Thursday, 12 December 1963
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Corish: Above all the subjects  with which the Taoiseach dealt this morning he appeared to express more concern about the ninth round of wage increases than any other matter. The Taoiseach must take his fair share of responsibility, not alone for the ninth round of wage increases but for the impasse which has now arisen in the negotiations. He is responsible for the introduction of the turnover tax which caused prices to increase even, to use his own figure, by three or four per cent up to the beginning of November. I do not know what the Taoiseach's motives were in the past 12 months in appearing to try to fix wages or to determine wage patterns but it seems that all his efforts were blunders from the word “go”, from the time he introduced the White Paper Closing the Gap up to the time he sent a directive to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions with regard to the possibility of wage increases.
The Taoiseach's message to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions was described in some newspaper as “giving the green light”. The trade unions, the workers generally and especially the Irish Congress of Trade Unions did not need any green light from the Taoiseach. In anticipation of the turnover tax and having regard to other factors they had been preparing wage claims for months before the Taoiseach gave his famous green light. The trade unions are not fooled by him. It is an impertinence on the part of the Taoiseach to try to pretend to the workers and other members that he alone determines when workers should seek an increase in wages or salary.
In November last, the Taoiseach wrote to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. It is obvious from the second paragraph of his letter that he intended to fix the rate of wage increase at about 7 or 8 per cent. Here is what he says:
In the confident expectation that the country's present rate of economic growth will be maintained, and in conformity with the Government's policy that its benefits should be fairly distributed amongst the whole community, a further upward revision of wages and salaries might  now be safely envisaged on a scale which would provide compensation to all wage and salary earners for whatever rise in the general price level may follow on the introduc-of the Turnover Tax, and also to such further extent as would represent their fair share of the estimated expansion of national resources in the coming year.
The Taoiseach confirmed this to me this morning when he stated that the increase should be around 8 per cent. He reckons that the turnover tax in itself would provide for an increase in price to the extent of 3 to 4 per cent and that the anticipated increase in gross national product would be 3 to 4 per cent.
I think the Taoiseach, in this, is committing a very grave blunder because by suggesting that the unions should compensate themselves to the extent of 8 per cent, he hamstrung them immediately before they had entered into negotiations with the employers. We must remember that it was the Taoiseach who encouraged the trade unions and the employers to get together to try to come to some agreement as to what the ninth round of wage and salary increases should be. Here, on 11th November, before they started to discuss increases, he suggested that the increase should be from 7 to 8 per cent. It was a major blunder on his part and to some extent it was an impertinence. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions pointed out to him in very clear language that they resented his interference.
In February last, when discussing the White Paper Closing the Gap, the Taoiseach was told the trade unions would never agree to that sort of interference where it appeared that the Taoiseach or any Minister or the Government as a whole were attempting to determine what wages should be, and so on. It must be remembered as well, that around that time some employers had offered as much as ten per cent in preliminary discussions on wage increases. The Taoiseach—the man who wanted to appear as the one who directed when wage increases be given—wanted to confine it to eight  per cent. It appears to me that he has tried to be all things to all men. On the one hand, he tells the workers they can go ahead now and compensate themselves for an increase in the gross national product and in prices, while, on the other hand, he intimates to employers that eight per cent is the figure. I think a seven to eight per cent increase is unrealistic.
Last February, the Taoiseach expressed his opinion as to how wage and salary increases should be calculated. He said workers were entitled to compensate themselves for any increase in production and also that they would be entitled to compensate themselves for price increases. In the past two years, the gross national product has increased and it is two years ago since the eighth round of wage increases was negotiated. It has been suggested that the eighth round was responsible for the gap, the mythical gap, talked about in this White Paper, a gap that it was subsequently admitted, by inference, by the Taoiseach did not exist even at the time he was talking about it. The gross national product increased by 2½ per cent and it is fairly certain that it will have increased by from 4 per cent in 1963. That is a total of 6½ per cent in the two years. Prices since the end of 1961, since the eighth round of wage increases, increased to the tune of some 5½ per cent to six per cent. Therefore on the Taoiseach's formula, wage and salary earners who are now trying to negotiate increases will surely be entitled to at least 12½ per cent.
The Taoiseach seems to have some passion for controlling wages. He did it, and I suppose we must admit successfully in that he had the force of law behind him, with the Wages Standstill order and he attempted it again in 1947 when he had legislation prepared to introduce a wage freeze. The Taoiseach may have tried to be helpful in recent times but he has blundered around and has upset the relationship that I am sure there would have been between workers and employers if he had not attempted to hamstring them by suggesting that seven per cent or eight per cent was a sufficient increase,  when one has regard to increases in prices and the increase in gross national product. I am sure the Irish Congress of Trade Unions do not object to his assistance in matters like this but as far as I can see it has not been assistance but an attempt at dictation and the trade unions and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions are certainly not going to stand for that.
The last item I mentioned as being an outstanding event during the year was the publication by the Government of their Second Programme for Economic Expansion. I do not know whether this Programme has been received with a lot of enthusiasm. Certainly I do not know of any sections who have been enthusiastic about it. The first Programme, I suppose, was to some extent an experiment in the idea of having a programme at all. It was not a revolutionary Programme which contained any major changes in behaviour by the Government. Neither did it suggest any new methods but there is this to be said about it, that the forecast that was made, as far as an increase in the gross national product was concerned, was fairly accurate but it was not very difficult to be accurate in regard to that because it was merely the forecast of of any normal economist, having regard to the circumstances not alone in this country but in the world generally. No matter what we say about policies of one side or the other, they are influenced greatly by outside events and they are particularly influenced by the State of the economy in Great Britain. I must say that as far as the Fianna Fáil Party are concerned, when they look back to 1954, 1955, 1956 and 1957 they did not accept, but I am sure they will accept now, that our economy is dependent to a large extent on and influenced by outstanding economic factors, particularly in Britain.
If there had been anything revolutionary in this new Programme, people would have been talking about it, but the Federated Union of Employers, the Federation of Irish Industries, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, and all major associations including Macra na  Feirme and the National Farmers' Association did not seem to be particularly inspired by it. It is not that it was not a good Programme; it was again merely a forecast of what was going to happen. It is a forecast which any economist could make. As far as the Labour Party are concerned, we do not regard it as being too ambitious. It provides for an extra 78,000 jobs by 1970, compared with 1960. This represents an increase of 8,000 new jobs per year. That will not be spectacular progress by 1970 and I wonder why the Government did not set their targets higher.
The provision of an extra 8,000 jobs per year, or 7,800 to be exact, will not provide for the difficulties with regard to unemployment when one remembers not alone the flight from the land but the natural increase in population and our desire to see emigration cut to a minimum. It will mean that by 1970 we will have an unemployment rate of about 3½ per cent. I cannot remember what it is now but I suppose it would be in the region of five per cent or six per cent for the whole year on average and I would not regard it as spectacular progress to say that after ten years our unemployment rate would be cut to 3½ per cent.
In fact, in this Second Programme for Economic Expansion, there are no new policy proposals as such. There are objectives and I suppose we should be grateful for even the expression of objectives. A lot has been said about agricultural policy and the state of agriculture over the years. I do not speak as an expert on agriculture— quite the contrary—but it seems to me that we have had no progress whatever in agriculture when one realises that there were 40 odd years during which an Irish Parliament had responsibility for agricultural affairs. Surely there must be something new and revolutionary that could be done for the agricultural industry to put it on the footing on which people on both sides of the House would like to see it?
As far as industry is concerned, there is no new policy. There is a continuation of encouragement of foreign industrialists, a continuation of the  financial incentive by way of grant, loan, tax remission, and so on. That is purely a continuation of things to which all of us subscribed, many of which were formulated, not by a Fianna Fáil Government but by an inter-Party Government.
If we are to make any radical advance or any radical improvement in unemployment and the provision of new jobs, there will have to be, I believe, a different approach to agriculture and to industry. We have often stated from these benches that whilst we believe that, as long as private enterprise can do the job, it should be allowed to do it, nevertheless where private enterprise either refuses to or is unable to do the job, then the State should take a hand. That is being done to some extent by the Fianna Fáil Party. It was done by the inter-Party Government in the limited time during which they were in government.
I do not know whether or not I should say I was impressed when the Taoiseach said about this time last year that the time had come for a move to the left. He just made that statement. There was subsequently no action, but he has shown his “leftishness” on occasions, the “leftishness” of the establishment of many of the State and semi-State companies, semi-State companies that were established under a Cumann na nGaedheal Government as well. In my opinion, these have been successful ventures. There are perhaps some that can be shown to be incapable of paying for themselves, some that can be shown to be a burden on the taxpayers; but, by and large, the major ones of these 57 or 60 odd semi-State industries have been successful.
If we have a situation, therefore, wherein we want more jobs for our people, wherein we want to cut down on unemployment and stop emigration, then surely, if private enterprise cannot do the job, it is legitimate to expect the Government to do it, to expect the Government to take a stronger hand in the promotion of industry. Let me quote once more the example of the Dundalk Engineering Works. On the closure of the Great Northern Railway  shops at Dundalk, Dundalk was confronted with a situation in which 1,000 people would be rendered unemployed. The Government took action, but they were somehow ashamed to say it was Government action. They tried to pretend it was private enterprise. But the Government provided all the money. They appointed the directors. Confronted with a situation in which 1,000 people would be unemployed, the Government stepped in and did the job. There are pockets in the country where we have not, perhaps, thousands, but certainly hundreds and I suggest seriously that, because private enterprise does not provide for these people, it is the bounden duty of the State and the moral responsibility of the Government to act.
I do not see in this Second Programme for Economic Expansion any evidence at all of a shift to the left. I do not know whether the Tánaiste would approve of anybody talking about the left but, in any case, the Taoiseach announced recently that the time had come for a shift to the left. There is no evidence of that in this Programme. There is all the encouragement in the world for the Government to go somewhat to the left in the establishment of ways and means to provide employment and to help the economy further. The Programme states that the Government can only assist, guide and persuade.
I freely concede at once that, as far as the previous Government were concerned and as far as this Government are concerned, they have continued and introduced policies of generous assistance to industry, generous assistance to private enterprise but, with all that generous ssistance, we have not got the results we should. They have assisted, but we have not got the results. They can guide and persuade. I do not know how they can persuade. They may guide in their advisory services not alone in relation to industry but in relation to agriculture also, but they seem to be reluctant to persuade.
When we asked what would be done in respect of industry which refuses to face up to the realities of our possible membership of the European Economic  Community, we got no satisfaction from the front bench of the Fianna Fáil Party. The Government showed a complete reluctance to do anything. They invoked private enterprise and the rights of private enterprise.
I believe in private enterprise so long as it does the job. I believe more especially in a combination of private enterprise and Government co-operation. Where you cannot get that, surely it is the bounden duty of the Government to ensure that the objectives contained in this Second Programme for Economic Expansion will be achieved. The Programme envisages an increase in the proportion of taxation to national income. We recognise that to do all the things that need to be done, all the things we demand, needs money. We are prepared to face up to the raising of money. We have shown that, as far as the Labour Party are concerned, when we are satisfied that the money which we are expected to vote will be devoted towards the proper objectives. We voted in the Budget for all the money necessary to pay all the increases in social welfare benefits. We refused to vote for the turnover tax because that tax involved what we knew would be a heavy imposition on ordinary people. We thought it was wrong. We thought it was immoral to tax foodstuffs. We refused to believe that the Second Programme for Economic Expansion was dependent upon the exacting of a tax on bread, on butter, on tea and on sugar.
Let me repeat what I said this morning: as far as we are concerned, if taxation is to be raised, if there are to be increases in prices because of taxation on certain items which we regard as non-essential, then the Labour Party will give their support; but we want to ensure, above all, that those who are able to pay most will pay most. We want to ensure that there will be less emphasis in future on indirect taxation and more emphasis on direct taxation.
Mr. Dolan: Tá áthas orm gur  thug an Taoiseach an scéal ar fad dúinn maidir leis an dul chun cinn atá déanta ag ár dtír le bliain anuas. Is léir dúinn uilig go bhfuil an scéal amhlaidh agus déanaim comhgháirdeacas agus traoslú leis faoi chomh beacht agus chomh cruinn a d'éirígh leis an pictiúir a chur ós ár gcomhair.
The Taoiseach gave us this morning a very comprehensive review of the magnificent progress made in every phrase of our economic life in 1963. The position now is that there is much more money available for each and every one of the Estimates. I should like to deal with a few of these, in particular with those that impinge on my own constituency, especially the housing of our people. This Party are very proud of the progress achieved in housing. We have instituted loans and grants to enable almost all sections of the community to provide themselves with better houses.
Mr. Dolan: I do not intend to be put off what I want to say. We have provided the most essential ingredients for better housing—the finance. We have given every encouragement, both at Government and local authority level, to help people provide better houses for themselves and their families. I want to contrast that with the disastrous position which obtained in 1957 when our people were fleeing from the country, when there were 1,800 vacant houses in Dublin because the people had to leave since no work was available. In my own constituency of Cavan, the housing grants were stopped by the local authority in midwinter because no money was available in the Local Loans Fund. It is all very well for Deputy O'Higgins to interrupt, but he was a Minister in that Coalition Government which left that trail of misery and woe behind.
It was the then Minister for Finance who presided at the meeting in Dublin to which the county managers were summoned. He took the chair, not the Minister for Local Government. The Minister for Local Government was put on the wee stool and was left one  side looking on. The then Minister for Finance told his Department that they must cut out grants and not undertake any new commitments, that the position was serious. We in Cavan did not know how serious it was. We knew it before the middle of 1957 when, even though they had an overall majority of 14, the Coalition broke up, not because of anything happening outside but because of what was happening inside. They were following the unsound principle of trying to provide services without providing the money—a policy doomed to failure.
In The Anglo-Celt of December, 1956, it is reported that the local authority directed the stopping of housing grants. Again in February, 1957, we had the heading that the banks were refusing to provide money. That was the deplorable position in which the people found themselves in 1957. Unfortunate small farmers trying to erect much needed dwelling-houses could not get grants or loans. All this is very quickly forgotten by the people because of the present great housing drive. Our county council had since then to pay the new housing grants not paid in 1956 and are now paying all grants. The Government are to increase housing grants for farmers up to £25 valuation by 50 per cent, and on a graded basis afterwards. That is a welcome change from the position that obtained in 1956.
This picture may be depressing for the Deputies opposite, but it represents the facts. These facts cannot be contradicted; the evidence is there to see. Today houses are being built in every county and every town in Ireland. Our towns and villages are expanding. He must be a very blind Deputy indeed, who will travel the country today and not see the progress being made in housing.
The Minister for Local Government is going even further and encouraging by way of grant the installation of water and sewerage in every house to give the people the modern amenities to which we feel they are entitled. I mention all this not in a boastful manner but so that our people, as an intelligent people, will understand the  difference it makes to each of them individually, in their homes and on their farms, whether a Fianna Fáil Government are in power or a Government composed of various units clinging together for the purpose of ousting Fianna Fáil, trying to hoodwink the people by making false promises, staying in office for two or two and a half years and then, even though they have an overall majority, running out and leaving a legacy of bad debts when things are not working out.
Mr. Dolan: I am coming to it. It is very important for the future of the country. Everybody realises that the turnover tax is necessary because of what the Taoiseach told us here today. The people are intelligent enough to know that a responsible Government will see to it that the necessary taxation is imposed to pay for the various institutions and services of the State. We never believed in the kind of destructive criticism we hear from Fine Gael. We always believed in balancing our Budgets and meeting our commitments, and we always handed over a credit balance sheet to our successors. When the Opposition Parties clamour for a general election, the people should know exactly what that entails.
We have heard all this tommyrot from the other side regarding the amount of money that could be provided for building schools, houses and so forth but we know exactly what happened during their terms in office. We know, too, that the Leader of the Opposition has promised the small farmers £1,000 interest-free loans, moryah. That is a very nice carrot to dangle in front of anybody but the small farmers are not as foolish as he might think they are. They know quite well that it is not easy for any Government to provide money without taxation. He has been afraid to tell us what he is going to tax to provide these loans. If I went further, I could comment on references he himself made in this House in days gone by to what loans were and the unsound policy it is for  any small farmer to enter into any type of loan.
I doubt very much if this system of scattering loans all over the country, interest-free, has anything to commend it. You take an unfortunate small farmer who lost a couple of beasts in the middle of the winter ....
Mr. Dolan: This is a very enlightening bit of reading and I would commend it to Deputies on the other side who are now so fond of dangling this carrot in front of the electorate in the hope that they may hoodwink them into believing that there was any truth whatever in their programme of providing interest-free loans for farmers. Indeed, were anything necessary to be added about it, I would remind the people in general of the time these people when in office themselves floated a loan. I distinctly remember the time when they were looking for £12 million and the whole thing was  a financial flop. I think I can say correctly that all they succeeded in getting from the people was £2 million. That shows that the people had not sufficient confidence in them. It was small wonder that when they got a chance in 1957 without putting any policy whatever in front of the people, a Fianna Fáil Government were put straight back into power. That was the greatest condemnation of that Coalition outfit that anybody could ask.
I will conclude by saying that, in my opinion and in the opinion of most people who want to see the position as it is, the country is making tremendous progress under the dynamic leadership of the Taoiseach, who was responsible for the great achievements we have obtained in industry when the products of our magnificent workers can compete with the best on the world market. There is no doubt that we have been straight and honest all along the line with the people. We have actually published another blueprint which further points the way to progress. It is not something we are ashamed or afraid of or want to hide from the people, unlike the attitude of the Leader of the Opposition. We believe in telling the people what we intend to do. It is in printed form for anybody who wants to see it. What is more, and very important, we will in the future as in the past always impose the taxation necessary to pay for the full programme. That is an honest approach to the public and we will not attempt, like the Coalition, to leave office without having honoured all our commitments.
Sir Anthony Esmonde: I do not think that flowery speeches indicating how good the economy in the country is or the publication of White Papers for the purpose of closing the gap or for economic expansion are going to give us the prosperity that some of the misguided Fianna Fáil Deputies, such as the last speaker, think. I personally took some of the Taoiseach's speech this morning as meaning that everyone should hand over his money to the Government and let them do the spending. That is, in a nutshell, what the Taoiseach said. The talk of  economic expansion and of prosperity round the corner—I have been listening to the Taoiseach making this sort of speech ever since I came into Dáil Éireann 13 years ago.
I wonder if anybody in his wildest stretch of imagination thinks that we have prosperity here in this country today. I do not know whether prosperity exists in Dublin or not, but from what I have heard and the remarks relative to housing conditions generally, I imagine that there is far from prosperity in Dublin. I can speak only for my own part of the country and perhaps for rural Ireland generally. There is certainly not prosperity there—certainly not among the business houses—nor in their employment. In fact it is well known that anyone who leaves school today, even if he has got the higher school qualifications, has the greatest difficulty in getting a job.
I should like to tell the Taoiseach that making this sort of speech here is not going to give us prosperity. It was not a particularly cheerful speech the Taoiseach made today, but of course at this time of year he always makes the same speech. He always talks about the need for getting money, the financial difficulties the country is facing, and so on. Then of course when the Budget comes round, if there is extra taxation people may be prepared for it and if there is not, well, everyone says: “It is not quite as bad as we thought it was going to be.” The Taoiseach makes different speeches in Dáil Éireann from the speeches he and Ministers make at chambers of commerce. When they make speeches to chambers of commerce, we hear the most roseate pictures painted of the future and all that is going ahead in this country.
I do not intend to talk on the turnover tax or other domestic items. I propose to refer to foreign affairs. The Taoiseach is the particular custodian of the Government and of the section dealing with our relations with European integration and our application to the Common Market. On Thursday of last week after the Minister for External Affairs had returned  from Brussels—I might say here that I personally was very glad to see that a Minister had at long last gone to discuss European affairs at Ministerial level and that perhaps we have got away from the stage at which top level negotiations are carried out by civil servants: in future I hope they will be carried out by Ministers—one would have thought that, when he returned and when the Taoiseach was questioned in the House, he would have been able to give Dáil Éireann slightly more information than he gave in the official communiqué issued after the Minister's return.
In that communiqué, it is suggested that European integration and agriculture were both discussed. Is it not fair that the Irish Parliament should be the place that should get more information as to what stage these negotiations or discussions have reached? It is not clear to me, having read this question, having read the supplementary questions and the answers made to the Leader of my Party, Deputy Dillon, and to the supplementary questions put by Deputy Dr. Browne and myself, where exactly we are going and what our relations with regard to the European Economic Community are.
About two years ago, a group of journalists came to Ireland and after specifically questioning the leaders of the Parties as to their policy in relation to our application to the European Economic Community, they all issued a statement afterwards and said the difference in the reply of the Taoiseach and that of the Leader of the Opposition was this: the Taoiseach said that whether the United Kingdom goes into the Common Market or not, we will pursue our application and we will join the Common Market; Deputy Dillon said that as the greater part of our trade is with the United Kingdom, he did not think it would be realistic for us to enter the Common Market unless the United Kingdom did so.
What is the present position? Are we trying to get into the Common Market? Are we trying to get in as full members and, if so, have we been refused? Have we been told we are not yet economically strong enough to  enter the Common Market? Have we been told it is not possible for us to be considered as a full member and to wait until 1970? It does not seem to me there is anything very secret about that one way or the other. When the British were negotiating, and for all we know they may be still negotiating, they were open and above board. Everybody knew they were making an application to join the Common Market. Nobody in this country is quite clear what our official policy is.
I asked the Taoiseach last Thursday, by way of supplementary to Deputy Corish's question, if he considered that the application by this country for external association might be the road into the Common Market, whether it might be more beneficial to us in that we would still be able to maintain our trading relations with the United Kingdom while preparing ourselves for entry and, at the same time, get some benefit from such association. He disagreed with that. I should like the Taoiseach when replying to this debate, if he intends to refer at all to European integration, which is a vital issue affecting us all, to tell us what exactly the position is.
The communiqué to which I have referred said M. Jean Rey and Mr. Mansholt were parties to the discussions with the Minister for External Affairs. Mr. Mansholt is responsible for the EEC Commission in relation to agricultural questions. Did we have any discussions in regard to agricultural produce? Apparently we did because in the Taoiseach's answer to a question he says so. Could he give any indication to the House what the discussions were about?
It is a well-known fact that the improvement in the economy of the Six has led to much greater demand for meat which is one of the products we export. It is one of the many facets of our agricultural economy. Did we have any negotiations on that point and did we secure any trade agreements? Did the representative of the Government there make any endeavour to get further expansion of our agricultural trade with the area of  the Common Market to try to offset our existing heavy adverse trade balance? These are important things that this Parliament is entitled to know. Every country in Europe is negotiating at the moment.
We were originally classed with five nations which belonged to OECD and the Council of Europe, except Spain, and which were described as countries that were not fully developed. As such, these countries seemed to have a particular problem and to be in a position that they should negotiate in some way before making themselves part of the pattern of European integration. Turkey has already done so. Greece has already done so. Iceland is somewhat different from us and other countries in that her economy is almost entirely dependent on fish and is tied up to a large extent with the United States. Portugal has become a member of EFTA. I understand Spain has been negotiating practically continuously with the Common Market countries. That brings us back to Ireland. Is she doing anything?
I may be maligning the Taoiseach and the Government. They may be conducting the most active negotiations. I notice that at the end of the communiqué which was issued, it says there are to be further meetings with officials in January in which technical matters are to be discussed. What are those technical matters? Was some form of agreement reached about which we know nothing?
The Taoiseach gave me the impression from his speech today that he was rather sorry he had given so much money to agriculture. I should like to direct his attention to the fact that we are getting for our agricultural produce practically the lowest price in Europe for almost every commodity. Is it not possible to look for an expansion of agricultural markets? Recently at the FAO conference in Rome at which the American Minister for Agriculture, the French Minister for Agriculture and the British Minister for Agriculture spoke, two of them forecast an increasing demand for agricultural produce. In fact, the American Minister for Agriculture went so far as to say that by 1970, the date by which  we are supposed to be in the Common Market, according to the Taoiseach, there would be an increasing demand for agricultural produce; there would be better prices and there would be a shortage of those commodities even in the highly developed countries. The French Minister for Agriculture also forecast an increase in agricultural prices, although the great difficulty at the moment is that within the Common Market, the French are trying to keep prices as low as possible.
The Taoiseach finished up his speech, as he always does, talking about stability. Does the Taoiseach really believe there is stability in the country? Does the Taoiseach believe that the Government who, one might say, are hanging on by a thread are providing stable government? Does he believe, with the great volume of opinion that is growing against him in the country generally, that he is able to offer stable government?
The Taoiseach concluded on the note that there would be no stability if Fianna Fáil were put out of office. He told us this morning that in no circumstances would there be a general election unless he is forced out of office. I do not think he is doing a service to the country by adopting that attitude. There is obviously, throughout the length and breadth of the country, a desire for a general election. Wherever I go people ask me one question: is there any chance of having a general election so that we may get rid of the Government? I do not see how the Taoiseach can conceive that he is the head of a stable administration when that is my impression from everybody I meet. I am perfectly certain quite a number of my friends on the other side of the House are asking if there is any chance of a general election.
Mr. McQuillan: It is reported that a famous statesman some years ago, when describing a predecessor of the present Taoiseach, said that dealing with him was as difficult as trying to lift quicksilver with a fork. I think that description is a very apt one also when applied to his pupil here in the House, the Taoiseach. He has proved  a very apt pupil indeed when it comes to this particular quality.
In his opening remarks today, and in the course of his speech later, the Taoiseach contradicted statements he has made during the past 12 months. In my opinion, he is prepared to make any type of statement any day of the week, without as much as a blush, contradicting one he has already made. Apparently he has no regard or respect for the intelligence of the public. His statements are so contradictory and so evasive that he does not seem to have any long-term policy whatsoever. Any policy he has can be described only as a pragmatic one.
If we could agree on that, we would have a basis for discussion. I am convinced that the Taoiseach is prepared to change from day to day, to adapt himself, and when you have that type of behaviour from the head of a Government, it is very dangerous thing for the country. Today, he began by saying Fianna Fáil were under attack from the right and the left, and he described himself as being in the middle of the road. During the past 12 months, on more than one occasion, he has sought to emphasise that Fianna Fáil are a Party of the left. Has he backed out of that into the middle of the road?
Mr. McQuillan: Which avenue is he following? Which lane of traffic does he intend taking? Are we to believe him when he says Fianna Fáil are a Party of the left or are we to believe his statement today that they have gone to the middle of the road? We know what happens when one goes to the middle of the road. It is the most dangerous part.
Mr. McQuillan: One is liable to crash into oncoming traffic. It is the most dangerous place any Party could get to; it is an avenue likely to cause disaster in a country like Ireland in its present state of development. Can we expect the Taoiseach to say whether it is to be the middle of the road or  the left for Fianna Fáil? I believe his Party have taken the view that they should travel right of centre, that all this talk about going to the left was a gimmick of the Taoiseach to attract support from the workers. That did not wash; it did not gather any support; and consequently the Taoiseach is on his way back to the original position held by Fianna Fáil.
Another of the Taoiseach's statements was in connection with the general election. He has been emphasising for months that Fianna Fáil will not go to the country unless they lose the support of the majority of this House: unless he is beaten here, there will be no general election. Today we had an addendum to that. He retained the first part about not going to the country unless they were beaten in the House, but he added a phrase to the effect that if he lost confidence outside the House, he was prepared to go to the country.
Has he changed ground there, too? Heretofore, there was no question of going to the country if Fianna Fáil were beaten in a by-election. Now it is quite clear that he is leaving the back door open, that if he is beaten in the two by-elections to be held next February, he will go to the country in a general election. That is my analysis of what the Taoiseach said today and I think it is highly desirable we should clear the air on that.
In his opening remarks, the Taoiseach asked the Opposition Parties, he asked the Labour Party, what their policy would be in case of a general election. The Taoiseach has a good idea from his years in office of the impossibility of a political Party deciding what type of tax, or the amount of such tax, is necessary at any given time, but I have no hesitation in suggesting to him that as far as the Labour Party are concerned, the turnover tax must go; it must be removed.
It is one of the most savage and unfair taxes ever thought up by an individual, a Minister, a Government. The turnover tax has not got a recommendation from any economist. The only reason it was imposed in its  present form was that it was a simple tax which suited a lazy and inefficient Government; it was a lazy man's way of collecting money without thought to the consequences it would wreak on the community. Therefore, the Taoiseach is quite right in saying that if he loses the support of the people in the two by-elections, he will go to the country.
In fact, this Government's credit is gone. This Government are deeply in the red as far as the public are concerned. I have listened to the remarks made here in recent months about the affluent society Fianna Fáil claim exists in Ireland. Of course, nobody believes such affluence exists except the limited few who have done so well over the years through the various aids given to them by this Government, the various escape routes offered to them from paying just taxation.
I do not think you could describe as an affluent society one in which the houses are falling in on the people in the capital city, where mothers of families are on hunger strike, where husbands are separated from their families and must sleep in mendicity institutions. Are those the signs of an affluent society? Is it a sign of affluence that in rural Ireland at the present time there are hundreds of families drawing unemployment benefit or on the dole because there is no work available for them? Is that another sign of an affluent society? Is it a sign of an affluent society that where you have a surplus of labour, machinery is brought in to do the work while able-bodied men stand by with their hands in their pockets, drawing unemployment assistance or the dole? Is that an affluent society or a lunatic one?
That is the position as I see it in rural Ireland today. Of course, we have an affluent society if we examine some of the records of the people who have done so well through their loyal support of the Fianna Fáil Party over the years. Five years ago, we had a figure of 10,500 in the surtax bracket in this country. According to the Taoiseach, the country is flourishing; incomes have increased year after year and the standard of living and wages,  salaries and emoluments have gone up by a tremenodus amount in the past five years. If that were so, instead of 10,500 surtax payers, we should have at least 10,000 more. But the position is that the 10,500 paying surtax five years ago have been reduced to 4,500. Is that not an indication of where the Government interest lies? Whom do they like best, the poor or the wealthy? Whose interest is being protected when you find the number of surtax payers reduced at a time when money is needed. According to the Government, nothing can be done, no expansion can take place in the future, no plans for educational development can be put into effect unless this turnover tax is allowed to operate.
Why are the Government not taxing those who can pay? Why do they say to the surtax payers: “`You were paying too much; we are going to reduce not alone your numbers but also the amount we are asking you to pay and at the same time, tax bread, butter, tea and sugar for the very poor.” The Government cannot have it both ways: they cannot protect the rich and pretend they are looking after the poor. I do not think anybody now swallows the argument that Fianna Fáil trot out, that unless the turnover tax is imposed, the country is doomed. When I came here first, I had read statements that if Fianna Fáil were put out, the sun would never shine again. Doom and disaster were promised if the Taoiseach's predecessor were booted out of Government.
Mr. McQuillan: I think it is a form of religion, a crazy type of religion, that has got into decent men sitting on Fianna Fáil benches. They should be put standing on their heads for about a month to let the blood circulate so that their intelligence would work and show them the light.
Mr. McQuillan: Where do they think they got their mandate? Was it from the Almighty? They think the country  could not be run unless Deputy Seán Lemass were Taoiseach. I never heard a more arrogant suggestion. Whatever was the standard of credulity of the people 15 years ago when some of them swallowed the hairshirt policy of Fianna Fáil and believed they were sincere and that good times were just around the corner, those people and their sons and daughters today no longer swallow that. They will not accept government by gimmick, a Government afraid even to go on television when challenged, and explain why this turnover tax was put on——
I do not subscribe to the view that expansion in agriculture and industry, provision of education and health services can be contemplated without money or taxation but we suggest the type of taxation imposed by this Government is a disastrous type and that the money they are seeking can be got otherwise. This form of taxation is a wasteful one. In order to collect 6d in the £, the public will be charged anything from 6d to 2/6d. It is no use to suggest that social welfare recipients will be compensated for any increase in the cost of living because prior to the operation of the turnover tax, the former friends of Fianna Fáil increased prices of commodities so that they would have it both ways and, in fact, the value of social welfare benefits was swallowed up.
The Government are hopping about on a different tack every day. They have gone Left for the past few months; they are middle of the road today; there would be no general election, according to the Taoiseach, a few months ago unless the Government were beaten in this House. Today, he said that if the people do not want Fianna Fáil outside—by implication, that means the two by-elections—he has the back door ready and out that back door he is going. But he is warning the public that if they put out Deputy Seán Lemass, God help Ireland. A just retribution  for that arrogant and audacious claim will descend on the heads of the Taoiseach and his Party.
I shall not deal in detail with the Common Market but even on that issue, back in 1955 the matter was raised here particularly by the former Deputy Russell, and by Deputy Dr. Browne and myself up to 18 months ago, and there was no talk about the Common Market. The Government did not even know about the Treaty of Rome. There was not even a copy of the Treaty available in the Library but suddenly the Taoiseach decided: “We are going into the Common Market; we will make our application.” He beat the British by a week or ten days in applying. Where do we stand today? There is no word about it in the Taoiseach's contribution. It is a good thing for the small farmers and those in rural Ireland that we were not accepted as full members of the Common Market two years ago. The small farmers have been saved from that disaster. The Taoiseach personally knows nothing about rural Ireland except the odd trip down to fish when he calmly sits waiting for the trout to rise——
Mr. McQuillan: I am saying nothing derogatory about the Taoiseach but that, apart from his occasional trip to the country, he has no experience of the needs of rural Ireland. I feel that the members of Fianna Fáil from rural Ireland must not have the ear of the Taoiseach, if we are to judge by conditions obtaining west of the Shannon and in other rural areas. We must judge by results and the results are disastrous.
I see Deputy Lenihan here from my own constituency and I should like him to say why it is that from the constituency we represent, over the past 20 years, 20,000 people have gone, at the rate of 1,000 a year. How long can that drain of emigration from a country like Roscommon continue? What steps are the Government taking and what steps is the Parliamentary  Secretary as a junior Minister taking to see that even those who are left are given an opportunity to live in that county?
I do not want to talk solely about my own constituency here. What I have said about Roscommon applies to Galway, Mayo, Leitrim, Sligo, Donegal and all these counties. Where is the affluent society in these counties that we hear about from Fianna Fáil? Where is the affluent society where local authorities bring in machinery to carry out road works, to carry out drainage works—the limited amount that is done—and displace men? What steps are being taken by the Fianna Fáil Party to ensure that alternative employment is made available to workers and small farmers in these areas who are ousted from their work by the use of the mammoth machine?
Fianna Fáil preach modernisation but what they practise is completely unchristian and savage. They practise the use of machinery and drive out the human being. I do not object to the use of machinery. I cannot be described as one who wants to retard progress or to resist the use of machinery. The more automation and machinery we have, the better, provided the labour disrupted in the particular industry or operation concerned is compensated, retrained and placed in alternative employment. Only in those circumstances do I subscribe to the idea of allowing the machine to replace men. This Government, to their eternal shame, have allowed the machine into areas where it has resulted in families being left without a means of subsistence. Can we get any hope for the future while this Government are in office that they will change their tune about the rest of Ireland outside the cities?
I subscribe to the view of the Taoiseach and his Government as far as the adaptation council is concerned for those who lose their employment in industries which are trying to prepare themselves for competition in world markets. I subscribe to the idea that the workers who are displaced must be given an opportunity to be retrained and must be compensated for their loss of employment. I am behind any  plans the Government may have in that respect but I want to see the very same type of plans operated outside the cities, in the rural areas. I want to see the same compensation or aid or guidance given to workers in rural Ireland and to small farmers.
In one sense, it is a terrible commentary on Governments in Ireland that after 40 years of native government, small farmers at this stage should still be dependent on local authorities or the Board of Works or other Government or semi-Government concerns for part-time employment. No attempt has been made to organise and unite the small farmers into co-ops, into employment that would give them strength through unity. The only attempt made is through the activities of the Sugar Company and here, to my mind, is where the difference stands out between the Labour Party and the Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Parties. Both of these major Parties admire the work of the Sugar Company because it is successful but neither of them fundamentally believe that the Sugar Company is a proper concern. Neither of them believe that the State should engage in industry or farming. In that respect they are both alike.
As far as the Labour Party are concerned, we believe in the absolute extension of the State into all spheres of agriculture. Fianna Fáil, who said they were moving to the left for the past six months, are now back in the middle of the road. Can we get from them any indication of their policy from now on, any indication that they are not going to sabotage the State companies which have been functioning successfully up to the present?
It is only 12 months since the Minister for Finance came into this House and declared that the Government were going to get rid of a number of State companies. When I say “get rid of them”, I mean that they were going to offer them on the Stock Exchange and allow every Tom, Dick and Harry to buy shares in a successful State company. Did that indicate a Party moving to the left? Did it not show the most conservative Tory mentality  that there could possibly be, that because a company was successful, every greedy entrepreneur outside who has his eye on the Stock Exchange was pressing the Government to put the shares on the market on the basis: “We have a right to make money out of a successful State company.” So far, I am glad to say, that proposal of the Minister for Finance has not seen the light of day. There has not been any Bill introduced to the House to get rid of a State company.
What do we need in the rural areas? We do not need doles. The farming community and workers in rural Ireland do not want to be looked down upon or to be given lectures by the Taoiseach. They do not want to be treated as a pauper society, taking gifts from a Government on the basis that they should be very thankful for them. What they want is a fair crack of the whip. What the farmer, and the small farmer in particular, wants is stability and guaranteed genuine prices for his products over a long-term period, and not to be subject, as he is, to exploitation all the way up the line to the point at which his produce reaches the consumer.
I want to make clear on a matter of policy where the difference exists between the Labour Party and the two major Parties. Let us take a look at the bacon industry. The farmer gets approximately 1/7 per lb. for his pig and the processed article comes on the table at 5/- to 6/- per lb. Who makes the money in between? Where is the profit going in between 1/7 to the farmer and the farmer's wife who pays ? for that pig in the form of bacon?
The bacon factories have been working for the past 40 years. They are a most conservative group, unwilling to move into European competition, unwilling to move in and to try the American market, but quite willing to exploit the Irish farmer on every fair day or every market day. In respect of the pig that was bought in a small town in the west of Ireland for the factory, the farmer got a grade B price but the pig came on the table as grade A bacon as far as the consumer was concerned. There is a limited attempt being made now to  move into the British market at this late stage. Let me put it this way: The bacon industry should be put on the very same lines as the lines on which the Sugar Company has been operating, so that the interest of the producer is guaranteed and promoted and the interest of the consumer is looked after, while at the same time every possible attempt is made to get into the various world markets, irrespective of where they may be.
As far as the policy that was pursued is concerned, I want to point out that when an attempt was made by way of motion in the House to nationalise the bacon industry, the two leaders, the Leader of Fine Gael and the Leader of Fianna Fáil, said that in no circumstances should the State be allowed to intervene in this. So that, in my honest opinion, there is no difference between them on a major issue of that nature. Neither of them has taken any steps against the bacon factories who have exploited the farmer and the consumer over the years. Both have threatened all sorts of dire punishment but neither took any action, with the exception, of course, that Fianna Fáil, instead of punishing these people by, shall we say, putting the bacon industry into the hands of a company like the Sugar Company, have given big modernisation grants to those very factories which were sabotaging the bacon industry.
I know factories at the present time where pigs are brought 100 miles and two lorries pass each other going in opposite ways bringing pigs to different factories. There is nothing sensible even about the present-day arrangement. It is criminal, in my opinion, to give the Irish people's money, whether it is obtained through the ordinary taxation system or through the turnover tax, to these people who have been allowed to batten on the public over the years.
If real proof is ever needed of the interest which Fianna Fáil have in the small farmer and in the working man, let us see where the biggest adaptation grant ever was given. It was given in Cork Street, to Donnelly's Bacon Factory,  a grant of £200,000. What assistance was that to the small farmers down the country, but what assistance it would have been if it had been spent in Roscommon, Leitrim, Sligo, Mayo of Kerry to help the small farmers in pig rearing and to give them a central finishing station from which their product would go all over the world?
Only 12 years ago, the Dutch started in on the canned ham process for the American market. Our Irish bacon manufacturers were asked to get into that business but they would not do so. The Dutch are now able to sell from £25 million to £30 million worth of canned ham in America while we cannot sell sixpenceworth. That is where the State must step in. The Sugar Company can do things like that and the Minister must step in with an organisation like the Sugar Company to find markets abroad for our bacon products.
I have just mentioned the pig industry on which the small farmer is dependent but he is not getting much help from the Government. Instead the Government want to produce more cattle and now there is a grant of £15 per head for every additional heifer that a farmer can put on his land. What small farmer will benefit by that? It is the big rancher who will be helped by it and not the small farmer of under £20 valuation. Is it not a fact that only the wealthy farmer will make money out of that scheme while the people in the cities and towns will be given to think that the ordinary small farmer is getting something for nothing? This scheme is going to expedite the extinction of the smaller man because the aim will be to have larger units all over the place. That is in line with Government policy, with the Taoiseach's own view and with the EEC policy to extinguish 8,000,000 holdings in EEC countries. They are not going to get away with it. There is still an influential section of Church and State who believe that the small farmer can make a reasonable living on his holding, if given reasonable support, guidance and security.
In the barley industry, the same thing applies. All over the years we have had the State subsidising the distillers  so that they might sell their whiskey but these distillers made no attempt to provide an annual cash crop for the small farmers and the Government did not insist that they do it. All we get from the Government is a wheat-growing policy that benefits the ranchers and the small farmer could not last long when that competition started.
This Government have stated that they are out to expand industrial development in the undeveloped areas but what is the position? I want to quote an extract from an economist, Mr. Garret Fitzgerald in the Irish Times of 30th October, 1963. Dealing with the grants from An Foras Tionscal, the Industrial Grants Board, he states:
A notable feature of grant approvals in recent years has been the drift away from the so-called undeveloped areas in favour of the eastern part of the country. Thus whereas up to 1959/60 the grants approved for the undeveloped areas were consistently higher than those approved for the rest of the country since that time despite the enlargement of the undeveloped areas this situation has been reversed. In the year ended March last new grant approvals in the east of the country were 80 per cent greater than the approvals in respect of the undeveloped areas.
We all know that no private capitalist wants to go any further than a stone's throw from Nelson Pillar to site his undertaking if he can get away with it. It is not my suggestion that any private industrialist should be forced to go here, there or elsewhere but it is not right to depend on that type of chancy private enterprise to develop the West of Ireland and save it from extinction. That type of industrial development is not sufficient for the undeveloped areas and the proof of that is that last year the drift was away from those areas.
 The people in rural Ireland are being told that the Government are willing and anxious to see industries brough into their areas. They are told that grants are available for the establishment of these industries and that they should get together and work hard to bring home any foreign industrialists into their districts. The fact is that such people are not prepared to go into the rural areas unless they want to buy half the countryside, and we do not want that. What do the Government intend to do about that? Do they intend to sit on their backsides and say that they have done all they can do by making these grants available?
The Government have a duty, where private enterprise has obviously failed as it has in this respect, to take the initiative by starting an organisation such as the Irish Sugar Company to do this work. They have the money to do it and a State development of that nature would do much to solve the problem of the undeveloped areas. The Sugar Company and organisations like it must be encouraged in any such attempt they make and any attempt to limit the work of the Sugar Company in this or any other respect must be treated with severity.
Every attempt is being made to sabotage the work of the Sugar Company. A number of people in this country are interested in preventing the Sugar Company from selling its products on the home market and to that attempt the Government have given approval by legislation. They are endeavouring to prevent the Sugar Company, by legislation, from selling all its products on the home market. I think that is a deplorable comment on an Irish Government dealing with an Irish company employing Irish workers and built on Irish money. It shows the type of influence that can be brought to bear on this Government by people behind the scenes who are interested in an operation which does not have its headquarters in this country. We can have no confidence in a Government who allow that to happen.
As far as Fianna Fáil are concerned, they have lost the confidence of the  people of rural Ireland which they previously had. They are in the red: their credit is gone. The proper step for Fianna Fáil to take at this stage is to go to the country, to be honest and say to the people: “We believe this turnover tax is the right one”, and then let the people decide.
Taxation is at all times unpopular and whatever Government come into office will have to tax the people. As far as the present tax is concerned, all Parties in this House have declared it iniquitous, with the exception of Fianna Fáil. So far as we can know what the general public are thinking, they are almost unanimously opposed to it. On that basis, there is every justification for allowing the public to express their feelings in a general election. I hope the Government will have the courage to go to the country.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands (Mr. Lenihan): This debate has gone the usual way of recent debates on national policy in this House in which the groups opposed to the Government engage in destructive rather than constructive comment on the economic situation. There has been no attempt to present for examination a constructive alternative policy.
Fine Gael pose to the public as the alternative to the Fianna Fáil Party at present in Government. The public are rightly entitled to some indication by Fine Gael of the policy lines they would take if charged with the responsibility of administration. That information has not been forthcoming. That is the most complete indictment of the criticism which has been forthcoming in particular from the Fine Gael Party.
No member of the Labour Party could claim, in the present political climate, that the Labour Party could seriously be considered as an alternative Government. The issue before the public at all times is the question of Government and what group can present itself to the public as that best equipped to govern. In that situation, at the moment no alternative is before the public.
 The only possible claim to an alternative Government is made by the Fine Gael Party but it is not sustained by any alternative policy which can be examined by the public. Therefore, the public are not presented with that choice which the public in any democratic society in the world are given. On that rests the strength of the Government's case.
There has been a welter of carping, destructive criticism in various key debates here in the past nine months but nowhere from this torrent of abuse, destructive comment and carping criticism has emerged any semblance of of a policy, particularly from the second major Party in the House who claim to be an alternative Government in embryo. On that basis, this Government are entitled to the confidence of the people. Whenever the chips are down, in the event of a general election, that view will be taken by the people also. Fianna Fáil, on their record, their present approach and their future plans represent responsible Government and the people know that no alternative Government presents itself.
We are at a crossroads in regard to economic development. The first sign of a fresh approach to our economic problems came in 1958 with the Programme for Economic Expansion. Fianna Fáil came into office on the basis of a complete lack of public confidence in the administration which foundered in the early months of 1957. There was a total rejection of the administration of that day. There were partically 100,000 people out of work. Emigration stood at 60,000 to 70,000. National Loans were not being subscribed. Banks, insurance corporations and such institutions were not advancing the credit and accommodation necessary to sustain economic advancement.
The total rejection by the public of the then administration in March, 1957, resulted in Fianna Fáil being handed the reins of Government which they had held so ably in previous periods from 1932. Within 12 months, the First Programme for Economic Expansion was published. We had an example of an administration which was taking the people out of the trough  of depression and showing them the way ahead and the future which could be attained, provided various sectors co-operated in the achievement of targets. They did so—particularly the trade union section.
Various Irish trade unions, in consultation with the Government since the Programme of 1958, recently fixed wage and salary increases which fitted into the pattern of economic growth. Since this co-operation, particularly from Irish trade unions, we have had economic growth without the sort of insidious economic inflation which bedevilled our economy in 1956. We had rising industrial employment. We had expanding exports. We had a rising standard of living. They all went hand in hand with a balanced economy. From the point of view of the balance of payments and balanced Budgets, this was a tremendous achievement.
For the first time in the history of the State, we got out of the eternal cycle of boom and slump—the cycle which reached a disastrous low during the latter years of the Coalition Government between 1954 and 1957. There is no need to emphasise the success of the programme. The first five years have just been completed. We are aware that the targets set in that Programme have been more than doubled. A rate of growth of two per cent per annum in the national income has been exceeded to a figure of slightly over four per cent per annum —a rate of growth in which industrial employment has risen steadily so that the latest figure in regard to employment shows that while in 1961-62 the weekly average of insurance stamps was 484,000, in 1962-63 the figure was 498,000, a rise in employment of 14,000 per year. This trend which was envisaged in the first Programme will, in our opinion, continue. The targets have been set for 1970 which will allow for the creation of over 100,000 new jobs in the decade of the 1960s.
Mr. Lenihan: We have a situation where the emigration rate of 60,000 which we inherited in 1957 now comes down to under 6,000 for the 12 months ended 31st August, 1963, so that for the first time in recent years, we have a situation in which industrial employment is rising, emigration has fallen to an all-time low and in which the population has rounded the corner and is starting to rise again.
Mr. Lenihan: The unemployment figure has been more than halved since the early days of 1957 and unemployment, which stood at 100,000 in the early months of 1957, is now in the region of 50,000. This progress has largely resulted from the forward planning which the Government undertook in their first Programme in 1958. The second Programme has now been undertaken and the board lines have been published with the same objectives in view. I hope the economic growth target of four per cent per annum set in the second Programme will be more than doubled, as was the economic growth target in the first Programme. It is an ambitious target and is in line with the targets set in other countries in Western Europe. I feel it can be achieved and will be achieved.
Mr. Lenihan: It is important that the various groups in our society appreciate the fact that when these targets are set, it is the duty of every section to do what it can to achieve them. This is not the time for sectional claims or for particular groups in our community to push sectional interests too far against the overall national interest.
Mr. Lenihan: This particular point is of great importance at this crossroad stage in our development. The broad plans of the second Programme have been published and the details are now being prepared by each particular sector in industry, agriculture and so on, and will be published  in the New Year. These detailed proposals are being worked out in consultation with the various voluntary organisations, trade unions, farmers' associations and so on, but it is imperative that there should be an appreciation of the importance of the national interest, the importance of the community interest rather than sectional interest. I feel that if the same support is accorded the second Programme as was accorded the first, this will be achieved. It will be achieved in spite of the hysterical criticism and the pressure which is being engendered and engineered by various Oppoisition Parties.
We have had an hysterical political atmosphere being whipped up in the past few months which is not having a good effect on the community as a whole. It is not good that we should have an atmosphere of hysteria whipped up in which it is difficult to make progress. This atmosphere is being whipped up on the basis that the Government are in some way endangering the national interest by reason of their taxation proposals. In fact, the Government are facing up to their responsibilities and devising a broadly-based system of taxation which can provide the revenue which can sustain economic development not alone next year and the following year but in the years ahead. If no such system of broadly-based taxation were introduced, either this Government or some other Government would be faced with the problem of devising a system which would provide the revenue necessary to sustain the development which we all desire and, in particular, the economic development to which the Labour Party subscribed on many occasions.
There is no need to enumerate the fields that are so important. The field of education is particularly important. I have said previously, and I repeat now, that the total revenue from the turnover tax could very well be spent in this field alone. It is the field in which Russia, the United States of America and recently Britain, with the publication of the Robbins Report, are  concerning themselves vitally. It is the field which is going to be of vital importance in this technical and technological age. It is the field in which the Minister for Education has announced specific proposals designed to ensure a comprehensive educational scheme with a bias towards the technical and technological aspects. We need a system of education here and this is the objective, that every man's child will have the opportunity to utilise his talents to the fullest extent. We need a system of education in which a range of scholarships and opportunity will be available to every man's child, whatever his means. This will require a rising level of State investment in this sphere in which there has been a rise of 25 per cent in State investment over the past four years. That will have to be accelerated.
We have introduced a broadly-based system of taxation which will enable revenue to be channelled in this direction. The Minister for Education has emphasised that technical and technological facilities in the form of new buildings and technological institutions in key centres through the country will have to be established. He has emphasised that we will have to provide a system of education which will enable a boy or girl to move into the technical or technological field and secure the maximum education to equip him for whichever profession or trade he may aspire to. In the field of science, engineering, electrical development and so on, this is important.
Apart from education, it is quite obvious that in the years ahead there must be a steady rise in social services commensurate with the overall growth targets for economic development. It is quite obvious that in agriculture the present range of investment by the State, substantial as it is, will have to be maintained. It is quite obvious that in the field of industrial development a similar range of State assistance will have to be maintained. In all these fields, there cannot be any cutting back in expenditure and the only result of any attempt to undermine the taxation proposals would be to cut back in developments in these fields. The present range of State investment in agriculture  comes to over £40 million. That can be defended on every side. Deputy McQuillan was critical in regard to this investment; yet in the past 12 months in the field of milk production alone, positive steps have been taken by the Government to encourage creamery development in the west of Ireland. That positive assistance has resulted in creameries being established in Galway, Roscommon, Mayo and Leitrim, which are designed to ensure that the small farmer will have a cash income derived from the sale of milk to creameries based reasonably near him.
Mr. Lenihan: This policy taken by the Government is side by side with the establishment of the State-sponsored organisation Bord Bainne, which has succeeded in disposing of the milk and butter surplus problem. The results of this organisation will be seen in coming years; we have established an organisation which will dispose of the undoubted surplus there will be in dairy products following on the increase in the cattle population.
Mr. Lenihan: Deputy McQuillan suffers from a misapprehension. It is a mistake, of course, to segregate any one particular form of assistance in relation to agriculture; all aspects of agricultural development are interwoven.
Mr. Lenihan: If the cow population is increased, there will be a greater export of live cattle and beef products and of dairy products. The latter is tied in with pig production because of skim milk feed for pigs. The fundamental need in order to make progress in agriculture is to increase the cow  population. From that increase will flow an expansion in dairying and pig production and in agriculture generally. The most effective way to increase the cow population is by providing incentive grants to encourage farmers, irrespective of valuation, into breeding heifers to ensure that our cattle output will reach the target set for 1970. This is an integral part of the overall agricultural plan and the side effects will be of benefit not only to beef and cattle but to the pig and dairying industry as well. This incentive scheme will promote agricultural expansion on all fronts.
This particular target has been scoffed at, in particular by the former Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Dillon. Not alone have we set a target but we have provided the incentive. When the target was first announced, Deputy Dillon rushed into print to condemn it as unreal and unattainable. We maintain that we can increase the cattle population by 43 per cent by 1970. Following Deputy Dillon's premature comments, we produced exactly the incentive designed to achieve the figure at which we aim. Side by side with that there are the incentives towards improved grass productivity, fertiliser and lime subsidy schemes.
In industry the rate of employment in manufacturing, building and construction has been rising steadily. For the year 1962-63, insurance stamps showed an increase of 14,000 on the previous year. We must maintain the tempo of progress. Inevitably, there will always be people in our society leaving the land and our objective is to absorb them into industrial employment, building and construction. Never before in the history of this State has the tempo of economic activity and employment been so high and so consistent in building and construction. That position compares more than favourably with the disastrous position that obtained in the slump that occurred in late 1956 and early 1957.
The greatest single indicator of economic prosperity is employment in building and construction, and that holds good not only here but in every economy in every country. This is the  field that suffers whenever there is a cut back or a slow down in the economy. This is the field providing full employment at the moment, the field in which there is a growing need for more tradesmen. Vocational committees all over the country can plan for the training of boys, secure in the knowledge that they will get employment. Building and construction are the greatest single indicator of economic prosperity.
Mr. Lenihan: As I stated initially, we now stand at a crossroads. Progress has been made since the initiation of the First Programme for Economic Expansion. The Second Programme has now been published. We must have faith in the future development along the lines already followed. Political parties and groups, and the people generally, will have to accept this situation. Do we want to follow the signpost to further progress and rising employment or do we want to follow the signpost that points to depression and slump? If we want to follow the signpost to rising employment and an expanding economy, then we must accept responsibility for walking down that particular road.
This Government have accepted responsibility, that responsibility which is the price of progress, and no progress can be achieved without paying a price. This Government, following the signpost towards economic expansion, have accepted the major responsibility of devising the taxation measures necessary to carry the country along the road to progress. If the political Parties here and the various groups outside accept that that is the signpost we must follow, then the people as a whole will accept the fact that the major responsibility in travelling that road is the responsibility of following a rational taxation system designed to yield the revenue necessary for development in that direction.
Clearly and unequivocally, we have made our position clear. Fine Gael have offered no alternative means of raising taxation for further expansion. They have not even offered a policy  of expansion. The Labour Party have a policy of expansion very much on the lines of our policy, but the Labour Party have not gone the whole way and accepted the responsibility implicit in following the road to economic expansion. We still await from the Labour Party some alternative system of raising the revenue necessary to secure the expansion we desire. Those who make the choice of progress and expansion will accept the responsibility associated with it. No alternative has been proffered to the community for public examination. No other policy of expansion, or of taxation designed to secure that expansion, has been published.
We believe that when this issue is fully spelled out, the people will see that we have acted as a responsible administration in adopting the course of action we have adopted. Not alone would any other alternative be negative but any other alternative would lead to anarchy and slump. That is a situation we want to avoid. We want to avoid a situation of political instability and successive general elections for that would lead only to a loss of confidence, the kind of loss of confidence there was in 1956 and 1957, shown in the failure of National Loans and lack of initiative on the part of banks and lending institutions to expand credit accommodation. The basic need of the economy is an injection of confidence, especially in the finance sector.
The public are coming now to a realisation that this is the alternative to the present administration. The alternative can be spelled out, even though it has not been spelled out in constructive policy on the part of either the Labour Party or the Fine Gael Party. The alternative is that, in the event of a period of political instability resulting from the agitation of the Opposition the result will be instability not only in the political sphere but in financial and business spheres and in the whole economy. The steady, brick for brick foundation which we have been building up since 1958 may be shattered. We do not want that to happen. The country realises this, despite the temporary agitation and excitement being whipped up  by destructive politicians, concerned not with responsibilities of power but with power itself. This sort of temporary excitement is already disappearing before the realisation by the people that they are faced with the alternative of complete political chaos, and indeed, anarchy, in the event of the present administration being disturbed by the Opposition group. This issue is being borne in on the people and will be reflected in a positive way in the outcome of the by-elections in Kildare and Cork.
When the chips are down, people look at things in a very sensible light. The basic issue in any democracy is the question of Government. You can strip off the various non-essentials; when the people are faced with the choice which faces democratic electors at regular intervals, it comes down to the question of who can govern the community. On our record since 1957, on our present record and on our future plans, which have been spelled out and will be spelled out in greater detail, we offer ourselves to the public as a Government and a political organisation that can command a wide measure of support both inside and outside this House to sustain Government. When the issue is spelled out, the futility and weakness of the various opposing groups can be seen clearly. The Deputies opposite know in their heart of hearts that the alternative does not exist either in the form of policy, personnel or from the practical point of view of achieving the necessary majority. In particular, the alternative does not exist in the Fine Gael Party, who profess to be the alternative Party. Indeed, in the present context of things, the Fine Gael Party are rapidly becoming a surplus and irrelevant Party in Irish politics.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: You tried that out in Dublin North-East and you got your answer. You are afraid to try it out in Cork. But you will be dragged screaming before the Cork electorate shortly, and we shall see who is surplus.
Mr. Lenihan: It is important in this country to develop a political dialogue, to use the fashionable word, along rational lines. In other Parliaments, there sit in the Opposition benches a Government, evident in policy and personnel. But the people of Ireland have not got that choice. Quite clearly, we offer a responsible administration that can govern the country. There is nothing more to be said on this issue except that we await the publication of a policy. We await the personnel of an alternative Government. We await from the Labour Party and the Fine Gael Party some evidence of political maturity.
Mr. Lenihan: I am speaking as a person interested in the future political developments of this country. What we want is not irresponsible, carping, destructive criticism. We await a logical alternative policy on which the people can make a decision. We need a mature rational policy for the world of 1963. This has not been forthcoming from either Fine Gael or Labour. We wish they would grow up and follow on positive lines. We pointed the way in the publication of the First Programme for Economic Expansion and we set the targets in the second Programme. We have spelled out the way economic development can take place. No alternative has been presented so that the public can make a rational choice as to whether the administration is following the right lines of development or whether some alternative line of development would be more favourable. The public have not been presented with a logical choice. We feel the public will take the mature attitude that this administration has proved itself and has prepared a solution which can be of benefit to our community in the future.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: I used to read the fable of a frog. This frog was so anxious to impress that he proceeded to puff and to puff. As he puffed he swelled, but at the end of the puffing there was an explosion, and all that was left was a bad smell. I suggest that the Parliamentary Secretary who has  just subsided, read carefully the fable of the frog. As far as I can recollect, this man who lectured us here for the past threequarters of an hour, is one of the newest and youngest Deputies in the House. He came in for the first time in October, 1961, a neophyte in Irish politics. One thing he decided to do was to model himself in his speaking on the Taoiseach. I can bear hearing the Taoiseach speak, but I must say I find it extremely aggravating to find the Taoiseach's speech and his voice being repeated by the Parliamentary Secretary.
The Parliamentary Secretary has said we await an alternative Government. In that respect he is in the same position as the majority of the people in the country. They are also awaiting an alternative Government. The Parliamentary Secretary points across here and says that in the Opposition benches, in the Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party, there is a lack of personnel. Who does he think he is? I should like to know where conceit carries one? We have been told there can be no leader in this country but the present Taoiseach. God be with the days when we were told the same about the then Deputy de Valera. Are we to be led to believe now there can be no Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands in charge of Fisheries but Deputy Brian Lenihan from Roscommon, who never saw the sea?
If the Fianna Fáil Party think that only they have the personnel, the policy and the brains, they have another think coming. Outside this House, the vast majority of the people have long seen through the pretence and fraud of the present Government.
The Parliamentary Secretary talked about the chips being down. That is an appropriate phrase. The chips are down when eventually one's bluff is called. One's bluff is called frequently at a poker table. There are too many people trying to play poker at the moment with the national interests. I suggest that the greatest collection of poker players are sitting opposite in the Government benches at the moment. So well they may talk about the chips being down. The chips are  down. They will be found carrying a small pair of twos when we on this side will have a full house. Let there be no double thinking in regard to that.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: I suppose that all of us have harboured ambitions when we look at our lives and think of what we might have been. I saw in the Sunday Press the other day that the Parliamentary Secretary who has just spoken was looking back to what he might have been and he said that he would like to have been a journalist. Other people would like to be engine drivers, and I have one young son who would like to be a Pope, but the Parliamentary Secretary wants to be a journalist. He believes in short simple words. I suppose it was in pursuance of that belief that in the early part of this year down in the constituency of Roscommon when his constituents met him and said: “Deputy, will you ever tell us what is this new tax that they are all talking about going to be—this new turnover tax?”——
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: ——the Parliamentary Secretary had an answer in simple words: “Do not bother about this turnover tax. It is going to be on fur coats, expensive cars, on luxuries, speed boats and all the rest of it.” That was what the turnover tax was to be on, the plain words and the direct answer to a plain question. He has used in his speech here this evening “we so felt” and I am beginning to assume that he must now be a member of the Government or at least privy in and party to the counsels of the Government. It is very strange, if that is so, that in the spring of this year he did not know that the turnover tax which was to apply to speed boats, expensive cars, fur coats and luxuries, was in fact a tax aimed at bread,  butter, tea, sugar and the necessaries of life of ordinary people. Why did he not know it? Was it because it was too bitter a pill to give to the people or was it because at the time he spoke there was a by-election pending in North-East Dublin and the chips were not yet down, and this talk about surplus political Parties would have to go before the electorate for test as to who was surplus? Was it because that situation was there that in Boyle and in the North-East Dublin constituency the people were to be told that this turnover tax was only to affect the millionaire classes in this country? It was to affect those expensive cars, fur coats and luxuries, and no one was to hearken to the Labour Party or the Fine Gael Party or anyone else who suggested that the contrary might be true?
I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that if he is still in this House in ten years' time, he will be a member of a very small political Party if it is still called by the label Fianna Fail. He will find very quickly which is the surplus political Party in this country. This Fine Gael party was not surplus in 1922 when the State was built up, and it will continue playing its part in the political life of the country long before the Parliamentary Secretary will have achieved political maturity.
This debate is a useful debate and it comes at the end of a calendar year. It can be fairly said that it has come this year at the end of a most disturbing year for the country. This time last year in the Adjournment Debate the Taoiseach and the Government speakers who took part in it were pointing across the seas to Europe and telling everyone: “Forget about the aches and pains of the economy. Here is a ship coming in.” The ship was Europe and our ship was to come into port and everything was to be lovely. That was only 12 months ago.
This year started with a douche of cold water for the Taoiseach and the  Government and for all those who believed that no matter what the current difficulties might be, everything would be right on the night. At the beginning of this year so far as we were concerned the Common Market blew up. A strange thing happened. After the complete disappearance and destruction of the Common Market notion at the start of this year, the Taoiseach and his Government had to look back inside this country. They had to have regard to the fact that things were not going as well as they had been saying. Then of course we had panicky action taken. A White Paper on wages and incomes was issued without notice to anyone. It was called Closing the Gap and it appealed for, in effect, a freezing of wages and incomes and all the rest of it. That White Paper did not receive the support that apparently had been hoped for. In fact it aroused considerable indignation, and then we had the spectacle of the Taoiseach who issued it availing of the first opportunity of disowning it and telling the people: “Pay no attention to it. It does not mean what it says.”
That White Paper was debated in this House, and indeed the day after the division on it, a Deputy died—the late Deputy Jack Belton. It is interesting to recall that the week after Deputy Jack Belton's death the Taoiseach made the speech to which Deputy McQuillan has made reference. He said that the time had come for the Government and his Party to shift firmly to the left. What the Taoiseach was doing was hoping by that speech not to bring about any different emphasis in Government policy but to attract a short-term political advantage by obtaining labour No. 2 preferences in the then pending by-election in North-East Dublin. That was the idea behind it. There was no broad philosophy involved in that particular statement. He was appealing to the people of North-East Dublin to shift firmly to the left, but the workers in North-East Dublin remembered well what he and his Party meant by wage control in the past and what the abolition of food subsidies had meant.
Well, it did not succeed. Not only did it not succeed but quite emphatically 90 per cent of the Labour  preferences went to the Fine Gael candidate. He would not have needed them because he was going to win in any event. After that effort failed, we had these turnover tax details announced and, of course, it became apparent that this was an idea that must have been sold to the Government by the most conservative of financial advisers. Here was a tax based on expenditure which could not be avoided and which would keep the Government out of the range of fire because the Government would be enabled to say: “We are imposing a tax on nothing.” If you are imposing a tax on nothing in particular, the argument will go forth that you are not taxing anything.
The basic idea behind the turnover tax was that it had to fall on essential articles. I do not want to go over the debate we had on that tax. Suffice it to say that it was entered into by the Government because they believed it was a cute political gimmick. It was an easy way of raising the taxation they felt had to be raised and it was hard to attack because no one could say that any particular article was being taxed. We pointed out at the time and in all the debates since that this tax would have the effect of raising living costs very steeply. Our views in that respect were opposed by the Government, but argument ceased on this matter immediately after the introduction of the tax on 1st November. After the operation of the turnover tax at the beginning of November, every section of the community knew as a certainty—they had not to be convinced any more by rhetoric or by argument—that the cost of living was going up.
It is in those circumstances that the Taoiseach again panicked and for the first time ever he issued a statement calling for a ninth round of wage increases. As the Leader of the Labour Party very correctly stated, he had the impertinence in that statement to say to trade union leaders and others that they should seek such increases as would compensate them for the 2½ per cent turnover tax effect on prices. I do not know what the Taoiseach expected  to result from such an appeal. It was grossly impertinent to all sections. It was like somebody who spills over a jug of milk and says to somebody else: “Go and mop it up.”
I do not know what the outcome will be but let there be no doubt about this: if as a result of the situation created by the Government in the past two months, we are now entering a period of economic instability, the fault is clearly that of the Leader of this Government. It is he who created the situation. It is he who brought it about by trying to play poker with the national interest, by trying to bluff his way out of a difficult situation.
The ninth round is now starting and even now, having brought about the situation, the Taoiseach is beginning to run away from the consequences of what he did, saying in his speech here today that everybody should have regard to the limits of the economy. Of course, they should but who started this? It is a bit late after you tie a tin can to the bull's tail to be trying to get it off, and I hope the Taoiseach has not tied a tin can to the bull's tail in this instance.
We are now at the end of a disturbing year, a year in which a lot of things happened in this country which, perhaps, should not have happened. However, beyond the confines of argument has emerged the fact that the Government now in office are a very weak Government indeed. They are a Government who react in a panicky manner to any difficulty that arises, a Government particularly prone to hearken to pressure groups. They are a Government dependent for their continuance in office on Independent Deputies here who look outside for the effect of their actions and immediately try to alleviate those effects in case further political complications should arise. I wonder how many Deputies would agree with these sentiments spoken by a leader of a political Party, indeed the leader of the country at the time when he said:
 Fine words, great words, spoken by a person who is Leader of a national Party and the then outgoing Taoiseach. Those words were spoken on 29th September, 1961, and the speaker was not the former leader of the Fianna Fáil Party but the present leader, Deputy Seán Lemass, who in Monaghan was reported in the Northern Standard as expressing those sentiments:
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: That is what Deputy Collins hopes. He is there now depending on Independents for support. I am sure he does not like it and I want to let him into a secret: the country does not like it either and I can assure the Taoiseach that whenever the opportunity is afforded, the people will express their dislike in no uncertain way. They will remove from the Taoiseach the obligation of heading a Government depending on Independent support. Indeed they will send the Taoiseach to a part of this House where he can view with equanimity the actions of whatever Independent Deputies happen to come back.
I do not want to delay the House very much longer except to ask a question. What of the future? Members of the Government and of the Fianna Fáil Party are great spinners of wordy fabrics. The Parliamentary Secretary says: “We spell it out.” Of course they do. There is a whole torrent of verbiage let loose on the people from time to time. There is talk about plans for education, plans for health, and so on, but what are they? Where are they? What of the future? Plans for better education—some day. Plans for a better health service—when? That is like saying: live horse and you will get grass.
 But what is the future going to hold in store in relation to the country? Are we going into the Common Market? Is the Common Market going to be there? It almost appears now as if the Common Market is breaking into bits. Are we still tied, in the Government's belief, to working towards what may be a mirage? By the time we are ready to get into the Common Market there may be nothing there. If the situation has its difficulties we should at least expect from the Taoiseach at the end of a year like this some realistic assessment of where this country is likely to go in the coming year. Are we to go into EFTA or join NATO? Are we still going to follow the Common Market idea or are we going to abandon it and believe and practise the words that used to mean a lot in this country, Sinn Féin? Are we just going to try to build up our own country by our own resources without looking for somebody else to carry the baby?
These are the questions the people, the general public, are asking. They are questions that will have to be answered in any event by the Government when they face the people of two constituencies in the near future. I do not wish to arrogate to myself the right of nominating any dates or anything like that because it is no right of mine or of my Party, but I have no doubt that in the very early weeks of the next calendar year the people of two constituencies at least will be afforded an opportunity of expressing their view of the Government.
Mr. T.F. O'Higgins: If the view which they express indicates clearly that there is a loss of confidence in the Government would Deputy Collins join with me in reminding the Taoiseach of his words here today: if it were established outside the House that the people had lost confidence in himself and his Government he would go to the Park and dissolve?
Mr. Desmond: The Taoiseach today drew attention to the fact that this may be considered an examination of the Government's work during the past 12 months. The Parliamentary Secretary reiterated the Taoiseach's challenge and asked Opposition Parties what their programmes would be. Apparently we at this stage are expected to put our programmes in black and white and publish them in the newspapers. Unless we do that, the Taoiseach and the Parliamentary Secretary will not be satisfied.
Let me say as a member of the Labour Party that at least, thanks be to God, we have no intention of being so dishonest as the people opposite. I am very glad the Minister for Transport and Power is here now. When they were in Opposition, they published a programme which claimed that in five years they would have 100,000 extra people in employment and when they got into power, the present Minister for Transport and Power made perfectly clear to all and sundry that that was only a blueprint of their policy. Apparently Fianna Fáil may publish something which they can term a policy to be put into operation when it suits them and in the next breath tell us it is but a blueprint.
All I am sorry for is that their blueprint did not give more satisfaction. It would be much better for all concerned, irrespective of Party, if it were true that their policy put 100,000 people into employment. The tragedy is that that is hypocrisy of the worst type. It helped Fianna Fáil to get the votes they wanted to get them into the position they are in today.
 The Parliamentary Secretary is a young member of this House. Indeed, I have no intention of attacking anyone or of speaking in his absence, but I cannot help it if he is not present. He spoke of democracy and castigated members of the Opposition because of their lack of understanding of democracy. Strange, is it not, from a Party who wanted to abolish PR a couple of years ago? Democracy moryah.
The Parliamentary Secretary spoke of the inter-Party Government's failure in the matter of National Loans. Of course he did, but he did not remind us—maybe he did not know as he was not here then or did not remember—that the present Tánaiste used the expression “pawn-broker's sign” when the inter-Party Government looked for money in the way of National Loans. Let it be said in favour of the members of the Opposition Parties at present that whatever our personal opinions on the amount of interest to be paid on loans and so on, none of us has ever belittled the Government or attempted to make loans a failure. That cannot be said of Fianna Fáil. When any loan was launched by Governments before them, members of those Governments were attacked in the most disgraceful manner. Deputy Carter knows, because he was here then, that no one was so offensive, so personal and so vindictive to the Minister for Finance between 1948 and 1951, Deputy McGilligan, as the present Tánaiste.
It is well that these facts should be brought to light. If young members of the Government believe in democracy they will think that we should be constructive. I want to be, and I have always tried to be, constructive. Let them remember that nobody in a glass house should throw stones. The Parliamentary Secretary spoke of banks and, God save us all, he spoke of insurance companies. There is sorrow to some of us in his insurance companies. I will say no more than that.
The Taoiseach asked us to examine the work of the past 12 months. As far as that is concerned, the Government have set a record which I hope  will never be achieved by another Government in the future. We are now finishing the old year and will not be coming back until the end of January; yet six Estimates, relating to the work of the most important Departments, have not come before us for debate and constructive criticism. These Estimates include that for the Department of Transport and Power.
Mr. Desmond: It counts, all right. The Estimate for the Department of Education came before us only last night. We have had to postpone consideration of it, and now we may never get an opportunity of considering it. There is the Department of Justice. There is a lot we could have said on that and on the injustice of Fianna Fáil, but now we will not have the opportunity. We must forget about these important Estimates, and the people must forget about them. But let us not for the moment forget about the Tánaiste and the Estimate for the Department of Health.
That was an Estimate on which it was most important that we would offer our constructive views. That Estimate will not now come before us. Instead of attempting to get it before the House, the Tánaiste has gone back into orbit, back to denouncing everyone he does not like. He should come back from orbit and put his Estimate before us. Estimates for the Taoiseach's Department and for the Department of Finance have not been put before us. There have been Bills on the Order Paper since October. Compared with the business I have been referring to, these Bills were only twopence-halfpenny matters, put there as a stratagem to avoid having the House debate the Estimates to which I have referred.
Because the House has not had the opportunity of considering these Estimates, Deputies or the general public have not been able to consider properly such vital matters as Transport and Power, for instance, and the activities of An Bord Fáilte. We are still awaiting from the Minister for  Health a report on the health services. Of course if that Estimate had been before us we would have had an opportunity of challenging the Minister for Health on this question. Deputies are being denied that right, and the public are being denied the right of hearing about these things.
Deputies have been speaking about our possible entry to the Common Market. I shall not go over any ground already covered, but I feel I must allude to the fact that 12 months ago, when some of us expressed doubts about our entry to the EEC, we were branded as being various colours, including red, not alone by the Government but by the so-called experts outside. The Taoiseach today said people have no right to throw their weight about and claim they are in a position to force the Government to do this or that, but he did not say this when the so-called experts were branding us as red because we had the audacity to cast doubts on our ability to get into the Common Market last year.
Our reasons for so expressing ourselves at that time were that we had not got the information made available to us and we were afraid the small farmers would suffer by our entry. Now we have in the House the Government statistician, the Minister who tells us everything is grand. Will he now tell us why Fianna Fáil claim an El Dorado for Irish farmers on entry to the EEC, at a time when Germany and France are fighting like dogs on the agricultural issue? They have told us every small farmer in the country will be a rich man in his own right when, by 1970, he will be able to sell his produce in Italy, Germany, France and elsewhere. Will the small farmers be there then to enjoy all these grand benefits?
Last Sunday a newspaper not unknown to the Government Party published an article by a writer who knows his job and on whose ability I do not cast any doubts. He told us that the ultimate aim of the EEC was for political integration and unity. We hear a lot about the Treaty of Rome, about Geneva, Brussels and the rest, but today the Taoiseach was silent on this subject. I read a report in the Cork Examiner the other day—it was published in all the other newspapers at the same time—giving the views of a survey team set up by the Government to examine the effects of EEC membership on the various industries. This affects me very much, as it does many of my constituents, because at Carrigaline we have a pottery. There are not many such factories in the country. The report stated that even though the managements of such factories would come up to scratch in the matter of preparing themselves for the new competition that will arise with EEC membership, the question of employment was a difficult one. The survey team went further, and said if such managements did not come up to scratch, even though they might do a fair job, more than 700 employees would be out of work in the pottery industry.
That is the prospect for the boys and girls in the Carrigaline area, the people who were told by the Minister for Transport and Power that everything would be grand when we joined the Common Market. There are people there of 40, 45 and 50 years of age who have spent a lifetime working in that factory. The Minister for Transport and Power tells us they can be retrained. How are people of that age to be retrained? They will find themselves on the scrapheap. The Minister should realise we are dealing with human beings, not with numbers. The sooner we realise how all this will affect our industries, the sooner we will afford generous protection to our people.
We are giving them benefits. Industrialists from other countries apparently will, over the years, find it easier for them to send their manufactured goods to Ireland. For instance, in the worsted industry, tariffs are being reduced annually and again I am concerned because in my constituency we have many workers in that industry. What will it benefit these people if they find that by a continuing reduction in tariffs, goods may come in at a cheap rate and they may find themselves unemployed?
What benefit do we get from some of the countries to which we are giving  advantages? I fear the present Government think they should play host to every country, whether it is China or Japan and want to help them all to sell goods here. We know by the imbalance in the returns that we are not getting a fair crack of the whip. We are importing but what we export is hardly worth while. Apparently, that satisfies Fianna Fáil since we are in the international market. As the late Deputy Norton said, a sheik in Kuwait can get butter for 1/11 a pound but that does not happen in north-west Dublin, Cork or Kildare. The Italians probably buy it for 2/-. I agree with the Taoiseach that we must export but surely we do not have to continue subsidising butter and such items that our own people need in greater abundance and at a lower price. Yet, that is Fianna Fáil policy.
I was as critical of conditions—and I owe no apology to anyone for it—in 1957 as anyone but tragic as they were they still did not reach the peak unemployment under Fianna Fáil on one occasion and if the Minister for Transport and Power has not got the figures for that I suggest he should check up. Even this year when we are told of all the new factories that have opened, of industries that have come from God knows where—some have got grants and walked out and others have stayed and are all right—there are more people unemployed. We are told how employment has mounted in new factories to so many thousand and that sounds good but why, then, should the number employed at present be fewer by 2,000 approximately than it was this time last year? Who are employed in these factories? We hear of the number of stamps sold but that is codology because we know the change that was brought about when the ceiling for social insurance purposes was raised from £600 to £800. Will anybody in the Government explain why there are more unemployed now than in 1962?
I cannot let the occasion pass without commenting on what might be described as a threat by the Taoiseach. Certainly, his attitude was anything but pleasant when he spoke of the wage increases being sought at present. The turnover tax has brought all this  to a head. Everybody knew that was coming. Even if the Taoiseach closed his eyes I am sure the Minister for Transport and Power knew it would come and that he was not in favour of the tax but he probably had no say in it. The Taoiseach has pontificated about the wonderful economists who are able to show that eight per cent. is the maximum increase that can be given without interfering with the economy of the country, although the employers were, apparently, prepared to go to 10 per cent. The Taoiseach is accepting the experts; I do not want to mention one man's name but we have an idea who one of them is. The Taoiseach made no attempt, in examining all the circumstances leading up to this, to make a comparison between production at present and the increased production last year—which is a very important factor—and the increased dividends and bonus issues over the past 12 months.
I do not wish to make things difficult but I say to the Taoiseach and his Ministers: there is one thing they must do—keep their hands out of the trade union movement. Connolly and Larkin fought for what the trade unions have today and anyone who wishes to interfere with the rights of that movement to bargain on behalf of their members will learn a sad lesson. That is all I have to say on that. If the Taoiseach now realises the truth about the tax it is too late for him. If, by introducing a 2½ per cent tax the cost of living has been increased to such an extent that these workers, through their accredited trade unions, are insisting on a fair return, then let that be fixed between them and the employers but do not let the Taoiseach or any of his Ministers dabble in politics and try as they did in the past —and, unfortunately, succeeded to some extent—to bring politics into trade unionism.
Last week there was a monster advertisement for the Fianna Fáil Party in the Press, probably the first advertisement by the public relations officer. It looked very well when you saw all that they were going to do with the income from the 2½ per cent tax. Apparently, anyone who opposed the  tax is a traitor to the economic advancement of the country and anyone who even attempted to do so was against housing, hospitalisation and all the wonderful items in the Fianna Fáil programme. My first reaction to this was: what happened before the 2½ per cent tax? Strangely, the various Governments tackled housing problems. Perhaps, they did not get 100 per cent of what they hoped for but housing went on. Let nobody forget that in 1948 a hospital programme was introduced here the like of which was never heard of before. That programme saved the lives of thousands suffering from tuberculosis and there was no 2½ per cent tax.
Apparently, all is now changed. We hear of the necessity for this 2½ per cent tax and of indirect taxation. I would call it direct taxation on the homes of the workers when you impose increased charges on bread, butter, tea, sugar, clothing and so on. They want us to forget that, in addition to the 2½ per cent tax, they have collected £25 million by way of loan. What are they going to do with that £25 million? At the same time, they are raking in what I believe will amount to over £19 million from the 2½ per cent turnover tax. What are they going to do with it all?
Governments in the past have tried to do the best they could and we may have been critical of them, whether we were supporting them or opposing them, but take the Department of Local Government at the present time. It is interesting to read in the newspapers about the amount spent on housing between 1958 and 1963. That looks all right on paper but those of us who are members of local authorities and who have been held up for over 12 months in trying to get sanction for housing projects know that there is something rotten in the state of Denmark, so far as the Custom House is concerned. The Minister at present in the House may be in favour of giving hundreds of thousands of pounds for the building of palatial hotels but it is a different matter when it comes to the building of houses for the people.
When we hear of how difficult it is  to get tradesmen, we should not forget that some of the biggest contracts going on in the country at the moment are not what they should be for—they are not for the building of houses for our people. They are for the building of big hotels and large business premises. That is the lopsided approach of the Government to policy activity within the past 12 months. We were told that the 2½ per cent turnover tax must not be opposed in order that we should have better health services. It is now a long time since the Tánaiste and Minister for Health told us that he was going to present us with a report on the health services but we have seen no sign of that either.
I would suggest to the Government when they speak of opposition that they should examine, individually and collectively, their own political conscience. There was no Party more vindictive, more abusive and more personal in their criticism of the Government than were the members of the present Government when they were sitting on the left-hand side of the House. The records of the House will show that one member of that Party who is now a Minister had to apologise more times for his conduct than any other member of the House. If we praise them, we are grand people but if we criticise them, we are all wrong.
I shall be just and fair in my criticism and I believe there is an obligation and responsibility on members of the Labour Party when they can see that the policy of the Government is detrimental to the welfare of the ordinary people, whether it be by the imposition of a vicious taxation system, or by refusal to give sanction for the building of houses, or by their refusal to give the people the benefits of the improvements promised by the Minister for Health, and as long as we are being denied the right to discuss the various important Estimates for Departments of State, to be critical of the Government. So long as these grievances exist, so long may the Taoiseach and the Government expect us to be critical of their activities and inactivities.
Minister for Transport and Power (Mr. Childers): I was going back in my mind and recalling the times in our political history when we have had discussions on taxation and on the efforts made by Fianna Fáil to expand our national economy. It is a very interesting fact that we have heard all this before from Fine Gael but it is just as well that we should look back on the history of the propaganda campaigns against the Fianna Fáil Party when questions in relation to the cost of living became of interest to the general public. It is interesting to see what happened on each occasion when the Fine Gael and Labour Parties concentrated the interest of the people on the question of increases in the cost of living or increases in taxation with a view to catching as many votes as they could.
The history of all this is pretty dismal from their point of view. In 1948 we had an election campaign in which, apart from political abuse of the Government and allegations of widespread corruption of which there was no evidence and which were never proved, on every side the people were told that the cost of living had gone up scandalously during the war. They were told that the whole country was being exploited by rich profiteers who were running around in enormous motor cars at the expense of the people and who were giving large grants and subventions to the Fianna Fáil Party.
The Coalition Government were elected after this scandalous campaign but there was no case of profiteering found or proved. A tribunal to inquire into the prices of flour and wheat was established and reported back to the Government that there was no evidence of profiteering. The Ministers appointed then had access to all the Departments but not a word was said. There then settled on the country a deathly silence in relation to all the allegations of extravagance, corruption and excessive prices.
The Coalition proceeded to borrow millions of American money and throw it into circulation, to spend it on consumer goods and in 1952 we had an  unbalanced Budget to the amount of about £8 million and in 1951 an adverse trade balance of £61 million. The Coalition Government went scuttling out of office, being unable to manage their affairs, and Fianna Fáil came back in and found the money for the unbalanced Budget. Fianna Fáil also proceeded to deal with the very serious imbalance of payments position caused by the fact that the country had been buying more goods from abroad than it had exports to pay for.
We corrected the situation, raised the necessary taxation to balance the Budget and re-established our economic policy. The whole of the next three years in which we retained office uneasily was spent in futile recriminations in this House with regard to the increase in the cost of living that took place as a result of our taxation.
By 1954, we had corrected the position left to us by the Coalition Government. Everything was moving steadily forward in the right direction. The country's agricultural and industrial production were increasing. Wage increases had taken place. Farmers had gained increases in incomes which more than compensated for such increases in the cost of living as were made inevitable by the corrected Budget of 1952. Then we had a general election.
In 1954, the general election was cast in exactly the same pattern as Fine Gael would now cast one if they had the opportunity. Every other matter of importance was forgotten and neglected so far as they were concerned. The fact that we had ended a period of prosperity that had grown automatically because we passed from wartime conditions to peacetime conditions and were facing greater competition was not adverted to. The fact that the people would have to make all the effort of which they were capable in order to help to expand the economy was not adverted to. We had a perfect example of the Fine Gael attitude towards exploiting short-term interests solely in order to gain votes.
About 1,000,000 blue leaflets were spread all over the country accompanied, in the case of a Cork by-election,  by loaves of bread in the windows with the 1952 price and the 1954 price. The increased wages of Cork workers were not put on the printed cards beside the loaves of bread. All that was indicated was the increase in the price of the loaf. However, these blue leaflets clearly indicated a promise by Fine Gael that if returned to office these taxes would come down. Then there was this terribly trite, vulgar phrase “A good time will be had by all if you vote Fine Gael”.
There was no question of a challenge to the future or of dealing with important fundamental matters or of how we would advance the national economy and the national income. There was no question about the fact that competition was growing all round and about the necessity for new steps to stimulate industry. It was a campaign designed solely to get votes from people who in spite of whatever propaganda Fianna Fáil could make simply for the moment and temporarily thought perhaps of their present interest and looked at the fact that certain prices had increased, forgetting in most cases that their wages had increased by a greater amount than what was represented by the increase in the cost of living and the tax. Being human, a certain proportion of them, a certain floating vote, largely in the cities, decided to give the Government a skelp, to give some punishment to the Fianna Fáil Government for it. They elected a Coalition Government. They never could have secured office if they had not circulated those dreadful little blue leaflets all over the country. Millions of them were distributed and put into the door of every house.
They got in. What happened in the next three years? Not a tax was reduced. The cost of all those commodities whose price had increased in the previous three years did not go down. By the beginning of 1957, and just before the Fianna Fáil Government came in, the cost of living had gone up by eight per cent in the middle of the worst financial crisis this country had seen since the war, created solely by the mismanagement of the Coalition Government. It was a crisis  that could be seen nowhere else in Northern Europe. We were the only country in Northern Europe where the national income at constant price was either declining or stable for a period of three years.
I challenge the members of the then Coalition Government. I shall not quote figures: they can look them up and see how the national incomes of all the countries in Northern Europe— countries devastated by war, countries which were neutral, Scandinavian countries, Great Britain, in spite of Suez—were steadily rising during all that period while we lingered behind. We had record unemployment. We had emigration. There was a feeling of despair amongst our people during those three years.
We have had this story before. We are quite familiar with a situation in which Fine Gael exploits a short-term interest and draws the attention of people to a particular segment of Fianna Fáil policy without having regard to the long-term interest of the country. They make all sorts of promises but never fulfil them and they go out of office leaving a terrible mess for us to clean up after them.
One of the best ways of dealing with this situation would be to redistribute the blue leaflets of 1954: let everybody in the country have them —with a few simple statements about what happened afterwards. What was the result of this kind of publicity and the gaining of a few votes. We have seen all this before. In fact, it is too easy to appeal to a certain floating vote. I refer to people who, perhaps, have not time to read the newspapers or to study facts. It is too easy to give them the impression that they, individually, are being exploited by the Government in comparison with other groups. It is too easy to encourage envy and competition among various sectors of the community, each trying to see how much they can get out of the common pool without seeing how it affects the nation. It is easy to do that but the result can be very serious for the nation.
On every single occasion when we  had to take more money from the central pool of income or to increase taxation or to take any other action which had a short-term effect on prices, within a comparatively short period the incomes of the people as a whole had increased sufficiently more than to offset the contributions we asked for. It happened between 1952 and 1954. It happened in 1957 when we were forced to impose some taxation because of an unbalanced Budget left to us. In that period—from then until today— the wage packets, the earnings of the community, have grown to about double the increase in the cost of living that has taken place in that time. The income per capita in the case of agriculture, equally, has grown to meet these increased costs. On every occasion on which we had to take this kind of action and to ask the people to contribute more to the pool of Government expenditure the position has been more than corrected and the national economy has advanced.
When it became perfectly clear that if we were to be able to progress still further in developing the economy, we believed that in order to secure sufficient funds—largely for agriculture and education and, in turn, for social services—we decided to impose this turnover tax. I have no doubt if the people regard this intelligently and take an intelligent attitude towards it, that with the growth of economy that has taken place in the past five years and the growth that is taking place this year—when we anticipate a growth in the national income of some £30 million to £40 million compared with 1962—we will be able to say that there has been constructive use of these funds, that they have helped advance the national economy and, above all, that we have established a form of taxation in which we can be certain that if in future the national economy expands on a reasonable basis, and if no section of the community seeks too much reward for itself, we will be able to see a net advantage to everyone.
That is what we in Fianna Fáil believe. We get no suggestions whatever from the Opposition as to how this money is to be found or in what way expenses can be reduced. I have  no doubt that in the Cork by-election when it takes place we will get this sort of propaganda from the Opposition. I saw it beginning and I must be fair to some Deputies in Fine Gael. Deputy Flanagan seems to be the leader in this propaganda. It is the sort of thing that will be used in the by-election and which was used in the 1954 election. The emphasis is put on certain Government expenditure and there is the usual catchcry “why do they spend so many millions on this when they could increase the old age pension by 5/- a week?” or some such slogan. Again, coming to the kind of thing we can expect in the Cork by-election I notice in a speech which Deputy Flanagan made somewhere in the country that he is starting off again. He said the Government are raising £10 million by the turnover tax and that the Government are spending £7 million on aeroplanes and was it not scandalous that the Minister for Transport and Power was making use of his position to put this unbearable weight of taxation on the people by buying such aeroplanes, and surely there must be something more important that could be done to assist the people, or the social welfare services. It is typical propaganda and we heard it multiplied and exaggerated a hundred times in the 1954 and the 1958 elections. The answer is simple.
Mr. Childers: In fact, we are spending £10 million on aircraft and on a new electronic reservation system for Aer Lingus and a building in which they can concentrate their activities instead of having them spread around 20 or 30 offices in Dublin. Of that amount, the air company are raising £7¾ million and we are finding £2¼ million. The £2¼ million is part of the capital plan of the Government and if one looks at the general growth of the national debt and the way that money is paid, the interest is six per cent on the capital. When it is all spent, which will not be this year, but part of it will be spent next year and part in the following year, the total amount the taxpayer will have to pay, indirectly in interest at six per cent, will be  £133,000. We can imagine how difficult it is going to be for the average person coming home at night after a hard day's work to work out that little calculation. It is not £7 million; it is £133,000, which the taxpayer at the end of three years will be asked to pay as interest on that part of the capital expenditure on the aircraft which we envisage are essential to the tourist trade and which will bring money and employment to the people.
Some foolish people will not listen to the story. Perhaps they will be too busy and so you will get that kind of low-down propaganda going around the country and some people will ask: “What are the Fianna Fáil Government doing, imposing current taxation to the tune of £7 million?” when, as I have indicated, it will be much more like £133,000, a lot of which will not be required next year but in the two or three successive years. As I said, we have heard all this before but we stand forthright on the statement that we have to impose taxation and we have asked the people to contribute more. The national income has grown sufficiently in the last five years to prove our ability to order the finances of the nation properly and to ensure that workers, steadily and progressively over a period, are properly remunerated for any increase in living costs that may arise as a result of any of our policies. We have seen exports increase massively since that period; we have seen emigration go down to the lowest figure for a very long period, and above all we see around us tremendous confidence in the future; evidence on every hand that the people and those who come with capital from abroad are working together and going ahead with plans for expansion, on a scale that we never could have envisaged five years ago.
The next thing I want to speak about is certain observations made by Deputy Corish in connection with the Taoiseach's suggestion as to the increase in remuneration that would be advisable. The Taoiseach, of course, is not attempting to dictate to anybody. There is no dictatorial system in this country to dictate what wages should be. We are able now to ascertain the  various factors in the country's economy from which some conclusions can be drawn as to what kind of increase in remuneration can take place and which will have the maximum beneficial effect and the least harmful effect. The Taoiseach on many occasions has said that one of the most certain things in the world is that if this country is to prosper wages and earnings must increase steadily and we all know that there must be a greater demand for all our goods and services if we are to have lively exports.
The Taoiseach is basing this statement on calculations that are now accepted—I do not think there are any of what you might call conservative Governments left in Northern Europe, in the old sense—by right of centre Governments or left of centre Governments throughout Europe, whatever their complexion is. There are methods of making this calculation which are accepted abroad, accepted by socialists, by social democratic governments in Scandinavian countries, by mixed coalition forms of government in the Netherlands, by the Swiss form of federal government. They are accepted everywhere, and by the vast majority of economists. There are very few economists who disagree with the general principles on which these calculations are made. They are based on the past growth of production in industry and agriculture, estimated growth of production in industry and agriculture in the future, growth of output per worker, growth of output by farmers and industrialists. They are based on the increases in wages that have taken place over a period and which are likely to take place in those countries with which we are in competition.
Equally, profits can be determined in the same kind of way. There are some industries where the profit is very high but which pay very high rates of wages because of the particular character of the industry. There are some industries where profits are very, very low, and wages are low, because the industry is either subject to the stress of extreme competition or else is not well managed. High profits do not  necessarily mean low wages. One can foresee, however, in a given period that one needs a rate of profit which will, first of all, attract more capital to private enterprise to build up other activities or expand a given industry. One can see that profits should be such that the company concerned has sufficient new machinery, renewed old machinery, adopted new methods in order to increase production and, incidentally, employ more people and expand exports.
Equally, the company must have regard to some reserves to deal with sudden changes in costs or perhaps a temporary recession in its particular field of activity. It must align its profits to any reduction in tariffs it anticipates as a result of a general move towards a free trade world. Whatever its profits will be they certainly must not be those which will inhibit an increase in wages. Directors of modern companies are now so subject to the pressure of trade unions in this modern world that, if the increases in profits over a period are examined and compared with the increases in wages, the growth of earnings and wages in a great many of the most successful firms has often far outstripped over a period the increase in the growth in profits.
Mr. Childers: So far as this country is concerned, the reductions in tariffs this year and next year will have an effect which, one can see, will at least induce manufacturers to invest a great deal of money in new plant so that they can face free trade conditions and go ahead with a programme of expansion.
When the Taoiseach spoke on this, he was not suggesting that any particular figure was something of an absolutely rigid character in relation to any particular industry. There are industries in which there have been some increases already because, for some reason or another, there was a lag in some previous wage round. The Taoiseach mentioned this by way of guidance to the community, guidance of a kind which is now commonplace  throughout Europe. Whatever the special conditions may be here, and whatever the forces social and economic operating, guidance of this kind is completely normal and understood by trade unions and employer organisations in a great many countries in Northern Europe. I could quote from the reports in relation to Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium where this kind of thing occurs year after year.
It is not a perfect process. Mistakes are made. In one year, there will be a drift, an inevitable drift from the actual plan, due to a very sudden growth in prosperity or to the fact that groups representing the workers may feel the need to compensate them for some particular reason. In the next year then the arrangements level off again.
It is not a perfect process. I do not suppose it ever will be perfect here either, but at least it works in a general way, and it has proved to be fairly reliable. It is not bogus. It is a genuine method of trying to calculate what the profits of the whole nation will be and how they should be shared out over a period. It was that kind of proposal, or suggestion, the Taoiseach was making. One of the objects behind it is, of course, if one can possibly do it, that it is a good thing to have an increase in remuneration which will have the least possible effect on prices so that as much as possible can be kept and will not be reflected in an increase in prices. Again, one must be practicable about that. It is not possible, even in Europe, to make it operate as perfectly as that and there has been a steady increase in the cost of living in Northern Europe, even in the well regulated countries where they do not permit runaway inflation.
Ever since the war, the value of money has been declining in most parts of the world. It is declining in the United States. As I say, it is not a perfect method and some allowance must be made for the fact that the value of money declines. All we want to ensure here is that the value of our money does not decline faster than the value of the money of the countries  with which we compete for foreign trade. We want to preserve that balance so that we can match the competition and preserve the competitive character of our prices. Taking things by and large, and looking back over the past ten years, increases in remuneration have operated fairly successfully without the application of the kind of principles that are now established in Northern Europe. There may have been three occasions when the increase was temporarily more than was justified. On the other occasions, negotiations were successful, although they were carried out more or less by simple bargaining and without taking the advice that is now taken by this country in regard to growth and changes in the national economy.
All we hope for is to see the kind of advance taking place which will have the least possible adverse results and which will expand the purchasing power of the people while enabling the nation to go ahead. I hope I have dispelled now some of the darker suggestions made here of some kind of plot. It was stated the Taoiseach was trying to act as a dictator to the trade unions. Nothing of the kind. This can be worked out intelligently and to the advantage of everybody concerned.
Mr. Childers: I do not agree. He merely recommended it. With regard to social welfare services, although we have sometimes linked a growth in social welfare services partly to an increase that has taken place in taxation, the growth in social welfare services has enormously outstripped the cost of living since the Government took office in 1957. In 1956 a widow, with three children, and a non-contributory pension received £2 3s. 2d., including children's allowances. She is now receiving £3 10s. 8d., an increase of 64 per cent. The cost of  living has increased since 1956 by something between 18 and 20 per cent. If she has five children, the increase is 81 per cent. I am speaking now of the January, 1964, increases. Non-contributory old age pensions have gone up by 46 per cent since 1956. A man in receipt of unemployment benefit, with a wife and three children, got £3 7s. 8d. in 1956. He will get in January, 1964, £5 18s. 8d., an increase of 75 per cent.
Deputies on the opposite benches speak of the social welfare benefits and imply they only just cover the effect of the 2½ per cent, that the increases have all been of that kind—very grand to talk about but in fact not doing much good. As I look down through the list of the various social services of one kind or another, I find the increases—I shall not give them in detail —are: 75 per cent, 97 per cent, 72 per cent, 73 per cent, 64 per cent and 81 per cent for six different combinations of social services with different numbers of children, since 1956.
That is not to say we would not like to increase the social welfare services still more, but considerable progress has been made. If you take any £20 million increase in social welfare payments over any period since the war, you can be certain Fianna Fáil provided £18 million of it. That has been our record. In the Second Programme for Economic Expansion we have written down quite frankly in the statement an increase in the current expenditure by the State over the next seven years. We have put in that increase partly because we are not highly taxed as a nation compared with other nations in northern Europe. We think that with only a very fractional increase in the percentage taken by the State in relation to people's incomes in the turnover tax, we ought in ensuing years to be more certain of distributing some of the proceeds for greater social welfare services.
The amount of central taxation in 1962 was something over 10 per cent of the gross national production. That is recognised by economists all over northern Europe as the best method of comparing the incidence of taxation  with that of other countries. In a great many countries in northern Europe— partly, admittedly, because of defence commitments and partly because of very elaborate social services — the figures are anything from 12 per cent to 14 per cent. We do not believe we need take that. We believe that, if the economy grows as much in 1964 as it has grown in 1963, at the end of that period, even with the turnover tax collected, the percentage of money taken from the people in relation to what they produce and to their incomes will bear the same sort of relationship within a fractional amount as it bore in the dark days of 1956, when the incomes of the people were lower and the total amount of money collected in taxation was lower.
We do not believe there will be any striking change. Even if you add the rates to central taxation, the total percentage of State and local taxation in 1956 in relation to the gross national production was of the order of 22 per cent and the figure for 1962-63 was something like 23 per cent. When Deputy Dillon talks about our collecting £65 million more in taxation, he is suggesting apparently that we can develop the economy, pay social services and live in a unique world in northern Europe as the only country that finds it possible not to increase the amount collected in taxes and still enable the nation to develop, whereas in every other country in Europe modern states habitually find themselves having to collect well over a quarter of the total income of the people in taxation. Yet, for some strange reason we are supposed to have some wizard method of progressing. The statement made by Deputy Dillon that the amount collected in taxes has gone up by £65 million means nothing in the general context of the nation's progress, because every country everywhere is collecting more in taxation for various purposes.
We have been all through this before. We have had three elections in which these arguments of short-term interests, these immediate appeals and panic wild talk about taxation have been the major theme. In every case we in Fianna Fáil have eventually  triumphed. In every case when the Coalition Government gained temporary advantage, they neither justified their promises nor were they able to maintain a stable Government financially. In 1957, when they went out of office, they had broken every single promise they made in those wonderful little blue leaflets circulated throughout the country.
Mr. Sherwin: I listened to the Taoiseach's speech this morning, which is unusual, and I also waited to hear Deputy Dillon. I make it a practice of going home for my dinner, but I remained here for my dinner until Deputy Dillon finished. In the finale, he mentioned my name. I told him I had been listening to him and had heard nothing. That is true. I heard nothing. The Taoiseach made a very objective and realistic speech. He covered the major problems affecting the country. As usual, Deputy Dillon devoted his speech to trivial things— at least things that should be dealt with at local level. He commenced, as usual, by referring to houses falling down and to the people up in Griffith Barracks. I do not want to devote much time to that, because this is not a housing debate, but I certainly will give a couple of minutes to it.
Deputy Dillon said the national conscience should be affected by the plight of certain people in Griffith Barracks. But, while Deputy Dillon was shedding tears in the House, I had to shed my sweat trying to get the worst off family there housed. I give all my time to Corporation work, while most of the other people are away at their jobs. While they are earning from £20 to £50 a week, I am earning nothing, but devoting my time to the Corporation Housing Department. Therefore, when problems of this nature arise, I usually — not always — do the hard work.
While Deputy Dillon was shedding his tears, I was doing the running around to get this family of ten housed. It was no easy job. There are always snags. One of the snags was that this was the family of a serving soldier. It would appear that his wife had a house in the Curragh. He left the Army and his wife lost the house.
 It appears this family had a row with their own family — the family put them out. This is the history. Unfortunately, this large family were put out by their blood relations at a period when we had a very serious emergency. I mention that only because it was mentioned by Deputy Dillon as a trivial matter. It is not a trivial matter but one of a local authority nature.
Some time ago he shed further tears here about people being put out on the streets. It was due to hard work on my part that most of the old people were got off the streets, because there is a rule that they only get certain offers. I had to bring forward a proposal at the council to get these people off the streets one way or another. It was carried by one miserable vote. I refer to those things only because Deputy Dillon spoke about them but it is other people, not of his Party, who do most of the hard work.
Now, again because he referred to housing, and this has something to do with the matter on the Adjournment, I will quote some figures from page 156 of the council minutes, 1957. The number of men employed on housing in 1954, which was the year the Coalition came into power, was 2,378. In the early months of 1957, the number employed was 925. If we want to go into housing, I am prepared at any time to take on anyone and I can assure you I will make my case. But Deputy Dillon has a habit of referring to those things about which he knows little or nothing.
It is stated in the council minutes that there were 2,643 dwellings under construction in 1954. In July, 1957— just after the present Government got in—there were 963 houses under construction. This tells a story. The number of men employed on site development in 1955 was 230 but early in 1957 there were only 134, which means that the number of men who should have been preparing the sites for future housing development was reduced by 40 per cent. That should give a picture. They are facts; I am not just inventing them; they are there to be disputed. As I said, I did not mean to go into the housing problem but it is the practice of Deputy Dillon, every time he gets up here, to talk  about houses falling down. If I wanted to go into that I could prove his friends helped to make them fall down. I had a motion on the Corporation order paper in 1957 that we should construct dwellings for ones and twos but it was turned down, largely by those who supported the Coalition. It was because there was no housing construction for ones and twos that the tenements were falling down on the old people. I would not have gone into this only Deputy Dillon spoke about something he knows nothing about.
Little has been said about the turnover tax today. I am satisfied it is dead. Only yesterday a shopkeeper in my area told me they have overcome their worries, things are working smoothly and the people have stopped complaining. I have a large family and I can speak with authority. I am not like some people going along the streets with one child. I have nine children and half of them are still going to school. I am no better off than an ordinary worker. I am nothing else except a TD. I have certain commitments and my means are certainly no better than an ordinary worker, certainly no better than an ordinary tradesman. I make out the turnover tax costs me 7/- per week but my wife gets back 5/- per week Children's Allowances. It costs me about the same as a tradesman, 2/- a week. It is all right saying certain things are gone up by 12 per cent but you have to compare that with other things which have not gone up at all. Some of the big stores, like Cummiskey's and Powers' are charging no tax on a lot of things and very little on others. If you go into Clery's bar in O'Connell Street the beer is even cheaper than it was before the turnover tax came into operation.
In the beginning, some traders tried to put on a higher increase. It must be remembered most of the business houses were in league with the Opposition. We know that from the marchers through Dublin some months ago. It was for spite some of them shoved on the tax. If people really wanted to help, they should go around  boycotting those shops instead of parading through the streets. I am satisfied, as the tax is working out, it is only costing an extra one per cent more than the 2½ per cent; it is not four per cent. I got my pencil and paper and worked it out. It is between 3½ per cent and four per cent. In other words, it is costing my wife about 2/- more than the value of the children's allowance she is getting. If that is the position with my wife—I have a lot of children —it must be the same in every other case. It may cost people with no children a little more but if somebody has to pay the tax, surely it is the people without responsibility who should do so?
If we moan, we usually moan about all the children, and Deputy Dillon sheds tears. When you moan about all the children, you must take into account the Children's Allowances and you must compare what they are getting with what they are being charged. People now are shopping here and there and know where they are being overcharged. The increase has gradually gone down to between 3½ per cent and four per cent, taking good with bad. The turnover tax is not so terrible at all except for the big spenders or the people with no children; it may cost them 5/-. When we moan about the children we cannot moan on both sides. People with no children should have to pay more. If you talk about people with children you have to take into consideration the £4½ million which is being shared out.
I admit there is some increase but I believe it is not what is was and all this campaigning is dying off. It is my opinion that if the Opposition were any way honest and told the people what they would do there would never have been any campaign; there would be no point in campaigning. These simple people were led to believe that if the Opposition were in power there would be no tax and they would get children's allowances for nothing. We know that is a lie.
We heard the Taoiseach's speech today and we know, in fact, things will be worse than we thought. We know the teachers, the Garda and the Post  Office people are getting an increase and those are additional increases. It does not matter who is in power, money has to be got from somewhere to pay those people. You cannot pay those people on promises. Once you get into power, you have to get the dough and that is all about it. You would have in fact to forget the extravagant promises you made to the country and you would have to get as much as the present Government have to get. When the Opposition expect a man like me to vote for them and against the Government, they must realise I am not a simpleton. I have come up the hard way, the realistic way, and I could not accept speeches like Deputy Dillon's which conveyed nothing to me. I accept that if we have to pay out, we must get the money.
I compare the Government with the head of a family. They are the parents of the State and they are in the same position as the parents of a family. If some of the family work and some do not work, then if those who are working get an increase, they have to give something extra to the mother or the wife to pay for the needs of those who are not working. In other words, the employed member is not supposed to think that it goes to himself altogether. He has to make a contribution on that basis and the State has to be generous also with whatever benefits are given. Things have to be provided for the children and you must have something for the old man who has to be kept, too.
In other words, when all the employees of private industry get increases, at the same time all the people depending on the State expect increases, and as the Government are like the parents of a family, naturally the Government will expect to get a bit to help them to spread it over the people depending on them. That is common sense. What we are asked to accept is that if all the employees in industry get an increase, they ought not to contribute towards those depending on the Government. In the old days, we had that sort of thing in this country—families letting their parents go to the poorhouse or starve on the streets. Lots of them did that.
 They deliberately let their families go to asylums, and the State stepped in as that was happening and saw that it would have to provide some form of independent means. That is the principle on which this whole business of benefits is based. Now the State has to come along to get a cut from those who are getting increases. That makes sense to me. It might not to people outside but it would, if they could only figure it out.
The big difference between us politicians and lots of ordinary people is that they do not figure it out. They have their little home and their pub and their own circle. I do not say that they are mean or selfish but there is a selfish strain, of course, in the lot of us, but if they could figure things out, they would accept what the Government are asking them to do. They think that the Government have a big hole in the Park and that any time they want money, they can go there for it. We have the hard facts and we know today from the Taoiseach that not only do we need the money asked for but we need more.
We in the Corporation have a differential rent system and to an extent State affairs should be based on that system. We charge those with the highest income a rent which is much more than for those who have no income. We can only do it as long as those with the most income pay more money. If those with the high income did not pay more money, then we could not give our modern houses to the unemployed man. We would have to leave him in the slums. If a man became unemployed and could not pay the 25/- or 30/- rent, he would have to be evicted. So we devised the system under which no matter what your means are, you will not lose your home. The poor man, the unemployed man, has for six shillings a week a house for which the ordinary house purchaser is paying £3 10s. a week, because we devised a system whereby the State helps and those with the big incomes pay the maximum. Then there is fair play all around. There is no other way.
There was a lot of agitation when this differential rent system came into  force, and those who were asked to pay more asked: “Why should I pay for that fellow who is unemployed?” That is the attitude the Opposition are trying to inculcate into the minds of the people, that they should not have to pay for the unfortunate depending on the Government. They are asking the people to object to paying a contribution towards all those people about whom they are shedding all the tears. If we are to get away from the old days of having dependants walled up in the workhouses, we must agree to a system by which those with the money, in proportion to the money they have, give a cut to the parents, to the State, to spread it over those who have nothing. We must accept that, and there is no need for all this business about the purchase tax. The sooner we stop talking about the purchase tax the better, because now the Taoiseach has told us that we need more money and when the people realise it as well, they will realise that this agitation was all a fraud.
I admit, of course, that it is a Party game, and I will not throw too many bricks at the Opposition because all Parties play that game. I admit that, but if Parties think they are justified in playing that game, I do not have to play it. I am not in a Party. If I feel that what the Government are doing is right, that it is the only thing to do, it is up to me to support the Government. I could take a mean attitude and say to the poor people who do not understand that I am going on their side. I could have done that and I could have been a great big fellow. But I studied the whole thing and I can get back on my own efforts. I do not need to be under an obligation on that sort of thing. If I act the way I do, it is with confidence in myself and knowing the hard work that I do that you know nothing about. Do not forget that. I hold that the Government should be supported. They are realistic. They face the facts. They have a difficult job to do, as all Governments have.
I was reading recently the life of Lincoln. I have been reading stuff  like that. On his second term of office, the last year of the Civil War, he realised that he had to bring in conscription and he was told by half his Cabinet that if he did, he would not be re-elected. In fact, there were riots throughout the whole of North America. Thousands were killed in these riots and funnily enough, it was Irishmen who led the riots in New York against conscription. But the situation had become so serious that actually the South were beginning to show signs of victory and there were all sorts of campaigns against Lincoln to give in to the South. He would not give in. He said: “I want men. Men alone will save America.” He was told: “If you do not give in, you will lose the election”, and he said: “I will take a chance on that. There will be no point in being President if there is no country to be President of.” That was his answer and he won out, but only against tremendous opposition from all quarters, even his own Cabinet. These are the difficulties of all people in power.
As I said before, I do not want to say that they are rogues in the Opposition. I have no doubt that if Fianna Fáil were in Opposition, they would attack the Government at every opportunity. When it comes to my vote, I certainly am not going to vote against the Government. I realise that the country has a better chance of stability with a large group than with a number of small groups, because it is common sense that with small groups, there are a lot of politically ambitious people blackmailing the Government in power. Here is a large group and certainly we are not blackmailing them. We do not give them any advice and have little or nothing to say to them. We just vote for them. We accept the Government the country needs at present as we accept the guards in the street. We accept that that Government are on the job and that there is plenty of money floating around. But the weakness of the Government is that like the parents of a family, they have to get more money. It is unpopular, naturally, to be looking for money and any Government in the same boat would be unpopular.
 However, it has to be done and they are doing the honest thing. They are not unfair at all. The tax works out at something like a shilling or two for the likes of me and maybe five or six shillings for the person with no responsibilities. If anybody has to pay, he ought to pay.
I was speaking to a Corporation official yesterday and I asked him: “How much did you get in the eighth round increase?” He said: “I got 50 shillings.” I asked how much did the tax cost and he said about nine shillings. Then I asked: “What are you complaining about?” I was told here that the eighth round increase was not due to an increase in the cost of living. I was told by a Labour Deputy that there was very little increase in the cost of living at that time, although there may have been an increase following it. Surely that person should not mind handling back ten shillings or fifteen shillings out of the 50 shillings but he does not like it, as he told me. There is neither sense nor justice in that attitude. At the same time, it is a great lobby for anybody who does not care for the country, for anybody who is looking for power.
I do not care whether the Opposition like it or not—I am referring to Oppositions in general—but Oppositions take advantage of every opportunity and the State does not come into it. If things are not miserable it is to their advantage to create misery or to invent it. If anybody wants to know why I voted for the Government it was because I believe they are responsible for whatever economic progress there is, that they have faced up to realities and, if nothing more, have saved the country from collapse. While no Utopia need result from Government planning there could be a collapse and if their efforts will ward off collapse that in itself deserves the maximum support. There are Common Market, automation and other worries for the future.
I would like to say a word about the Labour Party because it has been said here that the Taoiseach is interfering with the unions. I have always supported the trade unions. In the Corporation,  I am always on the side of the workers anytime they want a rise. However, I put this to an official only last week. People may not like it but I am fond of putting questions to them. I said: “How do you feel about getting a substantial increase which causes a large amount of unemployment? Naturally if employers have to pay out more they will strive further for automation and that means less work.” He admitted that and I asked: “What do you think of having frequent increases?” He said: “I am not in love with it at all. We have to be careful.” I said: “Some people never give that a thought” to which he replied: “Some of them are politicians and they believe they will get more kudos by looking for substantial increases for certain people without caring two hoots what the result will be. The trade unions would be better off if there were not so many politicians in them.”
I mention that without any reflection on the Labour Party. They are entitled to be in the House and to have a shot at the Government of this country. I am not anti-union. I am only a worker. All my family are workers. My father was a carter. I am concerned about action being taken which might result in many of our people finding themselves out of jobs and having to go to England. As we all know automation means and will mean in the future that if a person is sacked from his job he has little chance of another one. We are told there is little hope for manual workers in this or in any other country. Therefore, it should be the policy of any responsible authority to ensure that, while aiming at the best possible wage, it does not mean that men who otherwise would have a working wage would have only about one-third or one-fifth of that out on the dole.
Let me say before I sit down — I want to give the Opposition a chance to speak; I know they are waiting for it—I support the Government and will continue to do so as long as I am satisfied they are making progress. They do not have to make progress to get my support. If I believe they are up against it through world events  or other conditions created through no fault of theirs and they are striving to ward off some certain defeat or tragedy here, I shall still support them. When I am satisfied they are making a hames of things, that is the time I will turn against them and not until then.
Mr. McGilligan: I wish I had more time to spend following Deputy Sherwin in his present mood. He has often introduced himself to this House as a Deputy suffering from hallucinations. He added a few extra tonight. He told us here many times that he had been advised by members of either the Labour Party or the Fine Gael Party not to vote against the Government. He never mentioned a name.
Mr. McGilligan: And there is none now. I wish he would come with me  some morning, on my way to work, driving down to the junction of Holles Street and Fenian Street where there is a place shored up by a whole lot of huge blocks. That is for people who were thrown out because the place was going to fall down upon them. There was a question asked here the other day about commemorative stamps for the present Government. There should be a commemorative stamp and the design should be the house in Fenian Street shored up by Deputy Sherwin, Deputy Leneghan, Deputy Carroll and Deputy Sheridan, shoring up a brokendown Government who have brought about these conditions. According to Deputy Sherwin, there is no housing problem in the country. He has settled it and he is going to be Lord Mayor one of these days.
Mr. McGilligan: One of his hallucinations is that the Coalition Government were responsible for a slowing down in housing. I have been informed, and I have always understood, that as vice-Chairman of the Housing Committee, Deputy Sherwin took responsibility for the slowing down of the housing programme in Dublin.
Mr. McGilligan: I heard the Minister for Transport and Power speaking here. I wonder when I hear the Minister for Transport and Power why the Government do not make a real Minister of him, give him some responsibility, let him come in here and talk about CIE and other things, instead of giving us an economic lecture to show that everything is rosy in the country, that the people are better off than they have been in years and that they are going ahead with progress. He founded that on the Taoiseach's speech this evening which Deputy Corish correctly described as a mixture of boom and gloom with the gloom predominating.
But the gloom was particularly evident in his speech when he came to talk about the increases which people deserve in their wages and salaries in  order to make up for the extra taxation which he and his Government have imposed on the country. The Minister for Transport and Power talked about broken promises. He also talked about the scandalous propaganda there was about 100,000 jobs. He said there never was any such promise. I wish that this could be beaten out in an argument. Surely 100,000 jobs were mentioned on some occasion or another in the past ten years. The figure 100,000 was mentioned and the term of five years to get them into operation was surely mentioned.
I have here a leaflet issued when the late Deputy Galvin was standing in a by-election before he made his first appearance in the House. “Quick action needed to avert national disaster” is the big headline. The second big headline is “Fianna Fáil plans the end of emigration.” Then there is a bleat about the spate of emigration and the leaflet continues:
If that is not a promise, it was intended to be taken as a promise. I agree that there were never 100,000 jobs in contemplation. The Taoiseach never thought there would be 100,000 jobs. That was a deceitful piece of propaganda intended to delude the people's minds and having deluded the people's minds, it was intended to direct their activities to voting Fianna Fáil.
We heard today one of the gloom speeches. I went back to my records and I have a record of a speech by the Taoiseach in Letterkenny in September,  1947. It is too long to quote here in detail but there was this phrase, the real phrase to which he was working up:
If there is an idea that we are facing an easy time in which we can have more pay and less work, it is very desirable to kill that idea quickly. We are entering four years of most acute difficulty in which economic disaster will threaten on every side and our only weapon of defence is the capacity to work hard. If that weapon fails us we are finished.
Is that not the speech of this morning? “Our only weapon is hard work”—and not too much pay for hard work. “Economic disaster threatens.” The bright future the Taoiseach pictured at the start of his speech is overclouded by fears that if people press on for more wages and salaries, the future is a gamble.
In fact, if we go back to the Letterkenny speech, disaster threatens us on every side. That was September, 1947. There were several by-elections and the Government went to a general election where they were beaten and the Coalition Government came in. By the time I came to my first Budget in 1948, we had remitted the greater part of all the taxes that were then on beer, tobacco and entertainments. We had remitted the greater part of those. The Taoiseach as Minister for Industry and Commerce backed by the then Taoiseach was arguing up and down the country: “If you want our subsidies, you must keep all our taxes.” We kept the subsidies and remitted the taxes. What happened? In two Budgets we had remission of taxes amounting to £8½ million and we had extra subventions for old age pensioners, civil servants and the Army. We had a new subsidy for a new ration of tea. We injected into the spending power of the community over £15 million.
We were told that if we gave any extra subventions, it would lead to inflation. Of course all the banks and, in particular, the Central Bank were  out in full cry about the danger to the community if the spending power of the populace were increased. In 1947, 1948 and 1949, we actually brought about a social revolution in this country. There was no such thing as arbitration. It had been steadily refused. Workers were entitled to go for increases to the Labour Court but we know that the present Taoiseach had in his desk a new standstill order saying that wages were not being increased.
Against all the advice of the Central Bank and all the other banks, we pumped money into circulation in the country. If anybody says to me that we reduced the value of the currency and increased the cost of living, I want to know where that comes from because in 27 months we put £1,000 a month into new employment. We got greater production and there were no inflationary bad effects or the bogeys that the Taoiseach this morning tried to create as he did before and which were found out as events proceeded to be as unsubstantial as they were prejudiced.
I am glad to see the Tánaiste come into the House. Many years ago, I proposed to Dáil Éireann that we should have a little device, as I called it, in order to get after tax evaders. I proposed that we should allow the Revenue Commissioners to demand from the banks a statement of moneys which they knew to bear interest and on which tax had not been paid. I read that proposal on 1st May, 1952, and Deputy MacEntee said this:
were the two members of the Coalition who were closest together. What a thrill then Deputy McGilligan's word must have given to the founder of Saor Éire. With what joy his heart leaped as he learned of this new convert.
Mr. McGilligan: The Minister for Health is very anxious about the Labour Party for having got what he calls the new acquisitions. I have here a poster and for the benefit of the official reporter, I should point out that there is here a representation of Deputy MacBride and the caption: “I always go for the Central Bank.” There is a representation of the late Deputy Norton in a burglar's outfit with the caption: “The Post Office Savings Bank should be easy.”
Mr. McGilligan: Then it goes on: “My leader, Deputy McGilligan, tells me the commercial banks are easy.” Then there is a representation of Deputies MacEntee and Dr. Browne. A later poster has this legend: “For honesty and honour, vote for Deputy MacEntee and Dr. Noel Browne.”
The Taoiseach: In the course of his speech here this morning, Deputy Dillon referred to members of the Government as corrupt, rotten, miserable, unscrupulous and he referred to some or all of us as jackasses.
The Taoiseach: If this is the manner in which the contest between us is to be conducted, Deputy Dillon will be a clear winner. I will concede victory straight away because I will not be a contestant. I asked for a constructive and intelligent debate and all I evoked was this torrent of abusive adjectives. It is only right and appropriate that the last Fine Gael speech here in this year should be that which we have just heard from Deputy McGilligan. This is Fine Gael's contribution to constructive thinking in Ireland.
Deputy Dillon expressed supreme confidence that a general election would make him Taoiseach—apparently believing he is assured already of the support of the Labour Party. I think it was King Charles II who said: “They will not cut off my head, Jamsie, to make you king.” History has a way of repeating itself.
I invited Deputy Dillon to set out a clear and comprehensive programme, different from that which the Government are operating, and in such form that the ordinary man in the street would be able to distinguish between what the Government are doing and what a Fine Gael Government would propose to do, so that he could make a clear choice between them. I told him if he would do this, which would seem to me to be a normal natural exercise for a Party aspiring to power, I would consider giving the public the opportunity of making the choice between the programme of the Government and this alternative programme, if there was one, of the Fine Gael Party.
He did not take up that challenge. I did not ask him to give that programme to the Fianna Fáil Party. I asked him to reveal it to the public. He said he would publish a programme when an election is in progress, which reminds me of the man who had a new pair of boots and said he would not be able to get them on until he had worn them for a day or two.
The rest of his speech was so vague, so unrelated to reality, so full of meaningless cliches and phrases, that at that  stage I ceased to make notes and do not profess to remember anything he said. I recall that he did refer, as did Deputy Corish, to the White Paper which the Government published at the beginning of the year entitled Closing the Gap. It is easy to say at this stage that this White Paper should never have been published at all, or that it should not have been published at that time, or that it should have been published in a different manner or in different form. I consider it to be the duty of the Government to express their views on matters of that kind whenever a situation exists which appears to require it or to call for it. Indeed I have been, I confess, sensitive to the criticism which was offered to me by both representatives of employers and representatives of trade unions that we did not fully discharge this duty during the period that the eighth round of wage increases was in progress.
I believe that those who are dealing with matters of adjusting incomes and conditions in private employment are entitled to get from the Government of the country, those who have the information available to a Government, a fairly accurate forecast about the trend of future events, and advice of that kind. We ask no more from them than that our advice should get careful attention. That is the kind of democracy that I believe in and it is, in my view, absurd to suggest that in a democratic country like ours, a Government should fail in that duty, that they should offer no advice at all on matters of this kind which are of such vital importance to the country's welfare, that they should not have views or if they have views, that they should not express them.
There was a gap which emerged between workers' earnings and workers' output, during 1962, and that was a gap in real terms. I said earlier today that a gap of that kind always closes in terms of money, that when it emerges prices will rise to close it, and our post-war experience has always been of prices rising. This gap emerged in real terms, and it was indeed the view of the Government,  which we expressed as fully as we could in the interest of the workers of the country as well as in the interests of the whole community, that the gap should be closed. It was closed in September. Making the same calculation as was mentioned in the White Paper, between September, 1958, and September, 1963, real earnings of workers increased by 22.7 per cent. During the same period, output per wage earner increased by 24 per cent. When these figures emerged from our statistics, we knew the objective of the White Paper, Closing the Gap had been realised. The White Paper served its purpose. We entitled it Closing the Gap and the gap has been closed. That is the end of the story.
Deputy Dillon went through an elaborate statistical calculation this afternoon to show that the cost of living has increased since 1953. Why he had to do all these sums in mental arithmetic to establish that I do not know. We publish a cost-of-living index number every quarter and send a copy to the Deputy. We do that work for him. That index number is a far more reliable indication of the trend of prices than any calculations he can make from national income statistics.
At a time of economic expansion, it is the usual experience in all countries that prices tend to rise. Indeed, there are economists who contend that a steady rise in prices is a necessary spur to expansion. I am not sure I agree with that but it is certainly a view held and strongly advanced by people who are entitled to be regarded as experts in economic science. This is certainly true: a fall in prices always precedes the development of an economic slump. It may be that stability of prices may not be permanently realisable in any free economy but it certainly should be the consistent aim of policy to work towards stability as best we may.
Deputy Corish asked me was the country in a boom or in a slump. I do not think it is in either. I hope and believe that it will be possible to maintain the present average annual rate of economic growth of 4 per cent  per annum and perhaps even to do a little better, but not much better, in the years ahead. This, in itself, is a considerable achievement. I remind the Dáil again that in the whole decade before the publication of the Government's economic programme the average annual rate of growth was one per cent and if we can achieve a 4 per cent rate of growth, this is as good as most countries in the world, the very strongest in the world, are able to realise.
There was, of course, one year in the ten which upsets the value of the average, a year when the national income fell. That was the “glorious” year 1956 in which the Coalition Government finally achieved their aim in relation to this country. I hope this present rate of growth—the indications are that it will be 4 per cent in this year—will be maintained and that this will be the normal experience and that we will not think of it as a boom but as something we can maintain.
There are dangers ahead. Any man who studies our circumstances objectively with his eyes open and with the intention of making some intelligent judgment in regard to them will see these dangers but they are dangers we avoid if we take sufficient care. I think it is my duty as head of the Government, captain of the ship, if I may so describe it, to point to the existence of these dangers so that care will be taken to avoid them.
Deputy Corish said that Ministers tend to exaggerate the country's rate of economic progress. I do not think that is strictly true. I admit that exaggeration has its legitimate place in political propaganda but it is far from my intention and the intention of the Government, to overstate our rate of progress or overstate our achievements because they are still not good enough. If we are to attain the targets we have set ourselves, we shall have to do better still. We are not likely to spur our people to the effort required to do that by telling them they are doing enough already.
Deputy Corish also asked some fair and legitimate questions regarding the Government's policy in relation to the  reduction of industrial protection. I suppose that I can speak in this matter with a recollection of how this apparatus of industrial protection was built up because I was personally responsible for by far the greater part of it. The advantages which we see at this time in carrying through a downward revision of our protection rates are, first, that it will help us to exert the pressures which we must exert on the protected industrialists in order to get them to modernise their factories and rationalise their industries. Whether we join the European Economic Community or not, the whole world is moving into the era of freer trade. All nations of the world will be meeting next year in GATT to negotiate on a proposal for a 50 per cent across-the-board reduction of tariffs. This is the world we must prepare for and we cannot do that by maintaining here, in any part of our industrial organisation, defects which can be remedied by those who are in charge of our industries and whose job it is to remedy them.
Secondly, the advantage of carrying through this reduction—and indeed the primary reason we started on it— is that it will make the process of eliminating industrial protection less severe if, as we expect, membership of the European Economic Community opens up for us before 1970. We made an across-the-board cut in our industrial tariffs on 1st January last and there will be another similar 10 per cent across-the-board cut on 1st January next. There will be some further reductions of tariffs but they will be made on a more selective basis. This will be the end of reductions made comprehensively across the whole range of our tariffs, unless, of course, we are effecting further reductions in the context of membership of EEC or some other international arrangement involving us in that obligation. If this situation does not arise in 1965 or 1966, then the only consideration that would justify the reduction of tariffs would be the internal advantage that would be gained by the stimulation of greater efficiency in industry. It would be effected otherwise only in circumstances where some  compensatory advantage was secured by international agreement with some one or a number of countries.
Deputy Corish and Deputy Esmonde inquired as to the position regarding our application for membership of EEC. It is quite true that this time 12 months ago—it does not seem so long now—we were confident that by now we would have completed negotiations and signed the agreement and be on the eve of membership. Everybody knows the circumstances in which that expectation was ended. Deputies cannot be unaware that events are now taking place, took place yesterday and will take place tomorrow, the outcome of which, either in relation to the arrangements of the EEC or even the future of the Community, it is not yet possible and certainly not desirable to comment on.
I was asked if our application is dependent on the British application. Deputies must, by now, have begun to understand the realities in this regard. Our application for membership of EEC depends on a political decision in Europe to open up again the opportunity of membership of the Community to additional countries but particularly in the case of Great Britain because it was in respect of Britain that political problems arose and it is on her application that political decisions are required.
As to the prospects in this regard, I can say that the opinion which we expressed in the Second Programme for Economic Expansion and upon which that Programme is based that we would become a member of EEC before 1970 is based on the conversations we had with many Governments and on the information secured in these conversations. Deputies will notice the optimistic views which were expressed in this regard in Dublin only last week by M. Rey who, as is well known, is an important member of the Commission of the Community.
I must confess that I was disgusted with Deputy Dillon's blatant attempt to make Party political capital out of exceptional difficulties of the Dublin Corporation in trying to effect the  rehousing of many families who had to be removed from their houses by the Corporation because these houses were unsafe. To suggest that officials of the Dublin Corporation dealing with the matter are acting inhumanly is unworthy and irresponsible.
The Taoiseach: This is not a Party matter in the Dublin Corporation. It is a matter of congratulation to them that members of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil have all worked together unceasingly and with great humanity to try to relieve this desperate situation.
The Taoiseach: These displaced families are being given first priority as dwellings become available and Dublin Corporation are doing everything to relieve the physical conditions in their temporary accommodation. This temporary accommodation is being improved by the Corporation as best they can and the Corporation will not relax in their efforts, and are doing all that is practicable until the whole situation as it is at present comes to an end. It is not inappropriate to suggest that the abnormal weather conditions which obtained last winter produced this extraordinary situation in which houses that had previously been regarded as safe collapsed. It is absurd to blame that on the Fianna Fáil Government.
The Taoiseach: Whatever the cause of the structural weakness of these houses, the Corporation took effective action when they proceeded to carry out a close inspection of all doubtful houses in the city and removed from them the families living in them whenever they believed that if the families remained in them, their lives would be in danger. Then they were faced with the problem of providing these displaced families with new dwellings. We know that those in charge of this effort on the part of the Corporation have been doing their duty with the utmost humanity and with the greatest feeling of sympathy, as great a feeling of sympathy as we all here have.
The Taoiseach: Does the Deputy  remember the time when the county councils who had housing projects on hand came to the Government of which he was a member looking for an instalment of their money and could not get it?
The Taoiseach: He is a member of the Corporation and of other committees and did he ever go into the premises of Dublin Corporation while the crisis was going on? Was he seen on the Corporation premises at all while this was going on?
The Taoiseach: I am not complaining about this demonstration by Fine Gael. It is natural to blame the Government for everything that happens and to deny the reality of their achievements or to disparage them when they cannot be denied. That is not an unexpected attitude from a Party without a policy. I do not know what kind of image the Fine Gael Party think they are presenting to the country.
The Taoiseach: I will end with the suggestion that you go home now and give some thought to your responsibilities to the country, give some thought to what the people in the country are thinking about you. What they do think is that you are an irresponsible bunch who cannot be trusted to act responsibly. You may be able to change that image but I do not think you will. Go home now  and think what you could do in order to give to the minds of the people some evidence that you could become a responsible Party.
The Taoiseach: Do not start this exercise of having a good look at yourselves until after Christmas. I would like to think that each and every one of you will have a happy Christmas and that would not happen if you did take a look at yourselves. When Christmas is over and when all the peace and goodwill is worked out of your systems, you can do it.
Blaney, Neil T.
Brady, Philip A.
Burke, Patrick J.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Collins, James J.
Corry, Martin J.
Crowley, Honor M.
Cummins, Patrick J.
de Valera, Vivion.
Egan, Kieran P.
Gibbons, James M.
Gogan, Richard P.
Kennedy, Michael J.
Kitt, Michael F.
Lalor, Patrick J.
Lemass, Noel T.
Leneghan, Joseph R.
Millar, Anthony G.
Moher, John W.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
|Barrett, Stephen D.
Browne, Noel C. Coogan, Fintan.
Costello, Declan D.
Costello, John A.
Crotty, Patrick J.
Dillon, James M.
Dockrell, Henry P.
Dockrell, Maurice E.
Donegan, Patrick S.
Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
Flanagan, Oliver J.
Harte, Patrick D.
Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary).
Hogan, O'Higgins, Brigid.
Jones, Denis F.
|Burke, James J.
Clinton, Mark A.
Connor, Patrick. Kenny, Henry.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Murphy, Michael P.
O'Donnell, Thomas G.
O'Higgins, Michael J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F.K.
Reynolds, Patrick J.
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