Committee on Finance. - Motion by Minister for Finance (Resumed).

Wednesday, 14 March 1962

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 193 No. 10

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Mr. Crinion: Information on Brendan Crinion  Zoom on Brendan Crinion  I was speaking last night about our tourist industry and our natural resources. One of our natural resources is the mountains we have all around the coast. We also have an exceptionally long coastline. These resources together with our friendliness are very favourable to our tourist industry. Before the War, most of our hotels were closed for most of the year because our tourist season was short. It covered a week in July, the month of August, and a week in September. I am very glad that there has been a move to extend the season to cover, if possible, June, July, August and September.

Another great attraction and one for which the promoters must be complimented is the new Irish Derby. The Irish Hospitals Trust are to be complimented on providing the big money prize. The Irish Derby will be the most richly endowed race in Europe this year. That is one of the results of taking over the National Stud and developing our bloodstock industry. Now that the owners of horses in Europe and all over the world have learned the value of the race they will bring their horses to race at the Curragh. Instead of looking to [1526] England and the Continent, we now know that the potentialities are here at home and only need to be brought out.

I am very pleased that Telefís Éireann has proved to be so good. It is better than many of us expected. The choice of programmes is good and I feel that Telefís Éireann will revive many of our Irish customs and much of our culture. Anyone who watches English television knows that Scottish dances and music have been revived and given new life. They have become very popular, and I feel that the same thing will happen here. Our culture and our music will be revived and we will be able to compete with the imported American pop songs and all the rest from Tin Pan Alley.

I am very keen to see films about Ireland. I expect that such films will be made available by Telefís Éireann to other countries. I was in Denmark a few years ago and stayed in a farmer's house. One night the children were studying their books. When they came to their English lessons they asked me to give them a hand. When I took up the English book I discovered that most of it was devoted to small pen pictures of the different countries of the world. They took up roughly about two pages each. Naturally, coming from Ireland I was very anxious to read what the book had to say about Ireland.

I was horrified when I read the story of Ireland in that book. It said that we were a poor nation, that we had clay floors in our kitchens and rooms, and that pigs and poultry lived in the houses. That struck me very forcibly. I bought a copy of the book and presented it to the Department here, and they took it up with the United Nations. That is only one small incident. When films produced in Ireland go to other countries, those countries will realise the type of country Ireland is, what our standards are and what our homes are like. They will get a completely different idea about Ireland. We must remember, if we join the Common Market, that there are quite a number of countries that do not realise what type of country ours is. [1527] The Scandinavian countries particularly think of us as another island beyond England and do not realise that we have our own identity and our own nation.

When we went to Denmark we brought with us a film depicting the countryside in the West of Ireland and featuring the life of Yeats. This film was widely discussed and appreciated. On our last night there the film “The Quiet Man” was shown. The Danes were very impressed with the Irish countryside and scenery as shown in those films. If films produced here for Telefís Éireann are sent abroad they will create a very favourable impression and will help the tourist industry.

I hope the Government will provide more money for the telephone service. Most Deputies are conscious of the large number of applicants awaiting telephone connection for a long time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  The Deputy is going into detail, I am afraid.

Mr. Crinion: Information on Brendan Crinion  Zoom on Brendan Crinion  That position should be remedied. I must compliment the Department on their work and particularly on the introduction of television.

It is gratifying to note that the Forestry Section have set a target of planting 25,000 acres each year. It is an ambitious programme. They purchase land on the open market. Employment is provided and the wealth of the nation is being developed for the benefit of future generations. Other countries realise the value of forestry. Fifty-five per cent. of the national income of Sweden is derived from forestry. We shall feel the benefit of the forestry programme in the years ahead. We cannot afford to allow our mountain and waste land to lie idle. Forestry is the ideal method of utilising such land. I should like to see the waste land adjacent to bogs utilised more fully. I am thinking now of areas such as Ballivor, Rochfort Bridge and Timahoe.

In the past five years we have made the greatest progress ever in industrial development. Hardly a week goes by that we do not read of the establishment of a new factory. Even this morning I read of a new factory which [1528] will employ about 500 persons in Dublin. In the same paper there is mention of a new factory in Dundalk.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton  Zoom on Mark A. Clinton  Who brought that factory there?

Mr. Crinion: Information on Brendan Crinion  Zoom on Brendan Crinion  It was started with the help and encouragement we have given to industrialists to come to this country.

Mr. Clinton: Information on Mark A. Clinton  Zoom on Mark A. Clinton  Certainly not.

Mr. Crinion: Information on Brendan Crinion  Zoom on Brendan Crinion  Thirty years ago, we depended solely on our agricultural exports to pay for our purchases abroad. Now we have three strings to our bow: agriculture, industry and tourism. Last year, exports from each of these sources were practically equal. More money is coming into the country, more money is in circulation and there is much more employment.

Five years ago, the unemployment figure was about 90,000. Today it is about 49,000. When this Government came into office a programme of economic expansion was embarked upon. The plight of the country at that time was such that a five-year plan was required. The results have been extremely good. In the first year, there was a two per cent. increase in production and there has been a five per cent. increase in each of the past three years. That is much better than was expected and the country is feeling the beneficial results of the improvement.

Seven thousand new jobs each year are provided through industry. Observe how we have made use of our natural resources. Consider Bord na Móna. Our bogs were lying derelict for years. They now provide considerable employment as well as electricity and fuel. We must not forget the Electricity Supply Board and Aer Lingus. It was said that Aer Lingus would never survive and that Shannon Airport would not be used. It was said that the North Atlantic route could not pay. In its first year of operation, it more than paid for itself and it has been showing a profit ever since.

Let us consider the position of the factories which were set up here. It is hoped that the aircraft factory at Baldonnel [1529] will provide another 1,700 jobs. There is not a hope of maintaining a high rate of employment on the land and therefore work must be provided for people in industry. We are making very satisfactory progress in that regard. In view of the results of the past five years and of the prospects which lie ahead, I have no hesitation in saying that we should pass this Vote on Account.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  This Vote traditionally gives an opportunity of making a reference to the economic condition of the country. Even a scant study of the debate in the past week or so indicates that there are Deputies who are not alive to the general economic condition of the country or to the position of our people. It is rather tragic that, after 40 years of self-government, we have not made of this island much more than a waiting room for England. Mention was made of additional jobs. Were it not that England is convenient to us we should have a colossal unemployment problem.

The emigrant ship has been the stand-by of this Government and, indeed, of all Governments since we achieved a measure of independence. That may be inevitable. It may be that there is no overall solution for the problems which beset this nation. At the same time, it behoves us to use our best endeavours to make it possible for Irish people to live here. It behoves us to try to remove from the Irish scene this day to day picture of compulsory emigration.

The problem of emigration has never been adequately tackled: I suppose it has never been adequately examined and the answers to the problem have not been thought out. I do not say that I have the answers to it any more than anybody else but I think that, unless we find some way of stopping this emigratory trend we shall surely arrive, if not in our lifetime, certainly within the next 50 years, at a population of not more than 1,000,000 people. That terrible process may well be speeded up by the advent of the Common Market.

This debate has been concerned to a considerable extent with our prospects [1530] in relation to the Common Market and, up and down the country, learned economists, professors, sea-lawyers, politicians and various people are talking about what the Common Market will mean in terms of our economy and what changes it may bring. Really, nobody knows what it may bring; we have not the slightest idea of the effect our entry into the Common Market will produce, except that we anticipate, as has been said, greater competition and that will mean, as has also been said ad nauseam, that we must get our people to work harder, to produce more and become more efficient.

These words and thoughts which have been expressed really add up to very little because we shall not know what we shall have to face until we are in the situation of the Common Market. Some people are inclined to think that we should not go into this integration of European economy but, of course, we have no real choice in the matter. If Britain goes, we must go also. In any event, even if that were not so, we cannot stand aside from the stream of progress but we must participate in world affairs. We must do what we can to get our share of whatever prosperity this pooling of resources will produce.

So far as workers are concerned, they are entitled to ask what it will mean in terms of wages and living conditions to them. A certain standard of relative prosperity has been achieved by some sections of workers but the vast body of them, mainly in agriculture and rural employment such as roadwork and forestry, are living far below the level at which they should live in terms of conditions, in terms of housing, for one thing and in terms of income, for another. Until that vast body of people have had their conditions improved very much, we cannot say that prosperity has advanced to any appreciable extent in the country as a whole.

The Government have been proposing to improve the salaries of certain classes of public servants, such as judges and so on. That indicates a great lack of appreciation of the relative importance of things—to have a proposal to increase the salary of a judge [1531] by the equivalent of what is paid to 15 old age pensioners per week, with no hint given that the lot of the old age pensioner will be improved even in the slightest degree. How can anybody or any Government, in conscience, seek to justify such a step, that one person should have his income increased by £1,000 while the old age pensioners who, as we know are legion in number, are left struggling to live, and finding it very difficult, on 30/- a week? It shows a complete and utter lack of what is needed and urgently needed from an Irish Government.

A problem which bears heavily on local authorities and indeed on people generally is the need for the building of more houses. After the last war, we were fortunate in having a Government in power who concentrated upon building the maximum number of houses. We were fortunate also in having in the Custom House a Minister now dead, the late Tim Murphy, who was dedicated to the solution of the housing problem, among other things. While he was there, and certain of his successors, considerable progress was made in tackling this problem. At that time, I recall the housing needs of Dublin city were estimated at some 30,000 and, due to the drive and enthusiasm put into the job by the public official who is now city manager, the number of houses provided since then has run up into the region of 20,000.

At present, there is, and has been for the past couple of years, a slackening of effort in regard to housing. In my view, this stems from the fact that the Department and the Minister for Local Government have not given the leadership and encouragement which should be given to local authorities in this matter. They have not pressurised them as was done in other times to get results and get them quickly.

One of the problems and blind spots in regard to the planning of rehousing our people is, to my mind, the fact that we seem to base our housing needs upon the immediate number of people who are at that particular time in need of houses. This is a short-sighted and bad policy. Local authorities should be directed by the Minister, when estimating [1532] housing needs, to provide a certain percentage of houses in excess of the actual then-existing figure which is estimated, because as we know, families grow up and new families develop and it is highly desirable that we should at least try to breast the tide by having more houses built than are actually required when the investigation of needs is undertaken.

C.I.E. is a problem that has caused endless controversy over a long period of years. As a Deputy representing Dublin bus users, I think that the manner in which they have been treated by C.I.E. is inexcusable. The people of Dublin city and county have been used to bolster up the pretence that C.I.E. is becoming a viable economic unit. They have been robbed and their pockets rifled by extortionate bus fares in order to create the illusion that the undertaking can be made economic in the accepted business sense of the word. Surely it is the worst policy, and indefensible, that purely in order to get a favourable balance sheet, branch lines should be closed down and rural areas left without services and the working people of Dublin literally robbed in bus fares, purely to enable the Chairman of C.I.E. and perhaps the Minister to say: “C.I.E. are breaking even.”

Public transport is essential. Railways and buses are essential. No reason can be produced as to why they should be made pay in the sense that a business must. That kind of thinking belongs to the Victorian era. The most enlightened democratic countries today accept the fact that, even though there may be losses in the running of transport systems, as there must be losses in the running of hospitals, they are essential services. There is no obligation, no divine law, which says: public transport must pay. Therefore, the losses should be met. However, they should not be met as they have been met, and as has been condoned by the Government and by the Minister concerned, by mulcting the working people in places such as Ballyfermot, Finglas, County Dublin and the rural areas in order to create the illusion of their being a viable economic unit.

[1533] I do not suppose there will be much change in the Minister's attitude on this matter. He has obviously dug in his heels as far as C.I.E. are concerned and is prepared to condone anything they do. The day is not far distant when something will have to be done. On the one hand, the workers are paying extortionate bus fares and, on the other hand, there is this time and motion effort—I do not know if Deputies are familiar with it—where for a couple of years there is a man employed with a stop watch doing nothing except watching men working, taking notes and getting £50 a week for it.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  These details would be relevant on the Estimate rather than on the Vote on Account.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  I wish to make a passing reference to tourism. I know very little about it except what I learned from living for a while in a seaside town where I saw visitors being fleeced on the general principle and assumption that they would never come that way again and therefore every advantage had to be taken of them. That mentality has prevailed in respect of a large number of our seaside towns. That kind of thing has done tourism a great deal of harm.

I do not know how Bord Fáilte, who produce this luxurious stationery on which their annual reports appear, arrive at their figures as to the value of tourism to this country. They talk in terms of millions and of increases in millions. It is hard to understand how they can determine such figures, considering that a large proportion of what we call tourists are made up of returning emigrants, Irish people coming home with a few pounds they have saved in Manchester, London and elsewhere in order to spend Easter or Christmas with their families. That surely must run into several million pounds.

There has been considerable controversy in Dublin and justifiably so, over the proposed destruction by the E.S.B. of Georgian houses. However, in regard to the monstrosity erected in the past couple of years by Bord Fáilte as their [1534] headquarters at Baggot Street Bridge, if this is an example of the thinking of Bord Fáilte in relation to modern architecture, then Heaven help us. It is a poor look-out if the Georgian facade at Fitzwilliam Street is to be left to the mercies of modernistic architects such as are responsible for the Bord Fáilte building.

That brings to mind the position of the E.S.B. There has been developing amongst the officials who run the multiplicity of State companies and bodies of various kinds—I understand there are some 50 of them—an authoritarianism by which they consider themselves in many cases to be above all law. We have often asked questions here about the running of the E.S.B., Bord na Móna or C.I.E., invariably to be told that the Minister has no function. If you try to see some of the higher officials of some of these bodies —certainly as far as C.I.E. are concerned—you will not see them. They are too busy to talk to members of the Dáil who might have something to say to them about the interests of their constituents. They are unchallengeable and unchallenged. That is a highly undesirable situation to allow to develop.

It is quite conceivable that the E.S.B., in spite of the widely expressed opposition of the majority of the citizens of Dublin, may very well go ahead and demolish Fitzwilliam Street. There will be no remedy for that. Nobody will be able to make an effective protest nor can it be prevented because of the way the Dáil is harnessed and spanceled. This applies particularly to the E.S.B., having regard to the arbitrary manner in which they operate their services—this business of cutting off lights without notice and leaving people literally in the dark.

Many times in working class areas people have got into difficulties, could not pay their E.S.B. bill and so had the current disconnected. This is done without any regard to the human side of the problem, without any consideration for the people who live in the house. There is this authoritarian attitude: “We are answerable to nobody and we shall do very much as we like.” It is high time something was [1535] done to curb that attitude on the part of people who, after all, are no more than public servants. Surely the elected representatives of the people should have the right to make these people answerable for their actions or inaction, as the case may be.

The Minister indicated recently that he will find it necessary to increase taxation in the coming Budget. It is to be hoped that, in doing so, he will bring a different frame of mind to the problem from that which was applied to the increases in the judges' salaries. If money is to be found by increased taxation, I think that the working people of this country are already sufficiently heavily taxed. They are labouring under the burden of taxation far more than the farmers are. Of course, the farmers have greater means of making their case and making themselves felt. The wage earners are the people who have to pay for everything they buy—they are always cash customers. Most of them in regard to most aspects of the family economy have to meet the maximum, from the point of view of differential rents, bus fares and all the rest of it. The cost of the pint to the worker at the present time is simply outrageous. If the Minister is thinking in terms of making his own case, on his own head be the results.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The question of taxation and of where the money is to be raised is not in order.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  I am trying to make a point which I think has not been made. Upon the shoulders of the publicans will fall the burden of finding the money mentioned in the Vote on Account.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The question of taxation will be debated later. At the moment it is not in order.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  In any event, we will have another day to talk about taxation, but it is just as well to make it clear that there must be an end to the burdens which are being placed on the people. These are just a few remarks I want to make on this Vote on Account. I hope the Minister will approach the problems of the future [1536] with far more responsibility than has been shown lately, especially in regard to the matter to which I refer—the extraordinary proposal to increase the salaries of judges, while no mention or thought whatsoever seems to be given to the deplorable conditions of the old age pensioner.

Mr. Dolan: Information on Séamus Dolan  Zoom on Séamus Dolan  Ba mhaith liom cúpla focal a rá ar an Vóta seo. I listened attentively during the past few days to this debate and I was particularly depressed by the sobs, moans and groans from the Opposition benches regarding the state of the country. They would give the impression that the banshee was again on the trail. Their wailing was more or less like the story of the walrus and the oysters. Certainly, there did not seem to be anything constructive in quite a lot of their criticisms which would lead one to believe that they had any ambitions to get back to this side of the House. If they had, I do not think their speeches would have wandered off at such a tangent. I do not think they would have made such clearly irresponsible statements.

In view of what was said regarding many of the provisions in the Vote on Account, I think it would not be out of place to give a few undeniable, stubborn and hard facts with regard to agriculture. It is fully realised and admitted that our agricultural exports for 1961 were very much in excess of those for 1960, and 1960 was in itself a record year. The volume of our agricultural production at home, both in 1960 and in 1961, has also increased. It is estimated that an extra £8 million has gone into the farmers' pockets.

It might be no harm for us to review briefly some of the help given out of general taxation towards helping the agricultural community. There are various price supports—almost in the region of £12 million. We have the fertiliser scheme which has as its aim increased production from the land. It is being subsidised to the extent of £2 million or £3 million. We have that other useful scheme—the bovine tuberculosis eradication scheme. Various sums are also provided under the heading of education and advisory services, not to mention the amount of money [1537] spent on trying to get the land reclaimed and put into useful production.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan  Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan  You mean all that is left of the Land Project after you raided it.

Mr. Dolan: Information on Séamus Dolan  Zoom on Séamus Dolan  Deputy Donegan may not like to hear solid, cold facts.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  He does not believe in facts.

Mr. Dolan: Information on Séamus Dolan  Zoom on Séamus Dolan  I have observed the Deputy angling to get into the front bench, but from what I have heard from him, I would have no hesitation, if I were connected with his Party, in putting him in the back bench. It would be more appropriate for him there. As he interrupted me, I will have to answer him with facts which he may not like to hear.

Mr. Donegan: Information on Patrick S. Donegan  Zoom on Patrick S. Donegan  Get off me and talk about the Vote on Account.

Mr. Dolan: Information on Séamus Dolan  Zoom on Séamus Dolan  The Government have provided money for all those schemes, including land reclamation. They have abandoned the scheme of spending £500 per acre on land under the so-called Land Project and provided a scheme which every farmer knows constitutes an intelligent approach to the matter. I am not boasting about all the support given out of taxation to the farming community—by no means. I am merely stating these few facts in view of the moans we heard from the other side and in view of the fact that some of them would like the people to believe that we on this side of the House were totally and fully engaged in the process of trying to squeeze the ordinary farmers out of existence.

Anyone who approaches agriculture from a sane point of view will realise that there are many difficulties which beset any agricultural community, and notably the Irish community. We are in the difficult position that we have to export about one-third of our surplus agricultural goods. We have to export these goods in a highly competitive market—a market into which goods are sent from many other countries. These goods are subsidised by industries in those countries and we [1538] have to compete in those difficult circumstances. Everybody realises that that leaves the Irish producer in a difficult position.

In that respect, I think it would be no harm if we paid more attention to pig production, to the production of a higher grade of pigs for export to these markets and to a more intensive campaign in advertising our goods abroad, so that even our exiles in these countries would stand behind our products and support them, not only because they have personal ties with this country but also because the goods we are producing are better than anything else in the market at the same price.

We all know the difficult problem of milk production in this country. The Government have been making efforts to have our surplus milk channelled to other purposes and milk powder factories are being established. I do not say that this will solve the problem because we shall be up against the difficulty of finding a market, but, at the same time, it must be admitted that of the total increase the milk producers got over the last decade, what they got from the Opposition was only a halfpenny per gallon.

The position with regard to wheat is that we now grow more than we need. Only about 75 per cent. of our total wheat yield is all that is needed by the millers. It is a well-known fact that in countries where the standard of living is increased, the consumption of bread decreases and that is one of the principal reasons for the decrease in the amount of wheat needed in this country. So far as the millability of wheat is concerned, there may have been some cases in which wheat was rejected by one miller and allowed to go through somewhere else, but generally these were exceptional cases. There is need for some standard of millability, in view of the decrease in the consumption of bread.

It is known that when we go into the E.E.C., there will be a gradual process whereby various difficulties of agriculture will be smoothed out and it is expected that by 1970 the whole [1539] position will be more or less harmonised. Frequently very loose comparisons are made between this country and the member countries of E.E.C. and that is particularly so in relation to milk. I do not think sufficient regard is paid to the standard of milk production and to the price per gallon in these countries and I refer particularly to the fat content of the milk. There are also different standards in respect of wheat moisture.

I make these points about agriculture to reassure the people that the Government do not feel that agriculture is down and out or that the people engaged in it are being wiped off the face of rural Ireland. Very far from it —the Government are very concerned and are studying the matter day by day to see how they can help the agricultural community. There has been much loose talk about the depopulation of our rural districts, but, as Deputy Leneghan has said, these people were living on congested farms. That was not their natural pattern; they were not there through choice; but they managed to live there until two World Wars came and produce from their farms was no longer sufficient to sustain them. Everything possible should be done to transfer people from the congested areas to better farms in the rich lands.

Every effort should be made to help forestry in those rural areas. It is gratifying to know that we are now able to plant 25,000 acres a year, but I think it will be more difficult in the future to acquire land, in view of the new fencing grants that have been introduced to help the sheep farmer to protect his stock from foxes and dogs and to help to build up the sheep economy of these areas which had been rather neglected. People in the areas where shelter belts have been planted now realise that not alone do they help forests but they also improve the grass content of these areas. Farmers are still able to graze the same number of sheep through the shelter belts, in spite of the fact that half the farms may have been given over to forestry. Strip forestry in some of these areas would be an advantage [1540] because the care of it could be handed over to the neighbouring farmers.

The Government have been concentrating very much on building down through the years and rightly so. A people well housed are a comfortable people. In view of the legacy of dilapidated, worn-down buildings which we inherited, it is gratifying to see the Government pushing the building of houses with such speed. There are many houses that still need to be renovated and replaced. Dismay was expressed by the local authorities in 1956 and 1957 when the housing programme almost collapsed for want of finance. In those days, many people in my county and other counties who had made application for housing grants found there was no money to meet them. However, that is past history. Let us hope such a situation will never develop again and that the housing problem will be pursued until every family has a decent house to live in.

Tourism can help in some little way to improve the economy of farmers living in some of our backward areas. Even though these areas may not have been blessed with productive land, God has given them good lakes and rivers and wild mountainsides. In recent years, many of these areas have become tourist centres. It is well known that if these places were properly advertised and such amenities as water and sewerage provided, there would be a great influx of fishing tourists, particularly those interested in coarse fishing, from the big cities in England, not to mention many of our own exiles in America who would be willing to come back if there were a vacant house where they could spend a month's holiday amongst the people they knew growing up.

The Government have endeavoured to encourage the establishment of industry in some of these areas. Listening to the tale of woe from the other side, I think foreigners would seek information from other quarters before venturing into these areas if they believed they were so bad as has been stated here. The Government [1541] realise that those establishing new industries naturally like to be near the seaports and the main roads, but now since rural electrification has been extended and the main roads throughout the country are made up to a reasonably good common standard, many of the people anxious to establish industry here could profitably go to these areas. To make it worth their while, the Government have given special grants for people establishing industries in those areas; and they make no apology for doing so. In view of the poverty existing in those areas and the congestion in which the people have had to live, I do not think any fair-minded Deputy would regard it as unfair for the Government to draw on the public purse to support them in the effort to attract industry.

That might help to arrest some of the emigration from these areas, but it is well known to anybody who has given the problem any serious thought that emigration does not always occur among the poorer sections of the community. Many people who have received a university education here, subsidised by the taxpayers, have emigrated. Instead of giving this country the benefit of their education, they have gone to work in other countries, despite the fact that jobs were available for them here. Of course, we cannot have loose talk about curbing the individual's freedom to go abroad, if he wishes, but I do not think it is to the credit of any side of the House to bemoan these areas and take pride, if you like, in the conditions in such areas.

This is a problem to the resolving of which everybody should try to apply the best brains possible. We know there has been a drift from the land not only here but in most countries, even in America. I know of many places in America where schools and colleges had to be closed because of the drift to the cities. It is gratifying to know that something is being done in this direction and that, despite how much emigration we may have, there will always be people content and willing to remain in these areas. Perhaps, when all is said and [1542] done, they may have there a more rewarding and enjoyable life.

I have put forward only a few minor points. I could have said something about the social services which have been provided. A few people mentioned the old age pensioners. No doubt, at all times the old age pensioners find it rather difficult to exist on their meagre pensions. But surely it has never been suggested by any Deputy that the old age pensioners are expected to live on the meagre allowances paid to them out of State funds? One would think that children in 1960, 1961 and 1962 would have more respect for their parents than to leave them in such a plight. I know that where it has been proved they are unable to exist on these allowances, help is forthcoming from other quarters. The Government have at all times considered raising the old age pension and in many cases have given increases. It is a far cry from the day when the solution in some quarters was to take a shilling off the old age pensioners.

I have put forward these two points because I believe the extra money being asked for in this Vote on Account is needed to maintain the services and to pay the increases granted to many sections of our people. People must realise that money cannot be got ad lib.: taxation must provide it. At any rate, it is one of the ways of getting it. I realise it is the duty of an Opposition to criticise, and I do not mind constructive criticism, but I certainly do not like the sort of criticism designed to gain a temporary advantage and to try to convey to the people that everything is not well.

I believe, and the people on this side of the House believe that conditions at present are very stable. The Irish people have the faith to survive. They survived many vicissitudes in the past. The Irish worker is fit and able to meet any competition from abroad. When he goes abroad, his services are always sought. Let us hope that those people who have received increases will, if they have any money to spare, put it into loans for the benefit of the other sections of the community and [1543] assist industry and help to put more people into employment. There is no need for despondency or gloom. The future is bright. We have good leadership and there is no need for anybody to fear association with members of the European Economic Community or fear our entry into it. Every encouragement, at all levels, is being given and will willingly be given on the home front to people to achieve a higher standard of living and to pass on better conditions to coming generations.

In conclusion, I should like to say that in view of our almost certain entry into the European Economic Community, we should stress our approach towards our own national ideals. Everything we can do to preserve our individuality as a nation should be done and it should be the aim of every Deputy to do all he can to that end. If we are not good nationally, I do not believe we can ever expect to be good internationally.

Mr. R. Barry: Information on Richard Barry  Zoom on Richard Barry  I do not know whether the speech made by Deputy Dolan was his maiden speech or not. If it was, I want to honour the age-old practice of expressing my sincere congratulations to him. If it was not his maiden speech and if in fact he had spoken here since the election on 4th October, I want to say that the farmers and the people in my constituency of North-East Cork would much prefer to have him as Minister for Agriculture than his senior Deputy for that constituency, Deputy Smith.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  Do not be giving him ideas.

Mr. R. Barry: Information on Richard Barry  Zoom on Richard Barry  I am intervening in this debate in order to join with my colleagues on the Fine Gael benches in trying to point out to the Taoiseach and members of the Government that their approach to the problems we are now facing, and the statements they have been making inside and outside this House are not in fact contributing anything to their solution. The Taoiseach spoke last Thursday and as I sat here on this very seat listening to him, I wondered if he believed the things he was saying. I wondered, [1544] because I always believed him to be a very sincere and straight man. If he did believe them, I wondered if he was completely out of touch with the country. If he was not sincere, which I do not accept, there can be no doubt that he was completely out of touch.

I would be lacking in my duty as a Deputy representing the new Cork North-East constituency which stretches from Charleville on the one side to Youghal on the other, covering a distance of some 90 miles, and comprising a great number of farmers, big and small, if I did not express their view here as they themselves expressed it last Friday when they marched through Patrick Street in Cork to the courthouse where the county council meeting was being held. I do not think that we in this House should ignore the parades of the farmers, no matter in what county they may be held, whether it is in Cork or Donegal, because the farmer is not easily moved to such a line of action. When the chairman of the county council who is here on my right, and who is my colleague in the same constituency, and I saw 10,000 to 12,000 people parading outside the courthouse, we could not but ask ourselves the question, almost simultaneously: “What is wrong here?” That parade, of course, was organised days before last Friday. The fact that the Taoiseach spoke on Thursday and made a deliberate, brazen and outrageous attack on the National Farmers Association for their action in promoting those marches did not help Deputy Burton and myself in talking to those agitated farmers.

I accept that the Taoiseach is a very sincere man and I accept that when he spoke here last Thursday and attacked the National Farmers Association and the farmers generally, as he did, he probably believed that he was right. The people I blame most for allowing him to do that are his backbenchers in Fianna Fáil. He must have had people like Deputy Corry and Deputy Moher from North-East Cork also, to advise him as to how the farmers feel in regard to the difficult situation in which they find themselves.

Talking about Deputy Corry, I [1545] have here the Dáil Debates of barely 12 months ago. I quote what he said at column 335, Volume 187, of 9th March, 1961. It is in fact 12 months and a week old. Speaking then on the Vote on Account, he said:

There are in that respect——

he was talking about agriculture——

a couple of things to which I should like to call notice. I should like to ask if there is any hope of ending the tide of emigration.

He referred to that later. He goes on to agriculture and says:

The position in regard to agriculture is not so happy. The time has arrived when the Minister for Finance and the Government will have to look at the question of rates on agricultural land from an entirely new standpoint. The prices for agricultural produce have remained either static or very much reduced over the past few years. In 1952 and 1953 the price of feeding barley was around 48/- per barrel; today it is 38/- per barrel. The price of wheat dropped from 82/6d. per barrel to 70/- a barrel. As a result of the bovine T.B. eradication scheme there is a cloud over the livestock industry generally...

Those were the remarks of Deputy Corry barely a year ago. In view of them, can we on this side of the House be accused of overstating the facts in relation to the farmers? In re-stating these facts today, I put forward the hope that before the debate ends, Deputy Corry will rise and give us the picture of the improvements he forecast 12 months ago. I do not think that is likely to happen. I believe we will not see him in the House again until the division bell rings.

There is no doubt that despite what Government Deputies have been saying, the farmers' position now is much worse than it was last year. They are now faced with reduced prices for practically everything they have to sell, with the possibility of getting less for milk and a reduced price for wheat. They are faced with this smaller price for milk at a time when [1546] every Deputy knows there are 12,000 tons of surplus butter in cold storage at the start of a season in milk production which promises to be the best since the foundation of the State.

I wonder where we are going? We are entitled to ask on behalf of the farmers of north-east Cork, of Donegal, of Cavan and elsewhere, what hope they had while Fianna Fáil are in power. Over the past five years, as Deputy Corry stated, farmers have had to make do with reduced incomes and as well, to face added charges in rates and other overheads and some of them who voted for Fianna Fáil in the general election are doubtless wondering when the tune will be called, when they will get an opportunity of being able to pay the piper. I am now asking the Minister for Finance and the Government to take cognisance of these facts and in the framing of the Budget, to show more consideration for the claims of the farmers which have been put forward by the National Farmers Association.

There is another section of the community who also deserve consideration and who, in my honest opinion, are worse off than the farmers. I refer to shopkeepers and business people in small towns and villages throughout the country. If there is any section who have a genuinely serious grievance, it is those people who have had to suffer a progressive decline in business because of emigration and increased rates, electricity charges, wages and other overheads during the past number of years. In my own town of Fermoy and in other towns throughout east Cork, the position is that many of those people are barely hanging on to their businesses by drawing on the little money they had accumulated from the 1920s onwards.

The Taoiseach and Minister for Finance must be reasonably in touch with that section of the community, judging by remarks they have made recently and I hope they will show some consideration for them when they are framing the Budget. Some of those people lived very happily when the pattern of Irish business and of Irish agriculture was much different from what it is to-day. They remember the [1547] time when the farmer and his wife came into town on market day, the farmer taking with him his oats and hay and his wife bringing eggs and poultry. Unfortunately, that pattern has changed and the towns and villages have suffered to such an extent that some of them will be growing grass long before some of us in this House will be under the grass.

Mr. Leneghan: Information on Joseph R. Leneghan  Zoom on Joseph R. Leneghan  Nobody is rich now.

Mr. R. Barry: Information on Richard Barry  Zoom on Richard Barry  The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and those Fianna Fáil Deputies now in the House will agree that I have made a genuine case on behalf of these people. I am not in the habit of painting a gloomy picture for political ends. We are all Irishmen in this House, whether we be Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour or Independent, and we should all like to be able to go back to the country and tell these people that we have made efforts to improve their lot.

When we look at the figure in the Book of Estimates before us, the most frightening impact it makes is that in respect of a small section of the community who have worked for years, the pensioners. Whether they are Civil Service pensioners, local authority pensioners, retired school-teachers or old age pensioners, the level of their income, having regard to the present cost of living, is unjust, if not entirely disgraceful, and I am appealing to the Government, when framing the Budget, no matter where the money comes from, to show some concern for that section who have served the country so well during the past number of years.

I do not want to delay the House but I should like to say that this small country of ours cannot afford to go on indefinitely increasing its outlay at the rate of £8,000,000 a year. There is, I think, an inordinate desire and craze on the part of the Government and local authorities to employ new techniques; with the new techniques come new technicians: with the new technicians come new consultants; with the new consultants more consultants; with more consultants [1548] come more management experts. It is time we took notice of what is evolving because if we go too far in that direction east will ultimately be west. We cannot afford in this small country to go on employing experts indefinitely. Remember, it is experts on experts we are having now, and experts on experts mean experts squared. It is time we took stock of our administrative and financial capacity to keep going in this direction.

The really serious issue in relation to the rising cost of government is the declining number of people left to bear the burden. It is no pleasure for me, on this side of the House, to say that 250,000 people left this country in the last five years. But that is a plain statistical fact and there is no use in anyone, in Fianna Fáil or outside this House, telling me that those people left because they wanted to see what Liverpool was like, what Birmingham was like, what London was like, what America was like. The vast majority left only because of the low economic standard set for them here. They could not find a living in their own land.

I appeal to the Government to take stock of the existing situation. I am surprised that the Taoiseach, the Minister for Finance, and the other members of the Government, have not been told by their own backbenchers what the situation is. Indeed, I believe they have been told. I also believe that they did not take any notice of what they were told by Deputies representing rural areas. The Government are living in a Utopia, of which Dublin is the centre and Dublin county is the boundary. I appeal in all sincerity now to the Government to change their attitude. We, on this side of the House, right from our Leader, Deputy James Dillon, down to the humblest backbencher like myself, are prepared to help, but we cannot help unless and until the Government admit the problems are there. The unfortunate thing is that we on this side of the House are anxious to help, but how can we help a Government which emphatically denies problems exist? The plain fact of the matter is that there is a serious economic problem. [1549] Whatever the origin of that problem, the whole country is now concerned and it will need an all-out national effort to solve the problem. I appeal to the Government to join with us in accepting the problem that is there. We, on his side of the House, assure the Taoiseach, the Minister and the Government that we will—we are in duty bound to—give them all the help we can from our experience.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  It is regrettable to have to state that since the Minister's opening statement a new difficulty has arisen for a certain percentage of our population. I refer to the havoc and destruction caused by the tidal waves and flooding last week. I assume the Government will take steps similar to those taken during 1955 when Dublin city suffered similar damage. I assume a fund will be provided to make compensation available. If that is not done it will be difficult for many of these people to make good the extensive damage they have suffered. I have no doubt the Minister will address himself to this matter in his concluding statement. He has now entered the House and I should like to repeat briefly that I have been referring to the extensive damage caused over a wide area——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I doubt if the matter is one for the Vote on Account. Anyway, the Deputy has referred to it, and it is not in order to repeat it.

Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  It is completely in order. We are voting a sum of almost £15,000,000 for public expenditure to defray public charges for the next four months. I am assuming, I think reasonably, that this will be an additional charge. This charge did not exist when the Minister made his opening statement. This Vote on Account covers the period up to 31st July next. I assume that this problem will be dealt with by that date.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Chair has pointed out to the Deputy that he has already referred to the matter, and the Deputy gave notice that he wanted to repeat the statement.

[1550]Mr. M.P. Murphy: Information on Michael Pat Murphy  Zoom on Michael Pat Murphy  That was because the Minister was not in the House. Not only was there damage to personal property but there was also damage to public property. It will be essential for central funds, together with local funds, to come to the rescue there also. In making these statements I am mindful of the difficulty of finding additional funds. I am well aware that this money will have to come out of the people's pockets. It will not fall from heaven like manna. I represent a constituency which suffered a good deal of damage and I believe there is an obligation on public funds to help when such an emergency arises.

Neither the Taoiseach nor the Minister for Industry and Commerce painted a very rosy picture so far as additional employment is concerned. We suffer extensively from both unemployment and emigration and we are very anxious to help in any way we can to promote additional employment in those areas in which it is so badly needed. I am surprised that the head of the Government should have had so little to say on this matter. It is a big problem not only in the south-west but all along the western seaboard generally. The Taoiseach's attitude is very different from his attitude when he stated—the statement has been repeated ad nauseam—during the inter-Party Government of 1954 to 1957 that, if he had the chance of getting the reins of office again, inside a short period, the unemployment problem would cease to exist. He has held the reins of office in an exceptionally strong way for almost five years, and in a somewhat weaker way for the past six or seven months, and the position is that the necessity for the creation of additional jobs has been entirely forgotten. In no place in the Taoiseach's statement in this debate was it mentioned that it was likely that additional jobs would be provided. Similarly, the Minister for Industry and Commerce had nothing to say about additional employment. We must interpret the statements made during the election campaign as political statements drawn up and made with a view to encouraging or enticing the electorate [1551] to support the Fianna Fáil Party and return them to power.

Since little or no effort is being made to honour those statements so far as employment is concerned we can only conclude, as did a big section of the Irish people in October last, that they were made with deceitful motives. Be that as it may, the Government are in office for whatever length of time they can hold out, but they would be much better employed in devoting their time and energy to promoting employment, keeping our people at home, and not sending them to Birmingham, London, Manchester and other places where many difficulties and problems beset them. It is evident to all of us that while a number of Irish emigrants make a very good impression in every sense of the word in other countries, unfortunately it is a fact that possibly a lesser percentage have to meet difficulties which would not arise for them if they could obtain employment here.

In their review of this Vote on Account the Taoiseach and the Minister mentioned increased economic expansion and the additional remuneration enjoyed by several big sections of the community. The Taoiseach said that when the additional payments have been met, and the additional rates of remuneration have been applied, we will all be very well-to-do, and our economy will expand. I should like to ask the Minister how in the world will the giving of additional remuneration, in many cases to people who are already overpaid for their services, affect the lower income groups?

It must be admitted that small as our population is—some 2¾ million— a big percentage exist on very small incomes. When I speak of the rural workers in the areas along the western and southern seaboard I include, of course, the farming community, the self-employed people as well as the wage earners. The Minister will appreciate that the constituency he represents is in many respects similar to the constituency of Cork south-West. It is very difficult for those [1552] workers who have not got continuous employment and for the small farmers to make ends meet, and to eke out a fair existence or livelihood for themselves and their families.

My colleague, Deputy Barry, complained about the position of the farmers in the constituency of Cork North-East. Anyone who knows the geography of Cork or the position prevailing in the county of Cork knows there is a vast difference between the average farmer in Cork North-East and the average farmer in Cork South-West. Unfortunately, agricultural conditions vary greatly even within the county of Cork, not to speak of the country as a whole. If, as alleged by Deputy Barry and possibly with some merit, the farmers in the Cork North-East constituency are finding it difficult to meet their commitments and to keep up their living standards, how much more must that apply to the farmers in the Cork South-West constituency, many of whom have holdings capable of carrying an average, possibly, of nine or ten cows? As everyone will appreciate, it is indeed extremely difficult now for such farmers to maintain even the standard which they enjoyed in past years.

The Minister for Agriculture was asked a direct question a few weeks ago about increasing the incomes of that section of the community. He made it very clear that the Government have no funds to do so. It seems rather peculiar that the self-employed workers did not get an increase, and apparently are not being considered for an increase. The Minister might have said that he had no funds at his disposal, or that money was scarce, or in short supply, but at the same time, during the same week, a Bill to increase the pay of other sections of the community was circulated. I shall not nominate them, but I refer to a section already enjoying very big salaries.

So far as the economy of our country goes, I maintain that if any man is in receipt of approximately £104 a week for his contribution to the State, we are not in a position to give him any more, and if there is money to be dished out surely the workers, the [1553] small farmers and the business people, as referred to by Deputy Barry, are more entitled to get it. It seemed to me that the Taoiseach was very strong on that point. He said he would stand over the giving of increases from big to small to State employees.

It is indeed a rather peculiar position that we are about to enact legislation granting to one individual, the top individual in this country, a salary of £6,000 annually which, in my constituency, with the wage rates prevailing, would keep 17 men working continuously. It would be a welcome proposition in Cork South-West, or indeed in West Galway or any other constituency labouring under unemployment and emigration problems, if continuous employment could be obtained for so many workers. If the Minister who is responsible for financial matters can find, say, £13 a week extra for a man already in receipt of £5,365 for his work, surely he can find additional money to increase the incomes of those sections I have already mentioned: the working people—wage earners, farmers, and particularly small farmers — shopkeepers and business people in our towns and villages?

The activities of the Government in that direction are establishing a very bad precedent and creating a very bad atmosphere in the country. That type of legislation is to some degree responsible for all the parades throughout the country. It is very hard to blame that section of the community who read in the morning Press that we are giving an additional £6 to £13 a week to another section— and it appears that there is no difficulty about getting the money to do so—while, on the other hand, they cannot get any increase.

A very important sideline of the farming community, the poultry industry, has, as everyone knows, been completely wiped out. In fact, a prominent Fianna Fáil man in the Cork County Committee of Agriculture admitted a week ago that every hen is now dying in debt. I know that the claim was made in relation to this important industry some time ago that, if certain people got an opportunity of dealing with it, [1554] markets would be found and conditions would improve.

Another important sideline of the farming community is pig production. It is evident that profits from that source are declining. That matter warrants more Government attention than, for instance, the question of increasing judicial allowances.

On the subject of creamery milk suppliers, the Minister has made it quite clear that he has no funds at his disposal to help in that direction. He may say we are speaking with two voices here as, if we increase the price to the supplier, the product must increase in price. I said outside almost every church gate in my constituency during the general election campaign that that section of the community is entitled to an increase even if the price of the product must be increased.

There is a vast differential in the incomes of public employees. Take the income of a little more than £6 per week for the average skilled worker employed by the Minister's Department on land and drainage schemes and compare it with an income eighteen times as much which is proposed for the senior member of the Bench. There should be a big differential in the incomes of these people. We appreciate that people with, possibly, very eminent qualifications and on whom a large amount of money was spent in preparing them to attain these qualifications should be paid salaries to which they are entitled, but in a country with a population of 2¾ millions, it is unfair that the work of one public servant should be valued eighteen times higher than the work of the fellow on a lower rung of the ladder. One would think that ten times the wage of an ordinary worker would be a reasonable amount for the more highly paid official.

Apart from that relatively small section of public employees, we notice in the Book of Estimates that several public servants now have salaries of £60 per week or an income of £3,000 a year. It is also noticeable that money was found to increase these salaries still further in the past six or seven months. It may be said that these [1555] people were just as entitled to an increase as the other sections who got them but, instead of commencing at the top of the ladder, the Minister should have commenced at the bottom. The man earning £6 or £7 a week must pay the same sum for the pound of tea, the pound of sugar, the loaf of bread or the stone of flour as any of these people with larger incomes.

It will be increasingly difficult to find the money to pay the big salaries which are meeting with the full approval of the Government. I do not want to labour this point. I am afraid the Government are creating difficulties for themselves. I fear that, in a week or two, we shall hear that the Government propose to increase the wages of some people to a point which will create an atmosphere of dissatisfaction and agitation throughout the country and make things difficult for the Government I am not narrow in my views on this matter. I base my argument on the fact that people with that amount of income are already sufficiently well to do and should not require further consideration.

The uneconomic districts have been the subject of much debate and discussion. Deputies representing those districts make representations here almost every day to the various Government Departments, and have made them to different Governments, for some special concessions for these areas. Large numbers of people have emigrated from these areas. Surely some system could be devised to provide continuous employment for those who are left.

There seems to be no co-ordination between the employing departments and the Department of Social Welfare. I refer to the Departments responsible for giving employment—in particular, the Office of Public Works and the Department of Local Government.

It is a waste of money to give a man £3, £4 or £5 a week unemployment benefit. If, for instance, the Office of Public Works supplemented that amount by a couple of pounds they would get a week's work from a [1556] man. The workers in West Cork do not want unemployment benefit or unemployment assistance but must avail of it in order to exist. Surely there could be some co-ordination between the Department of Social Welfare and the Office of Public Works or the Department of Local Government to supplement that £3 by another £3 thereby gaining the services of a man for a week? The actual cost would represent only £3.

People do not like drawing benefit of any kind. That is my experience of the workers in West Cork. They do not like to take the money they get by way of unemployment benefit or unemployment assistance. They would prefer the opportunity to earn the money. I make that case as a Labour representative who knows the viewpoint of these people quite closely and quite well. With the large number of works yet to be carried out on land rehabilitation, drainage, road improvements, and so on, surely some system could be devised in rural areas to create continuous employment with the help of the funds at present being made available by the Department of Social Welfare in unemployment benefit and unemployment assistance.

I should like to endorse what has been said about the position of people in towns and villages. Trade is declining and many shops in provincial towns and villages that used to enjoy reasonably good patronage are almost closed down. It is very difficult for such people to maintain a reasonable standard of living at present. In common, I am sure, with a number of my colleagues, I frequently receive representations from these people asking for extended time for the payment of rates and other liabilities. It is the duty of the Minister and the Government to address themselves diligently to the problems confronting the small town and country traders. I believe every Deputy who has contributed to this debate would endorse what I have said.

I propose to conclude, as I commenced, by appealing to the Minister to consider representations being made on behalf of those who suffered in last [1557] weeks' disaster and to endeavour, if at all possible, to devise some scheme whereby reasonable compensation will be payable to all who suffered loss or injury.

Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan  Zoom on John McQuillan  I hope to be very brief. One would expect, on the Vote on Account, that some idea of Government policy would become apparent to the public and to members of the House but although I listened to a number of Government speakers and read the contributions of others I am at a loss to know what exactly Government policy is on a number of major issues. The debate has had an air of unreality right through, perhaps because the Chair is responsible for the limiting of discussion and preventing speakers from developing points on Ireland's proposed entry into the Common Market. Seeing that all policy is to be related to this very important decision made by the Government, it seems rather non-sensical that Deputies should be in the position that they cannot discuss Government policy on the Vote on Account in relation to our proposed entry into the Common Market.

It is fair to say that this debate is simply a repetition of what has gone on year after year for the last fifteen years to my personal knowledge since I came into the House. The picture has been painted—and rightly—of things not being well. The same picture has been painted by the Opposition in the past whether they were the group now in Opposition, or Fianna Fáil when in Opposition. The only difference is that the position has steadily deteriorated and the falling population figures make it very serious indeed.

I want to make my position quite clear. Although Opposition Deputies are perfectly accurate in their description of the situation that obtains in rural Ireland and the conditions under which farmers are expected to live and conditions in the rural towns, I say no solution has been offered by them which would alter those conditions. The only solution offered by the major Opposition Party is: put out Fianna Fáil and put us back The [1558] same solution has been offered by Fianna Fáil when they were in Opposition. It is clear that the more Governments change the more they remain the same so far as their activities in the country are concerned. It is a case of tweedledum and tweedledee and I have said that for the last twelve or fourteen years. I have been described as a crank and otherwise but it is quite apparent that the two major Parties have more or less decided that the only reason they might oppose each other is for the fruits of office and these fruits will become smaller as the position of the country deteriorates.

If there is any last scrap of nationality in them they should bury the civil war mentality at this stage and form one group in this House and let the people see who is on the Left and who is on the Right. Let every man be assigned and let us know whether he is in the Conservative or in the Socialist or Left Wing group. We cannot have this mixum-gatherum on both sides that has be-devilled Irish politics for the last 40 years. It is high time there was an air of reality as to where Deputies stand.

There is no use in saying that a mere change of Government would alter the situation. The farming community have been offered that carrot down the years, and for years they swallowed it, but I am very gratified that in the last couple of years a change has been taking place and what I may describe as the slumbering giant—the farming community—is beginning to awake and flex his muscles. If he proceeds along the organisational lines developing at present and if he is properly led, the farmer will find his rightful place in this community and will become a power and will no longer be the stooge he has been up to the present, used as a political football by the two major groups in this House.

This Government are hanging on to office by their fingernails. The votes cast by one or two Dublin Deputies will decide whether or not a general election will be held. In other words, one or two Deputies responsible to the Dublin community alone can make a [1559] decision in regard to the farming community. The decision is not to be made by Fianna Fáil Deputies from rural Ireland; it is to be made by one or two Dublin Deputies. They will decide whether or not the farming community, the rural towns and the workers in rural Ireland should have a say at this stage in determining to reduce the strength of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael until they are forced to form a Government between them. I do not think that day is far off. Personally, I should welcome a general election if it brought about that very desirable first step in clarifying Irish politics for the first time in 40 years.

I have not much to say on this Vote because what I have to say I have been saying for years but I should like to comment on one or two things the Taoiseach said. I want to comment first on his smug, complacent attitude towards the problem of emigration. He gave the impression that emigration was not now the problem it was a few years ago. He was supported in that view by one of his young satellites, the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Lenihan.

What is the position about emigration? I understand from the figures given in this House that approximately 7,000 people have been placed in new jobs in Ireland in the last 12 months. I also understand from the Minister for Transport and Power, Deputy Childers, that a net figure of 2,000 people left the land. I do not accept his statistics as being finally accurate but I do accept them for the purpose of having a figure established in this House today. I will accept for the purpose of discussion that 2,000 people have left the land and left farming jobs in rural Ireland and that 7,000 new jobs have been created. That leaves a net figure of 5,000 new jobs in the country over the 12 months. The figures for the employment exchanges have gone down. There is nothing like the number of people registered as unemployed as there was a few years ago. Where are those people employed? Where are they hiding? Are they in retirement in luxury down the country? Have they all got incomes so that [1560] they no longer need to go to the labour exchange?

What useful purpose is served by stating that emigration is no longer a problem? Has it not been such a problem that all those people who otherwise would be on the unemployment register are in England, America, Canada, New Zealand or some other place, the majority of them in England? That cannot be denied. Were it not for the fact that the British House of Commons and the British employment centres disclosed figures in the last three or four years of the number of Irish people who came to Britain, registered and got permanent jobs, we would have no factual figure of the number going each year. It is beyond dispute that they have been going at an average of 50,000 a year for the last five years.

In spite of that, there is an air of complacency in this House amongst the Government group. There is also an air of complacency outside this House amongst the people in the higher positions in the Church and State who should be the first to condemn any Government for the way the youth have left the country. It is no solution to send half a dozen missioners over to London to preach to young men and women who have had to emigrate and to tell them: “Be good in England.” These people would be much better employed telling the Government in Ireland how to get jobs for Irish people instead of following them up when the damage is done.

It is a disgraceful position that over the last 12 months, since the recent Papal Encyclical was published, members of this House have been moving as far away from that teaching as they possibly could. Only one national newspaper in Ireland had the decency to publish the full encyclical. Another daily newspaper sought to distort the teaching of the Pope. That recent Papal Encyclical was a social manifesto.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Surely that is not connected with the Vote on Account. The Minister has no control over what a newspaper did.

[1561]Mr. Moher: Information on John W. Moher  Zoom on John W. Moher  The Deputy is attacking the Vatican now.

Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan  Zoom on John McQuillan  I am levelling criticism at the people in this House who try to misuse the Vatican. The document produced by the Pope is one of the finest social documents of the century and has made it quite clear that the type of private enterprise such as has been in operation in Ireland for 40 years is one that should be changed. If we examine that document closely we shall find running through it a condemnation of the system in operation in this country in regard to industry and agriculture and in regard to the vested interests that exploit the public, the worker and the farmer.

There was a statement here from the Taoiseach of all the grants that are being given to the farming community. I know that for years the Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass, has had no time whatever for the farming community or for rural Ireland. I know he regards with impatience the idea of even paying a visit down the country. He is obsessed with business, the interests of company directors, little factories processing raw material from abroad, little assembly industries, and so on. His mind has been on that for the last 30 years. He has no time for farming, from which the real wealth of the country comes, and his Party was not strong enough to force him to recognise that fact. The tragedy of it is that the very foundation of our economy, agriculture, is our weakest link due to neglect over the years by the Government, whereas industry, which has been pampered, petted and protected and on which the Taoiseach, admittedly, has worked so hard has now to face the cold blast of competition from Europe.

Who will suffer on this account? Is it the company directors? Is it the group who got money to start factories? If anybody will suffer it is the worker because the Irish directors of a number of the protected industries that have been here over the years are now preparing to sell out to join larger groups so that they themselves will be saved, and will not lose their Jaguars [1562] or their yachts. The people who have been depending for years for their livelihood on these industries will go to the wall. They will have to travel to France, Germany and Denmark if and when there is a free flow of men as well as goods.

Let me deal with the Taoiseach's criticism of the farming community. He lashed out at the N.F.A. last week for daring to bite the hand that fed it and pointed to all the grants that were given. He dealt with fertiliser grants and the subsidies given to help the farmers. Who gets the benefit of the fertiliser subsidy? Is it the farmer who gets it direct or the fertiliser companies? What guarantee have the farmers that they would not be able to get fertilisers at a much more economic cost if these companies' accounts were open to inspection and if, instead of having the subsidy handed to them as it is, fertilisers were allowed in from abroad on a competitive basis?

The Taoiseach told us there was no end to the money being poured into rural Ireland for the elimination of bovine tuberculosis. Admittedly, large sums are being spent. It is no thanks to the Government. They must do it because it has been done in Britain. They must do it to get admittance for our store cattle and livestock to the British market. In the process fantastic sums are wasted on the machinery being utilised to eradicate bovine T.B. because it was not done properly over a period of years. It was not started in time and it is a rushed job.

I have no criticism to offer of the profession which is reaping huge profits on the programme taking place; it is their luck; but the farmers are not lucky. They are not making on this. I do not see why the Taoiseach should say the money is being paid into the farmers' pockets under the T.B. scheme. This is a matter for the nation, which is almost totally dependent on the livestock trade. If that goes by the board then the Taoiseach's industrial concerns and [1563] all the other types of economic activity will suffer as well. It is in the national interest that money should be spent on the eradication of bovine tuberculosis.

We are told by the Taoiseach that grants are given for farm buildings, land reclamation and drainage. Let me put this point clearly to the House. What use is a grant to a farmer, if, when he produces more goods, he finds he has no market for them? The Taoiseach asks us to look at all the money we are giving the farmers. The poultry industry was mentioned. Mention was also made of turkeys and pigs. What happened when there was an increase in output over the year? The minute the farmer produced, the bottom fell out of his market. When he was exhorted to produce more, he got less for his pains.

Does anybody think that the farmer is a fool? Is the farmer to be blamed because he cannot sell his butter in Britain? Is the farmer to be blamed because he was not able to sell his eggs or poultry in Britain? Is the small farmer with 25 to 50 acres and even 100 acres to blame when he rears pigs, brings them to the market or fair and is then told by a buyer that he is not interested? Is it the farmer's fault when the bottom falls out of the bacon industry? I do not think it is. The farmer has produced all along the line when he was encouraged to do so but he never got the results, the market, the guarantee of continuity for the sale of his produce.

Now the farmer is organising and he is criticised by the Government. He is told that he is biting the hand that fed him. “We are giving them public assistance in the form of grants and now they are whinging”—that is the Taoiseach's argument. The farmer has not asked for this. The farmer is not looking for public assistance. He will not be treated as some kind of poor relation of protected industry.

The farmer wants markets for his produce and if he gets the markets he will produce. What attempt was made [1564] by the Government to get the markets for butter? This is not a new problem. What markets have been secured for bacon, poultry and eggs? The market has been there over the years. It was there in spite of the Government; it was there because the British farmer needed Irish stock; it was there when we had not even a ship to carry the Irish cattle. British buyers started the cattle marts in many parts of Ireland. British buyers make the arrangements for the transport of the cattle and for their distribution in England.

The Government cannot claim any credit for the cattle trade. They have nothing to do with the marketing of the cattle. What have they done with regard to poultry, bacon, eggs and other agricultural produce? I have not seen any steps taken over the years by the Government to do anything about those matters.

I saw a sum of £250,000 voted in this House to enable the Government to explore immediately the possibility of setting up marketing boards and proper marketing channels for the farming community in the lines I mentioned? What is being spent on that? I do not think that even one-twentieth of that sum is spent so far. Can you blame the farmers then? Is it right for the Taoiseach to issue this diatribe on that section of the community, particularly the smaller farmer? It is a serious matter and shows that the Taoiseach is far removed from realities.

The question of marketing is a responsibility of the State. If the State asks the farmers to produce more, it is only logical to suggest that some channel be provided through which that increased production can be got rid of at a price that will remunerate the farmer. That channel has not been provided. Now the farmers want to set up their own channel. I think they should be encouraged. Let us be quite clear. The system in operation was what was described as private enterprise. It was allowed, without order, co-operation or anything else, to reap its profits and there was no guarantee of continuity of supply so far as the purchaser was concerned in Britain or elsewhere.

[1565] In other words, the producer took the advice to heart and produced more but by the time his product reached the consumer, a horde of bandits descended on his produce and all made their profit until it reached the actual consumer. No discipline was imposed. No effort was made to prevent exploitation. No effort was made to prevent the markets being choked. No effort was made to prevent the depression of prices. Agents were allowed to manipulate prices in the different fairs, markets and sales to suit themselves. There was no interference because it was all done in the sacred name of private enterprise. You cannot interfere with the individual, although those individuals were in turn exploiting a large section of the community, the producer.

I think that at that stage these people should be brought to heel. That is a form of socialism praised by the late Pope. It is a form of socialism which I hope to see encouraged and expanded in this country, in spite of a lot of the Biddies we have inside and outside this House who condemn the idea of State interference as being something wrong. Where we have State interference, we have discipline and a sense of security.

We have it in companies like Bord na Móna and the Sugar Company. Admittedly, there is a case to be made —and some Deputies made it—for bringing these companies even more under the control of the House so that we can exercise more control on certain of their activities. That is only a detail. In the broad field, these State companies are the only groups in the State doing a first class job. I shall not refer to them in any great detail except to give an example of what the Sugar Company attempts to do in its own field to help the farmer to get into horticulture and have processed in this country the produce of the land.

The company intends to get a market. It intends to make fertilisers, seed, capital and machinery available to the farming community to produce these goods. What happened? We had an outcry from a number of private companies in the State who said they were being put out of business. They said [1566] the Sugar Company was going to squeeze them out. These companies got to the Government's ear and the Sugar Company is prohibited by the Government from selling more than 10 per cent. of its produce on the home market. It is scandalous to see a company, wholly Irish, employing Irishmen, producing its goods from the Irish soil and with Irish labour, being thwarted because of a suggestion that it is likely to hurt a number of companies in Ireland which are allegedly in the same field. The whole thing is outrageous, to put it mildly.

Some of these other companies import their agricultural raw material from Denmark and other countries and they simply process it or can it here. They have the audacity to describe themselves as producing Irish foodstuffs. Are they to get protection against competition by the Irish Sugar Company? Is there not room for the State to move in and discipline the field in that regard, to open up avenues for an Irish company so that it can develop along the proper lines?

Why have the Government not made an attempt to develop other lines except the cattle trade in Britain? How many trade attachés have we in London? How many individuals with a knowledge of agriculture are employed by the Government at the moment in France or Germany, or any of the other European countries to search out markets in them? In 1955, I made a trip to one or two European countries and to Britain and, as a result, I put questions down here about the cost of the London and Paris Embassies. The two together cost £500,000. In the London Embassy, there was a staff of 24 and one of these was employed full-time in the sale of agricultural products. In France, there was a staff of 12 and one of these was a part-time officer whose speciality was looking after the sale of agricultural products.

I know there are brilliant men and intellectuals in our embassies abroad but we can ill-afford the services of such people to keep up a semblance of royalty in these other countries and to ape countries which have far [1567] more resources than we have. Instead, we should have utilised our money to look after the trade interests of our country. The blame cannot be laid at the doors of the officials of the Department of External Affairs. It is the Government who are to be blamed for seeking status on the same basis as countries with 40 times our resources. Our Government are keeping up with the Joneses.

I am not satisfied with the employment content in the industrial field, having regard to the grants given under the Undeveloped Areas Acts to bring foreigners into industry here. At least 50 per cent. of the people who have got employment in these industries are girls. Let me not be misunderstood. I have no objection in the world to employment being given to girls, but I feel that the emphasis in industry should be on the male employment content. To my knowledge, where female labour is employed in a number of factories, the wages are scandalous. The girls are employed from 14 to 18 years of age and paid at the lowest possible rate and then, when they come to 18 years, their services are dispensed with. Why is there not some inspection of those factories and some control exercised by the State instead of giving money to outfits that exploit the worker? Were it not that the trade unions interfered, there would not be any improvement at all.

A number of the new concerns that started operations here came in with obsolete machinery. In their parent factories, they have been putting in the latest automation and the most up to date machinery. They are bringing the machinery out of these factories to this country and grants are being made available to them for the purchase of this machinery. There is nothing to prevent them from increasing the estimate of what they think this machinery is worth. They are getting paid for bringing obsolete machinery over here and, in addition, they have ten years in which they pay no tax.

They employ a few girls at the lowest possible rate of wages. Is that a fair situation? Is it fair for the [1568] Government to say that 7,000 new jobs were created last year, without telling the rate of wages of the young people working in these jobs? I cannot understand why we are so anxious to tell people outside of the wonderful pool of cheap labour and the wonderful grants that are available in order to bring in industries that are simply assembly industries—a piece of thread, a bit of glue and a little skill. And all the parts used in those industries are brought from abroad.

If anyone in rural Ireland wishes to start in a big way in the growing of fruit and vegetables, the local bank manager would probably fire a double-barrelled shotgun at him. When an Irish company want to expand the production and processing of Irish fruits, they are told that they cannot sell more than 10 per cent. of their output in this country because if they sold more they would harm X, Y and Z factories which have their headquarters outside this country. As far as our industrial wing is concerned, the only thing it has done is to give employment to Mary Ellen and Michael Pat who might have otherwise been working in Manchester and other English cities at £10, £15 or maybe £20 a week. Instead, they are now working in some part of Ireland at half that figure or less.

However, the people who are employing them are getting equally as big a dividend as the people who would have been employing them in England. There are lower wages in Ireland but not lower profits. Can anybody tell me why it is possible for a firm to come half-way round the world from a country where there is a surplus population and the lowest possible wages to this country and set up an assembly factory here? Is it because they know they can get coolie labour as cheap in Ireland as in the country from which they come? I do not think that is a healthy state of affairs and it would be far better if we concentrated on our agriculture and the products that come from it.

It amazes me to listen to the unctuous voices on the radio telling the people that another new factory has been set up in X town, that 25 or 50 people are to be employed initially [1569] and that it is hoped that number will increase to 200 in 18 months' time. How many of those concerns have reached the minimum since they were set up? How many of them have gone the other 50 per cent. in employment content in the past five years? How many of them who started off with 30 employees and promised they would reach 300 within two or three years have done so? We never get those figures. It is always a fair carrot to say “Right. We are starting off with 30 but we may have 100 or 200 before we finish.” But I have yet to see the 100 or 200. There is no incentive to these people to give extra employment if they have ten years to make their money here and then depart.

The Minister may not like these statements. I want to make it quite clear to him that, bad and all as it is to be handing out State money without any control over its expenditure, without any safeguards on the people's money, it is far worse to find Irish land left on the open market so that these people can not alone come in and establish industries but can buy up Irish land to the detriment of our farming community.

I do not care what anybody outside or inside this House may think of what I have to say. I am against that. I hope I will not be described as being narrow minded in this. I welcome the idea of visitors coming here. I have nothing against the tourist trade, but I have everything against allowing the tourist to remain here and oust Irishmen. If any Deputy thinks that the foreigner, no matter how good he may be, should have the same rights in Ireland as an Irishman, let him examine his conscience and examine also our Constitution, in which it is made quite clear that the Government's objective must be to set up the greatest number of economic holdings on which Irish people can make a reasonable living. I am not saying anything against foreigners as individuals or in their private capacities, but it would be a betrayal of that principle and a great tragedy if they were allowed to displace [1570] the Irish in their own country. They can do that if they are allowed in here without any form of restriction. I hope the Government will keep a weather eye open in that regard.

The Government's chances of lasting any length of time are slim. I would ask the Minister at this stage to get his Taoiseach to consult with the Leader of Fine Gael, Deputy Dillon. I saw the two of them in close conversation around the Bishop of Clonfert at a recent conference. I think the Bishop of Clonfert should resume his conference, call these two men together and tell them, since there is no difference between them, instead of play-acting in this House, to get together in one Party and form the next Government so that the Irish people will have an opportunity of judging on a political philosophy and of seeing the results of a combined approach to a question rather than the approaches of two different Parties with the same policy. Until that is done there is very little hope for this country. It must be done soon. It must be done if there is any question of the Common Market.

On that issue, Deputy Dillon has stated that Fine Gael are better negotiators than Fianna Fáil. That was his only criticism of the team going over for this Government. We know that as far as the team going to the Common Market negotiations is concerned it does not matter one iota whether it is Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil. No one need try to cod the public that one is a better team than the other. The material either team would have to use is limited and is the same. Our bargaining power is limited. But, at least, if they got together at this stage it would clear the field for proper political development here.

Mr. J.A. Costello: Information on John Aloysius Costello  Zoom on John Aloysius Costello  The last speaker has certainly put out a number of very alluring temptations to Deputies but I propose, in the dying stages of this debate, to confine myself to two topics and, with your permission, Sir, to make one comment on a matter which I think the public interest requires should be commented upon.

In the course of the last general [1571] election I carried out a practice I had endeavoured all the time to adhere to at general elections, not to give any pledges or make any promises. As far as I made anything in the nature of a promise and an indication of my attitude towards certain topics, I did give something in the nature of a firm promise that I would at the first opportunity raise the question of the rights of Civil Service pensioners and pensioners of the Garda Síochána. In fulfilment of that promise I wish to make a few observations today.

I regret that a perusal of the Book of Estimates does not show or give any hope of finding that the Minister has made up his mind to formulate a comprehensive scheme for the pensioners to whom I have referred. I would hope when he is concluding he will give some indication of his policy in that respect. Certain remedial measures were taken and some relief was given in the Bill passed in 1959, the Pensions Increases Act of that year. From a humane point of view, having regard to their sufferings, even to the borders of starvation, and having regard to the efforts they have made, these people are worthy of consideration. I would appeal to the Minister that in this question, which I believe to be a non-Party question, he would give his best interest and use his utmost endeavours to secure a final resolution of this problem, which has been faced only piecemeal in the course of the last few years.

The case of these civil servants and Garda pensioners can be stated in just three short propositions. It is the only matter I intend to refer to to-night. These pensioners are suffering seriously from the reduced purchasing power of their pensions. Those who retired before the 1st November, 1955, got merely minimum compensation. Those who retired since that did not get any, or any sufficient, increase. The claim, put shortly, is that when there is an increase in the cost of living or a fall in the purchasing power of money, the pensions of retired personnel be increased pari passu the salaries of serving State servants. There are seven or eight or even more different rates of pensions for officials [1572] who retired in the interval since 1948, to whom equal pension rights should apply.

I do not intend to make a lengthy speech or even make a speech in advocating the claims of these people. I gave such promises as I did—and it did not amount to a pledge—during the general election not because I wished to get any votes but because I had known these people in the Service and outside the Service. I have known the suffering they have had to endure because of the fall in the purchasing power of money. Not merely were they flouted in their own efforts, but they also saw serving civil servants getting increases and nothing being done for them.

I ask the Minister to give as serious consideration as he can to this matter. I know the usual answer from every Minister for Finance and from the Department of Finance is: “Where is the money to come from?” The amount of money involved, compared with the huge figure on the face of the Book of Estimates, is the merest trifle. At all events, the money could be got very easily by savings under various subheads.

I travel frequently from Dublin to Cork and every time I go on that journey, I wonder how much public money is spent on the roads of Ireland. There must be a vast sum of money being expended in this sum of £148,373,960 not only on the road programme, on turning the roads into good tourist roads, taking away dangerous corners, and dealing to some extent with country roads, but there must be a colossal figure for turning what are fairly good roads into roads with two carriageways and three or four carriageways. While it is very pleasant to be able to knock three-quarters of an hour off your journey to Cork, the amount of money being spent is not realised by the public.

I suggest that—I am using a phrase once dear to the Department of Finance—by raiding the Road Fund, they might at least, if they have not any other source, take the small item that would be necessary to discharge this human claim for these State pensioners. [1573] There are other ways in which money could be saved also. It is ridiculous that there should be this queer sort of patchwork in dealing with this very human tragedy. The Minister would gain for himself and be doing a very great humanitarian thing if he could deal with the rights of these State servants.

The second point I wish to raise is the question of An Comhairle Ealaíon. I notice that in the Book of Estimates there is no increase provided for the activities of the Arts Council, or the Comhairle Ealaíon, on the provision last year. I have spoken on many occasions of the importance, not merely from the cultural point of view but from the severely practical point of view of our export trade and even of employment in our own country, of giving every possible assistance and support to the activities of the Arts Council. I do not intend to deal with the matter at any length but only very briefly.

The realisation of the urgent necessity for giving further and very much greater finance to the Arts Council should have become apparent to the Government, following the report of the foreign experts on our design in industry and our lack of appreciation of the arts. I have said before in the Dáil, and I repeat it, and I think everybody agrees, that one of the most urgent necessities for our economic and social advancement is an increase in our export trade. We cannot hope, in the teeth of the fierce competition that exists in the markets of the world, to gain any decent foothold in those markets, to secure profitable returns for the products of our manufacturing industries, unless we have the most superb and unique designs that man can conceive and design.

We cannot sell our goods merely because they are Irish or merely because they happen to be very good. We can sell them only because they are better than somebody else's. In those crafts and industries where we could be paramount, there is scope, and great scope, for increasing our export trade.

I spoke on this matter on many [1574] occasions in this House. The late Professor Bodkin was the pioneer in this country and was my inspiration down the years. No man is a prophet in his own country. Nobody took any notice of us but I was pleased and delighted when foreign experts came over and in this report, severely criticised the attitude of Irish industrialists in failing in their duty in this respect. They were magnificent people and it was grand that they had the courage to come out and express their views. I was pleased to learn on Telefís Éireann, and in reports from other sources, that the report was welcomed.

I remember the reception we got— and I in particular—when we passed the Arts Act setting up the Arts Council. I remember when I was last in office asking my colleague the Tánaiste and Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Norton, if he would try to arrange a meeting in his Department between the various heads of manufacturing industries in Ireland, with a view to persuading them to change their attitude towards the necessity for better design and for the application of art to industry, on the basis that it was good business for the country. The attitude was: “It's good enough for us; we can sell all we can of articles A, B and C with the design we have at the moment on the home market and why should we bother. It is good enough to be purchased under heavy tariffs.” That was the attitude at that time. It was some satisfaction, to me at all events, to see that our efforts had got the sanction of these foreign experts.

But I am not interested in showing that I was right some years before. What I am interested in is that the recommendations of those experts, even if they did not take my advice, will be put into practice and that manufacturing industrialists capturing the home market by virtue of tariffs, particularly in light of changing circumstances of the export trade in the future, will be made, under sanctions, if necessary, to change that design and change their attitude towards industrial design and craftsmanship. It would be a good day's work if we in [1575] this House could make it mandatory upon our manufacturing industries to see that there are greater crafts and arts in Ireland and that in the export market, we have available in this country the best designers we can get at any price.

Sweden was able to do that, as well as other countries. In big emporiums in New York, Chicago and elsewhere in the U.S.A., I was glad to see on some of the counters designs of Irish glass and other products but I was told what I knew, that the merchants will tell you that they cannot sell Irish goods on sentimental grounds. They will sell them if they are good value or if they have better designs or are more artistic creations than those from Sweden or France. Our manufacturers must wake up to that and not say: “What is good enough for Irish people is good enough for export; we can make our money.” It has been found that is not good enough for the country.

The lesson to be learned from the remarks in that report are obvious and clear. I regret that the Minister did not give expression to his view on that aspect by giving a very much greater grant, or rather, I should say it is surprising that the Taoiseach did not give expression to his view, being independent of the Department of Finance, on greater activity in this context than is permissible under the Book of Estimates.

The final point I wish to make is in relation to a statement made by a Deputy and reported at column 1109 of the Official Reports for March 7th last. That Deputy spoke about the judiciary and continued :

There is in this Vote on Account a very substantial sum for increasing the salaries of about 20 lazy, unworked, unproductive judges.

There was then an interruption by the Ceann Comhairle and the Deputy continued :

When we have non-productive citizens who work about four or five hours a day without having to stand up and who produce nothing [1576] but only draw spiders in cobwebs with green pencils and red pencils...

I want to say that I utterly refute that, speaking from my own personal view. It would be contrary to the public interest that it should be allowed to go unchallenged and I felt it incumbent on me to repudiate it. There may be, and it is permissible that there should be, differences of opinion as to whether, in particular circumstances, the salaries of judges should or should not be increased. That is a matter for legitimate discussion, and the expression of differences of opinion in certain circumstances, but I do suggest to Deputies on all sides of this House that one of the basic institutions in the Constitution of this country from 1922 has been an independent, impartial judiciary, that an independent, impartial judiciary is essential for the maintenance of our democratic system and that any expressions of that kind, which are utterly unfounded and completely false, should not be allowed to go unchallenged on the records of this House. For that reason, I felt it my duty to repudiate these expressions.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.


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