Thursday, 13 February 1964
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Sherwin: I spoke at some length last night but I did not refer to housing and it is agreed that housing may be discussed on this Vote on Account. I understand Deputy Dillon spoke on housing here and on Telefís Éireann. He speaks frequently on housing and I often wonder who advises him. Certainly no one with any authority or knowledge advises him because I am not aware that any member of his Party regularly attends the Housing Committee meetings. It can be proved that they have the worst attendance and he certainly could not get advice on housing from them and, if he did, it would be very poor advice.
Mr. Sherwin: Books do not mean a thing. I can prove conclusively, as I have done on a number of occasions, what was and is the factual position. It is extraordinary that when a court of inquiry was held in the City Hall following the collapse of the houses in Dublin, I was the only public representative who offered to give evidence. The other people knew that while it is one thing to get up in the House and talk off the cuff, it is another to go before a sworn inquiry and talk before experts who can contradict them.
Before I enlighten Deputy Dillon on the housing position, I should like to refer to the position as it was in 1956. Last night I gave evidence of the state of the country for the final two months of the Coalition Government and it  was a tale of woe. I do not propose to repeat that except to refer to that tale of woe in so far as it affects housing. Last night I quoted from the Irish Independent of December 3, 1956, that the Secretary of the Standing Committee of Dublin District House Builders said:
Most damaging of all is the reference of 22nd December, 1956, which was that at a meeting of the Dublin County Council the manager said that loans under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts were suspended because of the scarcity of money. Victor Carton, Fine Gael, Chairman of the Housing Committee, said the building trade in the country was ghastly. Building had almost come to a standstill. Those are quotations from the Irish Independent of statements by a Fine Gael Chairman and a Labour Chairman of the Committee. That was the state of housing at the end of 1956.
I shall just give one further reference. It appeared on 5th January in the Irish Press: Builders unions protest to Labour TDs against mass unemployment especially in the building trade. On a previous occasion here, I gave evidence of the conditions as they affected housing in 1956. I proved that no money was available for the entire year of 1956 and the beginning of 1957 and, as Victor Carton said, the building trade had come to a standstill in the country. It is on the records of the House that in 1956, arising out of this position, 1,100 building workers were sacked in Dublin. Again it is on the records of the House, in a statement made by me two months ago in a housing debate, that according to the Corporation Minutes Book, 40 per cent of  those engaged in site preparation were discharged in 1956. It should be evident, therefore, that if 40 per cent of those engaged on site preparation were discharged, house building would diminish in subsequent years as a result of the ghastly position arising from lack of money, arising from the policy of the Coalition Government.
I want to prove statistically that the decline commenced in 1956. In 1954-55 there were 1,922 houses built. In 1955-56—that was a year of Coalition Government—the number of houses built was 1,302, a drop of over 600. Do not forget that when you get statistics here they are untrue. In fact, it would be wise to pay as much attention to statistics as to politicians. Only those statistics which please the speaker are quoted and the bad points are ignored. The change of Government took place in about March, 1957. The house building that took place in that year was the result of planning two years previously. Therefore, when it is stated that certain houses were built in a certain year, it does not mean that that is proof of the activity of the housing body in that year. It is evidence of the activity of a housing body two, three or four years previously. In order to build a house the site must be acquired, cleared and prepared, which may take nine months. It will take some months to get a contractor on the site and a further year or more to build the house.
Mr. Sherwin: It takes three to four years to build a flat scheme because that involves removal of persons and  business interests—which often entails arbitration—demolition, site clearance, all of which means that flats take longer to build than houses.
Therefore, on the evidence, the decline in house building for the first three years of the present Government was due to lack of money, lack of preparation, on the part of the Coalition Government of 1956 and 1957.
When it is stated that a certain number of houses were built in a certain year and a lesser number were built in another year, that is done simply to mesmerise the innocent public who do not understand.
I am quoting here from the Corporation Year Book, 1964. It states that in 1955-56 there were 1,302 houses built. That is a drop of 600 on the number built in 1954-55. The rate of building continued to drop, due to the fact, as I have already stated, that there was no money, the discharge of persons engaged in site preparation and the loss of building workers. There was a loss of 1,100 trained men. They went to Britain. Even the average building labourer is semi-skilled. The great problem today is the lack of skilled workers and technicians. If we had more skilled men and technicians we could improve our present output. With the men available, the Corporation is working at the moment at its limit.
The Corporation is doing the work of 40 years. For the past seven months it has been engaged in Dublin in demolishing old tenements. This is work that should have been done since the inception of the State but was not done. A very small number of houses were demolished from year to year. Work was left on the long finger. Most of these houses are from 150 to 200 years old.
When he addressed the members of the Corporation following a Mass at Christmas, the Archbishop of Dublin referred to the fact that houses fall every 175 years and that they were unlucky that they should have fallen in their period of office, that they could have fallen at any other period. The couple of houses that fell last year  could have fallen in 1954, 1955 or 1956 or, if they had survived that period, could fall years hence when perhaps there would be another Coalition Government in office. To make capital out of the fact that in this year a couple of houses fell after 200 years suggests the flimsiness of the case the Opposition have in regard to housing. They have absolutely no case at all.
As I have said, the Housing Committee are doing the work of 40 years. They have re-housed 1,000 people since June, all out of slum tenements. This work should have been done by Corporations in the past but was not done. When this job is finished, and we expect to have it finished this year, we will have cleared the slums of 50 years. There have been slums in this city for the past 50 years. Then we will be starting with a clean slate and those on the housing list will have top priority, which they had not in the past.
In my view, the Housing Committee deserve every credit. Very little credit is due to the members of the Fine Gael Party. I have evidence here which I read on a previous occasion to the House and will read again, if necessary, that the Fine Gael members have the worst attendance record in the Corporation, especially in regard to the Housing Committee. There is one member of the House who makes it a practice of talking about housing, Deputy Ryan, who has never, to my knowledge, attended one meeting of the Housing Committee since he was elected. Although he may make the excuse that he is not a member of that committee, the fact is that I am not a member of three committees but I attend them all. One can attend every committee. Every member of the Corporation is informed as to when there will be a committee meeting. I know one member of the Fine Gael Party, Fred Mullen, who attends very regularly.
It is no excuse that a person is not a member. A person may not be a member and still may inspire a proposal and get it accepted. A nonmember can do almost as much work as a member. The only thing a nonmember cannot do is to vote. Deputy Ryan has never attended a meeting  of this Housing Committee. Yet, he preaches here as an authority. I believe that most of Deputy Dillon's advice comes from Deputy Ryan. Deputy Ryan, undoubtedly, is a good solicitor. We are all men of parts. He knows nothing about housing except what he is told. What a man knows from what he is told is not comparable with what a man knows who lives with the thing. I say that Deputy Dillon is wrong in taking the advice of people who have no right to give advice because they are not speaking with any authority.
Let me pay one more tribute to this much-blackguarded Housing Committee. One member of the Labour Party had a proposal that it be abolished. This Committee meets oftener than the other five Committees of the Corporation together. They meet for a solid three hours. Often the others meet for only 20 minutes or an hour. The members of the Housing Committee deserve credit for their work. A couple of members of the Fianna Fáil Party, Councillor Larkin, Councillor Stafford, Deputy Barron and I are are the mainstay of that Committee. Were it not for us no work would be done at all.
During the past few months, it was said here and at a by-election that the Taoiseach was putting a bar on increases in wages. His proposal that State employees should not initiate such a claim was the excuse for that allegation. During the last year of the Coalition Government, there was a bar—by agreement— against an increase in wages. I want to quote from a speech by the then Taoiseach, Deputy J.A. Costello, on the Adjournment on 13th December, 1956, as reported at column 2523 of the Official Report. He said:
 I want to refer to the Government's responsibilities. Much has been made of the increase in the Estimates. I want the House and the people to know to whom the Government are responsible when it comes to increases in wages, benefits, and so on. Without the increases in the Estimates, it would be impossible to give those people any increases. I have here a catalogue setting out all the people for whom the Government are responsible. They employ 65,860 persons comprising civil servants, Army personnel, teachers and Gardaí. The number of non-contributory pensioners—widows, and so on— amounts to 157,540. Those in receipt of children's allowances number 289,200. The contributory classes to whom the State makes a contribution of one-third number 135,622. Those receiving treatment benefits number 2,471.
It costs the Government £6 million to meet the demands arising out of the eighth round. That was one of the reasons why we had such a tax as the 2 1/2 per cent turnover tax. Any increase in taxation is for the purpose of granting to those people, among other things, the increases the rest of the community get. If the Opposition object to such increases as a small 2 1/2 per cent turnover tax, they ought to have the decency to put down a motion that those classes should receive no benefits. If they do not want any further increases in taxation they should likewise put down a motion that the £7 million which it will cost the State to meet the ninth round increase should not be granted. They cannot have it both ways. This small turnover tax hurts nobody. It has been established that the increase has been no more than three per cent.
In the Dublin North-East by-election, there were references to 15 per cent when speaking of the turnover tax. The people were stampeded by lies. Now, people will receive an increase of 12 per cent in wages. That will mean anything from £1 to £3 extra per week. Therefore, any further reference to the turnover tax is ludicrous in the circumstances because already the benefits the people enjoy cover or almost cover the tax,  without reference to the ninth round at all. People can now say: “Were it not for the turnover tax, we should never have got the ninth round”. Now they are considerably better off.
The Government are honest and put their cards on the table. In view of the present prosperous state of affairs, if the people change the Government, they deserve all they get. They are foolish if they take a chance on people who refuse to disclose their secret tax plans because they hope to deceive people into voting for them at the by-elections and possibly at a general election. It is like backing a horse without knowing the odds.
It is pure deceit to say to people: “Back my horse but I shall not tell you the odds”. The person who would do that would be a fool. At least the people know the odds as far as the Government are concerned. People who pay, without knowing the odds, could be handed a farthing or a halfpenny, because there would be no guaranteed odds, whereas, if they lose, they could lose a big sum of money. In spite of any little taxation, the people now have a Government who put their cards on the table and the people are better off in every way. If they vote against this Government and endanger this Government, they will get it in the neck and they will deserve it.
Mr. Tully: I listened with interest to Deputy Sherwin last night and this morning. I agree with him on one thing. Perhaps I misunderstood the pronunciation but he said he had a sixth sense: possibly he meant a sick sense. Nobody but a person with a very sick sense would attempt to justify the figures and the so-called facts which he produced.
Mr. Tully: Deputy Sherwin's barefaced  attempt to justify his support of this Government, in circumstances in which it could not be justified by anybody, was a complete waste of time. He has now left the House: I suppose it is considered maybe not the thing to attack him, as he says. I am not attacking him. I am sure he will read the Official Report: I understand he reads them all. I should like to remind him that, according to the figures I saw, he was elected to this House on an anti-Fianna Fáil ticket because he thought Fianna Fáil were not to be the Government elected in 1957. It seems to be the height of impertinence for somebody in a position like that to lecture the Labour Party on how they should act in this House.
I might also put the query to him and to his colleagues in Fianna Fáil: what will Fianna Fáil do if an election takes place and they are not able to form a Government with the assistance of a couple of Independents? That is a fair question and perhaps the Minister when he is replying might indicate what his views are. His Party have posed numerous questions to the people on this side——
Mr. Tully: Deputy Sherwin bragged about the fact that he and one or two of his colleagues saved the Government on a couple of occasions from having to go to the country. Is it not a wonderful thing that he will not be able to save them next Wednesday? No matter what he says or does, he cannot lift a finger to help them in Cork or Kildare, and the decision will be made by the ordinary people knowing the circumstances and they will be entitled to vote any way they like. It has been put across here that “Black 1956” as they called it, was the year in which there was a very low rate of employment. Let me set the figures straight. It is a fact that in 1956 there were more people in employment than in any year before or in any year since. I want to make that very clear. In fact at present there are slightly over 50,000 fewer in employment than there were in 1956.
Mr. Tully: Let us not try to throw out figures which cannot be checked. The figures I am giving can be checked by anybody. I am not trying to justify the high unemployment figures in 1956. It is true that there was the second highest figure of unemployment ever at the end of 1956 and the beginning  of 1957. The highest figure by over 20,000 was held by Fianna Fáil in the early 1930s. They succeeded in getting 120,000 to 130,000 unemployed and they were not very worried about it. The thing that is worrying me is that everybody who supports the Government seems to think that it is all right to have only 60,000 unemployed; that it is all right if we can keep the figure down to only 60,000 unemployed. In view of the fact that from 1956 up to 1960 over 300,000 people emigrated, how can the Government try to justify an unemployment figure of 60,000? Let us be sensible about this. How can any country be doing all right, how can it be, as Deputy Sherwin said, better off than ever, with 60,000 people walking to the labour exchange to sign on for a few shillings?
Mr. Tully: There are quite a number of people in this House who would not appreciate what it means to sign on at the labour exchange for several days each week for a few shillings. I appreciate it because unfortunately in my time I had to do it and I can assure the Minister that nobody I know wants to be what I might call chronically unemployed, no matter what unemployment assistance he is getting. People would rather be in employment. The annoying thing at present is the amount of money being squandered in other directions by the Government and it would be very easy to put the majority of those people into constructive work. That just will not be done because it is not the thing to do. Someone would have to make an effort to do it.
We have this position at present but everybody supporting the Government seems to think that the country was never better off. We know that nothing could be further from the truth. We should remember that the Government took office in 1957 on one promise more than anything else and that was the famous promise of the 100,000 new jobs. Now, if that promise were made in  all sincerity, we are 160,000 jobs worse off because we still have 60,000 people unemployed. The Fianna Fáil Government should have another look at the situation before they go proclaiming further from the housetops the prosperity of the country and realise that the country is not in the condition in which they see it through their rose-coloured glasses.
Deputy Sherwin on two or three occasions last night referred to the increase in wages, the ninth round, and referred to what he called the “12 1/2 per cent”. Children going to school know that it is 12 per cent, but Deputy Sherwin does not fit into that category. Possibly a half per cent means little to him but it seemed to mean a lot to the negotiators because they threatened to break on that half per cent. I know because I was a member of the negotiating team on the labour side. The increase was not given by the Government nor was it arranged by the Taoiseach. It was negotiated honestly and openly by the employers' organisation and by the organised trade union Labour movement. In view of the fact that the Taoiseach had declared to both sides and publicly in this House and elsewhere that the most the economy could stand was 7 1/2 to eight per cent, after the employers had offered and the workers had rejected ten per cent increase, it is a mystery to me how anybody on the Government side can claim that the Taoiseach arranged the increase.
It is true that he arranged the final meeting at which the negotiations were concluded and for that I give him full credit, but in view of the fact that he had already indicated to the members that they had offered over two and a half per cent more than they should have, I do not think he was too hopeful of the outcome and all credit must go to the good sense of the people on both sides of the table who eventually hammered out this agreement, or recommendation, which is now being fairly generally accepted. To suggest, as Deputy Sherwin did, and, indeed, other supporters of the Government, that the people who will  now benefit by the ninth round wage increase should throw their hats in the air and cheer for those who introduced the turnover tax is something which those of us who have been closely associated for some time with the wage and salary movement will certainly not accept. I do not think any of the workers will accept it either.
The plain facts are that, because of an increase in the cost of living— following the introduction of the turnover tax, the cost of living increased far more than the three per cent shown to have occurred in the mid-November figure—a wage round was negotiated. I sympathise with those who are not too closely associated with the trade union movement when they think that, every time there is a wage increase, the workers are in fact much better off and that all the benefit goes to the workers. Of course, those of us who are engaged in the trade union movement have long since realised that this chasing of wages after prices very seldom helps the workers nearly as much as some people appear to think. It is unfortunate that wage increases are swallowed up almost immediately by price increases.
It is a pity we have not before us in this debate the cost-of-living index figure for mid-February because I think a number of people will be severely shocked when they find what the figure is. Of course, the subsequent figures will be even more revealing because, yesterday morning, a firm which engages in catering in a big way received a notification from a firm which manufactures canned goods that from next Monday the latter's products will be increased by 12 per cent and, in the same post, they received a notification from people who manufacture kitchen ware that their goods will be increased as from 1st February by ten per cent. That is just an example of what is happening and, when we hear people making stupid statements here that the increase in the cost of living, following the turnover tax is only three per cent, and no one minds the few extra shillings, then it is only right these facts should be brought to light.
Now, if the position is allowed to continue, there will be a tenth round  of wage increases demanded almost before the ninth round is completed. The Government can rest assured of that. If they are not going to take steps to prevent what can only be described as wholesale profiteering by those who feel they have some little justification for jumping prices now, then, in turn, the workers will ensure that they get compensation again for the cost of living. Remember, that is covered in the national wage recommendation: if abnormal conditions occur, a further wage demand can be served. If a 12 per cent, or a ten per cent, increase in commodities occurs, particularly in those commodities in general use, without let or hindrance on the part of the Government, the Government will draw on themselves not the wrath engendered for a ninth round but the double wrath of a tenth round wage increase. The Minister can rest assured that will happen.
The trade unions are very anxious there should be stabilisation of conditions and prices. The Government will have to play their part and do their share in that. There is no use in the Minister for Industry and Commerce coming in here and telling us the fairy tale of his having ordered a Fair Trade investigation into the price of soap. Apparently that is all he has done so far. People do not eat soap and, no matter how desirable or useful it is, an increase in the cost of soap will not materially affect the cost of living for the ordinary person in the same way, or to the same degree, as an increase in the cost of foodstuffs.
Deputy Sherwin said last night that people will have to realise that they will get “nothing for nothing”. He did not have to tell us that. We all know that quite well. I should like to assure Deputy Sherwin that the workers have never expected “nothing for nothing”. Deputy Sherwin said “nothing for nothing”. Presumably he meant “something for nothing”.
The position is that, if we proceed on the basis that new benefits provided by the Government have to be paid for, then the Government will always find the Labour Party will support  them in their efforts to find that money in a fair way. The Minister may save his smiles now for a few minutes. He knows—apparently Deputy Sherwin did not—that the extra taxation imposed last year, without the turnover tax, represented more than the increases given in social welfare benefits. The Minister is well aware of that. Deputy Sherwin was not. Perhaps it is fair for Deputy Sherwin to say the things he believes will be believed by some people.
Now, the Minister can also be assured that the Labour Party will never agree to a tax on foodstuffs, on essential articles of clothing, and on medicines. They are three items in relation to which the Labour Party will not approve any impositions which have the effect of increasing the prices of these essential items. It is only a few years since Fianna Fáil were obviously of the same opinion because they were heavily subsidising foodstuffs. It is somewhat extraordinary to find that, over a period of 12 years, a subsidy of £13 millions on actual foodstuffs has been turned into a tax on those same foodstuffs. It is a cockeyed economy.
Mr. Tully: Shall we move on to the period in which the Fianna Fáil Party, despite the fact the Labour Party strenuously opposed the step, stated categorically that they would not interfere with the food subsidies and then, when they became the Government, promptly took them off? Do not forget that.
Mr. Tully: The Minister is a great man for living in the past and it is easy for him to pick up something which may have occurred long before my time. I am not in a position to say whether or not he is stating facts correctly but, apparently, most of the information that was used here this  morning was supplied from the Minister's office——
Mr. Tully: ——and I only hope that what the Minister has given me is a little more accurate than that given to people who spoke for the Government last night. A rather extraordinary thing happened last night. Deputy T. F. O'Higgins asked the Minister did he propose to increase the turnover tax this year. The Minister immediately said “No”, but Deputy de Valera, who was speaking at the time immediately cut in to say no promise was given. Is that not extraordinary? It does appear as if the Minister is not himself quite sure what will happen and the prompter was quick to ensure that the Minister does not nod—even Homer nods— because backbenchers of his own Party are expecting an increase in the turnover tax. Surely, then, it is reasonable to expect the Minister to know something about it?
When we hear Deputy Sherwin talking about the Parties opposed to the Government not giving the facts about how they would propose to raise revenue, surely we can be excused a very cynical smile? As far as I know —and I think I heard as many election speeches made by Fianna Fáil members as the next—there was no mention of the turnover tax during the last general election campaign which was the last opportunity the Government had of explaining their tax revenue. While I believe this matter should have been put to the country and while I believe the general election which probably will take place within the next few weeks could very reasonably be fought on that issue, at the same time I shall not blame any Minister for Finance or any Government for refusing to disclose their intentions in regard to taxation.
Mr. Tully: I am simply following the line which was adopted right through this debate. If somebody makes an attack, particularly on the Labour Party, under that heading I think I am entitled to answer it.
Mr. Tully: I am pretty good at skating and I can assure you I shall skate around it as long as I am not pulled into the centre. It was most unfair that Deputy Sherwin should expect any Government or any Party to produce information as to how they proposed to raise certain amounts of revenue if he was not prepared to agree that this Government should have done the same thing when this tax was being introduced.
I was listening to an election speech made last Sunday by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands. When he had concluded he very courteously lent me his loudspeaking equipment as mine had broken down. Maybe because of that I was not inclined to say some of the things I should have said and I should like to take this opportunity of making this comment.
Apparently Fianna Fáil are under the impression that the farmers are doing very well. While the very big farmer, who is depending mainly on cattle, on stock, is doing well, not alone is the small farmer doing badly but he is doing worse than he has ever done as long as I can remember farming and I was reared among small farmers. The stage has now been reached where a number of these people who until a few years ago were making a living on their land—it may not have been a  very good living—are now travelling over 40 miles to Dublin to building work because they cannot get a living on their holding and have to do their farm work before they leave in the morning and when they return at night and at weekends. It is a shocking state of affairs that the representatives of the Government, apparently, are not aware this is so, that they are not aware that the small farmers who make up the majority of the farming community are doing very badly.
Mr. Tully: They are working as builders' labourers and if the Minister knows of anything a farmer dislikes more than having to travel to work in the city I should like him to tell me what it is. There is a building boom and we can give credit to the Government and to the Dublin Corporation for any effort they are making to improve the building situation. Of course, the building boom had to come. It comes in cycles. When a certain number of people have been housed the building boom will cease and it will be years before another crop of bad housing conditions comes along. If the Government want to take credit for the present boom they are entitled to it because of the grants they are offering.
Incidentally, Deputy Sherwin's comment that the workers of this country are not buying their houses is a lot of nonsense which could only come from Deputy Sherwin. We know that, in the main, the people who are buying houses are the working class and if they were not doing so there would be no building boom.
I have had experience of a number of small farmers coming to me inquiring about the possibility of getting loans or grants in order to improve their holdings. They all had the one story. At first I thought it was a bit far-fetched but now I am inclined to agree with them. They all say the one person who is able to get credit is the person who can prove he does not need it. No one else need look for credit whether it is from State or semi-State  organisations, commercial banks or anywhere else.
The situation seems to be the same as regards the vast amount given in grants by the Department of Agriculture. The majority of the people taking advantage of these grants are people who already have plenty of money. The people who have very little money and who could usefully employ the grants cannot get them. The Minister would be well advised to look at that situation or discuss it with his colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, who is close enough to the situation to be able to appreciate the difficulties but apparently does not.
Deputy Sherwin also referred to what he called the foolish women who are parading and complaining about the turnover tax. I would offer one bit of advice to Deputy Sherwin and that is not to underestimate the power of women because if a general election comes his words might come back in a way he would not like.
He also made a case here which proves to me anyway that there is something wrong in his line of thinking. If the planning of housing takes up to four years, then all the evils that befell the country during the period of the inter-Party Government must have been brought about because of the inactivity of the previous administration. What happened in 1956 could be blamed on 1952 if we followed Deputy Sherwin's line of reasoning. Apparently he is not aware, although he should be, that it was in early 1957 that the change of Government took place, because he continued to speak of the shocking things that were happening in 1956-57 and 1957-58. Maybe his brief ran a little longer than it should have.
There is one statement Deputy Sherwin made which I should like to correct. There was no agreement between the Labour Party and the Fine Gael Party during the 1954-1957 inter-Party Government term of office that there would be no increase in wages in 1956. That statement is untrue. Certain people in this House are inclined to make use of half truths. It is very easy to nail a lie but a half truth is extremely difficult to  track down. In this case it was not a half truth; it was, in my opinion, a deliberate untruth. The statement made, wherever it was taken from—it was supposed to be a quotation—is not true. There was no wage standstill or agreement of any kind, and free negotiation of wages took place during that entire period. I should like that to go on record lest anybody should claim later on that the statement was made and was not challenged.
The question whether or not the White Paper in 1963 was a wages standstill is one which history will judge. It is a fact that the Government attempted to impose a restraint or a standstill on wages. It is also true that the trade union movement stated categorically that they had no intention whatever of abiding by that wages restraint or wages order. The Taoiseach did not go the whole way by stating he would impose fines or imprisonment, as he had threatened in 1947, on those who would give wage increases, but when it was made obvious to him that the trade union movement were prepared to negotiate freely and to continue to negotiate freely, he then let the matter drop, and he was a wise man to do so.
Mr. Tully: The normal period over which a wage agreement runs is 2½  years. By a coincidence, the present agreement runs over 2½ years. Therefore, the fact that there was no increase in any particular year does not prove anything. There was a wage increase in 1963, despite the attempt by the Taoiseach to say that a wage increase would not be allowed. The Minister should ponder on that one.
Mr. Tully: The trade union movement told the Taoiseach that they were not prepared to accept any instructions or orders so far as wage negotiations were concerned. When he waved the famous green flag, they told him it was none of his business. The trade unions will run their own business without asking the Taoiseach's permission. It would be a sorry day if we ever reached the stage where the Government could say we can or cannot look for a wage increase. The Government should realise that, and most of them do. I am sorry the Minister for Finance has not yet appreciated that that is the position.
I do not want to take up the time of the House. It is running short, and I believe everyone who wants to speak is entitled to his say. I want to make it clear, so far as the Labour Party are concerned, that we are prepared to participate in any tax raising, by any Government, for essential services, provided that tax raising is fair. We are not prepared to go along with any harebrained scheme for collecting  money, or spending money, no matter what Government introduce it.
Mr. Tully: If the Minister is quite finished, I should like to point out that his recollection on some things the Labour Party did in regard to taxation is hazy. There is one thing that many people are inclined to forget. There never would have been a Fianna Fáil Government in this country but for the Labour Party. The first Fianna Fáil Government took office with the support of the Labour Party. I know it is easy to forget those things if you want to forget them. The Labour Party have gone the straight road. We followed the same line, and we intend to follow the same line. Whether we are supporting the Government, or any alternative Government, at any time, we will support them purely on the issues at stake, and on the issues that will help and be best for the ordinary people of this country.
The Minister can be assured of that and so can this House. Anyone who tries to pre-judge the situation, and decide what the Labour Party will do after the next general election, is just taking a shot in the dark. I want to ask the Minister to tell us when he is replying—it would be very interesting for the people of the country to know —what will happen after the next general election if the Fianna Fáil Government find they have no Independents to put them in power? Are they prepared to seek the support of Fine Gael, or the support of Labour, or what will they do?
Mr. Barrett: There is one very significant aspect in the tenor of the speeches from the other side of the House on this occasion. Speaking as a Deputy representing Cork city, where  the Government will meet the people on next Wednesday, I think we can claim a fair amount of credit for the realistic approach we have had from the Government benches on this occasion. There have been no promises from the Government side of the House of milk and honey from undisclosed quarters. I might mention that contemporaneously with the disappearance of Government propaganda from the Government benches, it has also disappeared from the hoardings in Cork. The advertisements indicating how good everything was, and how good everything would continue to be, have been covered up, and instead there are admonitions to the electorate to think about the future of the children. In other words, the electors are being advised not to think of the present, but of the future.
Fianna Fáil have been doing that since 1932. I am quite sure that members of the House, members of the public, and members of the Press Gallery, who were present at election meetings addressed by the Taoiseach in 1932, remember that he always promised that success was just around the corner, if Fianna Fáil were re-elected. We are now told that a wonderful prosperity is just around the corner in 1970. In Cork city the Government have dropped the suggestion that we have never had things so good. Yesterday the Taoiseach was ready to tell the people, including the people in Cork and Kildare who will pass judgment on the Government next Wednesday, that they have nothing to look forward to but sacrifices and an increased burden of taxation, if they want what the Taoiseach calls progress, and that if they want progress, they must be prepared for an increased burden of taxation. The Taoiseach did not deny that there was an increased burden of rates on the people.
In addition to the sacrifices which the Taoiseach is calling for in the future, I should like to draw attention to the sacrifices which the people have already made in every constituency, and which they have had to make without complaining. Luckily the people in my constituency are now in a position to complain. Since November the  price of every morsel of food and drink which has gone into the mouths of their children has increased, and the price of every article of clothing which they put on their backs has increased.
About a fortnight ago, there was an indication from the Cork Corporation that the rates for the forthcoming financial year will be increased by between 4/- and 5/-. The same is true of Cork County Council, directly as a result of Government mismanagement. Last Monday there was an indication from the Cork Health authority that, while money can be found for various purposes by various Departments, the Minister for Health cannot find enough money to pay for the patients in the voluntary hospitals, and that there will be an increased call on the ratepayers in respect of every patient who goes into a voluntary hospital. Due again directly to Government policy, the increased cost of the upkeep of a patient in a voluntary hospital is 8/-per day—8/- per day, not per week. Of that, the Department will pay 4/-per day and the health authority the other 4/- per day. That will mean an extra £43,500 out of the pockets of the Cork city ratepayers.
This morning the same ratepayers and rentpayers have had the glad tidings that, again due to deliberate Government policy, their bus fares will be increased. They might as well know this. Every man and woman who lives in a Corporation house in Cork on a differential renting basis knows that immediately his earnings go up, up also will go his rent. As well as that, this addition to his rent will mean an increase in the rates. The average poor law valuation of Cork Corporation houses is between £9 and £10 per house so that a citizen who lives in a Corporation house can look forward to paying increased rates of 4/- or 5/-in the £ on a valuation of £10, again as a result of Government policy.
Is there any doubt that we now find ourselves in the vicious spiral which the Taoiseach has been vainly trying to avoid? These are the fruits of the Taoiseach's policy, announced here on 26th July, 1962, when he said we must be prepared to take risks in  order to achieve economic progress. Nobody would object to taking an ordinary, reasoned risk, but the man in the street approaches problems of that nature with ordinary prudence. If any company secretary or director walked into a meeting of his shareholders and said, without qualification: “We must be prepared to take risks,” we all know where he would finish. Such a company secretary or director would be out on his ear. He would not be there any longer.
When the Taoiseach made that remark here, I invited him to explain to the House and to the country exactly what sort of risks were envisaged. Was it sufficient to say in a brave, courageous way: “We must be prepared to take risks,” without saying that the risks must be taken within the rules of ordinary prudence? We all know Government money has gone to a man who was a British convict before he got it and who is a British convict again now. We know negotiations have been carried out between the Government and foreigners who were invited here and who were brought in here on promises which they did not honour. We know that as a result of these foreigners being brought in here without any engagement as to their honour or in law, there have been calls on the Exchequer of this country and our people have been asked to pay for the stupidity of the Taoiseach.
Let us look now at the turnover tax and the increase in the cost of living. On 26th July, 1962, when he spoke about the necessity for taking calculated risks, the Taoiseach said, and he is reported at column 3350, volume 196 of the Official Report, that the second most important thing to be looked into if we were to deal with this economic growth was stability in prices. He said internal price stability was very important. Surely internal price stability has been destroyed now by the deliberate action of the Minister for Finance, of the Taoiseach and of the more humble members of Fianna Fáil who sit behind them.
The moment the turnover tax was mooted by the Government, nearly every Deputy on this side of the  House said: “If you do this, you will destroy the very situation which you yourself and your Minister for Industry and Commerce, in public pronouncements throughout the country, have declared to be almost indispensable to economic growth”. They have destroyed the price stability which they said was so absolutely necessary to growth at home and to the success of our export markets. The Minister for Finance said: “We must get the money and get it we will, whatever the cost”. He got the money. Now we are paying the cost; now we are in the position that we have no price stability, that we are in grave danger of pricing ourselves out of the export market because of deliberate action of the Government.
The third most important thing the Taoiseach said on 26th July, 1962, was that there should be a still higher level of investment, both in the public and private accounts. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, speaking, I think, to the Dublin Stock Exchange during the last few days, said there was an excellent future for investment in the Irish stock market. I said the same here many times in the past. I am glad the Minister for Industry and Commerce thinks the same. I still commend the Irish stock market to the public but I ask where the Taoiseach now thinks he will get this third most important condition which he looked for in July, 1962. Where is the money to come from for investment if the ordinary man in the street must pay more for his bread, butter, tea, sugar, bus fares, his fuel, his light, his clothing?
It may be said he has got a 12 per cent increase in wages, but we have just been told by Deputy Tully that there has been more than a 12 per cent increase in certain articles of food. Have we any doubt now that the 12 per cent increase in wages will come out of the consumers' pockets, with a few extra per cent added on for good measure? Where will the savings the Taoiseach says are so important come from? They will not come, because of deliberate Government action.
The funny thing about it all is the  impracticability of the Government. They ask us where we will get the money to replace the money now being made available by the turnover tax. From no bench on the Government side has there been a single suggestion in line with what the Irish people are thinking at the moment. The Irish people are not thinking in terms of increased expenditure: they are crying out for some indication that some Party in the country are thinking of the possibility of some form of economy. That, of course, would not be in line with Fianna Fáil policy. Their cry is, “Progress at any price”. I presume the answer that is occurring to the Minister for Finance now is in the form of another question: “Where would you find room for economies”?
I could tell him very quickly where the economies are to be found. They are in the statement of Fine Gael policy issued last week where, by way of a start, we suggest that there should be two fewer Ministers in the Cabinet. Let the Minister stop appointing judges perennially. The legal profession are telling him another judge is not necessary. If he wants another bit of advice, I would suggest that when foreigners come here looking for the people's money in the form of loans and grants, their bona fides should be laid before the House and investigated in public. If their bona fides cannot stand up to public investigation, then the people's money should not be given to them. We have heard Ministers say: “If a man is looking for £2 million or £3 million, it is not right that his affairs should be discussed in public.”
If a public company is looking for money, it publishes a prospectus and a statement and on the strength or weakness of the terms so published, it gets its money. Therefore, I do not see why anybody should be given a State loan or grant until the terms are put before the people for ratification or otherwise. I believe the Government could achieve many economies if they adopted this line. It is funny that when the NFA come along with their plans for agricultural development, the Taoiseach says they will be the subject of careful and meticulous examination by  the Government. I warrant the Minister that, if the same meticulous examination had been made of some of the proposals backed by Government funds in recent years, a vast saving would have been made. There is a lot of talk of foreign capital and foreign capitalists coming into this country. We are getting plenty of foreign capitalists, but very little foreign capital. Hence the turnover tax.
There has been talk about the uses to which public money has been put. There has been discussion on the question of housing. As a member of Cork Corporation, I have interested myself primarily in housing—I do not say this to advertise myself—but I think I can claim to be as expert as Deputy Sherwin. I have been interested in the housing problem in Cork since I went on the Corporation in 1949. The Minister should get his colleague, the Minister for Local Government, to inquire from Cork Corporation the number of people deemed eligible for housing, but who are not getting houses because the houses are not there. It is very easy for the Minister to say: “That is not my responsibility; it is the responsibility of the Corporation.” As Deputy Costello said yesterday, no matter how far technically it is within the purview of Cork Corporation, there can be various reins and brakes put on a local authority to ensure that housing expenditure does not reach a certain pitch.
It is scarcely coincidence that in the years directly affected by the policy of the inter-Party Government, the housing figures in Cork rose. Immediately before and immediately after that period, the housing figures were low. In 1952-53, when Fianna Fáil were in power, 299 houses were built, and in 1953-54, 229 houses were built. Then we went into office, and in 1954-55, 317 houses were built and in 1955-56, 364 houses were built. We of the Cork Corporation pressed our Minister for Local Government. When we got nowhere with him, we pressed our Minister for Finance. I should like to know if the present Minister for Finance is being pressed by Cork Corporation  dominated by Fianna Fáil? However, we pressed our Minister for Finance and, as a result, in 1956-57 we got 491 houses built for the people of Cork, whereas in the last year of Fianna Fáil Government prior to that, 229 houses were built.
Then we went out of office. In the following year, 381 houses were built, the backlash of what we had planned. In 1958-59, 301 were built; in 1959-60, 347; then in 1960-61, 226; and in 1961-62, 228—that despite the fact that day after day I am being informed by the Corporation there are people eligible for housing but they will have to wait. It is a case of the hungry sheep looking up and not being fed. The Minister is busier building intercontinental hotels in Cork which are well-nigh deserted but for the fact that visiting Government officers stay there, while people declared eligible for housing are left.
The Government are becoming more and more intolerant of the type of criticism being levelled at them here. The Taoiseach, time and again, has been unfair enough to say that anything we say on this side of the House contrary to his ideas and wishes is irresponsible and mischievous. These were the terms of his amendment to our views on the turnover tax. The Taoiseach can now find out for himself what the country thinks of our policy and his policy. He can find out next Wednesday whether the people of Cork city, who on this occasion speak for the people of Ireland, consider our reaction to the turnover tax and all it has brought with it as “irresponsible and mischievous”. I do not believe they do. The Fianna Fáil Party are trying to indicate to the electorate that, if their candidates are defeated in Cork and Kildare, the bottom will fall out of the national boat and the people will be left in the deep blue sea. We, on the other hand, want to approach this situation as the Government have left it. We want to bind up the unnecessary wounds inflicted by Government policy.
We contrast what we are going to do —set out in black and white in daily and Sunday newspapers—with what the Taoiseach has now, for the first  time, disclosed in this House as being the policy of the Government on the eve of these by-elections. The Taoiseach's policy, he told us yesterday, is a policy of sacrifices, of an increased burden of taxation, of an increased burden of rates—all in the name of what the Taoiseach calls progress. I have no doubt at all how the Irish people will react to that in Cork and Kildare next Wednesday. I have no doubt that if the Taoiseach intends to honour what he said over the weekend, that he will dissolve this House if beaten in the two by-elections, this is the last occasion I will be addressing the present occupant of the chair of Minister for Finance as Minister for Finance. Of course, I do not accept what the Taoiseach says—by way of threat, I presume, to the electorate— that if he is beaten he will gallop up to Arus an Uachtaráin. It is in direct contradiction of what he said here. On one or other occasion he must have been telling an untruth or mistaken. He engaged himself solemnly to this House that he would not quit the Government benches unless beaten in this House on a major issue. If when the people of Cork and Kildare have spoken, the Taoiseach does not like what they have said, I am quite sure he will come to this House and produce the Parliamentary Debates to show he solemnly informed the House and the nation that he would not resign unless he was beaten in a major vote in this House. I believe he is only brandishing the big stick to frighten the people and to say to them: “If you are bold next week, I will make you go out and have a general election.” I would have a bet with the Taoiseach —and I will be taking less risk than some of the risks the Taoiseach has taken—that there will be no general election if he is beaten in the by-elections. From my own knowledge, I believe he will be beaten in Cork, and I am informed the position for the Government will be equally bad in Kildare.
Mr. Leneghan: I understand some people like to read the Bible on Sundays. Last Sunday, they had an alternative. They had the Fine Gael version of the Koran in small print.  In this, Fine Gael offered their alleged programme, carefully couched in very small type with cliches and petty sayings reminiscent of the Oracle of Delphi. Whether these pronouncements are read forwards or backwards, they make about as much sense as that which came from that institution many years ago. If those people think that by turning out that kind of stuff to the public, they can drive them along and get their support, I fear they will have to think again.
According to that plan, it appears to me at least £300 million would be required in any year to implement it even partially. The Minister for Finance has a plan of his own which he says would cost over £180 million to implement. The others come along with the plan which I reckon would cost about £300 million and they require no money. That is why I find it so difficult to see any sense in the plan and if there is sense in it, there is no sense in the plan or plans of the Minister for Finance.
It is significant that the leader of the main Opposition has now joined the former Monetary Reform Party headed by Deputy Flanagan. If Deputy Flanagan would come forward with his monetary reform plan and let us know the means, other than financial, by which this famous policy is to be put into force, we would probably be able to give a reasonable decision; but like many others in the west, I am conservative and I would rather go along with the devil I know than the devil I do not know. Judging by Fine Gael's past, I fear there is not a devil we do not know because we know too much of them. One Party require no money to operate their plan and improve the country substantially and the other Party want over £180 million—the total would be over £200 million or £250 million.
Is the Fine Gael plan a plan for expansion or merely a plan for distraction of the public? It appears to me to be nothing else. If the public are daft enough to be taken in again, God help them and God help this land because  if we have to go back to times such as we had in December, 1956, and January, 1957, when no local authority had sixpence, when nobody was paid and where a pile of debt faced the nation, God help all of us. Any commonsense person cannot forget that. In January, 1957, more than 100,000 people were unemployed. In my own county, our local authority had not been paid anything from Government funds for 12 months. No housing grants could be paid and even contractors supplying necessaries of life to hospitals could not be paid. There were counties even worse. In counties like Clare and Roscommon, nobody would accept a local authority cheque. These, we are now asked to believe, were the days of progress when the Irish Utopia existed.
In December, 1956, I was in the county manager's office in Castlebar in connection with a matter for a constituent and when the manager was asked by another person for a cheque he could not give it. He had to back it personally. He said to me: “What has the country come to when County Mayo is not worth £100?” Perhaps this Party had not properly instructed the Mayo County Manager as to the means of getting along without money, if it can be done, which I greatly doubt.
It is rather strange that in this new policy for a Utopia, they have decided apparently that nobody will have to work. Possibly, there will be no work for them and we shall be back to the 100,000 unemployed—perhaps 200,000 —because their famous policy completely overlooks industrial expansion. It has been omitted, deliberately or otherwise. Hundreds of thousands of people at present employed and who had sight good enough to be able to read what appeared in the Sunday Independent last week or were able to read between the lines, will not overlook that.
Obviously, Fine Gael have no policy for industrial development and, in fact, what they are out to do is what they did before—sabotage every industry. At that time in my county all the Bord na Móna and ESB works were  closed down; the grassmeal company was liquidated and every single source of employment was closed. I defy contradiction on that; anybody can check and find I am correct. Where thousands are employed today, there was nobody employed in 1956. It was impossible for anybody to get work in that county, especially in the north of it. If that was the time of the Coalition Utopia, to which they are now asking us to cast our minds back, nobody will be foolish enough to take them seriously.
It is bad enough to put forward this policy but to nominate two people each with a leg in the grave, shows how sincere they are about their policy and about having it implemented and about forming a Government. They know well—and this is what they are shivering in their shoes about as Deputy Barrett shivered before he left—that if these two Opposition candidates win the by-elections, they will never sit in this House. The Dáil will be dissolved and the Deputies elected will never sit and consequently the Opposition will not only have lost time and money but will have ruined their organisations in Cork and Kildare. But Fine Gael have definitely set out to try not to win these by-elections. Anybody who knows the two candidates knows that. They know these people will never reach Leinster House.
Surely in an area like Cork where there is tremendous industrial expansion, as there is also in Kildare in any of the important towns, the ordinary people who read last Sunday's alleged programme must be shivering in their shoes also in case this might happen and if both Opposition candidates win, the Dáil is dissolved and there is a change of Government, we know what the result will be and we shall not have long to wait for it. There is no doubt that all the increases that have been granted but not implemented will be cancelled. That is known not only in political but in business circles, and at present a good many newly-rich people are inclined to back this policy so that they will not have to implement the policy of giving increased salaries and wages.
 Money talks. A worker is of very little consequence to these people. The workers of Kildare and Cork know that if there is a change of Government, they will be the sufferers and that they will go back to the very position in which they were in 1956, a position of industrial stagnation and nothing else. If they want to head for that, they know what to do, of course, next Wednesday. If they wish to continue along the path of progress, they should have enough common sense to know what to do. However, I do not think there is any doctor who can prescribe tablets for that type of disease. Consequently, we shall have to wait and see.
I do not know where this housing “bull” originated, whether it came into the light of the sun after that terribly bad day we had in Dublin city last summer or whether it is something which has been created artificially. The suggestion which has been made that the Government have neglected housing is utterly fantastic. There is no word of truth in it.
If we go back to 1933, when the Fianna Fáil Government first took office, they certainly found a beautiful housing mess, an unparalleled rural slum, where there was not a good house in the west of Ireland. That was the position in 1933. In the west of Ireland at that time, nobody except the landlord or his minions or the big shot had any type of decent house. That is common knowledge. Today, it is unusual to find anybody in the west of Ireland without a decent house except those who are not prepared to march with the times as the vast majority of their neighbours have marched, and who are too lazy to do anything for themselves and have depended completely on building by local authorities, to which these people are not entitled and never have been, or otherwise people who, like some people in the good lands of the midlands, do not give a hoot what kind of house they are living in as long as their cattle are well housed. It is a very rare thing in the west today to see a bad house except where somebody has been lax.
Surely, the Department of Finance are not the people to build houses?  Normally, it is the local authorities who build houses for people other than farmers or those in the higher income group who do not come within local authority schemes. I do not know of any scheme being submitted from the west of Ireland to the Government and being turned down by the Government. Where a scheme has not been implemented, the position is that the local authority has been completely at fault. Many local authorities, including the local authorities in Mayo, are at fault, and grossly at fault. There is no question about that. They have been dodging the issue. For some time past, it was probably difficult to blame them because in many cases they were afraid that if they built houses, the tenants would flee the land as they did in 1955 and 1956, and leave the houses on their hands. There does not appear to be any such danger now. Therefore the local authorities should wake up and carry out their obligations.
This business of coming in here day in and day out and flinging this matter at the feet of the Government is neither realistic nor just. The local authorities are at fault and the local authorities in Mayo, the urban authorities and the county council, are at fault. There is no scheme I know of which they have put forward which has not been accepted by the Government unless it was something utterly stupid.
I do not want to take up the time of the House; there are other Deputies who wish to speak; but I should like to refer to some matters which need rectification. For many years, it has been Government policy to take an extra interest in the west. The Coalition Governments took no interest, good, bad or indifferent, in the west. They closed down everything which had been started there. The present Government have been reasonably fair to the west. They could go a good deal further. The people in the west, in an over-populated area, where land is bad and where the means of livelihood available are not comparable with those available in other parts of the country, are entitled to some extra Government assistance. The laxity which seems to have arisen recently in  connection with the directing of manufacturers and industrialists to the west should not be allowed to continue. If industrialists want to establish industries here and get financial assistance from the Government, they should take a directive from the people, through the Government, as to the location of the industry. I am not satisfied that these people should be allowed to establish themselves in any place they wish and be given Government assistance. If they require Government assistance, they should be prepared to accept a directive from the Government. They should be directed into the densely populated areas where the land is poor and where labour is readily available.
It should be borne in mind that there is very little difference to the man leaving North Mayo between taking up a position in Dublin and taking up a position in London, Birmingham or elsewhere. Once his roots are pulled up, he finds it a hardship. Everything possible should be done and must be done to prevent that happening.
Once these people are taken from the west, where there is a somewhat different way of life from that of the cities, substantial injury is done to the nation. It has been suggested that to send English speakers into the Gaeltacht in order to learn Irish helps to curtail the expansion of Irish. As bad as that may be, it is worse to take Irish-speaking people out of the Gaeltacht and transfer them to the completely English-speaking cities where there is no use for their language, their culture or, indeed, for themselves, except in so far as they are to be used as labourers or at other work. It is time that came to a halt. It is time that industrialists who enjoy financial rewards, should take a directive from us.
It appears to me that one of the most important matters militating against any type of arrangement between the people of Northern Ireland and ourselves is the disparity in the social welfare standards of the two parts of the country. The Minister should seriously consider doing something about this. It has been flung at us  from every Orange Lodge in the Six Counties and we have it even from the Orangemen on this side of the Border.
I do not think there is anybody in this country who could take exception to providing moneys to increase social welfare benefits and to make them worth while. I agree that there would probably be need for some tightening-up in their administration so that they would not be abused. At the moment, they are completely disproportionate to those payable in the North and must have a very detrimental effect on prospective relations between the people in the two parts of the country.
The standard practice in this House over the past few years has been to accuse the Government of being maintained in office by Independents. Every effort has been made to make us look as irresponsible as possible. If we go back only a few years, it is rather amusing to find that another Government were retained in office by Independents and a mixum-gatherum of Parties the like of which never existed in this or in any other State in recorded history—and that was regarded by the people concerned as all right.
I remember a time when a Deputy of the Fine Gael Party was locked in the same room as a Deputy of another Party in order to try to stop him from changing his mind during the night. Believe it or not, he did change his mind during the night and he upset the Fine Gael applecart. There is no word at all about that type of thing but every type of mud is slung here at Deputy Sherwin and myself. Those people must have very short memories but, if they have, I can refresh their memories for them any time they wish. It may also interest them to know that I have all the dope and data they issued for years and if they wish to have it disseminated in this House, I can do so.
There is one thing to be said for the present Government, that is, that if they have the support of the Independents, nobody had to sleep in our rooms at night or pay us bribes to take that course. All kinds of attempts were made by Opposition people to achieve  various things but they were not made by the Government. Any vote I have given or shall give has been and will be given as a result of my own decision. I have never discussed the matter with any Deputy on the Government benches and I never shall.
Minister for Transport and Power (Mr. Childers): I want to refer to one or two aspects of taxation. One of the most dishonest statements by the Fine Gael Party is their claim that government is costing £60 million more than it did in 1956-57. There is an implication that that £60 million could be saved if Fine Gael took office.
Every Government in every developing country needs capital for development services, for social services and in order to better the life of the community. At the same time, every Government has to have some regard to the burden of taxation. The only comparison made by economists all over the world and the only one accepted as valid is the amount of taxation, in rates and central Government expenditure, in comparison with the production of the country.
We can go back to the dark and gloomy days of 1956 when there was an economic crisis in this country unparalleled anywhere else and not to be seen in the rest of Northern Europe. In a year when production output was increasing in the whole of Northern Europe, and continued to increase in Great Britain in spite of the Suez crisis, the total amount of taxation— rates and central taxation—levied by the Coalition Government was roughly 23 per cent of total production. The income of the people has greatly increased since those days. The national income has increased. The living standards of the people have gone up by between one-fifth and one-sixth since that day. The Opposition Parties have not denied the statements by the Central Statistics Office.
In this current year, with the turnover tax included, and in the ensuing year, with the whole of the turnover tax included for the year, it is not expected that the total amount of taxation in rates and in central Government taxation will be very greatly  different from what it was in the dark days of 1956 in relation to production. That is the comparison we make and we make no apology for the fact that we need to take the same amount.
We need to levy on the people the same amount in relation to their production and their output in 1963-64 and in 1964-65 as was taken from them during the crises of 1956 and 1957. That is not an unreasonable statement. Take the development of industry and of agriculture. Take the huge increase in the aids to agriculture which is multiplied many times in some services. All these amounts are required for national development. If the details in the Second Programme for Economic Expansion are studied, it will be seen that although we expect a certain rise in the amount collected, nevertheless we shall not go far beyond what is regarded as reasonable in a great many other countries with programmes for development and programmes for social services, all designed to improve the life of their peoples.
If one examines taxation in the current year, the amount collected in central taxation by the Government in all forms does not compare adversely with the record of other Governments. In the year 1963-64, in relation to gross national output, we collected about ten per cent. The figures in Europe vary from 11, 12, 14 to 17 per cent. The statement about the increase in the cost of Government has no bearing on realities.
It is quite impossible for a Government to expand services and to keep the total amount of taxation at the figure it was when there were some 97,000 unemployed, a great spate of emigration and an air of despondency over the whole land. The very idea is hypocritical. If the programme of Fine Gael is examined, if we look at the promises of that Party and count up even approximately the cost if Fine Gael put all of them into operation, it will be seen that they would need to collect something like one-third or one-half of the people's production in taxation.
I have been reading through this  Fine Gael policy statement and the nearest comparison I can make is different from the “dead cat” suggestion of the Taoiseach—which was a very good one—and I compare it to a wedding cake, the centre of which is a very bad and inadequate description of Fianna Fáil policy, with most of it left out, and a great hollow left, represented by a complete absence of many Fianna Fáil policies indicated in the Second Programme and which are not mentioned in the statement. On the outside, there is a whole lot of sugar encrusted with diamonds in the form of all sorts of inducements to get support from the people, the cost of which has not been estimated and most of which would mean not only having to maintain the turnover tax but at least doubling or trebling it.
Let us examine, for example, the health proposals. There is no real estimate of the cost. All we know is that the costs of health services must be levied, they cannot cost less to the community as a whole. Whatever the means of collection, whether by contributions or rates of a new type, the money has to come from somewhere. But the clear indication by Fine Gael is that somehow or other it is going to be very much less expensive for the average person. Most of the people know that that is all nonsense. It is quite possible to adjust the methods of tax for the health services. There is at the moment an all-Party Committee of the House examining the health services and their financial implications. The whole point about this is that it suggests that the thing can be done cheaper whereas everybody ought to know that would be completely impossible. A great deal of the statement relating to industry and trade is a kind of lack-lustre pale imitation of Fianna Fáil policy. Fianna Fáil initiated nearly all the practices in regard to stimulating industry.
Mr. Childers: When I read, in regard to agriculture, that the Fine Gael Government will negotiate with the British Government to protect and expand the market for Irish agricultural produce in Britain——
Mr. Childers: We have engaged in negotiations with Britain to get the best possible terms for our farmers and everybody knows the attitude of the prevailing Government towards agricultural imports. One would think from reading this that nothing had been done about it. We have been engaged in constant negotiations and whenever the opportunity offered in regard to this over the past five years. Then I read further about proposals for providing farmers with dwelling houses, as though that were new——
Mr. Childers: The Government have announced new facilities so that a farmer under £25 valuation who wants to build a five-roomed house can get a loan of £450 which he can have doubled up to £900 by a grant from the local authorities and in addition, may borrow £500 from the Land Commission which can be paid back over a long term. So there is nothing new about that. The thing then that amuses me in this statement is the reference to the use of phosphate, lime and potash being expanded. The present Government's fertiliser subsidy stands at eight times what the main subsidy was in 1957. In my own constituency, their use increased in 1961 by 38 per cent over the previous year. The Fine Gael Party speak as if there were something new about an expansion in the use of fertilisers.
Then there is a statement about providing national agricultural advisory  services for the farmers. The numbers of advisers in various counties have been increasing substantially under all Fianna Fáil Governments and recently in the small farm areas the Minister for Agriculture stated that he will provide 75 per cent of the cost of additional advisers over and beyond the number appointed in the area and would go on providing that until there is one agricultural adviser to every 800 farmers. One would think that nothing was being done about the national advisory services, whereas the Minister has taken very definite steps to encourage county committees of agriculture to appoint more advisers.
There is also a suggestion of giving farmers interest-free loans ranging up to £1,000. The Minister for Agriculture has already made his attitude clear towards that and the very great financial commitment that would be involved but we have recently announced new credit loans for farmers. We have announced that in areas where there are co-operative societies, a farmer can get a loan of £400 on his own security and it can be paid back through the creamery cheque by the co-operative society concerned. In that connection a report from an agricultural adviser will help the farmer to procure the loan. It is a most useful form of credit which I hope will be fully availed of.
Then, of course, there is the general statement about social welfare. Everybody knows the reputation of the Coalition Parties in regard to social welfare. Practically all of the increases for many years have been granted by this Government. In relation to social welfare, the increases are not properly understood by the public who only read of an increase of 1/6d. here and 1/6d. there, or 2/6d. here and 2/6d. there, when the actual position is that many of the most important social welfare payments have been massively increased since 1957. I am not going to give details but it is safe to say, in regard to social welfare services, that where there are married people with three or five children involved, or where a widow with three or five children is involved, and assuming  these people qualify for children's allowances, the increases have been anything from 73 to 90 to 100 per cent above what they were in 1956 and more than two or three times the increase in the cost of living since that period.
This statement about social welfare again implies that nothing has been done about it but social welfare payments have been increased again recently in order to make allowances for the increase in the cost of living arising from the turnover tax. It is interesting to note, in this connection, that Fine Gael propose to repeal the turnover tax but none of us knows how they can raise the money which will be necessary. For Fine Gael to talk about social welfare when they failed to pass essential and major Acts for the services, and gave miserable increases during both their periods in office compared with what has been granted since 1956, gives an entirely wrong impression as though something wonderful and rare were being done all at once.
Take Land Commission policy. We have just been overhauling Land Settlement policies. There is a Land Bill before the Dáil. Parts of that Bill have been approved by the Opposition. Other parts are awaiting consideration on the Committee Stage. But one would think, again, that the present Government had done nothing to review the effectiveness of Land Commission policy whereas, in fact, we brought into the Dáil an extremely important Bill, making changes of a positive kind which should increase the volume of land settlement in an effective way. The statement is made in this manifesto that “The minimum size of holdings to be allotted by the Land Commission will be increased”. But that has already been proposed by the present Minister for Lands and, wherever possible, the economic holdings will be 40 or 45 acres.
Mention is made of a scheme to provide farms for young farmers at an annual rent. The Minister for Agriculture has had under consideration for a very considerable time a scheme of farms leased on an apprenticeship basis, and it is now announced that  that scheme will come into operation. One would think, from reading this, that we had not been considering these things at all. They repeat then the statement about dwellinghouses for farmers, with which I have already dealt.
I must say that I am amused by the statement on law reform: they “will press ahead with law reform initiated by the inter-Party government”. I think the present Minister for Justice has done more law reform since he was appointed than any Minister before him. In fact the time of the Dáil—I make no complaint about this—is very much occupied with the law reforms being made by the Minister. One would get the impression from reading this that we did nothing about law reform in the past five years.
As I have said, this document is, in fact, like a wedding cake, the interior of which is poor and badly mixed, with most of the good ingredients in Fianna Fáil policy omitted, and the outside iced and decorated with diamonds, the cost being completely unknown and entirely speculative. I do not believe this will have much appeal for the electors in Cork and Kildare. It does not look like anything dramatically new. It does not throw any essential new light on the political and economic situation today.
When we hear the Leader of the Fine Gael Party decry the Second Programme for Economic Expansion, I really believe that all that denigration will be entirely meaningless to the great majority of the people. The First Programme was, in practice, exceeded. The national income went up by nearly twice the amount we thought possible in 1958. There have been very great achievements in industry and in the other economic sectors. These achievements, as a result of the First Programme, can be found by examination of the facts and of the situation. The Second Programme is based on the fact that we were able to exceed the content of the first programme and the target set out forms the basis of attainment. It is a prediction of what can be done if the Government invest sufficient  capital, if the Government handle the finances of the country wisely, if the people themselves take the initiative and also take advantage of the grants and loans made available to them, continuing to have the very buoyant sense of enterprise and confidence that exist in the community today.
I do not think the Opposition have done anything to justify their criticism of the Vote on Account. I can see no hope of any policy emerging from them much different from our own, but the main point is that we are able to coordinate policy. We are certain of where we are going. We know how to advance. We have a very definite programme. We have laid down the details of that programme. We have made it perfectly clear that we are moving step by step, that we cannot do everything at once. It is extraordinary to recall all the speeches made in the Dáil by the Opposition, particularly by the Fine Gael Party, in the last 12 months, if you start adding the approximate cost of everything the total amount comes to some £60 or £80 millions a year. A Party who can suggest increased expenditure of anything up to £60 or £80 millions a year and, at the same time, offer to cancel the turnover tax, are not speaking seriously and their words need not be taken seriously by the Irish people.
Mr. Sweetman: I have listened with great amusement to the Minister for Transport and Power. I am told—I have not much experience myself— that these new electronic computers jam up if you feed too much to them and the result comes out in a jumbled, chaotic mass. The Minister for Transport and Power has the reputation of reading a great deal. Apparently he has read so much he is unable to digest it. I want to throw his mind back for a moment to a dinner at which he and I were present in the Dolphin Hotel, shortly before the First Programme for Economic Expansion was published. I wonder does he remember what he said that night? He said the programme was going to be published in a couple of weeks and he believed Deputy Sweetman would like it because it  contained much of his policy. I was listening to the Minister. Much of our policy! He thought we would like it. Apparently since then, however, in regard to reading our policy, he has grown a little tired because he read, as if we had adumbrated it as policy for the first time, certain things that we still maintain are, of course, our policy, and which we have been publishing for several years now.
The Minister for Transport and Power is taking great credit, for example, for the increased size of Land Commission holdings. He is taking great credit for the scheme in relation to the building of houses for farmers. Both of those were published in our policy something like two and a half years ago and it was only when they were published as the policy of Fine Gael that Fianna Fáil thought of them. Perhaps some of the backbenchers thought of them, but the Fianna Fáil Ministers were digesting so much that they were quite unable to formulate policies. In fact, there has not been one coherent scheme produced by the Government that was not suggested by this Party either in the last general election or since, and before any Government Minister thought about it.
Mr. Sweetman: It happens to be just as true as the statement made by the Minister for Transport and Power in relation to industrial expansion is untrue. Now I did not propose to speak about these things but the speech made by the Minister was so audacious in its untruths that certain things had to be said. In relation to industrial development, I challenge the Minister for Finance, when he is replying, to ask the Minister for Transport and Power to tell him what he was speaking about when he said that new industrial development was being adumbrated by the Government.
The facts are that the industrial development that has been in operation for the past few years is founded on three things: it is founded, first, on the Industrial Development Authority which was set up by Deputy Morrissey when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce, and which,  incidentally, the Minister for Transport and Power and his leader, the Taoiseach, decried to the utmost of their abilities. The Taoiseach said: “I warn everybody not to take up a job in that Authority as, the moment I get back, I am going to sack them all and disband it”. That is on the records of this House, and the Minister for Transport and Power knows it.
The second thing on which industrial development is based is the Industrial Grants Act of 1956 brought in by the late Deputy Norton, and bitterly opposed again by Deputy Lemass at the time, and by the Minister for Transport and Power. This Act is the basis of many new industries.
Mr. Sweetman: Foras Tionscal was formed—if the Minister wants to be told the truth—as an effort to hide the Taoiseach's blushes so that he could use the Industrial Development Authority in another way and at the same time swallow his words.
Mr. Sweetman: The Industrial Grants Act is the basis for many new industries. I admit freely that the Minister for Finance somewhat improved the Finance Act of 1956 with tax incentives to promote exports. While I admit that freely industrial policy has that basis, but it has not been administered in all respects as it should have been administered by the Government. It is entirely wrong that our own people have not been persuaded that they will get the same facilities from the Government for the extension of industry as foreigners coming in here will get. Unless the Government in  power are able to sell to our own people that they will get exactly the same facilities as, and perhaps, even more, than those coming in here if they establish new industries or extend existing industries, then we shall not get that contentment in the industrial sphere which is an essential prerequisite of proper expansion. The Minister for Transport and Power would have been better advised to turn his attention to that than to try to take credit for something that does not belong to Fianna Fáil.
The fact of course is that the Lemass policy in relation to industry is in tatters and ruins. There is some credit due to the Government in that they do, at last, realise, after all these years, that the Lemass policy was entirely wrong and has to be switched. I will pay them that tribute for having admitted that.
In relation to some of the other matters the Minister picked out, they were all things that have been dealt with in the policy published by us in 1961. What is wrong with Fianna Fáil is that they were endeavouring to put over a propaganda gimmick that the Fine Gael Party had no policy. It has been there, of course, for a considerable number of years and has been revised regularly. The policy committee has been meeting constantly to consider it and to change it as and when required to keep it up to date with modern conditions. Now that the Fianna Fáil gimmick has been blown skyhigh, the Minister for Transport and Power has a few sleepless nights because he realises that the hollowness of their propaganda has been shown up. In the circumstances, a wedding cake was a rather unhappy illusion by the Minister concerned. However, I shall come back to the headings which are supposed to be discussed on the Vote on Account after that digression into which I was forced by the somewhat inane intervention of the Minister for Transport and Power. I shall excuse him because apparently he was sent in here suddenly without any notes to keep the House going.
Unfortunately I did not hear the Minister for Finance when he was  introducing the Vote on Account. I was engaged in another part of the country putting the finishing touches to getting rid of the Government next week and I think the results in Kildare will show that my time was well spent. Therefore, I have had to rely on the necessarily condensed statement made in the newspapers of the Minister's speech. It has always been my practice to avoid, if possible, referring to Minister's speeches unless I have either heard them myself or have been able to read them in Dáil Reports but, as I say, on this occasion I have not done so.
When the Vote on Account Estimates were circulated to us and when I saw that, notwithstanding several substantial decreases such as the decrease in agriculture of approximately £2 million, the increased Estimates for the forthcoming year were marked by the Government as being some £17 million up, I assumed they had included in those figures the ninth round. It is difficult to understand why the Government did not do it. The Book of Estimates has not yet been published. The new procedure we have adopted this year—incidentally, partially to help the Government out of the mess they got into in their financial business last year in relation to the time of this House—provides that the summary is published before the Book of Estimates. I should have thought that the calculation of the ninth round increases would be in summary form if the Minister wished to include them. I can only conclude, therefore, that for his own purposes, which I do not quite understand, he decided to omit any reference whatever to the ninth round in the published figure.
As far as I can see, giving the most generous allowance for the capital content of the Supply Services, we are likely to have—with the Supplementaries we have already been promised before we even get the Book of Estimates, CIE and the ones that must inevitably follow the Government's policy in relation to health and the other local authority increases as a result of the spiral created by the turnover tax-a current Budget of approximately  £202 million. The Central Fund, I imagine, will be somewhere in the region of £35 million; the Estimates that are given in this Vote on Account summary amount to £185 million, and I have allowed £30 million of that for Capital Services compared with around £27 million in the Book of Estimates last year.
The Minister indicated under pressure that the ninth round increase would cost about £7 million and we have to add to that the estimate for which the Minister for Transport and Power is primarily responsible and which was hinted at by the Minister for Finance, CIE, as well as the Supplementaries that must come otherwise in relation to the implications of the ninth round. That looks like about £202 million.
The issue in relation to the £202 million of the people's money—at least I shall agree with the Minister for Transport and Power that it must come from the people—is whether the people are getting good value for it or not. I think the answer the people give overwhelmingly at the moment is “No”. Let me add just as an aside that some of the Minister's colleagues are dishonestly suggesting—and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance so suggested here yesterday—that the payment to industrial workers of their ninth round increase is dependent on the retention of Fianna Fáil in office. Let me be quite clear, as the Fianna Fáil Party have themselves brought this out as a rumour. We in Fine Gael have always felt, and always put into practice, that the proper way to deal with labour and wage problems is to have free negotiations between employers and employees, with, in addition, if you like, in certain respects, arbitration and conciliation in respect of State servants. We have always made it a fundamental part of our policy, that the principle of free negotiation between employer and employee is the only way in which industrial peace can be guaranteed.
It would be quite unthinkable from our point of view that we should, in  any circumstances, intervene in an agreement freely negotiated last month by the Federated Union of Employers on the one hand, and the trade union movement on the other, when they arrived at certain conclusions. Any suggestion to the contrary by Fianna Fáil is not merely untrue, but arises from their own uneasy conscience, remembering it was they only—and their Taoiseach—who ever framed a wages standstill order in this country. It is because they have an uneasy conscience in that respect that yesterday they put up the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands to make that suggestion. Their canvassers have been deliberately doing that in Athy, Newbridge, and Cork city.
As the Fianna Fáil Party raised it themselves, let me add categorically that it is they only who have been anxious to avoid free negotiation and interchange between employer and employee, in relation to industrial wage structures. Let me go further and say that so far as we in Fine Gael are concerned, not merely will we support any arrangement freely entered into, but if the two partners in industry, employer and employee, felt it desirable that there should be legislation, and came to a Government in which we were associated, with proposals for the implementation of negotiating machinery in that respect, we would be happy to put whatever they might have first agreed into legislative form for them.
I am sorry I have digressed and been distracted from the line I originally intended to take by the method adopted by the Minister for Transport and Power in his speech, of taking credit for everything, and endeavouring to pretend that certain things were now being sought by us for the first time. Now that the Minister for Finance is back here—and I do not mean to imply any criticism of his being away; we have all got to keep the inner man going at this time of the day—I should like to ask him to explain clearly to the House and the country why it was having regard to the time at his disposal, he did not include the ninth round provision in the total of the Estimates in the Vote  on Account. Clearly that seems to be a peculiar omission.
I cannot discuss taxation at any great length on the Vote on Account, but I want to say a few words about it, if you permit me, Sir. There is no doubt the ninth round will provide a substantial buoyancy of revenue, particularly on the PAYE side. There is also no doubt that people in general were flabbergasted when the Government allowed buoyancy of revenue to be outstripped by expenditure last year. Indeed, when the full implications of the proposals now made by the Minister are understood, they may feel even more flabbergasted this year.
The Minister and his colleagues are trying to tell the country that there is only one method of raising revenue— by taxation, and by the turnover tax. Of course that is childish. No one except Fianna Fáil is in favour of raising revenue by a turnover tax. There are many other methods of raising revenue, including, I might add, the method suggested by the Commission on Income Taxation, which the Minister frequently likes to forget, when it suits him. There are many other methods of raising taxation and, at the appropriate time, they will be utilised if they are required.
I want to make it quite clear that I consider as socially indefensible a tax on bread, butter, tea, sugar and flour, and that any basis of taxation which includes those items is unsound basis. I might not agree with the Minister, but I could understand him coming in here and saying he could not exempt those items because it was administratively impossible to have a turnover tax with any exemptions whatever. I would not agree with him if he took that line but he has not done so. He has exempted, so far as I can count, in the orders made to date, some 600 items. If he was able to exempt, administratively, 600 items, I think it is socially indefensible to include in that taxation the items I have mentioned. As I say, there was an argument to be made that the essence of administering a turnover tax was that there could be no exemptions whatsoever, but the Minister does not  rely on that argument. In fact, he has done exactly the reverse.
The Minister has endeavoured to suggest that on the continent of Europe this is a regular method of taxation. Of course that is not true. In Germany, there is an added value tax, which is entirely different from a turnover tax. In France, there is a similar added value tax, but without the cascading effect of the German tax. From the examination that has been made by the European Economic Community Secretariat into the various types of taxation on purchases and incomes abroad, it seems likely that the Germans will change to the French system and that the Benelux countries will also move towards it.
However, the whole Second Programme for Economic Expansion, which was originally written by people who were told they had to produce something very quickly for the purpose of diverting the attention of the public from the turnover tax, was based on the OECD report which, in turn, has its links with the EEC, and the EEC are going away from a tax of this sort to an added value tax such as is in operation in France. It seems difficult then to understand why the Minister took the step of bringing in a type of taxation that would be at variance with the Common Market ideas when the whole Programme is based on our going into the Common Market by 1970.
Whether that is so or not, it is interesting now to look back, in the light of what has occurred, to statements made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands, Deputy Lenihan, before the Budget last year, and to remind him and the House that he said then there would be no increases on items which were already overtaxed—beer, cigarettes, petrol and so on. He said the increases would be on luxury and semi-luxury good such as jewellery, furs and expensive motor cars—I am quoting from the Roscommon Herald of 23rd March, 1963. We all know now what the position is in that respect.
 I found it extremely difficult to understand the tenor of the Minister's remarks in relation to the cost of living. As I explained before the Minister was able to come in, I was unable to be here when he was making his statement on Tuesday afternoon and have had to rely on the necessarily abbreviated newspaper reports. However, in so far as I was able to read these reports, it seems to me that the case the Minister made was that the cost of living had not really increased much at all.
I should like to hear the Minister try to make that case to the housewives of Dublin, or to see him go down to Cork and make it to the housewives there, or to the housewives of Newbridge, Athy or Kildare. The housewives have a different view, and if the Minister for Finance is really serious in that respect, then I am afraid he has failed utterly to persuade the people in the country that he is right and that they are wrong. The fact is that everybody, day in day out, is finding that the cost of living is going up, or that the value of money is going down—it is quite immaterial which way you describe it.
I should like the Minister to make an estimate for us of the amount payable through local authority rates in increased expenditure during the coming year. The spiral of inflation started by the Minister in his turnover tax will hit rates perhaps more than anything else. I am told the county manager's estimate in Donegal for rates for the coming year involves an increase of 8s. 7d. in the £. I am told that the likelihood is that the rates will be between 3/- and 4/- more in most other counties. The Minister must have already made a computation of what that means in terms of supplementary expenditure in the Estimates in respect of which he is now asking a Vote on Account. It is unfair to the House and the country that such an estimate by the Minister is not now available, with all his experts at his disposal.
There was little sign in the Minister's speech or in the summarised Estimates of any appreciation of the need for extended scientific research on all sides. It is essential there should be some integration of science and scientific  improvement and research with general policy, and indeed that there would be substantial incentives towards that occurring. Though I will allow the Minister to say the extended Book of Estimates may show that there are, I can find in the summary no positive indication of that.
In dealing with last year, the Minister indicated a growth figure. Time and time again, however, we have tried to make it clear to Fianna Fáil that you cannot build an industrial advance or revival, call it what you will, without having a prosperous agriculture to back it. The fact is as is acknowledged by the Central Bank quarterly bulletin published a few days ago, that at best agriculture is static.
That is where the Second Programme for Economic Expansion, in my view, is falling down. There is not the drive necessary in this Government in relation to agriculture. We have told them before that you cannot build industry on the ruins of agriculture, that you cannot build a prosperous industry if those engaged in agriculture are not moving along, because of the market agriculture creates for industry at home on which to base exports and also because of the pattern and picture of agriculture in the general economic structure.
It seems clear to even the most unprejudiced person who has any connection of any sort with agriculture that those engaged on the land are falling further and further behind in getting their share of the national cake —static at best, but at the same time, while static in production, agriculture is having to bear greater expenses in relation to the cost of living, the turnover tax and similar things. The disparity of income between those on the land and those engaged in the factories is causing grievous disappointment, not to mention resentment, throughout the country.
I see little hope offered in the Second Programme for Economic Expansion of a remedy for that position. We have made it clear in our policy, we made it clear last night on television, where we believe the best hope of redressing that balance lies. Unless it is redressed, as a nation we shall  not be able to move forward with the concerted effort that is needed from everyone if we are to achieve real improvement in our standard of living.
I understand a passing reference was made to the balance of payments. A deficit in the balance of payments last year was a current deficit, and it seems clear from the banking figures that there must be a substantial inflow of capital, supporting the view that I and others of my Party have been expressing during the current year that there was some funk money capital coming in here. Indeed an analysis of the Stock Exchange issues and Stock Exchange purchases makes it clear that substantial capital has been coming in. That is the only explanation for the banking figures when one compares them with the current trade and probably the invisible balance of payments deficit as well—our joint trade and invisible account, I mean.
In so far as those capital moneys are coming in for permanent measures such as the building of factories, there is a permanent benefit to the economy, but in so far as they are coming in for transitory purposes—to avoid, possibly, the danger of a general election and a consequent change of Government in Britain—then they are not a happy base on which to found economic policy: it is much too liable to the winds of change, and might very well result, if there is not a change of Government, in a very substantial strain on our resources. In relation to the balance of trade and the balance of payments we are all happily now on the same viewpoint, having converted Fianna Fáil to the view it is desirable to balance our trade and our payments at as high a level as possible. That is far away from the old idea of the Taoiseach that it was better to build a wall around the country and have no trade, or from the idea of the Minister for External Affairs that we would manage all right if all the ships were at the bottom of the sea.  The Minister for Finance gave little of the picture in relation to housing in his opening speech. What are the facts? They have been put on record here, but I want to briefly put them on record here again now. In relation to Cork, after seven years of Fianna Fáil Government house building in Cork is running at four-sevenths of the rate it was when we were in office and is being paid for at only just over half. The Minister and his colleagues have said from time to time that the decreased effort in housebuilding was because of the actions taken by us. If that was so, they had seven years to remedy it. The figure for the last available year, 1962, is one of £467,000 as against £697,000, £750,000 and £741,000. If the Minister takes general housing, he will find virtually the same proportion—£17,000 for the last three years available of Fianna Fáil and £31,000 when we were providing the funds. The story the present Government have put out in most excellent propaganda terms—they are good propagandists, I grant them— that it was all because of something we did does not bear examination when one remembers that is now seven years ago and that, by any stretch, three years is considered the longest period necessary to get a housing drive to full pitch.
The Minister for Finance has brought a Vote on Account to the Dáil. Under the various headings which we indicated we wished to discuss it—the cost of living, housing and so on—the Second Programme, with its emphasis on static agriculture last year, has failed to give any indication of a change of policy, of a revitalised policy or even a revitalisation. It seems clear the Minister is perfectly happy to jog along, to allow the Estimates to rise, without having any clear picture of where he is going, and that the only plan he can think of is the plan for the turnover tax. There are many other methods of raising taxation mentioned by the Commission on Income Taxation. But it is only the Minister who has indicated that he and his Party believe it is right to tax real necessaries of life, such as bread, butter, tea, sugar and flour. There is  one of the vital differences between this Party and his.
Mr. Gallagher: This Vote on Account is certainly a very sizeable bill, but, listening to the various speeches, it is surprising that one has not heard from the Opposition Benches any suggestions as to how it can be reduced. One has heard complaints about the turnover tax and methods of raising revenue, but there has been no suggestion as to how it can be reduced. All the increases have been well received. The total increase is something like £15 million or £16 million. Nobody would suggest that Social Welfare should be reduced. It is up by £5.2 million; Health is up by £1.9 million; Education up by £3.3 million; Posts and Telegraphs, £1.5 million; Industry and Commerce, £1.6 million. These increases are all very acceptable to all sections of the House. We assume there is no disagreement with the Government's policy of expenditure, but yet we hear it said, principally from the main Opposition Party, that the Government are extravagant.
Now that there are two by-elections coming off, we hear it said—as it was said at the last by-election—that the Opposition will repeal the turnover tax if they get into power. I do not accept they are sincere in that promise. I do not believe they will repeal the turnover tax. If they do, I believe we will be presented with the same pill in another coat. Ever since Fianna Fáil went back in 1957, there has been a continuous march forward each year. Throughout the country there is a confidence in the Government that has not been there since the establishment of the State. The worst possible effect of the inter-Party Government's period of office was to undermine public confidence in public institutions. The sense of dedication of the Irish people which brought about the return to power of Fianna Fáil in 1957 assured Fianna Fáil of the support of the people in planning ahead and seeking the finance necessary to give effect to their policy for progress.
Progress has been made in the industrial sector and is being made in the  agricultural sector. It is true people are leaving the land, but progress is still being maintained because the farmer is becoming more efficient. The farmer is being encouraged by the considerable amount of money spent on all types of aids and grants. The bill is somewhere in the region of £30 million, if not more. The farmer is responding to this and has shown an awareness of the situation. I believe the farmer would do better still if he had continuity of markets, because the encouragements the farmer requires are continuity of market and a good basic floor price. These are the fundamentals necessary to sustain agricultural progress in this country.
The Department of Agriculture through the various Boards—and I do not want to go into detail—such as the Pigs and Bacon Commission and the Milk Marketing Board, are doing a wonderful job. They are promoting sales abroad, and I think it can be safely said that as soon as there is a surplus to export, these various Boards are finding a market for it. I would like to see—and this is a personal point of view—the farmers' organisations in this country coming together, creating their own policy, establishing their own system of marketing and working in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture.
One loves to see effective and strong organisations but it can truthfully be said that all organisations do not want to act as pressure groups on the Government in order to get something to their advantage. I think it is time we matured in this country, and that these organisations, trade unions or other associations, should be used to put their own industry in order and get it on a right solid permanent basis.
I have heard various criticisms about the balance of payments. I have listened to Deputy Dillon, leader of the Fine Gael Party, and indeed Deputy Sweetman, who has just left, saying that we were lucky as a Government that “hot” money has been coming in here. We have been told by Deputy Dillon that it is wrong for foreigners to invest in Irish equities. Surely this is what we have waited 40 years for: that there should be sufficient  confidence in Ireland and in Irish Governments that people will invest in this country in our equities, in our resources and in our production, and that they will invest with confidence, knowing that their money is safe. This is something that the Fine Gael Party do not like—and I certainly cannot agree with them. If these investments fail for these foreigners, all that is left here is the money which they have spent without any hope of getting back.
Another thing we have heard a tremendous amount about over the last few days is that Irish land is being sold to foreigners, that large sums of money are coming in here, that this is helping our balance of payments and that this in itself is undesirable. Nobody likes to see the land of Ireland passing into the ownership of foreigners. There are thousands of Irishmen outside this country, too, who are investing in foreign lands. If we want reciprocation with other countries, we must maintain a rational sense here. One thing is particularly remarkable, that is, it would appear that only one nationality is buying land in this country, Germans. I think anyone who looks around within a ten or 12 mile radius of a particular area will find another alien, an alien who is never frowned upon. Why is he never mentioned and why is it always the German nationality which is mentioned? I heard him mentioned in connection with the by-election in the Kildare constituency the other night. What is wrong with the German any more than the Englishman, or the American, the Frenchman or the Swiss? Why the German is picked out is hard to reconcile with freedom and justice. If he comes in with money and buys up the land here, surely we are aware that we have the Land Commission always watching to ensure that the productivity of the Irish land will be used to the full, that those who do not use it will have their land acquired and divided. This is going on now for very nearly 100 years.
I have heard criticism of industrial development in this country and that foreign companies in some peculiar  way obtain benefits which are not available to Irishmen. First of all, let me say that I believe that all companies getting industrial aid in this country are, in fact, largely Irish holding companies. I am also well aware that a lot of these companies have considerable outside investments of foreign money. I think it is wrong to insinuate that foreign companies are getting aid which is not available to wholly-owned Irish companies. I think this is untrue. I think that Irish companies owned by Irishmen and financed by Irish capital can go along to any of our Government bodies, the Industrial Development Authority and Foras Tionscal, where they will be welcomed and given every encouragement. Of course they must measure up to the prescribed requirements.
No House anywhere in the world is more critical than this House is of any board who will not do its job adequately and do it well. If there is one particular fear amongst those on the boards of many of these companies, it is that they must be ultra correct, even sometimes oppressively so, because of the criticism that can be levelled against them in this House, even for the slightest miscalculation, as it were. It is sufficient cause for criticism even if one of those industries fails. There is no glory for those poor unfortunate members of the board, for all the success they achieved and for all they put into it; but they are criticised for any of their failures.
It can be said that fewer companies are now going to the west of Ireland than did in the past. I think it is known to all of us in industry that many companies offered to come to Ireland but would not all go to the west of Ireland. I knew a few who would not and, in fact, did not come to Ireland at all. I think that the Industrial Development Authority, when faced with this problem, were right in making recommendations that our major aim here was to achieve greater industrial expansion and more jobs for our people, and that amendment of the Acts to enable other sections of the country to avail of these benefits deserves credit.
 I would suggest, of course, that in order to keep up pressure for the west of Ireland, where industries are badly needed, greater amendments might be necessary. I think the differential to-day is insufficient. I do not think it will be easy to browbeat, or even bribe with any kind of money, people to go into an area that probably has its drawbacks right from the word “go”. I know from personal experience that most people like to get to seaport towns, especially on the south and east coasts, if they can get the same benefits as in the west of Ireland. I am well aware of that and that they are continually pressing for it. Representatives from those areas are working in their interests towards that aim.
The progress made in the past seven years has been really remarkable. We have heard the main Opposition speakers talk at great length about housing. Even this morning we had a reference to a housing crisis in Cork. It is amazing that I have been talking to many Cork Deputies and I have not heard much about any crisis there. I heard of a housing crisis in Dublin and, as a person who knows a little about Dublin and its housing problems, that was not unexpected.
I want to refer to one of the really great sins of the inter-Party Government, undermining public confidence. This happened to a great extent with Dublin Corporation and Dublin County Council when there was wholesale abandonment of their programme. That did not give much encouragement. If somebody had suggested in 1958 or 1959 that they should make provision for 20,000 or 30,000 houses he would be laughed to scorn because homes were empty at that time. It is easy enough to blame the Corporation or even the Government but it is hard to ask people to build houses with houses in fact empty in the city.
The housing programme laid down by Fianna Fáil up to the time they went out of office in 1954 carried on of its own momentum to 1955 or 1956.  No new plans were laid in the period 1954 to 1957 by Dublin Corporation. They were utilising the plans and development schemes already there. I remember very well the crisis building up in Dublin. I remember the forlorn trips by borrowers under the SDA scheme with negative results. I remember being on a delegation to the then Minister for Local Government, Deputy P. O'Donnell. We asked him a straight question: “Should we carry on with building?” And he replied: “Sure, carry on. Everything will be all right.” Late in 1956 Deputy Sweetman perpetrated the same kind of false encouragement. In 1956 the banks were taking over and curtailing credit. They knew that the Bank of Ireland had refused a loan to Dublin Corporation; they would not accept even the guarantee of the Government. These are well-known facts and when we hear the Leader of Fine Gael giving out statistics about the thousands of houses that were built, one cannot help wondering will Fine Gael policy for the future be the same.
In the Fine Gael television broadcast last night, there were misrepresentations that the 2½ per cent turnover tax would add to Cork city rates something like 4/- or 5/- in the £. I have no doubt the leader of Fine Gael does not believe that but that is the impression they tried to create with the voters of Cork. They also tried to give the impression last night that there was a serious housing position in Cork and that this Government would not make money available to build the homes required. I shall leave it to those members of Cork Corporation who know the situation to answer that but I know it is not true and that all the money needed is either available from the Central Fund or, if Cork Corporation need money, I am equally certain they are in such a financial position and their city is such that they would have no difficulty in floating their own loan, if necessary. That situation has grown in Cork in the past seven years of Fianna Fáil Government because of the confidence inspired not only in Cork but throughout the country.
These things are the result of  Fianna Fáil policy and planning. We are not complacent and we have indicated this by our Second Programme for Economic Expansion. It is heartbreaking to have the whole thing pooh-poohed as if it did not matter. Is it good to make a plan or wait until things happen willy-nilly? I think this plan is attainable and I think one of its best endorsements is that the National Farmers Association have said the agricultural programme is attainable. Yet, we are told by the Solomons of Fine Gael that it cannot be achieved. Sometimes there is no better way of destroying something than by denying it can be done, by opposing it in every way, saying: “It is a Lemass policy, a Fianna Fáil policy and we do not support it: we do not believe it will work, and, in any case, we do not want it to work because it might bring lustre or credit to Fianna Fáil.”
There was some criticism by Deputy Sweetman as to whether there was any real increase in the standard of living. He doubted that we were any better off than we were in 1956. Any person who has any confidence at all in statistics, and there must be some reality about them—although you can do a few things with statistics, they do present a true picture when compiled and presented properly —will know that from 1956 to the present time, the statistics indicate a real increase of something like 50 per cent in the gross national product and that during the same period the increase in the cost of living has not  been anything approaching that figure. Take the figure of 23 points as against 50 per cent and you find that there is a real increase. But you do not have to rely on statistics for this type of thing. Statistics merely confirm what we see daily with our eyes, what we see in towns and villages, what we see in the homes being erected throughout the country, the transformation that is taking place; what we see in motor cars, autocycles, television aerials.
Mr. Gallagher: Salthill does well out of the caravans. There is a good deal of prosperity there. I would not say anything against caravans. They are very suitable for holiday purposes. I have gone on caravan holidays myself and have stopped at Salthill on my way through. I have nothing against caravans.
Mr. Gallagher: I have not seen many of these around Salthill except those put out for holidaymakers who pay a heavy rent for them. I do not think the Deputy need bother about those that are not mobile.
Mr. Gallagher: I am in Dublin very often and I do not see many of them. The Deputy must be making a very great effort if he is able to find them. Does he know where they are? Can he bring me to them now? I do not believe he can.
Mr. Gallagher: It must be because of the small print that we did not see it. I have not heard of it before except that I identify a large part of it as being part and parcel of the policy of this Government for the past seven years.
Mr. Gallagher: What are the things that are missing from it? Deputy Sweetman or even Deputy Dillon might be able to tell me at this juncture. One remembers certain decisions of the inter-Party Government regarding luxury hotels, Aerlínte, the development at Shannon, the development at Haulbowline, even some of the development at the CIE depot in Dublin. Some of these things that were planned and laid down were all scrapped in 1948 as being daft, as being white elephants. A lot of the plant was left to rot and people were exported. Indeed, a lot of money spent in training personnel in connection with the first transatlantic flight was scrapped, wasted. It was put across in that year or later that we made a profit on the sale of Constellations. One remembers that that profit arose simply and solely because sterling was devalued in relation to the value of the dollar. So we  were able to show a profit. Nobody ever estimated the loss involved in the training and dispersal of skilled personnel out of the country.
What would be the policy regarding Shannon Airport? I remember the delay and procrastination in regard to the construction of a jet runway at Cork. I remember talking to the late Deputy Norton when he was not too happy about the matter. Happily, he was not in Government at the time. That was subsequent to 1957. Even then he did not think it was good policy.
Mr. Gallagher: He would have liked to go along with it if he could be assured that it would be a success. Naturally, we all like to go along with something we feel will be successful. As the song says: “The future is not ours to see”. We cannot always forecast the future. We can make our own future if we put determination, planning and ability into it. These things that I have referred to went ahead. Futures do not come to those who sit and wait for them. Futures are made, even by nations, who go out and create the opportunities, show initiative and do the planning that is required.
Mr. Gallagher: Deputy Sweetman says that there are many ways of raising money besides the turnover tax. I could not agree with him more. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ways of raising money without the turnover tax. Deputy Sweetman was very careful not to indicate even one. He only knew one way in which he would not raise money, that was, the turnover tax.
Mr. Gallagher: One does not have to be very clever to know what Deputy Coogan's side of the House have in mind. They have promised repeal of the turnover tax. I do not believe  them. First of all, I do not think they will have an opportunity of repealing it, but even if they had, it would be a case of the same pill with a coating of raspberry, if not chocolate. Deputy Sweetman has not told us whether he would increase taxation to meet the bill of Government or not. I feel that he would do nothing at all about it, that he would do, as the Coalition did in 1954, 1955, and 1956, sweet Fanny Adams about meeting the bill and would bring about a position similar to the position that developed during 1955, which became chronic in 1956 and ultimately led the then Coalition Government to surrender their seals of office in the spring of 1957 without ever being defeated in the House. It was unprecedented for an undefeated Government to walk out.
Mr. Gallagher: That remains to be seen, but at least if we are fired, we shall not walk out and leave a shambles behind us. We shall leave a fine healthy position behind us. I doubt very much if you and your Party will be able to do anything like that after next week or for many a long day.
The present Estimate provides for some £16 million for housing, sanitation and various other services. All the local authorities charged with that responsibility have been planning ahead for some time past. Dublin Corporation are very conscious of the serious position that obtains.
Mr. Gallagher: Because of the present economic position. We have brought back and given work to many of the hundreds of thousands you drove out. You may not have met many of them but I have. I have seen people who, with a deposit of a few hundred pounds, got a loan for their house under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Acts having to hand in their key and sacrifice their deposit and go off  to Liverpool and elsewhere in Britain in search of work.
The housing programme is getting every encouragement. As Deputy Sherwin remarked, there is no crisis in the building industry in Dublin. Every available man in Ireland is fully employed. Any contractors I know in the building industry are fully employed. What is true of Dublin in this connection is true of the whole country.
Mr. Gallagher: The plans for the housing programme have been put to the county councils and the borough councils. I have no doubt they will act with speed where there is a real need. Every member of Dublin Corporation is aware of the problem. They lack certain facilities in respect of sewage disposal and water supplies and all of their problems cannot be solved overnight. A vast expansion of the city limits must be achieved.
It may be said that some people do not like six-storey or ten-storey buildings to live in. Some people regard living in such buildings as more or less equivalent to living in a pigeon hole. Maybe we would all love to house people on an acre of ground and to spread out all over the county but all these matters bring their own problems. One would have to meet every individual case to get some comment on their requirements.
I know of people in the Gardiner Street and Rutland Street areas who  would be very happy to get suitable housing there rather than to be sent out to Finglas or Coolock. The point is that the programme is devised by the Department of Local Government and the money is available to achieve the results. A worry I have is that even if Dublin Corporation released contracts tomorrow for 2,000 or 3,000 houses, I doubt if there would be contractors available to carry out the work.
I have a feeling that new methods of housing will have to be examined. There is talk that the grounds of the Albert College may be made available for about 3,000 prefabricated dwellings. I know nothing about the plan but I should like to be satisfied that the 3,000 homes will have some degree of permanency and will last longer than 15 or 20 years. Prefabricated houses are expensive by the time the site is developed and they are erected. By permanent housing, I mean something that will last for not less than 60 years. It is too soon yet to adopt the American idea that a person is quite satisfied with a guarantee of 20 years for the lifetime of a house. The traditional forms of building in this country will take some time to supersede. I doubt if a period of 20 or 40 years for a house would suit our conditions. However, one does see houses which were erected 50 or 60 years ago being demolished and replaced by better and more up-to-date homes.
The Minister for Local Government should encourage all local authorities to make adequate plans to lay in a pool of land for housing. They should not wait until the eleventh hour but go out and seek it. With a pool of land in hands, they can plan ahead and develop services. Local authority planning should be even 20 years ahead. Many local authorities could have secured good supplies of land as recently as ten or 15 years ago with advantage to the ratepayers from the point of view of the interest to be paid.
One is amazed to hear the main Opposition Party creating the scare, as it were, that there is going to be a tremendous increase in rates throughout the country this year. I wonder whom they blame for this ever-increasing  cost on county councils. I have not heard any county councillor anywhere saying: “No more expenditure in our county. We are going to cut out spending altogether as we cannot afford it.” Apparently those elected members are quite satisfied that this is necessary work, necessary development and that necessary services are being provided and that they must have them. No matter what services you get, you must be prepared to pay for them. The local authorities are prepared to face up to this problem. It is wrong for the main Opposition Party mischievously, as it were, to accuse this Government of being responsible in some way for this annual increase in rates. One has only to examine what the ratepayers have obtained by way of services since 1922 to see the reason for these high rates. There is only one problem in regard to high rates, that is, that the people demand a high standard and it must be paid for.
There is only one way to reduce, that is, to pursue diligently the policy that has been before this nation since 1957, a policy of industrial development and building up the population. If rates have been rising, it is partly due to the fact that only a few ratepayers are carrying the burden. It is also due to the fact that to some degree housing is being subsidised from the rates. I should like to see a policy whereby more of our people would be encouraged to become the owners of their houses rather than tenants of local authority houses. It can be said that in respect of every house a county council or corporation owns a sum is voted each year for maintenance. I do not see any sum being voted for the ordinary ratepayer who has to maintain his house and pay his full rates.
It is ironical to be talking to two men who are working at the same job, one of whom is living in a Corporation house and the other in a house which he has bought. The latter is being heavily taxed simply because he decided to buy his own house. I should like to hear from the Opposition which of those two men they regard as the better type, or whether the person who  is forever seeking the handout rather than facing up in a responsible manner to what may be normally described as ordinary justice should be constantly pursued and appealed to.
The social welfare classes must be looked after. Over the years I have read the responsibility of the local authorities is merely to help the working classes but I have never been able to find out what “working class” means. There was a time of course when a man who did not shave for a week and who did not change his shirt for a month could be described as a working class man as opposed to the man wearing a white collar. That was in a day and age when few men wore collars except those in a few urban areas but today nearly every man wears a white shirt and collar. There has been a great change from the snobbery of 40 or 50 years ago and we have to examine all these things in that light.
I shall not detain the House much longer but let me express the hope that speakers from the opposite side will answer the questions I have posed and endeavour to tell me in what respects they can effect economies in this bill for 1964-65 and, if they are sincere about abolishing the turnover tax— which I believe will produce £12 million or £13 million, where will they find that money? The Estimates for the year are in the region of £186 million and the Minister has informed us that this does not include the ninth wage round, which will add another £7 million, nor does it bring in CIE, so that possibly you could put it at £196 million or £200 million.
Mr. Gallagher: ——how can you cut it down because presumably he will be the doctor with all the cures for extravagant government. It can be put on the record with safety that the  year which has passed was marked by real progress. Let us look forward with confidence to 1964-65.
Mr. O'Sullivan: Deputy Gallagher, in company with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and others seeks to defend this record sum presented to the taxpayers this year by saying to the Opposition: “How could you reduce this figure?” This figure we are considering is some £60 million odd in excess of the figure expended in 1957 when members of the Government who were then in Opposition were most vocal in advocating economies. One of the most vocal was the young Lochinvar, Deputy O'Malley, who suggested to the House, and was in fact most emphatic in his opinion, that we had too many Ministers of State. He also suggested that the example should come from the top, that, by reducing the number of Ministries, we would have a favourable reaction right through the whole of our public services and, consequently, the bill to be met by the taxpayers in the years ahead would be reduced. Of course, anyone like Deputy O'Malley, who repairs to Limerick to make a personal attack on the character and integrity of a man of the calibre of Tadhg Manley is capable of saying anything.
We are, however, entitled to expect from the Taoiseach some measure of responsibility, but he repaired to Clonmel in the course of the last general election and he there expounded the policy of his Party, on the assumption that Fianna Fáil would be elected to office. He said what his Party would do and the work they would perform if they were given the suffrage of the Irish electorate. Right through that speech in Clonmel was economy, economy, economy. He said the Government in office then were on a Rake's Progress; they were extravagant. They were not careful in the administration of the country's finances, and it would take a Government led by himself, or in which he occupied a responsible position, to bring in the necessary correctives.
In view of that, how can any Minister or any Deputy behind him, have  the audacity to vote an hour hence in support of a figure grossly in excess of the figure they claimed was extravagant seven years ago? One is entitled to ask what have we got in return for this excessive figure? We have exported 250,000 of our young people. We have an unemployment figure of some 60,000. We have a slump in house building. What have we got? We have got a spiral of rising costs. The Taoiseach told us a short time back, when he introduced his pay pause, that any increase in wages would be inimical to our exports. At that time we opposed the Government's attempt to introduce a standstill order, an anaemic version of the type of wages standstill order a strong Fianna Fáil Government would implement, if they were strong enough to do it, and which they tried to implement before there was a change of Government in 1948.
We are asked now what economies can be effected. We say give the example from the top. The Taoiseach has lectured our workers to the effect that they should save from the increases they are now getting, through negotiation with their employers, in the interests of the country. We say to him that he should give the example. Why has he increased the number of Ministries since his accession to office? Why not implement the suggestions of his brainy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance? Seven years ago he said there were too many Ministers. Seven years ago the number of Ministries was less than it is today.
Consider the vast wealth of the United States of America. Yet, President Johnson, in his efforts to get his financial proposals through Congress, gave directions in regard to the operating expenses of the White House. A small thing, minute in relation to the overall expenditure of such a wealthy country! Yet, President Johnson did that and thereby set a pattern, a pattern which brought him co-operation in Congress in relation to the financial provisions he wished Congress to adopt. He set the pattern in that affluent, extremely wealthy society.
Is there any example being set here  by any Minister in regard to economies? We are asked where can economies be effected. Only a few weeks ago we had a division here on the Government's proposal to increase the number of judges, at a time when a certain volume of judicial work will be removed from the courts through the proposed changes in the workmen's compensation code. The Fianna Fáil Deputies paraded into the Division Lobby in support of their own Government increasing the number of judges. We had the occasion on which increases were given in judges' salaries, those increases being made retrospective in order to benefit one individual, a pal. Why should any civil servant, any local authority official, any manager of any semi-State body, go to pains to ensure that the money for which he is responsible is wisely and carefully spent when a contrary example is set by those with ministerial responsibility?
The Minister for Transport and Power was drafted in here in an emergency situation today to support the Government in their present difficulties because of a marked reluctance on the part of Fianna Fáil Deputies sitting behind the Front Bench to rise in support of the Government. He arrived in the House without any notes beyond the cutting from the newspapers of the Fine Gael policy. Deputy Sweetman followed him. He inquired about the omission of the £7 million required to meet the cost of living increase for public servants from the figure presented to us on the Vote on Account. He also suggested to the Minister for Transport and Power that a figure has been omitted in relation to Coras Iompair Éireann. The Minister for Transport and Power sat silent. When he was speaking earlier he did not refer to the fact that this very day, while he was speaking, there was an announcement from CIE that train fares had been increased. He kept quiet about that in order to conceal yet another impact on the cost of living.
Is there a day on which taxpayers switch on radio or television, or open a newspaper, that they are not bombarded by still a further charge  upon them either in relation to Government taxation or local authority rates? During the past week, the Cork Health Authority got a “Whereas” from the Minister for Health informing them that a still further charge had been made in relation to beds in hospitals. It came as such a shock that the loyal Fianna Fáil members, and they have been loyal, in the local authority were swept completely off their feet and the proposal to protest to the Minister against the increase was made by two Senators of the Minister's Party, Senator Healy and Senator Donegan. We had an immediate natural reaction there on the part of two public men. There was not sufficient time to get at them to warn them to keep their mouths shut.
Remember this upsets calculations not alone in relation to health authorities but also in relation to the various institutions. It upsets the calculations of those who have been wise enough to cover themselves under the Voluntary Health Insurance and who were unaware, when repeating their premiums recently, of these increased costings. If during the coming 12 months they should have the ill-luck to need hospitalisation, their coverage will not be sufficient to meet these new charges.
Why have these increases come about? We assert that, in part, they have been deliberately created by the insane financial policy of the Government. Is not every item of food used in a hospital taxed in the same way as every item of food is taxed in the home? We know there are no dogs kept in hospitals; if there were, their food would be exempt. Dog food is exempt from taxation; baby foods are not exempt. This is the type of financial policy the Government say they must pursue, and that in defiance of the recent criticism voiced by so many people in our community, people with authority to express their opinion on such matters in relation to a very large section of our people.
The Government have had a verdict in one constituency in this city before ever the impact fell upon the people, a verdict showing clearly the people did  not want this system of taxation. Last year I had the experience of being at a seminar in Harvard with delegates from 18 countries, distributed over four Continents. The occasion arrived when I had to journey back here to vote against this turnover tax, returning afterwards to Harvard. The subject of taxation was brought up and these delegates inquired what it was all about. We had a general discussion regarding the methods of taxation in various countries. There was not a single one in which the turnover tax operated in addition to income tax. There was not one case in which it was introduced at 2½ per cent and left at 2½ per cent. There was not a single State in America in which similar taxes were introduced at a low level and remained at a low level.
Mr. O'Sullivan: We are told by the Government that in order to expend money, taxes must be imposed, and that their decision in relation to expenditure is governed by their capacity to secure the money to operate the State services. It is impossible to discuss the expenditure of the money without referring to the methods available for securing all the moneys necessary to carry on the public services.
The cost of every public service in this State is now swollen by the impact of the Government's taxation policy. This should be nothing new to them. They had the same experience in former years when they said a saving could be effected in the Book of  Estimates by cuting out food subsidies. We on this side of the House warned the Government at that time that if they removed the food subsidies from the Estimates, there would be such an increase in the cost of living that compensation would have to be made to State personnel and that in the long run there would be no actual reduction in taxation. Sure enough, the moneys that were at one time deliberately secured by taxation and devoted specifically to keeping down the cost of living had to be redistributed among classes in our service and it was found that those in the higher echelons, who eat no more than those in the lower income group, the worker in the field or in the factory, gained, and that the system by which compensation was administered was unjust in as much as the major part of the compensation went to those with incomes higher than those of people with large young families whose outgoings were just as heavy as those of people who got larger increases.
As Deputy Corry is in the House, let me say that he realised this full well because he proposed at the Cork Health Authority meeting that the increases in salaries that would be granted to officers of the health authority should be made only up to a certain level. He proposed an amendment to what the Government were suggesting and although he did not get his way, it emphasised that he realised the injustice that was being perpetrated by the manner in which these moneys were being distributed.
Deputy Gallagher commented on the attitude of the Fine Gael Party regarding foreign investment in Ireland. Anybody listening to Deputy Gallagher would think that it was the Fianna Fáil Party who were responsible for the industrial policy that made such investment possible. No one would believe for a moment that it was the Fianna Fáil Party who were responsible for the Control of Manufactures Act which was operated over 25 years specifically to prevent the type of investment we have been allowing in recent years in consequence of Deputy Sweetman's and the late Deputy  Norton's legislation in that regard.
We are concerned at the fact that although in relation to the balance of payments position it appears to our credit that such moneys are invested in this country but we must assume that all those who are investing will draw dividends for long years to come. We must be careful to have sufficient regard for the cost of living in those years ahead when we shall have to meet in our exports the charges arising from the fact that such payments will be withdrawn from the country. In drawing attention to that, we feel we are not being unreasonable.
It is surprising to hear people of the intelligence of Deputy Gallagher saying we in this Party are opposed in some way to foreign capital investment. We are definitely opposed to the investment of hot money in the purchase of land, making it impossible for our farmers to compete in the land market today. We are emphatic in our opposition to that. The Deputy was critical of the Labour Party for having adverted to it in their telecast the other night but we in these front benches were the first to advert to it. It has been repeated since by many people, including the Minister's delegates at the Árd Fheis, and there is no doubt there is great concern in many parts of the country at the manner in which Irish land has been purchased by foreigners at the expense of our own nationals who cannot compete against European cheque books.
Deputy Gallagher spoke about the undermining of public confidence. It is the function of a Party in Opposition to keep a Government on their toes and to pinpoint weaknesses in their policy and faults in their administration. It is the bounden duty of an Opposition Party to do that but we claim that for the period we have been in opposition and now coming to a termination, we have set an example to any Party going into Opposition after us. When this Government were faced with extreme problems connected with efforts to bring this country into the European Economic Community, the leaders and members of this Party set an example unequalled in the Parliamentary history of this country by the  co-operation they gave and the manner in which they refrained from putting embarrassing questions all during the trying period. It is not good enough for Deputy Gallagher to say that the Fine Gael Party in Opposition were acting in a manner deliberately designed to undermine public confidence. That comes very badly from a member of a Party whose leader, Deputy Lemass, when an inter-Party Government were floating a national loan, placarded the dead walls of this city with the pawnbroker's sign.
The Minister for Justice attaches considerable importance to the outcome of the two pending by-elections. We agree they are of the utmost importance. His leader vociferously stated in this House that under no condition would he go to the country, unless he was defeated in this House on an important issue. Now there is a complete reversal of that decision. He now agrees with the Leader of the Opposition that this Government cannot continue in office in defiance of the will of the people as expressed in by-elections when the occasion arises.
The Taoiseach tried to flout the decision of North-East Dublin. Now faced with the reports from the borough of Cork, from Kildare, Meath and Westmeath, he has stated that irrespective of the support he may secure in this House, it is his intention to resign from Government next week, should he fail to win the two by-elections. The Minister for Justice likens, in importance, this occasion in Irish history to the battle of Kinsale. There was another battle quite recently in which the Minister for Justice was particularly involved as director of elections for his Party's candidate. That was the battle of Clontarf and seemingly he would like us to forget it. The battle of Clontarf was as important as was the battle of Kinsale and I am convinced that the consequences of the battle in the south and Kildare will be as good for the future of this country as were the results that came from North-East Dublin.
Mr. Corry: It is amusing to hear the statements made here, and to read the  speeches made in the past few days, particularly in view of the two by-elections which are pending and which, apparently, will decide the issue. We must ask ourselves on the Vote on Account whether the country is improving? Is there more employment? Are there better wages? Is the position of the country better all round than it was, say, this time 12 months ago, or than it was when the Opposition were over on this side of the House?
I was extremely amused by a television programme last night when I saw Deputy Dillon, as Leader of the Opposition, talking about housing. I have been here, and I have been a member of a local authority, for some 40 years, and I can say that work on housing is due to the actions of the local authority which carry out that work, and there is no good in pretending anything else. Only one thing can stop their programme, that is, if the Department of Local Government, or the Government, say: “There is no more money.”
It is amusing to hear Deputy Dillon talking about what happened in Dublin, when we remember that on 22nd December, 1956, the Dublin County Manager said that the loans under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act had to be suspended because there was no more money and that the Fine Gael Chairman of the Housing Committee said that the building trade was ghastly, and that building had almost come to a standstill. Deputy Dillon wants to know what caused the delays. That is one of the things that caused them.
In Cork County Council we were in a happier position, evidently, or we had a better bank than Dublin Corporation had, because we were able to go to the Munster and Leinster Bank and borrow the money that was due by the Government in grants and pay our people. That was the difference.
I was also amused when I heard him talking about the improvement in schools, and what was required in the schools. Mr. Manley, the Cork candidate, is, and I hope will always be, a  friend of mine. Yesterday I had the pleasure of going into the school where Mr. Tadhg Manley has been head teacher for the past 30 years. Lo and behold, in that school, which is within six miles of Cork city, there are still earth closets. When one sees a candidate going up for election and telling us of the improvements he will make, one naturally looks at the improvements he has carried out in the school in which he was principal teacher for 30 years.
Mr. Corry: The Minister for Education has been very decent about providing money for any proposal which was put up since he became Minister. I do not think I interrupted anyone, and I think I am entitled to speak.
Mr. Corry: Last night on television only one minute was left to the rural candidate for Kildare to open his mouth. They did not want anything about rural policy preached by Deputy Dillon. That rural policy left the farmers in Kilkenny, about whom Deputy Crotty is anxious, and the farmers around the four beet factories, rationed in their beet production because of the levy of £16 a ton which, with the blessing of the Leader of the main Opposition, was put on our exports of sugar by the British Government. We did not hear any word about that, or about the policy of Deputy Dillon in regard to what he described as the daft scheme of establishing beet factories and starting the manufacture of sugar here. I can tell Deputy Dillon now that if we had not established these factories, the housewives  of this country would have been paying 2/6d. a lb. for sugar during the past six months. Does the Deputy see the effects of his foolish, idiotic statements in this House?
I have been attacked by Deputy Crotty for supporting a policy of increased prices for wheat. What had Deputy Dillon to say to the Kilkenny farmers, who are such good producers of wheat? This is what he said:
I had the exhilarating experience of eating bread made from Irish wheat recently. You took it in your hands and you squeezed the water out of it and then you looked at it and decided whether it was boot polish or bread. If it was boot polish you put it on your boots. If it was bread you tried to masticate it if you were fit.
Mr. Corry: When are we to expect payment of the £2 million a year subsidy on milk produced and sent to the creameries, or are we to expect the price of milk to become so adjusted that the subsidy will no longer be needed? Deputy Dillon came into office and immediately went to adjust the price of milk. How? By telling the farmers that he would give them a bob a gallon for five years. That is the agricultural policy of Fine Gael. Is it any wonder that the poor idiot down in Kildare was given only a minute and a half on television the other night? What could he say about a policy of that kind?
He was followed by the shadow Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Donegan, the man who a few weeks ago said in the House that 75 per cent of the milk produced and sent to creameries in this country was unfit for processing because it was too dirty. That is the agricultural policy of Fine Gael. Let us examine it further. Does Deputy Dillon ever take a night off and get a copy of the Official Report and read what he said? We  are all anxious to increase milk production. What did Deputy Dillon say about that? Here it is:
What can you get from such a gentleman? I know what I would do if I were Deputy Dillon and went back and found I had made statements of that sort. I would bury myself in the smallest hole I could find in this House until I had time to crawl out the gate somehow, and never come back.
Mr. Corry: There is a calf over there and he is a long time waiting to be slaughtered. I hope he will be in the next election. Would the Deputy get a sucking bottle and hide himself over there until he grows up?
Mr. Crotty: As I was saying, our aim is to improve production. There is only one way that can be done and that way has been adopted by us and is being carried out. The beet factories that they would have discarded are responsible for increasing the production of beet by 25 per cent in the past four years, in spite of Deputy Dillon's £15 a ton on our sugar going into Britain. This year we were able to tell the farmers to increase production and that they would get 11/1d more a ton for it.
These are the things that matter. We have established vegetable processing factories. Last year I induced a bunch of farmers to grow cabbage in the territory so misused by Deputy O'Sullivan. They did so and got close on £160 per statute acre for their cabbage last year. Now we have factories at Midleton, at Bandon, one in Skibbereen and two in Kerry—five of them on the go. Those five factories will each give employment to between 500 and 700 people within the next two years as well as providing the farmers in the areas of which they are the centres with £2½ million extra income.
Where, in Deputy O'Sullivan's time families were being reared for export, I have now succeeded in getting industries going which will build up the areas and provide employment and hope for the people there. In the Coalition days, nobody there was paid or could be paid. Of course the people in Cork to-day are asking about this great scheme of Deputy Dillon, the great scheme of that young lad, Flanagan, because they say Oliver will print all the notes and nobody will have to use anything but Oliver's notes.
Minister for Finance (Dr. Ryan): Deputy Sweetman asked me why, when I became aware of the ninth round wage increases, I did not include that figure in the Estimates. By the time we had reached agreement  with the Civil Service on the application of the ninth round, the White Paper in connection with the Vote on Account was going to the printers. There was no time to hold it up. Deputies are aware they did not receive it until the minimum period necessary before the Vote could be taken. In addition, the ninth round has not been negotiated fully with the other services, apart from the Civil Service, although it is generally understood that the 12 per cent will apply. Even so, there will be the necessity to discuss certain aspects of its application.
Dr. Ryan: The annual output. I should like to say we have the support of the NFA in our statement that they think this target of 43 per cent is quite feasible, although Deputy Dillon referred to our reckless calculation. Deputy Dillon said he approved of the NFA statement, but he did not draw any particular attention to their approval of our estimate for cattle expansion up to 1970. It was also mentioned in one of the paragraphs that when the Bovine TB Scheme will be concluded, as we expect, in 1965-66, there will be a natural expansion of cattle of about 40,000 head per annum. That, in itself, will go about half way towards achieving the target set out in the Programme.
Deputy Dillon also thought there was a very poor response to the scheme of the Minister for Industry and Commerce for giving inducements to industrialists to carry out adaptation measures so that they may be able to face export markets in a more competitive way. I do not agree the Minister for Industry and Commerce is dissatisfied. He certainly would like to see a better response, but, in my opinion the response is not so bad.
Dr. Ryan: I am sorry; I might as well give the information. A hundred applications for adaptation grants have been sanctioned and the total expenditure on the applications would be about £13 million, a very substantial sum. The grants given total £2½ million. The Minister for Industry and Commerce would like to see a better response but, on the whole, we cannot feel too dissatisfied with the results so far.
I turn now to some of the bigger questions discussed very fully during the debate. First, I should like to deal with this question of emigration. Emigration has been one of our biggest worries under every Government and not alone under this Government. If Deputies are serious in their desire to solve this question, they should at least know the facts. There is no use throwing around figures that have no foundation and blaming one Government more than another for what has taken place. The emigration figure has improved very substantially. Deputy Cosgrave, I think, said we are never so sure about these figures.
We have been relying on these figures in our discussions on emigration over the years. We have an exact count of the number who arrive and depart by sea and air. It is on this that the estimated figure of emigration is based each year. The real figure is taken at census time, because when the census is taken the census people, knowing the number of births and deaths for the previous five or ten years, depending on the period, can calculate how many people should be in the country. From that they are able to deduct what emigration has been. In fact, these census figures, where taken, have corresponded very closely, if not exactly—because that would be too much to expect—with the figures given for arrivals and departures by sea and air. We may take it, therefore, that these estimates made on the figure for departures and arrivals  by sea and air are substantially correct.
Dr. Ryan: They have always corresponded with the census figures. There has been a mistake of about 10,000 for the five years each time. That is all. As a matter of fact, the census figures, as far as I remember, were more favourable than the figures given by the other statistics; in other words, emigration was not altogether as bad as the other figures would indicate. On these figures, for the three years before we took office, the average emigration was 49,000 per annum. Take the seven years from 1st March, 1957, up to the present time, and we find the average is 31,000.
In trying to find a remedy for emigration, we have to regard it as going on for a very long time, long before the ten years I have mentioned here. There has been at least this improvement in the past three or four years. Last year the emigration figures were very low. They appear to be below 10,000. I have not seen a figure produced by the Statistics Office but, on figures supplied, they would appear to have come down below the 10,000 mark.
Dr. Ryan: I will give them to the Deputy if he wants them. These are full years; I collect them from 1st March each time. They are: 1954, 49,271; 1955, 46,227; 1956, 42,762; 1957, 60,512; 1958, 40,225; 1959, 38,783;  1960, 43,035; 1961, 26,847; 1962, 20,786. As I said, as far as we could calculate the figure for 1963 is under 10,000.
Dr. Ryan: I do not think so. I am taking them from 1st March because I am not prepared to accept the big exodus from this country during January-February, 1957. Now let us take the population figure which, after all, is the thing which matters. The loss in population during the three years the Coalition were in office was 63,000 and the loss in population during the last seven years was 31,000, which is a great difference for seven years compared with 63,000 for three years. That gives an indication of the very favourable trend emigration has taken. You may have gathered from the figures I have read out that there was no great improvement during the first four years from 1956. The big improvement has been in the last three years, and in 1963, the year just past, our population would appear to have increased by almost 20,000. These are the figures so far as I can gather from the statistics. They are the figures on which we base our calculations, if we want to look for an improvement in the position.
Dr. Ryan: Yes, there was very big emigration in 1957. I want as far as possible to give official figures for anything I may say. Some of those figures are not as good as we would like them to be, but let us give the figures are not as good as we would like them to be, but let us give the figures correctly and then let us carry on our deliberations in this House  on correct figures. That is the only way we can expect to do our job properly in this House.
Dr. Ryan: There is no use in one Party producing either false figures or figures that could be misrepresented because that will deprive us of the opportunity of discussing the matter in a reasonable way. I have not very much to say on unemployment. The figure is 61,000 at the moment. We have been accused by speakers on the other side of being quite pleased about that figure and quite satisfied that we have done as well as anybody could do.
I must say I have never heard of any member of the Government—I certainly have not said it myself— saying that we were satisfied with that figure. We have always expressed the opinion that we should like to see it lower. We have done everything possible to create employment under various heads in order to reduce that unemployment figure. I suppose we have been, if you like, driven from time to time to say to the Opposition that it is a much better figure than it was when they were in office. But that does not in any way improve the position as it is at the moment and we are, as a matter of fact, doing everything we can to effect an improvement.
Deputy Desmond said that although there would appear to be a bigger increase in the production of transportable goods in 1963 it was not accompanied by a rise in employment. That is not true. There was, as the figures show, an increase of thousands in each quarter right through 1963 compared with the corresponding quarter in 1962. In fact, if we take the September quarter, the last for which we have figures at the moment, the number employed in the production of transportable goods was 6,000 higher than in the September quarter of 1962. I might say the real earnings were up by 3 per cent which might. I think, indicate that on the whole longer hours were worked during that period.
There has been a great deal of talk  about the turnover tax. I do not want to spend much time on it because it will be more appropriate to discuss it when we come to the Budget debate. There are a few things I should like to say about it, however. Deputy O'Sullivan speaking on this matter, said he was at a national gathering in America when he was summoned home to the Dáil to vote on the turnover tax. When he told his colleagues, who were from 18 different countries, what he was coming home for they began to talk to him about this turnover tax —I hope he explained it to them objectively—and they all said there was no such tax in their countries.
Then, for some strange reason, they said, as they went on talking about it, that it was never left at the figure at which it was introduced but was always brought up. There must be some explanation for Deputy O'Sullivan's impression of what was said at that meeting.
Deputy Sweetman said something with which I do not agree. He said that the turnover tax which is agreed upon in the EEC is not the same as our turnover tax. At the same time I can say that our turnover tax is not at variance with the EEC pattern because, although they wish to move towards an added value type of tax, in addition their members are quite free to have a retail turnover tax for their own respective revenues, and nothing would be inconsistent as far as the EEC is concerned if any particular country were to do that.
I may say that an added value tax naturally increases the cost of living as well. I do not know if it can be argued that it would increase the cost of living in a more pleasant way than the turnover tax which we have. I have not heard that argued and, therefore, I am not in a position to deal with any argument which might be put up on the subject. I made it clear here during the Budget time last year that I was aware of the views of the EEC on turnover tax, or retail tax, or whatever generally the term may be, and I gave whatever information I had to the Dáil at that time and said that the tax we were introducing was exactly  the same as the tax in Sweden and Norway. It is true that both those countries have the same type of tax that we introduced here.
Deputy Dillon speaking about the turnover tax and what flowed from it referred to the effect of the turnover tax in increasing the cost of living and, therefore, increasing the cost of manufactures and so on. Deputy Dillon, of course, did not say what the remedy was. He did not say that although there was a ninth round of wage increases, in the chain of events that would cause difficulty to the manufacturers. He did not say that the ninth round should have been resisted or should not have been given. He did say, however, that his Party would, if they got the opportunity, remove the turnover tax on food, clothes and fuel. Then, in his statement, or in the statement of Fine Gael policy—I do not know which—he expressed the view that after eliminating wasteful expenditure they would go on to add a number of things which would mean more expenditure than we have provided for in the Book of Estimates for the coming year.
On the question of wasteful expenditure, a number of speeches have been made by the Opposition of all Parties but no suggestion was made to remedy the position except by Deputy Barrett. He suggested a few savings but the total sum that could be achieved by his suggestions would be less than £10,000. That would not make much difference when we are talking in terms of £9 million or £10 million as is involved in the turnover tax.
The point that puzzles me, my Party and the Government, is what will be done to replace the revenue expected to come in from the turnover tax. Deputy Sweetman spoke of a recommendation of the Income Tax Commission. I take it what he had in mind was a recommendation for what might be regarded more as a purchase tax. I gave my views on that in bringing in the Budget and said that if we take out items other than food, clothes and fuel, to get the same amount of money we should have to put a very high rate of tax on other articles. That would push the cost of these items up, probably  to more than they could stand. Almost inevitably there would be a falling off in the sale of these articles which would lead to unemployment, probably in a big way. As a matter of fact, we had that experience in 1956 when the purchase tax was imposed. A number of our industries suffered very severely and there was resultant unemployment in these industries.
Dr. Ryan: There would be a lot of luxury goods here also. There is not much left except luxury goods. Another point is that however objectionable the turnover tax may appear, or may be made appear by other Parties, at least it has this merit, that single people pay their share the same as everybody else. With the purchase tax it is almost entirely households who will be paying, married people. The cost would fall almost completely on people who are running their own houses. I think the purchase tax, if I may so refer to it, is very objectionable in all the circumstances.
It must be remembered that in our turnover tax proposals, we compensated those who were not in a position to compensate themselves. We had in view at the time the fact that anybody who is in business can look after himself. Those who are earning were almost certain to look after themselves and they have done so now. We have left, therefore, people living on fixed incomes, pensioners, State pensioners and so on. We compensated them and all the social welfare recipients including the children who were all more than compensated for the effect of the turnover tax on them.
I heard somebody here mentioning the case of the married man with a family. He was compensated to the extent that every child he had under 16 was getting a children's allowance sufficient to cover the increased cost due to the turnover tax. Never in our calculations did we estimate that the increased cost would be less than 2½ per cent. Actually, it has worked out at between 2½ per cent and 3 per cent and in all the increases we gave  to social welfare recipients we gave more than sufficient to cover that percentage. When all is added up those in receipt of social welfare benefits, including the children and the pensioners, those getting unemployment assistance and so on, we found that we had actually compensated more than one million people out of a population of 2,800,000 altogether.
Dr. Ryan: I think the Deputy will find that he is liable to be accused of saying that, if he goes back and reads over his speech. I shall not say any more about the turnover tax at this stage. Unemployment is down to about 60,000 but we do not feel complacent about it and we are still doing everything we can to improve the situation.
When Deputy McQuillan was more or less compelled to accept on statistics that emigration has largely disappeared as a serious problem, he went on to argue that the improvement is not due to any remedial measures by the Government. He is always prepared to admit, if things go wrong, that it is due to the Government, but if things go right he will never admit that the Government had anything to do with  it. He said this was due entirely to conditions in England. In the same speech, he accused the Taoiseach of being dishonest in telling the country that our industrialists could face the Common Market on an entirely free trade basis by 1970. I think they can. I do not think there is anything dishonest about that but people who have no confidence in the country, like Deputy McQuillan and others who spoke on that side of the House, naturally believe that an Irishman, an Irish manager, an Irish Government or an Irish anything is not as good as the English and the others.
We believe they are as good and have proved themselves to be as good in every way. Our export figures for the past seven years have gone up very substantially. These exports are largely industrial and the products have gone to Britain principally and to other countries also and it must be admitted that they are competing against native manufactured products whatever they may be and they have competed successfully. These exports are increasing all the time so that we have proof there without going further that the Irish manufacturer, technician, worker and everybody else concerned are well able to look after themselves against foreign competition. If they are able to do that now I do not see why they should not be able to do it in 1970.
Dr. Ryan: I did. I do not remember any reference to that. I quite agree that our manufacturers will have to improve their position very much before they can compete successfully but a number of them are now competing successfully.
Dr. Ryan: We owe the salvation of this country to the foresight of Fine Gael before they cleared out. Their foresight in clearing out was right. Only for them, we would never have got there. Fine Gael were there for  three years. As I am on the subject of exports, the only time exports went down since Fine Gael were in office, since 1947 or so, was in 1954-57. They went down from £115 millions to £108 millions and since that, they have gone up to £296 millions—a very big improvement—in 1963. Although exports went down, imports did not go down. They remained the same. So, if we are being blamed now for a wrong relation between imports and exports, our position is better than it was during the 1954-57 period.
On this question of building up exports and developing industries here, we have done so because, first of all, we had confidence in ourselves as a Government in 1957 and had confidence in the Irish people. Now they could do this and instilled that confidence in the Irish people. Now they are all confident that they can do it. Even Fine Gael are confident that the country can do it and are confident that they could even do it themselves if they went back into power, but that is looking for a little too much.
In dealing with the question of exports I should also speak of the national income. Deputies on the other side have put the question, evidently trying to create a doubt in people's minds: “How much better off are we than we were seven years ago?” If our people have £184 million more to spend now than they had seven years ago, obviously they are better off because that is the improvement as far as national income goes. The national income, for the three years the Coalition were there, increased by £16.6 million and during the past seven years increased by £184.5 million. The value of the earnings, taking 1953 as base 100 was 115.3 in 1956—it had gone up by 15 per cent—is now 166.8—an increase of 66.8 per cent. So, if we take these figures together, the fact is that there are £184 million more to be spent amongst the people than there were seven years ago and the wage earner has 66.8 per cent more than he had in 1953 or, if you like to take it the other way, taking the seven years alone, he has 50 per cent more on his earnings than he had seven years ago.
 Against that, we must take the increase in the cost of living because, of course, if a man has a 30 per cent higher wage and the cost of living goes up 30 per cent he is just in the same position as he was. During the time of the Coalition Government, the cost of living went up by three per cent per annum, exactly the same as it did in these past seven years. When you hear Fine Gael speaking about the cost of living, you would imagine that during their time the cost of living remained constant and that from their time on the cost of living began to go up. In fact, although we took off the food subsidies and put on turnover tax, even including all that, the cost of living has gone up by the same figure as it did under the Coalition Government—three per cent right through for the past ten years. There is no difference. The cost of living is going up. It appears to be a phenomenon that is common to every country. The cost of living goes up in other countries, perhaps not as much as that, perhaps more. The cost of living keeps going up. Earnings keep going up a little more in most cases and that is, I suppose, how things are going to be. The point is that wage and salary earners during these seven years have had in real money 22 per cent more than they had in 1957 and the increase in the amount of money spent amongst all our people is £184 millions, or about 40 per cent increase on the total in 1956-57.
If anybody asks me are our people better off, I say I know they are better off, because in 1956-57 the amount of income tax collected was £22 million. Since that time, we have reduced the rates of income tax very substantially, from 7/6d. to 6/4d. We made some other reductions. When we brought in PAYE, better allowances were given. In spite of these concessions in regard to income tax, we collect this year £38½ million. People do not pay income tax unless they have the salary or wage. Deputies may be very sure of that. They do not pay unless they have it. That in itself shows that there are considerably higher earnings now than there were in 1956-57.
I want to mention a matter Deputy  McQuillan referred to. He spoke about the question of investments. He blamed the banks for sending money to England instead of investing it here. He instanced a farmer in the west of Ireland making a lodgment. I am not quoting Deputy McQuillan now but I am taking the case he used. He said that the farmer made a lodgment of £100 in notes or by cheque; the bank manager took it and, Deputy McQuillan says, he sends that over to England to be invested there. How does he do it? I do not know how the bank manager does it or how the headquarters of that bank does it because there is no English bank that is going to take Irish notes or, for that matter, a cheque from a farmer in the west of Ireland. So there must be some way of manipulating this investment that Deputy McQuillan knows about and I do not.
Coming to the Estimate which I brought in and explained to some extent in my introductory statement, it requires a little elaboration. I said at that stage that as the Vote on Account was presented, it is £14.85 million higher than last year. I said that that will require adjustment. First of all, there will be some Supplementary Estimates which will add to last year's total. Therefore, the £14.85 million higher than last year. I said let us say, a couple of million pounds. Then we have to add to that something for CIE which has not been decided yet.
Dr. Ryan: That will come down by a couple of million pounds probably. We have to add to that a sum not yet agreed but there will be a Bill coming  before the Dáil in this connection to provide some type of subsidy to CIE.
Dr. Ryan: I was taking £20 million as compared with £14 million. I should have added the increase which is likely to be £7 million and there are other claims. I do not want to mention figures because naturally I am trying to keep them as low as possible. We have to meet a bill of about £25 million.
No Deputy advocated a specific reduction in these Estimates. Deputies spoke about the bill being too high. We can all say it is too high. My colleagues in the Government must be sick and tired of hearing me say it. What will we do? Nobody here has suggested that any particular Estimate should be reduced. I would not expect that from Fine Gael. I read their programme last night and came to the conclusion that they did not want to offend anybody. If they said any particular Vote should be reduced they might offend somebody and they will not do that. Therefore, we do not expect them to take that line. Fine Gael say they will take off the turnover tax. I was looking at the matter from my point of view and thinking of what the position would be if I were asked to take off the turnover tax, to give concessions on income tax according to the report of the Income Tax Commission, to look after State pensioners and to bring their pensions up to the level they would get on present salaries, to restore the B scheme in the Land Reclamation Scheme which I think I would certainly resist to the last because the most extravagant expenditure that ever took place did take place under that scheme, to  restore the Local Authorities (Works) Act and, of course, to give free loans to farmers. I do not know what that might lead to.
I am certain that if it were an honest programme and if it were intended to carry it out, the amount to be covered would be up to £40 million or a bit more—and I do not know how that £40 million would be provided. However, it is not a matter for me because I am not proposing that these things be done. I suppose I would not object to anything being done if I had the money to do it.
The difference between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is that Fianna Fáil will not promise to do things unless they see where the money is coming from. Fine Gael have no inhibitions about that. They promise all round and when it comes to the point, they will get out of it somehow. They are not troubled about the nice point of where the money will come from.
It is very difficult to see how £40 million would be gathered without inflicting great hardship on somebody or other, whatever line the taxation might take. If Deputy Sweetman becomes Minister for Finance in a Government, he will follow the line as before and try to balance his Budget. If he does, then some taxes will have to be collected.
It is a pleasant thing to be nice to everybody. It is pleasant to tell all the pensioners you will get increased pensions for them and to tell all the social welfare people you will pay in full—I do not know what that means: it can be interpreted any way you like. You say you will pay social welfare in full. I do not know what it means but you have some meaning behind it. Probably you mean that more social welfare people will say: “I am not paid in full and, therefore, I shall vote for them.” But whether or not they will be better off I do not know.
Then Fine Gael will provide a pension scheme for forestry workers. They will give arbitration to sub-postmasters. They will give a free loan of £1,000 to every farmer who will increase production. I do not know any farmer in this country who  would not take a free loan of £1,000. How will you stop him from taking it, I wonder?
Fine Gael will undertake a review of the present administration of the Defence Forces and will make any changes that may be considered necessary and desirable and thereby ensure confidence in and contentment within the Defence Forces.
That is an attempt to get a few votes in the Curragh without paying for them. Then Fine Gael will work in with the trade unions, so that they have the trade unionists, too. Can anybody suggest that Fine Gael have left anybody out except perhaps the Fianna Fáil Party? There is nothing for us. We are the only ones who are left out of that programme. Many things are promised and nobody will pay for them.
I shall go on now to a more serious subject than the Fine Gael Programme —we will give it its official title. I want to talk about external assets. Deputy Dillon was troubled about this question of external payments. He thought they were not as good as they should be. There is a difference between trade balance and the balance of payments. The trade balance stands at over £100 million. When we come to the balance of payments it will probably be £20 million which is very high, I admit, but it will come down at  least to that figure, I think. It is not excessive in the circumstances.
We must remember especially that the external assets have increased over the years and for that reason we should not be so troubled. A country must keep within its means, the same as a family or a household. In its dealings with other countries, it must pay for what it gets. Therefore, it requires to have a balance called external assets to draw upon for its trade with other countries.
These external assets are very important. It is not necessary to have too much of them but they are important. During the three years of the Coalition Government they used up £56 million of the external assets. They were eating up their reserves. If let go long enough, God knows where we would arrive. However, they were stopped after using £56 million of them.
In the past few years, although we had adverse trade balances, we increased the external assets by £54 million. We have put the external assets right. It is just a lovely time for Fine Gael to come into office again——
Dr. Ryan: Deputy Dillon was troubled about hot money coming in. I do not think there is much in that. Money that is coming in is invested largely in productive enterprises, establishing new industries and expanding existing industries, and has gone towards the purchase of machinery and capital goods which it is necessary to import from abroad to support the industrial expansion. In the first three-quarters of 1963, capital goods ready for use amounted to £33 millions, which is a very big sum. There were also investments in national loans and in that way we got £7 million.
Another item with which Deputy Dillon dealt was the purchase of land by foreigners but this amounted to only £2 million so that it is a very  small part of the total. I quite agree with Deputy Dillon that it is something that must be watched, but it has not become a great menace so far. He also asked a question about Stock Exchange purchases of Irish equities by foreigners. In that respect our purchases abroad are almost the same as purchases by foreigners of our securities. In 1962, the last year for which we have figures, sales to persons outside Ireland were £1,198,000, but the purchases by people in Ireland of outside securities was £1,262,000, which was a little higher. Therefore I say that should not give us any trouble. There is no danger in any way that people will say that foreigners are getting hold of our securities to any great extent.
Dr. Ryan: Apart from the discussions on all these matters with which I have been dealing, like emigration, unemployment, the cost of living and so on, practically every Deputy on the other side referred to the two by-elections. We all realise the importance of the two by-elections and I suppose we are conscious, too, of the importance of the propaganda being expressed by both sides for the advantage of the  voter but in a way I admire the great confidence and assurance of the Fine Gael people in regard to these by-elections because——
Dr. Ryan: ——because I have been here for 40 years and before every election the same thing happened. I was told I would be over there and they would be here. As a matter of fact, there were 11 elections; we came back nine times and they came back twice, so have they any great reason to be confident about the future? They were disappointed but it had had no effect on them; it did not chasten them in any way and they go on to talk as if they were sure of winning. It might happen; I never like to say beforehand that we are sure to win. It does not do any good and if I said that we would win and we did not, they would say afterwards: “You said you were sure to win” and what good is that going to do me? Looking at the past, we have no great reason to be frightened, especially by the talk of Fine Gael because we have heard it so often. Of course, convinced as we are that the people are sensible on the whole, we have every hope that they will not be deceived by Fine Gael propaganda.
I suppose I can say, therefore, that if this Vote on Account is passed now by the Dáil and reported, it will not be possible to get the Central Fund Bill for some time. It would be as well to leave that until the Supplementary Estimates have gone through.
Blaney, Neil T.
Brady, Philip A.
Browne, Noel C. Crowley, Honor M.
Cummins, Patrick J.
de Valera, Vivion.
Egan, Kieran P.
Gibbons, James M.
Gogan, Richard P.
Kitt, Michael F.
Kyne, Thomas A.
Lalor, Patrick J.
Lemass, Noel T.
|Burke, Patrick J.
Calleary, Phelim A.
Collins, James J.
Corry, Martin J.
Crinion, Brendan. Leneghan, Joseph R.
Millar, Anthony G.
Moher, John W.
Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
|Barrett, Stephen D.
Burke, James J.
Clinton, Mark A.
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.
O'Donnell, Thomas G.
O'Higgins, Michael J.
O'Higgins, Thomas F. K.
O'Sullivan, Denis J.
Reynolds, Patrick J.
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