Committee on Finance. - Resolution No. 7—General (Resumed).

Thursday, 12 April 1962

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 194 No. 12

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Debate resumed on the following motion:—

That it is expedient to amend the law relating to customs and inland revenue (including excise) and to make further provision in connection with finance.—(Minister for Finance.)

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  When speaking last night, I had hardly recovered from the shock I got from the members of the Labour Party, the main Opposition Party, the Farmers' Party and some Independents. A week ago in the Dáil, they all voted for an increase for State pensioners and when they got the opportunity of implementing that on Budget day, they recoiled. The Minister for Finance is only an ordinary human being but they must think he is a supernatural being who is able to get money without increasing taxation. All these Deputies voted against increasing State pensions by £1,300,000, against increasing military service pensions by £450,000. Those are the archangels of the workers.

[1896]Mr. McQuillan: Information on John McQuillan  Zoom on John McQuillan  Did all the Independents do that?

Mr. Leneghan: Information on Joseph R. Leneghan  Zoom on Joseph R. Leneghan  Decent Independents did not.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  I should not like to take up the time of the House mentioning all the names but anybody whom the cap fits can wear it. Furthermore, the Labour Party, who are always crying about the old age pensioners, the people on unemployment assistance, widows, orphans, and so on voted against giving the old age pensioners an increase of £1,000,000, as did all the other Opposition members with the exception of a few intelligent Independents who believed, of course, that they were doing the right thing in supporting an increase for the old age pensioners. Deputies will find it hard to tell the people on the hustings that they voted against such an increase for those deserving sections of the people and that they also voted against an increase of 2/6d. in unemployment assistance. The Minister for Finance said in his Budget Statement that a married man with three children would be given an increase of 12/6d. a week and the Parties opposite voted against that.

I do not know what was wrong with them all. Before the Budget I thought we were trotting home safely and that we would get support for improving the lot of our people. However, they did not accept the Minister's Statement. They all remind me of “The Merchant of Venice”: you can take the pound of flesh but dare you impose any increased taxation. I have never seen such playacting in my 18 years in this House. They said they did not want to vote for the proposals because the people did not get more. The Fianna Fáil Party have always been concerned about the old age pensioners and other social welfare recipients. Every year since we came back in 1957 we have given considerable increases to the weaker sections of our people as far as national resources would allow. We should like to give a great deal more if we could. The contributory pension has been increased so that a pensioner whose wife has not reached 70 receives an increase [1897] of almost £2 a week. It did not matter whether his wife was 19 or 21.

Was it possible that Deputy Norton was in the lobby voting against these proposals? I did not see him but some of my colleagues said he was. It is hard to believe that an honourable gentleman would stoop to voting against increases in the pensions or special allowances for the weaker sections of the people. They do not want the increases in the allowances for infectious diseases or disablement. They have decided on the opposite side that they do not want any of these increases. All these social welfare increases will cost £1,500,000 and the Minister is expected to find that without any increase in taxation. They were all anxious to go into the Division Lobby against these increases and I will go to my grave failing to understand why they did it. The only reason that I can find for it is the insincerity and the smoke screen tactics that have been carried on in this House over the years. One day they propose something and the next day they vote against it.

All these increases have been given this year and next year, if matters have improved, we hope to better the position again. Since 1958 we have given 7/6d. a week to the old age pensioners plus the contributory pension of £2 a week. We took over this State in a very bad condition. The nation's confidence was completely gone. We had Deputies here last night saying that if they were in power they would get more out of the cake but in 1957 the same people left us with an adverse trade balance, an unbalanced Budget and no money for anything. They are crying about the old age pensioners now but when they left office they were hardly able to pay the old age pensioners the pittance they had at that time. There was no money for housing. In County Dublin 350 loans could not be honoured. The farmers who had fallen into the trap of reconstructing their farm buildings could not get money for the job. There was no money for drainage or land reclamation.

We got this State in a bad way and [1898] now there are people who ask us why we have not done more. Deputy Donegan got up last night and told us that he had led the march against increased rates in Louth. That is a Fine Gael effort to infiltrate into a decent farmers' organisation. How will Deputy Donegan explain to the farmers of Louth that Fine Gael do not want the £2,500,000 for the relief of agricultural rates? How will he explain that the Labour Party do not want it and that the Independents who support Fine Gael do not want it? They only want to cause some trouble in the country, to ensure that the farmers would be against the Government. They would sell out anybody for political gain. As far as this side of the House is concerned we have always put the national interest before Party questions.

Deputy Donegan, who is a very fine gentleman, will have to go down to the farmers of Louth and do a lot of explaining as to why he did not want this £2,500,000 for the relief of rates on agricultural land. I would not like to have to do it in County Dublin. Local authorities are now getting more than £3 for every £2 subscribed through the rates. That is a reasonable amount of money. We are told that we have neglected the farmers and that we are only concerned with people in the towns. We have given 25 per cent. of the resources of the State to subsidise the farmers and the agricultural industry. That is a higher contribution than any other country gives and what are we up against in return?—this insincere hypocrisy.

Every one of us is anxious that we should be able to go into the Common Market and be able to compete there the same as the other member countries. I have enough belief in our own people to think that our industrialists and agriculturists will be able to compete on the same basis as the other members. I have faith in the Irish people. When crises arose they were always able to meet the challenge.

Fine Gael have voted against the £2,500,000 for the relief of rates on agricultural land. In 1938-39 the amount given by the Exchequer for [1899] such relief was only £5,000,000. To-day it is almost £40,000,000. They are not satisfied with that. The Labour Party are not satisfied with it. Not alone that, but the Labour Party again, plus the Fine Gael Party, walked into the Division Lobby to vote against reducing the tax on tractors from £8 to £2 10s. They do not want that tax reduced, either. Their action was tantamount to telling the farmers that they would rather see them paying a tax of £8 instead of £2 10s. for their tractors. I do not know how my friends, Deputy Donegan and the others on the Opposition benches, will explain that action to the farmers. I am sorry some more of the leaders of the Opposition Parties are not here to listen to me and, perhaps, try to contradict me. I am stating facts.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Yes. The Deputy got them out of the office. Send them over here and we may read them some time.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  These facts are in the Budget Statement. I do not go to Ministers' offices for things. I do not act like that. Thanks be to God, I am able to read.

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  That is right.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  The Minister for Finance and the Government decided in their wisdom that every effort should be made to keep hundreds of people in employment all over the country. The Minister abolished the entertainment tax in order to keep these people in employment. Once more the archangels on the Opposition benches said: “We do not want that at all. We are not concerned with whether or not people are employed.” Indeed, one does not know what they are concerned with, or about. I did not sleep after the Budget because I kept asking myself why the Opposition Parties should have voted against these provisions. I found it difficult to believe that the Labour Party would vote against the abolition of the entertainment tax, knowing that the Minister, in his wisdom, abolished the tax in order to [1900] keep people in employment and help an industry, up against severe competition from Telefís Éireann and television generally, to survive.

Sometimes I find it difficult to credit the change that has taken place in this House during my 18 years here; but, in those 18 years, this is the first time I have ever known the representatives of the workers—the people who claim they represent the workers—to go into the Division Lobby to vote against the interests of the workers.

Mr. Leneghan: Information on Joseph R. Leneghan  Zoom on Joseph R. Leneghan  They have got too rich now.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  These are the people who will criticise Fianna Fáil for doing this, that and the other. Yet, when we try to do something beneficial, they vote against it. Any excuse is good enough. They advance the argument now that they would vote for an increase of £1 in old age pensions; but they would not vote for the increased taxation to make that £1 available for these pensioners.

The Minister sought support for the reliefs, the benefits and the aids promulgated in his Budget Statement. If the people on the opposite side of the House were politically wise they would have voted for the Budget. If we had been defeated on this Budget—I am sorry we were not, because then we would have gone to the country and come back here a much stronger Party——

Mr. T. Lynch: Information on Thaddeus Lynch  Zoom on Thaddeus Lynch  Exactly—there is the point.

Mr. Jones: Information on Denis Francis Jones  Zoom on Denis Francis Jones  And you would not be depending on anyone.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  Had we been defeated and gone to the country, we would come back a jolly sight stronger than we are at the moment. The decent, intelligent Independents, who have the national interest and the interest of the country generally at heart, voted for the Budget.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  The Deputy came very near to calling them something else a moment ago.

[1901]Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  They voted for the wellbeing of all sections of the community. Those who voted against the reliefs the Minister has given have, in my opinion, a rather peculiar approach. The Minister is a very good Minister for Finance. He has made an excellent job of presenting his Budgets here. He has tried to be easy with every section. Above all, he has always tried to help the weaker sections. What more could he do? That has been his policy ever since he became Minister for Finance.

At every local authority meeting, especially when it comes to drawing up the estimates every year, there is an outcry about the health charges and the rates. There is a clamour to make these a national charge. If the Minister tried to make these a national charge, backed by his own Party and by the decent Independents, would the people on the Opposition benches— the Labour Party and Fine Gael—vote for the considerably increased taxation and increase in prices of consumer goods? Would they vote for increases in the prices of consumer goods and other essentials? The burden cast on the taxpayer would be a big one, as would the burden cast on the consuming public.

I appeal to the Opposition to make a constructive statement, to come out from behind the old smokescreen stuff that we have had at local authority meetings, and say openly: “We suggest the rates should be made a national charge. Taxation on A, B and C should be so and so. The health charges should be made a national charge and taxation on A, B and C should be increased to meet these charges.” Will they do that? Not on your life. They would expect the Minister for Finance again to be a supernatural being, capable of doing all these things without increasing taxation.

I should not like to be guilty of the hypocrisy to which we have been listening for the past four or five months from the Opposition Deputies. Our aim has been to stimulate advance. We have tried to give the farmers a protected market. Many a time in Opposition I had to defend [1902] farmers' rights. I had to defend the industry of many of the farmers in County Dublin, especially the tomato industry.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins  Zoom on Seán Collins  What about the widow and the barley?

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  The Deputy's leader let her down. I am glad Deputy Collins mentioned that. When Deputy Dillon became Minister for Agriculture in 1948, he told the farmers to give up growing wheat and to grow oats instead. There was no market for oats and they simply rotted in granaries and storehouses. Literally the Minister for Agriculture at that time was sowing his wild oats.

I make a special appeal to those who might be misled by some of the false statements made by the Opposition. I appeal especially to the farming community. They should remember who their friends are, who it is that has stood by them through thick and thin. If the farmers' organisations, Macra na Feirme or any others, can offer some constructive criticism, can make some statement or can contribute in any way towards making our position better and getting further markets for our surplus agricultural produce, they will be doing a good day's work for the country. As an intelligent body of men, if they did that and co-operated with the Department of Agriculture and the Minister for Agriculture they would do a good deal better. I should like to see that spirit of harmony, goodwill and common understanding exist to an even greater degree.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Does the Deputy allege that the farmers are not intelligent men?

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  I am of that old stock myself.

Mr. Moher: Information on John W. Moher  Zoom on John W. Moher  Deputy Donegan marched with them and voted against the relief.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  These interruptions must cease. Deputy Burke.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Fine Gael are hoping they are not intelligent men, anyway.

[1903]Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins  Zoom on Seán Collins  Do you hear that calf sticker?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Why does Deputy Collins not raise his head when he is interrupting? Instead, he sticks his nose down.

Mr. Fanning: Information on John Fanning  Zoom on John Fanning  He did not lose any calves, anyhow.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins  Zoom on Seán Collins  All belonging to me did.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  He lost very little.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  Deputy S. Collins should keep very quiet. He was out of this House for a long time and he should be as helpful as possible.

Mr. S. Collins: Information on Seán Collins  Zoom on Seán Collins  He was able to come back.

Mr. Leneghan: Information on Joseph R. Leneghan  Zoom on Joseph R. Leneghan  A man died and only for that Deputy S. Collins would not be back.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  Now that we are again dealing with this point of farmers and the co-operation we expect in the national interest and their own interest, I advise them not to be carried away by any political wigs throughout the country. I should like them to stand on their own feet. They are independent people and can judge for themselves. We on this side of the House should do everything we can to improve their lot so far as the resources of the nation allow. However, if they allow themselves to be carried away by these people who are trying to cause trouble, who will not make honest statements, who carry on misrepresentation, the results may be very serious for the nation.

I urge that there should be a spirit of co-operation and goodwill especially amongst our small farmers because the larger farmers can stand on their own feet. We should endeavour to have co-operative societies in small parishes. I was reared on a small farm of land. The spirit of co-operation seemed to be better 50 years ago amongst the small farmers than it has been recently. I should like to see that old spirit of co-operation again. In order to exist now, we must help one another and in that [1904] way improve our lot. We must work together in harmony and see what improvements we can bring about by a spirit of co-operation and by co-operative societies which I believe are the salvation of the small man today.

Mr. Moher: Information on John W. Moher  Zoom on John W. Moher  The Deputy is the only one here who is preaching brotherly love.

Mr. P.J. Burke: Information on Patrick J. Burke  Zoom on Patrick J. Burke  I am talking especially about the small farmers. Macra na Feirme and other organisations have helped to improve the farming outlook and farming methods. I have great pleasure in stating that we have some of the most modern farmers in County Dublin. They have improved their farming methods over the years and they are an asset and a credit to the nation.

Deputy Desmond spoke about the tourist industry. He could not see what good was achieved by giving grants for the improvement of hotels and boarding houses. His attitude was very parochial. The tourist industry is one of the greatest assets and one of our biggest money spinners. I would not be a bit surprised at what a member of the Labour Party would say. I well remember that in 1947 we were told in this House by the then Opposition —Labour and Fine Gael—that we were building white elephants and bringing in strangers to eat food which we should be giving to our own people. Bear in mind that we were defeated in the election in 1948. One of the catch cries of the Opposition at that time was the tourist industry. They beat us in the election and got into office. Within a few months the then Leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Norton, a most honourable character, went out as Minister for Industry and Commerce to Butlin's Camp and opened it. He then said the tourist industry was worth over £35,000,000 to this country but, before the election, the tourist industry was a white elephant.

With those types of people in Irish public life who change their minds overnight, the national interest is retarded. We have set out to improve our tourist industry. If, by giving grants to hoteliers to improve hotels [1905] and to the tourist industry as a whole to make our country more attractive, we succeed in bringing more people to our country, is there not a national gain? Foreigners are coming here to enjoy our food and scenery. Is that not a national asset? Every section of our people gain by it and it helps to reduce our adverse balance of trade.

I come now to housing. There is plenty of money for housing. I saw the day when there was not a bob there, in 1957. Employment has increased. I am a member of Dublin Corporation. I remember that in 1957 there were hundreds of empty houses in Ballyfermot and Finglas. In 1958, the economic uplift due to Fianna Fáil administration started to create employment for our people. The position is completely different to-day from what it was in 1957. The people who went to Britain are back again. They are getting employment all right but they are trying to get rehoused.

Between 1956 and 1958, out of 42,000 houses there was an average of 1,500 houses empty. The position improved in 1959. Since 1961, very few people have been emigrating in comparison with the numbers emigrating before that time and the trend now is for emigrants to come back again. That is an indication of the prosperity we have succeeded in bringing to our country.

Reference was made to land reclamation. There is any amount of money available for land reclamation. The Minister for Finance gave over £400,000 last year for an arterial drainage scheme in my constituency which will be of great benefit to parts of County Dublin and to Meath. That sum of money, spread over three or four years, will enable a very good job to be done. There is plenty of money available for anybody who wants to drain his land.

Generally speaking, the nation is on the upgrade. None of us on this side of the House is satisfied we have achieved our goal but we are making every endeavour so far as the national resources permit to create employment for every section of our people. We [1906] are gradually doing that. Since 1958 in Dublin city and county alone, 150 industries were either extended or initiated. That is no mean achievement in a few years.

All we ask from the Opposition and from the country is an honest appreciation of our efforts to improve the lot of the people and an honest appreciation of the difficulties we had to overcome on taking office. We are not neglecting any section. More primary schools have been built all over the country and much money has been spent on the construction of new secondary and vocational schools to provide better education for our children. I shall deal with that on the Education Vote. Our sole concern, as a national Party, is to improve the lot of all sections and we shall always put the national interest before Party interests. We do not buy votes except by honest statements and balanced Budgets. My heartiest congratulations to the Minister for Finance and long may he remain in office.

Mr. Barron: Information on Joseph Barron  Zoom on Joseph Barron  I have listened to this Budget debate and, apart from the Taoiseach who had to defend his policy, I think the others who spoke could have said all they had to say in about a quarter of the time they took. Many people know absolutely nothing about the Common Market either from economic or political points of view, but it enabled Deputies to continue talking.

I voted against the Budget because the defenceless people, the old age pensioners, got only 2/6d. How could any old age pensioner in Dublin or elsewhere—these are the people who have to buy even the sticks that light the fire—be expected to live on 32/6d. a week, with the cost of living as it is? They are defenceless people and we shall be judged by our attitude to our own poor. I expected that the Minister would be in a position at least to double that amount this year and when things improved—as I hope they will— in the coming year that he would be able to do the same next year if still in office.

If an old age pensioner, a widow or one of the non-contributory pensioners [1907] falls ill and has to see a doctor and pay for the expensive medicines required he or she is not able to do it. In Dublin Corporation I put down a motion seeking that old age pensioners and widows rearing young families should automatically get medical cards but there is nothing statutory about the granting of cards to such people. So far as I know the manager or the health authority can decide whether a family or an individual should get a card. To visit a doctor does not cost very much; the real cost is the prescription he gives. I wonder could the Minister help in that respect?

I understood Deputy Kyne to mention a circular that went out to the health authorities to the effect that although people had not got medical cards they would be in a position to get free medicine under certain conditions but, as he said, that circular was not made public. I am sure the Minister would not wish anything like that to happen especially where poor people are concerned, those defenceless people who have no trade union and nobody to speak for them.

The Department of Finance are the Department. Every other Department must apply to them to sanction any increase but the peculiar thing is that I find, in reading the Book of Estimates, over the past three years the Department of Finance have doubled their own expenditure. In 1959-60, the cost of the Department was £170,341; in 1962-63, the Estimate is for £351,000. Apparently, they can get money for their Department and themselves but cannot see their way to help the old age pensioners to any greater extent because there is a large number of old age pensioners just as there is a large number of teachers and over the years they did not get a large increase. But where there is a small number and when the increase does not amount to a big sum of money it is granted. If, during the coming year, the Minister could do anything further for the classes I have mentioned, he would be doing a good job and would get the support of everybody.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Next time maybe—not this time.

[1908]Mr. Barron: Information on Joseph Barron  Zoom on Joseph Barron  The main defect I find in this Budget is that there is not enough expenditure on productive schemes. What we need is more productive expenditure which would mean improvement on the land through a rehabilitation scheme through which farmers would get better crops, drainage schemes to enable flooded land to be cleared of water so that crops can be produced on it. That kind of expenditure is far better than non-productive expenditure such as expenditure on roads. There is no return from the money we spend on roads, other than the relief it gives the unemployed, and I might point out that in recent years the number of manual workers employed on the roads has decreased considerably because of the introduction of very expensive machinery. I am not against progress but at a time when there is unemployment, it is the duty of the Government to try to have as many manual workers as possible employed on the roads so that the breadwinner will get a chance of rearing his family.

My view always has been that when the Government came back to office, they made a grave mistake in taking off the food subsidies. There is no way of stabilising the cost of essentials such as bread, butter and flour other than by subsidy. After all, the main diet of a growing family is bread and butter and if we are to stabilise the cost of foodstuffs which are necessary for the health of our people, we can do it in present circumstances only by food subsidies. These were abandoned and the result is an increased cost of living and wages chasing prices.

If things continue as they are going, no one man will earn sufficient wages to rear his family and we shall have the situation as in other countries where the wife must go out to earn sufficient to keep the family. If we could stabilise the cost of essential foodstuffs, we would anchor our wages and salaries to the cost of living. Then if the cost of living went up, increases in wages and salaries could be afforded as they cannot in present circumstances.

Mr. Moher: Information on John W. Moher  Zoom on John W. Moher  The Deputy should be a trade unionist.

[1909]Mr. Barron: Information on Joseph Barron  Zoom on Joseph Barron  I would put a purchase tax on non-essential goods. If people want to buy non-essentials, they should be asked to pay a purchase tax on them. There has been a lot of talk about the Health Act. We all know its history. All I know about it I have learned as a member of Dublin Corporation and as a ratepayer. In this city, one-third of the money we pay in rates—14/5½d. out of every 45/0½d. —goes towards the health services and yet people are not satisfied with them. As far as I can see, there is nothing national about them: each local authority decides who will get the benefits.

I should like to make a brief reference to the Common Market and to say that I think the Government should be in a position, in view of the fact that we may be associated with or become members of the Common Market, to give a tabular statement of expenditure on social services in each of the countries in the Community. We would then be able to realise the position facing us in relation to our entry into the Common Market.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I have listened attentively to my old friend, Deputy P.J. Burke, this morning. I was amused to hear him describe Fianna Fáil as the national Party. Up to a few years ago, it used to be the Republican Party. They have dropped that now. They are the national Party now and not the Republican Party. The Republic is gone.

Mr. Dolan: Information on Séamus Dolan  Zoom on Séamus Dolan  The Deputy took care of that.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  We declared the Republic.

Mr. Dolan: Information on Séamus Dolan  Zoom on Séamus Dolan  For 26 counties.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  The Deputy's Party dropped it and now revile us for declaring it. They have now become the national Party.

Mr. Medlar: Information on Martin Medler  Zoom on Martin Medler  The Deputy's is the imperial Party.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  They are trying to hang on to the imperial Government of Great Britain at the moment [1910] and they are doing it very badly. They are clawing at the coat tails of the imperialists.

Mr. Medlar: Information on Martin Medler  Zoom on Martin Medler  The Deputy walked into it with his head down.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  We walked out of it with our heads up. When Deputy Burke talks about the national Party, the Party who are the champions of the farmers of this country, the champions of the industrialists, it is time we reviewed the position. None of the Deputies in this House remembers the down-trodden tenantry of this country in the latter years of the last century, but we have all read of the position. We have read also of what one of the ancestors of the leader of the Fine Gael Party did for the down-trodden tenantry of those dark days. It was a Dillon who assisted in writing the three F's into one of the first Land Acts—fixity of tenure, free rent and freedom of sale. It was a Dillon——

Mr. Leneghan: Information on Joseph R. Leneghan  Zoom on Joseph R. Leneghan  Churchill——

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  If Deputy Leneghan thinks he will draw my scurrilous tongue down upon him, he is making a mistake. Mind you, we have a lot in common, Deputy Leneghan and I. We represent similar counties. We wore the blueshirt together in defence of democracy in this country and we stumped together through the bogs of Belmullet canvassing votes for the Fine Gael Party. We have a lot in common and I shall not forget it. I shall never use a scurrilous tongue upon the Deputy. I cannot forget what the Deputy attempted to do for Fine Gael. Let him be proud of it because I am. I am proud of having been associated with him.

Mr. Leneghan: Information on Joseph R. Leneghan  Zoom on Joseph R. Leneghan  I never wore a blueshirt. I am not proud of having been associated with the Deputy.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  The Deputy would do much more service to the people on the mullet of Belmullet by keeping silent. The ancestor of Deputy Dillon did so much for the down-trodden tenantry of this country that we might now try to consider [1911] what Deputy Dillon and the Party he now represents have done for the agricultural industry of this country. Do we remember 1948, when the first inter-Party Government came into power? Do we remember the position of the agricultural industry at the time when Deputy Dillon was appointed Minister for Agriculture in the inter-Party Government? Remember that at that time it was almost impossible to drain the land of the farmers because the rivulets into which the land was drained had become clogged. Land reclamation was at a complete standstill and the boreens leading to the farmhouses had fallen into decay.

One of the first things the inter-Party Government did was to introduce the Local Authorities (Works) Act, one of the objects of which was to drain the small rivers and clean the small rivulets to enable the farmers to open up the adjoining land and drain their land into them. They got very generous grants for these rural improvement schemes, grants up to 95 per cent., and those schemes gave considerable employment in rural Ireland. I remember, at that time, hearing Deputies on all sides of the House complimenting the Minister responsible for the introduction of that Act, the late Deputy Murphy of the Labour Party who was then a Minister in the inter-Party Government. I remember Deputies from rural Ireland complimenting him and saying it was a grand Act.

Having opened the rivulets, we decided to assist the farmers in draining their land, and we introduced the land reclamation scheme. Was it not a sad state of affairs that, after somewhere in the neighbourhood of 25 years of self-government, those rivulets and small streams were completely clogged up and the land covered with water and impoverished? We had to begin to try to bring the land back into a state of production and, as I say, we introduced the land reclamation scheme. Under that scheme, the farmers were enabled and encouraged to drain their land, and they were paid [1912] for doing it. Having drained the land, we had to bring it back into production and we introduced the ground limestone scheme.

Mr. Medlar: Information on Martin Medler  Zoom on Martin Medler  The ground limestone scheme and land reclamation scheme were in operation from 1940. I was one of the beneficiaries, and the schemes were far more generous.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  That was confined to members of the cumann and we never heard of it otherwise.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Suppose we talk about the Budget.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  We are talking about agriculture and the reliefs and incentives which the Government gave for greater agricultural production.

General MacEoin: Information on General Seán MacEoin  Zoom on General Seán MacEoin  Ten shillings for a calf.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  We are entitled to compare it with what was done in the past. There was not as much ground limestone in the country as would fill a bucket.

Mr. Medlar: Information on Martin Medler  Zoom on Martin Medler  Wrong.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  There was one factory in Carlow or Kilkenny, I understand.

Mr. Medlar: Information on Martin Medler  Zoom on Martin Medler  Producing 700 tons a day.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  At what price? The Deputy does not know. He does not remember. It does not matter. We made it available at 15/- per ton delivered at the farm and in that way we brought the land into re-production. We were not satisfied with that. We knew there was no use in assisting the farmers to produce more if we did not provide a market for them, and we sent Deputy Dillon and his fellow Ministers across to Britain in 1948 to negotiate the Cattle Trade Agreement of 1948 whereby the price of cattle to the Irish farmers was tied to the price paid by the British Government to the English farmers. Overnight, the price of cattle shot up. Does the Deputy remember that? Does the Deputy remember that when we began this [1913] reclamation and these incentives to production, we had fewer cattle, fewer sheep and fewer pigs than we had since the days of the Famine? After three years only of the policy of the inter-Party Government, we had more sheep, more cattle and more pigs in the country than we had since the turn of the century. That was something to be proud of.

Mr. Medlar: Information on Martin Medler  Zoom on Martin Medler  The farmers were responsible for that, not the Government.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Why did the farmers wait until 1948, until there was a change of Government, to give this additional production? Was it not because it was the first time they saw any ray of light——

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  Deputies should allow Deputy O'Donnell to make his speech.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I really think the Deputy wants to be enlightened and I have no objection to his interruptions if I can enlighten him, but if the Ceann Comhairle thinks this is not the appropriate place to teach him, I can educate him on another occasion. Does the Deputy remember what incentives the farmers were given, in regard to the calves?

Mr. Medlar: Information on Martin Medler  Zoom on Martin Medler  I have been reprimanded by the Chair and the Deputy should not address me.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I should like to enlighten the Deputy and that is why I addressed my remarks to him, through the Chair.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  It would be better if Deputies made their own statements.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I agree, Sir, but I thought the Deputy was anxious to learn. It is difficult for a person to restrain himself when he is hearing the truth for the first time and I know that is what is wrong with the Deputy. However, it was a big change from the days when the farmers were encouraged to cut the throats of calves, [1914] and the days when they were told not to ship their cattle to the only market they had, namely, Britain, and that if they did, it was hoped that the boat would go to the bottom of the Irish Sea. It was a big change for the farmers. The first ray of hope of emancipation the farmers received in this century was the encouragement they got from the first inter-Party Government.

We had begun the eradication of bovine tuberculosis. We saw that was the next move, but Fianna Fail came back into office and they appointed a Minister for Agriculture who boasted openly that he had not even had his own herd attested as being free from tuberculosis. He immediately clamped down on the land reclamation scheme and stopped Section B of that scheme. He gave no encouragement of any description to land reclamation, and to-day the land is falling back into rushes as it was when we came into office in 1948.

When I hear these gentlemen to-day falling over themselves and telling us what they are doing for the farmers, I am really amused. The farmers got so many blisters on their backs in the past few years that they have to stump the country protesting against those blisters. Their protests helped them to get some little relief. We are grateful for it, but it is a very bad thing for the country that we must have strikes and marches to gain some little assistance to which we are entitled. That is a very bad precedent. It is a pity it had to occur but we are glad—and I know Deputy Seán Dunne is glad and delighted—that the farmers, including the farmers of County Dublin for whom Deputy Burke used to shed tears, have succeeded by their protests in getting some assistance from the Government.

We thought that relief of rates was a good thing in itself but we thought something better could have been done. We thought a subsidy could have been paid for cattle such as is done in the North. It would have been a good thing. There are 234,000 farmers whose poor law valuation is under £20 and all they get from this Budget is approximately 30/- per year. A good [1915] many of those farmers are in the constituency of Deputy Calleary, over in the West of Ireland. They will gain 30/- per year from this Budget.

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  And a good many of them draw unemployment assistance and will gain there, also.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  The Minister has drawn me now on the question of unemployment assistance. Deputy Calleary knows as well as I do that the Minister for Social Welfare has now prowling through the West of Ireland, as they are prowling through Donegal, investigation officers increasing the assessment of the means of the unfortunate recipients of unemployment assistance. Every day in the week I send at least two appeals to the Department of Social Welfare against assessments. I take it that there are none in County Mayo. I take it that the people of County Mayo are being fairly treated.

Mr. Calleary: Information on Phelim Alfred Calleary  Zoom on Phelim Alfred Calleary  Do not be codding yourself.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  They are not? I am delighted to hear that County Donegal has not been singled out. I am very glad to hear from Deputy Calleary that County Donegal has not been singled out and that his own constituency is being treated in the same way by these minions of the Minister for Social Welfare. They are going round investigating the number of hens that the unfortunate recipient of unemployment assistance has got and the number of sheep his grandmother has got.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  This is administration.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  We are on administration. I was drawn into this by the remark of the Minister for Social Welfare who told us that the small farmers of Donegal and Mayo, who are only getting 30/- per year relief under this Budget, were to get an extra 2/6d. in the dole as well.

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  No, more than that.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  The Minister [1916] may give them an extra 2/6 but he will take it from them by increasing the assessment of their means. I am merely replying to that. Deputy Calleary agreed, speaking on behalf of the small farmers of County Mayo and these other places. These small farmers, recipients of unemployment assistance, have also got another blister in this Budget.

Mr. Gilbride: Information on Eugene Gilbride  Zoom on Eugene Gilbride  That was taken off the old age pensioner.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  It was added. I am telling the House about the blister that has been added. The cost of their bottle of stout, their glass of whiskey, their half-one and their packet of cigarettes will take away more than 2/6 per week. I had great respect for the Taoiseach of this State until this morning. I read in the paper this morning that the imposition of these penal taxes on the poor was a social benefit which the Taoiseach and the Government were conferring on them. The Taoiseach described it as a social benefit. We are going to put 2d. more on their glass of whiskey to try to prevent them from drinking. We will put 2d. more on the packet of cigarettes in order to prevent them from smoking and possibly avoid lung cancer. That is the excuse the Taoiseach gave for those increased taxes.

Does Deputy Calleary agree with that? I do not believe it but perhaps he does agree with it. I think it is a very bad thing. If the Minister for Health had come straight out and told us: “Look, you are endangering your health by smoking too many cigarettes,” we would believe him, but when he tries to prevent us from smoking by taking 2d. more from us for the packet of cigarettes, it is a very mean trick, indeed. It is an attitude which I certainly would not commend. My respect for the Taoiseach has gone down considerably after the banner headline which I saw on the paper this morning.

Mr. Gilbride: Information on Eugene Gilbride  Zoom on Eugene Gilbride  He will get over it.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I suppose he will but I wonder will the people of Grange get over it quickly? I wonder if the [1917] boys who go down to Grange on a Saturday night or a fair day and go into mine and the Deputy's good friend's place for a pint will get over it?

Mr. Gilbride: Information on Eugene Gilbride  Zoom on Eugene Gilbride  There will be less litigation.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Another excuse is that the boys in Grange are drinking too much. Therefore, they have gone to law too often. This is Deputy Gilbride's excuse for the extra 2d. They are drinking too much in County Sligo and in Grange and there is too much litigation. Therefore, we will prevent them from drinking and put 2d more on the pint and the glass of whiskey and we will keep them from smoking, too.

Mr. Calleary: Information on Phelim Alfred Calleary  Zoom on Phelim Alfred Calleary  It is only 1d.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  That is your justification for the Budget. I shall be glad to tell my friends in Grange, North Sligo and West Leitrim that the Deputy's reason for supporting the Budget is that there is too much litigation and that, therefore, we will put an extra tax on drink and smoking.

Let me deal with another matter which has been dealt with here, namely, industries. I am amused when I hear Fianna Fáil talk about what they are doing for industry. I remember the Taoiseach a good many years ago was called the industrialist of the State. He was the man who was setting up the industries, most of which were in the back streets of some of the cities employing child labour with a highly protective tariff wall around them. Did we ever consider what are the main industries of this State? Did we ever consider that we would have no industries whatsoever were it not for the fact that the old Cumman na nGaedheal Party decided to harness the Shannon? They established what I considered to be the greatest industry in this State—the sugar factories in the various parts of the South.

Does the House know what Fianna Fáil called them? They called them white elephants. Some Fianna Fáil Deputies may see pink elephants now and again but they called these white [1918] elephants—the two staple industries of the State, namely, electricity and sugar beet. They were called white elephants. They had just come into office at the time.

Mr. Gilbride: Information on Eugene Gilbride  Zoom on Eugene Gilbride  There was nothing to back them up.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I am going to tell the House what Fianna Fáil——

Mr. Gilbride: Information on Eugene Gilbride  Zoom on Eugene Gilbride  There was nothing to consume electricity.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  There is not much use in building factories unless you have electricity. Perhaps, the Deputy does not understand that. There is no use building a factory in Donegal, Mayo or Dublin and when you have them built begin to develop electricity in the Shannon. The first thing you must do is go to the Shannon, harness it and then radiate out from there to the various factories. The Deputy and his Party would have gone about it in a different way.

Mr. Gilbride: Information on Eugene Gilbride  Zoom on Eugene Gilbride  And then close the factories.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  He would close down the factories. I see. That is a different day's work. When they took office in 1936—I wonder would the younger Fianna Fáil Deputies remember this?——

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  They would not.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Well, I am going to tell them—they introduced an Act called the Control of Manufactures Act. That was an Act to prevent any foreign capital coming in here for the establishment of industries unless 51 per cent. of the capital of the company was Irish.

Mr. Gilbride: Information on Eugene Gilbride  Zoom on Eugene Gilbride  Hear, hear!

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  The Deputy says “hear, hear”. That is a big change. Let me go on. As a result of that we did not have a worthwhile industry set up from 1936 to 1948. A few genuine Irish industrialists did endeavour to set up factories themselves. As an [1919] incentive to Irish industries we had a high protective tariff wall built around the Twenty-Six Counties. Any person who was willing to put 51 per cent. Irish capital into a factory got a protective tariff wall around the industry and many “chancers” took part in that industrial drive. What is Fianna Fáil's advice today? They say: “We are going to pull down those paper tariff walls. We are going to pull them down now. You must become up to date, otherwise you will not survive in the Common Market.” Having fed the baby down through the years they did not even bother to wean it before throwing it into the world. It is a case of survive or otherwise. That is what they did with those industrialists.

We came into office in 1948 and the first thing we did was to ignore the Control of Manufactures Act and we said to foreign industrialists: “Come in; let us examine your credentials; let us examine your bank accounts.” Remember this was just at a time when a man called Maximo nearly “Singerised” the State again. We were very careful and we said if any industrialist wished to come in, we would examine his credentials and his bank account and if we were satisfied we would financially assist him to establish an industry. We sent our Ministers, Deputy Norton, the then Deputy MacBride, Deputy Blowick and Deputy Cosgrave all over western Europe and the United States of America inviting industrialists to come here. Do you remember the jeers from Fianna Fáil then? “Globe trotters” they were called. Do you remember the speech made by the then Minister for External Affairs, Mr. MacBride, inviting capitalists in here? Industrialists are slow to move and we found they were not coming as quickly as we would have liked and in the 1956 Budget we went further. We said: “Look, come in and if your final product can be exported we will give you certain income tax concessions.” That made them sit up. As you know, you do not set up an industry overnight. The locus of a factory has to be inspected; the output has to be estimated and the labour content, and it [1920] all takes time. As a result of the hard work of the Ministers of the inter-Party Government we had more industries set up within the past five years, worth-while industries, than had been set up from 1932 until then. Is that not something of which the inter-Party Government should be proud? I think it is.

Let me refer now to another matter which may be of considerable importance in the Common Market, namely, our fishing industry. What is the Fianna Fáil approach to the fishing industry? We are to have a White Paper to tell us what best we can do to assist the fishing industry. I am sorry to hear that the Minister for Defence is not well and I wish him a speedy recovery from his illness. Anything I may say about him is not said about him in his personal capacity because he is a man for whom I have nothing but respect. Fianna Fáil once appointed him Minister for Fisheries. He decided he would solve the fisheries problem and he went over to Germany and bought three second-hand trawlers at an approximate cost of £120,000. He said: “We will send these trawlers up to Iceland and to the Norse countries and they will catch sufficient fish to supply the State and we will become eaters of fish. We do not believe in part-time inshore fishermen.”

That was Fianna Fáil's policy towards fisheries and to confirm that it was their policy, they began to close down the boatyards. In my own county, they closed the boatyard at Meevagh. In 1948, we had a review of the position and Deputy Dillon took charge of Fisheries. He gave an order that these derelict trawlers should be sold and that the boatyards should be reopened; that generous grants should be made available for the purchase of boats, and reasonable long-term purchase agreements should be entered into for the purchase of these boats, and in some cases that no deposits would be required; in the case of the Fíor-Ghaeltacht fishermen that deposits——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I am sorry to interrupt the Deputy but I feel the details of the fishing industry [1921] should be left over to the Estimate. The Deputy is entitled to refer to the fishing industry vis-à-vis the Common Market.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I appreciate that but it is necessary for me to say what has been done and what should be done for the fishing industry, if it is to play the part in the Common Market which it should play.

Mr. Leneghan: Information on Joseph R. Leneghan  Zoom on Joseph R. Leneghan  It is a pity you did not do it when you were in power yourself.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  We did.

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted, and 20 Members being present,

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I was dealing with the Budget when I was so rudely interrupted.

Mr. Davern: Information on Michael J. Davern  Zoom on Michael J. Davern  They are in bad humour with the Budget.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Please do not blame me—it is your half-brother up there, Deputy Leneghan, who brought you in, from your coffee, not I. I know very well that with the extra penny the Deputy will stick to coffee, as I shall myself. Let us get back to the Budget. Usually at Budget time we are told the reliefs the taxpayer is to get and also the extra taxes he will have to pay. Indeed, in the days of the inter-Party Government, the Budget was split into a capital and a current Budget. Anyway, at that time, they religiously informed the taxpaying public what reliefs they were to get and what extra taxes they were to pay. Fianna Fáil departed from that not only this time but on the last few occasions. They thought it would be a good idea to stick the little blisters on gradually, and then by the time the Budget came along, the people would have forgotten about them. They would heave a sign of relief when they saw no additional taxation imposed and would be inclined to welcome the Budget.

That is a bad policy. As somebody pointed out, additional taxation has been announced already this year. We have extra bus fares, extra charges for rural electrification, extra postal [1922] charges, extra telephone charges—all these must be taken into consideration when discussing the Budget. We have had other little blisters put on us. The other day we provided for additional salaries for the judiciary and made them retrospective to November last. But now we come along and give some additions. We give an addition to the old age pensioner of 2/6 a week, but we cannot do that right off the reel. No—after all, he does not count very much and he must wait; but the judiciary must have it retrospectively.

Mr. Davern: Information on Michael J. Davern  Zoom on Michael J. Davern  When you were taking off the shilling, it was retrospective.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I am afraid I do not know much about politics in those days. I understand Deputy Davern was a member of Cumann na nGaedheal in those days.

Mr. Davern: Information on Michael J. Davern  Zoom on Michael J. Davern  That is a foul slander. I have been a Republican since 1915, without a twist or a turn, which is more than Deputy Hogan can say.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I understand that his membership card is still available. I do not know.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  The Deputy should not drag in those things.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I was being dragged around in short trousers myself at the time.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  I do not think this arises on the Resolution.

Mr. Calleary: Information on Phelim Alfred Calleary  Zoom on Phelim Alfred Calleary  Ask him to apologise for making that statement.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  You may take it from me that Deputy Davern is the last man in this House I would cast a lie on. If he says he was never a member of Cumann na nGaedheal, I shall accept his word. If Deputy Davern tells me he was never a member of Cumann na nGaedheal I withdraw my allegation.

Mr. Davern: Information on Michael J. Davern  Zoom on Michael J. Davern  That is typical Fine Gael slander.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Is it not very simple? Deputy Davern is one man for whom I have nothing but respect. If he says he was never a member of [1923] Cumann na nGaedheal, I shall withdraw. Let us leave it at that. Every effort is being made to get me off my point. Deputy Leneghan had to call in the reinforcements to get me away from the points I have been endeavouring to make.

All these additional charges were blistered on prior to the Budget, and then of course we are given these small reliefs. I think of the moneys which are now available to the Government which were not available to the inter-Party Government when they were in office. We remember at that time we had just run into the Suez crisis. For the first time since World War Two, we had to ration petrol. We just could not get it, because the Suez crisis prevented its coming in. To try to get over that we thought it would be a good thing to impose a tax on the importation of luxury goods. A few moments ago, Deputy Barron advocated the same thing even now. He said that if we run into a shortage of money, there should be a tax on the importation of luxury goods. We said it would be different from the ordinary customs tax in that it would be temporary and that the money collected would be put into a pool for capital investment. Fianna Fáil got back into office. They said they would remove those penal taxes, but they did not. They are still getting £4,000,000 a year from them.

Do you know what they are doing with them? They are not putting them in a pool for capital development but they are using them for current expenditure. At that time, Deputy Sweetman, who was then Minister for Finance, thought out the Prize Bonds scheme. Do you know what Fianna Fáil said about it?

Mr. Leneghan: Information on Joseph R. Leneghan  Zoom on Joseph R. Leneghan  The British thought that out.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  The Deputy should know about them. I understand he spent a lot of his time with them. Do you know that Deputy Sweetman was the first man to suggest Prize Bonds? Do you know what Fianna Fáil said about them? Do you know what my old friend, Deputy Brennan, [1924] the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach, said about them? He said the State must be in a bad way when they are depending on raffles. He called them a raffle. Do you know what we have collected from the raffle? Approximately £18,000,000. Do you know that the man who despised the raffles and the Government who despised them are very glad to have that £18,000,000?

They also have the £9,000,000 they got from the food subsidies. What have they done with all this money, other than this halfcrown they have given to old age pensioners and the unemployed? Last year in the Estimates, there was a sum of £14½ millions for agriculture; this year, there is only a sum of £12½ millions—it is down £2,000,000. I know young Deputies will shake their heads, but all they have to do is look at the Book of Estimates.

Mr. Colley: Information on George Colley  Zoom on George Colley  Which part of the Estimates?

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I am referring to the Estimates generally. It cannot be on salaries. It is money being spent on agriculture and it is down £2,000,000.

Mr. Calleary: Information on Phelim Alfred Calleary  Zoom on Phelim Alfred Calleary  The amount for this year is £25,000,000.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I am referring to the Book of Estimates. Just look at it. We hear a lot of talk about housing. Most younger Deputies were not here when I was being attacked by Deputy Denis Larkin and Deputy Briscoe. I understand that Deputy Briscoe flew back from America at considerable expense.

Mr. Davern: Information on Michael J. Davern  Zoom on Michael J. Davern  The Deputy flew out of office leaving all the money due to the contractors.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Do you hear that for political slander? We were in office in 1954 and in that year we built 11,179 houses.

Mr. Leneghan: Information on Joseph R. Leneghan  Zoom on Joseph R. Leneghan  Did you pay for them?

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Yes.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass  Zoom on Noel T. Lemass  In 1956, the Bank of Ireland would not lend money on your guarantee.

[1925]Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Would the Deputy speak up? If he cannot speak the King's English, let him say it in Irish and I will understand it.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  Níl aon Ghaeilge aige.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Níl aon Ghaeilge ná Béarla aige. In 1954, we built 11,179 houses; in 1955, we built 10,490 houses; in 1956, 9,837 houses; in 1957, 10,969 houses.

Mr. Allen: Information on Lorcan Allen  Zoom on Lorcan Allen  We paid for them.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  I will let you pay for them. You paid for them with the money we left.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass  Zoom on Noel T. Lemass  The Bank of Ireland would not accept your guarantee for a halfpenny.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Where did you get the money? You paid for them with the money you got from the abolition of the subsidies.

Mr. N. Lemass: Information on Noel T. Lemass  Zoom on Noel T. Lemass  And the building societies?

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  You got it from the building societies?

Mr. Barron: Information on Joseph Barron  Zoom on Joseph Barron  On a point of order, it is not very edifying to come in here and to listen to such interruptions. Surely every Deputy should be allowed to make his speech——

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That is not a point of order, although I agree with the Deputy. Deputy O'Donnell is entitled to make his speech without interruption and if Deputies do not wish to listen to him, they have a remedy.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  With respect, Sir, they have no remedy while Deputy Leneghan is here. He will ring the bell and bring them back again. In 1957, our last year of office, we built 10,969 houses. These are figures which the Minister for Local Government gave us in the House two weeks ago. The average number of houses built by the inter-Party Government up to the last year they were in office was 10,500. This is worth while listening [1926] to: in 1958 Fianna Fáil built 7,480 houses; in 1959, 4,894 houses; in 1960, 5,992 houses; in 1961, 5,798 houses. These are Fianna Fáil's own figures, the figures supplied by them, not figures I have procured from any other place.

We have heard about this building drive. Of course there is a drive to build factories. I explained earlier the reason why factories are being built. There may be another drive to build dance halls as a result of this incentive which they receive in the Budget. It is desperate to think that organised dance hall proprietors can purchase reliefs such as this. You heard the letter which Deputy Dillon read from Miss Morris yesterday. Let us remember that Tammany Hall was driven out of American politics for corruption.

Mr. N. Egan: Information on Nicholas Egan  Zoom on Nicholas Egan  It is easily known the Deputy knows very little about the old Cumann na nGaedheal Party.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  When Fianna Fáil are driven out of this country——

Mr. Davern: Information on Michael J. Davern  Zoom on Michael J. Davern  There will be nothing left.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  ——it will be on account of corruption and there is one prayer the Irish people will murmur: “Deo gratias.”

Mr. N. Egan: Information on Nicholas Egan  Zoom on Nicholas Egan  Deputy O'Donnell knows nothing about the old Cumann na nGaedheal Party.

Mr. P. O'Donnell: Information on Patrick O'Donnell  Zoom on Patrick O'Donnell  Maybe the Deputy was a member of it for all I know.

Mr. N. Egan: Information on Nicholas Egan  Zoom on Nicholas Egan  I was not.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Boland): Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Anybody who was listening to the various debates here over the past few weeks would have thought that there was a unanimous view in the House that there were three sections of the community that should be assisted in this Budget in so far as it was possible to do so, namely, the farmers who through no lack of effort on their part have not benefited to the same extent from the increased prosperity in the country that followed from [1927] the change of Government in 1957; secondly, the retired State pensioners whose position has been worsened by the increased living costs since they retired and whose position is not as favourable as that of their colleagues of similar status who would retire today; and, thirdly, the recipients of social welfare benefits who also are not in a position by their own efforts to secure for themselves some of the increased prosperity in the country and who have then to depend on the provisions that the Minister for Finance is able to make at Budget time to rectify as far as possible that situation.

The Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure which were published showed quite clearly that it was impossible to do anything to assist these three sections of the community without imposing new taxes or extra taxes in order to raise the necessary money. Yesterday we had the extraordinary situation here of all the Opposition Parties and a number of the Independents, including those who were loudest in their protestations of sympathy for the farmers, pensioners and social welfare beneficiaries, voting against the raising of the money to come to the assistance of these deserving sections of the community.

As far as we on this side of the House are concerned, our only regret is that in the circumstances that exist it is not possible to do more in this regard than we have in fact done. Being the Government and expecting to continue to be the Government, we had to consider the effect of increasing taxation on the economic expansion that has been taking place. We do not regard what has been done in this Budget as the end. It is because of that that we have made very sure not to do anything in the Budget to interfere with the increasing prosperity of the country and, therefore, with the increasing capacity of the community to come to the assistance of people who, through circumstances outside their own control, are unable to benefit to the same extent as other sections in the increasing prosperity.

We realise that further increases in [1928] such things as social insurance benefits, for instance, depend on the continuation of the present economic expansion that is taking place. While we would like to have provided further tax incentives and further encouragement generally and to continue to foster that improvement in our economy, we think that in all the circumstances that exist, circumstances in which the buoyancy of the revenue has been largely swallowed up by increases in salaries for State employees, it is no small achievement to have succeeded in giving substantial benefits to each of these three classes and at the same time to have kept the increases in taxation as low as we have succeeded in keeping them. Measured by any standard you like, the increases we have given can only be described as substantial ones.

I think I should deal mainly with what this Budget does for the recipients of social welfare benefits. I may say before I start that I should have liked to do a great deal more but I am satisfied that, in all the circumstances, we have succeeded in taking another significant step in widening the gap between the increases granted to the recipients of social welfare benefits and the increases in the cost of living, and that we have broken completely new ground on this occasion by the range and extent of the benefits which were never approached on any previous occasion. In fact, only on two previous occasions were the recipients of social welfare benefits in the assistance schemes and the insurance schemes dealt with in the same Budget. On both of these occasions, a Fianna Fáil Government were in office and a Fianna Fail Minister for Finance brought in the Budget. Those years were 1952 and 1960 and in no other year was the assistance side and the insurance side dealt with at the same time.

This year, we have granted substantial increases, greater than ever given before, over the whole field of social services, in all the insurance schemes and in all the assistance schemes. The talk seems to be all about the non-contributory old age pension. There were four previous occasions on which increases of 2/6 in the maximum [1929] rate of non-contributory old age pensions were given. On one of these occasions, other schemes were not touched at all. The only year in which there was an increase of 2/6d. in non-contributory pensions and in which other assistance was also given was in 1959 when a Fianna Fáil Government were in office.

In 1948, there was an increase of 2/6d. in old age pensions but there was nothing for the unemployed. There was an increase of 2/6d. for widows but the insurance side of social welfare was not touched at all. In the two succeeding years of that Coalition Government, nothing was done. There was 2/6 given in 1955 to non-contributory pensioners but nothing was given to any other section of social welfare and that was the sum total of that particular Coalition Government's increases in social assistance benefits for their whole term of office. This year, we have gone across the whole field of social services and given substantial increases, so I feel that I am justified in saying that never before were increases in social welfare benefits given on anything approaching the scale and extent of this occasion.

I do not know what Deputies Opposite hope to gain by the ridiculous statement that the best the Minister for Finance could afford to do was to give an increase of 2/6d. on old age pensions. That is nonsense. The Budget provides vastly more than that. We have given an increase of 2/6d. to non-contributory old age pensioners; we have given 2/6d. to widows in receipt of non-contributory widows' pensions, 2/6d. increase to the man on unemployment assistance, 2/6d. to his wife; and, in addition, the child dependants' allowances to the widows and people on unemployment assistance have been increased by amounts which bring them up to the same rates as the existing contributory rates.

The result of these increases is that a married man in the urban areas with a wife and three children benefits, not by 2/6d., but by 12/6d. and the married man with a wife and four children benefits by 15/-, with a further 2/6d. increase for each child in excess [1930] of four. In the rural areas, the increases are even greater. They have been brought up to the same level as in urban areas. A man with a wife and three children in the rural areas receives an increase of 14/6d. a week and a man with a wife and four children receives an increase of 17/- a week.

In addition, the Budget provides an increase of 2/6d. in the allowance paid for infectious diseases and 2/6d. to the wife of the person concerned. There is also an increase of 2/6d. in the disabled person's allowance. Before I go on to the increases that will be available on the insurance side of social welfare, it is relevant to consider these increases in the assistance side relative to the position of the cost of living. In August, 1961, the consumer price index figure was 150. In February, 1962, that had increased to 154, an increase of two and two-thirds per cent. The non-contributory old age pension has increased from 30/- to 32/6d. which is an increase of eight and one-third per cent. as against that increase of two and two-third per cent. in the cost of living. The non-contributory widow's pension has increased from 28/6d. to 31/-, an increase of 8.77 per cent.

In the case of unemployment assistance, the percentage increases are higher. They range, in the case of the single man on unemployment assistance, from 11.63 per cent. to 26.1 per cent. in the case of the married man with four children on unemployment assistance and there are higher increases in the cases of people with bigger families. If the man on unemployment assistance resides in a rural area, the percentage increases are greater still, rising from 16.2 per cent. for the single man to 35.8 per cent. for the man with a wife and four children. And this is all for a period in which the cost of living has risen by only two and two-thirds per cent.

That alone would be in striking contrast with what was done by either of the two Coalition Governments over their whole period of office, but that is not all that is being done in this Budget. The provision made in [1931] the Budget will provide substantially greater increases on the contributory side of social welfare. That is substantially greater than what has been granted on the assistance side.

The details of how these adjustments in the various contributory schemes will be made have not been worked out yet, but Deputies can take it that a possible allocation of the increased provision would give increases of 5/-per week in contributory old age pensions, 5/- per week for the wives of contributory old age pensioners, and an increase of the same amount for recipients of unemployment benefit and their adult dependants, and for recipients of disability benefit and, in addition to that, substantially greater increases for the dependent children of people in receipt of those allowances, which should do more than restore the differential between the amounts paid in respect of the children or dependants of recipients of benefits under the contributory schemes as compared with those under the non-contributory schemes. As I have said, the exact structure of these increases has not yet been decided, but Deputies can take it that they will be roughly of the order I have adumbrated.

In respect of the increases provided in this Budget, in this one year alone, for the recipients of social welfare benefits, these increases, taken as a whole, will, in a full financial year, mean that recipients will benefit by more than £3.78 millions. I find it hard to understand how anybody can describe as niggardly, or indecent, or any of the other extravagant epithets that were used, a provision which arranges for the transfer to this most needy section of our community of a sum of that magnitude. To me, that represents a considerable redistribution of money in any one year.

The breakdown of that amount by which the recipients of social welfare benefits will benefit in a full year is that on the unemployment assistance side, the increased expenditure, as a result of the provision in this Budget, will be something over £1.23 millions. On the insurance side, while there is [1932] only £200,000 provided for the State's contribution in this year, the increase that will be available to the beneficiaries under the different contributory schemes in a full year will be of the order of £2.4 millions in a full year. There are then benefits under the Health Acts and the infectious diseases and disabled persons' maintenance allowances; there the increase will be approximately £1.5 million.

The total of more than £3.78 millions will be made up as follows: £2.1 millions will be contributed by the State; £.075 million by local authorities; £.8 million by employers; and another £.8 million by the potential beneficiaries under the scheme. It is, I think, an unparalleled piece of brazen effrontery for Deputy Corish and Deputy Norton, in particular, Deputy Sweetman, an ex-Coalition Minister for Finance, and Deputy Dillon, also an ex-Minister of both Coalition Cabinets, to describe this provision for social welfare beneficiaries in the manner in which they have described it, when, in this single Budget brought in by this Fianna Fáil Government, we have done more than either Deputy Norton or Deputy Corish were able to do in their full term of office as Ministers for Social Welfare in Coalition Governments.

We have given substantial increases over the whole field of social assistance, whereas there were only two years in which either Deputy Norton or Deputy Corish were able to do anything; and then they had to confine themselves, in each case, to dealing with two schemes. They never even attempted to deal with both the assistance side and the insurance side in the same year. That has been done on only three occasions and, on each occasion, by a Fianna Fáil Government, needless to say.

Therefore, if these increases are, as Deputy Dillon said, indecent increases, how are we to describe the increases granted on the two solitary occasions on which Coalition Governments did give limited increases? What can one say about the other years in which Deputy Corish and Deputy Norton as Ministers for Social Welfare, Deputy [1933] McGilligan and Deputy Sweetman, as Ministers for Finance, made no improvement whatever in social welfare benefits, even comparing their full period in office with just this one single year in ours?

Deputies opposite seem to concentrate wholly, as I have said, on non-contributory old age pensions. Let us consider such pensions alone, if Deputies opposite are ashamed to discuss unemployment assistance, or anything else. We find that since Deputy Dr. Ryan became Minister for Finance in 1957, we have given an increase of 8/6 in non-contributory old age pensions. That compares with the 2/6 Deputy Norton was able to provide, with the assistance of Deputy McGilligan as Minister for Finance, in his full period of office, and the 2/6 Deputy Corish was able to provide when he had the benefit of Deputy Sweetman as Minister for Finance.

In addition to giving that increase of 8/6 in non-contributory old age pensions, we have also, of course, brought in the contributory old age pension scheme, a scheme which did not exist at all in the time of the Coalition Governments. Not alone have we arranged for that to be available in future, but we have also given allowances under that scheme to the wives of people who qualify for these pensions; and, although it is a contributory scheme, we have also arranged that it be paid to ex-insured workers who have never contributed to the scheme at all.

With regard to non-contributory old age pensions, or any other social welfare services, we have no reason to be ashamed of our record. Since 1948, there has been an increase of 17/6 in non-contributory old age pensions, 5/-of which was granted under Coalition Governments and 12/6 by Fianna Fáil. The record of the Coalition Governments in regard to the other social welfare schemes is even worse. In fact, never has a Labour Minister for Social Welfare, and never has a Coalition Minister for Finance, done anything whatever to increase the rates of unemployment assistance.

There is a Private Deputy's Motion on the Order Paper asking for increases [1934] in social welfare benefits, apart from Budget increases. Obviously, the Deputy who has that motion down looks upon increases in social welfare benefits as a normal feature of Budgets. That, of course, is because Deputy Sherwin has never been a member of this House, except when a Fianna Fail Government were in office. He has, therefore, naturally come to regard increases in social welfare benefits as a normal feature of the Budget. If he had ever had the experience of being in this House when Coalition Governments were in office, and Deputy McGilligan and Deputy Sweetman were Ministers for Finance, and Deputy Norton and Deputy Corish Ministers for Social Welfare, he would have known that increases in social welfare benefits are by no means a normal feature of the Budget and were only dragged out of the Coalition Governments at a time when there had been a very steep increase in the cost of living and when some increases in some of the schemes could not, in fact, be resisted. Even then there was never any attempt to give a comprehensive range of increases.

Under Fianna Fáil, on the other hand, as Deputy Sherwin has discovered from his experience here, the development of social welfare benefits has been a continuous process. There has been an improvement every year, an improvement which has reached, as I have said, a new height and scope this year. That is a process which, as the Taoiseach has said, will continue as the present favourable trends in the country's economy continue.

We have the position now that both Fine Gael and the Labour Party and all the other minor Opposition Parties and these Independents who a couple of weeks ago were weeping crocodile tears for the pensioners and social welfare recipients have all opposed, as we knew they would oppose, the necessary new taxes to provide a measure of relief for the farmers, for the State pensioners and for the recipients of social welfare benefits. They have opposed the granting of these increases to these sections of the community in the most effective way in which they could possibly do so, [1935] namely, by voting against the raising of the money to provide the relief we proposed to give them in this Budget.

It is an unparalleled example of cynicism and of contempt for the intelligence of the public to follow up that vote against the raising of money to provide these increases by criticising the extent of the aid that has been given to these sections of our community, in spite of the votes of the people on the other side of the House, all of whom voted against the provision of the necessary money. I wonder will the Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party never cease to regard the people as fools? There is one thing the people have learned from their two experiences of Coalition Government, that is the utter and absolute folly of the Government giving away more money than they collect.

The people will not fall for this business of voting against the taxes to raise the money to provide for services such as these and at the same time, demanding greater increases. The people know that when the Opposition voted against the raising of the money, either they did not want the aid to be given or else they had not learned their lesson and that if they were ever again in Government, they would once again allow the finances of the State to get into the chaotic condition that resulted from the two previous periods of Coalition Government.

Is it impossible, even at this stage, to get even one Opposition speaker to deal with this Budget in a responsible way? They have all voted against these taxes. Is there any Deputy on the opposite benches who is prepared to say which of the benefits the Budget has provided is too great—or should we have provided none of them? Should we not have come in any way to the aid of the farmers, the pensioners or the recipients of social welfare benefits?

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  Did you not give the farmers three times what you have given by way of social welfare benefits?

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  No; we did not give as much. I have shown that the recipients of social welfare benefits will benefit as [1936] a result of this Budget by £3.78 millions in a full financial year. The farmers, as a result of this Budget, did not get a greater amount than that.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  Did the farmers not benefit more than the social welfare beneficiaries? They will. That is the purpose——

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Not in a full year.

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Should we not have given any of these benefits—because you voted against all the taxes? Deputy Donegan boasted here yesterday that he had been marching the roads in the past couple of months in support of the farmers. Would he say we had given too much in assisting the farmers? If we have not, why did he vote against the provision of the money? As the Minister for Finance said in his Budget statement, this year he found it possible to go only half way towards bringing retired pensioners into line with the position of their colleagues retiring at the present day.

We had a Private Members' Motion here a couple of months ago. Will any of the Deputies who sponsored that motion say we have gone too far in this respect? If not, why did they vote against the money to go even this distance? Will the Labour Party Deputies who put down an amendment to extend the terms of that Private Members' Motion to include pensions under the Department of Social Welfare tell us why they have changed their minds now and why they voted against the raising of the necessary money? If that is not the position, will they tell us, then, if it is the nature of the taxes we have imposed that they are against? Is it not that they do not want increased taxation but, in this and some other——

Mr. Barron: Information on Joseph Barron  Zoom on Joseph Barron  Is it not possible for the Minister and the Government to get money through a purchase tax on non-essentials rather than——

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  What are they?

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I should like somebody to tell us that.

Mr. Barron: Information on Joseph Barron  Zoom on Joseph Barron  Radios, television sets, furniture, antiques, and so on.

[1937]Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  It is not possible to get an amount of money of the order we require from sources such as the Deputy has mentioned.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  He knows that well.

Mr. Barron: Information on Joseph Barron  Zoom on Joseph Barron  I do not.

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  If the Opposition object to the particular taxes and think we should have taxed something else, will they tell us should we have gone in for direct taxation of people's incomes and thereby gone in reverse of our policy of providing incentives for increased production which has borne good results? Should we, instead, have provided a disincentive by imposing, instead of the taxes on smoking and drink, a direct tax on incomes or on petrol or on lollipops.

The Opposition have been saying that the buoyancy of the revenue could have provided sufficient scope for granting these increases—the buoyancy of the revenue which has followed from Fianna Fáil policy. However, it has clearly been shown that that buoyancy has been swallowed up in the main part by the eighth round of increases for State employees. If the Opposition say the reason they voted against these taxes was that it should have been possible for us to do what we have done from the buoyancy of the revenue alone, will they tell us then we should not have honoured the arbitration award granting these eighth round increases to State employees? I hope somebody will deal with the matter in a reasonably responsible manner and tell us what we should have done instead—either we should not have given the aid we have given to the farmers, to the pensioners and to the social welfare beneficiaries or else we should have got the money in some other way. Apparently the Deputies opposite can do nothing more than try to put across on the people that a Government can give increases and not collect the money to finance them.

When that Private Members' Motion signed by a big percentage of the Fine Gael Party was put down asking for increases for all pensioners, we knew it was hypocrisy. When the Labour [1938] Party put down an amendment, I think, signed by the whole Party, we knew it was hypocrisy. Of course, that was particularly obvious when the sudden note of urgency to discuss that motion came along, just a couple of weeks before the Budget. They suddenly realised that if they did not get that motion dealt with quickly, they would have to deal with this question only in the context——

Mr. Tully: Information on James Tully  Zoom on James Tully  Of the 2/6d. Why did the Government allow the motion to be discussed, then?

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  ——of the fiscal measures necessary to do what they were pretending to ask should be done. We knew that, no matter what was said in the motion, every one of the Fine Gael Party and every one of the Labour Party and their adherents in the Independent Benches, all intended to vote against the raising of money to do what they asked should be done. But they insisted; they would not wait until the Budget. They insisted on wasting a day of the Dáil's time in speeches full of sound and fury, shedding crocodile tears on behalf of the pensioners and recipients of social welfare benefits. Now they have been put to the test, in that we have come to the aid of both sections, and they have voted against raising the money to give the substantial increases we are giving.

Deputy Donegan is not the first Deputy to spend his time in marching during a period when his Party were rejected by the people as a Government. Others have done that also, but very few of Deputy Donegan's fellow-marchers were in the same position as he was to give practical expression to their sentiments. But he has shown his insincerity in the matter by voting against the provision of money to come to the assistance of the farmers mainly in the very way in which they had looked for it. He may have done much to incite the demand but he has certainly done all he possibly could to prevent its being acceded to in any way in the Dáil. Similarly, in regard to the sponsors of the Private Members' Motion seeking increases for retired State pensioners, there was a lot of talk here and at the Party's Ard Fheis, [1939] but when it was put to the test they voted against the provision of money to assist these people.

The same thing applies to the sponsors of the Labour Party amendment in respect of the social welfare increases. They voted against raising the money and they have not given any indication of what other way the matter could have been dealt with.

Because of the rather difficult circumstances that existed on this occasion, apart from accepting the recommendations of the Committee on Industrial Organisation, it has not been possible for us to do anything further to develop the climate of tax incentives for increased economic effort and increased production which we started in 1957 and which has generated the economic advance that is at present taking place. We have not been able to go any further in this Budget on those lines, but I maintain that it is a considerable achievement that we have avoided going backwards in that way and that we have succeeded in maintaining that climate which has fostered economic advance and at the same time, succeeded in taking another significant step on the road which we have been travelling of improving the position of the needy sections of the community relative to the cost of living. That is what we have done in this Budget.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  The purpose of this Budget is perfectly obvious to me, if not to other people. It is designed to project to the country a new image of the leader of Fianna Fáil, of the Taoiseach. We all know that down through the years the Taoiseach has been associated with industry and his name has been linked justifiably with the industrial advance of this country, but because of that circumstance, it also became obvious that the farmers, as a class, were not, so to speak, in love with him and were not to be easily persuaded that he was a man they could follow, a man who would be vitally interested in their concerns. Therefore, looking at the last election when the Fianna Fáil Party barely missed getting an overall majority and thinking in terms of the future, trying [1940] to repair their broken fences, thinking of how they would recapture that element of the rural vote which they lost and which they had held under the former leader, the present Uachtarán, they decided to make use of this Budget to put over a new image of the new Taoiseach as the friend of the farmers.

I made my position perfectly clear before the Budget as to what my general attitude was. I judge the Budget, every Budget and everything that takes place in his House by one standard and that is: how do our actions affect the most depressed of our people, the neediest sections. I think it is true to say that, generally speaking, there is only one depressed section to-day and they are the social welfare group, and principally the old age pensioners. I made it clear that my vote would be cast in accordance with how these old age pensioners, particularly, were treated. In the event, they were treated, to my mind, shabbily.

The farmers will benefit considerably from this Budget. I am prepared to say that the farmers were not and are not doing too badly. They have not been doing too badly over the past 20 years. In this Budget, they will benefit at the expense of the people who live in the towns and cities and who must meet the taxation which is being raised to improve the farmers' position. Had the Minister, in his Budget speech, said he was going to devote even the money which he proposes to raise by taxation on tobacco to the relief of the old age pensioners, I would have voted for the Budget.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  You could have applied that to beer.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  If you like——

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  Or even if we had done what your Government did and ignored every other section except the old age pensioners.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  Not my Government —the Government I supported.

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  And ignored the unemployed.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  I am talking about the previous Government, as the Minister was inferring in the course [1941] of his speech that 2/6d. to-day had the same value as it had five years ago.

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland  Zoom on Kevin Boland  I am pointing out there is no comparison between what we have done and what was done then.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  I would have supported such a proposal, but instead, the Minister for Finance has come into the House and as far as I can learn, he proposes to raise something like £4,500,000 in taxation. Of that, £1,000,000 will be disbursed amongst the social welfare group and a fraction of that £1,000,000 goes to the old age pensioners, those who have nothing but 30/- a week. There are thousands of them in this city living in tenement rooms relying on that 30/- a week and they get an extra halfcrown. I do not know how the Minister can boast of that.

He has talked of an increase of 8/6d. in the non-contributory pensions since 1957, 8/6d. in five years, something between 1/6d. and 1/7d. a year on the average. How can we be proud of that kind of thing? Surely it should have been a moral responsibility at least on the Government to have given much greater help to the old people. Of course politics being what they are——

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  That is right.

Mr. S. Dunne: Information on Seán Dunne  Zoom on Seán Dunne  ——and the Minister for Finance being skilled at it, he probably advised the younger elements in the Cabinet: “We can bamboozle the old age pensioners; we can lead them along and they will follow us. We can persuade them and court them until election day.” The farmers' vote is what they were after and whether they succeeded in that, I do not know. I am not concerned with it but I am concerned with the fact that justice has not been done to the more helpless section of the people. The Taoiseach spoke about lack of political courage. If there is political cowardice in this, it is in the underhanded method the Government have adopted in trying to bribe the farmers back to the Fianna Fáil fold.

What of the cinema tax? The [1942] Minister said this was remitted because of the possibility of the industry running down, due to competition from television. It would have seemed to any reasonable person that the object of the tax abolition was to enable cinema proprietors to reduce admission prices and so increase their turn-over, if the term is permissible in this context. But the cinema owners have announced, in so far as one can read, that they have no such intention, that it is impossible to pass on the benefit of this tax relief to the public. This gift to the cinema owners amounts to £1,000,000 in a full year. I cannot understand the reason for this unless the Minister has been misled. Perhaps he will explain to us in his reply.

Much has been made of the increased unemployment benefits. Significantly, the Minister for Social Welfare pointed out that beneficiaries in rural areas will get more than those in urban districts. Here again one can see the political effort to court the rural vote. In certain areas of the country, small farmers enjoy unemployment benefits, even though they are small farmers, and here again the effort is being made, in a calculated, sinister fashion to court the vote.

As I have said, I do not believe that the money which the Minister will get from these taxes is being applied as it should be. I do not think that in the whole history of this State, under any Government, old people have been treated justly and I cannot understand how it is that no real effort has ever been made to try to lift them above destitution. It was for that reason that I honoured my election promises, that I voted against this Budget. I should like to add that I had more to lose by another election than any other member of this House, but I was prepared to accept that risk and I am not sorry for it.

Mr. Cosgrave: Information on Liam Cosgrave  Zoom on Liam Cosgrave  It is usual to examine the Budget from the point of view of the effect it has on the national economy as a whole, as well as on the individual members of the community, and in examining this Budget, it is appropriate that this year special consideration [1943] should be given to the proposals there dealing with the application by this country to join the European Economic Community. When we examine what has been done to deal with that aspect of the matter, it is interesting to note that very little at all has been done in the way of preparing the country for the changes which will come about if the application is accepted.

Only this week, the Committee on Industrial Organisation published an interim report which dwelt on the conditions which would exist should this country adhere to EEC. Indeed no more clearly expressed criticism has been given than this document, which is the joint findings of representatives of industry, the trade unions, Government Departments, and when we take into account the comments in the recent OECD survey on the prospects for this country, it is obvious that the gravity of the position which will arise has not been fully realised. Indeed it is questionable whether the steps taken in the Budget are adequate to meet that situation.

With the very buoyant revenue that exists at the moment, the fact that there is a substantial increase in money incomes and that the full effect of the eighth round wage increases is now being felt, there was a strong case— which was referred to yesterday by the Taoiseach—for budgeting for a surplus. One of the advantages of budgeting for a surplus now would be to provide a special fund to meet the circumstances which will arise, should our application to join the Common Market be accepted.

One of the matters which is referred to in the recent survey of OECD is the fact that at the present time this country enjoys preferences in exports to Britain which mean duty-free entry for almost all Irish exports to the United Kingdom and tariff preferences as against imports from non-Commonwealth countries. When we realise the immense trade advantages which that preferential position gives, it is necessary to consider to what extent exports from this country equal certain food imports in Britain on the one hand, and [1944] industrial imports on the other. Despite that favourable position, food exports from this country alone amount to only about five per cent. of Britain's total food imports and industrial exports, while improving, indicate that the percentage of exports from this country is indeed small.

In fact, it might be said that we have only scratched the surface of the opportunities which exist there and which have existed, indeed, in different forms since the very establishment of the State, with the tremendous advantage of the close proximity of that big trading market and the fact that there are no language or other barriers which present problems elsewhere. It is obvious that the conclusions which the Committee on Industrial Organisation reached have very considerable force.

They state in paragraph (2) that, “in their present state, many Irish firms and industries could not survive freer competition from imports.” They go on to recommend various forms of action which might be taken to ensure that the opportunities which exist will be availed of and that the problems which will arise will be surmounted by what is suggested as twofold action and described as “preventive adaptation” in order to enable them to meet competition and to gear them to meet it effectively initially, and “remedial adaptation” to deal with the problems as they arise.

They then refer in detail to various taxes and grants and the financial arrangements which should be made. In the Budget Statement, it is stated that the report has only been received, and that this year it is proposed to provide a sum of £100,000. I think it is obvious to anyone that this sum will be inadequate if all of these recommendations are fully implemented.

On the other hand, most people are struck by the similarity between that sum and the sum provided five years ago for market research in respect of agricultural produce. A sum of a quarter of a million pounds was provided, and up to the beginning of this year, less than £25,000 was spent. If industrialists and manufacturers are to be cushioned and ensured of facilities which will enable them to [1945] meet the situation, it is obvious that the sum provided here will be inadequate. One of the problems that will arise for manufacturers and industrialists will inevitably be the question of redundancy. In the initial period, that may have severe effects, and some fund should be provided which will tide over both workers and employers during the transition period.

The proposals made here seem to fall far short of the recommendations which are made and gone into in some detail in respect of the various steps which should be taken by means of tax concessions and other financial proposals for allowances and credit arrangements. It is indeed remarkable that a committee with such divergent interests, undoubtedly directly concerned with the outcome of their deliberations on their joint enterprise, with representation composed of employers, trade unions and Government Departments, should have agreed on proposals designed to provide for repercussions by means of measures to prevent serious dislocation and to resolve whatever immediate problems arise by reason of membership of the Common Market.

Looked at from the angle of what has been done to stimulate production, it seems that the Budget falls short of the recommendations made some years ago in the first report of the Capital Investment Advisory Committee. One of the matters referred to in that report was the agricultural grant and the Committee expressed the view that the advantages derived from the agricultural grant were not commensurate with the expenditure. They expressed the opinion that other means of utilising the sums of money involved would be more effective in giving encouragement and assistance to farmers.

Up to this year, nothing was done on that matter. It was deferred for further consideration. Now a proposal is introduced to grant assistance by means of a sum of £2½ million in respect of relief of rates on agricultural land. That will assist a limited number of farmers, and it is a fact that it will assist the bigger farmers. Whether it is the most effective [1946] method of dealing with the difficulties confronting the farmers at the moment, whether it is the most effective method of improving production and increasing output, is indeed open to question.

The fact that the Capital Investment Advisory Committee decided some years ago that it was not providing either incentives or achieving the objectives for which it was originally instituted is of considerable interest. At the same time, while it will provide for relief for farmer ratepayers, why confine its benefits to farmers? What about the position of the traders in cities and towns? What about the position of business people who have had to bear, and will continue to bear, the increased burden of rates? This benefit is applied only in respect of agricultural land and will, in the main, apply to the bigger holdings, although there are substantially more small holdings than large ones.

The figures published in Table 81 of the Statistical Abstract show that the number of holdings under £50 poor law valuation is 345,000, and the number over £50 valuation is 34,000, so the advantage of this relief is, in the main, likely to go to the bigger farmers. There are in the country, in the cities, in the towns, and even in the villages, shopkeepers, traders, business people, who have had to bear, and are bearing, the rising demands made on them by local authorities in respect of rates.

Under the proposals in this Budget, they will receive no relief in respect of rates. They will be obliged to bear the increases without any relief. At the same time, in many areas they find that there are fewer people to do business with. The population in most rural areas shows a continuous decline. In that connection, the complacency of the Government is dangerous. The Government appear to be satisfied, because of the slight increase in the numbers in employment, that the situation is satisfactory.

From the figures published in Economic Statistics it will be seen that there are still fewer people in employment than there were in 1956. It is true that there are more people in employment than in 1957 or 1958 but the fact [1947] that there are fewer in employment than in 1956 gives no reason for the complacent attitude adopted by Ministers in their speeches.

When the Government Party sought support prior to 1957, they undertook to provide in a five year period 100,000 new jobs. Today we find that, instead of those new jobs being provided, there are in actual fact, as I say, fewer in employment than in 1956. We have got at the same time to take into account the very substantial numbers who have emigrated.

I have here figures published recently by the Overseas Migration Board which show that, in 1960, 72,962 persons from this country were granted insurance cards in Britain under the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance. Of that number, 15,000 were re-entrants so that over 57,000 were granted insurance cards for the first time. Last year—the figures are not final but they are the figures which are available—it is shown that on the investigation carried out by the economic intelligence unit 67,000 persons were granted insurance cards. Assuming the number of re-entrants is approximately the same proportion as in the previous year, there is still a very substantial figure of 50,000.

It is a fact that the recent figures show some reduction but the very heavy rate has continued over a number of years. This was referred to by the O.E.C.D. survey which shows that over a lengthy period, taken as a decade, the average was over 40,000 persons per year. I can understand the effects of that on the trading opportunities and the trading position for many shopkeepers and business people. The indications are that the position in the country for many of these traders has become difficult and will not be eased by the proposals in the Budget.

The increased taxation on beer, tobacco and spirits will inevitably react on small traders and business people. In many towns and villages a great deal of normal expenditure is undertaken in licensed premises, shops and so on and the effects of these taxes will be very considerable.

[1948] The Government had one advantage in the course of last year—it continues into the present year—of substantial buoyancy in the revenue. Last year the increase in respect of income tax and sur-tax revenue was just £3 million. That was the first full year of P.A.Y.E. The full effect of the eighth round of wage increases was not included in it. At the same time, there was a very substantial increase in revenue from tobacco on existing rates. Those two items alone contributed greatly to the buoyancy of the revenue.

Because of that extraordinary buoyancy and because of the fact that it was possible, as a result of the out-turn of the Budget for the year and the increase in revenue, and because a remission has been granted in respect of entertainment tax, we believed—and the figures justify that belief—that it would have been possible to increase the old age and other pensions without increasing taxation and certainly without putting the increases on the very commodities which the old, the infirm and so on have to purchase.

The impact of a penny on the pint impinges harshly on the people whom the pensions proposals are supposed to benefit. In fact, if we consider the ordinary wants of old people, pensioners, next to food, clothing and accommodation it is reasonable to allow them some money to purchase a drink or a smoke. So far as the effect of the Budget is concerned, the people who will be obliged to bear a great portion of the increases on drink and tobacco are the old age pensioners and other retired personnel. They will have to bear very considerable increases in prices.

The cost of living, as Deputies are aware, has increased very sharply. It has affected all the commodities which households have to purchase. There has been a steep rise. Indeed, the effect of the rise is not yet exhausted. The cost of some commodities is still rising. Since 1957, the cost of living has increased 19 points. That has been reflected in dearer bread, butter, flour, potatoes, clothing, drink and tobacco. Drink and tobacco increased [1949] from 112.7 to 130. That was prior to the increase imposed in the Budget this week. Housing increased from 115 to 131.3. At the same time, people have had to pay higher bus fares, higher train fares and higher charges for post office facilities, letters, telegrams and so on. In addition, the same sections in the community, the people who would normally be entitled to be considered the weaker sections, have to pay more for hospital accommodation if they are entitled to it under the Health Act.

All these burdens have been borne by the same sections of the community who are now obliged, in order to get the comparatively meagre benefits included in the pensions proposals, to contribute to them by way of increased payments for beer, tobacco and spirits. One of the disappointing things about the proposal to increase pensions is the fact that they are to operate only from August next. For many years that has been the practice but this year there is this difference, that wage and salary increases have all been made retrospective to 1st November last, certainly so far as public servants are concerned. The same is true of most private employers but so far as civil servants, the Gardaí, the Army and teachers are concerned the awards are retrospective to November 1st. While those in employment, whose emoluments and wages are substantially higher, have had the advantage not merely of the increase but of retrospection, the old age pensioners, widows and orphans, retired Army and Garda personnel, civil servants and teachers all have to wait until August.

One of the effects of the rise in prices is the burden imposed on those weaker sections. There is, however, an even more significant effect and that is in regard to the prospects for this country competing successfully with other countries through exports and effective marketing. One of the matters that have been the subject of constant comment in the survey carried out by O.E.C.D., and indeed here also, particularly in the Irish Banking Review for March, is the effect on our trading capacity of the rise in prices.

[1950] One factor that has emerged in recent months, and indeed which was emphasised by the decision of the Government to accede to the demands in respect of rates on agricultural land, is that we live in an era in which pressure must be exerted by any group in the community to achieve their objectives. Some months ago we had the pressure exerted by the employees of public concerns, the most notable being the E.S.B. employees, in their demand for salary and wage increases. That was an example of pressure from one section of the community. The recent protests and marches by the N.F.A. is another. We have reached the situation in which in order to get remedial action pressure has to be exerted in one form or another. Whether that is a good thing in the national interest or whether it is good in the immediate context of the group concerned is a matter on which it is legitimate to have doubts.

One of the matters that have been constantly referred to in discussions on the prospects for this country in the European Economic Community is the question of labour relations and salary and wage adjustments. Very considerable care and attention are being devoted to this question in other countries. In the Netherlands and Sweden there are joint committees consisting of representatives of workers and employers who meet regularly to consider various adjustments in order to measure the claims they will meet and to assess and calculate the effects of these claims on the capacity and ability of the industry to meet them and at the same time assess the effect on the economy as a whole. The smooth working of these arrangements in these countries has been referred to on many occasions by those who have examined them and because the system has worked so well it has been held out as a model for other countries. One of the problems considered by the O.E.C.D. was the problem of rising prices. A study on that matter was published in May, 1961, and considerable attention was given to their impact and effects on member countries. No set solution has been [1951] found so far either in Britain or in this country.

When the Taoiseach criticises the farmers for the action they took he should remember they were only doing what other sections in the community did on previous occasions. The fact that there was delay and that it was deferred until now by the farmers meant that they eventually realised some protest or demand had to be made in order to be effective and in common with other groups in the community. The remission that is being granted in respect of rates on agricultural land is an admission that the era in which we live is one in which pressure must be exerted to achieve the desired ends. As I say, whether that is good in the national interests or good in the long term interests of the section of the community concerned is another matter.

There are, however, in the community a great many unorganised groups, the small traders, the individual shopkeepers and the small business men. All these catagories have no organisation or body to speak for them. They have not got a trade union and in many cases they have not got an organisation such as represents larger firms or, in the case of agriculture, the National Farmers' Association. These facts make it all the more important for the Government and the Dáil to consider the very serious situation which exists because of the effect of rising prices and the substantial increase in the rate burden being borne by small traders and other businesses. These traders have to meet a variety of increased demands. Of course what is true for traders is equally true for the individual. They have to meet higher bus fares, higher electricity charges, higher postal and telephone charges. Those of them who operate cars, lorries or vans for business purposes find that insurance has increased and that in some cases companies have recently refused to insure on a third party basis. All these burdens have to be borne by traders many of whom find there are fewer persons in their local community to do business with.

[1952] One of the matters which was adverted to by the Minister in his statement was the proposal to impose an interest charge in respect of arrears of income tax. This matter was referred to by the Minister when he said there was at present in operation a one per cent. charge in respect of P.A.Y.E. and it is now proposed to apply a half per cent in respect of income tax payers other than P.A.Y.E. who are in arrears beyond three months. In considering this matter, it is important for the Revenue Commissioners and indeed Government Departments to consider the other side of that proposal. On many occasions, individual taxpayers and business concerns find that because of delays by either the Revenue Commissioners or appropriate Government Departments, they are owed sums of money. They very often have to wait for a very considerable period before repayment is made. If it is proposed in respect of taxpayers to charge a half per cent., it is reasonable to assume that the same will apply in respect of sums owed by the Revenue Commissioners and State Departments to individuals or businesses.

It is the general experience that, individually, the staffs of the Revenue Commissioners and State Departments are most courteous, considerate and understanding when problems are brought to them; but when a Department or the Revenue Commissioners are considered as a unit, an entirely different attitude is adopted in dealing with the public. I have known of cases in which Government Departments owed firms, in respect of work done or contracts, considerable sums and payment was delayed for very long periods. In these cases, no interest is paid in respect of the delay. In fact, I have known of one case in which, because of the expansion of the business concerned, the firm had to get an overdraft from the bank in order to carry on the expanded business, whereas if the sum owed, by the Office of Public Works in this case, had been paid in time or when it was due, the necessity for securing an overdraft would not have arisen.

It may be that one of the reasons for this attitude is the legacy we have [1953] inherited here in respect of Government Departments, and which indeed has been changed only in recent times, that the Crown can do no wrong. The same attitude still operates in Britain in certain respects. In recent years a change has been made here in some respects. I do not believe in modern circumstances—in any circumstances in a Republic but certainly in existing circumstances and conditions of modern society—that should be the attitude of a State Department. If this proposal is to operate in respect of the individual taxpayer in arrears, the same should apply in respect of arrears of repayments due by Government Departments.

One of the matters which has been referred to by the Minister is the proposal to provide additional money for the undertaking by Cómhlucht Siúicre Éireann. I yield to no one in my admiration for the success of Cómhlucht Siúicre Éireann and for the skill, enterprise and efficiency with which that undertaking has been carried on. However, there are in this country many individual firms and undertakings engaged in the food processing business. These firms have had a very keen fight for markets abroad as well as at home. Many of them have displayed commendable initiative, energy and drive, and it seems unfair that special facilities should be afforded to State companies that are not being provided for existing private concerns. These concerns, because of the very nature of the trade, have been involved in not merely a highly speculative but a highly competitive business, a business in which undoubtedly there are great opportunities, but at the same time very considerable risks. The fact that special facilities have been or are proposed to be afforded to Cómhlucht Siúicre Éireann seems to me to make it obvious that some consideration should be given to the needs of the individual food processing firms, who have displayed initiative and drive in developing their business, expanding their exports and getting new markets.

This Budget does not face up to the great problems which affect the [1954] country. One of the matters which have been the subject of discussion recently, both here and in groups outside, is the question of education. recently, I asked the Minister for Education to consider the position in regard to the grants paid to secondary schools. I adverted to the fact that grants are at the same level in respect of pupils as they were eight years ago. In the meantime, costs have risen and at the same time, the demand for accommodation in these schools, the number of pupils attending them, and the desire of a great many more parents to give their children a better education, have been manifest all over the country. The Minister said the matter was being considered, but it is disappointing to find no proposal in the Budget to provide increased grants in respect of not merely secondary schools but of vocational and other education.

One of the matters which have been the subject of considerable comment is the question of technical training to meet the new conditions in Europe. Undoubtedly, the fact that this country is so isolated compared with other European countries, who are in close proximity to one another and have better facilities for language training and so on, makes it all the more necessary for special consideration in respect of the facilities offered for education. In order to attract not merely the best teachers but to encourage and assist parents, many of whom make very considerable sacrifices, the grants should be increased.

I believe the Budget is, in the main, a mark-time Budget. Whether that is the right policy in present circumstances is a matter on which there is a great conflict of opinion. Both in Britain and here, most people think that the initiative, drive and opportunity which exist should be tackled on the lines I suggested initially of building up a reserve fund to enable industries and those employed in and dependent upon them to meet the situation which will arise. It is an unhealthy fact from the economic point of view, and particularly from the revenue point of view, that so much of our revenue is dependent on a few sources. [1955] Indeed in regard to direct tax revenue, the very considerable sum of £30,000,000 came from tobacco alone. With the harmonisation of taxation methods which is part of the proposals enshrined in the Rome Treaty, some alternative method will have to be considered here. The dramatic effect and the severity of these changes should be lessened by taking appropriate action in advance rather than waiting until membership is an accomplished fact.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Cornelius Meaney  Zoom on Cornelius Meaney  I wish to refer to the repercussions of this Budget on the various sections of the community and to the policy pursued by the Opposition since this Dáil was elected last October. I am one of the very few Deputies who happened to be out of this House for a considerable period and got back. Since I returned here last October, I have heard nothing from the Opposition but one long caoin or wail of woe and an attempt to persuade the citizens that our economic position was precarious and that unless something very drastic happened, such as the ousting of the Government from office, the country was doomed.

It was rather monotonous to hear that wail day after day, but last week, when we were presented with the economic statistics which showed us our real economic position, including the balance of payments, the number in employment, exports, etc., the Opposition then realised that our finances were buoyant and that the policy pursued by the Government was a sound and beneficial one. After the Minister for Finance had read his Statement here on Tuesday last, one could see they were crestfallen even to the extent of losing their sense of judgment when it came to a Division.

Due to the sound economic position, the Minister was able to give much-needed relief to old age pensioners and in respect of widows' and orphans' pensions, Army pensions and children's allowances. He was also able to give the substantial sum of £2,500,000 for the further relief of rates on agricultural land. We should all like to see the greatest possible [1956] benefits given to all those sections but those who have any sense of responsibility will bear in mind that anything that is done must be related to national income and national output. The Minister and the Government kept those things in mind.

I had great sympathy today for the Opposition when I saw them trying to defend the way they cast their votes for the provision of the moneys which were needed to increase old age pensions, widows' and orphans' pensions and the relief of rates on agricultural land. I should like to see each and every one of those items bigger, but I have to have regard to the economic structure and to what we can afford, taking all the economic factors into consideration. It was strange to see Deputies who call themselves members of a farmers' Party, Clann na Talmhan, going to the Division Lobby and voting against giving £2,500,000 for the relief of rates on agricultural land. I thought it very peculiar also to see Deputies in those benches, who since last October have been shouting for more and more for the weaker sections of the community, going into the Lobby and trying to deprive those people of the provision which the Minister had made for them in his Budget.

The only conclusion I can come to is that all members of the Opposition are bankrupt as regards a sound policy and have no sense of proportion left. It reminds me of the old saying : “Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.” It was madness, political as well as economic madness, for those people to adopt the attitude they have adopted.

We have heard a lot from those benches of the grand financial position we were in when the Coalition were in office. Although I was not a member of the House at that time, I was still very much in touch with public affairs as a public representative in an administrative capacity. It was in the discharge of my duties that I came in contact with some of the Deputies of that period, the year 1956, which is referred to as “Black 1956”. I was one of a deputation that came to Dublin at that time to meet the Minister for Local Government in order to [1957] try to get from him the essential money and the essential permission for a little scheme of houses in North Cork. The man nearly threw a fit when we came in and he asked us why it was that we selected the worst period of our history, when there was a financial blizzard. Things were so tight that we had to fence those plots with money got from the ratepayers of North Cork. That was one of the men whom we heard here today bragging of how well off they were.

Again, I was a member of a certain body that was in contact with the then Minister for Agriculture. The members of that body put up to him the necessity for extending the scheme for the eradication of bovine tuberculosis. That gentleman, who is now the Leader of the Opposition, told us that he could not extend it for two reasons. One was that he had not sufficient personnel and the other was that he had not enough cash. There was a new Government in office a few months later and enough personnel and plenty of cash were found to extend the scheme for the eradication of bovine tuberculosis. There was no shortage of money.

At that period my postman was overloaded with letters every morning and my doorbell was ringing constantly with people coming to me to see how they could get the grants which had been passed for land project schemes, for dwelling houses and farm buildings. If the present Government pursued the policy that was pursued at that time by the Coalition Government we would find ourselves back in the same position again. I consider the Opposition were very lucky not to defeat us. It would have been a very bad job for the sections of the community for which the money was voted if we had been defeated. If we had been defeated a general election would be inevitable and, from what I know of the temper of the public at the moment, they do not want a general election just now. They can see no justification for it.

Of course, I realise that having excelled themselves in their condemnation of Government policy for [1958] months past, having flung ordinary judgement to the four winds and having voted against the provision of money that was sorely needed they are hard put to it to make up excuses. I believe that time is gone. The Coalition Government pursued another policy, the policy of more and more public services, more and more expenditure but they would not pay for it. That is a most demoralising doctrine. If that policy of trying to get much for nothing and somebody else to pay were pursued and if people were foolish enough to accept it it would demoralise the whole race.

Our first concern here should be the welfare of the Irish people. We should also remember, no matter to what Party we belong, that it was only by sacrifices and hardship that the freedom we have was achieved and we should honour and cherish that freedom. We should do nothing that would, in any way, sully the fair names of the people who took part in that struggle or of those who went before them. We should realise that having attained that freedom it is the duty of all Irishmen to try to build up their country. It may be a slow and tough job but all those sacrifices would be in vain and would not be justified if, having got freedom, we did not try to improve matters, improve living conditions and the standard of living and increase social amenities in every way possible. That is the policy that is being followed by the Fianna Fáil Government. It is in pursuance of that policy that this Budget and previous Budgets were brought in by the Minister for Finance.

I heard one Deputy here trying to have salaries and wages related to the cost of living. He must be a Rip van Winkle. That day is long past. Every demand for increased wages and salaries is related now to a claim for a bigger share of the national prosperity. I suppose some of us are sleepier than others or sleep too long. The Minister and the Government deserve to be congratulated. They have done a good day's work. They have put more people into employment. They have at last grappled successfully with the problem of emigration. Out [1959] of public funds they have provided amenities which will be of immense benefit to our people. They have never yet forgotten, and I hope they never will forget, the weaker sections of our community. Every time there is an increase in the cost of living, it has always been followed by an increase in social welfare benefits. A sum of £3.78 millions is no mean sum. It is a pity the country cannot afford more, but, even if it could afford more, there would be some who would want more still. That is but human nature.

Again, I should like to express my thanks to the Minister, my appreciation of the Budget introduced by him, and of the extra funds made available for the agricultural community and other sections which, as a result of this Budget, will in future enjoy some increased income.

Mr. Leneghan: Information on Joseph R. Leneghan  Zoom on Joseph R. Leneghan  I did not really intend to speak, but, in view of the absolutely unwarranted attack made on certain members of the Independent Party, I think I should defend those who were attacked. It is remarkable that this attack should come from members of the Fine Gael Party, the people who were in office with the goodwill of the Independents. Fine Gael were never in power, except with the goodwill of the Independents. Their more odious predecessors, Cumann na nGaedheal, were also in power only because of the goodwill of the Independents. If we accept what has gone on here, the position now is that, if you are an Independent and vote for a Party of the West Briton type, well and good; if, on the other hand, you answer the dictates of your conscience and are pro-national, you are a blackguard. That is a nice position. It is evidently the position we have now reached.

I should like to point out to those who attacked the three Independents that members of their Parties came to us outside the House and did their damnedest to get us to vote with the Government to prevent them being out on the fence. There is no question about that. One Deputy was attacked in the House last night, or the night [1960] before, and I was attacked outside the House this morning. I make no apology to these people for doing what I did. I did what was right. The Fine Gael Party are now being led by a man who was an Independent until they bought him over, a man who turned and twisted, a man who was primarily responsible for making the President of Ireland, Mr. de Valera, President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State in 1932. These gentlemen should cut out the nonsense when they talk about Independents in future.

These gentlemen have taken the attitude here that everything in the Budget is wrong. Their only trouble is a simple one: the Budget was at least three times as mild as they thought it would be. They are in the unhappy position now—it is quite obvious—that they cannot make any attack on it capable of substantiation. Only a short time ago, they forced the House into the Division Lobbies on a motion asking for increased pensions. They harangued the House for hours on end. Later, when an increase is given in pensions, they vote against the increase. What do they think the ordinary sane people are? Do they think they are so stupid that they cannot see through this shallow attitude? If they think this is a good form of political advertisement, then the members of the ever-rotating front Bench of Fine Gael had better have second thoughts, if they are capable of thinking.

I agree that to some extent the Minister was not as generous in certain ways as he might have been. On the other hand, I am not such a fool as not to appreciate that, if the Minister gives increases, he must get a corresponding amount of taxation. In getting the money to meet these increases, he has been quite fair in apportioning the burden. I am a publican. I do not intend to quarrel with the extra 1d. on the pint. I probably drink more of it than most people. I have no quarrel with the 2d. on the glass of whiskey. It is good to know that there are people in this House who have some kind of conscience. Two Deputies have spent six months agitating about cigarette [1961] smoking and lung cancer. They voted with the Government. They had a conscience. They were consistent.

Many Deputies have gone back to 1956. I am afraid I shall have to follow suit. An earlier speaker said he had locks on his door in 1956. I could not get out at all. There was no money in circulation and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Traders in my area were owed colossal sums. Nobody was being paid; nothing was being done. Reference has been made to some extraordinary building that took place during that period. The houses must have been built by some philanthropist. Every Deputy with common sense knows that there was no money available for house building during that period. I do not believe houses are built for nothing. I cannot understand where people got the figures they produced this morning.

If the number of houses under construction is being reduced now, there is good reason for that. The programme is being overtaken. One cannot go on building houses forever. I do not want to see a repeat of 1956. I come from an area in which there are very substantial industries. I do not want to see the Moy drainage scheme closing down. I do not want to see the grass-meal factory closing down. I do not want to see the experimental station in Glenamoy closing down. I am not such a fool that I can stand idly by and tolerate the nonsense spoken by these people whose only ambition is to hoodwink the nation. Does anybody think I would tolerate a position in which the industries established in my constituency by the Government might be closed down? No amount of crocodile tears shed on those benches will convince me of the contrary.

I would prefer to see the old age pension increased by more than 2/6d. On the other hand, it is better to get 2/6d. than to have 1/- deducted from a meagre pittance. The economic outlook of a certain Party must have changed very much because they were the Party who deducted the 1/- from the pittance the old age pensioners were getting then. They can talk now. They have no power to do anything. [1962] If they had, they would revert to their former policy of cutting down and reducing. It is an extraordinary situation—others have drawn attention to it—to find men coming in here, apparently in their normal senses, voting to prevent the Minister helping the poorer sections of the community. After all, what these people did was tantamount to trying to prevent the Minister from giving pensioners the increase.

We have seen the march of the farmers. Great play has been made of it over the past few months. But the very people who claim that they marched with the farmers came in here and when they saw that the farmers were getting very substantial benefits under the new Budget they voted against them. I wonder what these people think the farmers are. The farmers are not by any means as big fools as these gentlemen who voted against the improvements in farmers' rates think they are. Opposition Deputies, one and all, criticised every single improvement afforded in the Budget to lift up the poorer sections of the community, including the farmers.

The Opposition are not here to answer me. Earlier, I remarked that there were twins on the Fine Gael benches and nobody on the Labour benches. The position is slightly altered now. I should like to ask the responsible leaders to come into this House and tell us what they would do, because nobody has said what he would do. Everybody has said that what the Minister did was wrong but nobody has yet said what he should have done. Nobody has said where he should get the money. None of them is willing to pay anything. I do not know what they want done: they do not know themselves: but if they cannot point out where the Minister is to get the money, then they should forget about it.

The Minister has done right. He certainly has done right by helping the poorer sections of the community and the farmers. The only people who make high play out of this and who try to operate a circus act in relation to it are the very people who have no policy of any description for any section of the community. They have [1963] shown that that is so and I am sure they will not change their ways now.

I should like these people to tell the Government what should be done. I am sure that if they did adopt any kind of constructive attitude and let the Government know what they want and what the people of the country want, the Government would be glad to help them out. If these people are as right as they want us to believe they are then it would seem that the people in the country are all fools because they should be in Government. If their policy is the correct one then the people should have seen it. They should have advertised their wares. If they have not they should have a public relations officer to do it for them. Either they are wrong, or the people of the country are wrong. I have an idea, no matter how dense I may appear, that the people of the country are not fools.

Farmers will be very glad of the big reduction in their rates which will take place as a result of the extra grants being made available from the Exchequer. Does this mean there will be an alteration this year in the rates which the various county councils have already struck? Perhaps the Minister would clear up that point for us.

There is one thing which I find very difficult to understand. It is the attitude of a good many Deputies who try to make us believe that we are the most impoverished nation in Europe. If there is any nation in Europe with greater outward signs of wealth than we have, I should like to see it. The country is absolutely cluttered with cars: somebody must be paying for them. Go into any house in the country: it is furnished up to the hilt. The woman of the house has decided to take herself easy, whatever about the man: certainly, she has all the most modern equipment. I do not believe the St. Vincent de Paul Society give that stuff out. There must be money to pay for it.

The fact that there has been such buoyancy in the national income in the past 12 months is very clear proof that there is money in the country and a good deal of it. The Minister has made a reasonable effort [1964] to distribute the wealth of the country as equitably as possible through this Budget.

It is a shame at this stage of the world that we should go on with that poor mouth behaviour that we are an inferior race, that we can do nothing and that if we go into the Common Market we shall be swamped and wiped out: we shall not. The Irish people, down through the ages, have always proved their capabilities. Nobody is so foolish as to believe that the ordinary man in this country is afraid to go into the Common Market. When this country was at its lowest depths and its economic outlook dismal, our people were not afraid to go into far foreign fields to earn their livelihood. They went and were successful.

Unquestionably today, when we are in a far better position and have the capacity to improve it, our people will have no fear of joining in commercial activities with other nations. The fact that so many of our people have made good in some of the most fiercely competitive industries in the world is a very clear indication of our capabilities and of the fact that we are not afraid to join with other people. All these prophecies about our people being put out of work, about our farmers being walked over and disappearing from the land, are sheer nonsense. Our people are not afraid of work. Our people are able for work.

No matter what any foreigners who come in here may say in criticism of us, I can assure those listening to me that if we went into their countries we would find just as much to criticise. Even though at this stage our word— often because of ourselves—may not be given as much weight as that of some of these foreigners, nevertheless we would find a great deal to criticise in their countries.

We in the West of Ireland are interested at the moment very particularly in the development of tourism. Any action which the Government may be able to take to improve facilities in the West will be worthwhile. If a man leaves Dublin he has to drive nearly 200 miles across the country before [1965] he gets to the West. He wants to find accommodation awaiting him but not a Gresham Hotel or a Shelbourne Hotel or some of the other big hotels: He is not interested. What is more important, he does not want to find the very conditions which he has just left or the same type of hotel. He wants to find something different and a different way of life. The different way of life is there and it is appreciated by most people who come amongst us in the West. However, the small hotelier who would improve the accommodation he has available and thereby greatly influence an improvement in the tourist industry is very often overlooked. In future more attention should be paid to the small man rather than to the big man.

Mention has been made of the Border. We must assure the people in the north that conditions in the south are as good as their own. I honestly believe that we are not incapable of providing here conditions at least equal to those in the north. I also believe that any steps the Minister believes he should take to bring standards in the south up to the level of those in the north will get the backing of the House. He may be assured that such steps as he takes, or intends to take, to improve standards here, no matter what effect they will have on the political destinies of certain Independents, whether it hurts the soul of Fine Gael or not, will have our backing and we are prepared to take the consequences.

Mr. P. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  (South Tipperary): Deputy Cosgrave described this Budget as a marking time Budget. I suppose one could also describe it as a Kathleen Mavourneen Budget. The Minister has endeavoured to give a little here and a little there.

Emigration, unemployment and employment have been mentioned by various speakers. There seems to be a complete divergence of statistics for emigration as between the Opposition and the Government. The Taoiseach said that in 1956 the emigration rate was 55,000, the highest ever, and that recently the figure had so improved up to February, 1962, that it had fallen to [1966] 22,000. Presumably he gets these figures from our own Statistics Office. Deputy Cosgrave, and before that Deputy Dillon, gave quite different figures which they culled from overseas emigration authorities. Deputy Cosgrave gave a net emigration rate for 1960 based on insurance stamps and, after deducting re-entrants, the rate of emigration to Great Britain was 57,000. The figures for 1961 are not quite complete but they total roughly over 50,000.

Any one of us without bothering about statistics must agree from our own experiences that the tide of emigration is far from being stemmed to the degree Fianna Fáil would like us to believe. In fact, in County Cavan, a survey by Macra na Feirme not so long ago showed that in one parish 18 per cent. of the farmers had shut their doors and emigrated. Probably the most accurate figure we have to work on is the difference between the two censuses of population. Taking that figure, and allowing for the birth rate, in round numbers we have lost 250,000 people.

Deputy Leneghan was orating about how we could show off to the North of Ireland and by our improved economic conditions here entice them to come in but I must remind him that during the same period in Northern Ireland and from a smaller population and in an area where probably the average family unit is smaller, the population increased by 51,000.

Mr. Dolan: Information on Séamus Dolan  Zoom on Séamus Dolan  The Deputy should quote County Fermanagh.

Mr. P. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  (South Tipperary): I am quoting Northern Ireland figures.

Mr. Dolan: Information on Séamus Dolan  Zoom on Séamus Dolan  That is Northern Ireland.

Mr. P. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  (South Tipperary): The Deputy can quote County Fermanagh if he wishes and I shall be obliged to listen. Deputy Corish has given employment figures as between 1955 and 1961. In 1955, there were 1,180,000 employed persons; in 1961 the figure was 1,119,000 employed persons.

Deputy Dunne adverted to the [1967] cinema tax. One has a certain amount of sympathy with cinema proprietors and if the trend here follows the pattern in England it seems as if conditions for them will become more severe. Deputy Dunne mentioned that a remission of £1,000,000 to the cinema industry would in no measure be passed on to the community. The cinema proprietors are definitely entitled to some proportion of the subvention that is being passed to their industry but in all fairness and in their own interests, the community should get some benefit also. I do not know Deputy Dunne's source of information but if it is correct, that is not likely to occur.

The Taoiseach mentioned as a defence of Government aid to agriculture that 25 per cent. of the tax revenue was given to agriculture whereas in Britain only six per cent. of tax revenue went to agriculture.

The other day on the Vote on Account, he gave somewhat similar comparisons, rehashed in a different fashion. If my memory serves me right, he said that we were giving seven or eight per cent. of our national wealth to subsiding agriculture, whereas in Britain the corresponding figure was one and a half per cent. Presenting these matters on a percentage basis like that is quite deceptive. Take the figures. The actual figures are that in Great Britain, £360,000,000 is given to a small agricultural community amounting to about five per cent. of the population. In Ireland, £30,000,000 is being given to 383,000 farmers or, if you include all the people directly or indirectly engaged in agriculture, roughly half the population. If you spread that small amount over a large field, your butter becomes very thin.

I have not worked out in figures what the subsidisation per capita to the British farmer amounts to as against his counterpart in this country, but I would emphasise that the British farmers are the kind of heavily subsidised agricultural community into which the Irish farmers have to find their way to get a market. In view of those circumstances, Irish agriculture deserves every form of help and sympathy the community at large can afford to give it.

[1968] The Taoiseach mentioned in his forecast for the coming year that invisible earnings should go up. I have no doubt about it, in so far as invisible earnings are so largely made up of remittances from our emigrants and in so long as our emigration remains a bleeding wound.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Our invisible earnings are not largely made up of remittances from emigrants.

Mr. P. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  (South Tipperary): They make a substantial contribution.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  A contribution.

Mr. P. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  (South Tipperary): They are indicated as tourists' remittances. In fact, I shall give the figures. Emigrants' remittances bring in £13.5 millions. If you take an estimate of the income from tourism here and agree that 60 per cent. of that sum would be contributed by Irish people coming home——

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  The Deputy said “emigrants' remittances”. His original statement was that emigrants' remittances largely make up our invisible earnings.

Mr. P. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  (South Tipperary): If you add £18,000,000 to that, you get £31.5 millions, contributed substantially in remittances from Irish emigrants, whether remitted in the direct category of cheques coming across the Irish Sea or paid by Irishmen here classified as tourists.

Mr. Haughey: Information on Charles J. Haughey  Zoom on Charles J. Haughey  Nonsense.

Mr. P. Hogan: Information on Patrick Hogan  Zoom on Patrick Hogan  (South Tipperary): The Taoiseach has also forecast that trade terms are moving against us. I hope they are not. I hope he will be luckier than the inter-Party Government were in 1957 when they found trade terms moving very adversely. He has described 1961 as a vintage year and said that we have a higher increase in agricultural production than any country in the European Economic Community. That kind of statement is likely to dull us into a sense of false optimism and, in viewing a matter like that, one should not just take one year but cast one's mind [1969] back over several years and form an estimate on that basis.

If we judge it that way, may I point out that exports from EEC countries from 1950 to 1955 increased by 76 per cent. and from 1955 to 1960, they increased by 63 per cent. These are formidable figures which show a powerful economic structure in which we purport now to enter. The Minister for Social Welfare gave us figures and told us social welfare benefits had been increased by £3,780,000, but he did not emphasise the fact that there will be similar contributions from local authorities, employers and employees. I should therefore like to dispel the general impression he may have left that this extra sum is being handed out completely by the Government. It will be a 50-50 basis, the other half to be met by the rates.

He was very happy about our revenue buoyancy. That is a lovely expression which always intrigues me. I have never been quite able to understand what it means. The only kind of interpretation I can put on revenue buoyancy is getting what you can out of the other fellow's pocket—in other words, the community. As I understand revenue buoyancy, it is largely a question of what taxes you can extract from or screw out of the community. Revenue buoyancy here has been largely due to three things: P.A.Y.E., emigrants' remittances, and emigrant tourists—that is what they should be called because that is what they are.

The Minister for Social Welfare was inclined to taunt this side of the House with the fact that we voted against the Budget, that we voted against the social welfare increases and the help offered to the farming community. I think we voted against a Budget, and not against a particular item in it. There were some items in it to which we had more objection than others, but by and large it was a vote based upon a Budget which we believed could have been better.

To particularise a few items, we believe that the old age pension increases could have been more generous, and we believe that the dance hall taxes, instead of being removed, should [1970] have been extended. We disagree with the general economic emphasis and direction as revealed by the Budget. Deputy Dunne expressed his view that it was a Budget calculated to woo the farmers, and in particular the large farmers. It is true that the large farmers will be the chief beneficiaries under the reliefs offered, and it is true that those reliefs are, in effect, of a non-incentive nature. They are of a stop-gap nature and, if I may say so, they are calculated, I think, more to secure goodwill and perhaps votes than to stimulate or help the agricultural industry. I believe that is a policy which has been deliberately pursued. In fact, it is specifically stated in the Minister's Financial Statement.

Deputy Cosgrave mentioned that the Capital Investment Advisory Committee in their first report criticised agricultural grants of that nature on the basis that they were non-incentive. Clearly, if the Minister sees fit to accentuate that kind of financial support for agriculture, he is deliberately pursuing a non-incentive agricultural policy, for the time being anyway.

There has been considerable talk here about productivity, wages, salaries and inflation. I agree with the Minister— and I think it is economically sound to say—that wages should be tied in some fashion to productivity. That is the only way in which you can secure a degree of monetary stability. I believe that is the only way in which you can avoid cost price inflation. I doubt if trying to tie wages to the cost-of-living figure is a good system. It may have an emotional appeal, but I believe that trying to tie salaries and wages to productivity is economically sound. Even though one tries to avoid cost price inflation in that fashion, it is equally desirable to try to avoid what I would term price profit inflation on the other side. It seems unfair to say to the producer or the worker: “These are the limitations of your income based on that and that”, and then allow the manufacturer, the distributor, the wholesaler or the retailer to undo on one side what you have been trying to do on the other side.

Deputy Desmond adverted to this [1971] matter last night when he mentioned the Prices Advisory Body. Those who have read today's papers will have noticed that President Kennedy in the United States is in trouble at the moment with a powerful steel combine which as a pressure group are trying to push up prices. I do not know what the legal position is here, but I think that in the United States price fixing is a federal offence and that the Department of Justice last autumn secured a sentence against three large manufacturing firms in the United States for price fixing. Perhaps in his reply the Minister would tell us if we have any corresponding machinery here to control, prevent or deal with such abuses, as they are likely to arise in any community.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.


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