a great optimist. I shall not, however, hold that against him because I believe in morale. I think it was a Napoleon who said that morale was equal to the physical by three to one. That can be said of morale anywhere, in business or anywhere else. While the Minister may believe in morale and have great expectations, inevitably the point is reached at which one must ask questions as to when these great expectations are likely to be realised.
Statistics were mentioned here to-day. I do not care very much for statistics. Though they may not be supposed to lie, they invariably lie. That has been my experience. One set of statistics is advanced on one side and interpreted as meaning a certain thing and another set of statistics is advanced on the other side and an entirely different conclusion is drawn. In other words, one set negatives the other and we get nowhere.
It seems quite clear that over the last two years large numbers have emigrated from this country. A figure of 40,000 has been mentioned. It has been  said, and it has not been disputed, that there are 30,000 fewer people in employment to-day than there were two years ago. Added to that, we are told that there are a couple of thousand people fewer unemployed. Taking it all round, there are a couple of thousand fewer unemployed; but there are supposed to be 30,000 fewer actually in employment throughout the country and there are something like 80,000 unemployed. That is the net position. I do not say that the Minister is responsible for that. I believe he is a very competent Minister. I believe things might have been worse if he were not Minister for Industry and Commerce. Other factors are involved. I accept that he is making a tremendous effort and, to use a military terms, in giving punches in the air, he hits the target now and again. I am satisfied that because we are so organised, we cannot do it. We have our limitations as a country and we cannot compete with other people.
One remarkable factor which amuses me is our imports from Japan. According to the trade statistics, we import over £2,000,000 worth of knick-knacks —not essential goods at all. I saw them—cheap toys, synthetic materials, and bits of things that we could make ourselves. We export only £60,000 worth of goods to Japan. There is a case in point. Do we need the knick-knacks? Could we not make them ourselves? I suppose some of our people refuse to make them because they can get them cheaper from Japan where they live on a few “bob” a day. Certainly they must live cheaply because otherwise they could not send these goods thousands of miles and undercut everyone else. It is remarkable that we can import over £2,000,000 worth of goods which we do not require. We talk about an adverse balance of trade. How come? If we import these things from Japan and other countries, is it any wonder that we have an adverse balance of trade?
The argument might be made that the importation of those goods keeps those who handle them in employment, but it does harm otherwise, because we have to pay for them with foreign exchange. We could use our money to  a better purpose. Surely we could make the stuff here which we import from Japan? I have seen blackthorn sticks which were made in Japan and our own country is full of old bushes. Surely it is not impossible for us to manufacture our own blackthorn sticks? I am sure we could save at least one-third of what we spend if we really got down to it.
The Minister may say that he cannot force people to manufacture anything. If he cannot induce them, he must force them. I do not know whether or not he could force them, but to a large extent he could try to induce them. Other countries use force. We are being forced ourselves with regard to our cattle. If our cattle are not free from disease by a certain date, they will not be accepted in England, so I think the Minister could force the people with regard to the matter which I have mentioned because we have to do it, and if you have to do it, you do it. I am sure if the Minister said to these people: “In six months' time we will not allow you to import these things; get cracking yourselves and manufacture them”, they would get their heads together and start manufacturing because they would be out of business otherwise. A half a loaf is better than no bread. If the Minister said: “You will get nothing if you do not manufacture those things”, they would be satisfied with half a loaf. When you cannot get people to do things by inducement, you have to use a certain amount of pressure, and you are justified in using pressure. I am not blaming the Minister. I believe he is making a superhuman effort and if he were not, we would be worse off than we are.
There has been a considerable amount of unemployment due to the increase in wages. That was nobody's fault. The cost of living went up and the people had to get more money, but it was because of the increase in wages that some firms let people go or took on no substitutes, where there were retirements. People were let go, and even in Government Departments and in local authorities such as Dublin Corporation and other bodies temporary  men were let go. That is the reason for the unemployment in recent years. Employers had to meet this extra bill by getting rid of some people and there is a grave danger there may be another round of demands for increased wages. It is up to the Minister to make certain that there is no increase in the cost of living. The whole thing is a vicious circle, and worst of all are the people living on social benefits.
I am no authority but I observe a lot —I make errors now and again but I am often right and I believe in taking a chance—and I want to speak about the Free Trade Area. Last year, we were very optimistic about it and this year the position is the reverse. I am as wise as anyone else, and I believe that one thing is certain, that is, that if we hope to survive in any free trade area, we certainly shall not survive unless we can do something like the Japanese and produce goods cheaply. Unless we do that, I do not see how we are to compete in a free trade area. We hope to get in by putting on the poor mouth and saying that we are an under-developed country, but nations are like individuals—everyone for himself—and unless we can deliver the goods, we will not get anything from anybody. That is why I am worried about any new increase in wages as a result of a rise in the cost of living. It is up to the Minister to see that there is not.
Another matter to which I wish to refer is tourism. During the past couple of weeks, statements have appeared in the Press as to complaints by tourists of overcharging. That is something the Minister should keep a check on because when you offend a visitor here, he talks against the country when he goes back. It is like doing a fellow a favour: when you cannot do him a favour, you make so many enemies. I read in to-night's Evening Mail of a tourist who was charged 24/- for bed and breakfast, and he was put into some room where there was a counter, with bottles and glasses and the set-up was such that he was disgusted. He said that he was promised a different room and there then he was compelled to share the room he was given with someone  else. He was also charged 10/6 for a miserable tea. I understand he gave his name and address to the editor of the Evening Mail. If we do not do something about cases like that, we will lose some of our tourist trade and, according to the statement in the Evening Mail, a complaint was made a Bord Fáilte and he was informed that there were only three inspectors for the whole of Ireland, so I do not know how these matters can be checked.
The question of facilities for tourists was mentioned by a Deputy on the other side of the House and I should like to refer to travel facilities on ships. I crossed the channel a few times last year and saw tourists who had to stand up or sit on the floor all night and that is no encouragement to them to travel to Ireland. I know that at certain periods of the year that cannot be helped, but surely the shipping companies could have a large supply of deck chairs in reserve on which tourists could rest? We should attend to those little things.
On the matter of accommodation I have always believed that for every single well-to-do tourists there are a hundred workers from England who spend up to £50 each. We could attract 60,000 or 70,000 of them each year if we had the facilities to cater for them. They cannot afford hotels but we could have something like Butlins, though not quite as sumptuous, and that is all they want. Portmarnock is an undeveloped area right beside the city, and a dozen huge tourist premises could be placed there that would hold 10,000 visitors. Huge spaces there are going to waste and I am sure there are other similar areas throughout the country. I am just mentioning these things because that is why we are here. We are like the Minister himself; we will get something some time.
Reference was made to hire purchase and I understand that the Minister will be introducing some amendment to the legislation governing that. However, I understand he will be coming to the help of the hirer, not the purchaser, and this is a business about which I am  quite suspicious. Again in the Mail there is a case of a person who states he paid £130 for a television set and, as a result of unemployment, could not continue the payments. The hirer demanded the set back, plus half of the total cost. That is robbery. The type of television set the ordinary worker would look for would not cost £130. The average set costs about £80 but, because sets are got on hire purchase, they cost £130. In this particular case, the hirer may have got the set wholesale for £50 and charges the purchaser £130 on hire purchase. He now looks for £65 back and he will probably let the set again for £100, because I am quite sure people look after television sets which they have acquired.
I would also like to mention that the conditions laid down in hire purchase contracts should be quite clear. They should not be expressed in lawyer's language, the language a poor, simple person does not understand. In addition, the print should be in big lettering so that a microscope is not needed. Some of these conditions state that a television set can be taken back at any time, and it is not the hirer's property until the last penny is paid on it. The average people do not see those terms; they are not explained to them and, once they have signed, they have put their foot in it. When the Minister is considering the hirer's point of view I hope he will also consider that of the purchaser. I can assure you once you purchase from those gentlemen they put on the squeeze. “Terror tactics” is no name for it.
I want to refer to the E.S.B. and some of the statutory bodies set up by the Dáil. During the year I was told, in a reply to a question, that the Minister is not responsible for these bodies. I wonder who is? They are statutory bodies subsidised by this House, and I understand their directors were appointed by the Minister. If those people abuse their powers, why should members of this House not be able to put Parliamentary Questions about them? I was told, because I asked about the E.S.B., that I could not do it but who can? Twenty thousand people have their electric light cut off every year.
Mr. Sherwin: Again, Sir, with all due respect I refer to Deputy Dillon who, I think, contravened your directions a hundred times yesterday. I am protesting against the fact that we cannot ask a question and I would like to know from the Minister what redress have those people or, if there is an abuse of power, who can inquire into it?
Last year I mentioned the possibility of the erection of a munitions factory in this country—the Minister may think I have a bee in my bonnet on this subject—and the reply he gave me was that ammunition imports would not justify any subsidy for a factory here. It seems that such a factory would need to be subsidised and the Minister's argument was that altogether we imported only about £500,000 worth of cartridges and .22 ammunition annually. He mentioned only what private concerns import. He did not mention what the Army imports, and I am quite sure total imports amount to about £750,000 annually. I am not saying such a factory, producing that quantity of goods, would give much employment-but, during the debate on the Defence Vote, I mentioned the fact that in Switzerland everyone is compelled to join a miniature rifle club.
I am quite certain there must be a tremendous amount of ammunition used up in Switzerland, and if the Minister, in conjunction with the other Ministers responsible, were to issue licences for miniature rifle clubs they  would be availed of, and there would be a tremendous demand annually for .22 ammunition. I am pointing out to the Minister how this figure of £750,000 could be jacked up to £2,000,000 or £3,000,000. Create the opportunities—that is the point. Apart from that there are always countries in trouble throughout the world. There is always a revolution somewhere, and there is always a demand for ammunition. According to our friend, Deputy Briscoe, we once had to go to the Continent to search for ammunition and every country experiences times of stress when they must look for anything they can get. Therefore, there is no reason why the Minister should think there would be no demand for ammunition. In addition, we would have our own supplies whenever we wanted them. Deputy Briscoe is used to the set-up on the Continent and he could get plenty of orders.
Mr. Sherwin: Between one thing and another, my suggestion is not as silly as all that. At least it would provide work for a group of people. It would save the £750,000 which we are spending on importing ammunition at present, and we would have something established here that would be of advantage to us if we were in trouble ourselves. I shall refer to this matter next year again.
I want to make it very clear that I have a great deal of faith in the Minister. He is a man of purpose and there are so few men of purpose while there are so many who have to be carried. The Minister is a man who can carry himself and I wonder, if the Taoiseach is elected to the Presidency, will we lose Deputy Lemass as Minister for Industry and Commerce?
Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. S. Lemass): During the  course of his speech on this Estimate Deputy Dillon forecast a large deficit on our international payments during this year. I think I should say straight away that the Government have no such expectation. During 1958, according to the statistics published to members of the House, our external payments were virtually in balance. During the previous year, 1957, they realised a surplus of £9,000,000. All the indications are that the situation is not likely to deteriorate seriously in that respect during this year. During 1958 there were, as the trade statistics show, exceptional imports of capital equipment and of cereals. The capital equipment was for certain industrial undertakings of which the House is aware and the cereals had to be imported because of the bad harvest. We can hope that the importation of capital equipment will continue at the 1958 level or even increase but we can also hope that the better harvest of this year will reduce the need for the importation of wheat and animal feeding stuffs.
Looking at the situation for this year, so far as one can do at this stage, it seems reasonable to expect that the export prospects for the cattle trade will work out reasonably well. It is true that the terms of trade, that is, the relation between import and export prices, moved in our favour during 1958. That situation may reverse itself this year. The over-all estimate for this year—and in this I know the conclusions of the Central Bank—is that while we may run an over-all deficit on current payments of about £7,000,000 or £8,000,000, the record for the three years, taking 1957, 1958 and 1959 together, will still be one of equilibrium.
These balance of payments figures, with which Deputies and members of the public became very familiar during the crisis period of 1955-56, must, if they are to be interpreted as a guide to our economic prospects, be read in relation to the movement of the external assets of our banking system. The crisis which arose in 1955-56 was the emergence of a serious deficit on  international payments which was financed by pulling down the external assets of the banking system. No such situation exists now. Indeed, the external assets of the banking system and of Government funds in 1958 increased by 158 million. That is not the result we desired.
As was made clear in the Programme for Economic Expansion, while the Government would be concerned if the level of the external assets of the banking system fell below the point they reached in 1957, there was no reason why we should seek to expand them. In fact, the rise in the external assets of our banks represents to a large extent the failure of adequate investment opportunities to present themselves during last year as well as an inflow of private capital from abroad into Government Stocks and Bonds and into private investment.
Our problem here, and I think this cannot be stressed too often, is one of finding opportunities for investment rather than of finding capital. Many Deputies, who addressed themselves to some of the immediate projects under consideration by the Government, fail I think to grasp that very significant fact. Deputies are entitled to question proposals for investment in such projects as a nitrogen fertiliser factory or in jet aircraft for Aer Linte on the merits of these projects as such, but they need not base their arguments upon the ground that other investment opportunities have been passed over on their account.
What we need in this country is to devise and prepare other investment opportunities of equal value. If they are opened up, then there is no reason now in sight why they should be frustrated by lack of capital resources. The aim of the economic policy of the Government is to create additional employment, to put it in its simplest terms, and to do so by the expansion of productive activities which have a reasonable chance of permanency. In the pursuit of that aim, we are prepared to take risk. It is only prudent to ensure that risks will be carefully calculated and kept at a minimum. But, all the same, risks must be faced.
Some of the measures which may be  adopted may fail, involving loss of resources. We may have to face that. But we cannot hope to get here the expansion of economic activities which we need without taking risks. It is not possible for human wit to devise means by which we can promote our development, on the scale we desire and need, on a limited liability basis.
That improvement in the balance of payments to which I have referred has also improved the country's ability to undertake the increased capital investment with which the country's economic prospects are inevitably bound up. All our hopes of being able to increase employment opportunities, to reduce unemployment, to minimise and eventually remove the economic causes of emigration, can be realised only on the basis of securing a rise as speedily as possible in real terms in the country's total production, and in its exports. That rise in production, that expansion of exports, must be achieved by increasing productivity. That means that it must be brought about at a cost level which will be no higher than those prevailing in the countries with which we have to compete in external markets.
Although, as I have said, there is not now any crisis of capital scarcity it is, nevertheless, increasingly essential, if we are not to run into the same difficulty all over again, that the capital resources available to us, either through current savings, external borrowing, or external disinvestment, should be directed as far as possible to productive projects.
It may be that the general desirability and practicability of particular projects will often be the subject of doubt and debate in this House, but in the circumstances now prevailing, the easier financial conditions which have been brought about, the term “productive investment” can be interpreted in the widest sense, in the sense of adding to the country's economic resources rather than the narrow financial sense which would be the concern of the Minister for Finance in preparing his Budget.
Arising out of some remarks made by Deputies during the course of the debate, I want to make it as clear as I can that it is very far from the Government's  desire to represent the conditions prevailing at present, or the rate of economic progress which has been achieved, as satisfactory. It would be entirely wrong and misleading to represent ourselves to the country as being without anxiety as to the future. The policy of the Government must always be open to reassessment in relation to its adequacy, and in so far as there are indications which would suggest that the measures taken to-date are inadequate to give us the acceleration in the country's economic progress that is desired, a further reassessment of policy is called for.
The Government are fully aware of their responsibility in that regard, but again and again I think it is necessary to stress that the great work that has to be done here cannot be completed by Government action alone. No matter how extensive are the arrangements that they may make, no matter how well conceived the legislation they may propose to the House, a Government cannot by themselves bring about the required expansion. All sections of the community must help and must be willing to adapt their sectional plans and policies to the over-all national objective. We cannot get ahead as we desire on the basis of the Government pressing for progress and other sections pulling against them. The country, as we see it, is facing a tremendous task which calls for a tremendous effort.
In so far as manufacturing industry is concerned, we have said that our main reliance is on private enterprise. I think that must continue to be so. Indeed, present indications are that private enterprise will produce significant developments which will contribute substantially to the country's economic progress. But looking at the results which we have achieved to-date against the background of our needs it is not obvious that private enterprise alone will suffice to secure the maximum exploitation of the country's industrial potentialities. By and large we have, as I have said, sufficient capital to permit of more rapid industrial growth. We certainly have adequate labour resources but, as yet,  we have had an insufficiency of enterprise. I do not wish that remark to be taken as detracting in any way from the efforts towards expansion of many Irish firms which are showing commendable courage and initiative. The point is that we have not got enough of them. In these circumstances we have to think in terms of an expansion of State enterprise in the industrial field and that is what the Government are now doing.
In accord with the White Paper, the Programme for Economic Expansion, all our statutory boards and State-financed companies have been asked to consider the scope for new developments open to them in directions relating to the main activities in which they are now engaged and some possibilities brought forward as a result of these inquiries are at present under examination. The plans for the expansion of Irish Steel Limited are a case in point. The Government will be prepared to promote additional State enterprises in industrial sectors where no conflict with private enterprise arises and where expert examination proves the possibility of profitable operation.
We have no reason here to feel any need to apologise for the extent to which the State has already entered into the industrial field. All these State commercial enterprises which have been set up over the years have been uniformly successful and represent a very substantial addition to the country's economic resources. Indeed, they were themselves responsible for a large part of the economic progress which has been accomplished. There is another reason why we in our circumstances should be quite willing to contemplete further activities of the same kind.
As Deputies know most private concerns in this country are of a smaller kind where the manager is himself the proprietor, or the main shareholder in the case of a company. In concerns of that kind, it is not unusual that the top management positions are secured by inheritance; they pass to the son of the owner or to some relation of his. Indeed, it is only in the case of a few  larger industrial concerns, and through the State sponsored commercial enterprises of ours, that a road has been provided along which young men of ability, competence and enterprise can travel to rise to top management positions without having to inherit anything and with nothing behind them except their brains and their willingness to work. We can feel very proud of the fact that there are at the top of our State-sponsored enterprises men who have shown exceptional ability and who would almost certainly have gone to the top in any other country in which they had been born. In addition to such extensions of activity as may be undertaken by existing State-sponsored organisations under their own direction and from their own resources, we contemplate the possibility in some instances of partnership arrangements between these organisations and private enterprise. I think it is likely we will find, in practice, that additional State-participation in industrial development can best be effected through the medium of existing organisations, but if new organisations are required, they can of course be created.
When new industrial concerns are set up by State initiative, the possibility and indeed the desirability of translating them ultimately into public companies by the offer of shares on the stock exchanges should, I think, always be kept in mind. I have already mentioned here in the course of an earlier debate the new company at Dundalk as affording an illustration of what might be done in that way, pioneering a new method of industrial expansion which permits of some exciting possibilities. The fact that the State has to act as the industrial entrepreneur does not alter in any fundamental way the character of our society and indeed we do not intend that it should.
Mr. S. Lemass: What I mean is that in our circumstances to get the expansion we require, we have got to contemplate the Government acting as entrepreneur rather than relying  entirely upon the stimuli and help afforded to private enterprise.
Mr. Corish: I would agree entirely with the Minister but he prefaced his remark about the promotion of industry by the Government by saying that they would not promote industry in competition with private enterprise.
Mr. S. Lemass: I know the Deputy spoke about the possibility of conflict between Dundalk and Wexford. I do not think there is any real danger of such. I presided at a joint meeting between representatives of the Wexford Engineering Company and the Dundalk Engineering Works last week and either today or tomorrow, they are having a meeting between themselves at Dundalk. I can see no reason why they should not, in the circumstances of that industry, be able to map out fields for development which can lead to expansion in both areas without any conflict between them.
In the course of his speech, Deputy Dillon interpreted certain remarks which I made in my introductory statement relating to the European trade situation as indicating or foreshadowing a reversal of policy, the policy with which, he said, I had been particularly identified over all the years past. I do not regard anything I said as indicating such a reversal of policy. It would, of course, be foolish for anybody to maintain that the plans and policies we operated before the war will always be applicable without change in post-war circumstances as they develop.
Our pre-war industrial development was based on home market requirements and protection, and it served the purposes of that time. I think it was the only practical industrial policy then. Because of it, we have secured a basis of industrial organisation, a pool of managerial competence and industrial skill on which we can build for the future. Indeed, it would be correct to say that our prospects in the future world situation, as I anticipate it may develop, would be very  dim indeed if that pre-war industrial policy of ours had not been so very successful. There is need now to raise our targets and, I believe, also to change our methods. We know that change always produces problems and difficulties, and it is certain that we will experience both, but the problems are not insoluble. The difficulties can in time be solved.
Deputy Cunningham referred to statements that are occasionally made to the effect that this country has not made full use of the control which has been secured over its own development, statements which one occasionally hears to the effect that the generation now passing has in some way let the present generation down. Observations of that kind always seem to suggest to me the idea that if their fathers had worked harder, the young men of today could live in the lap of luxury without working at all. They suggest a desire to seek excuses for inaction. The past generation and the generation before that did not let this country down. The question is whether this generation will rise to its responsibilities and its opportunities.
The historical task of this generation, as I see it, is to consolidate the economic foundations of our political independence. These foundations are not by any means firm enough to be certain of their permanency. The task of consolidating and extending them cannot be postponed. It has got to be done now or in the years immediately ahead of us. This, I believe, is the crucial period in our attempt to build up an Irish State which will be capable of maintaining permanent independence. If we fail, everything else goes with it and all the hopes of the past will have been falsified. But if we succeed, then every other national problem, including particularly the problem of Partition, will become a great deal easier of solution. We are not thinking of failure but of emphasising again and again our conviction that everything depends on the effort made now.
Deputy Dillon referred to trade arrangements with Great Britain, and a number of other Deputies also spoke on that subject. It was suggested that  we should seek a new agreement with Britain or some extension of the existing arrangements. Indeed, Deputy Dillon went on to suggest that we might consider making with Britain an agreement similar, as between the two countries, to the European Free Trade Area plan which was discussed in Paris last year, that is to say, an agreement which would provide not merely free entry for our products into Britain but also, I presume, the removal of barriers to British products coming in here.
There can be no question that any prospect or possibility of expanding trade with Britain, particularly in agricultural products, and of obtaining reasonable security of markets and prices would be of very great interest. Geographical proximity has forced a degree of integration of the economies of both countries which has been strengthened by arrangements which permit of the free movement of men and money and provide a common currency basis between them. Indeed, it could be said that between this country and Britain there already exist many aspects of the type of economic community which the European countries who signed the Rome Treaty are trying to develop between themselves. In the world as it is developing the interests of both countries would appear to require arrangements for the continuous examination of possibilities of further association in developing trade opportunities.
There are, of course, as Deputies know, frequent, indeed, almost weekly, contacts with British Government Departments that are concerned with trade matters. Adjustments of trade arrangements between the two countries are made from time to time. I stated already in my introductory remarks that there is at present in progress an examination of the future of Anglo-Irish trade in the light of possible developments in regard to the new free trade area proposals which are being discussed at Stockholm after which further discussions are contemplated. The range of these  discussions will, of course, depend on circumstances, including the outcome of the Stockholm talks and, of course, on the wishes of the British Government.
I am somewhat concerned, however, at the frequency with which this idea of a new trade agreement with Britain is put forward as a sort of panacea for all our economic difficulties, as another road by which we could try to secure the goal of easier living with less work. I think it would be wrong to think in terms of a possible extension of a trade agreement with Britain, even the integration of agricultural production policies on the lines on which the leaders of the N.F.A. have spoken, as anything of the sort.
Indeed, one has only to look at the Six Counties where such conditions can be said to exist to realise that it is not so. The economic problems of the Six County area are in many respects more acute than our own and in some sectors appear to be much more intractable. It could be said, no doubt, that their conditions and prospects would be better if the whole country were a single economic unit. Indeed, I was tempted to argue that case in Belfast some years ago but, whatever about the Six County problems, ours do not arise from existing political arrangements only. The progress of any country depends in the last resort upon the efforts which its people put into it. If our effort is adequate we will go ahead. If we produce goods which are competitive in quality and price with other countries we will get markets for them somewhere. No trade agreement and no political arrangement will secure for the country progress without work and efficiency.
Deputies will have seen a report published a couple of days ago in the newspapers that trade negotiations with France which were in progress failed to provide an acceptable basis for a new agreement and that our delegation has returned from Paris.
Mr. S. Lemass: The whole question of our external trade policies would seem to be due for reconsideration. We are, as Deputies know, not a member of G.A.T.T., the General Agreement for Trade and Tariffs, but we have, nevertheless, followed a policy of non-discrimination in trade except in regard to preferential rates of duties as required under our trade agreements with Britain and Canada. We followed that policy because we deemed it to be in our own interests to do so but whether it will continue to be possible or desirable in the new situation which appears likely to develop in Europe is now a question for examination. Indeed, it is very possible that examination will still show it to be the only practical policy for us. There would certainly be little enthusiasm in this country for bilateralism and discriminatory agreements.
We could resort to them only if we decided that our essential interests so required. It is a policy that would obviously carry some commercial disadvantages. With the markets of the world open to our businessmen to buy their requirements where they can get them at the best prices any trade arrangements which would force them over to less satisfactory sources of supply would obviously mean that they would have to carry some penalties which could operate to reduce their competitiveness in export markets. Any return to bilateralism in our external trading arrangements would carry commercial disadvantages which we would have to take very fully into mind even if we felt such a course would increase our negotiating powers in some instances.
The European Economic Community has been proclaimed to be by its founders an outward looking expansionist unity, and not the restrictive type of arrangement which some people feared or profess to fear it might be. Presumably at some stage, as the Rome Treaty develops and as the European Economic Community takes shape, our trade negotiations will  have to be conducted with the appropriate institution of the community rather than separately with the Governments of the participating countries.
That situation has not emerged yet. Meantime, we certainly hope that the separate countries of the community will show evidence of good intentions by a liberal attitude in trade matters, particularly with countries like ours which are not likely to be in any of the new trade groupings.
Arising out of the remarks made by some Deputy regarding disbalance in our trade with particular countries, I think it is well to emphasise that our aim in international trade must be to balance our payments with the world as a whole. We do not have to maintain a balance with each country. In 1958, our trading activities of all kinds showed a surplus so far as the sterling and the dollar areas were concerned but we were in heavy deficit with other West European countries in the European Payments Union. We do not need to obtain a balance with each country but we certainly do expect from them reasonable access to such export possibilities as may exist in consideration of the maintenance by us of a non-discriminatory policy which operates to their advantage.
There is a danger, which I think we must face, that the delay which has taken place in the negotiation of a European Free Trade Area may cause a slackening in the drive which had begun to promote increased industrial efficiency. One seems to notice that lack of a sense of urgency now in the councils of the Federation of Irish Industries and the Trade Associations that operate for particular industries. I think it is important that the realities of the situation should be more clearly appreciated. If our view is correct as to the future trends likely to develop in world trade then we must expect to have to consider making agreements which may involve the freezing of existing tariffs, possibly the reduction of tariffs in some instances, and face at some time the probability of being able to enter into a wider free trade arrangement with some or all of the countries of Western Europe.
 The stronger the drive is within Irish industry to secure efficiency and the greater the success which is achieved in it in all sectors of the national economy the easier it will be for whatever Government has the responsibility of dealing with these matters in the future to protect the national interests in any situation that may emerge. In any case, industrial expansion must now be aimed at exports and whether these exports of ours move into markets in a free trade area or have to climb over tariff barriers to find customers we cannot expect to expand our exports unless we can meet and beat the competition we will encounter.
It would be a very poor prospect indeed for this country if we had to look forward only to manufacturing industry limited to the home market demand, preserving old-fashioned techniques and traditional restrictive practices behind an ever-mounting tariff wall. Indeed, that milestone in our development is already far behind us. We might in fact now be reviewing the tariff protection given to our industries, particularly those industries which have failed to develop in efficiency or to turn to modern production methods, were it not for these Free Trade Area negotiations. Deputies will understand the very obvious reasons why the tariff reviews which had been started were suspended while these negotiations appeared likely to produce an agreement which we could consider.
It is essential now that we should develop a new outlook generally. I was at a meeting recently and there I heard a young man saying that any person who got the opportunity of running an Irish industry which failed should be regarded, not as an object of sympathy, but as a public enemy. I think that is the right approach. As it is, every Deputy knows that if some factory closes down because of incompetent management or because of reckless wastage of resources it becomes a matter of political agitation with demands to the Government to use public funds or further tariffs to buttress it up. It is better that badly  run industries should fail. To the extent that there is deadwood in our industrial forest it is far better to clear it out and make room for new growth. I know probably better than most Deputies that in practice it is hard for any Minister to be as ruthless as all that but it may be well to state the right policy even if we cannot always apply it.
The need for efficiency, however, extends beyond the confines of individual concerns. It must embrace the whole organisation of the country which has to be geared to the task of putting our products on export markets at competitive prices. That applies particularly to our transport facilities, internal transport arrangements, facilities for handling goods at our ports and shipping facilities. Everybody knows that there are many defects in these arrangements at present and that some of them are capable of being rectified very speedily if there was a general understanding that delay is impeding the whole effort to expand employment and is in fact keeping out of employment workers who could now be engaged in productive occupations and earning wages to support their families. If we could get that realisation of the reality of the need and the urgency of dealing with it then I think we would be halfway to removing these defects and remedying the situation.
In this debate, and in others, Deputies frequently referred to the figures published in the volume of Economic Statistics, relating to the decline in our labour force. I have no desire to minimise in any way the significance of these figures; indeed, I have quoted them myself more than once as pointing to the kernel of the country's economic problem. I think it is right that Deputies should know that these figures are based upon information which is often very much out of date before the estimates are prepared. For what they are worth, these figures showed the decline in the total number of people at work in any section of the national economy in 1958 as compared with 1957, at 10,000. That in itself was serious but I think that the trend disclosed has not been realised.  For the two previous years the decline shown by these figures, similarly prepared and no more reliable than the more recent figures, was 20,000. The downward movement which has been persisting for many years has not been stopped but it has tended to slow.
The decline in the labour force of the country has been due mainly to decreased employment in agriculture and also to a falling-off in constructional activities. In the case of agriculture, there has been a decline over the past five or six years of 20 per cent. in the number of people occupied in it. It should be noted that that experience of ours is in accord with the experience of all Western European countries. The decline in the number of people occupied in agriculture in this country has been no greater than has been recorded in Western Europe as a whole. Whatever is happening here is happening in other countries also. The difference is that other countries have opportunities of expanding employment in manufacturing industries and other nonagricultural occupations. That is what we need. That is what our industrial policy is designed to provide.
Whatever the moral or spiritual attractions of farm work may be I, like Deputy Dillon, do not regard it as reasonable to expect a man to refuse opportunities of better living standards. I certainly think it is up to us to strive might and main to provide these opportunities of better living standards through employment here rather than abroad.
Deputy Cosgrave and some other Deputies referred to the price situation. Deputy Cosgrave said that, in so far as domestic prices are concerned, the relative factors are within the control of the Government. I want to question that to some extent. The most important factor affecting prices is wages. Since 1957, the increase in wage rates has moved in line with the increase in prices. Deputy Sherwin said that higher wages may result in higher unemployment. He wanted me to do something about it but I do not propose to do anything except to point out the economic realities of our position.
 It is not altogether true that higher wages cause unemployment. That would be true only where the effect of higher wages was not offset by higher productivity. Where improved production methods—new machines, new techniques—make it possible for a worker to produce more, then part of the benefit of that increased productivity should flow to him in higher wages and it can flow to him without any detrimental effect to the national economy.
It is only where higher wages are not offset by higher productivity that they are likely to produce, as the 1956 experience showed, a rise in unemployment. The importance of wages in prices must not be minimised. There is no sense in being mealy-mouthed about it or in diverting attention from it. I am sure experience has brought the realisation of it to many of the workers of the country.
The factors affecting prices which are within the control of the Government are taxation and also certain food prices which the Government support in one way or another above the world level, like milk and wheat.
Mr. S. Lemass: I think the outstanding feature about the price situation is the relative stability that has now been realised. The inflationary forces which were active since the end of the war appear to have spent themselves. Provided we can keep internal factors from forcing up prices again—wages, taxation and Government price supports—the cost of living need not rise.
The Government have made some small contribution towards stability this year by the tax reductions in the Budget. We can hope that expanding revenue, if economic recovery proceeds, will make further contributions of the same kind possible at some future time. If trade unions follow the policy of relating demands for higher wages to increased productivity so that  wage adjustments will not result in an increase in the costs of production, and provided other sections of the community are also reasonable in their demands, the price stability which now exists looks like continuing.
Deputy Sherwin asks for an assurance from the Government in respect of prices. I do not believe in the effectiveness of Government control in regard to prices. I have frequently argued in the past that the effect of Government control of prices was to keep them going up. I am sure that those who are still believers in the efficacy of measures of control are finding it difficult to appreciate the full significance of the fact that in this country since the war prices stopped rising only when Government controls were withdrawn. That is not a coincidence. I do not want Deputies to think that that is a non-sequitur——
Mr. S. Lemass: So long as the Government were prepared to take responsibility for prices, the pressure for adjustments upwards continued. When the Government stepped out, when private firms had to justify their own decisions with regard to their price alterations, when competition took over, price stability developed. Competition under conditions of full supply is the best price regulator of all.
We always recognised that, in the past, much of the inflation from which we suffered was imported. The conditions prevailing in Great Britain, because of the close relationship between the economies of the two countries, have always exercised a powerful influence on ours. Recently, the British authorities have been expressing their confidence in the continuation of the price stability which has also developed there. These statements reinforce our expectation that we also shall continue to enjoy it.
I turn now to deal with some more specific matters raised in the debate. Deputy Cosgrave queried the policy we are following in relation to the development of an industrial estate at  Shannon. Deputy Russell, and I think Deputy Carew also, made reference to that matter. There was a suggestion that the special facilities available in relation to that industrial estate should be extended over a wider area to include the towns of Ennis and Limerick in particular. I think there is a misunderstanding. It is quite obvious that nobody would put up a factory at Shannon merely because of these facilities if there was not an attraction in the availability of air freight facilities. Indeed, the Act which we passed here requires me, before I give a licence to anybody to operate a manufacturing enterprise there, to have regard to the extent to which air transport will be used in or in connection with the carrying on of the business.
The location of the airport is, in fact, a further safeguard in that regard, that no industry which could be more economically established elsewhere will be attracted in there by the inducements that we offered. Indeed, the reverse is what is happening, in the sense that people who have been attracted to this country as a location for a manufacturing enterprise by the publicity given to the facilities and attractions available to Shannon, having come here and weighed these facilities and attractions against those that were available in other localities, have elected to go elsewhere rather than persist with the original idea of locating at Shannon. There would be no point, as I see it, in extending these facilities to a wider area because the intention is that there should not be established at Shannon at all other than these types of industries which can make full economical use of the air transport facilities which exist there or which we hope will be developed there.
There was a query by Deputy Dillon, Deputy Sweetman and others regarding the financing of the Verolme Dockyard Company. I disagree entirely with the view expressed by Deputy Sweetman that particulars of financial arrangements entered into between the Industrial Credit Company and private firms should be available to the House. That has never been  done and, personally, I think it would be the nadir of political folly for any Minister to assume responsibility here for decisions, in the making of which he had no part and could not influence. Furthermore, I consider that it would be a serious deterrent to our effort to attract to this country important industries with external companies associated with them if there was any expectation that the private financial arrangements entered into by them to establish Irish companies might be the subject of debate here. Nevertheless, in relation to the Verolme undertaking, I can make a general statement leaving out these specific details because, indeed, that has already been done by Mr. Verolme in a Press interview which he gave after the announcement of his intention to develop this shipyard at Cork.
Deputies will understand that what is contemplated there is a major development which will take some years to complete, involving, in all, an investment of something between £5,000,000 and £6,000,000. Mr. Verolme's attitude was that he was prepared to undertake that investment provided that the regulations of his own Government concerning the export of capital and other factors permitted him to do it and, indeed, he is, I gather, still under the impression that he will be able to do it although it is not yet certain. What he required before he started upon the undertaking was an assurance that, if any difficulty emerged in proceeding with it because of restrictions upon the finance available, he would have access to resources here. He asked the Industrial Credit Company for what he described as an umbrella and that is, in fact, what he got. It may be that it will not rain, that he will not require the umbrella. The negotiations which were conducted between him and the Industrial Credit Company related to the rate of interest, the notification of requirements, the conditions of redemption, and matters of that kind.
The extent to which, in fact, the resources of the Industrial Credit Company may be invested in that undertaking is not yet known. It may be that no Industrial Credit  Company funds will be needed. It may be that a substantial amount will be needed but it is not possible to give a precise figure representing the proportion of the company's resources which will be provided from Irish sources.
I see no objection at all in principle to the establishment of undertakings on that basis. As Deputies know, what we require here mainly is the competence and experience to establish large undertakings of that kind rather than the money to finance them. If we had not been able to make such an arrangement with Mr. Verolme as has been made, we would have been quite prepared to contemplate a similar development at Cork Dockyard as a State enterprise. The trouble in doing that would be, not the finding of the money, but the finding of the people who could make it a success and, indeed, if other opportunities for similar types of development presented themselves, we would not reject them merely because substantial investment by the Industrial Credit Company would be involved.
Mr. S. Lemass: But I certainly would like to see, where the management was being entrusted to a private firm, that the investment of that firm would be sufficiently large to give them every possible inducement to succeed.
Mr. S. Lemass: May I say straightway that in Mr. Verolm's case I do not think the prospect of profit has any influence with him at all? He has, as most Deputies who have read about him will know, been fantastically successful in his business. Profit can be of no further interest to him. It is now a matter of interest in the country and a desire to make a personal contribution, because of his contacts  with it, to its development which is, I think, the main driving force in his plans for expansion there. I was very happy to see the recent announcement by the company that they are hoping to complete the development plans originally agreed between him and me in a much shorter time than was at first contemplated.
Deputy Russell asked about the development of Irish participation in cross-Channel shipping services. I told him some time ago that that matter was under active consideration. As the House knows, I set up a tribunal of inquiry into cross-Channel shipping rates and when I saw the scope that that inquiry was likely to take I decided that it would be wrong to attempt to take any decisions as to possibilities in cross-Channel shipping until we received the report. I have now received it. I had hoped that it would be available for circulation to Deputies about this time but the printing has taken somewhat longer than I had assumed because of certain maps that had to be reproduced. The report will be available in printed form for Deputies next week and, following on its circulation, as well as the receipt of certain other information which I require, we will be going very fully into that matter and because of the character of that report Deputies will have available to them a great deal of information regarding cross-Channel shipping operations that was never available to anybody before. It certainly was a very helpful investigation and will, I think, have a very definite bearing upon all our thinking in that respect.
Deputy Cosgrave referred to the falling off in the export of biscuits. I do not want to refer to the affairs of any particular firm, but the Deputy did not perhaps see the report of the annual general meeting of the company that he had in mind.
Mr. S. Lemass: That report appeared in the Press. The Deputy should have been there that the Chairman of the company stated that  towards the end of last year the board had signed an agreement with the associated company in Liverpool which will permit the marketing of certain products in various countries and that he was glad that the company were now in a position to make an effort to play their part in increasing exports from this country.
Deputy Kyne inquired about the position of the leather industry. That is a matter which has been giving us some concern because there has been a 100 per cent. increase in the price of hides mainly due to a higher world consumption of leather and higher purchases of hides by Japan and by certain Iron Curtain countries and to a very substantial falling off in slaughterings in the Argentine as well as in the United States of America. So far as I can see, however, the supply of hides to the Irish tanneries is likely to be adequate even though the price is high. What is happening is that, due to this increase in the price of hides and to the uncertainty as to how long that situation will continue, manufacturers are cautious about forward buyings of leather and that has resulted in some part-time working in a few of the larger tanneries. That is considered to be a short-term problem and one that is not likely to be extensive. So far as my contacts with tanners disclose the realities of the situation, I find those concerned not at all unduly worried about it. They feel that as soon as the hide market stabilises at the higher price level—there are indications that is already happening abroad—they expect business to return to normal, with the possibility, of course, that, at the higher price prevailing, there may be some slight falling off in the demand for leather.
Deputy Cosgrave suggested there were insufficient inducements to hotels to build extra accommodation for tourists. I could not possibly agree with that. I think the Deputy would be well advised to get from An Bord Fáilte particulars of the variety of methods by which they can aid hoteliers to build new hotels, expand their bedroom accommodation or improve their houses generally—aids by way of grants and loans, with postponement  of repayment of loans, and a variety of other ways. It seems to me that the aids and facilities available to hoteliers are extremely generous and should certainly give them every possible inducement to expand their accommodation quickly. Again, I want to emphasise that these facilities will not always be available and the wise hotelier will jump in to use them now.
Deputy Cosgrave also queried the position regarding facilities for development at minor tourist resorts. As the House knows, a sum of £1,000,000 has been made available for a scheme for the improvement of major tourist resorts. Improvements in minor holiday resorts are the responsibility of Bord Fáilte and Bord Fáilte can make appropriations for that purpose out of the £500,000 grant-in-aid which they receive annually. In fact, they have already done so in respect of works in Connemara, Cork, Sligo, Kerry, Wexford, Tipperary, Offaly and Clare; and presumably they will continue each year to allocate from their grant-in-aid some further appropriations for this purpose.
Deputy Cosgrave also urged that work on developing Dún Laoghaire pier should be expedited. It has become necessary, for safety reasons, to plan to replace the present substructure of the pier with reinforced concrete. The Board of Works are making the necessary arrangements for that replacement which will, it is estimated, cost about £400,000. It is work, however, which can be spread over a number of years and need not interfere with the normal working of the harbour. In the meantime further improvements are being carried out which will be finished in time for this year's holiday season. A high level enclosure is being provided on the west side of the pier similar to the existing high level enclosure on the east side of the pier. That will facilitate the rapid disembarkation of passengers and will also facilitate embarkation on those occasions when, for weather or other reasons, the Mail Boat has to depart from the west side of the pier. In addition certain works are being carried out urgently to facilitate the transport of accompanied  motor cars by the mail boats, which it is proposed to commence this year, I understand, as from 1st July.
Deputy Crotty, and others, referred to the position in the sugar beet industry. I should like to clear away some of the misunderstandings in that regard. The importation of raw sugar does not affect in the least the possibility of the sugar company using more sugar beet. It has nothing whatever to do with it. Sugar beet can be processed in the factories between 1st October and, at the latest date, the middle of January. Before the 1st October or after the middle of January the sugar is not in the beet. It is only when the sugar is in the beet that it can be taken out; and it is in the beet during that harvest period. Therefore, the capacity of the factories to take beet depends upon the tonnage they can handle during that period.
The importation of raw sugar is done at other times of the year when the factories would otherwise be idle and it keeps workers in employment who would otherwise have to be let go. It is also making it possible for the company to provide sugar for export industries at a price which is fully competitive with that at which manufacturers of sugar products can obtain sugar in any other country.
The acreage under sugar beet has at long last gone up to the point at which the whole of our own requirements can be produced from Irish beet. We were trying for years to bring that situation about. It is there now. But the point is that there is a tendency for the acreage to keep on rising beyond the point at which the full requirements of the country can be met. The sugar factories just cannot take any more. They could take more if they could get deliveries earlier. The sugar factories obviously cannot get into production at the beginning of the season until they have a stock of beet available for continuous working. If they could induce the farmers to deliver enough beet earlier to get them starting the campaign earlier, then they could handle more beet. I do not know  exactly what the possibilities are in that regard.
There is not at the moment a question of another sugar factory. It will be appreciated that when the output of the existing factories is fully equal to the country's requirements any further production of sugar would depend entirely upon the availability of export markets for the sugar or for products made from sugar. That is being developed, but it is being developed on a basis made possible by the importation of raw sugar for refinement here which enables the company to say to anyone who wants to engage in the manufacture of sweets, confectionery or other products using sugar: “We will give you that sugar at the same price at which it would be available to you if you were free to import it.”
I doubt if, in fact, that very valuable export trade can be maintained on any other basis. It is wrong to assume, however, that the raw sugar imported could be replaced by native beet sugar because that would turn completely on the practicability of maintaining the export trade in sugar products in such circumstances. These are matters which the Sugar Company have under examination as one of the companies to which I referred. They have been asked to consider scope for development of any kind which would have some relation to their present activities and which they would be equipped to plan and supervise. I know that certain possibilities are under examination by them and I hope to get their proposals soon.
A number of other matters of detail were raised during the course of the debate with which I do not propose to deal now. Some of them could be the subject of Parliamentary Question if Deputies want to follow up the points, and others will arise, in any event, in connection with legislation which is being promoted during this session.
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