asked the Minister for Finance the balance of payments figure for 1969 and 1970; and the estimated figure for 1971.
Mr. E. Collins:
asked the Minister for Finance if he is aware that the import excess for the first nine months of 1971 has increased by £24 million and if this figure is taken in conjunction with the depressing reports of the tourist season, that there is the possibility  of a balance of payments crisis this year; and, if he will make a statement on the matter.
Mr. E. Collins:
asked the Minister for Finance the estimated deficit on the balance of payments for 1971; and, if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Finance (Mr. Colley):
I propose, with your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, to take Questions Nos. 33, 34 and 35 together.
The balance of payments deficit on current account in 1969 was £69.1 million and in 1970 was £65.3 million. From such limited information as is at present available it is likely that the deficit in 1971 will be of the order of £75 million. If exceptional purchases of ships and aircraft are excluded, the balance of payments out-turn for 1971 is expected to be no greater than last year.
I indicated in my statement to the Dáil on Wednesday, 27th October, 1971, that there has been an improvement in the external trading position in recent months. I also stated that the deficit does not call for remedial action, although it must be watched carefully.
Why should the purchase of ships and aircraft be excluded?
Because it reduces the figure.
We do not build aircraft here and our shipyard, apparently, can no longer compete for the building of ships.
From where did the Deputy get that information?
They were asked to quote for two ships and Upper Clyde was asked to quote for four.
How can they not compete? Let the Deputy justify his statement. For goodness' sake do not be trying to undermine everything that is done in the country.
I am not trying to undermine anything.
Of course the Deputy is.
I have asked a question and I have not been answered. Why should ships and aircraft be excluded? Aircraft are not built in the country but we have a shipyard.
That is not the question to which I am objecting. I am objecting to the Deputy sabotaging Irish industry.
Would the Minister give us the answer? Why are they excluded?
Mr. J. Brennan:
If Deputy O'Donovan and Deputy FitzGerald are not familiar with the reason for this—it is a long-standing practice—they should both go back to school.