Committee on Finance. - Vote 47—Office of the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Resumed).

Thursday, 2 June 1960

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 182 No. 5

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Debate resumed on the following motion:—

[622] That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration.—(Deputy Cosgrave.)

Mr. Desmond: Information on Daniel Desmond  Zoom on Daniel Desmond  One item which must of necessity be of grave concern to us all and in which we have been partially successful is our attempt to break through on the industrial side into the export market. We all know that this policy is not a new policy and that the policy of the present Minister is very much in line with that of his predecessors. The establishment of factories by people coming into this country is welcome in so far as it is a help in providing much needed employment for our people. There is also an over-all benefit where we can succeed in entering export markets on an established basis. There are aspects of the problems, however, which we must examine. One Deputy speaking here yesterday drew particular attention to one of the dangers which, if it is not near, may perhaps lie over the horizon.

Most of the industrialists coming to this country at the present time are people who are operating large factories in other countries and the factories they establish here may truthfully be called subsidiary factories. Should the pattern of international trade be altered in the years to come and should these foreign companies find themselves in the position of having to pull back in the over-all position of the development of their trade, it is quite conceivable that their first line of approach would be to move out from the factories they have established here. Naturally enough none of us wants to see that happen. It would be detrimental to the whole community but we must examine the position in that light as well as in other lights. Should that happen we may find ourselves in a much more difficult position.

While some people laud the attempts of industrialists to establish industries here it must be made very clear that they are not coming in as public benefactors. They are coming in as hard-headed businessmen and coming in to take advantage of what we are offering by way of factory buildings and substantial grants, plus the attractions [623] given in connection with income tax in regard to the export market. Therefore we cannot for a moment consider these people merely as public benefactors coming in to help us.

I know that over the years many members of this House have condemned the operation of the Control of Manufactures Act. It may have had its shortcomings yet, even at this stage, I think that looking over the whole situation there is a certain amount to commend it. If in a number of years, say in five to eight years, an industrialist who had come into this country found it suitable to pull out again he will undoubtedly have made a fair profit during that period. He will not lose anything by pulling out but this country will lose.

On the other hand, if we had a combination of Irish industrialists and foreign industrialists operating, naturally it would not be easy for the Irish industrialist to pull out should a situation arise whereby these factories would have to close down because he could not do it with the same ease as a foreign industrialist. It would be wise to consider that aspect of it rather than leave the situation as it appears to be now, leaving it in the hands of foreigners to move in and reap the reward and if they find it suitable pull out at any time.

There is another aspect that must be considered. We have over the years complained about the importation of products from the Far East. The same complaint has been heard in various parts of Britain, Yorkshire for instance, about the unfair competition from countries where the wage standard is so much lower than that obtaining in Britain. We must protect ourselves against that also. It is a most serious situation and I can mention a particular instance of a group of industrialists who came into Cork, who are getting the grants for their benefit, and who are employing young girls who were naturally delighted to get the opportunity of employment in their own town. These young girls are being employed under the heading of trainees.

[624] It is admitted that the finished product which is being sent on to the export market, back to the country from which the group originated, is of excellent quality, yet because these girls are considered to be trainees they are being paid a miserable wage of £2 a week and in some cases £2 3s. a week. Surely that is too serious a matter to be allowed continue. If it were known in the country concerned, America, that these articles were being sent there from Ireland having been manufactured under these conditions, with appallingly low wages, we would find ourselves in trouble. The Minister may say that it is outside his control and that it is a matter for the employer and the trade unions but I think we are all involved in this eventually. I am quoting this example of a factory at Kinsale but it applies in other factories as well and I suggest that the position should be not allowed to deteriorate in such a way as to provide these industrialists not just with an abundance of labour but labour at slave wages.

Another matter about which I have been concerned—not just recently because I put down questions about it to the Taoiseach when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce—has regard to the position of industries for the Cork Harbour area. We appreciate the benefits of the oil refinery in Cork Harbour but I still do not know why we are not establishing more factories there to use the by-products of the refinery. The articles of a synthetic nature which can be made from the by-products of oil are numerous. It is surprising and indeed distressing to find that we are not making any attempt to encourage, not foreign industrialists in this case but Irish industrialists, Cork businessmen, who could operate in a small way if they were given the lead and shown how they could move in and establish factories in these areas. The Minister knows the area as well as I do and I suggest that if possible he should raise the matter even at Government level.

We have two Departmental buildings in that locality which would be excellent for industrial purposes. They [625] are the Camden Fort and across the water Carlysle Fort. As I say, they are completely obsolete for the purpose for which they are being used. In fact they are as much use now as a popgun would be to Deputy Corry were he out shooting crows on his farm. It is a pity to see these buildings becoming derelict and to know that there are people anxious to establish industries there. If the Minister for Industry and Commerce were to approach the Minister for Defence to inquire into the feasibility of having these buildings switched over for utilisation by industries, in that area where there is close access to the by-products from the oil refinery, it would help towards providing for the benefit of the workers on the eastern and western side of the harbour, and for the benefit of the community as a whole. Ultimately it would bring about a much better situation than exists there at the present time.

There is another item to which I wish to refer. It may be considered as of local interest but nevertheless it should be raised in this House because it affects the workers in the township and area of Passage West. For some years past we have been endeavouring to get improvements carried out to what is known as Penny's Dock and the Minister for Industry and Commerce has a direct concern with this because the Taoiseach, when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce, referred to the problem. At present workers in the Passage West area are handicapped in trying to get to their places of employment at the Rushbrooke Docks, and over to Haulbowline, owing to Penny's Dock being completely silted up.

We believe that a small job, not costing an awful lot of money, could improve the situation there. We had some difficulty with one company, the B. & I. Line, but the Cork County Council and the Cork Harbour Board were, and are, prepared to co-operate. However, the Taoiseach came along and stated that the job would cost £10,000 and that killed it entirely. We consider such an estimate to be fantastic and that something much smaller would help the people concerned [626] to enjoy the benefits of a few weeks' work and a few wage packets, and I would ask the Minister to investigate this matter.

For some time past we have been drawing attention to the importation of certain commodities from certain countries. When we examine the import figures from those countries and the export figures from this country to them, and remember a certain case raised here recently, it must be admitted that it is an extraordinary situation when the practice is allowed whereby people in Dublin, apparently forgetting all moral values in the present over-all world situation, are prepared to be the vendors and to sell to the public commodities from Communist China, just because they are making a great profit on them.

It is about time that we closed down on imports from these countries. Some people may say that ultimately it may affect our way of life or our standard of living, but some of the commodities imported from these countries may often be termed luxuries. Even if they are not, knowing the temperament of the Irish people, I know they would much prefer to do without these commodities rather than have Irish money going into the coffers of such countries. Whether these items are coming directly from their countries of origin, or are coming to us through channels in Britain, it is about time that we should be more selective in our choice of customers, and that the over-all situation be thoroughly reexamined in an effort to stop the importation of articles from some of the countries concerned.

For many years we had operating here a body set up by the Government which undoubtedly gave good service to the community. Because of the many investigations carried out by it the general public knew there was a check on price levels. I am referring to the Prices Advisory Body and I believe that the action of the present Government in disbanding it was disgraceful. The Minister may tell us that a new Act was put into operation [627] in 1958. He may go so far as to tell us that invitations were issued to various bodies, including the trade union movement, asking them to submit names of persons to be put on a new prices body. However, there is a very good answer to that. Names were submitted by the trade union organisations but never once were the people whose names were submitted called upon to examine the situation regarding prices.

Let it not be forgotten that the old Prices Advisory Body had the right to carry out investigations on its own initiative but when this new body was supposed to come into life, prematurely I am afraid, it was not to have that freedom of action in regard to the examination of price levels. It was only at the behest of the Minister concerned, only by his mentioning and naming a certain commodity, that they could examine price levels and act. In my opinion that is completely unfair to the general public and it is undemocratic. It is not pleasant for us to have to admit that there is a necessity at the present time for a prices advisory body but we know there is.

It is only a few years ago since a little newspaper, or leaflet, An Gléas, was issued regularly showing the price increases taking place during the term of the inter-Party Government. I am not here as an advocate to defend the inter-Party Government but I would point out that they gave freedom of action to the Prices Advisory Committee and, having that freedom of action, the committee availed of it and made some attempt to keep prices down. We hear much at present about free trade but in the Twenty-Six Counties the attitude of the Government seems to be free trade and free prices for all concerned, and that is why we often find unjustified price increases in our over-all industrial position. Nobody can be blamed for this except the Government and the Minister concerned. I presume that when this committee was disbanded the Minister did not do it on his own and so the Government must take responsibility for it.

[628] There are a few items with regard to tourism that I should like to mention. No later than last Monday members of the Cork County Council had to direct attention to a serious problem affecting seaside resorts, probably all over the south coast but certainly from the furthermost eastern point of Cork County to the most westerly part of it. This is a problem which is also affecting the business people in seaside areas and it is caused by the harmful effect on the strands by pollution through oil. Each and every one of us concerned and connected with these areas are getting serious complaints. I have seen people whose clothes have been destroyed by going to a seaside place where, as was natural, they thought they would like to sit on the sand for a while.

I know that the oil refinery has issued a statement saying that they are not responsible and I do not say that they are. I do not know. There is an international agreement whereby tankers are not allowed, after discharging oil cargoes, to wash up and clean out within a certain distance of land. It may be said that problem is an international one, that it exists also in Britain, but that is no help to us. It is a matter that must be seriously tackled if we are to concentrate on the improvement of tourism here. Nobody will go to Crosshaven, Garristown or West Cork resorts if they cannot enjoy the benefit of going on the strand itself, going for a swim and sitting on the beach.

I do not intend to enter into any discussion on the merits or demerits of Bord Fáilte and in what I say I shall be brief. I notice that representatives of Bord Fáilte seem to be at every function in the country. They are not slow to get about or to blow their own trumpet. Shall we ever get to the stage when we have a genuine break-down of the figures relating to tourist income as against income from returned exiles? Nobody objects to the big amount of money being spent on publicity for tourism if it is properly spent, but only a few days ago a prominent German stated that while they were inundated with literature from the Six North-Eastern [629] Counties they had little or nothing from the Twenty-Six Counties. The Minister should consider making more use of the Embassies we have in Continental countries and in Britain. These cost us a lot of money, and it is about time the people concerned did a little work in advocating the benefits available to people who come here as tourists.

I cannot understand when Bord Fáilte are providing so much money and while we hear about the £100,000 going to West Cork—I sincerely hope it does go there—why a silver shilling never comes the way of another area in Cork that the Minister knows well —Crosshaven. I shall not make that another local issue here. I do not blame Bord Fáilte. I believe they try to do their best but I wonder if the money has been cut down and whether they are directed to other resorts. I never advocated the lavish spending of money in that area for purposes some people believe in. We should be sensible in our approach to what we can do for people and the people I am concerned with are those who come to Crosshaven from Cork City and outside it, the ordinary working people. Let us forget about swimming pools and bandstands and let us provide with the help of Bord Fáilte facilities for the people who depend on buses and who have not even shelters provided. C.I.E. have been asked to co-operate and I believe they will if they know we can get something from the Government through Bord Fáilte.

My last reference is again related to tourism and a complaint many people make. In the winter-time people who travel in this country, as many must, find the hotel charges fairly reasonable but with the first breath of summer you would think you had come to a different country altogether. Why is it that when we are so anxious to develop tourism, when each Government in turn has been prepared to spend as much money as possible for the benefit of tourism, one section of the community—not all of them, but so many in the hotel industry—are out to rob people? A large percentage of the best type of tourists, apart from our own people, come from Britain [630] and usually do not question charges unless these are prohibitive. Yet they are being charged outrageous prices in certain hotels. We have paid these charges ourselves and we know what happens. We heard the discussion on the Budget and the proposals of the Minister for Finance to give certain benefits to the hoteliers and it is about time that the hoteliers realised that it is not a case of the State paying out while they in turn can rob the tourists or the Irish people. The hoteliers have no right to do so. If funds are being put at their disposal they should give a fair and just return. The Minister should re-establish the Prices Advisory Body with power to check on the prohibitive charges of a large number of hoteliers and that would not only help tourism but would help our own people as well.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  We can approach this Vote, on the industrial side at any rate, with a certain amount of confidence and, to my mind, confidence in a Government is 50 per cent. of success in industry to-day. I remember my colleague from my own constituency, the then Deputy O'Gorman, wailing here a few years ago about unemployment in Youghal and telling us about the unfortunate people there. I had the same experience myself. I had to go there about every fortnight to see those people and the conditions there. When you went round from door to door, you were told: “Mikey is in England, Sir, trying to earn a few bob to keep body and soul together.” I can only use Deputy O'Gorman's own words when he welcomed a congress a few months ago and told them: “You are coming to an historic town in which there is no unemployment.” That was a big change in a few years in a town from which everyone was flying. Now, there is no unemployment because there is full employment. The confidence shown there in the first instance by the late Mr. Dwyer was followed up afterwards by the townspeople themselves by starting up their own industries there.

When you come to the town of Midleton you have the old-established flour mills; you have the famous [631] Midleton Distillery that produces Paddy Flaherty whisky and you have Dwyer's factory employing a couple of hundred men and women. You also have the Calor Gas factory and all those things you will find in each town as you go along. I remember coming in here about 30 years ago and accusing Deputy Mulcahy, and others still here, in regard to the condition of affairs at Haulbowline, where the only sign of Government activity was an auction of scrap machinery every three months. I had several rows in this House about it. Today, you go there and you see the change. About 800 men are working in one steel industry there. But for the intervention of the inter-Party Government there would be well over 1,100 there today, because the £250,000 that was voted by this House for the extension of that industry disappeared during the inter-Party regime.

To-day that industry is going ahead. When you are here for a long period you are able to look back on many things and it is a good thing to be able to do that. I remember endeavouring with the help of some local industrialists to set up in Rushbrooke, when the dockyard was scrapped in other days, a factory for the production of corrugated iron. Our adventures involved looking for black sheets for this purpose. We went to Belgium and were told: “I am very sorry but the trade of the Irish Free State belongs to the British steel combine.” We then went to Krupps where we got the same answer. It was only when we went to Hitler that we got any reasonable reply, and he was not long bringing the industrialists to heel.

When we communicated with the steel combine in Britain we found that the price of the black sheets was such that it would just leave us 30/- a ton for corrugating them and turning them out; in plain language the British were getting the same profit out of the black sheets as they were getting from the import of corrugated iron here. It worked out that another gentleman got the licence and when he went to Rushbrooke dockyard the late Mr. David Frame took him by the hand, took his [632] cheque and then told him: “You need not bother importing black sheets; I shall make them in Haulbowline.” That was away back in 1936, 24 long years ago. We are making corrugated iron; the late Mr. Frame got the licence to make the black sheets and we are importing black sheets to make up the quantity. I do not know whether we are still compelled under the cartel to buy those from the British steel combine but I do know that the unfortunate farmer who puts up that corrugated iron on his house or his haybarn will not get a grant.

Recently on the Budget debate I urged the Minister to get down to fundamentals in regard to this industry. This is a big industry which could give employment to at least 3,000 or 4,000 men. If we want it to progress we should bring in the iron ore here and let no two-pence-halfpenny John Bull be taking the guts in profit out of the industry. Let us make use of the opening we have here. I believe the Minister has the courage to do it.

I am glad that the fears I had in that regard have not corns to pass. When I saw foreign industrialists coming in here I thought our young men would be the hewers of wood and the drawers of water for the foreigner. In Rushbrooke dockyard young men are recruited and sent abroad for training and they come back here as the keymen in the industry. If that is followed up in each one of the industries that foreigners establish here then there is great hope for our young men. I have a rough table here in regard to that industry alone in four areas in my constituency. There is permanent employment certainly for over 3,000 men at present. The employment four years ago was somewhere around 1,100. There is that change and I believe the present employment can be doubled if we set about it the right way. I have been many years hammering the heads of hardheaded individuals but I think I have fairly well succeeded.

I cannot understand Deputy Desmond's attitude in regard to trainees being paid £2.10s. a week. I shall give an instance of that. I remember when one of the finest industries in this [633] country was started in Cork, weatherproof clothing, young girls started working there for 5s. a week as trainees. After three months they had 30s. and after 12 months they had £6 a week. The English people, both cutters and makers, who were brought over to train those girls went back to Britain after training them. Therefore I see no good reason for Deputy Desmond's objection to that system.

As usual, my friend Deputy Dillon gave me a great field to work on. Deputy Dillon is on record as saying:

Do they remember the present Taoiseach, then Deputy Seán Lemass, declaring solemnly from the place where I am now standing that the whole concept was misconceived and pledging himself, if he ever got back to office, to dismiss the members of the Industrial Development Authority?

As one with very bitter experience of that body, I hope he does. I do not think they are any asset to the starting of industry in this country. I think they are anti-national in their outlook. They think more of a twopenny-half-penny foreigner who walks in, with no money, looking for grants and will go further to help him than they will to help a decent Irish industrialist who looks to them for help. That is my experience and it has always been my custom to speak out my mind. The sooner the Industrial Development Authority are scrapped, the better for this country or, at least, for those Irishmen who wish to start industries in their own country.

I have experience of applications made to them. The people concerned might not have been big enough. They might not be able to talk in the millions that we are accustomed to hearing about from time to time. They were people who had invested their own money and who were prepared to extend their businesses and to employ 20 to 50 young boys in a country town who otherwise would have to go abroad looking for a livelihood. The so-called Irish Industrial Development Authority that prevented that deserve something like what is happening in other countries today.

[634]Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  What is that?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The rope. In the past twelve months I had experience of two industrialists who asked me to endeavour to get help from that body. That was my experience on both occasions. The sooner they are got rid of, the better. Deputy Dillon evidently thought that they were something great. I do not.

There has been a lot of talk here from Deputy Dillon and others about rural Ireland and doors being closed and locked. We all know that the ordinary small farmer depends very largely on pigs and poultry to eke out a livelihood. When I read these statements I wondered how much Deputy Dillon and Deputy Norton had contributed to the locking of the doors when they told the unfortunate pig feeder that every time he took out a ration of meal to the pig they would drag out of it so much to keep their Government going. They did that for three long years. Deputy Norton boasted here when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce that in one three months he had succeeded, through the help of his tax-gatherers, the flour millers, in extracting £200,000 out of the pig ration to go to pay the flour subsidy.

I asked some questions and Deputy Corish brought the figure that had been extracted up to that time up to £750,000. When I got the final figures from the present Taoiseach, when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce, it was a total of £1,096,000 dragged out of every little pan of meal that went out to the hens and every meal ration that went out to feed the bonhams, by the inter-Party Government, to pay for the three years' spree that they succeeded in having. I wonder how much that has contributed towards the locking of the doors in despair and the clearing out of the ordinary agricultural community.

There was something else which contributed. In this country there are two sections of people whose only asset is their brains and their labour. You cannot say to one section that they will be allowed roughly about £5 [635] a week on which to support a man, his wife and his family while saying to the other section that for them there is anything from £8-10 to £15 a week. Naturally, the man with £5 will immediately make every effort to get into the £8-10 to £15 category. That is what is happening. Many an agricultural labourer living within 15 miles of me in the last four or five years has asked me to give him a letter to Rushbrooke or Irish Steel, because he wanted to better himself. In fairness to him I gave him the letter because I considered he was entitled to better himself. All he had to sell was his labour and he is entitled to sell it as best he can. It is enough to see the small farmer who is referred to so feelingly being condemned to serfdom without condemning agricultural labourers to serfdom as well. There is too much of that in this country today.

In this House the farmer seems to be regarded as something apart, from whom the last ounce is to be dragged. The agricultural community are as keen to see this country prosperous and happy as any other section of the community and have made at least as many sacrifices towards that end, sacrifices that seem to be ignored.

With regard to domestic exports, I notice that we exported over £6,000,000 worth of beer. I ask myself: who are the people responsible for that? It is not the industrialists, not the person in Dublin who is getting a good living out of it, but the farmers. Some four years ago I was over with the directors of Messrs. Guinness on this matter. They were fixing the price for malting barley for the coming season. They put their position to us. They told us quite frankly that our competitors in England, the English farmer, had a guaranteed price of 59/- per barrel for every barrel of barley he produced, and other benefits as well.

Despite that, Messrs. Guinness competitor, the English brewer, was able to buy barley at 48/- per barrel. Some 60 per cent. of Messrs. Guinness whole trade is export. We are faced then with the position of coming away with a contract for 40 per cent. of their [636] requirements or helping them to meet the export market. They told us they would have to give up exporting. We got our heads together and, as a result of that, the Irish grower of malting barley contributed £600,000 in order that the export of £6,000,000 might be assisted by the Irish farmer. We contributed our £600,000. We had to make a bargain. Everybody cooperated. Messrs. Guinness said: “Very well. We will give you the English farmer's price for the 40 per cent. that will be consumed here. We will give you the English farmer's price of 59/- per barrel, plus of course his compensation for the rates on agricultural land which the Irish farmer has to pay but the English farmer does not, plus the manure subsidy the English farmer gets——

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I do not want to interrupt the Deputy, but he seems to be travelling into the realms of Agriculture now.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am travelling, Sir, into the realms of the export market of £6,000,000.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy is dealing with the export of agricultural produce.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Unfortunately, Sir, you cannot have beer without agriculture.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Quite so.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Have you some other remedy or substitute?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I am sufficiently experienced to know that you cannot have beer without barley.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Yes, and we, the Irish farmers, provide the raw material. As a matter of fact we produce the raw material for the local article, too, and if you got a drop of that you would find it even stronger than beer.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Probably.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  However, I merely want to give the position we had to face so that we, as farmers, could help this £6,000,000 export trade. We had no manure subsidy; we had no compensation [637] for rates on agricultural land; and we had no ploughing subsidy. In the end, we actually found we were 7/4d. worse off per barrel than the English farmer with his 59/-. Messrs. Arthur Guinness told us they would give us that for 40 per cent. of the barley and we would have to give them the other 50 per cent. to enable them to turn out 60 per cent. of their stout for export. We did that. That is the basis upon which we are supplying Messrs. Arthur Guinness with barley and that is the basis upon which Messrs. Arthur Guinness have been maintaining their export market for the last four years.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I suggest to the Deputy that that can be discussed more relevantly on the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Yes, but if I talk about this on the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture, you. Sir, will tell me that it is a matter for Industry and Commerce.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  I do not think I shall.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  The next matter I want to deal with is the importation of £2,000,000 of sugar, the reason for it, and the way in which that potential production could be turned over to those who are really entitled to it, namely, the beet growers of this country. I have the advantage now of having some replies to questions on this matter from the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I should like to tell him, first of all, that I shall always compliment any man whom I consider entitled to a compliment. I shall always criticise, on the other hand, when I think criticism is merited. I do not care what Government is in office. My job is to safeguard my constituents and, so long as I am here, I shall do that. I do not give a damn what Government is in office.

We are in the position of being constantly shouted at to produce more. The fact is that we have in this country today such inept people that they are not able to do what their grandmothers did; they cannot turn out [638] a decent cake or a decent loaf of bread from wheat grown in this country. Their grandmothers were able to do that. What is wrong with those charged with manufacturing wheat into flour and flour into bread? Have they been so spoilt by alien trends and so trained in foreign habits and foreign manners that they have completely forgotten how to bake the old bastable cake and the loaf that was good enough a generation ago for the people of Cork city and the people of Dublin city?

Mark you, the fault does not lie with the wheat grower. How many city gentlemen did I see sneaking around to my back door during the emergency looking for a half cwt. of wheat to make flour for themselves? How many did I see sneaking down there during the 1914-1918 war? And glad they were to get it. They eat the bread that was made from it. What is wrong today with the flour milling industry? What is wrong with the bakers? They no longer know enough about the art of manufacturing Irish wheat into flour and Irish flour into bread.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy has already referred to that. He should not repeat himself.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  I am asking what is wrong.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy has already asked the question.

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  It is a very serious position. We find in this Table that £8,000,000 worth of foreign wheat is brought in here and thrown on the market against our own producers. We are giving benefits to foreigners to come here and manufacture for export. At the same time we import £8,000,000 worth of foreign wheat to feed our own people. Irish wheat is not good enough for them or for the taste of the gentlemen who are protected in everything they produce.

I come back now to the question of the sugar. I am glad the Minister has changed his attitude in that regard. I can tell him that I have a definite guarantee from Comhlucht Siúicre [639] Éireann that they will increase the capacity of their factory in Mallow to take an extra 500 tons of beet a day and that they are prepared to do the same thing in Thurles. Therefore, the argument made to me by the Minister on the 17th February last regarding the conversion of beet into sugar does not now hold. On that occasion the Minister said:

If we wanted to use more sugar in this country there is an obvious way of doing it—rather, I should say, if we wanted to grow more beet for conversion into sugar. Sugar beet growers get a guaranteed price for a certain acreage, an acreage sufficient to meet home demands for sugar but, if they wanted to produce more, then there would be an obligation on them to produce it at world prices so as to enable us to maintain our exports and to be competitive with those who export into Britain either sugar or sugar products.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Would the Deputy give the reference, please?

Mr. Corry: Information on Martin John Corry  Zoom on Martin John Corry  Column 560 of the Dáil Debates of the 17th February, 1960. The price of beet is calculated on the basis of costings. We succeeded in getting costings for beet away back in 1948 and each year those costings are brought up to date in accordance with the increased cost of labour and other factors in the production of beet. The wage for agricultural labourers on which the present costings are based amounts to £5 7s. 6d. per week. From what the Minister said we would expect that that £5 7s. 6d. would have to be reduced so that we could compete with the Cuban exporters. Incidentally, they have a fixed price in their own country far higher than the export price at which their sugar is bought.

On the other side, the manufacturing side, there is a minimum wage of 3/8 an hour for a 45-hour week. That is £8-17-0, I think, plus time and a half for overtime. Should we reduce the fellow with the £8-17-0 or the fellow with the £5-7-6? I freely admit that the position is not of the Minister's [640] making. This position is due to the negligence of his predecessor. Deputy Norton, who in 1956, when this levy was put on, shut his mouth and let it go. Some genius in his Department said it was quite within the terms of the agreement made. It is not within the terms of the agreement made. It is a contemptible subterfuge used by the Minister to drive us out and keep us out of that market if possible.

It is a rather peculiar thing that when we took off the tariff on sugar here we also took off the tariff on British sugar coming in here. While they tax our sugar going over there, we let theirs in free. There is no tariff on the import of British sugar and sugar products into this country although we pay a tariff on our exports there. Week by week, by means of question and answer in the House, I have extracted the details. It is an extraordinary thing that £152,000 worth of sugar going over there, we let theirs free of duty from Britain last year while we pay duty on our products such as syrup, molasses and glucose going out. If the Minister looks up the Official Reports for the end of January, the month of February and the first fortnight in March he will find the replies given by the Minister for Finance in relation to those articles free of duty.

Where are the agricultural community today? Due to the messing and muddling done here last harvest in connection with the price of feeding barley, through the ineptitude of what are called the millers' association and the bakers' federation, we find ourselves about to be taxed again to the extent of between 8/- and 9/- a barrel because we have the temerity to grow wheat here to feed our own people.

On top of that, we have a market here—and we are asked to produce more—for £2 million worth of foreign sugar imported into this country in the past 12 months. That market is ours. It is the job of those who negotiate trade agreements for us to ensure that the market is ours and that it is kept for us. The Minister will see at column 388 of the Official Report of 17th February, 1960, that £2,143,000 worth [641] of agricultural machinery was imported from Britain in the year 1959. If he wants bargaining power, he has it there and I suggest that it is his duty to use it. I want to compliment the Minister on the changed attitude in that respect since last February. I am sure he will do his best in that regard.

Here is something that will keep the people in rural Ireland at home. Here is something that requires labour—it has a considerable labour content. I think the labour content in beet is about £43 to the statute acre. That is there for us. Are we going to give that to our own people or to the Cubans? That is the question for us to decide. I cannot understand the reason for the wails we hear in this House from time to time about the flight from the land when I see all these opportunities there for our people. Last year, I sent to county Mayo for 250 people. We were able to bring them down to Cork, give them seven or eight weeks' work singling beet and give them better wage conditions than they could get in Britain where they were going up to then. We have no need to come along with our hats in our hand looking for something.

If the manufacturers of this country are entitled to protection in the production of artificial manures which they sell to us and if they are entitled to protection by way of tariffs and duties, we in our turn are entitled to the home market for our produce. If there is to be a burst-up, let it be an open burst-up in which we shall have free trade right through. Let no Minister tell us that it is up to us to produce at the world price. Those people are not producing at the world price for us. If they were, they could not get the £11 or £12 a week which they are paid in industries in this country. We all know that. I hope that within, the next couple of months, in plenty of time for our next season's contract for beet, this matter will be definitely cleared up and that we shall be able to come to our farmers and instead of asking them to put one acre here and two acres there, will be able to tell them to produce all they want and that we are prepared to take it. Let us not have people going around with their [642] tongues in their cheek to the agricultural community telling them to produce more while at the same time fining them for producing it.

As I said, there are a few other matters I wish to deal with. In the first instance, there is an undoubted opening in the steel industry but if we are to start, we have to get down to the roots. If we are going to prevent our people from being exploited by foreigners in this country, then we must start on the raw materials and work up. We can start on the raw material in this country—we can start on the iron ore. The opening is there and if we start on the iron ore no one will knock so much profit out of it.

I gave an example here of the difference between Hitler's black sheet and the black sheet supplied by the steel combine in 1936, which was £4 10s. a ton. That was the difference in price between two foreigners competing for a market here on condition that the cartel was broken. Under the present cloaking system adopted in regard to industry in this country, I do not think the Minister is entitled to tell us whether the black sheets coming into Haulbowline today are coming in through a cartel or whether we can buy in the open market.

If they are coming through cartels, then the £60 which the unfortunate farmer gets on condition that he puts corrugated iron on his hay-barn is not an agricultural grant at all but a grant to pay the cartel. Let us get down to earth in regard to this matter once and for all. I am sick and tired of looking at the Book of Estimates and seeing a subsidy for agriculture here and there, because, when I track down the bulk of those subsidies, I find they are subsidies to enable industrialists to carry on. That is what they are. They are not subsidies for farmers or agriculture. They are subsidies in respect of industry.

I shall not say anything about Bord Fáilte except that I would recommend them for the position of Public Enemy No. 2 and after the Industrial Development Authority is finished with, I think the same could be done with Bord Fáilte. The sooner these things [643] are done the sooner the country will be far better off. I am glad progress has been made in industry. There is no doubt but that the one thing which was needed here has been achieved, namely, confidence in the Government and confidence in the people. We have that. Let us carry on, and not waste opportunities.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  It seems evident from the Minister's opening statement that he is losing confidence in our Irish industrialists, so far as the promotion in industrial development is concerned. He devoted three pages of his statement—pages 19, 20 and 21—to stressing the advisability of getting foreign investors to come to Ireland and establish industries. That, to my mind, is a big change in Fianna Fáil policy. It is not many years ago since other people who put forward those views were severely criticised by the Fianna Fáil Party, and it was claimed that we were endeavouring again to sell out our country to Britain, the European countries or America.

Now that is all changed, it is no harm to give credit to the Minister's predecessor for bringing about that change, because it must be admitted by all that until such time as Deputy Norton became Minister for Industry and Commerce, little or no emphasis was laid on this question of securing foreign aid and foreign industrialists, to promote industrial development here, and to provide employment for our people. I must agree, to some extent, that the Minister is reasonably correct in assuming that the possibility of getting Irish industrialists to expand further is rather doubtful, and that hope should be centred in achieving that position through foreign industrialists.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  That is a complete misrepresentation of what I said. I said opportunities for expansion in the home market are limited.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  This statement is rather detailed. I should not like to misrepresent the Minister's point of view in any way, but I think he did stress, and stress very fully, the [644] advisability of getting foreign industrialists into the country——

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  Correct.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  ——more so than in past statements——

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  Correct.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  ——and that he was changing his outlook as Minister for Industry and Commerce in that respect. This is a very important question so far as the industrial development of our country is concerned.

I agree it is advisable to get as many foreigners as possible interested in developing industry here, but I believe it is better for our Irish people to have these industrialists establishing industries, and providing employment for our own boys and girls, rather than for them to have to emigrate and work for those foreigners in their own countries. There is an obligation on the Government to do everything possible to promote that idea.

At page 20 of his statement the Minister said:

The Authority appointed a travelling European representative during the past year and while he has visited other countries, his efforts have mainly been directed to Germany whose industrialists are showing a keen interest in this country as a base for industrial expansion.

He went on to say:

An advertising campaign in the German Press links general advertising with local advertising to coincide with the representative's visit to the various cities in Germany.

He also said:

There are strong indications of growing interest in other European countries and in Great Britain in industrial possibilities in Ireland. In order to take full advantage of this situation the appointment of two additional travelling representatives, one for Great Britain and a second to share the work of the present representative in Europe, is being considered.

[645] I believe it is a very good idea to have these foreign representatives travelling through countries such as Germany, Britain or any other country that might be interested in coming here to establish industries. I am glad the Minister has taken a lesson from the book of his predecessor in that line and I hope he will not deviate from it.

In my opinion this changes the position so far as the location of industries is concerned. Some time ago the Minister was stressing the fact that he would prefer to see industries established by local people. Naturally they had the right to locate the industry where they thought best, and the whole matter was left to local initiative in the particular areas. Now we are changing from that position. We are sending representatives throughout the European countries to secure help for our industrial development project. These people can come to Ireland and seek the aid of the Department, by way of advice and grant. There is a definite responsibility on the Department to preserve a balance of industrialisation as between the different parts of the country.

So far as my constituency is concerned, I believe that is a very important factor, because no local money is being put forward by the people in the different areas where industries are being established by foreigners. The capital is put up by foreign investors, and the only Irish money that is put into these industries is the money of the taxpayers collected from the community at large. When our representatives abroad succeed in bringing along these industrialists, there is a definite obligation on the Minister to preserve this balance throughout the country. The Minister would be quite in order in endeavouring to get these people to establish the industries where no industry at present exists, and where there is a gross lack of industrial development.

In no place in Ireland is that lack more noticeable than in my constituency of west Cork. The Minister may say that is a matter for the industrialist who comes forward, that [646] he is entitled to place it wherever he likes, and that it is up to the local groups and bodies to provide the initiative. That argument may have stood during past years, but, with the changed outlook on the part of the Department, I think it no longer stands. If I were to put forward another point in support of this argument that the Department should take a more active interest in determining the location of industries I need only mention what has happened in this House over the past 12 months.

On page 4 of the Minister's statement we see that a Supplementary Estimate of £300,000 was provided for Irish Steel Holdings Ltd. We gave £104,000 to Dundalk. We gave them these sums to help them to retain employment in these areas. I notice there is no mention of repayment of the money granted to both these holdings. There is no question of its being repaid this year, next year or in future years.

If we can give £300,000 to Irish Steel Holdings to help employment in a particular area, and if we can give £104,000 to Dundalk it is not out of place that we should address ourselves to other centres in the country and consider their claims. Everyone knows that where Irish Steel is located and in Dundalk there is also a good deal of industrial development. I am glad that that is the position.

Where industrial development is non-existent, surely there is an obligation on the Minister to direct potential industries to these centres? He has the power in his hands. The liberal grants are attracting industrialists to our shores. The Minister will say that all this is not a matter for him but rather a matter for An Foras Tionscal who handle applications from potential industrialists for grants and moneys.

I am not in agreement with the system under which An Foras Tionscal was set up. I do not like the method under which some State-sponsored bodies have been set up. They have no direct responsibility to this House. The Minister saw to it that they would have no direct responsibility to this House other than [647] supplying us with an annual report. It is not unreasonable to say that the Minister knows all that is happening and that the members of An Foras Tionscal will give him any information he wants. By saying that this is an autonomous body with free independent powers, and so on, the Minister is relieved of the obligation to give this House any information he gets from that body.

I have no reflection to make on the personnel of An Foras Tionscal. I am reflecting on the system under which that body was set up. They can ignore representations from public representatives and from this House.

It is interesting to note that since their establishment early in 1952 the grants paid up to the 31st March, 1960, amount to £1,835,310. This is a relatively small figure over a nine-year period, approximately. Many people feel that the grants to undeveloped areas amount to a much greater sum. On various Estimates, the Minister spoke about £6,000,000, £10,000,000, £7,000,000, and so on, but these figures are not likely to be reached for a number of years at our present rate of progress.

An Foras Tionscal do not give very much help to people promoting industries even though it is mentioned that they give advice on the preparation of applications. An Foras Tionscal deal with applications deemed to be solvent. They enter the picture only when the promoters have finalised their case for a grant. Then An Foras Tionscal determine whether or not the case is sound.

That system should be changed. Representatives from An Foras Tionscal should visit the various areas in the congested districts and advise people there on projects for which they would be likely to secure grants. They could also advise on any other aspect, where necessary, and encourage and help the promotion of industries in those areas by local people and by foreign investment.

A board established for industrial development in congested districts should not confine all its members to [648] an office in Dublin every day of every week in the year. Some of them should move out to the districts they are paid to serve and see what is happening there. The Minister should be more liberal in regard to the functions and duties of An Foras Tionscal. I urge that representatives from that body should visit different centres, particularly centres from which they receive requests.

Up to 31st March, 1959, there were 81 applications, 19 of which were approved, 42 rejected and 20 under examination. Of three applications made from County Cork, two were rejected and one was approved. What standards are applied in respect of these applications?

Consider an application from a district where there is little or no unemployment. Would it be treated in the same way as an application from a district where there is gross unemployment or emigration? That position obtains in West Cork. Would an application from such a district get preferential treatment as compared, say, with an application from Galway City and environs?

I do not think applications from West Cork is by focussing attention on been submitted, get the treatment they are entitled to receive. As a Corkman, the Minister is naturally interested in his county. I hope he will not confine his activities to the City of Cork but will do his best to help us in West Cork.

The best way the Minister can help West Cork is by focusing attention on it when foreign industrialists come along, and if we need help and advice, by sending an officer from An Foras Tionscal to the district. As I mentioned some time ago, the Industrial Grants Act, 1959, would have an adverse reaction on industrial development in congested districts. My fears at that time have been borne out by what we see in the Book of Estimates. So far in the current year the Minister has reduced the amount by £275,000 and he had added that amount to the non-congested districts covered under the 1959 Act. The Minister, according to these figures, is losing confidence in [649] the development of the congested districts.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  The Deputy was happy to quote from my speech a few moments ago and perhaps he would now quote from it again.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  These are the figures supplied by the responsible Department and if my statement is incorrect I am open to correction. On page 230 of this book it states that the allocation under the Undeveloped Areas Act has been reduced by £275,000 and the grants under the Industrial Grants Act have been increased by the same amount. So far as my figures go the Minister is taking £275,000 from the congested districts this year and adding that amount to the remainder of the country.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  Would the Deputy be honest enough to read the document before him and see that that amount is already expended last year by way of Supplementary Estimate?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Is it not correct that you have reduced the amount in the Book of Estimates and added it, under this Act which you promoted, so as to give increased grants to the more fortunate areas of the country? That is bound to affect adversely the remote or congested districts. The Minister knows that well and he knew it when he was introducing his Estimate.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  May I refer the Deputy to the last paragraph of page 7 and he will then see clearly the reason for the alleged reduction?

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  I have already read the paragraph and it does not change my view that in the future industrial development in this country will largely be limited to the non-congested districts. I should not like the Minister to continue that policy. The more remote parts of the country are the areas where there is the biggest unemployment content and the biggest emigration problem. Emigration from the western seaboard in the intercensal period 1951-56 in County Donegal was more than seven per cent. of the [650] population, from Mayo it was more than six per cent., from Clare more than five per cent., from West Cork more than seven per cent. and from Leitrim more than 10 per cent. It is from these western counties that you have the real emigration problem. It is there you have the biggest unemployment content and I believe that they are not getting the service that they are entitled to.

In West Cork we have got little or nothing but some projects have now been mooted for the district. I am appealing to the Minister, as a Corkman, and as a man who knows as much about West Cork as myself, to give these applications his most sympathetic consideration. We are trying to do everything possible to promote some worthwhile projects in this area and to give more employment.

Before I conclude on that line, I should like to refer to the possibility of establishing smaller industries. I think we place too much emphasis on establishing industries in rural towns and villages that give employment to 200 or 300 peopled Would it not be more advantageous if we endeavoured to get smaller industries established in provincial towns and villages? I know very well that if an industry employing 25 or 30 people were established in my own village of Schull it would be or great advantage. It would mean that there would be 25 or 30 additional wage packets to be distributed locally every week which would help the general economy of the district. I think the Minister, the Department and An Foras Tionscal should address themselves to that question and endeavour to promote smaller industries founded on a solvent basis.

I understand, however, that it is more difficult to secure a grant from An Foras Tionscal for an industry that employs a small number of people than for one that gives employment to bigger numbers. I think that should not be the case. If you have a project put forward for an industry on a solvent basis with a small employment content it should get the same attention as an industry that would employ a much bigger number.

[651] The Minister tells us that the matter of securing markets for our products is one of great importance. Our own market is rather limited and the Minister is anxious to take advantage of the British market. Some time ago the Minister and his Party did not like the British market so much. If they could have got alternative markets in any other part of the world they would have taken them, but now even that old stalwart, Deputy Corry, has become a firm supporter of preserving our rights in the British market.

Mr. J. Lynch: Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  The 1938 Trade Agreement established those rights for us.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  The Minister was not in the House then, but members of his Party were telling us that they were thankful that the British market was gone. They were forced to make the 1938 Trade Agreement, but it was only to be a temporary measure until such time as they could find alternative markets in Spain, Portugal, and other European countries. I think it is an advantage to have close trade relations with our neighbouring country. Britain is our nearest neighbour and best customer and we are good customers of the British. I am in agreement with the Minister when he advocates the closest co-operation between Britain and this country.

I shall refer only briefly to the one industry which we got without any State aid in my part of the area, the Allihies copper mines. I would ask the Minister to ensure that if any help or assistance is needed further to develop the Allihies mine that it will be freely given. A peculiar position exists in regard to the two copper development areas in the country. One is at the production stage, I believe, and Allihies is at the development stage. We have poured money running into seven figures into St. Patrick's Copper Mines in Wicklow but very little has been poured into West Cork in that respect. However, I am bringing that to the notice of the Minister [652] in case help is required there at any time.

I should like to repeat that it is desirable to direct foreign investors to those areas which are lagging behind in industrial development, which have an unemployment problem and which have an emigration exodus. The Minister, as Minister in charge of Industry and Commerce, has a bounden duty to do that. Deputy Corry had many adverse comments to make on what happened before the Minister came into office but naturally the statements were mainly incorrect and there is no need to refer to them. I should like to refer briefly to the question of whether advances or otherwise have been made and to the question of the £100,000,000 capital development programme which the Taoiseach announced prior to assuming office in 1957.

This was an elaborate plan which was to settle all the unemployment problems and provide employment for 100,000 Irish people. I wonder if the Minister, when replying, will give the House any information as to whether or not the plan announced by the Taoiseach four years ago has taken root or whether any of the 100,000 people are already in employment or whether the plan has been forgotten. I should be reluctant, in view of the fact that the person who outlined this plan is now Taoiseach and Prime Minister, to charge him with doing so to bring about a change of Government in order to secure office. However, as time goes on, and more than three years have now passed, people will be forced to make that charge against the Taoiseach because he has not referred to it himself in his public statements. We all hope it was not some kind of political manoeuvre and that we shall have this development and that some of the money will be allocated to my constituency, but unless the Minister hurries up and expedites these schemes, he will be out of office; his term of office will have expired even before the initial work on the big programme will be carried out.

I should like now to refer to the activities of Bord Fáilte Éireann. Deputy Corry brought the matter to [653] my mind. He described the board as being utterly useless. I think this board could do a lot of useful work and I hope the Minister will be able to give us a very detailed account of its activities because it is an impossibility for a Deputy to question a Minister about the activities of State-sponsored bodies. If we ask a question we are told it is a matter for the board and that the Minister does not interfere with the day to day activities of these bodies. This House is providing the money and at the time of the annual review of expenditure, which is now taking place, the Minister has a responsibility to tell us about this board.

There is little or no increase in the grants for next year. The grant under Section 7 of the Tourist Traffic Act has been increased by £5,000; there is a small increase for resort development; and there is £10,000 for additional holiday accommodation. The total figure is a little more than that of last year. The only other point is the statement made in Economic Expansion that £1,000,000 will be provided for the development of major resorts within the next ten years. So far as Cork is concerned, we did not get very much from Bord Fáilte last year and we have the advantage, particularly in my constituency, of having some of the most attractive places in the country for tourist development. The scenery along the west coast—at places such as Rosscarbery, Glandore, Baltimore, Schull, Bantry, Glengarriff and the Berehaven Peninsula—compares most favourably with that in any other part of the country. In addition, we have developed a fairly good road system connecting these districts and all of these places are now easily accessible, either to the home tourist or to the tourist from abroad.

Yet the amount of grants received last year was negligible. There were small amounts for Rosscarbery, Schull, Galley Head and a small amount in respect of Glengarriff. We are told that this sum of £1,000,000 is to be provided for capital development over the next ten years and some information emanated from Bord Fáilte that [654] £100,000 of it would be expended in West Cork. I have communicated with Bord Fáilte with a view to getting information regarding the work they have in mind for West Cork and regarding the areas where the money will be spent, but I could not get that information, and I should like the Minister to give us more detailed information on this matter.

As I said, in a number of areas, we have development associations which have prepared elaborate schemes. I term them elaborate because I think such centres warrant elaborate schemes because of their importance from the tourist angle. Undoubtedly, they need a great deal of money to develop their potentialities and I wonder would it be in order for the Minister to give us some idea as to how much money is going to West Cork. As I said already, I have endeavoured to get that information from Bord Fáilte but failed to do so and I hope that the Minister will be able to give it.

I conclude by appealing to the Minister once again to endeavour to focus attention on the need for industrial development in some areas. Naturally, I am particularly interested in my own West Cork area where so far we have not succeeded in getting any industries established. We are hoping that we shall be able to get a few within the next year or two and I ask the Minister, by virtue of his position as Minister for Industry and Commerce, to use his good offices with any people, from either outside or inside, to consult him on the feasibility of setting up industries.

I know that he must keep a balance throughout the country, that it is not easy for him to put forward one area as against another, but as far as our area in West Cork is concerned, we have got nothing out of industrial development and we have a big unemployment problem. Also in view of the action of the Government in regard to Irish Steel Holdings and the engineering project in Dundalk, I think we are entitled to get some help from him.

I would again ask him to give me [655] and the House some indication as to how this £1,000,000, which is to be provided for capital expenditure at the rate of £100,000 a year for the next ten years, will be spent and what districts have been selected for special attention. I have been asked by several people in different areas in West Cork to try to get those areas as reasonable a share of that money as it is possible to get and I feel we have a stronger claim to it than most other districts in the country.

Mr. Manley: Information on Tadhg Manley  Zoom on Tadhg Manley  In recent years, this House has given extra powers and extra responsibilities to the Minister for Industry and Commerce and to the Department of Industry and Commerce, and all the aims behind these powers and responsibilities were very laudable. They were intended to be a help in the initiation of projects to advance our industrial output and eventually give very much desired increased employment. No doubt the decisions taken so far have been justified, at least in part, but certainly they have not given the results as far as employment is concerned. It may be a little premature yet to assess that particular result, but, nevertheless, I think that for all the different projects mentioned by the Minister in his introductory statement, the results are disappointing.

The Minister has told us that there was an increase last year in the number employed in manufacturing industries. I think the increase was 3,700. It was a provisional estimate. I cannot deduce from the tables where he got that figure but I accept it without any reservation whatever. It is a small figure but we are consoled by the fact that there has been an increase in industrial exports during the past year, and the value of these has very materially offset the fall in cattle prices during 1959. With regard to some of these industries, there seems to be a great deal of secrecy. It may be my personal ignorance that is responsible for that but I do not know where these industries are located, nor do I know why those associated with them should be so secretive about their locations, [656] about the numbers employed in them in their initial stages and about the numbers they hope to employ when they reach maximum production. That is information we would all like to know in the national interest. Time and time again, I have been asked about some of these projects and where they are located and I could not give the answers. Therefore, I should be very grateful if the Minister would give us some information on that point when winding up this debate.

It is regrettable that we have not got industries more closely associated with our main industry, agriculture, and I wonder has the whole field of research in that line been completely explored. Is there any hope in the future that we shall have industries that will be subsidiary in some way to our agricultural industry? We have to admit that it is a regrettable fact that the raw materials for most of the industries now being contemplated will have to be imported. Starting off with that handicap, there is bound to be an increase in the cost of the finished product.

Again, I am not at all impressed by the great influx of foreign penetration in regard to these industrial projects. It is pathetic that we have to go into all the countries of Europe, and outside Europe, to entice industrialists into this little island of ours. Is it that our own nationals have lost faith? Have the necessary inducements been held out to our own industrialists? In this country we have industrialists of great repute and I wonder have they lost faith and got discouraged.

Since we are so prone to give inducements to foreigners to come in here, we should be more prone to give our own nationals greater inducements, to try to get them interested in the extension of projects already in train here, or alternatively in altogether new ventures. I wonder has the Minister exhorted these people? We have the Federation of Irish Manufacturers; we have chambers of commerce; and we have many well-known key-men. Have appeals been made to them to be more interested in the national progress? [657] We all admire the initiative and great citizenship of Messrs. Arthur Guinness and are grateful to them for the money they have put into Irish ventures. I have no doubt if our nationals had faith in the future, they too would be encouraged to come along, either individually or in groups, on the same lines and that would eventually redound to the benefit of the country in increased employment.

The Minister has decided there was an increase of 3,700 in the number employed in industry during the past year. I accept that figure, but, taking it side by side with Table 16 in Economic Statistics published prior to the Budget, we find that the number employed in non-agricultural production in 1959 was only 692,000, precisely the same as the figure for 1958 and the figures for both these years are much lower than for previous years back to 1951. Also, there is that consistent decline in the number engaged in agricultural production. I accept the Minister's statement that this trend is common to all European countries at present. The cause of it is something I do not see. It must be that these workers in agriculture are being replaced by modern machinery and by new techniques. It is an unhappy phenomenon in spite of all our vaunted progress in industry.

I must compliment the Minister on the issue recently of the brochure exhorting us to support Irish industry. Within the memory of most of us, we had over the years the Industrial Development Authority which did magnificent work and there was a time when Irish people would not dare to buy an English article that could be produced at home. That spirit is gone and economic considerations weigh more with our people. That civic spirit and national sentiment has gone and there is a complete turning away from Irish-manufactured goods. People casually buy, regardless of the origin of the goods. That is regrettable.

In regard to the brochure itself, while the wording is just perfect, it has no appeal. It is too insignificant. I am sure the Minister was actuated by a desire to keep costs down but if [658] we are to revive the will to purchase Irish manufactured goods, we must get some more arresting, more comprehensive and more attractive literature before we shall entice young minds of to-day back to a sense of responsibility, back to the civic pride which was here some 40 years ago, back to realisation of the obligation we have to our own unemployed so that we can help them and by our purchases create the means that will eventually absorb them into useful employment.

Tourism has been spoken of in this debate. We are very happy in having such splendid scenery. It is one of the few things we have to sell now but I think the emphasis should be on tourism itself, on the attraction of our scenery rather than on the commercial aspect. I know that the commercial consideration is important but we should avoid advertising that angle and leave it to those who cater for the tourists to do so. Let the responsibility of Bord Fáilte be to feature the scenic attractions and the benefits that people will enjoy, if they come to the country.

Emigration has also been mentioned. It is painfully obvious that it is a problem that will be with us for all time. I do not know why that should be so, but I have had the experience in the past few days of being told in a certain office in this city—not by anybody here and not by any servant of the State—that the number of people applying for visas to get out of this country at the moment was never higher—at least it may have been higher, but it is now abnormally high. I should shock the House and the Minister if I were to give these figures, but I got them in confidence and I do not propose to give them. Certainly, it is very disappointing.

There has been great controversy about emigration over the years and frequently we had recriminations in this House on that subject. We always fall back on the argument that there is no up-to-date means of assessing the number who leave the country weekly, monthly or yearly. I appeal to the Minister, once and for all, to face this with a little realism. It is unpleasant for any Government or Minister to [659] do so, but surely it is possible to have in the American and Canadian Embassies, and other places where visas are issued, some method of assessing the numbers who weekly emigrate to America, Canada, Australia or other foreign countries. Here at home, at points of exit, whether through shipping companies or through airports, it should be possible also to have some method of computing the number of emigrants so that we shall have no more contention about it, so that we shall know the actual figures—and they are painfully depressing to know—but it is better to have the information rather than this guesswork. I think it would be in the national interest if we were made aware of these facts. The alternative is to have a census taken more frequently, but I think it would be more costly and less desirable.

Our exports, I think, largely depend on quality and, secondly, on salesmanship. I have been speaking to people who have travelled a little in Britain and they could not get, in any of the towns there, Irish articles at any price. If we want to get our goods sold there, we must go beforehand and send salesmen into these areas, particularly into industrial areas, in the hope that they will be able to put these goods across and entice others to buy Irish products.

I particularly appeal, with all earnestness, to the Minister and his Department to try to devise some means of estimating the number of emigrants who leave the country weekly, monthly or annually. That should be done in the national interest. It is a topic that arouses controversy every day. Hardly a day passes that a public man does not speak without reference to emigration. It is better to know where we are and face the problem with realism and determination and try to confine it, if that is possible. We had a Commission on Emigration which made certain recommendations some years ago but I think it fell by the wayside. It may be unpleasant, but we should face our responsibilities in regard to emigration.

[660]Mr. Sherwin: Information on Frank Sherwin  Zoom on Frank Sherwin  I listened for two hours this morning to Deputies speaking about Cork and I think Dublin should have a look-in now. One of the Cork Deputies appealed to the Minister as a Corkman to use his influence for Cork. I hope that is not an indication that the county from which the Minister comes will get Government support because I notice that all the Ministers that can help in giving employment or money are from the country and there is no Dublinman among them.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  What about the Minister for Health?

Mr. Sherwin: Information on Frank Sherwin  Zoom on Frank Sherwin  Does he give money away?

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I am afraid not.

Mr. Sherwin: Information on Frank Sherwin  Zoom on Frank Sherwin  We shall leave it at that. We are told that in 1959 we had 146,100 engaged in industry, an increase of 3,700 on the previous year, but what I am interested in is the break-down of that number. Are they men, women or children?

I am very much concerned about Dublin in the sense that there are approximately 10,000 unemployed, the vast majority of whom I would say are manual workers. We talk about the undeveloped areas; Dublin is an undeveloped area as far as manual workers are concerned. If there is employment it is girls who are employed. People come to me and I give them letters to various places of employment. The only males for whom I have ever got employment are a few cripples as watchmen. There may be an occasional factory opened but the starting pay is only about 15/a week. Therefore there is no hope for these 10,000 unemployed.

Dublin Corporation, which ought to give a lead, is employing fewer people; they admit they are employing 500 fewer than they were some years ago, and recently at a meeting of the Special Works Committee I learned that there were about 60 fewer employed, out of a total of 200 or 300, than there were three months ago. In housing there are only about 300 employed and there is no hope of much [661] improvement. That is the type of work on which the manual workers are depending, and there is no hope for them except emigration. It is a terrible state of affairs, especially for Dublin people, that fathers must leave their families. Many people are coming up from the country and digging in and the Dublin people are moving to England.

I put a question to the Taoiseach in regard to manual workers and I was given a rigmarole about schemes of economic merit. We all met and sent forward our schemes but they came to nothing. We were told in a nice way that they were not productive ideas, not schemes of economic merit. Now that the emphasis is on automation and machinery, girls will be employed more and more to operate these machines. We had a proposition recently before the Housing Committee for the building of prefabricated flats considerably cheaper with half the normal labour content, which of course means employment for fewer manual workers. In spite of the prejudice I had against Britain, I have no choice but to say: “Long live Britain.” Only for Britain we would have a revolution in this country; however, the people who could cause it are leaving every day, so there is no danger of that.

We are told there can be money only for productive work but surely there is plenty of work of a constructive nature to be done? We depend to a great extent on tourism and there must be scope for providing amenities that would entice and satisfy tourists. It has been suggested by the Chamber of Commerce and many business people that if there was an exemption from revaluation of property which is renovated, considerable employment would be given. I understand that the rates would lose somewhat if any exemptions were made but that would be recouped later. People are prepared to spend money on such work if they are given an opportunity and the Minister for Industry and Commerce should consult the other Ministers involved and consider this question seriously. If the rates were not increased, say, for five years or so [662] I imagine a considerable amount of money would be spent and more manual workers would be employed.

I am more concerned with Dublin and employment in Dublin but we must not forget when it comes to exports that agricultural exports are of great importance. Having the raw material, so to speak, we have a better chance of holding foreign markets. In times of crisis people principally want food; they can do without industrial goods when they cannot do without food. While industrial exports are important we cannot depend on that kind of market because as other countries develop and as countries make agreements with one another, we may be squeezed out and may have to depend solely on the British market because of its nearness and our associations with Britain. We are more likely to be able to compete in agricultural markets. Everything boils down to price. We hear a great deal of talk about buying Irish but anyone who looks into the cut-price shop windows in Dublin will know that what counts is price. I do not know how we can hope to compete with cheap labour and highly developed countries and still import materials for re-export but I certainly agree with trying.

There has been an increase in wages which has resulted in many increases in the cost of living in spite of the fact that the Minister states that that increase was not due to increases in the cost of living but to an improvement in standards. Whatever arguments he may have used at the time the increases were granted, there has been a gradual increase in the cost of living because arising out of the increased wages we have had increases in the price of certain foodstuffs and in bus fares; furthermore, local authorities have raised house rents and we know that rents will be raised as a result of the Rent Restrictions Bill. There are also many hidden increases and underhand increases. People will not get the same quality and, perhaps, in packet form, not the same quantity. Whatever justification the Minister had for stating it was not because of the increase in the cost of living wages were [663] increased, we shall be confronted shortly with another demand for wages. What worries me about these increases in wages is the fact that, while I cannot complain about them, there are unfortunate people who never get as much as 1/- compensation.

Talking about increases, perhaps this comes under the heading of profiteering: I went into a shop not so far from here yesterday and I bought a comb. I was charged 9d. for it. The normal price of that comb is 3d. No wonder we hear complaints from visitors that they are robbed when they come here. If they are treated in the same way as I was yesterday, I certainly do not blame them for complaining. This shop is a bit swanky; perhaps that is why they charged 9d. for this 3d. comb.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  The Deputy should be like me; he should not need a comb.

Mr. Sherwin: Information on Frank Sherwin  Zoom on Frank Sherwin  With regard to tourism, I believe we have an enormous potential in Britain. First of all, there is a population of close on 50,000,000. Now, the pattern here so far has been to cater for the “nobs.” There are millions of workers in Britain anxious to cross the water, if conditions abroad are anyway reasonable. One of the biggest drawbacks here is the lack of accommodation for the ordinary holiday maker. I advocated tourist camps last year; I advocate them again today. They need not be very elaborate. All the ordinary holiday maker wants is a small room in which to sleep. Food can be procured elsewhere.

If we had such camps—prefabs or anything you like—we could have a holiday period for tourists stretching over five or six months of the year. We could book them in, as the hotels do now in the case of the “nobs”. We could arrange that they would stagger their holidays so that they would not all be coming here at the same time. We could have several millions more tourists here than we have at the moment. They would be the working class type—the people with £40 or £50 to spend, who are [664] quite happy to return at the end of their holiday with just their tickets in their pockets.

I want to stress again that there is little or no opportunity for manual workers in the city of Dublin. It is a shame that these are separated from their families and driven to England in search of employment and that no money is made available for constructive schemes with an employment potential for manual workers. I am speaking now of adults, not children. People talk about more being placed in industry. The question is what type of employee are these? It is no improvement to place 3,000 children in industry at 30/- a week when fathers of families have to go to England. From the point of view of statistics, that increase may look like an improvement. In fact, it is just the opposite.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  Surely there are no children employed.

Mr. Sherwin: Information on Frank Sherwin  Zoom on Frank Sherwin  Fourteen is a child. What constitutes a child? At fourteen years of age, a child today can get a job at 15/- a week. At 16, a child can earn 30/- a week. I have my own two children in employment. One is fourteen years of age.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  In a factory?

Mr. Sherwin: Information on Frank Sherwin  Zoom on Frank Sherwin  Yes. Is that what is meant when people talk here about industrial workers? Are not children included in the total in employment? I got a couple of people jobs last year, but they were not in industry. If there are openings in the city of Dublin for adults, I shall be glad to hear of them.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  Half the country is employed in Dublin.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass  Zoom on Noel T. Lemass  It is sad to note the despondency of some of the Opposition speakers, including Deputy Sherwin. Although the position in the country as a whole may not be as good as we should like it to be, there is no doubt that tremendous progress has been made in the past two or three years. The Minister should get the congratulations [665] of every member of the House for the drive and ability he has shown and the tremendous progress that has been made over the past 12 months.

In regard to the Dublin Corporation, I shall reserve most of what I should like to say for the Estimate for the Department of Local Government. Deputy Sherwin said that the Corporation should give the lead in creating employment, particularly through their Special Works and Housing Departments. I agree with him completely that the proper lead is not being given by the Dublin Corporation. Moneys are made available to the Dublin Corporation from various sources to relieve unemployment. For some reason or other—perhaps because of the mixed politics in the Corporation —those moneys are not spent and, because they are not spent, people are denied opportunities of employment..

Mr. Sherwin: Information on Frank Sherwin  Zoom on Frank Sherwin  This is an election speech.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass  Zoom on Noel T. Lemass  Deputy Manley referred to salesmen. I said on the Estimate here last year that I thought there was too much emphasis on markets in America and that there should be a greater concentration on markets in Europe. I have in mind Germany after the War. As a result of the occupation, the Germans started drinking whiskey. Our salesmen were in America. The Scotch whisky salesman did not go to America; they went to Germany. Because of that, it is now practically impossible to sell Irish whiskey in Germany. The acquired taste is for Scotch.

On 20th March, 1958, in reply to a Question of mine regarding the recommendations of the Prices Advisory Body in so far as they related to the 50 per cent. loading placed on commercial travellers when insuring their cars, the Minister informed me that the report of the Prices Advisory Body to him was on the basis of an informal comment. I am anxious to hear from the Minister what exactly his powers are in this matter. Has he got powers, or has he not?

[666] The first meeting that took place was held between the Prices Advisory Body and Mr. Kelly and Mr. McDevitt. They appeared on behalf of the Irish Commercial Travellers' Federation, which is the trade union catering solely for commercial travellers. The meeting took place on 12th June, 1956, at 4.15 p.m., and it continued until 5.10 p.m. The chairman at the time pointed out that the problem vis-á-vis commercial travellers had been fully discussed at the public inquiry and the Prices Advisory Body were fully conversant with the various points made in support of the contention that the premiums should not be required to bear the loading of 50 per cent. He indicated that the Prices Advisory Body would, however, be prepared to consider sympathetically the views of the Federation and he pointed out that they could, if they thought fit, make a recommendation to the Minister that this loading of 50 per cent. be withdrawn.

At that meeting the representatives of the commercial travellers pointed out that their members represented only three per cent. of the motoring public. They also pointed out that the A.O.A. failed to give definite information at the public inquiry as to when and why this system of charges had been originally introduced. It was implied however by them that it was introduced because commercial travellers covered a greater mileage than the ordinary motor car driver. Whether that was true or not at the outset, it certainly is not in accordance with the facts to-day because every large firm has its representatives working from the cities. They usually go to a town, park their cars there and go out to the shops in that town.

It was also stated at the public inquiry that commercial travellers resident in the Six Counties could operate in the Republic without taking out an additional policy. The A.O.A. disagreed with this at the inquiry and said that in fact an additional charge was necessary. It has been ascertained since the inquiry that a cover note costing 2/6, which was rarely collected, was all that the Northern Ireland commercial traveller needed by [667] way of additional premium coming down here. Therefore, the claim that an additional charge was necessary was, shall we say, only technically correct. The prospectus for commercial travellers issued in the Six Counties by Lloyds at that time in regard to the rate charged to commercial travellers there did not follow the rate we know here—the basic rate plus 50 per cent. —but in fact was very much lower.

I think it has always been recognised that the possibility of accidents among commercial travellers is far less than among other drivers because their cars are constantly in use and are kept in perfect mechanical order. It is very essential for commercial travellers to keep their cars in perfect mechanical order and condition. They are also very familiar with the routes covered by them and are aware of all the danger spots. This, to my mind, reduces the risk of accidents.

The position is now that if the insurance companies decide to increase class 1 insurance, say, by 20 per cent., the commercial traveller's basic rate under class 3 will be 80 per cent. higher than the original class 1 premium. I feel quite satisfied in my own mind that the Prices Advisory Body would agree with the Federation's point of view that there is no justification for this additional charge of 50 per cent. I cannot say whether a memorandum was prepared on it but, as the Minister pointed out to me two years ago, they made what he described as an informal comment to him. He did not tell us what that comment was. He also pointed out that there is doubt as to whether the Minister would have the power to implement a recommendation of the Prices Advisory Body in this respect as it would affect the internal workings of the insurance companies. But, to my mind, it is a matter which could be investigated, and should be investigated, under the Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1953.

Section 4 of that Act provides that rules can be made regarding anything which affects the supply and distribution of goods or with the rendering of such a service. A report made by the [668] Commission can describe the conditions in regard to the rendering, in the course of carrying on any trade or business, any services affecting the supply and distribution of goods; they can state whether these conditions prevent or restrict competition and whether, in the opinion of the Commission, any such interference with competition or trade is unfair or operates against the public interest.

It is my contention that goods could not be supplied or distributed unless they were first sold. Insurance is a service affecting the distribution of goods in that way. If an extra charge is placed on the commercial traveller going out to look for business, it is an unfair practice so far as that individual is concerned; it is not in the public interest and, in my opinion, it certainly interferes with the distribution of goods. I should like to hear from the Minister if the Fair Trade Commission might look into this problem during the coming year. I am quite satisfied about the conclusion they would come to once they investigated it.

There is only one other matter to which I should like to draw the Minister's attention. He might agree to deal with it in the near future. Under Section 14 of the Factories Act, 1955, no minimum level of illumination is laid down in lumens or foot candles for artificial lighting in factories in which people are working or passing. The Minister may, by regulations, prescribe a standard of sufficient and suitable lighting for factories or for any class or description of factory or parts thereof or for any process. That is in the relevant portion of the Act.

I think these regulations should be made because under the Office Premises (Standards of Lighting) Regulations, 1959, as and from April 1st this year definite minimum standards of artificial illumination in lumens and foot candles are laid down for office premises both for general work and for offices in which people are engaged in the work of drawing. Under Section 12 of the Office Premises Act, 1958, no definite standard of illumination was laid down, but the Minister made regulations. I think similar [669] regulations should be made under the Factories Act. Under the British Factories Act, 1937, and the Factories (Standards of Lighting) Regulations, 1941, “the general artificial illumination of those internal parts of factories in which persons are regularly employed shall not be less than six foot candles or lumens measured on the horizontal plane at a level of three feet above the floor.”

The United States Department of Labour, Division of Labour Standards 1942, states that the United States Department of Labour lays down minimum standards of artificial illumination relating to specific classes of work and processes. Therefore, in order to keep up with modern trends and to ensure that the workers in factories are not asked to work in dark and badly lighted premises, I would ask the Minister seriously to lay down regulations under the Factories Act of 1955 similar to those he laid down under the Office Premises Regulations, 1959.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I do not follow the argument of Deputy Lemass on the question of insurance. All I know is that prior to the foundation of this State we had many Irish insurance companies in this country—the Hibernian Insurance Company, to name but one. But when Fianna Fáil first came into office in 1932 the first thing they did was to set up a number of what they termed Irish insurance companies and build tariffs around them with the result that they kept out competitors who might come in here and invest money in Irish insurance companies. Ever since then we have had nothing but increases in insurance policies and, as Deputy Lemass rightly pointed out, premiums in the Six Counties and Britain are much lower than they are here.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass  Zoom on Noel T. Lemass  And the accident rate is higher.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  The position is that these allegedly Irish companies cannot increase their premiums without the sanction of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Whatever round of increases there has been has been sanctioned by the Minister, [670] and no person sanctioned more of those rounds that the Taoiseach, when Minister for Industry and Commerce. I do not want to follow that up, but so far as I know about insurance, that is correct.

Ever since I came into this House, I have been advocating a greater selling of our Irish countryside and the amenities of Ireland to the British people, in preference to the people of the United States. For years and years, I said that Bord Fáilte and the Government have been pouring money down the drain, in advertising Ireland in America. I do not believe we have attracted ten Americans to the country, as a result of that advertising. They take Ireland in when “doing” Europe, as they call it, or Irish-Americans come back to spend holidays with their friends, who would come in any event.

We have lost the big tourist industry which we had with Britain pre-1939, and we should make every effort to recapture it. In my own county, in Bundoran, which is a premier seaside resort, during the month of July we used to have a big influx of visitors from Scotland up to 1939. They have disappeared since that time. A serious effort should be made to attract, from the wakes and fairs of Northern England and Scotland, a good percentage of visitors to our country. As Deputy Sherwin pointed out, if we could attract the middle-class and labouring-class, it would be much better.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  There is room for them all.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Absolutely. The more the better. As a matter of fact, they are much more beneficial to rural Ireland than the American tourist who lands from his plane at Shannon or Dublin, sees Killarney overnight, and is on his way again. He is of no advantage whatsoever to the small hotelier, the seaside resorts or the other tourist resorts in the country.

Mr. J. Brennan: Information on Joseph Brennan  Zoom on Joseph Brennan  The figures show the American tourists spend the most money.

[671]Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Of course they do, but is that money scattered throughout the country? Who benefit from the money they spend? That is what I should like to know. For instance, in the city of Dublin, with the exception of three hotels, I do not know of any hotel or guest-house proprietor who gains very much from the American tourists. However, let us move from that.

Córas Iompair Éireann was set up in this State for the purpose of nationalising transport, and trying to provide cheap and unsubsidised transport for the citizens of the State. Now we find C.I.E.—I shall not go into what may be another Minister's bailiwick—going into the tourist business. We find it opening shops and hotels. The opening of hotels is always welcome and we are glad to see C.I.E. opening hotels, but when it comes to shops, it is an entirely different matter. So far as I can see, the legal position is that the powers of C.I.E. are set out in Section 13 of the Transport Act, 1950. Those powers are detailed in 17 subparagraphs. On the question of hotels, subparagraph (f) of subsection (1) provides that the Board of C.I.E. shall have power:

to provide such amenities and facilities for passengers and other persons as it may appear to the Board requisite or expedient to provide.

What do we find? Let us take my own county again and the premier seaside resort of Bundoran. We find that C.I.E. has opened a shop there, and we find the same thing in Galway. They do not keep the hours of trading other shopkeepers are compelled to keep under the Shops (Hours of Trading) Act. They are open at any time a bus load of visitors arrives. They do not cater for the hotel visitors. They cater for any casuals who wish to drop in. I venture to suggest that if we segregated the profits made last year by C.I.E. hotels, as between catering and shops, we would find that the bulk of the money was made by the shops.

For instance, I know one shopkeeper in Bundoran who received a supply of Irish-made goods for a number of [672] years. The supply he ordinarily received in former years has now been diverted to C.I.E. In my opinion, that is a serious matter. The State should not subsidise shops to compete with private enterprise throughout the State. That is a very bad thing, and something which the Minister should not tolerate. He should ask his legal advisers to look into the strict interpretation of Section 13 of the Transport Act, 1950, with particular reference to subsection (1), paragraphs (f) and (g). If they find the company is acting outside the limits prescribed by law, its activity should be curtailed forthwith.

I do not wish to become too parochial but I think C.I.E. has hit the town to which I have referred already, Bundoran. We no longer have there the rail transport we did have; we have not received the grants for roads which were promised to us in that town, to compensate us for the loss of the rail transport which put heavier traffic on our roads; and we now find C.I.E. coming there and competing with the local shops. The Minister should look into that matter. If he did, he would receive the thanks of the various shopkeepers who depend for their livelihood on selling souvenirs and other such articles to tourists and visitors.

I should also like to know from the Minister what is the break-down of the £100,000 which was voted under the provisions of the Tourist Traffic Act, 1959, for the year 1959-60 as a grant-in-aid to Bord Fáilte. I was told some time ago that whatever allocation would be made to Donegal would be made to the entire county and that the entire county would be treated as a tourist area. If that is so, very little, if any of it, will be spent in that premier seaside resort of Bundoran. It is the shopwindow of Donegal and naturally the shopwindow is what attracts purchasers into a shop. We should like to see the shopwindow of this county of ours display the tourist goods in a manner befitting such a tourist county. It has not got a fair crack of the whip and something should be done for it now, particularly in view of the fact that its railway has been taken away.

[673] Donegal has lost its hinterland. We are up against the sea on one side and against the Six Counties on the other. We may be the orphan child of the State and, as such, we should get special consideration. Sometimes people are inclined to look across the Border and wonder if it would not have been better if that border line had been drawn at Ballyshannon. Ballyshannon is now a deserted town. We have built houses there which we cannot let at an economic rent. There is no industry there and no effort to attract one to it.

Across the Border, we find prosperity abounding. I do not wish in any way to detract from the position in which we find ourselves and I do not wish to say too much or to say something which might be construed as being in favour of the Partition of our country, but if we are to get the Six Counties to come in with us, we can bring them in only by enticing them and encouraging them and not by force. We have got to set an example to them and to show them that it would be to their advantage to come in here. By looking into the next field, as they can do up there, they are inclined to shy away before taking the jump.

I was amazed to hear Deputy Lemass say what progress has been made in this country to-day. He said that over the past two years production has gone up and that there are more people in employment. Where are there more people in employment to-day? I ask Deputy Burke if there are more people in employment in county Dublin to-day than there were five years ago?

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  There are. We have more industries.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Then everything is grand in county Dublin.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  It is not.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  You have less emigration and less unemployment than you had?

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  That is true.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Then I would ask [674] any other Deputy to look at his own constituency and see if he can say the same thing. Deputy Burke has come in here and told us how prosperous things are in county Dublin. I have a meeting in the north county very shortly and I shall be glad to tell the people there of the glorious picture that has been painted by Deputy Burke. I hope he will sit tight now until the rest of the country can catch up with county Dublin.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  I work very hard for my constituents.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  If things are as good as you say they are, you must work very hard, but I hope you will give us a chance now. We never had more unemployment, more emigration and less money.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  There are nights when I do not go to bed at all.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  That is a great thing. I am delighted to know that county Dublin is so prosperous to-day as a result of the activities of Deputy Burke.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  At night time he hunts the tinkers off the roads.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I congratulate him on this Utopia which he has achieved by losing a few nights' sleep.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  Now I have a few things to say. I must first say that the Minister has done a jolly good job since he became Minister for Industry and Commerce but I want him to do more. Since he took over the Ministry, he has been very active; he is going ahead and I wish him luck; but there are a few bones of contention I have to deal with.

One of the hardy annuals I have here is one for which I cannot blame the Minister or his predecessors. I must blame the whole system that has kept us so far behind in the sale of a commodity, the manufacture of which would give employment to thousands of our people. Whatever dead hand is destroying the whiskey industry I do not know. The associated distillers of Scotland exported 15,000,000, gallons of whiskey to the United States [675] last year. We have our kith and kin in the United States, about 20,000,000 of them, and the total amount of whiskey we exported last year was only 38,200 gallons. Previous Ministers have given all possible facilities to our whiskey manufacturers to go into the export market. This is a matter that concerns each and every one of us. If this country is going to come back and if we are to make it a country from which people will not want to go, we shall have to get more and more into the export trade. That is the policy of Fianna Fáil and of the Minister.

The potentialities of an export trade to the United States in Irish whiskey are such that employment would be given to many thousands of our people. We would be growing much more barley and we have not even scratched that export market yet. While the associated distillers of Scotland exported 15,000,000 gallons, we did not export a million gallons or even a third of a million gallons. That is a very poor showing, notwithstanding the fact that we are supposed to have 20,000,000 friends in the United States. I would say shame on those people who are not rising to the occasion on this matter.

This is a young country but if the Minister were ten times better than he is and had ten times more power, he could not work miracles unless the people producing the commodity see that their product is not acceptable to buyers in the United States and make up their minds to blend their product so that it will be acceptable. I would allow the people in the various firms who are tackling the export of whiskey to carry on as they are, but I would go a step further and strongly urge the Minister and the Government to set up a whiskey export market board to deal entirely with the export of whiskey. Córas Tráchtála are doing that but I would include businessmen in a new board to push the sales of whiskey.

Mr. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Bring in a bottle of it now and again.

[676]Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  I help the industry myself now and again. I would see that all whiskey went into a common pool and was exported as Irish whiskey, but, as I say, I would not interfere with those firms who already have contacts in foreign countries. I would let them continue but I would like to see the whiskey blended in such a way that it would compete favourably with Scottish whisky abroad. Such a board could be responsible for bringing millions and millions of pounds into Irish industry and would give much employment and help the country generally.

Looking around at our main money-earning industries, we have the tourist industry and the cattle trade, and I must say that quite a number of our industrialists have succeeded reasonably well in getting into the export market in their own way. There are quite a few of them in my own constituency who are doing that under their own steam. I shall not mention them by name but I would say to the Minister that it is time we set up an Honours List for those industrialists who are getting into the export market, and in that way show them that they are the heroes of today. They are the heroes the country wants at present in order to help keep our people at home. If our country is to be reunited from one end to the other, the best contribution we can make towards that is to build up and stabilise our economy so that others will be anxious to join us and will say: “These people are able to put their house in order.”

We have a number of industralists, directors of Irish firms, who have gone abroad and through their own initiative, secured export markets. This House and the nation are grateful to them. We want a great number of men like them and our people ought to realise that they are doing a wonderful job for the country.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  And they are not getting a thing out of it.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  That is a very unworthy remark for the Leader of the Labour Party to make.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  The Deputy said that [677] they should be made baronets or something.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  Any man is worthy of his hire.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish  Zoom on Brendan Corish  Hear, hear.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  These people have been getting money out of their industries only because they put it into them in the first place. We have only this one annual opportunity of speaking on the Vote for Industry and Commerce and I should like to say that industrialists who are in a position to compete in the export market, who have a product to sell and are not doing that, are not pulling their weight in trying to help our economy. We are grateful to those industrialists who are doing it. The nation is grateful to them and, as I say, they are the best heroes we have.

If there is something seriously wrong with our salesmanship, or if the product we seek to sell is not acceptable in the market in which we try to sell it, we should be able to investigate these things and find out what is responsible. With regard to whiskey, we should find out what is retarding the sale of that product in a market where we have approximately 20,000,000 of our own people. If these people in the United States are anxious to help the country of their birth, or the country of their fathers and mothers, they have a great opportunity to do so in buying the product we are trying to sell in that market.

I know that Córas Tráchtála has done a great deal over the years in that regard but there is something wrong, and that wrong should be put right in order to promote the sale of whiskey in the American market. I am just taking that market as one example but there are other markets as well.

If we could expand the sales of Irish whiskey, it would result in the growing of thousands and thousands more acres of barley on Irish land and I feel that the time has come for the making of something in the nature of a serious decision by the Government on that matter. I have referred to it [678] here year after year, no matter which Government have been in office. It is no good as it stands at present with sales going up only a few hundred gallons.

I shall not say any more on this except to say that I believe we are missing the tide. The ship is going from us, the economic ship that could be responsible for doing a great deal for our country, and I am sure that the matter should be examined at the highest possible level to see what could be done to export more of that product to countries where there is a market for it. If the associated distillers of Scotland can do it, why can we not do it?

I am sorry to say that the position with regard to piped water supplies in county Dublin is not a great credit to the local authority which has been handling it over the years. Certain hoteliers are anxious to get piped water supplies and while grants are given by the Tourist Board for the reconstruction of hotels, the sinking of pumps and other things, I think that reasonable grants should be given for the installation of piped water supplies where water is available within a mile of an hotel.

I know that as the Act stands at present the Minister can do nothing about it, but I have come across two cases in county Dublin where I feel a grant should be given towards the provision of piped water supplies. One man in particular has just put a great deal of money into the reconstruction of his hotel. He is anxious to help in building up the tourist trade and where we have local authorities failing in their duty by not extending water supplies to hotels, I feel the Tourist Board should consider the matter.

I wish to support Deputy Lemass in the point he made with regard to commercial travellers and the way they are being treated by insurance companies. I shall be saying this against myself, being an insurance broker, when I say that there is no yardstick for companies when it comes to a case where there has been an accident. They either will not insure a person at all or they can [679] increase the terms considerably. It is about time our citizens got some protection. Insurance companies are very choosy about taking motor business and they will take it only at a price. The Irish commercial travellers have a grievance because they have to carry a burden of 50 per cent. in relation to insurance. I should like the Minister for Industry and Commerce to make inquiries from the insurance companies as to the justification for these exorbitant charges. We know insurance companies have suffered heavy losses over the years in claims made against them in the courts, but there should be some limit to the premium to be charged on any vehicle. This matter should be investigated. I do not know what the Minister can do about these insurance companies, but even an inquiry from him might deter them from continuing this course.

Captain Giles: Information on Captain Patrick Giles  Zoom on Captain Patrick Giles  This Estimate needs critical examination. We must ask ourselves where we are going. Deputy Noel Lemass told us this morning we were making tremendous progress. Where is that progress to be seen? As other Deputies have said we have more unemployment today, more emigration and less money. If we spent two-thirds of the money we are spending on this so-called industrial resurrection on developing agriculture we would be far better off today. We are starving agriculture for industrial development of a very doubtful nature. Our industrial arm can never be as strong as our agricultural arm. We could be one of the greatest agricultural countries in the world but we are exploiting agriculture to boost industry.

I am quite happy about native industry. What worries me is the monopolistic undertakings we are fostering at the moment. What guarantee have we that these foreign experts we are bringing in will not go off whenever it suits them to their big cartels in the centre of Europe? Half of them would not come here were it not for the threat of war or because of scarcity of manpower in Europe. We have very little mineral resources in [680] Ireland, having to import 95 per cent. to 98 per cent. of the raw material for industry. No foreigner will come in here because of the colour of our eyes or because of our lovely green fields. If it is not a paying proposition they will close down, as many of them did in the last 25 or 30 years. By all means establish industry native to the soil. We have done that reasonably well but we are now trying to sacrifice Irish industry to foreign monopolies and we shall regret it in the next 15 or 20 years. If we made agriculture what it should be and established subsidiary industries to suit agriculture we would have a balanced economy.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Estimate for Agriculture will come before the House in due course.

Captain Giles: Information on Captain Patrick Giles  Zoom on Captain Patrick Giles  I regard agriculture as an industry and there is no industry in Ireland like agriculture.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Minister is not responsible for agriculture.

Captain Giles: Information on Captain Patrick Giles  Zoom on Captain Patrick Giles  The farmer participates in this industry. Farming is an industry.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Estimate before the House relates to Industry and Commerce.

Captain Giles: Information on Captain Patrick Giles  Zoom on Captain Patrick Giles  I agree with Deputy Sherwin when he stated openly that the majority of people employed here are youths and girls. It is unfortunate that when new industries are established youths and girls get employment and older people have to trek off to Britain. These monopolies which are established should give employment to men and leave the girls where they are. When those men employed in industry would come to 24 or 25 years of age there would not be one of those girls who would not be married. I do not believe in young boys and girls earning 30/-or £2 a week until they come to 17 years of age and then having to go off to England.

Mechanisation over the last ten years has been a very costly thing in this country. We must keep up with [681] the times but the amount of money spent on machinery, motor cars and so on is colossal. That is what has us up to our ears in debt. Half of our people are “broke” from mechanisation. Mechanisation is all right but it ought to be done over a reasonable period so that none of our people will be sunk in availing of it.

Deputy Burke spoke about the whiskey trade and what should be done in regard to the Irish in America. The Irish in America are like everybody else; they will buy whatever suits their taste. They are not such patriots as we might think. However, there is a very profitable market for us in London, Birmingham, Manchester and other English cities where Irish people are living. If we sent trade ambassadors to the five or six big centres in England and mobilised the Irish there to help Irish industry, I believe it would be worth while. If we had more trade ambassadors we would get somewhere. We should concentrate on the Irish population in Britain who constitute our nearest and biggest market.

We hear a great deal about industrial development but, as far as my county is concerned, we have seen very little of it. There are three or four big towns in Meath—Trim, Navan, Kells, Oldcastle, Athboy. Not one of these has got the slightest help from an industrial point of view for many years past. The Minister looks to the South and to the West. Would he look East now for a change? We want industries native to the soil. Is there any reason why we should not have a decent tannery in the Midlands, an industry based on agriculture? I asked the Minister to do something for Meath. Otherwise these towns will become ghost towns. Navan was a prosperous town when the building industry was at its height. There were scores of factories turning out furniture. Some of the furniture in this House was made in Navan. Navan furniture was exported to Britain. To-day dozens of highly skilled technical workers have gone to Britain because there is no work for them in Navan.

[682] Our industrial economy should be properly balanced. Oldcastle and Kelk are dead towns to-day. Trim is a dead town also. Some little industries have been established, but the employment in them is for girls. That is not a good system. If outsiders are permitted to come in here and establish industries, those industries should be of the type that will provide employment for men—men who will marry, settle down, raise their families here and provide a further outlet for more building when the families grow up.

I do not approve of the foreign industrialist starting small sidelines. I do not like mentioning individual firms but I must make some reference to Japanese sewing machines. What will be done with those machines? Obviously the intention is to get into the British market by the back door. Simultaneously with permitting the establishment of that factory we are trying to formulate a decent trade agreement with Britain. We cannot get that agreement while we stab her in the back. We want to get in by the front door. Let us not help others in by the back door. That is not a friendly attitude to adopt towards a neighbour.

Britain is our nearest neighbour. Britain is our best market. There is an enormous population there and a great deal of money in circulation. We should do nothing to jeopardise that market, but that is what we are doing by allowing these foreigners in here to establish subsidiary industries in order to get into the British market by the back door. The Minister's first concern should be to ensure the well-being of Irish industry and Irishmen. He should know who these foreigners are and what they are before he lets them in here. He should be certain that there is a reasonable prospect of stability of output and employment. We do not want these people establishing themselves here because there is a temporary shortage of manpower in Europe.

The oil refinery project is an excellent one. Admittedly, it has been established by foreigners, but a large number of subsidiary industries will grow out of it. It is something of which we can [683] be proud. It is something from which the future prosperity of the country will possibly grow. I do not believe in letting down Irish industry in the interests of bringing in foreigners. By all means, bring them in, but screen them closely before they come in. I do not visualise Irish industry growing by leaps and bounds. A vast amount of money has been spent on establishing industries over the last 30 years. Yet we have not got the return today that we should have for the expenditure of that money. Security and protection should be given only for a certain period of time. After that they should stand on their own feet. Ten years should be ample time in which to establish themselves.

Our first endeavour should be to establish stable industries, not industries which will go to the wall. If we had spent two-thirds of the money we spent on reviving Irish industry on the advancement of Irish agriculture, we would not be in the position in which we find ourselves today, with bungling, muddling and money wasted. Agriculture needs technical and scientific advice and equipment.

Industry has been built around the present Taoiseach. It is a lie to say that Irish industry was resurrected by Deputy Lemass as Minister for Industry and Commerce. Irish industry was progressing very well before the advent of Fianna Fáil. It was the Cumann na nGaedheal Government which established the Shannon scheme, the beet factories and the boot factories, and many other industries which survive today.

Our aim should be to build sound industries on balanced lines. Industry should not be built around the Fianna Fáil Party. They never had a monopoly in establishing industry in this country, but they squandered vast sums of money over the past 30 years on industries which will never be stabilised. Fifty per cent. of those industries have closed their doors and disappeared. One could hardly come to Dublin without seeing the smoke going up and the ruins of some backyard factory. That was not the way to establish industry. We want no “trick [684] of the loop” industrialists, the “get rich quick” and “get out” type. Industries have been established in the past without any help from anybody. I instance Jacobs and Guinness. These industries are flourishing today. I wish the Minister well. He has a hard task. He is, however, full of energy and he has the ability to do the best in the important position he holds.

Mr. Healy: Information on Augustine. A. Healy  Zoom on Augustine. A. Healy  I, too, wish to congratulate the Minister and his Department on the work that has been done over the last 12 months. Many questions were asked as to whether any progress can be seen, as to whether there has been any advance in national economy and industrial activity. I am glad to be able to say that there is every evidence, judging by my own constituency, of advancement in industry. In my constituency, for instance, there is a tremendous increase in the production of motor cars and motor vehicles, due entirely I would say to the increased incentives offered by this Government to help the export of those cars. For the first time in 25 years we have Fords working 24 hours a day employing 96 per cent. male labour. You also have tremendous activity at present in Messrs. Gouldings where the huge new extension to the factory is nearing completion. This again is due to the subsidy of £4 per ton, which is serving a twofold purpose. First, it provides much needed male employment and, secondly, it gives our farmers fertiliser at a price well below the European figure. As is reported on to-day's paper there is also tremendous activity in the Cork Verolme Dockyard, another project which mainly employs male labour.

These are major projects. I remember that the Minister's Department was criticised fairly severely for its handling of certain matters in regard to the Dockyard project 12 months ago. I think it would be a very blind, prejudiced person who could not see that this project has all the signs of being a wonderful investment for the future of this country. I also want to congratulate the Minister on what he has done for Irish Steel and on the plans he has for the development of that industry. If ever we are to absorb the [685] men who are leaving the land, it will be by industrial projects such as these.

This problem of the flight from the land is not exclusive to this country; men are leaving the land in every country in the world. Until such time as the men on the land can enjoy the same comforts, entertainments and leisure hours as their colleagues in industry, there will be a tendency towards leaving the land. In many instances those leaving the land are being replaced by machinery. The problem is to absorb that type of person into industry and give them work in their own country. I think the Minister and his Department are very much aware of that problem.

Another expanding industry in my constituency is the Dwyer group— Sunbeam Wolsey, Blackwater Cottons, Midleton Worsted and the carpet factories at Youghal and Cork. They are all expanding and making progress. The prices of the stocks of those industries on the Stock Exchange are a fair indication of the confidence in which these industries are held by the public.

I welcome also the improvements which have taken place at Cobh in regard to the reception of passengers on the liner service. By his grant of 50 per cent. of the cost the Minister has made it possible for the Harbour Commissioners to place an order for a new tender. I hope the necessary financial assistance will also be forthcoming to enable a second badly needed tender to be purchased. I am sure the plans for this will be before the Minister's Department in the not too distant future. We also have considerable progress to report in the erection of Cork Airport. This is giving very considerable employment at present and it is reasonable to expect that when the airport is in operation next year it will open up for the South of Ireland tourist potentialities such as never were envisaged before.

Is it any wonder then that a spirit of optimism prevails in Cork among both industrialists and workers? Of course, the position is not perfect. We still have more than our share of emigration [686] and unemployment but the position, as I have described it very briefly, is certainly much better than it was a few years ago. I am not here to pin the blame on anybody but there is no doubt that in 1956, especially towards the end of the year, there was a spirit of despair abroad in Cork. People who had never anticipated leaving their homes were selling out and going abroad because of the insecurity and uncertainty prevailing at that time. Now things have changed, and I hope I am not being too prejudiced if I give a fair measure of praise for that change to the present Government and especially to the Minister and his Department.

Industrialists and workers must have confidence in the Government if progress is to be made. Even if a Government is wrong, if people have confidence in them, maybe some progress will be made. So far as Cork is concerned, I think there is a general feeling that the Government are on the right lines and that things are improving. I want to tell the Minister that industrialists and workers there are quite prepared to meet the challenge of the times and expand our economy. They are quite confident they will get the necessary help from the Minister and his Department. I again congratulate the Minister on what he has achieved over the past year. I hope that during the next 12 months the results will be at least as good as they have been in the last 12 months.

Mr. P. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  It would be unfortunate if it went out from this House that there was not now almost complete unanimity amongst us in extending a welcome to foreign capital. Deputy Dillon has already spoken on that matter and has, I think, expressed his pleasure that the Fianna Fáil Party have come around to taking a less restrictive view of the conditions, embargoes and such like, imposed on those who are prepared to invest their money in this country. Personally, I feel that anyone who is prepared to bring capital into an under-capitalised country such as this should be made most welcome.

The Minister in his opening remarks [687] told us about the progress made in relation to industrial grants. He mentioned a figure—I think it was something like 80—of grants which are at present under consideration. I sometimes wonder if we are not perhaps making a mistake in providing assistance for the establishment of very small scale industries. I have often thought—and this is purely a personal view—that the Minister should get his advisers together and say to them: “Look, boys, how much can we afford to devote to industrial grants by way of subsidies or loans? How much can we afford to give over the next three years?” He would arrive, perhaps, at a figure of, say, £3,000,000 or £4,000,000.

I think it would be a very good thing to approach some of the big, wealthy American or British concerns and say to them: “There is four million or five million pounds. It is yours without any strings attached if you wish it. It is a substantial amount and all we want you to do is to create employment in this country.” I feel that all the pointers are that the type of industry that will succeed in the future is the large scale industry. Our industries must look to a world market rather than to the home market. Unless we have the tremendous resources needed to capitalise ventures such as automation here we shall not succeed.

Only the really wealthy concerns are going to succeed in future. It is a great pity that the negotiations some years ago to bring the Dupont concern here fell through. They are now operating in Derry city on a tremendously large scale and they have a tremendously large scope for the expansion of that concern. They have their own advisory service scattered throughout the world and that keeps them in touch with the latest developments. I feel that, rather than spending £50,000 or £100,000 here on small scale industries, welcome and all as they are, it would be much more advisable to try to do business with the really big people.

The increase in industrial exports in the last year has been most heartening [688] indeed. We can all rejoice that the export concessions made available initially in 1956 by Deputy Sweetman and expanded by the present Government, have worked so very well. However, I think that we must not be too optimistic. I wonder sometimes if there is not in our industrial exports a certain amount of concealed dumping by some of our larger exporters, people who operate here on a limited home market on which they can recover their full cost and are thereby placed in a position to export at cutthroat prices. I think there is a certain amount of that going on. It is something on which we would want to reflect in considering this matter because, if it is going on, it is something that cannot continue indefinitely and something that will not be allowed to continue once free trade comes into operation.

I have no sympathy with the view that because we lack the raw materials of industry we are not in a position to expand industrially. The raw materials of Irish industry are essentially the brains of our own skilled workers. In Britain at present, many Irish skilled technicians, particularly those skilled in science and chemistry, are very highly thought of and are doing tremendous work. In the future more than in the past, industrial progress will be based on science and brain power rather than on the basis of crude raw materials.

There has been one development in the past year that is most heartening —the extent to which the market for Irish securities has expanded and developed. I know that the Minister's Department and the Department of Finance have long directed their policy towards the development of the Irish capital market. There is every reason now to rejoice that that market is expanding. Unless you have an expanding market for industrial securities, capital will not be made available and people will not be very prone to invest in Irish securities.

There is one point I want to make to the Minister. He referred in his opening remarks to the progress made in his Department in relation to the reform of company law. A committee [689] report on that matter was furnished some time ago but the Minister said that he could not promise any legislation at an early date. I can understand that because this is a very big problem but I think the Minister should take two bites at the cherry. He should introduce a Companies Bill which would have the effect of ensuring that disclosure of information in the accounts of a company which is essential for investors and their advisers if they are to know what they are doing when they propose to invest in that particular company.

We are at present operating under the British Act of 1908 which has been long since superseded in that country. Some of our Irish companies have now begun voluntarily to adopt the practice of British concerns in making information available to the potential investor, such information as reserves, capital structure and directors' fees— all matters which are most vital to any investor. I should like to see the Minister address himself to that aspect of the matter and to leave the trickier matters over to a later date because they are not as important and vital as the matters I have mentioned.

The Minister told us of the agreement he has come to with the British owned insurance companies relating to their investment in this country, an agreement which has been voluntarily arrived at. That is something which I welcome and I congratulate the Minister on the success of those negotiations. However, I am wondering how the scheme will operate and I want to say—and I say it reluctantly —that I think the Minister will have to be constantly vigilant.

There is no doubt that some of the larger British institutional investors are loath to invest in this country and, indeed, are prejudiced in their approach to the matter. That is my personal conviction. I may be quite wrong in that; I hope I am but I do not think so. I would hope then, that agreement having been arrived at, that there should be no necessity to consider any further the question of controlling the insurance industry in this country. [690] There is no doubt that a lot of money is going out of the country in insurance premiums but there are, perhaps, certain advantages in that we have access to a wide market. Our insurers get the benefit of lower rates than they would otherwise have. Probably that is the case though I do not know, but I want to impress upon the Minister that he will need to be constantly vigilant on that matter.

In relation to the tourist industry we can all rejoice at the great success that has been made of it. There is no doubt that Irish hotels are now vastly improved and I think, in any event, they are as good as one would get anywhere, in value for money. Deputy Cosgrave spoke on the question of expanding the tourist season, encouraging the off-season trade, particularly by encouraging those organisations who hold big annual conferences to hold their conferences here. That is a trend Which is becoming increasingly popular in Western Europe—to bring people together in annual conference— and Bord Fáilte has been making an effort to encourage that type of trade. I have just this suggestion to make. We lack a conference hall in Dublin and I would ask the Minister, either of himself or through Bord Fáilte, to consider seriously the question of making funds available for a conference hall which, perhaps, could be fitted in with the proposals designed to meet the much needed demand in this city for a concert hall.

On the question of unemployment, the Minister has said that there are 50,000 fewer unemployed than there were. That is true and the reason is that our workers are going to Britain. We heard much this morning on the question of emigration and I am tempted to say here: “Thank God that Britain is there to employ our workers and that she makes them so welcome.” Other speakers have said likewise, but I wonder how many of our people are aware that were it not for the fact that the privileges of British citizenship are made available to our people they would not be able to work in Britain? I wonder how many members of this [691] House are aware that at present there are upwards of 100,000 Italians clamouring to enter Britain to take up employment?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  How does this arise on the Estimate for Industry and Commerce?

Mr. P. Byrne: Information on Patrick Byrne  Zoom on Patrick Byrne  It arises in relation to the question of emigration which has been discussed here, but I do not propose to labour it. All I want to say is: “Thank God our people are made so welcome in Britain, and thank God the work is there for them.” If it were not we would be in a pretty poor condition.

One further small point upon which the Minister touched in his introductory remarks is the question of what has been termed “port productivity.” As a representative of Dublin NorthEast, which includes the North Wall area, I am very happy to say that there are signs that the much-vexed problem of container traffic being handled through the port of Dublin is about to be resolved, and I certainly hope it will be resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned. Mind you, I have great sympathy for the viewpoint of the port workers in this matter. We are all too readily inclined to say that they have been unreasonable in their approach to this matter but that is not the case. Every man naturally is first going to protect his own job but certainly, if we are to expand our export trade, it will be necessary to reduce transport costs and nothing could be better devised towards that end than the introduction of facilities for handling container traffic in the port of Dublin.

Minister for Industry and Commerce (Mr. J. Lynch): Information on John Lynch  Zoom on John Lynch  This debate as was inevitable, has ranged over a wide variety of subjects and, as might have been expected, a variety of views have been expressed in respect of particular subjects, even from the opposite side of the House. I think that applies in particular to the comments on the Control of Manufactures Act and the consequence and effect it has on the industrial development of the country. [692] I shall, however, refer to that in brief, perhaps later on, but now I should like to take up the main points that have been made in the debate. On the first day many contributions were made touching on our export trade, and on the effect on that trade that recent trade agreements have, and that new possible developments in international agreements may have.

Deputy Cosgrave asked a number of questions in particular that I think I shall have to refer to in some detail, even though the Taoiseach dealt with many of the problems about which the Deputy questioned me, in the debate on the recent Anglo-Irish Trade agreement. The first thing I think he asked was what action, or what decision, had been taken on the position that existed now between the Common Market of the Six and the European Free Trade Association. In the course of his reply to that debate, the Taoiseach explained very fully what our position is and the manner in which we were watching the developments as between these two groups.

Our Ambassadors abroad in the respective countries have kept the situation under review and, in so far as it was necessary for us to disclose our position, that has been done. In particular it has been done in relation to the Lundt Committee, as it is known, the committee set up under the proposed new organisation to replace O.E.E.C., to examine trade problems. The Twenty Nation Committee which will deal in more detail with these problems, and which is intended to deal as well with the particular problems of the Six and Seven, will be meeting early this month. We shall continue to make it clear at its meetings that we would welcome participation in any European arrangements, providing the terms of such participation will take into account Ireland's special position as a country in the process of industrial development. We do not want, however, to assume any obligations that are not matched by benefits, and these benefits, in particular, must include wider opportunities for the expansion of exports.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.


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