Wednesday, 29 July 1970
Dáil Éireann Debate
Mr. Moore: Last night I was speaking about events in the north and I tried to show our abhorrence of certain recent happenings there. We must deplore the action of some people who would place a bomb in the home of a Protestant clergyman, endangering not only his life but the lives of his family, or the action of those people who would try to blow up a publichouse because its owner was a Catholic. The vast majority have no time for the actions of these extremist groups and therefore we must show our abhorrence by condemning such actions. I said last night also that Britain was the evil influence behind Partition; however I am glad to see that in recent times there has been a change and the British Government did discuss with the Government here questions affecting the north. Up to recently they had persisted in the rather stupid attitude that this was a matter for the two Governments while by every possible means they were perpetuating this unnatural division of the country and hence an unnatural division among the people.
Our sympathies lie with the people in the north and when I say “the people” I mean those of all shades of opinion and of all religious sects. The ruling class in the north have exploited the wage earner and the unemployed, whether he be Protestant or Catholic, because they want to maintain the status quo which suited them. We here must do some soul searching in order to show what we can offer the people of the north in a united Ireland. Both here and in the north we have been accused of always mixing religion with politics, but I do not know how you can keep them apart since they are two such very important factors in our lives.
That great man Mahatma Gandhi, who could never be accused of being a bigot but a man with a tremendous love for his fellowman whatever his  creed or colour, on one occasion said: “Most religious men I have met are politicians in disguise. I, however, who wear the guise of a politician am at heart a religious man.” The point I am making is we should not try to separate religion from politics. That has happened in other places and we have seen as a result the creation of a sick society.
When I hear people in the south talking about the changes that must be made in the Constitution in order to make life here attractive for the people in the north when we are united, I think that surely we must very often insult the Protestant conscience by suggesting that, were we to have a more permissive society, this would attract the people in the north. Let us pay tribute to the staunch Protestant churchgoers in the north. The vast majority of them have a very strict code of conscience and morals and would not be attracted by some of the things which have been suggested and which it is said would be attractive to them.
It has been said that the Constitution must be amended should we go into the EEC. I know that is true. Article 44 is invariably trotted out as the No. 1 amendment. Comments from all sources on this particular Article really make it irrelevant. It does not mean a thing and I do not know that its removal would impress our Protestant brethren in the north.
Mr. Moore: I do. The Article is irrelevant. All sides have said it does not matter and, if it does not matter, I cannot see any trouble about removing it. Other amendments of the Constitution may not be so simple. I am sure we will have to do a great deal of thinking and a great deal of hard work before the referendum is ready to go before the people. It will be the people who will decide, not the Government.
We do not want to hold up as a model some kind of sick society to our people in the north. We want to show them that, as a community north and south, we can make a society here which will ensure a decent living for  all our people, with complete freedom of thought and complete freedom of religion. We want to show them that we can create conditions far superior to those now existing in the north. There has been a great deal of discrimination in the north—no one can deny that—and we welcome the start at least of some reforms which will make things easier and better for every man, woman and child in the north irrespective of persuasion. We know the bitterness created in the hearts of the people there. We hear constant references to the “Catholic area” and the “Protestant area”. This is really tragic and one of the reforms that could do much to remove this kind of stupid labelling would be if houses were allocated not on the basis of religion or politics but on the basis of need. Whether a man lives in Ballymurphy or in the Shankill Road he should be there because he needed a new dwelling and has been given it.
Housing is a basic problem north and south of the Border. Last night I paid tribute to Belfast Corporation and the Northern Ireland Housing Trust for doing some tremendous work about housing there. We have been criticised for our housing drive. Let us take stock of what we have done and what still remains to be done. Bad housing is the root cause of many of our social problems. I do not know how one could expect a family badly housed, or not housed at all perhaps, to respect our institutions and our way of life when they lack the basic requirement of a proper house in which to rear a family. People regard a system which fails to provide these essentials with a good deal of suspicion. Let us rejoice that in both Belfast and Dublin, and throughout the country as a whole, there are people of all persuasions who see the housing shortage as a grave social problem and who are trying, despite many difficulties, to solve it. When we have reduced the housing problem to a minimum we will have laid the foundations of a better society.
I am no economist and I do not propose to say much about inflation. Inflation is a world-wide problem. We must solve our own inflationary problem. We are told that wage increases are the cause of inflation. One cannot  isolate wage increases from all the other contributory factors and say that wages alone are to blame. There are other factors involved, factors over which we have no control. The price of imported materials is one. We have no control over it. It sends prices up. If we are to provide full employment for all our people we must tackle our costings. If we do not export or if we do not maintain or increase the existing potential we cannot provide employment. Whether it is the economist or the sociologist who will solve this problem there is a grave duty on all of us to bend our efforts to bringing under control the inflationary tendencies. Invariably these tendencies hit hardest the weaker sections of the community. I cannot offer any solution but we must tackle the problem to the best of our ability. Inflation is not new and it should not be difficult, therefore, to find a cure for it. I will leave the cure to the economists and the financial experts.
Our bad history in industrial relations was mentioned yesterday. Strikes, official and unofficial, are to be deplored. It is easy to talk but it is not easy to offer any constructive suggestion as to how to avoid strikes. If men decide to strike who will stop them? Their cause may be just, or it may be unjust, but that is not really the point at issue. I applaud the efforts of the Congress of Trade Unions in their new plan about picketing. I believe the problem of industrial relations will be solved not by the Government but by the trade unions and the employers. It is they who must examine the problem of why we have one of the worst records in Europe where industrial relations are concerned. It may be argued that we are an intensely individualistic people and we do not like to be driven. That may be so, but we must face the fact that all of us have got to serve the common good and any action taken by a worker or an employer must be examined from the point of view of whether or not it is contributing to the common good. The solution of this problem may require great sacrifices but if we can bring it home to the workers that these sacrifices were asked for in the light of the  wealth, or the lack of it, on the part of individuals some progress might be made. We must bring it home that we have a just system here and that everybody counts, be he rich or poor, working on the factory floor or in the executive suite. When people talk of an incomes policy I always have the feeling that we do not get across that what we mean by this is not just control of wages but control of incomes too, irrespective of their source.
We must get it across to the people that an incomes policy is a fair system that will ensure a man will have sufficient wages to rear his family in suitable conditions. I do not know of any country that has got a really effective incomes policy. We are told that Sweden has the almost perfect system but this is not true. It is not possible to devise the perfect system but we must try to plan it as best we can.
When Captain O'Neill was Premier in the north, on one occasion he asked the people what kind of Ulster they wanted and we should now ask ourselves what kind of Ireland we want. If we are to be reunited it will call for new thinking and for sacrifices on our part. Basically we are at one with the minority in this country. The Orangemen and the Apprentice Boys have a certain idealism and they are convinced that by holding their parades they are safeguarding their heritage and traditions. Although we may consider they are confused in their thinking, we must respect their beliefs and it is our task to show them that in a republican State or in a federal State their religious beliefs will be respected. If they want to celebrate the Battle of the Boyne—which to our mind is irrelevant—let them do so as long as they do not deny others the right to hold differing views. The basic problem in the north is that some people think they have a monopoly of wisdom and patriotism. However, a change in this attitude is now apparent and I shall welcome the day when the parade on the 12th July and the 12th August can take place and be regarded merely as another procession. However, I would stress these parades should only be allowed when they do not infringe on basic rights of others.
 In the past year there have been many protest marches in this city. Although we all agree that it is a fundamental right to protest against some grievance, we know of many instances where a protest that was worthy at the beginning ended up being quite the reverse. There have been some demands that the Government should restore the dissolved Dublin City Council and it was stated that it was the negation of democracy to remove elected representatives from their posts. I recall the time over a year ago when the city council was in existence a group were allegedly protesting about the shortage of houses. However, their method of protest at the City Hall was not to impress on the city fathers the need for more houses but to beat up members of the city council who were giving unpaid services and doing their best to solve the housing needs of this city. Since then I have had my suspicions about some of those protests.
When the civil rights movement started in the north it did much good work and it would be tragic if it became the plaything of extremists. I look to the good sense of those at the head of that movement to ensure that their protests will be in support of worthy causes and to make certain that elements of any political persuasion do not use the movement for their own ends. It is inevitable, I suppose, that efforts will be made by unscrupulous people to use protest marches for their own ends and to cause trouble.
The Government have intimated they will bring in new legislation to prevent squatting in houses. Already there have been adverse comments that this legislation will penalise some of our citizens who have no houses. I would cite one occasion where Dublin Corporation welfare officers investigated the case of a blind man living in a scheme of old-type flats. They promised him he would get the first new suitable flat that became available. Eventually they obtained a suitable flat and when they took the blind person to it they found that some thugs had broken into the premises and taken possession. It was not a man with a young family who  was responsible but it was grown-up individuals who deprived this blind person of a suitable home. If the new legislation will prevent occurrences like this it will certainly have my support.
The new legislation will also prevent groups from encouraging homeless people to take over premises. In many instances these groups could not care less about the people they are purporting to help and, far from helping the housing programme, they are impeding it. This is one of the reasons the Government have prepared anti-squatting laws. They will not be used against the man with a young family——
Mr. Moore: It has been stated that law and order are in danger of being overthrown by extremist forces. I do not accept this view because, despite the troubles we have been experiencing, we have no more difficulties than any comparable country in the world. We must ensure that any laws enforced in this country will ensure that the weakest section of our people will be guaranteed full fundamental rights. In times of strife, as indeed always, it is the weaker sections of the people who will suffer. I mention this because of a reference last night from the Opposition benches to jobbery and victimisation not on a religious basis but on a political basis. It was stated that one had to be a member of Fianna Fáil before one would get promotion in various fields.
Mr. Moore: I am talking of discrimination not against lawyers but against ordinary people and I deny that this happens here. Until we have full employment, we shall be accused of putting party members into jobs. I suppose this thing has built up over many years—not proof but a belief is built up. It is perhaps indicative of the frustration being endured by the Opposition that in effect they say: “Here is a party in power. It can dole out jobs to its own supporters.” I certainly would not support any such scheme. I believe a man should be appointed on his ability provided he  has been given the opportunity of qualifying for the job. When every citizen will have equal educational opportunity, as a start, we shall be able to pick the best qualified man because he has proved himself. That is the precept of the Fianna Fáil Party —that we pick the best man, taking the broad view of the person involved. I deny emphatically that there is any such great plan in the Fianna Fáil Party for placing its own men.
Mr. Moore: Hitler first attacked the democratic system by rumours and innuendoes. He then resorted to more forceful measures. He set the seeds of dissent in the minds and the hearts of the German people. It was easy to topple democracy after that. There were suggestions and vague innuendoes of jobbery in certain cases and Hitler made full use of them.
Mr. Moore: No. I am saying that Fine Gael speakers who persist in this kind of thing are not injuring the Fianna Fáil Party but are injuring democracy. They are sowing the seeds of suspicion in the minds of the people.
The kind of Ireland we want is one where there exists complete opportunity for people irrespective of religion or politics. We in the south have set an example of non-discrimination. I do not think our record in this regard will be challenged by anybody. The people in the north have nothing to fear on those grounds. Our best endeavours should go forth from here to remove their fears—and some people in the north have genuine fears in regard to various matters. Our whole desire should be to show these people that they have nothing to fear as regards their right whether it is a religious right or whether it is a right to work or a right to live in peace.
Mr. Moore: I cannot but notice how touchy Fine Gael and Labour are about the word “expulsion”. They did quite a lot in their time. The Fianna Fáil Government are in office by the will of the people. I am sure that the Labour Party and Fine Gael must know in their hearts that if the Government went to the country again they would be returned by the people once more. The people who say that there are troubles in the Fianna Fáil Party or that something is wrong with the Fianna Fáil Party are not damaging Fianna Fáil but certainly they are damaging democracy.
History will show that the greatest political party that ever existed in this State is the party which forms the Government today. When people talk about splits in the party and make sarcastic remarks about individuals, they achieve nothing. The people outside do not accept it, and the members of the party do not accept it. It is unnecessary for me to stress that point any longer. The Opposition parties should stop their wishful thinking that there will be some kind of a split. They said that many times before but it just does not happen. We are quite content to let the Labour Party and the Fine Gael Party go on with their wishful thinking and to enjoy a moral victory occasionally. They are welcome to their moral victories, but we draw the line at letting them gain more seats in this House. It must be very frustrating for Opposition Deputies to go on year after year in the hope that something will happen to bring down the Government. Of course, that has not happened and will not happen. The Opposition must look to the future because it is an essential part of any democracy to have a good Opposition. So far we have carried on without this, but I should not like to see that situation perpetuated.
The possibility of our entering the EEC has been supported by the vast majority of Members of this House, with the exception of the Labour Party. On reading the speeches of  some members of that party I found that they were not totally against it. There may be a change of heart by the Labour Party on this issue. It is only right that somebody should put forward the opposite case as an exercise, but I suggest it is wrong for some speakers in the Labour Party—and I should like to remind them of the fat boy in Dickens—to try to make our flesh creep with horrible stories about what could happen if we entered the EEC.
We believe that if we are to have a better Europe, which will not go on repeating its history of having a war roughly every 20 or 30 years, it is essential that we should go in and make our voice heard in the councils of Europe. Outside we can do nothing. Inside our voice may be small, but at least we will have a voice there. To stay out would be to act in the same way as the American isolationists during the First World War. They said that anything that happened outside America was none of their business. One can only regret that such a shortsighted attitude was adopted by American statesmen at that time. Had they come into a world organisation and tried to build a better world, they might well have prevented the Second World War with all the misery it involved for the world.
One can say that things may be tough should we go into Europe and I believe this, but they will be much less difficult than they would be if we stayed out in isolation and let the rest of Europe pass by. Assuredly they will pass us by unless we are in there to show them we are willing to play our part and that we are quite ready to make sacrifices so that this great ambition may be realised. It is said that if we enter Europe we will lose some of our sovereignty. I do not accept this. Once you live in any community you must sacrifice certain freedoms. There are things that you cannot do because if you do them, you will injure somebody else. Therefore you accept this limitation of your freedoms. It is the same in Europe.
It must be remembered first of all that it is only a sovereign State that  can decide to apply for membership of the EEC. Here we differ from our people in the Six Counties who declare that we do not recognise them. They are not a sovereign State. They cannot make application for entry into Europe. If Britain goes in they will go in, but it will be on the application of the United Kingdom. We, as a sovereign State, can decide whether we should go in. We do not sacrifice our sovereignty by this. We merely use our sovereignty to decide whether to apply.
It has been said that there are many defects in our social system. Nobody will deny this, but I would suggest that, in our efforts to improve social welfare benefits, we are achieving a great degree of success. We should all like to see this rate of progress speeded up. We have to see where we are not doing enough to remedy our problems, whether they be in housing, or social welfare, or the care of the aged. Indeed, it is most heartening to read in some EEC publications that care of the aged is one of the more important aspects of their work. This is good, because any civilisation which looks after its old people is a good civilisation. As I said, it is heartening to think that what has been described as a kind of tycoon's dream of a united Europe takes account of such things as the care of the aged. We will be able to play our part in creating a much better system so that the aged will have a proper place in the scheme of things and will be able to lead the fullest possible life.
With regard to the possible amendment of our Constitution, I would be opposed to certain things which are being held out as a kind of bait to the minority of the people of the country. Before anything is done, I hope we will stop this stupid thinking about holding up such things as a more permissive society as being acceptable to certain people. I want to pay tribute to the conscience of the people in the north, whether they be Orange or Green, because of the fact that both sides have held on tenaciously to the beliefs they hold. It is our task to show that we can cherish all the people of the nation, whether or not there are some who  differ on fundamentals from the majority of the people.
I want to say to the people of the north—and I refer to the Protestant section in the north—that when they come in with us we are in honour bound to ensure that they will not suffer the least infringement of any of their rights. We say in all sincerity that we deplore the attacks made as mentioned earlier on the home of a Protestant minister and on the home of a Catholic republican. The vast majority of people north and south deplore these. I certainly deplore them. There is a call for unity here among the great majority of the people that we should isolate people who try to achieve their aims, whatever these may be, by injuring their fellowmen. A united Ireland can be a very peaceful Ireland and all we ask is the opportunity to prove this.
Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: The Taoiseach in the opening part of his statement yesterday said that the greatest immediate problem facing this nation was inflation. He also said that this greatest immediate problem had been going on for more than 30 years. One could not help wondering, as one listened to the speech, who had been in power for 24 out of those 30 years during which this greatest immediate problem was developed, who had been in power during all of the last 13 years and who was in power now. This opening part of the Taoiseach's statement echoed the introductory matter to the Budget speech this year but not the Budget itself which was not an anti-inflation Budget. The Taoiseach described it himself rather kindly as a budget of social concern.
If the Government really regard this problem as the greatest immediate problem, taking precedence over all the other great problems which we  undoubtedly have, some of which seem to many of us very immediate, including the problem of the north, surely the Government should, in this Dáil, have introduced measures to deal with that? Is that not the Government's responsibility? It did this neither in its Budget nor now.
What is significant about this lecture and lament now on the eve of the recess is that the Government are shedding their responsibilities, using the Dáil for this purpose rather than for the purposes for which it was elected. There is a pattern here of manipulation of the Dáil and the Oireachtas for narrow party purposes and of subordinating the Dáil to the service of party interests.
In the year of existence of the present Dáil, the year during which the present Taoiseach's two Governments have held office, we have witnessed a significant erosion of democratic standards. The Government are not responsible for all that erosion but must take a considerable part of the responsibility for it. We have a larger number of illegal and violent organisations than we had a year ago and these organisations, or some of them, are engaged in a wider range of terrorist activities than was previously the case. Much of the activity has taken place in the north. There have been more than 70 deliberately caused explosions there since the beginning of the year and there have been similar activities here as one would expect there would be. The exact degree of responsibility of one of the Taoiseach's Governments for this state of affairs remains to be determined. It is generally believed, however, that that Government through their relations with members of such organisations and by their covert encouragement of certain favoured kinds of illegal activity helped to fan and spread violence in this island, and sectarian violence in particular.
I am referring to the first Government of the Taoiseach during this Dáil. All of us on this side of the House welcome unequivocally the Taoiseach's repudiations of violence and his increasingly clear and insistent emphasis, especially in recent months, on the  necessity for a purely peaceful approach to the problem. Unfortunately, these statements cannot undo all the damage done by the earlier months of ambiguity and muffled threats from members of the Government including, on occasion, even the Taoiseach. Some people in the north undoubtedly believe that there are powerful people in the Taoiseach's party who are not fully committed to a peaceful approach and who in certain circumstances may be heard from again and with effect. I do not know if that belief is wellfounded. I do not know, for example, whether the repeated tributes by the Minister for External Affairs to the ex-Minister for Finance are prompted by sentiment, by ebullience or by calculation. I do not know what the significance may be of the large vote received by the ex-Minister for Finance for vice-presidency of the Government party. I do not know what shadows these may cast on future developments in policy but I know that the belief exists in certain circles in the north, and not just on one side only, that the Taoiseach's peaceful statements, however sincere they may be as coming from him, are not really to be taken as representing the settled conviction of the Fianna Fáil Party as a whole or as covering adequately the full range of future options of a Fianna Fáil Government. While that belief exists the atmosphere remains to that extent more explosive, charged with dangerous hopes—because hopes can be dangerous in this situation—and with dangerous fears that are the obverse of those hopes.
I do not want to suggest here that the atmosphere of fear and suspicion which pervades the north is wholly or mainly due to anything done or said here but I say that things done, said or suggested here in the past have their effects on what happens there and can help to develop that extraordinarily rapid oscillation of fear and hope which can happen in Belfast or Derry from weekend to weekend and plays its part in creating that climate of violence which is not, of course, contained in Northern Ireland but inevitably spreads throughout the island. As a result of the courses pursued by  the Taoiseach's first Government in the Dáil, almost every institution of the State became in some degree contaminated or at least exposed to serious danger of contamination. By contamination I mean a process of ceasing to be responsible, ceasing to answer to the democratic helm or where people were obliged, if they wished to do that, to enter into at least unusual courses. Senior civil servants have had to face painful and difficult choices. So have members of the armed forces and of the police. We now know that even the judiciary have not remained unaffected. The President of the High Court publicly speaks of reluctance——
Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: I should now like to read Articles of the Constitution. I think it is always a desirable and interesting exercise and is relevant to what the Taoiseach has called a very wide-ranging debate and to the aspects of the Taoiseach's statement which I have been discussing. It is particularly relevant to my suggestion that all the organs of the State have been to some extent affected and adversely affected  by what has been going on, what went on in particular under the Taoiseach's first Government. We are not yet done, by any means, with the consequences of the practices of the Taoiseach's first Government in this Dáil, and I think we have a right to discuss these as continuing and baneful influences in our society. Article 34.5.1 reads:
“In the presence of Almighty God I do solemnly and sincerely promise and declare that I will duly and faithfully and to the best of my knowledge and power execute the office of Chief Justice (or as the case may be)—
1º A judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court shall not be removed from office except for stated misbehaviour or incapacity, and then only upon resolutions passed by Dáil Éireann and by Seanad Éireann calling for his removal.
2º The Taoiseach shall duly notify the President of any such resolutions passed by Dáil Éireann and by Seanad Éireann, and shall send him a copy of every such resolution certified by the Chairman of the House of the Oireachtas by which it shall have been passed.
Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: Thank you. I can only persevere. In one of this morning's papers there is a report of a statement which is very strictly pertinent to that part of the Taoiseach's remarks which dealt with Northern Ireland, with better relations, more trust and confidence between the majority in this part of the country and the majority there. The statement was one made by Captain John Brooke, and I quote:
Captain John Brooke, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Stormont Prime Minister, said last night in Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh, that he wondered what the liberal press in Britain would have said if any judge in Northern Ireland “had seen fit to make the extraordinary remarks recently uttered in Dublin”. He was referring to the remarks by Mr. Justice O'Keeffe about the “reluctance” of judges to conduct the trial of Charles Haughey and three other people on charges of conspiring to transport arms.
Captain Brooke attacked speakers at a meeting in Carrickmore, County Tyrone, on Monday night in support of Miss Bernadette Devlin for their “effrontery” in attributing bias to judges of the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland.
“Here in Ulster,” he said, “there is nothing to show that our judges do not know and understand what it means to do their duty without fear or favour. They have tried cases ranging from Dr. Paisley, on the one hand, to Bernadette Delvin on the other. They have applied the law, and law breakers without distinction of religion or politics have been made amenable to these penalties. This is as it should be.”
That is what Captain Brooke said and we must realise the relevance of this and that it would be wrong to exclude  such matters from the course of a substantive and serious debate on the issues raised by the Taoiseach's statement.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: The Chair wishes to tell the Deputy that the Chair has no control over what is said outside the House. The Chair has control only over what is said in the House. It is not relevant to discuss the statement made by the President of the High Court in regard to his functions.
Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: With all due respects to your ruling, is it not relevant to discuss it even if it can be demonstrated that it has a direct and serious bearing on the issues raised in the Taoiseach's own speech?
Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: I shall respect your ruling but you will appreciate it is difficult to comply if Deputies on that side pursue the matter. The Civil Service, the armed forces, the police and the judiciary are all to some extent shaken by the events of the past 12 months and the courses of action pursued by Governments and in particular the first one over which the present Taoiseach has presided. The institutions that have been worst affected are undoubtedly those of responsible Government and of Parliament. Responsible Government suffered when the principle of collective responsibility  was jettisoned less than three months ago. At that time the Taoiseach revealed that he was not sure what certain key members of his Government might have been up to and that there were grounds for suspicion that some of them had engaged or might have engaged in illegal activities. He then dismissed two members of his Government, including the Minister for Finance in the middle of the Budget debate, a somewhat unusual event in any democracy, accepted the resignation of a third on what were later, though not at the time, stated to be health grounds, and the resignation of a fourth who proceeded to make various accusations against the Taoiseach himself.
Under the doctrine of collective responsibility, the Taoiseach on whose recommendation the Dáil appointed all these Ministers, shared responsibility before the Dáil and the country for whatever his Ministers may have been engaged in and for his apparent lack of certainty as to what his Ministers were engaged in and any suspicions that rested on those three Ministers rested on the Taoiseach's Government as a whole.
This principle was tacitly repudiated. The Taoiseach continued to hold office behaving as if he had no responsibility for the Ministers he had recommended to the Dáil and subsequently dismissed. More and more under Deputy Lynch as Taoiseach we have moved towards government by a personality working through the media, working very effectively through the media, and away from the idea of government responsibility to Parliament. Admittedly, that is a tendency which exists generally in the democratic world and which is natural enough in the marked current and marked recent development of the media but elsewhere it is compensated, wherever democracy is in a healthy state, by a certain minimum of respect for deliberative process and Parliamentary institutions. It is true, of course, that under American conditions—and American practice has, naturally enough, a good deal of influence on us—this development of the head of the Government, who is also head of the State, talking  directly to the nation and taking them into his confidence, or at least appearing to do so, is now rather long established, since at least the time of President Roosevelt's fireside chats. That development, however, is compensated for by the doctrine and the practice of the separation of powers, by the fact that the head of the Government who is talking directly to the people has no real control over the deliberative organs, the legislative organs of Congress. They remain free from his effective control so that the head of the Government is both talking to the country and being effectively criticised in the Congress.
That is a rather healthier state of affairs than we have. What we have is essentially the theory which grew up out of the British Constitution of Cabinet responsibility to Parliament plus the reality of this more or less plebiscitary link of the head of the Government with the public and the media. The Government have, as we know, a very large say in what can be discussed here at any time both in an acknowledged way and in ways that are less acknowledged. I might be treated as out of order if I attempted to discuss them. That is to say, there has crept into the handling of Parliament by our Government an element of sham. The Parliament is felt to be something of a facade and the realities are felt to be the governing party and their relation with the public through the media.
What does it mean to the public when the Taoiseach talks directly to them on television on a matter of vital national importance which he has just refused to discuss in Parliament? That happened very recently. It happened in relation to the question of Northern Ireland. The Taoiseach did not want to have that discussed in Parliament during the period before 12th July, the period of those two terrible weekends in Belfast, as a result of which the nation was extremely anxious on this subject and the Opposition rightly demanded that the Dáil should discuss this question. The Taoiseach, however, did not wish the Dáil to discuss it and for that reason alone the Dáil did not  discuss it. The Dáil was effectively gagged during this critical period. It was not that the Taoiseach did not think it was not worth discussing. He did but he wanted to be the only person—he and one or two Ministers —to discuss it and to use the media to discuss it and not the Parliament. What can the people understand from that? The Taoiseach talks on television about a subject which he refused to have discussed in Parliament. What can it mean except that the Taoiseach is telling the people that the Parliament is not to be trusted to discuss this question of vital national importance? The people are then forced to ask, if they think at all: “What good is a Parliament that the Taoiseach does not trust to discuss a matter of vital, national importance, a Parliament that has to be by-passed in the national interest?” as the Taoiseach says. In effect, the Taoiseach is here asking for a personal popular vote of confidence at the expense of Parliament and his close associates are encouraged to proceed in the same way.
For example, the Minister for External Affairs has said much more of substance on this subject on the British television programme “Panorama” than he has deigned to say in the Dáil. If we want to find out what he said he thinks on this question we must either have had the opportunity of seeing that programme or of getting a transcript of what he said. It is a very serious thing and will prove serious in the long term that the Taoiseach should undermine the institutions of Parliament in that way. It is worse, however, in the context of the inter-relation which has developed between our State, our institutions, our lives and a situation in the north to which I shall return in a moment, which is already violent and which contains within it the threat of further violence, contains threats which we all hope will never come to anything, which may not come to anything, but which may do so and which have already emerged in a certain degree of violence, including a number of deaths.
Against that background and against the Taoiseach's first Government and the background of what happened to  the still unresolved anxieties and questions in the public mind about the first Government and the members of it—matters that we may not even discuss with any forthrightness, and that, again, is a shadow over our discussions here—we have to pick our way carefully through this subject. We were invited to have a far-ranging debate. We should be having a free debate but, in fact, the shadow of these unresolved questions is over the debate. There is reason here for vigilance and challenge. We may agree that there is reason for an effort to make democracy more effective. There are certain ways of looking at Parliament which may be pedantic, superficial forms of defence of what we call “our privileges”—in itself an outmoded term—but there is a substantial question, the defence of the relevance and of the functions of Parliament and there is a duty upon us to debate our parliamentary usages in such a way as to show that our work is relevant. That is among our responsibilities here. What I am suggesting is that the actions of the Taoiseach's two Governments have been such as to reinforce a tendency already existing in our people towards a generalised blanket cynicism about both parliament and politicians. This is a dangerous development. It is one which has in other countries prepared the way to the death of democracy. Those who despise the elected representatives of the people as a totality will also come to despise the people as a totality.
Deputy Moore said some very interesting things. I think he, too, is conscious of this kind of danger, but he put the blame for it on those who criticise the governing party; he thinks criticism of the Government party is of itself of a nature to bring democracy into disrepute. I would agree with that if what we had to consider here was that kind of violent, savage abuse which has distinguished public life in certain countries at certain times—in France between the wars, for example. We have nothing of that kind here and we should have nothing of that kind here. The criticisms of the Government which have been made in this and other debates have been expressed without personalities and without scurrilities.  I think we have a right to make these criticisms and it is when such criticisms cease, not when they continue, that one can rightly say it is a dangerous situation for democracy.
The Taoiseach's actions and omissions, and those of his colleagues, during this very extraordinary year —we are, perhaps, in some danger of forgetting, or being encouraged to forget, how very extraordinary it has been—have not only damaged and undermined parliamentary democracy but have also disguised the damage done. The Taoiseach has by his pleasant manner, which is natural to him, reassured the people. It is a good thing that within limits the people should be reassured. He has, however, spread an atmosphere of what Warren Gamaliel Harding called `normalcy' in a situation which is still very far from normal. This confidence-winning television manner of the Taoiseach has encouraged the people to swallow, or to think they are swallowing, policies which have been, in fact, widely divergent and largely incompatible. They have reacted in much the same way— that is to say, by way of approval— to the Taoiseach's “We cannot stand idly by” and then to the Taoiseach standing idly by. This is something he does in rather good style. I do not wish to discuss the Taoiseach's talents for this form of activity or inactivity; it is enough to say that he has them and that they have succeeded in disguising from us a situation which remains very serious.
The Taoiseach in his remarks here yesterday spoke —I think rather casually—of the situation in the north as having improved in the last three weeks, as if it were the kind of situation which clears up like that instead of being what it really is, a situation of very long standing and very dangerous continuing tension. No one knows the future explosive possibilities of the situation. To suggest, because one particular day, the 13th July, passed off more quietly than we feared it might, that now it is going to be all right, or to encourage people to think so, is a mistaken course of action.
I should like now to say something about the Taoiseach's very important  television address on 11th July. We, on these benches, welcome the Taoiseach's words and the general tone of those words. We welcome, too, the fact that the Taoiseach had spoken them. That was important. No Taoiseach before spoke as plainly or as well indeed on this subject as the Taoiseach did on 11th July. It is only fair to note that before we go on to criticise what he said. Having said that, one is then obliged to remark that the competition from previous Taoisigh on this subject was not very intense because what they said when they were addressing themselves to this subject was often deceptive and often consisted of old slogans which had not been re-examined. Nonetheless, this statement of the Taoiseach's as a statement is to be welcomed in its general tenor. What we on these benches question, what we would like to be reassured on, is whether the Taoiseach is fully committed to what he said, whether his party is committed to what he said and whether he and his party will follow those words through even in circumstances in which they may become unpopular. Will they follow them through in those circumstances or will there be a return to something like the “cannot stand idly by” position of last summer?
The Taoiseach began that statement by quoting from the poet, John Montague. That may be a precedent too. I do not know that any Taoiseach ever before in a public address quoted a living Irish poet. If it is a precedent it is a good precedent to set. Having quoted what John Montague said about “old moulds are broken down in the north” the Taoiseach then said that we stand on the brink of a great achievement. I am not quite sure what he meant by that and I notice that, when he spoke here yesterday, he did not refer to it. One would think that a man conscious of standing on the brink of a great achievement, or perhaps having gone over it, would remain conscious of that situation when speaking subsequently. But we heard nothing about this yesterday. There was a certain air of the north returning to a routine relation rather than being  on the brink of a great achievement and that second attitude may in some ways be more realistic—I think it is more realistic—because I do not think we are on the brink of a great achievement. I think we are in the middle of a process which will take a very long time to evolve. I also think that it is not wise for a Taoiseach here in Dublin in a statement which will be heard throughout the north to speak of standing on the brink of a great achievement now.
In that extremely tense and dangerous atmosphere anything that sharply tends to raise the hopes of one section will, to an equal degree, raise the fears of the other section. It is this interplay of hope and fear that produces the outbreaks of violence. This particular phrase in an otherwise generally helpful statement is not the kind of phrase that is useful now.
The Taoiseach also said: “We must not now or ever in the future show anything to each other except tolerance, forbearance and neighbourly love.” I should like to comment on this phrase because, although these are very fine words, unless the record of practice behind them is clean in relation to them they are hollow words. I am afraid in this context they are hollow words because they do not reflect the practices of the Taoiseach's party or of the Taoiseach himself.
The Taoiseach is a very successful politician and a politician should be careful about the abandon with which he preaches tolerance, forbearance and neighbourly love. It is not usually by the exercise of these virtues that politicians acquire power. They may have love of these virtues in their hearts but they are likely to have found themselves playing it fairly rough at some stage in their careers and they may do so again. The Taoiseach and his party have behaved in their political practices when it suited them with a complete absence of tolerance, forbearance and neighbourly love—an absence quite as marked as has distinguished the present leaders of the Unionist Party. They have exploited similar forces when it has paid them to do so and they have done this in a cold-blooded way. This fact is realised in the north.
 It is true that in this part of the country generally, and with the marginal exceptions I shall mention later, there is no percentage in the exploitation of direct religious bigotry, in the incitement of Protestant against Catholic and vice versa. That has never been in the traditions of the larger part of this island where the numbers of the two religious communities are not near to parity. There is nothing here corresponding directly to the idea of the orange smear whereby a man like Dick Ferguson, whom I shall take as an example, can be hounded out of public life because he is “soft on Popery”. I should like the Taoiseach to reply to the following question because I think it is a serious point: is it unknown in the political life of the Twenty-six Counties to play on people's religious fears for political advantage? One does not say here that X is soft on Popery: it would not be of any use to exploit religious fears in that way; but it is possible to suggest to simple and unworldly people that X is anti-Catholic, X is a communist. Fears can be aroused in this way and fundamentally they are of the sectarian nature which the Orange Order and the Unionists exploit in Northern Ireland.
That was done here last summer in the general election when the Taoiseach was stumping the convent parlours and other relevant areas of the terrain. What he was saying then had not a great deal to do with tolerance, forbearance and neighbourly love. It was a campaign of calumny that was quite successful in certain areas. I ask the Taoiseach to consider the implications of this and to consider the fact that people in the north know about it. He should not only be concerned about the north because the movement for decency in our public life or the removal of calumny from it should be quite independent of whether we want the north to come in, although it has a bearing on that point.
I have spoken of the use by the Taoiseach's party of the red smear for the purpose of exploiting sectarian fears in our society. However, much more directly, his party had evidence and the Taoiseach had evidence that exactly the same kind of sectarian  abuse and exploitation of fear that is practised in the north was practised by his party. That evidence was produced by Deputy Billy Fox——
Dr. Cruise-O'Brien: In the course of discussing what the Taoiseach meant by tolerance, forbearance and neighbourly love we have provoked quite a good exhibition of what his party habitually mean by those virtues. Before I was interrupted I had referred to the more direct forms of exploitation of which that party were guilty. Deputy Billy Fox produced in this House evidence of that in the form of a placard describing him, because he is a Protestant, as a B Special. He produced that evidence here. He held it up before the Taoiseach who looked at it in stony silence. Another member of the party of tolerance, forbearance and neighbourly love—Deputy Desmond O'Malley—suggested that Deputy Fox had manufactured this evidence himself. In his reply to that debate, the Taoiseach, who had sat through all this, made no reference whatever to that incident. I think that an incident like that is more revealing about the existence and practice of these very laudable and fine qualities of which the Taoiseach was speaking than any general declaration about these matters.
To go on from that, the Taoiseach said—and it was perhaps the best thing in a speech which contained, as I have said, many good things—“This whole unhappy situation is an Irish quarrel”. I think that is on the whole a new emphasis for Fianna Fáil and I think it is one to be welcomed. Unless one can see it as an Irish quarrel, it is not possible to bring about an Irish solution for it or even to begin moving towards that. It is much more a question of moving towards it than of securing a distinctive solution now.
I notice, however—and I think this applies generally to other aspects of the speech—that whereas these things are said they do not seem to penetrate somehow down through the ranks of that party. Deputy Seán Moore, speaking just before me in this debate, did  not say “This is an Irish quarrel which we must settle among us”; he said that Britain is the evil influence. That is different. I would suggest that if the Taoiseach wishes the doctrine of his speech of 11th July, 1970, to be sustained, to be credible and accepted he will have to hold a seminar in his own party and explain these concepts to them because I think there is a good deal of evidence that they do not understand it.
The Taoiseach also said: “Let us not appeal to past gods as if past generations had said the last word about Ireland”: that is addressed to the Irish people of the majority tradition here. I do not know if the Taoiseach would care to develop it— what “past gods” he is talking about and whether appeals to them are to cease altogether.
There is, however, this, in relation to things that we accept and praise in the Taoiseach's speech of 11th July, 1970: we have to see this against an immediate background of the governmental activity which immediately preceded it, that is to say, the visit by the Minister for External Affairs, Deputy Dr. Hillery, to the Falls Road, Belfast, and his subsequent “Panorama” interview on BBC television. This, of course, was a combined operation. I think possibly the intervention of the Minister for External Affairs enabled the Taoiseach to put a certain emphasis which he might otherwise have felt he could not do. We cannot assess from outside the inner dynamics of all these activities. However, just looking on it for the moment—I am tempted to look on it from the point of view of a rather suspicious northerner—I think that the statements of the Minister for External Affairs and the statements made about him, the circumstances of his visit, and so on, did a lot, unfortunately, to deprive the Taoiseach's subsequent statement of its credibility. That is something we must all regret.
When the Minister for External Affairs visited the Falls Road, Belfast, Mr. Eddie McAteer in Derry cabled to the Minister his congratulations for asserting the principle—there  was a principle at stake—that an Irishman should be able to walk in any part of Ireland without seeking the permission of any Englishman. Well, now, that is certainly a curious principle to be asserting when, simultaneously, one is calling on an English Government to prohibit or re-route a march of Irish Orangemen or Irish Apprentice Boys through Irish cities. It may be a good principle or not—I do not know—but it is not a principle I should have thought to be asserted at that precise time.
That is not just a debating point, I think, because it is an illustration of the elements of incoherence and instability which continue to pervade the Government attitude on this matter. One can hear various voices struggling to get out and sometimes getting out and they reflect a different kind of thinking. This is transitional. I am not saying it is extraordinary or peculiar to that party but it is an element in the situation that has to be watched.
Similarly, the fact that the first and, as far as I know, the only visit of a Minister for External Affairs to the north—this Minister anyway—should be to the Falls Road is, perhaps, inevitable in the circumstances of the time but it does, of course, seal together the idea generally held in the north that the southern Government—“the Free State Government,” as they still call it—are interested really only in the Catholics in the north. The Taoiseach's statement sought to get rid of that idea but his statement carries less weight than an act, even a symbolic act like a walk down a street.
Similarly the Minister for External Affairs appealed to the British Government to disarm everybody in the north, both Protestant and Catholic; then the British Army could get out and we, among Irishmen, could negotiate a peaceful solution. That might look all right to us here but, from the point of view of the people whose suspicions and fears we must disarm before we must disarm them, it looks quite different. What we appear to be saying is “Let the British take your arms away and then we, who retain our Army, will negotiate with you and we shall  try to be reasonable but, in the last resort, we are the majority and we are the only armed people.” That, from a Minister for External Affairs of Ireland is a statement which cannot have any good effect on majority opinion there. On the contrary, it makes it much more difficult to begin to advance towards a solution.
The Taoiseach spoke—I mentioned this earlier during his absence from the House—of our being on the brink of a great achievement. He did not specify, though he may have implied, what the “great achievement” was or how it was to be won. I would hope that he would, for a change, tell us something in this House before he tells it to the television audience. I would hope that he would tell us here in this debate just what he means by “the brink of a great achievement” and how he thinks it will be won. The impression has been created that “the great achievement” will in some way be won through our entry into the EEC and that, in some way, this will mean or herald the end of Partition. This was expressed this year in June at Bodenstown. Before the Taoiseach made the remark about appealing to the gods of the past he went to Bodenstown. The Fianna Fáil speaker was Senator Keery I think. He spoke of our proposed entry into the Common Market as presenting what he called an extraordinary parallel with Wolfe Tone's appeal to France to break the connection with England.
Now, from Bodenstown to Luxembourg is quite a long way. It is a long way in terms of geography and also in terms of ideology. In Luxembourg on 30th June of this year, the Minister for External Affairs had occasion to talk about this matter of our entry into the Common Market in terms appropriate to the realities of the situation, and that is not at all the rhetoric of Bodenstown. He said:
In the consideration of the transitional arrangements, an important factor which clearly will have to be taken into account is Ireland's special trading relationship with the United Kingdom. Member States will appreciate the fundamental importance  to the Irish economy of our trade with the United Kingdom which is the market of over 70 per cent of total Irish exports and supplies over 50 per cent of our imports. Traditionally, Ireland has received preferential treatment in the British market for her products and the United Kingdom in turn has had a special position in our market. Trading arrangements between the two countries are governed by the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement of 1965, which provides for free trade between the two countries and for special arrangements for Irish agricultural exports to the United Kingdom. Ireland's treaty obligation to accord free trade treatment to British industrial goods is being implemented over a nine-year period ending in mid-1975. This progressive dismantlement of industrial protection has also served to prepare Irish industry for the more comprehensive obligations and challenges which membership of the Community will entail.
Because of its importance to the Irish economy, it is essential that agricultural and industrial trade between Ireland and the United Kingdom during the transitional period should continue with the least possible disturbance, due regard being had to the special arrangements which already exist under the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement and subject, of course, to the obligations which both countries will be assuming on entry to the Communities. In other words, movement of the two countries to a wider European common market should advance from the present position which already involves some elements of a common market between them.
That is quite defensible on certain terms, but the point I am making here is that it is dishonest to market that proposition, of which the reality is there enshrined in the Luxembourg document, and sell it to the Irish people in terms of Bodenstown and breaking the connection with England. That is flatly dishonest.
 This will not weaken the connection with England. On the contrary, it is quite clear from the Minister's remarks that economic and other relations with England will be drawn closer under the Common Market, and that the Common Market is asked to accept this special relationship, what the Minister called Ireland's special trading relationship with the United Kingdom. The idea that this breaks up or is destroyed in some wider synthesis simply does not hold together. It was always possible, of course, to end Partition by re-joining the United Kingdom and, in so far as the Common Market policy has relevance to ending Partition—and I do not believe that in reality it has— it is only in that sense that it has it. It provides a presentable facade for a policy of, in fact, drawing even closer our special trading relationship and other relationships to the United Kingdom.
Before I sit down I should like to ask the Taoiseach to reconsider certain words he spoke during the last debate we had on the north. He referred to this debate when he was questioned yesterday about this matter. He said we had a debate on Northern Ireland. The debate we had was in October of last year when we resumed, having failed to discuss the matter in the Dáil during the critical period last year, just as we failed during the most critical period this year. In that debate the Taoiseach rejected at the end—he brushed it aside in a rather lofty way—any idea that this should be treated or attempt to be treated on an all party basis. He spoke of Fianna Fáil as being the party of re-unification. He was flanked on those benches by Deputy Haughey, Deputy Boland, Deputy Blaney, Deputy Ó Moráin and Deputy Paudge Brennan, all leading pillars of the party of re-unification at that time.
I am prepared to believe that the Taoiseach has probably learned a lot both about the north and about other things since that time. What I am wondering is, in the light of his televised statement and his statement here yesterday, and the number of enlightened things which, after all, he has said on the subject, whether he would now seriously claim the title, “the party of re-unification”, for a party which represents just under half the electorate of the Twenty-six Counties, which has no organisation, or no avowed organisation, or no organisation of the whole party north of the Border, and no support whatever among what the Taoiseach calls the other great tradition, the majority in the north. I wonder would he now drop his claim. I wonder if he would have the magnanimity to do that, the magnanimity of which there are so many traces in recent utterances by the Taoiseach, the magnanimity to agree that the destinies of this island are not to be determined solely by those who call themselves the soldiers of destiny.
Unless he drops this claim about the party of re-unification, the language of his televised address on 11th July is without meaning, because it is without meaning to tell the Unionists that they ought to join Fianna Fáil. I do not think the Taoiseach would stoop to that. When he does not, he should drop this language. Long ago Mr. de Valera proclaimed the principle, which has been quoted again in the Dáil, that the only way in the long term to make serious progress on this issue, is to make our society here more attractive in every way, socially, economically and in terms of making it clear that our society is one in which we genuinely desire both traditions to take part. There are certain provisos in the Constitution which run counter to that. More important—and it is not a question of paper documents as we sometimes like to think but of our actual practice—our actual political practices tend to run counter to that also. This is where our main emphasis must lie in setting our own house in order.
Again and again there have been references to this idea. Everyone approves of it, but we tend always to go back to the idea that, in some other way, the problem will be transcended, that there is a gimmick by which you can re-unite. Some people see it as through the process of splitting the Unionist Party or causing trouble in the north. Others see it, as I think the Taoiseach and his party and, perhaps, others in this House tend to see it, as coming through transcending it through the wider synthesis of the Common  Market. We on these benches hold that the idea that the Common Market will solve all this is an illusion. The quarrel, as the Taoiseach said in the wisest words of his address, is among Irishmen and it will not be ended by submerging in a wider unity. Particularly it will not end if, while we do so, we pretend that the process happens in some way other than it does.
I was disappointed in relation to this yesterday when the Minister for External Affairs was asked if he recognised Northern Ireland. He properly enough sidestepped that and said, as I have heard Deputy FitzGerald say equally rightly on television, that we are not called on to recognise Northern Ireland as it is not a state. I then asked him a question: does the Government recognise the entity known as the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland whereupon he sat, unusually for him, mute. He said nothing. I think it is a question to which he should be able to answer “yes” or “no”. While he fails to answer “yes” or “no” something is being concealed. The failure to educate our people on this matter is continuing. There has been a great failure in the past and we are all paying the price, north and south, for the propagation of myths which is still going on and continues to have an influence on the situation.
I do not want to enter into the Common Market debate again; we had it rather fully a little while ago. The only point I wish to stress is that to suggest that the Common Market will in some way take this out of our hands and end it, is simply a way of stopping thinking about the subject. If that is what the Taoiseach means by being on the brink of a great achievement, we are not on the brink of anything of the sort. What we say, what our Government say to the north and about the north is important. There is a highly significant improvement both in the content of what is being said and in the way it is said. We do not want to minimise this. But we shall not make real progress in this matter until what we do matches up what we say. I have suggested in part of my remarks, before the Taoiseach came in, that there is a big credibility gap.
 The Taoiseach appeals to tolerance and neighbourly love while addressing the people of the north and he says these things should exist among Irishmen but in practice he and his party have been willing to tap, in the way relevant to our politics by the use of the red smear and in other ways, the forces of sectarian fear, essentially and fundamentally the same as those on which the Orange Order draw. We must drop those practices. The Taoiseach and the Government must drop them before his remarks can become fully credible. What we do must match what we say.
Dr. FitzGerald: The Taoiseach in his speech opening this debate said that he would deal with three main themes, inflation, industrial relations and the north. I think he was right to select these three items. They are, in fact, crucial at this time. I propose to dwell on two of them. I claim no expertise in the field of industrial relations and, therefore, I shall pass over it on this occasion. I propose to deal with a problem which is not unconnected, as the Taoiseach said, with industrial relations, the problem of an incomes policy and with the whole question of the north which has been debated fully in the last couple of days. I think it is worth commenting that in the debate as I have heard or read it so far the contributions on the subject that have come from both parties on this side of the House have been throughout constructive and in the fullest support of the spirit of everything that the Taoiseach said when he spoke on July 11th.
The only discordant note struck so far—there may be others; I am speaking of up to this—was a minor one and it was in Deputy Moore's speech, much of which contained sensible things about Northern Ireland. But he did strike a note very discordant to that of the Taoiseach when he began blaming everything on Britain and developed that theme for about ten minutes before moving to another aspect of the problem and coming more into line with the Taoiseach's views. Otherwise, there has been a  unity of approach in this debate in support of the attitude of the Taoiseach as expressed on 11th July, which I think is heartening.
Before dealing with the north, I should like to deal with the question of the economic situation with particular reference to an incomes policy. I shall not dwell on the economic situation of the country in any detail at this point. We are at the stage where the disruption of our economy by the cement strike and, perhaps, also by the bank strike has changed the situation which is, on the one hand, difficult to assess due to lack of adequate statistics to tell us what is happening and which, on the other hand, does show some signs of a temporary halt in the growth of demand pressures due to these special factors. In these circumstances the Government can, I think, legitimately postpone further action to cut back demand until they are a little surer of what is actually happening and the situation becomes clearer in the autumn. But the fact that there is a momentary halt in the growth of the pressure of demand and that this may make it possible to avoid action to cut back demand at this point in time does not minimise the seriousness of the underlying situation which the Taoiseach outlined very correctly in his opening speech.
The real seriousness of the position we now face should be evident and if it helps to make it evident for people on this side of the House to echo what the Taoiseach said and support it, I think it is our job to do so. In doing so, I shall have criticisms to make about the way the Government have handled the position to date but the Taoiseach's analysis of the situation, his clear desire to put across the gravity of it, is something that, I think, we must applaud. The position we now face is unlike anything we have faced before. This is the point that must be stressed. There is no precedent in the history of this State as an independent State for the development of incomes and costs in a manner so out of line with the development of incomes and costs in the neighbouring island of Britain to which, for good or ill, we are so closely linked.
 It is true that at certain times there has emerged temporarily for brief periods a disparity between the growth of incomes and costs here and in Britain but these disparities have been visibly temporary in character and they have arisen in the past over short periods of time from the fact that we have tended to have wage rounds occurring at intervals of two or 2½ years, whereas in Britain the increases in salaries, incomes and wages have tended to be more gradual. We have moved in steps while they have moved upwards in a continuous curve. Naturally, there are moments in that process when we are temporarily out of line and then we fall back into line and we pause for a couple of years before our next major wage round— not that within that couple of years there were not many individual wage and salary increases but there was a slowing down in the tempo of these between wage rounds.
There have been times when temporarily a disparity of, perhaps, up to 5 per cent has emerged between the labour costs in this country and in Britain but because it has been clearly temporary and because one could see that of its nature it was something that would resolve itself and because it did so with great rapidity it was not a problem of real gravity. I would not wish to minimise the inflationary pressure in the last ten years. It is a fact that both the Irish and British £s became so devalued by the growth of costs that they both had to be devalued. Devaluation of them had to be recognised formally. That, I think, was unfortunate, but at least over that period, although our inflation was bad, it was no worse than that in Britain. The devaluation of our £ was submerged in and hidden in a sense by the devaluation of the £ sterling and the economic relationship which we have with Britain was not seriously disturbed and that relationship, in terms of the value of our currency, is one which it is important to retain for trade purposes, especially as we stand at the moment outside the EEC and in isolation in this relationship with Britain. We cannot afford a position in which the Irish £ would be devalued not only vis-à-vis the currencies of other countries—we  have withstood that in the past—but vis-à-vis the £ sterling. Yet that is the danger that faces us. It is one we are loath to make explicit and one of the problems of the present situation is that one faces a dilemma between failing to emphasise sufficiently the gravity of the situation and consequently failing to get across the urgency of something being done and, on the other hand, the danger that if we overemphasise the gravity of the situation we might, by so doing, worsen it.
It is not easy for either the Government or the Opposition to choose the words and presentation that would be most constructive and most helpful to the interests of this country but at this time we must perhaps take the risk of stressing the gravity of the situation. Unless we make explicit the dangers that face us it is possible that people will fail to realise these dangers and will fail to react in the unaccustomed manner in which they must react if these dangers are to be averted. It is necessary to make explicit that the present trend—and there is no sign that that trend will do other than continue —will bring us quite quickly in the course of the next 12 or 18 months into a position we cannot sustain. Already labour costs in this country, as the Taoiseach and the Leader of the Opposition have pointed out in their opening statements, have got out of line with those in Britain by the significant margin over the last couple of years of something between 5 and 8 percentage points. As I have said about this once or twice, there have been occasions when divergences between labour costs in the two countries have come close to that but clearly temporarily and one could see the situation remedying itself in a matter of months. We are not in that position now. There was a time when the disparity created temporarily by the granting of a wage round disappeared within the following year or 18 months as we held wages fairly steady. If further wage claims are granted on anything approaching the scale of the last occasion it will bring that disparity to 10 per cent or 11 per cent, pushing it to a level beyond anything experienced in the past which would  begin seriously to affect the competitiveness of our goods at home and abroad. I have understated the problem there. It would not just begin to do that—it has begun to happen already—but it would bring us to the point which might be irretrievable. Unless we can get across to people that this is something new and dangerous and that their jobs and the purchasing power of their incomes are at stake, it is difficult to see how we can avoid the situation.
Our problem is to communicate. We have cried “wolf” so often in the past when there was less danger that it is difficult to see how conviction can be carried. Eleven years ago I criticised the former Taoiseach, Mr. Lemass, for his unmeasured denunciation of a modest wage increase of 7 or 8 per cent in the spring of 1959 which went so far beyond anything that was proper that it devalued the currency of words. Since then it has been a trap people have fallen into. I am open to being told I may have done so myself at times. I have always tried, when speaking of the economic situation, to avoid speaking in terms that exaggerate the danger, because when the dangers fail to materialise, either because they were exaggerated or because suitable action was taken to deal with the problem people will think there was no danger there at all and that when these warnings are given from the Government or Opposition benches, by the Central Bank or anyone else, they can be safely disregarded. That is not the case today. That needs to be said and we on this side of the House have a duty to support what the Taoiseach has said in that regard.
It is also our duty to criticise the manner in which the Government have allowed this situation to emerge, and I feel we are in a particularly good position to make this criticism. An Opposition always find it easy to criticise the Government. They do not always criticise the Government fairly—it would be surprising if they did—but on this matter the Opposition in this House can stand on their record in criticising the Government's inaction.  This whole problem first came up in the policies of my party before the 1965 general election. Proposals were put forward, which were merely generalised proposals, but which contained specific remedies to deal with the problem of incomes and prices, specific proposals to tackle that most difficult of all problems, the problem of controlling non-wage-and-salary incomes in such a way as to give confidence to working people that if they agree to restraint in the growth of their incomes the benefits of that restraint will not accrue to those in receipt of dividends but will accrue to the nation as a whole, themselves included.
We put forward concrete proposals and one of those proposals was taken up by or incorporated in a NIEC report which came out in November, 1965, a report that had laid down the basic principles of an incomes policy, a report that was a massive step forward because management and union representatives signed the document in which they each agreed on the principles that should be followed to achieve an incomes policy, both making great sacrifices in their traditional thinking. On the union side, for example, they accepted that profit control would not be helpful. It was not easy for the trade unions to agree to that but they signed the statement. On the management side there was agreement that more information must be given on profits, about which private companies are traditionally cautious. In these and other ways both sides gave ground.
This was a great step forward or would have been if anything had been done about it. Admittedly on both sides of industry there was a tendency to step back from what had been signed. I think the Government could easily argue that it was a situation to be handled carefully, that, in view of the first reactions of industry and trade unions to this document, it would not have been possible to move in and get an incomes policy off the ground immediately. Some caution was needed, but caution went far beyond what was needed. The reaction of the Government Departments and the Civil Service was negative. The reactions that came to the NIEC from  Civil Service sources were so negative that had they been published they would seriously have damaged any possibility of an incomes policy. I agree that it might not have been appropriate for the Government and the Department to launch into an incomes policy then, but the negative reactions from the Government Departments encouraged the more reactionary forces on both sides of industry to dig in their heels and try to forget what they had signed.
The matter was left for some years. It was taken up again early last year by the NIEC and from then on the position has deteriorated. Instead of grappling with this matter firmly, instead of reaching concrete conclusions as to how to apply the principles laid down in that first document, the council waffled on for over a year and finally produced the watered-down proposals which the Government Departments concerned had in mind at the beginning. Indeed if the NIEC had not spent a year producing this document the watered-down proposals would have come from the Government Departments a year earlier.
I do not think that on this occasion the NIEC distinguished themselves. I do not think the management and labour representatives distinguished themselves particularly by the tendency to hold back, and I do not think the Government distinguished themselves particularly by putting forward such watered-down proposals, and the time lost was pretty disastrous. It would have been possible, if there had been a completely different and more dynamic approach early last year to tackling this problem, to have achieved something. There was to be detected on the trade union side from the beginning of last year a recognition and a fear of the consequences of the trends then developing. The maintenance strike alerted people to a very serious situation and this was to be seen on the trade union side. If the Government's servants dealing with this matter had been sufficiently alert to the signs of concern on the side of the trade unions, as on the side of management, if they had grasped the opportunity thus provided, if an imaginative  approach had been made at the beginning of last year, particularly in the first three months or immediately after the maintenance strike, we could have been much further on towards an incomes policy now. There was, however, a failure of nerve, of imagination and of Government at this point and, as a result, we let things drift on right through the period after the maintenance strike up to the present time, right up to the brink and we are standing on that brink now.
The blame for that is shared not only by the trade unions, to which I do not attribute as much blame as many would, it also is shared by management which in its caution, without any idea of anything being done to control in any way non-wage and salary incomes, has held up progress, and above all, by the Government which missed the opportunity last year and drifted into the present state of affairs. I should like to illustrate very simply with six figures the gravity of the situation and the reality of the kind of wage cost inflation we are having. Economists can and do argue about how much of the present inflation is due to pressures on the wage side and how much is due to pressures on the demand side. The two are so closely inter-related that it is difficult to disentangle them. It would be difficult to argue that if the wage developments, if the accelerated growth of wages and salaries had not occurred, we would still face a very serious inflationary situation. It is also difficult to argue, indeed, impossible, that if wages and salaries had not risen by the amount they have risen workers would as a result of restraint be worse off. I do not think that would have happened given the strength of the trade union movement and its ability to safeguard the workers but the facts and figures are quite simple. If we divide the last 11 years of economic growth, from the spring of 1959 to date, into three periods which are determined by the extent and rate of wage and salary increases, let us see what we get. In the first period the relatively modest wage and salary increases of the 1950s continued for, perhaps, the first 2½ years up to the autumn of 1961. The wage rounds at two-year intervals of about 7 per cent  or 8 per cent which characterised the fifties continued. There was one at the very beginning of this period of economic growth and then there was a levelling off afterwards and that brought us to the autumn of 1961 when we moved to a different level. In the 2½ year period from the spring of 1959 to the autumn of 1961 the average annual rate of wage increases in industry was 6 per cent. The average annual increase in the cost of living was 1 per cent and the average annual improvement in workers' living standards was 5 per cent.
Those are the relevant figures. Then in the autumn of that year, and for this the Taoiseach bears considerable responsibility, there was the settlement of the ESB workers' strike in which he intervened not once but on several occasions at a level far beyond anything previously awarded and this led to and was immediately followed by a general round involving a 12 per cent increase, which was significantly higher than anything ever granted in the 1950s. The pattern was then set for the round in the spring of 1964 for a similar amount of subsequent increases.
Dr. FitzGerald: The Taoiseach intervened as Minister for Industry and Commerce on a number of occasions and as a consequence the ESB increased their offer I think on four occasions until the strike was finally settled for a 17 per cent increase. It is always a matter of opinion whether an intervention in a situation like this is the cause of a particular result in the form of an increase eventually awarded. But to my recollection this seemed to be the case: the Taoiseach intervened repeatedly and did contribute to higher offers by the ESB which eventually went to a level far beyond anything given previously and which set the pattern at a somewhat lower level, 12 per cent rather than 17 per cent for the wage round that followed. There are arguments against ministerial  intervention but I know that on occasion we on this side of the House have recently favoured it. It can work well or it can work ill. On that occasion I think it was a mistake. I am sure the Taoiseach would disagree with me.
However, the facts are that from then on there occurred wage rounds of the order of 12 per cent at intervals of approximately two years. If one takes the period from the autumn of 1961 to the autumn of 1967 one finds that the average annual rate of wage increases was 8 per cent, the average annual increase in prices was 4 per cent and workers during that period secured an annual average improvement in living standards of 4 per cent. I make no distinction between the 4 per cent and the 5 per cent because I have rounded these figures off in any event. We then come to the third period, the period of the 2½ years, since the autumn of 1967. In this period we have seen another escalation to another level of wage and salary increases, to the 20 per cent level. This has led to an average annual increase of 12 per cent in wages and an average rate of increase in prices of 7 per cent and of a 5 per cent increase in workers' living standards.
I want to point out that there being no significant difference between 4 and 5 per cent the picture that emerges is that whatever rate of wage or salary increase one has, workers' living standards improve by the same amount. Workers can have higher living standards at the rate of 4 to 5 per cent per annum because the productivity of industry, and, indeed, of the economy, increases by something around that level. The figures I have given are actually for industry where the increase in productivity is somewhat higher and for the nation as a whole it would be somewhat lower but not much. The basic fact is that in this economy we produce per worker something like 4 per cent more per annum and in industry, perhaps, nearer to 5 per cent. With a well organised trade union movement and a reasonably competitive system the benefits of this are passed on to workers. They are passed on to the workers whatever the rate of wage increase may be and the trade unions  have the choice and they have to face it on their side that they can have their 4 or 5 per cent annual improvement in living standards at any price increase they like. If they want it at the 1 per cent price increase, right, let us get back to where we were in the late 50s and early 60s and have an average annual increase in wages of 6 per cent. If they want it, as they are getting now, at a 7 per cent price increase per annum, then let us have a 12 per cent annual wage increase.
Whatever way it is done you are not going to get a different improvement in living standards, with one qualification, and that is that if this process is pushed too far it can and will have such effects upon the economy and disrupt the economy to such an extent that workers will no longer achieve these increases because the competitiveness of industry will diminish to the point where neither at home nor abroad will we be able to sell our goods in competition with those of other countries and where, as a result, output of industry will lag and as growth of industrial output slows down so will productivity and so will the growth of real earnings because real earnings, the increase in the purchasing power of the worker, are directly related and are, in fact, a direct consequence of the increase in productivity. It can be said, therefore, that over quite a wide range, the people can have an increase in their living standards of something like 4 to 5 per cent per annum, depending on whether they are in industry or other sectors.
They can have that at any price increase they like—a 1 per cent annual price increase as in the late 50s and early 60s, and a 4 per cent increase from 1961 to 1967, or the 7 per cent increase we have at present, with one qualification that, once you get up to that level, once it pushes much over 4 per cent and rises as high as 7 per cent, you reach the point at which you undermine the competitiveness of our whole industrial system and growth slows down and disruption of the economy leads to a fall in this process of 4 to 5 per cent improvement in living standards. But, within these limits, as to what the  price increase will be rests primarily with those who determine increases in wages and salaries.
Import prices affect things too. Import prices have not risen significantly though it is true to say that they have risen very sharply indeed in the last couple of years. That increase is largely, as to, perhaps, two-thirds, the consequence of our and Britain's inflation of costs in the past which forced us both to devalue our £s and thereby increased the amount we had to pay for imports. If we can restrain our growth of costs to perhaps something like the 4 or 5 per cent per annum, which is a comparable figure to that of other neighbouring countries, we can avoid the need at any stage to devalue our currency, either with or without Britain, and we can avoid therefore the putting up of import prices. Import prices left to themselves, if one maintains the value of one's currency, rise more slowly than internal costs and there will, therefore, be no push from that side. In those circumstances the only factor ultimately which influences the level of price increase is the trend of wages and salaries. Other factors are so subordinate as to be inconsequential. I over-simplify but I do not over-simplify to the extent that I cannot stand over what I say and demonstrate it to be basically correct.
It can be said, I think, that the increase in prices is the consequence of and is, as to much the greater part, directly related to increase in wages and salaries. The relationship is a causative one very largely. It is a twoway process because, when prices go up, workers look for increases and you get this vicious spiral. It is this we now face. Let us be clear how dangerous it is because, if one gets into the position in which one's costs go up very rapidly, they push up prices and workers look for bigger increases and you get into the kind of spiral which destroys any prospect of economic growth as, indeed, has happened in South America. There are countries rich in natural resources, though not perhaps in expertise, which have got into such a vicious spiral of inflation that the economic growth has come to  a halt and prices increased sometimes by 100 per cent per annum, or more. That kind of situation existed in Germany after the First World War. We are not immune to this danger and we are, indeed, moving rapidly towards the brink of having to face this danger. Unless we can pull back, the consequences may be far graver than anybody at this stage imagines. If we are to pull back it is necessary that we put forward policies which will carry conviction with the ordinary workers and the trade unions and convince them that it will be possible to ensure that their restraint in regard to wages and salaries will not be exploited by others and, if they hold back, their holding back will not be followed by a growth in profits and more particularly and more important, in dividends, thereby diverting income from those who need it most to those who in general—there are exceptions—need it least.
This is what we have failed to do and here I ask the Taoiseach very seriously to look at this matter again with a fresh mind and some imagination. Let him not be inhibited from looking at the Fine Gael proposal of five years ago just because Fine Gael put it forward. Why has there been no study of this proposal, a proposal endorsed by the NIEC? Why has it never been examined? Why? Our proposal was one which endeavoured to get around the difficulty of controlling profits and individual dividends. The NIEC was very clear about it in 1965 and so were the trade union representatives who signed the NIEC report. Control of profits gets you nowhere. It may be necessary in the short term for a brief period to achieve equilibrium in a disastrous situation, but it is a short term answer only.
If you start controlling the growth of profits then you are in the position in which efficient industries are held back to the level of the inefficient and in which the funds required for future investment are no longer available. Those who will suffer most, and that in a very short time, will be the workers, the maintenance of whose jobs will become impossible, as will  the creation of new jobs, because of lack of investment. Control may be all right for six months to meet a critical situation. As a long-term solution it is not “on” and this is recognised clearly by everybody, including the trade union representatives who signed the NIEC report. If you control dividends and say that none may rise by more than 7 per cent you penalise the people who invest intelligently in firms that are efficient. You prevent them from getting any benefit from intelligent investment and you bring them down to the level of those who invest stupidly. Anything that encourages investment in less efficient firms is not to the ultimate benefit of the workers. Dividend control is not the answer. It may be desirable for six months or so. It is vital that workers be given an assurance that, if they restrain themselves as regards wage claims made and insisted upon, the benefits of this will not accrue to other better off income groups.
The solution suggested by Fine Gael to that problem, and endorsed by the NIEC, was one first mooted to my knowledge in The Economist of September, 1963: dividend equalisation tax, under which we would not restrain the growth of individual dividends but tax away, perhaps temporarily, any increase in total dividend income in excess of the increase in total wage and salary income so that wage and salary earners would be assured that those who live on dividends would not become wealthier than they were, the relative shares of the two in the resources of the country were maintained and their restraint was not leading to a situation in which those in receipt of dividends were gaining. Such a dividend equalisation tax would in the long run involve very little in the long term itself because, so far as we can judge in this country, the growth of dividends over the long term tends to be the same as the growth in wages. But workers will not be content with a generalisation of that kind. They want an assurance that a dividend equalisation tax would control the amount of income of those in control of dividends and we could then repay that money if dividends rose less rapidly than  wages. Such a system would ensure equity and convince workers that an incomes policy was not directed against them while, at the same time, in no way interfering with the allocation of resources. It would have none of the disadvantages of dividend control or profit control which could freeze the existing structure of the economy, discourage efficiency and encourage inefficiency.
There may be difficulties about this proposal but I submit that, when such a proposal is put forward seriously by the Fine Gael Party, and endorsed by the NIEC, and the Government fail to examine it, comment on it, or do anything about it, and talk year after year vaguely, ineffectively and unconvincingly about the need to have an incomes policy, without looking at the technical means of implementing such a policy, then the Government have failed in their duty. It is time for that failure to be remedied. It is time for the Government to look at this proposal, produce a White Paper, tell us whether it is feasible or not and if not, why.
For several years we have had talk about an incomes policy embracing all incomes, but the nearest we have got is the same useless negative approach of a purely short-term character. That might help us to halt the present inflation. But it is not an incomes policy. Unless some solution is found during that temporary pause, either on the lines we have suggested or on some other lines, to meet the requirements of assuring workers that they will not lose through restraint and, at the same time, not distorting the pattern of savings investment, we will not resolve this problem.
The first duty of the Government is to examine this proposal and then to tell us what they propose to do and how they propose to formulate an incomes policy. The neglect of the Government in this field is something that is difficult to forgive because it was unnecessary. Governments are under many pressures. It is easy in Opposition to criticise the Government for not doing things which for various internal reasons they may not be able to do. But there is no reason why a Government  with imagination could not have tackled this problem of an incomes policy some years ago. There is no reason why the goodwill of the ordinary workers could not have been mobilised in defence of reasonable price stability and in defence of their employment now threatened by the inflation caused by the failure of the Government to tackle the problem. While we give the fullest support to the Taoiseach in his statement regarding the gravity of the situation, we cannot give similar support to the Government in their failure to tackle the problem in the last few years.
During this period of inflation we have seen the growth of all kinds of factors threatening social cohesion. We have seen the rich getting richer while the poor become poorer; we have seen a diminution of social cohesion; we have seen the growth of materialism, a disregard on the part of the affluent for the impact their ostentatious living has upon the society in which they live. We have seen a corrosion of the confidence of the people in the last ten years. It was inevitable that we should face a problem in this respect because the achievement of economic growth at the end of the 1950s was bound to create tensions. However, we could have tackled the problem in a more satisfactory way. We could have done something to restrain conspicuous consumption and to ensure that the lot of those suffering from poverty would be eased. Instead of crowding our roads with large, expensive cars we should have concentrated on lining our streets with modest, suitable houses for the homeless.
We should not be in the position now where I could bring a Member of this House 300 yards from here and show him a family of half a dozen people living in a small room, having to share with six other families a communal lavatory. Yet, outside this House there are many large expensive cars. What kind of reaction can one expect from people in the face of that situation? The astonishing thing is not that there is unrest in this country but that our people have accepted this with resignation and so few have reacted violently. If anyone in this House has  the imagination to put himself in the position of a person who has to live in such appalling conditions, in what way would he regard the large cars parked outside in the street? Can we blame people if they react vigorously to such a society and can we say that we would not react in a similar way?
Yet we go on our way, creating this kind of society, aggravating the tensions and increasing the divisions in our society. I am afraid the party opposite have done their share of this. The example given by some of the Ministers opposite in their ostentatious way of life and in their attitude to wealth and prosperity has not helped the moral tone of our society and has not helped to preserve social cohesion in our society. The entire blame cannot be placed on the party opposite but responsibility rests on the Government to show by example that they really care. There are many thousands of people in this country who feel nobody cares for them and who are living in conditions that do not encourage them to feel otherwise. That situation has been aggravated seriously in the last ten years. It makes it difficult now to secure agreement on an incomes policy, especially if concrete proposals are put forward to ensure that restraint on the part of workers will not lead to the rich becoming richer.
That is the situation we face and it gives rise to serious dangers in our society. We see all around the growth of unrest among the oppressed. We can see a multiplication of the forces of those who want to encourage that unrest. We have created a situation in which it is becoming increasingly easy for those who want to destroy our society to secure the support of the ordinary people. We have not reacted very intelligently to this problem. The reaction of the other side of the House and the reaction of those outside this House also, to the tensions created is often repressive in character. The first instinct of people faced with unrest, ultimately caused by the conditions in which people live and exploited by those who want to use them for their own ends, is a repressive one. Their solution is not to remedy these evils  but rather to repress—a repression not necessarily directed solely against the revolutionaries who may have tried to exploit the situation but against the poor.
We have had this year the reaction of the Government to the Criminal Justice Bill proposals. In other areas there has been a growth in the attitude of repression which finds expression in tolerance of the activities of private police forces, as we saw recently in Hume Street, and in the reaction of the Government to the evils of squatting which their neglect has created. This reaction is not to strengthen the rights of property owners to deal with squatting, which needs to be done, but of trying to introduce legislation to put people in jail. If a man after years on a housing waiting list is finally driven in desperation to find a home for his family, the reaction is to seek to put him in jail. That does not seem to me to be an intelligent reaction.
In the last couple of years the Government have failed to tackle armed violence. They have allowed people to parade publicly with arms and, even when prodded from this side of the House, they refused to take action. However, the Government have reacted against unarmed people demonstrating for their rights. Therefore, it has had the effect of encouraging violence and discouraging peaceful protest. This is not the action of a wise Government and those responsible should examine their consciences. We must tackle the social evils that give rise to the threat of violence, we must deprive those who wish to exploit poverty of the chance to exploit it for revolutionary purposes.
We must choose carefully the means of dealing with social problems so that, while we ensure that law and order, in their true sense, are preserved, these rather fine concepts, in their true sense, are not used by us as an excuse for repression, that we do not fall into an all too easy attitude which would tend to aggravate tensions. It should be our task to ease tensions. This distinction is not always easy to make but it is a distinction we have to make if we are going to retain any type of cohesion in our society. Can we do  this? Can we show real dedication to social justice, to liberal policies, to reforms where needed, to the control of speculative and materialistic forces undermining our society from above as well as revolutionary forces undermining it from below? Can we show a real concern for the conservation of our natural resources—not just falling in with the National Conservation Year and towing a caravan from Leinster House throughout the country for this purpose but actually doing something about protecting our people from the effects of pollution, protecting the people of the State from the appalling stench from some factories which Deputies in this House would not tolerate for five minutes if they had to live in those conditions? Are we able to show the imagination and dedication to tackle these problems? I doubt it so far as the present Government are concerned. I think that, opposite me, we have men, the survivors, who have been a long time in office; and new men, perhaps, a long time waiting for office, but men who are tired men, unimaginative men, some of whom are trying to find the right thing to do but, even when they find the words, they cannot invest these words with the significance they should have because they are, perhaps, too tired at this stage to do so.
I doubt if a Government with the record of this Government—a record that includes economic achievement over some of this period but includes also neglect of social evils and a failure to grapple with the real problems of our society—can pull us out of the difficulties we are now in. I cannot see this Government mobilising support for an incomes policy. I cannot see this Government treading this path carefully on this whole issue of maintaining law and order while maintaining liberty. This Government have not shown any sureness of touch in the past few years. It does not seem to me that, even with the new men in it —half-purged as it is—it has the imagination in respect of many members of experience to do this.
In suggesting it is time for a change in this House I am propounding more than a cliché expected from the Opposition: I am propounding something that  is self-evident to a very large proportion of our people today.
There is also another reason why we must be concerned with the maintenance in office of this Government. It has been touched on by other speakers including Deputy Dr. Cruise-O'Brien. This is a Government which depends for its life and which will depend for its life in this House tomorrow night upon the support of men dedicated to bringing it down; men who make no bones about this; men who sit, day after day, at their extended table in the restaurant, plotting together; men who plot together in corners of this House; men who approach other Members of the Government party and try to suborn their colleagues from allegiance to their leader——
Dr. FitzGerald: What is sub judice? I am not referring to any case in the courts. I am talking about internal conflicts in the Fianna Fáil Party. I should not dream of talking about any case in the courts. I am entitled to refer to the divisions in the party opposite and the dangers these divisions constitute for the country because the divisions of the party opposite involve a small group of men dedicated to pursuing policies which could destroy this country; men determined to achieve power in Fianna Fáil and plotting to do so. Can a Government depend on these men for its support and life as a Government? Nobody could have confidence in such a Government. It is not just on this side of the House that there is a lack of confidence in this Government: there is a lack of confidence also in this Government amongst Fianna Fáil supporters throughout the country.
The dangers here are very real. I do not think public opinion has grasped them sufficiently. People in a crisis, people facing a danger, grasp at straws. I should not like to suggest the Taoiseach is a straw man but he is certainly not a strong man within his party at this time. I am afraid that people, seeing the threat posed to the country by those who have broken away from Fianna Fáil—within the party in most cases; outside it, in one case—seeing  that the Taoiseach cannot iron out what has been done, with courage, it must be said, may not realise the danger of keeping in power a man, whatever his goodwill and concern to do the right thing, who, whenever he speaks, is in a position that he may not be able to do the right thing without bringing down not only himself but perhaps more than himself and his Government with him. A Government in that situation is not a kind of Government a country in our position needs at this time.
In referring to this matter I want to refer to the north which has been spoken of from this side of the House in entirely constructive terms. The opening speech from this side of the House by the leader of the Fine Gael Party, Deputy Cosgrave, brought to the attention of the House and of the people some facts about our Constitution which are perhaps overlooked: the fact that sectarianism in our Constitution was an import of the Fianna Fáil Government in 1937. This country had a Constitution which no doubt had defects. In certain respects it contained the vestiges of an imperial form of rule which, rightly, both parties in time succeeded in eliminating. It was a Constitution which, nevertheless, partly because of pressure from the British Government when the State was founded, contained no references to sectarianism and contained nothing that was objected to by any of the minority in this country who were perhaps more powerful and influential then than they are today. That Constitution was replaced by Fianna Fáil by a new Constitution which has many good features—many of whose provisions I have had occasion to praise— but unfortunately it introduced into the Constitution of our country provisions which are not regarded by the minority in this country as ones they can readily accept.
We had also speeches from Deputy Cooney and Deputy Harte and latterly Deputy Cruise-O'Brien dealing with the north in terms, I think, that gave the fullest support to what the Taoiseach was trying to do even if at times they were doubtful of the Taoiseach and  his colleagues living up to the standards they are trying to set for themselves. Any fears expressed in this House or elsewhere that we could not debate the north in this House without saying things that might do damage have been demonstrated to be without foundation so far as the Opposition in this House are concerned. Perhaps there is foundation for such fears from the other side of the House. Perhaps speeches may be made later in this debate by Members of the Taoiseach's party which could do damage. Perhaps he may be able to restrain them or they may be able to restrain themselves.
In this debate, as in the debate last October, nothing has been said that is not constructive or helpful to the re-unification of minds and hearts which we seek. I think that, over the past year, we have all learned a lot. It would be quite wrong for anybody, speaking on this matter, to suggest that all truth lies with one side of the House and none on the other; that all the mistakes are made from one side of the House and none from the other side of the House. We have all made mistakes in the past. We have all lived and thought in Partitionist terms. Even those of us who try, consciously, to get out of this mould and to think in all-Ireland terms and to consider and react towards the minority in the north as if they were an integral part, onequarter of our people, all of us have at times fallen short of the standards we have tried to set ourselves. The blame for this rests on all of us in the way we have organised our affairs in the past half-century. It is the product of ignorance and neglect on our part.
It is ironical to recall, but it is worth recalling, that barely a year ago, after the first troubles in Derry, before Burntollet, a public opinion poll was carried out in this country of an extensive character and, as public opinion polls go, a very real one, in which people were asked what they thought were the major national issues. They were given a list, if I recall correctly, of possible issues to comment on, of what they thought were the major national issues of our time. One per cent referred to Northern Ireland. That was the measure of interest in or consiv  cern for Northern Ireland in this country barely a year ago, even after the troubles had started.
Is it surprising, faced with that public ignorance or public lack of interest, that when the crisis broke last August foolish things were said? It is not surprising. It is perhaps not so easy to forgive it in a Government or the leader of a Government. It is easy to forgive it in the other members of the Fianna Fáil Party, my party and the Labour Party, and the people of the country as a whole, given that we were brought up to ignore the north and that, as long as we said our little bit of patter about being against Partition, we need not think about the north or visit it or know the people. Given that that is the background, it is not surprising that mistakes were made and foolish things said. This does not exonerate the Taoiseach or the Government from their actions at that time. It does exonerate many others in Fianna Fáil and elsewhere for foolish things that may have been said at first.
In the past year we have learned a great deal. For the first time in half a century we have begun to think about the north. For the first time we have begun really to consider it as potentially a part of our country. We have begun to examine our attitudes, a healthy but painful process. Many people, in Fianna Fáil and outside it, have found it difficult to readjust their attitudes, to face up to the fact that their stereotyped picture of the north is not, in fact, what the north is like. The biggest shock of all was the shock provided to so many people when the British Army was welcomed by the Catholics in Belfast and Derry in August last year. The traumatic effect of that shock took weeks and months to overcome.
The first stage in the process of national re-evaluation began, and I think this can be traced meticulously from the record, with the publication of the Fine Gael policy on this subject in September of last year. When one contrasts the speech made by the Taoiseach on 29th August with his Tralee speech at the end of September, one can see the profound effect the Fine Gael policy statement had. For the  first time a party had the courage to say truthfully what the position was in the north and to approach it in a generous spirit, not in a spirit of reconquest but in a spirit of reconcilia-tion. It must be said that this approach on the part of the Fine Gael Party struck a responsive chord at once in the Taoiseach who that very same day welcomed it and went on in his Tralee speech to spell out in more detailed terms his support for the proposals put forward by the Fine Gael Party.
Since then we had the October debate last year which helped public opinion to evolve. Since then we had many articles and many speeches and a general painful process of rethinking of attitudes, although they still have not penetrated to all recesses in the Fianna Fáil Party. We still have people like Deputy Moore who either have not listened, heard, understood or accepted what the Taoiseach had to say on the subject on 11th July and who still blame it all on Britain. We will have people who say it is all the fault of Partition, as if Partition were a cause and not an effect.
Partition is the reflection of a division within the Irish people, a division whose origins lie back in history, the blame for which may fairly be attributed to Britain in the early 17th century, or perhaps a bit later, but which for centuries past has been, as the Taoiseach so rightly said, an Irish problem to be solved only by Irishmen. Certainly its solution will be facilitated by British goodwill. It could be impeded by other attitudes on the part of Britain. For a long time past the British have had goodwill. The British have, perhaps, been bemused as to how to tackle the problem. They have done foolish and stupid things at times, not because they wanted to make a mess of things, not because they wanted for some purposes of their own to create disorder or difficulties here, but because they did not understand the problem. With our help they can be brought to understand it. They are coming to understand it.
I do not think Britain is an obstacle to the solution of this problem. If we could solve it, if we could create a union of hearts and minds among our  own people, on Britain's side there would be nothing more than a sigh of relief. If we could solve our problems together, the British would be very happy indeed to withdraw their troops and get out of the situation they are now in. They are faced with the danger of having to introduce conscription or cut their commitments elsewhere in the world because of their involvement in Northern Ireland. Whatever strategic reasons Britain may have had in the past for hanging on to Northern Ireland —that is an old Irish story—they exist no longer. Britain's strategic interests require her to cut her military commitments in the north as much and as soon as possible. Her interests and ours coincide. For Deputy Moore to talk of Britain today as the obstacle is to talk in terms, perhaps, of what he was taught at school in a distorted history book and not in the terms of current reaction.
This union of hearts and minds will not be achieved by concentrating on each other's defects. I was depressed in this respect by the Taoiseach's speech. As Deputy Dr. Cruise-O'Brien and other speakers said, there has been an uncertainty of touch on the part of the leaders of Fianna Fáil in handling this problem. One can see over the past year that they have learned to face the problem and try to apply goodwill, intelligence and some imagination to it. One can see the development of their thought, but very easily they fall back into the old ways.
We had the foolish statement by the Taoiseach, in his otherwise excellent speech of July 11th, that we are on the brink of a great achievement, a meaningless phrase to us but perhaps a threatening one to one million people in the north. We had the most unfortunate defensive reference by the Minister for External Affairs to the arms in the Falls Road, dismissing them as if they were a few water pistols, a partisan attitude which I thought he had gone beyond and yet which, perhaps in a moment of pressure, he was betrayed into.
We had from the Taoiseach yesterday again, unfortunately, a lecture to the  Unionists in Northern Ireland about the reforms they had introduced and the reforms they should introduce. It is fair for all of us to comment from time to time upon the progress or lack of progress made there, but any such comments must be made in the full and open knowledge and acceptance that there are motes and beams here. I would not claim that the defects in our society match in scale and magnitude or importance and gravity those in the society of Northern Ireland, but there are defects in our society which are, in many cases, all too closely parallel to those in Northern Ireland. For us to condemn aspects of society in Northern Ireland and to speak about reforms there in a patronising way, when we are not prepared to introduce similar reforms here or when we have offended against the principles involved in those reforms, is not to forward the cause of Irish unity.
Let us be critical of what is wrong in Northern Ireland, but with due humility and due regard for the fact that we have our faults too. No consciousness of this emerged from the Taoiseach's address yesterday. There was no evidence that when he spoke of some of the reforms in Northern Ireland there was a case for doing something about reforms here too. Let me list some of these. The Taoiseach spoke about the reform in the discriminatory voting system in Northern Ireland. Of course we have not got this discriminatory voting system in the Republic. We have one man one vote, but one man's vote has not got the same value as another's as a result of the gerrymander by that former member of Fianna Fáil, Deputy Kevin Boland.
A Taoiseach who stood over that gerrymander, who supported it and led his party through the House in support of it when this country was carved up in such a way as to give Fianna Fáil five seats they would not otherwise have got to get the dishonest majority he got in the last election, a Taoiseach who led his party to try to demolish our fair system of PR in favour of a system which would have been unfair in this country, is not a man who can talk patronisingly about voting discrimination in Northern Ireland and  get away with it. He has laid himself open to some remarks from Mr. Faulkner who is the expert in this field.
The Taoiseach also spoke about housing in Northern Ireland. He said rightly that the housing allocation system has not been implemented, that the central housing authority has not yet been set up. That is something which needs to be said much more frequently in the British Parliament because it seems to me that there are too many people who believe that the reforms in Northern Ireland have all been introduced.
The Taoiseach also spoke about the increase in the volume of housing in Northern Ireland to meet the needs of that part of the country but he had nothing to say about the volume of housing here nor would it be clear to even the closest listener to his speech that the country about which he was making patronising references in regard to the volume of their housing is building twice as many local authority houses per head of population as we are. If we are to be patronising about housing in Northern Ireland in regard to volume we must expect a reply very quickly pointing out the relative figures. By the time the reforms go through they will be building in Northern Ireland, with half the population, about 25 per cent more houses in all and, counting local authority houses, the disparity will be even greater. The less we say about reforms in housing in Northern Ireland involving increased numbers of houses the better, until the Government show some sign of doing something about the problem here. This remains to me the biggest mystery of Fianna Fáil. I do not understand how a government such as Fianna Fáil whose members are in close touch with the ordinary people—they are good constituency men—can have allowed the situation in housing to develop that has developed here and how they can then talk about Northern Ireland in the same breath as regards housing. To say the least, it is foolish of them.
On the question of discrimination let me say, as I think other speakers on our side have said, that Mr.  Faulkner's remarks on the subject are wide of the mark. We do not have discrimination in the giving of houses. They really are allocated on a points system; whether that is the technical phrase for it or not I do not know but they are allocated on a system of priorities. I have never come across a case in my own area where I found any evidence of houses being unfairly allocated. Perhaps it has happened. I have heard rumours and reports but I have seen no evidence. I shall not believe it until I see the evidence. Our housing allocation is fair but it must be said that Deputies on the other side of the House have done their best to undermine confidence in it. Any Deputy on this side knows as well as I do that when you are dealing with constituents about housing they tell you: “Deputy so-and-so of Fianna Fáil got a house for so-and-so. Will you get one for me? Are they the only people who can get houses?”
I have no evidence of any Fianna Fáil Deputy getting a house for anybody but I have much evidence of Fianna Fáil Deputies claiming to get houses. If Mr. Faulkner is talking about their introduction of a points system and our not having a fair system here it is because he has fallen for the Fianna Fáil propaganda on this subject. He has fallen as so many of our own people have, into the trap of believing Fianna Fáil Deputies who say they get houses for people when in fact the system is a fair one which they do not influence unfairly. Fianna Fáil Deputies, like Fine Gael Deputies, can help people who have failed to present their case adequately. We must all do that. A week does not pass that I do not find some constituent looking for a house and is not getting one because he forgot that he did not change on the form the place he was looking for. You get the person who says: “I will go anywhere on the south side but I cannot get a house.” Then you find that when they filled up the form four years ago they put “Charlemont Street” and, since there was nothing built in Charlemont Street, they have got nothing.
All of us can help people who made mistakes of this kind. We can draw the  attention of the corporation to cases of injustice or unfairness that can occur in any system through oversight or mistakes but we do not distort the priority system for the benefit of our supporters in my experience. If I am wrong in that I am open to correction. Many people believe this happens and this belief has communicated itself to Northern Ireland. It is about time people were disabused of this belief and that Fianna Fáil Deputies stopped claiming corruption in an area in which they are not, so far as I am aware, practising corruption.
We have also heard the Taoiseach refer to employment discrimination in Northern Ireland. Again, I thought it was a very unwise subject to be raised by a Fianna Fáil Taoiseach who must have heard, or heard of, his own Member who, a couple of weeks ago, brazenly claimed in this House that three of his family had got jobs as guides at the Rock of Cashel. He was accused of four; he claimed three. I am not sure what way the truth lies. This is only the tip of an iceberg of Fianna Fáil jobbery which has undermined public confidence in public institutions.
Dr. FitzGerald: There is no question but that there was an interview board and that representatives of the Board of Works, which is under his control, and of the regional tourist board, were on it. Then he appointed them subsequently. The background to this matter of jobbery is worth bearing in mind. I think it is worth understanding  the historical background as to how it arose. My own view, and I have not gone into it in great detail, is from what I have read of our history, that when the first Government came to power they were faced with a difficult situation. I have no intention of going into the rights and wrongs of the Civil War which are not matters for debate here and are matters about which the less said the better on all sides. They were in a position where they found themselves in conflict with a large group of their own people and where they faced a problem of not being able to rely on people in their own service who were in collusion with people on the other side of the Civil War. It was necessary to get rid of some people for this reason. It was also necessary for public security not to reappoint people for a period who were committed to overthrowing the existing regime.
My understanding of it is that the first Government went to great trouble to avoid any kind of jobbery and introduced and maintained a very high standard in that respect. Seen from the republican side the exclusion of republicans from jobs clearly created a problem. When Fianna Fáil came into power in 1932 I can quite understand that Government feeling it necessary to reinstate or put into jobs some of its own people, to restore the balance that inevitably had been disturbed by the aftermath of the Civil War. I find it hard to condemn certain readjustments in public employment at that time to set the balance right so that one could start afresh. Unfortunately, what was done then, and understandingly, became a habit and there was introduced into Irish life, originally perhaps in good faith and in circumstances with which one can sympathise, a practice of jobbery which has filled up all the nooks and crannies not covered by the Civil Service Commission or the Local Appointments Commission so that wherever there is a job not covered by these bodies political influence operates.
We have seen it in the appointment of judges, with very rare exceptions every ten years or so just to make the point that not all appointments are political. We have seen it in the appointment of boards of State bodies,  not in the case of all the appointees but in some cases a few, not a majority, and in other cases a minority. We have seen it at, perhaps its worst and most dangerous to public confidence, in the appointments to RTE. We have seen it at the level of the guides at the Rock of Cashel, at the level of sub-postmasters, rate collectors and anywhere it is possible for political influence to creep in through any loophole not blocked by the measures taken by the first Government. It has crept in and corroded public life.
I do not suggest that all the blame for this is on one side. I have said that the origins of it seem understandable and were perhaps relatively innocent. I am sure that other governments since have offended to some degree. I think the corrosion and corruption introduced by this practice has spread and that the whole of our public life has become affected by it. At times it has affected other people also. This is perhaps not surprising but I think we must tackle it. It is no good talking to the people of Northern Ireland about injustice in employment when they see down here the limited chance somebody has of getting one of these unprotected jobs, jobs not protected by the Civil Service Commission or the Local Appointments Commission, if they are not Fianna Fáil.
Those on the other side of the House should examine their consciences on this matter both for the sake of public life in this part of the country and for the sake of any possibility of eventual reunion. You will not persuade the Unionist million in Northern Ireland ever to join in a state where they see that jobs are allocated in many walks of life, even including the judiciary, on a political basis, and if I were one of them I would not want to come in in those circumstances either.
Dr. FitzGerald: My understanding is that the judges of Northern Ireland  are appointed by the Lord Chancellor of England and that the political appointments system which did exist in England was abolished a while ago. I am not saying judges in Northern Ireland may not have acted mistakenly or wrongly on some occasion. It may well be there was bias in some cases, but the appointments system in respect of judges to the High Court or other judges is one which is not subject to political influence in Northern Ireland. In any event, even if it were, I do not see that they would be any more inclined to join in another system where the influence would work the other way.
The Taoiseach also spoke about the reform of the RUC and the B Specials, the elimination of the repressive element that existed in an armed police force and a militia which was outside control, as he said. However, the Taoiseach who brought in the Criminal Justice Bill is not in a good position to talk about repression. He also spoke about local authority reform in Northern Ireland, while under him Dublin Corporation and Bray Urban District Council were not only abolished but have been kept abolished. The Taoiseach can make a case that because they did not strike a rate it was necessary to get rid of them, but no case can be made for refusing to reinstate those authorities, their offence having been purged. For the Taoiseach to talk patronisingly about local authority reform in Northern Ireland, having left these two areas without local representation, will not carry conviction.
I noticed one thing the Taoiseach did not refer to in relation to reforms in Northern Ireland. He did not mention the introduction of an ombudsman. Why? Because the Taoiseach does not intend to introduce an ombudsman down here to protect people against administrative abuse. This has been a rather selective approach to reform in Northern Ireland.
Having gone over that catalogue in the Taoiseach's speech and having contrasted his attitude to Northern Ireland and reforms there with the performance of Fianna Fáil down here, I wish to reiterate what I said at the outset. I  am not saying things are as bad here as in Northern Ireland, but there are defects in our system for which the present Government are peculiarly responsible in a number of cases which make it hazardous, to say the least of it, for the Government or its leader to lecture the North of Ireland on their way of handling these same matters. To put it the other way round, I think the Taoiseach who has delivered this homily has an obligation in conscience, in reason, to set about righting the defects here which are the direct equivalent of, if less serious in character than, those in the north of Ireland. Our criticism of Northern Ireland and the regime there would be so much more powerful if we set about changing our own society.
We must recognise that just as the concept of freedom which lay at the root of the whole Protestant ethos has been distorted in Northern Ireland into repression, so also Tone's concept of republicanism here has been distorted into something quite different from its origins. Both of these are noble traditions. We do not, perhaps, like always to remember it—most of us are Jacobites at heart at least in Irish affairs—but the Whig revolution of 1688, whatever about its unattractive features, was designed to and did secure certain freedoms. Catholics had to wait a century and-a-third to benefit from these freedoms, and in the meantime they suffered the penal laws.
In any event, a certain foundation was laid in the Whig revolution at that time and when the Protestants of Northern Ireland, Orangemen, talk about freedom as being something guaranteed to them by the Orange Order and by their Williamite traditions they are not just inventing something. They are referring back to something that was a reality which has become distorted in their hands. Nevertheless, there is something there of which we have a genuine pride and it is something from which we have benefited. The freedom of speech and freedom of association which we enjoy as an inevitable part of our way of living is a British tradition which finds its origin there. We in being proud of our  tradition are in some respects being proud of the same thing as the Protestants of Northern Ireland, although we do not trace it back in quite the same way and although we have not distorted it in the same way as they have, into an instrument of repression. Therefore, when we have someone in this House speaking about the ideals of Tone and, at the same time, speaking about our people, 500,000 of our people—the 500,000 being Catholics—you are seeing a very weakened and distorted form of Tonism. I referred to it in an earlier debate as deviationist Tonism, to be polite about it. We all have our traditions of which we are proud. Many traditions have gone to make up this island but we at times distort them to our own advantage or what we see as our own advantage. We here are as guilty of this in our own way as the Orangemen in Northern Ireland.
We should also recognise some of the strictures about this part of the country by people in the north, for example, strictures about clericalism in the Republic, which in the past at least had a good deal of foundation. What we tend to forget is the extent to which in this respect we went backwards for a period. I myself grew up in the belief that there has been a great deal of progress towards greater freedom, a great deal of progress away from undue interference by the Catholic Church in matters that did not directly concern it, that this has gone on continually and that things are getting better all the time. It is only as I have grown older and read more I found this country had a strong, healthy kind of anticlerical tradition throughout the nineteenth and into the early twentieth century which died largely with independence, and that for several decades we went sharply backwards.
There is no comparison between the independent-minded attitude of Irish political leaders in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century towards the Church and the attitude adopted by our Irish political leaders towards the Church in the 1930s—vide the Constitution and much else besides. When the Protestants in Northern Ireland accuse us of not having full  freedom in some respects, of being unduly influenced by Church authorities in matters that should not directly concern it, they are not speaking of something imaginary, but of something that has been a reality. Of course, like most things, it is out of date. Just as our picture of the North of Ireland is a stereotype which is many years out of date, their picture of the Republic is many years out of date. They seem to believe we are still back in the thirties and forties or, perhaps, even in the early fifties, the period of the mother and child scheme. The fact that there has been a great change here has not, perhaps, impinged on them and that is probably our fault in failing to put it across.
We should face the fact that the first couple of decades of the history of this State were not happy in this respect and that the fears Protestants had had some foundation, not that we ever adopted any repressive or bigoted measures against Protestants, but we did seek to create, to their discomfiture if no more, a Catholic State, and this found its expression in the peculiar and unhappy wording of the 1937 Constitution, and found its expression in other ways, too, right up to and including the period of the mother and child scheme.
Look at it from the point of view of the Northern Ireland Protestant and let us see the way this country evolved: how the healthily independent attitude to the Church authorities which had characterised our people and our politicians right up to this century, and well into this century, evaporated and weakened with independence and under how much clerical influence Irish politicians fell during the first 30 years or so of the existence of this State. If we face this we can perhaps begin understanding their viewpoint and come to grips with it.
Of course, their fears are exaggerated, their concept of clerical influence here goes far beyond anything that was ever the case but certainly in this part of the country we have not been throughout the life of this State by any means as careful of the feelings of our Protestant compatriots, those of  us who are Catholics, as we should have been. We did seek to create a Catholic State in which they would be tolerated, with no discrimination in employment or housing or anything but in which they would have to live in an atmosphere which was officially Catholic and not simply Catholic by majority. That certainly is something which the Protestant who does not have to live here, who lives in the North of Ireland and wishes to remain there must have found distasteful. We must face this fact and face the fact that this country in this respect went backwards for a period of 30 years and although we have since recovered much ground and have a much better and healthier relationship from the point of view of the Church as well as the State, this is not by any means widely understood in the North of Ireland.
We should listen to criticisms made by people in the North of Ireland of our State. Some of these are misconceived and simply wrong, such as the reference to the allocation of houses made by Mr. Faulkner. Some are propaganda, designed for home consumption; some of them have elements of truth and wherever there is an element of truth in an allegation made by a Northern Minister we should examine it and see what we can do about it. It is no answer to the point that he makes to say that we do not need an ombudsman, that our TDs are so active that there is no problem. This is palpable nonsense. The function of an ombudsman, of investigating the files of Government Departments where a case is made that injustice has been done is one which no TD has ever been permitted to fulfil in this country. The suggestion that either by questions in the House or by representations to Government Departments the injustices which an ombudsman occasionally reveals could be brought to light is not worthy of a moment's discussion. This pretence that we do not need such a man here but that they need him in the North of Ireland does us no good, when we find Brian Faulkner boasting about their ombudsman and jeering us because we have no similar institution. While we might accept that there is perhaps greater need for him in the north than here—I am not too sure of  it in this particular instance—but whether there is a greater need or not there is a need for him here and the resistance of Fianna Fáil to any kind of inspection or control of the activities of the Government machine other than by Ministers is something that has to go, if we are to convince people in the North of Ireland that they will get the same fair treatment here as they now expect to have in the north.
What are the things that need to be done here if we are to be able to say to the people in the north “You have nothing to fear. If you join with us you will find yourself in a State in which the way of life will be congenial to you, with your different traditions”? We must distinguish here between the different things that have to be done. In the Constitution there are things which in one way or another are offensive to people in the North of Ireland and constitute obstacles to a union of minds and a union of the country. There are laws we have which are inappropriate and undesirable and which would certainly give rise to misconceptions and do not encourage people in the north to want to be associated with a State which has such laws.
Then again we have laws which, perhaps, do not suit the views of people in the North of Ireland and with which they would be unhappy but which reflect very seriously a tradition of our own and which we are entitled to retain, telling them that they can in this sphere have their own separate legal system. We must therefore distinguish between these different things —the constitutional changes required, the legal changes required and cases in which their laws may be different from ours but where there is no necessity for us to change ours but where we need to make it clear that if we ever came together they could retain their own law. This needs study and I am glad that a committee has been set up to study it. However, I am not by any means happy that it is an inter-departmental committee. These are matters which are so essentially political that I do not think such a committee can grapple adequately with them. I should have been much happier if the Taoiseach  had told us that a Cabinet committee had been set up, even perhaps a Fianna Fáil Party committee, to look at this matter, with the insight that politicians have into these problems and which the civil servants cannot be expected to have. I hope the review will be extensive and constructive and some political decisions will emerge which will help to make changes here and which will help in some way towards bringing the two parts of the country closer together.
We all know that our Constitution needs to be reviewed from this point of view. The Article on which most attention is concentrated is Article 44.2.3 which concerns the special position of the Catholic Church. We know that this has no legal significance and it was intended simply as a statement of fact, but it is so open to misinterpretation that it should go. On this there is unanimous agreement, excepting at least one member of the Labour Party, in this House and amongst the Churches. There are other Articles which need to be looked at. There is the Article which makes the dissolution of marriage unconstitutional. Apart from the fact that the phraseology of this Article has given rise to serious legal problems because of conflict with international law there is the fact that in the North of Ireland, for good or for ill, divorce does exist and for us to have a Constitution which says it cannot exist in the national territory is hardly going to encourage people in the north who believe this is an essential part of their liberties to want to join us. I would have doubts about changing our divorce law. That is a matter for ourselves. One could argue it either way. The case is a very difficult one on which to reach a clear decision but it should not be and should never have been in the Constitution and was not in the first Constitution. It should now go without prejudice to whether our laws should be changed which is a quite different question and one on which I have no clear view.
There is also Article 44.2.6 dealing with the acquisition of religious property by the State. I am not sure why special protection is required for  religious property as against property generally. There was something similar in the first Constitution and it may be that by common consent in both parts of Ireland it needed to be retained. I do not fully understand why, as it seems to me that all propery deserves some protection. It may have been introduced originally, and I think it was, for fear that the Irish Government would confiscate property of the Protestant churches as many of those churches were, in our view, Catholic churches originally, and in other countries a change of regime has led to a change in the control of churches. This needs to be looked at anyhow to see if there is any need for it or to see if the inclusion of a special provision with respect to religious property is desirable or undesirable.
Another section needs to be looked at because of repeated statements or implications by the Government or civil servants that it stands in the way of necessary reforms in regard to housing. It needs to be looked at in this context vis-à-vis the North of Ireland because in Northern Ireland there is no such inhibition. I am referring to the section dealing with private property which has been quoted as meaning that the Irish Government cannot acquire land for building purposes without paying the full development price. I do not see how it can bear this interpretation but if, in fact, the position is that whereas in the North of Ireland land can be acquired at its agricultural value, as was the case with Craigavon, and this cannot happen down here, and that the provision of houses at a reasonable price is impossible because of this then it seems to me to be something which should be looked at in the context of relations with Northern Ireland. If I were a person concerned with housing there I should be very slow to join a country in which it was impossible to acquire land at a reasonable price because of constitutional inhibitions. That is something that should be looked at.
These are some points amongst others. The most important point is the basic question of Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution. Here we have never really made up our minds and decided  what it is we want to do. Are we still vestigially thinking of the reconquest of Northern Ireland or do we genuinely now believe, as we say we do, that Partition can and should end only with the consent of the majority? That is the policy of this party. It is the policy of the Labour Party. Expressions to this effect, but never so explicit, have been made by the Fianna Fáil Party and its leader. Possibly it is the policy of the majority of the Fianna Fáil Party. I believe it should be made explicit.
If this is, in fact, national policy then that is, in fact, recognition of Northern Ireland. If that is so, then the separate regime must remain until its people, by a majority, change it. When we talk about reunion then what exactly do we mean? You cannot, as Deputy Cruise-O'Brien quoted me as saying, recognise diplomatically a non-sovereign State. We recognise the Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, although the Minister for External Affairs was strangely silent when asked to confirm this yesterday. We recognise Northern Ireland, which constitutes a legal unit, and we recognise the authority of the British Government over that area. We cannot recognise it as a State because it is not a State. We say that Partition can and should only go with the consent of the majority. This is the only kind of recognition we can give. Let us give it formally and make a formal statement that that is our position.
If that is the case then Articles 2 and 3 need to be looked at because they are couched in terms incompatible with this concept of recognition coming only from a union of minds and hearts. On the legal and administrative side there are other matters to be considered. On the administrative side we have the use of Irish as a weapon for examination purposes and for entrance to the public service. So long as we retain this, so long are we dividing our island and telling the citizens in Northern Ireland that they are not wanted here. The alternative is saying: “Yes, come in, but you will never get a job in our Civil Service so long as you do not learn our language.” So long as the Government continue that policy they  are not sincere. There are different minds in this State at the present time. We have not recognised this fully and until we do so there will not be the union of minds and hearts for which the Taoiseach says he wishes.
Again, we have provisions with regard to contraception which are an obstacle not only to reunion with the north but to the union of hearts and minds amongst our own people in the different communities that go to make up our State. The time is past for us to maintain a law of this kind, a law which supports the viewpoint of the ecclesiastical authorities and a minority of theologians in one particular Church. The law should not involve itself in matters of theology and private conscience. In this the Taoiseach is particularly to blame because of his dishonesty and double thinking. He told the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis that there was nothing to prevent people who wished to do so using contraceptives. I questioned him on that and I pointed out that their import was prohibited and so they could not be bought here; the only alternative was for people to make their own.
This kind of double thinking will certainly not persuade anyone in Northern Ireland that there is any real interest in this part of the country about trying to create conditions under which people could come together. This law is undesirable because it is an intrusion into the sphere of private morality and involves taking sides in a theological dispute between churches. It is an obstacle to the union of minds and hearts among the religious communities in this country and, a fortiori, to the union of minds and hearts between north and south. We should take our courage in our hands and abolish it for the anachronism that it now is. We may have our private views about contraception but our private views should not enter into a matter of this kind. There must be honesty in this when talking about it to our friends in the north. That does not mean that we are prepared to align our legislation with theirs in every respect. There are views we hold as a  matter of conviction which may not be held as matters of conviction in the north.
There has been a successful union over many centuries between England and Scotland and, as in the case of Scotland, there are things in which we would want to retain our own practices. If the law on abortion in the north bears any relation to that in England I do not see any reason why we should change our law in that particular respect. This is a matter of public morality. If, in Northern Ireland, they have different practices, I do not think we should insist that recognition means their dropping their practices any more than they should insist that we should drop ours or change our code of public morality. There is room for different legal systems and different public morality, but let it be clear that there is no use in saying we will adopt the practices that exist in Northern Ireland while, at the same time, refusing to examine what is inappropriate in our own community. The public service should be looked at and dealt with. That does not mean we should blindly change over. There is no reason why different attitudes should be a barrier to unity.
Jobbery must go if we are to convince the Northern Unionists that they have a place in this country. We must tackle the housing problem. This means an enormous increase if we are to get anywhere near what has been achieved in Northern Ireland, even before the reforms. We must push ahead in the sphere of social welfare, recognising that there are economic limits and it will take time for our economy to catch up with that of Northern Ireland, subsidised, as it is, by Great Britain. We must recognise these economic differences. Economic differences can disappear in time. Some of them arise from the exploitation of agriculture in this part of the country by British subsidisation of agriculture in the north. Contrary to what was said on the Labour Benches, in this respect the EEC will make a radical change, putting Ireland on a par in the two parts of the island.
Progress towards achieving the same  standards in social welfare is good. We appear to be catching up with the north. Progress also depends on our having the kind of social conscience that, within the limits of our resources, we do all we can from this point of view.
On the question of catching up, the position is a bit complex. We have been catching up with Britain in terms of our economic growth rate over the past decade. Assuming Britain is over the hump now and her economy expands more rapidly, it is on the cards we will continue to catch up and our growth rate may be 1 per cent higher than Britain's in the next decade. This depends on our overcoming our shortterm incomes policy about which I spoke earlier. If we can overcome that we can bring our living standards close enough to what they will be in Britain towards the end of the century. The position vis-à-vis Northern Ireland is more complex because it has been expanding much more rapidly in some respects than has the British economy. I was taken aback and a little concerned to discover the disparity in growth rates between north and south in the only period for which accurate figures are available, 1962 to 1967.
Although our economy suffered a crisis in 1965-66, for the five-year period 1962 to 1967 our economy expanded by 17½ per cent while the economy of Northern Ireland expanded by about 24½ per cent. In only one of those five years did our economy expand more rapidly. Therefore, we are faced with the position that, whereas we are likely to catch up with Britain in terms of economic growth, in Northern Ireland under normal conditions a high economic growth rate has been achieved because of the economic policies pursued and the scale of assistance given by the British Government to regional development. We will have to work out the implications of a situation in which Northern Ireland may be developing much more rapidly than Britain and we may be developing at an intermediate rate, and we must relate this to the extent of the dependence of the Northern Ireland economy on Britain. Finally, we will have to  make some assessment of our prospects to match the development in Northern Ireland in the years ahead. However, this is not an insuperable problem and we will be able to come near to its solution in the lifetime of many people in this House.
No economic study has been carried out into this matter. I hope the terms of reference of the inter-departmental committee are broad enough to examine this and that they will have the wit to employ expert advice to look at the matter in realistic terms.
The real problem is a psychological one. We must break away from the old attitude which was basically one of reconquest—that we would take over the north when we could get hold of it, perhaps not by military force but by getting Britain to hand it over to us against its will. This attitude is instinctive in many of us and is displayed in our reluctance to amend the Constitution in this respect and to give recognition to the north. We must break away from this attitude and develop a genuine feeling for the north and its people. We must get to the point when none of us will say “our people” meaning one religious community. It is not only the Blaneys and the Bolands who fall into this trap but we can all unthinkingly adopt a sectarian attitude in this matter. This has been evident in speeches of Government Ministers. Thy have the tendency to take different attitudes when Catholics or Protestants are being shot. There should not be any reluctance here to condemn those responsible for the killing of Protestants. If we genuinely believe what we proclaim about modern Ireland we should be as concerned about the Protestants; perhaps we owe it to ourselves to be a little more concerned about them.
On the whole, our attitudes have tended to remain somewhat sectarian, although we have put a good face on it. We will not make progress with the kind of threatening gestures made last August of “not standing idly by”. We will not make progress with foolish talk of “being on the brink of a great achievement”; we will not make progress by dismissing arms found in the  Catholic areas and talking always about arms in the Protestant areas.
Dr. FitzGerald: I was trying to make the point that we do not help the objective the Taoiseach has properly set us by incautious remarks indicating that we do not really believe what we say in regard to Northern Ireland. We do not help ourselves or our cause by the kind of threatening gestures made last August when the Taoiseach spoke of “not standing idly by”. Neither do we achieve our objective by the kind of reference made by the Minister for External Affairs when he dismissed arms on the Falls Road as unimportant and took a partisan attitude about arms found in one part of Belfast. Neither do we help by lecturing as the Taoiseach seemed to do.
The best way we can help our cause is by creating in this part of Ireland a Christian society that would make a decent, northern, Protestant working man want to be part of this country. In the 50 years since this State was founded I do not think we have made much progress. Until we have this union of hearts and minds, to which the Taoiseach referred, we will not make any progress. However, we have begun to learn that lesson: we are still faltering and at times we fall as when the Taoiseach, Ministers and all of us use the old traditional catchwords, but I believe it is possible to look forward to a time when there will be this union of hearts and minds. For the first time we have begun to think of this problem and to rid ourselves of the attitude of the reconquest that has influenced our thinking on Northern Ireland for half a century.
Mr. Carter: I regret I was not here for the whole of Deputy FitzGerald's speech but I had to leave the House on other business. We are all concerned at this time with a number of objectives and it appears to me that apart from some minor criticism there is no  great divergence of views regarding our economic prospects. We all know that economic progress in the last two years has led to what we call inflation and that if it continues it will lead to a considerable deficit in the balance of payments. Therefore, it behoves politicians, businessmen and other members of the community to concentrate on this problem. We know when we devalue the £ other items are also devalued. We put pressures on jobs, on incomes and on production. We seriously hamper our ability to export our goods in competition with other countries.
This is why, I presume, the Government have, for some time, been preoccupied with this question of wages and salaries and an incomes arrangement. It has now come to be called a prices and incomes policy. We listened to a number of speeches on this point and in the past we have read of the attempt of the British Government to bring about a prices and incomes policy. That is not an easy exercise. We know, from experience outside, that it is not going to be an easy matter for any Government here to gain acceptance for the view that one could have, or that we could have, a prices and incomes policy.
Whenever a Government take measures either to restrain consumer demand or to impose a freeze on credit, they are usually met with the argument that they are out to create unemployment or, alternatively, to deny credit either to the public or private sectors. It is noticeable in the past year that, whatever about the public sector, those who engage in business find that the imposition of a credit squeeze makes life very difficult for certain members of the business community—I say this in the knowledge that we have great numbers of the population here not organised in unions or pressure groups of one sort or another and who have to work within the framework of ordinary commercial limits in order to carry on business. If, for example, public capital spending takes up too much of the available cash within the community, then those of us who are in business know that there is bound to be a scarcity in the private  sector. However, I do not intend to go into that too far, because I think that, at this point of time, it has been borne in on us, as members of the community —whether we are engaged in private activity or whether we work in the public sector or whether we are trade unionists—that we have now reached a point when the clamour here for excessive incomes could well result in pricing our products off the market abroad —and all of us know what such an exercise could end up in. We know that it would end up in less money for housing, for building schools, for road making, for building hospitals and in less money in general for the industrial expansion programme. Regardless of which party we may belong to, none of us would want that.
Let me go back to last January, for example, when the Government announced that certain measures would have to be taken to cool down consumer demand. An effort was made to impose restrictions on hire purchase and certain restrictions were imposed over a range of goods. Measures were also taken to try to contain consumer demand. We now know that those measures were not fully effective and that the cycle has continued; that the clamour for more money to meet living costs has continued. A further point in this context is that, despite the fact that we have had a certain amount of labour unrest—notably the maintenance men's strike of last year and the cement workers' strike of this year— coupled with the disturbance in the north, it may be said that our unity of purpose still remains unshaken. It is my pride at this stage that confidence in the Government is still strong. This is exemplified by the fact that foreign investors are still coming forward to invest money here. If possible we want it to remain this way.
Therefore, I was glad to hear some of the speeches made from the floor of this House today. They indicate to me a realistic view of the present position. If we reach the point where confidence in the ability of the Government and the State to administer their affairs is weakened, we will have reached a point of danger.
I am just taking the weak points in  this programme. We have something going for us now, something in our favour. Last year the gross national product increased by 4 per cent. It did not increase to the same extent as it did in 1968 but, with 4 per cent, we can report progress. Provided we can contain our desire for unrealistic pay increases, we will do better in the years ahead. One of the factors which contributed to the excessive demand for pay increases was the fact that there was a sharp rise in incomes and profits during 1969. This more or less provided a basis for the various claims made.
If an American were speaking here he would say that this factor in itself caused overheating of the economy and that it was incumbent on us to cool it down. That is the jargon he would use. Whether we accept the cooling down measures which have to be implemented, with restraint or in a revolutionary manner, is up to ourselves. If we accept these measures with restraint, I submit that we will go ahead and make progress. If we tend to revolt at this point we could do great harm not merely to our own prospects but also to the prospects for the country.
Arising from the increase in incomes and profits during 1969, prices rose sharply. Yesterday we were informed by the Taoiseach—and I assume the figure was well checked out—that the price of goods rose by 7 per cent roughly. Some say a little more, but I prefer to accept the figure which was checked out.
Mr. Carter: We will take the round figure of 7 per cent. It was stated also that this trend is continuing in the present year and, if anything, tending to accelerate. Those of us who have any experience at all, even if we only buy sweets, know very well that a general increase in prices will hold back expansion and export opportunities. We are well aware of what happens when those increases hit the firms in the export field. As I said earlier, this will result in pushing our goods off the markets abroad. This is a very  bad trend in view of the fact that industrial goods exported last year exceeded those in the agricultural sector. If we continue along that path it will be very bad for us.
The Taoiseach also said that at this point in time costs at home were out-running costs at the international level. This is another red light against us on the industrial road. Unless we can change the light and get through on the green light we will be in trouble. I said at the outset that all parties desire more progress, more jobs and a rising standard of living. Listening to the speeches here today, I do not think anyone would disagree with that statement. How are we to maintain that pace without seriously injuring the fabric of our production at home?
This does not relate to industrial production only. We must bear in mind the fact that it also extends to the primary producer. He has to be taken into account as well. As I said, we can repair that position by a cooling down in our desire for more pay, especially when the point of that pay passes the point of production. If we all realised that fact we could get out of our difficulty as easily as we got into it.
At this point in time we must come to grips with this evil. It is my belief that it is not merely the Government that must give a lead. If we do not, if we continue on the present trend we can break up the economy. Nobody wants to see this. A warning should go out from this House to all pressure groups that the Government have a responsibility which extends to protecting the currency of the country against all-comers who would try to debase it. If this is not done now by negotiation —it cannot be done on the streets or by lock-outs at factories because there will be no factories—our goods will be priced out of the market and there will be no need for producers or workers.
This is why I was glad to see a statement from the President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions last weekend, as reported in the Press last Monday, in which he instanced the fraud,  if you like, of seeking increases in paper terms and where he rightly emphasised the desirability of seeking increases of wages in real terms of the purchasing value of the £. It is not the paper increase that counts but what the housewife can purchase for £1 when she goes into a shop. This is a point we could all usefully develop. As I said before, while we have something going for us we should look ahead and see how far we can go on our programme. We have an industrial expansion programme which is one of the most attractive and most vigorous in Europe. I say this deliberately; and it is supported by and rests on schemes of tax incentives for those who export, exemptions from taxation and a wide range of grants. We have succeeded in attracting 200 foreign firms here in the last decade and they have established themselves here providing work for over 50,000 persons. It is up to ourselves at this time to make or mar that programme.
We can create more jobs or have fewer jobs. We should restrain our demands all round and turn our eyes towards the various schemes on which we have embarked such as that for training school leavers in order to promote higher standards of skill among workers especially in the area of technology. This is one of the factors which will become more prominent as time goes on. Much as we have done in trying to promote skill in industry we have not concentrated sufficiently on technology. Perhaps we do not like the word which is an ugly one and represents, perhaps, something new that has not much regard for the human element in industry, but if we are to keep abreast of developments and export our industrial goods abroad we cannot succeed except on the basis of a highly-skilled force of industrial workers.
We have the basis necessary to embark on a scheme for preparing our younger people in the field of technology. There is a good beginning in the basic education they receive in our schools. There were certain signs last year of the beginning of a shortage of skilled labour.
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