Seanad Éireann

16/Nov/1938

Prelude

Election of Leas-Chathaoirleach.

Acting Chairman.

Committee of Selection.

Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

Message From the Dáil.

Public Servants (Continuity of Service) Bill, 1938—Second Stage.

Expiring Laws Bill, 1938—Second and Subsequent Stages.

Subsidy on Exported Fat Cattle.

[11] Do chuaidh an Cathaoirleach i gceannas ar 3 p.m.

Mr. Counihan:  I move that Senator Patrick Baxter be elected Leas-Chathaoirleach. I do not think it is necessary to enumerate the qualifications of Senator Baxter for the position of Leas-Chathaoirleach. He is well known to practically all members of the House. He was not elected to the Seanad on a Party panel. He was elected on the nomination of the I.A.O.S., as a representative of agriculture. I understand his national record is very outstanding. I do not know very much about national records; other members of the House would know more about them than I do but Senator Baxter, to my knowledge, has devoted a great deal of time to public life on various public boards. He has also had a long and varied experience of Parliamentary work both in the Dáil and in the Seanad. In that way, his services will be of great benefit to the House in keeping us all in order. He will be able to assist the Cathaoirleach in many ways. Senator Baxter is, I think, a very competent gentleman, and I am glad to note that nobody is being proposed to oppose him. I hope that his election like the election of the Cathaoirleach, will be unanimous.

Mr. Butler:  I have great pleasure in seconding the motion and I hope that Senator Baxter's election will be unanimous. I am sure that if elected he will fill the position with dignity, and that because of his keen sense of justice, everybody in this House will be assured of a fair hearing from him. I am confident also that any decisions he may be called upon to make in carrying out the duties of Leas-Chathaoirleach will always bear the hall-mark of fair play.

[12]Mr. Quirke:  I intend to oppose the motion that Senator Baxter be elected Leas-Chathaoirleach of the Seanad, not for any personal reasons and definitely not for any political reasons, but because the group of which I happen to be a member believe that Senator Baxter's qualifications do not fulfil the necessary requirements with regard to the Irish language and with regard to being able to conduct the business of the House in the language. As I say, there is nothing personal or political in my attitude or in the attitude of those associated with me. I realise the many good qualities Senator Baxter possesses but because we believe that the qualification to which I have referred is one of the most important, in fact the most important, qualification of a candidate for such a position, I, and many of those associated with me, intend to vote against the motion. Lest any political construction may be put in our attitude, I want to make it quite clear that the people who form the group to which I refer have been of various political associations in the past. Many of them are, in fact, not members of the Fianna Fáil organisation as such and the decision to vote against Senator Baxter was reached for the reason, and for no other reason, that he had not the necessary qualifications in our opinion to fill the position. I want to make it clear, further, that our group decided not to put up a candidate for this position in the belief that some of the other groups in the House would put up a suitable man. I think our sincerity cannot be questioned as far as our desire to have a member of a group other than our own elected to this position is concerned, since we left the various other groups a clear field for that length of time. I do not think there is any necessity for me to say anything more except to repeat what I have already said, that our opposition, or my opposition, to Senator Baxter is absolutely not on personal or political grounds.

Peadar Mac Fhionnlaoich:  Tá mé in aghaidh na tairgsinte seo de bhrigh go measaim nach cainnteóir Gaedhilge an Seanadóir Baiestear. Níor airigheas ariamh go rabh Gaedhilig aige agus más amhlaidh nach bhfuil, [13] nó gan Gaedhilig ar a thoil aige, ní mheasaim gur ceart é a thogha mar Leas-Chathaoirleach ar an tSeanaid. Ní headh amháin sin ach measaim nach ceart é a thairgsint mar Leas-Chathaoirleach. Is í an Ghaedhilig an teanga náisiúnta faoi an Bhunreacht agus is suarach an rud dúinn mara bhfuilmíd ábalta duine do chur sa Chathaoir in san tSeanaid go bhfuil an Ghaedhilig aige. An post is lugha agus is suaraigh faoi an Riaghaltas, an cléareach is ísle, ní bhfuighe aonduine é gan cruthú go bhfuil an teanga náisiúnta aige. Agus táthar ag iarraidh annseo fear a chur i bpost onórach faoi stiúradh lucht déanta na ndlighthe atá aineolach ar an teanga.

Agus, gan ceist prinsiopail ar bith do bheith ann, rud atá ann, bheadh sé bacach go leor ar obair na Seanaide fear do bheith ós ar geíonn, agus a bheith in ainm an obair do stiúradh nach dtuigfeadh an méid a bhéas le rádh againn. Tá cuid againn annseo a labharfas an Ghaedhilig, agus caithfear admháil go bhfuil an cead sin againn faoi'n Bhunreacht. Agus má tá fear sa Chathaoir nach dtuigeann caidé tá ar siubhal againn, caidé mar is féidir leis an obair do stiúradh? Ar na hadhbhair sin, tá mé ag iarraidh ar lucht na Seanaide ina iomlán, gan an botún seo a dhéanamh gan adhbhar magaidh a dhéanamh den tSeanaid, agus adhbhar sgige agus fonnmhaide a thabhairt do mhuintir na tíre leis a leithéid de amaide. Níl an Ghaedhilig ró-láidir sa tSeanaid.

Micheál O hAodha:  Níl, mhuise.

Peadar Mac Fhionnlaoich:  Ach níl sí comh lag san nach féidir le haon dream dínn duine d'fhagháil a líonfadh an post seo agus a bhéaradh comhthrom na féinne do aon duine gur mian leis labhairt sa teanga náisiúnta.

Donnchadh Ua hÉáluighthe:  Aontuím leis an méid adubhairt an Seanadóir O Cuire agus an Seanadóir Mac Fhionnlaoich. Mar cuireadh in úil dúinn annseo, tá fhiachal ar dhaoine atá ag dul isteach san Stát-Sheirbhís eolas ar Ghaedhilg bheith acu agus 'na theannta sin, ní foláir do dhaoine atá ag dul isteach san Ghárda [14] Síochána nó atá ag lorg postanna mar mhúin teóri Gaedhilg do bheith acu agus 'sé mo thuairim gur ceart eolas ar an dteanga bheith ag an duine a bheidh ina Leas-Chathaoirleach ar an Seanad so. Nílim chun a rá go bhfuil grádh ar chúis na teangan ar an dtaobh seo den Tigh amháin, mar tá fíor-Ghaelgeóirí ar an dtaobh eile a dhein obair mháith ar son na teangan nuair ná raibh morán measa ar chúis na Gaedhilge.

Do labhair an Seanadóir Mícheál O hAodha annso, nuair bhí toghachán ar siúl againn cúpla mí ó shoin, agus dubhairt sé:

I believe the Chairman of this House should have a sound knowledge of the Irish language and should be able to understand fully and at once speeches made in that language and questions put to him in that language.

Aontuim leis an méid a dubhairt an Seanadóir an uair sin.

Mícheál O hAodha:  Dubhras a thuille. Dubhras níos mó ná sin nár léigh an Seanadóir.

Donnchadha Ua hÉaluighthe:  Táim ag léigheamh na rudaí a thaithníonn liom-sa.

Mícheál O hAodha:  Ná píosaí atá oiriúnach.

Donnchadh Ua hÉaluighthe:  Is féidir leis an Seanadóir na rudaí a thaithníonn leis do léigheamh, más maith leis. Mar adubhairt an Seanadóir O Cuire, d'fhágamar an doras ar oscailt chun go mbeadh aon dream eile sa Tigh i ndon aon ainm eile do chur os ár gcóir mar Leas-Chathaoirleach, ach níor cuireadh aon ainm eile os ár gcóir. Níl locht le fáil agam ar an Seanadóir Baicstear. Tá meas mór air ag a lán daoine ach cuir i geás go raibh toghachán mar seo ar súil thall sa Ghearmán, an mbeadh na daoine ann sásta le duine nach raibh aige ach an Fhrainncis? Nó an mbeadh na daoine i Sasana sásta fear do chur i bpost mar seo nach raibh aige ach an Ghaedhilg?

Ní doigh liom gur gá a thuille do rá [15] ar an gceist seo. Tá fhios agam go dtabharfaidh an Seanadóir O hAodha freagra orm ach níl aon rud eadrainn. Táimíd go léir ar aon intinn mar gheall ar chúis na teangan gur ceart í do chur chun cinn chó maith agus chó tapaidh agus is féidir linn.

Professor Alton:  I did not intend to intervene in this discussion, but I think it is time that somebody should call on the Seanad to face realities. I appreciate very much Senator Quirke's motives and the forbearance of his Party in not coming with a ready-made proposal and forcing it through the Seanad. There is something magnanimous about that and I genuinely appreciate it, but I am one of those people who do not speak Irish. I do my best to understand it and would do a lot more if it were not thrust down my throat at every turn. I love it; it is the language which I feel belonged to a lot of my people in the past, but I want the House to face this real fact, that everybody here thinks in English, or can think in English, and speaks in English. Very few of us can follow and fewer perhaps can speak Irish. If we want to be an efficient body and be of use to the country at large, and to the Oireachtas particularly, I think we ought to be able to work together and think together, to be able to argue with one another and appreciate each other's arguments, and those arguments should be put in the medium we can understand and all can use.

Mr. Douglas:  I intend to support Senator Baxter's nomination. I do so because I have known him for a considerable number of years. I have found him a singularly honest man— honest in his opinions—though I have often disagreed with him. He has long parliamentary experience and I have always found him very fair to those who disagreed with him. He has never been afraid to express his views, but he has always done so with kindliness and moderation. I understand from Senator Quirke that so far as he is concerned there is only one qualification missing, and that is that Senator Baxter would not be able to conduct [16] the business of the House in Irish. I assume that is correct.

Mr. Quirke:  I never suggested anything of the kind, and I cannot see how Senator Douglas could have misinterpreted what I did say, which was that the outstanding qualification was a competent knowledge of the Irish language.

Mr. Douglas:  I understood from Senator Quirke that that was the only qualification he mentioned as being missing in Senator Baxter.

Mr. Quirke:  Certainly.

Mr. Douglas:  He did not suggest that there was any other one missing and, therefore, we are dealing with only the one point. I do not want to misinterpret the Senator and I did not do so intentionally. I agree with Senator Alton. I believe it is possible to overdo your enthusiasm and not face the facts. The fact is that a very considerable number of the total members of this House are in the same humiliating position that I am in, that is, when a speech is made in Irish, we have to turn to some other Senator to get the gist of what is said. That is not confined to any Party or group, but applies to the majority of the House, and I think we should face that fact. That being so, it is not practical politics to conduct the whole business of the House in Irish. If it were practical politics to conduct even most of the business in Irish, I think the objection would be perfectly well founded.

Mr. Brennan:  In coming to a decision on this proposal, I think that, speaking for myself and for myself alone, there are only two main considerations which should guide us. I will put the least important of them first, namely, that so far as possible, so far as the members of the House can contrive, the position of Cathaoirleach and Leas-Chathaoirleach should not be filled by the same Party—if there are such things as Parties in the House—or the same group. These two positions, after all, represent the entire patronage of the House. That, [17] I think, is the least important, but nevertheless a very desirable consideration from our point of view. The second, and I think the more important, consideration is that, although I agree with Senator Douglas that only a very small minority of the House can conduct the proceedings in our own language, there is such a minority, and a still more important factor which none of us seems to have adverted to is, that in the original Constitution of Saorstát Eireann the native language got, not indeed pride of place, but an equal place with English. That precedent was followed in the Constitution of Eire—or Ireland, as many of us would prefer to call it. Therefore, if anyone had raised on the occasion of your election, Sir, the objection that you did not have an adequate knowledge of Irish to conduct the proceedings here, and felt that so sincerely that he was prepared to press it to a division, I, although I was a very juvenile pioneer in the language movement in this country, if I were satisfied as to the accuracy of the judgement of people very much better able to judge your qualifications that I am, would have felt bound to vote against you.

With regard to the proposal before the House, in having the language not as the only qualification, but at least as the first qualification for the position, I make my position clear by saying that I was myself approached to allow my name to go forward as Leas-Chathaoirleach. I declined it instantly on the ground that I felt that I had not a knowledge of Irish adequate to conduct the proceedings of the House in Irish and, therefore, felt that I would not be justified in allowing myself to be nominated for the very high honour which certain people desired to confer on me. If I regarded that as the deciding factor in my decision as regards myself, I must also regard it as the deciding factor in regard to the proposal before the House. I do feel that the language has not got the recognition which it got in the original Constitution and in our more recent Constitution. Many years before, when we were still part of the United Kingdom, we made the language an essential qualification for [18] becoming a matriculated student of the National University, and if at the moment I desire to become such a matriculated student, I could not do so without having at least a reasonable knowledge of Irish. I should like to feel that what we require as an essential for a matriculated student of the National University, we would at least regard as essential for the important position of Leas-Chathaoirleach of this House.

I should like to feel that Senator Baxter had that essential qualification because it is with very great reluctance that I will vote against his nomination, if it is pressed to a division; but I have had no evidence whatever that he has such a qualification. I think it is unfortunate that in selecting somebody for this office, regard was not had to the fact that there is even a very small minority of the House who desire to take part in its deliberations in the native language, and that some care was not taken to see that whoever would be appointed would have the same ability to keep order in the House while that minority—unfortunately, as I say, a small minority— desired to address the House in their own language, on the ground that that small minority is entitled to the same privileges as the majority who cannot speak our own language. For that reason, I feel that I have no option but to give my vote to somebody who has a competent knowledge of the language. Finally, and not quite so important, if this is to be a vocational House, I hope that in such matters as the filling of offices in the gift of the House, we will not be guided by Party or group considerations, but by considerations of first principles, and in the filling of this office, the first principle is a competent knowledge of Irish.

Micheál O hAodha:  Níor mhiste domhsa roinnt rá ar an gceist seo. Ar an gcéad dul síos, níl ach aon locht amháin le fáil ar an Seanadóir Baisctear mar Leas-Chathaoirleach. Sé an locht é sin ná nach bhfuil an Ghaedhilg, mar a dubhairt an Seanadóir MacFhionnlaoich, ar a thoil aige. Níl fhios agam an bhfuil morán daoine annso go bhfuil an Ghaedhilg ar a dtoil acu, ach nuair chuireas ainm [19] Seanadóra os cóir an Tighe cúpla mi ó shoin—fear go bhfuil an Ghaedhilg ar a thoil aige—níor chaith an Seanadóir Mac Fhionnlaoich a bhóta ar a shon. D'fhan sé in a shuidhe gan vótáil. Is deachair a chreidiúint go bhfuil na daoine seo dá ríribh ar aon chor. Nuair a thairg mise duine dóibh mar Chathaoirleach go raibh an Ghaedhilg ar a thoil aige chun obair an tSeanaid do dhéanamh níor glacadh leis. Cuireadh sa Chathaoir fear ná fuil i n-iúil ar an obair sin do dhéanamh tríd an nGaedhilg.

Donnchadh Ua hÉaluighthe:  Ceist!

Micheál O hAodha:  Níl aon cheist mar gheall air. Chruthuigh an Seanadóir Pádraig O Máille go soiléir anso é. Is fuath liom bheith ag tagairt don rud so, agus nílim chun a thuille do rá ina thaobh. Cuireann an díospóireacht seo i gcuimhne dhom sgéal i dtaobh an fhir a chuaidh isteach sa tigh chun a shuipéar d'ithe. Fuair sé muga bainne agus bhí luch ann, agus ní ólfadh sé an bainne. Chaith bean an tighe an luch amach an dorus agus thug sí an bainne thar n-ais go dtí an fear ach ní ólfadh sé annsan é. “Is deacair daoine do shásamh,” arsa an bhean, “ní olfá é agus an luch ann agus ní olfá é agus an luch as.”

This debate has a certain amount of unreality in it and, as I have said, reminds me of a well-known story in Irish that some Senators may have heard in English. It is about a number of men, including the man of the house, who had been working in a field and who went in to their supper. When the man of the house looked into his mug of milk, he found a mouse in it, and said to his wife: “I will not drink that.” She went to the door and threw out the mouse and brought back the milk to the man. He said: “I will not drink that,” and she said: “Some people cannot be satisfied. You won't drink milk with a mouse in it, and you won't drink milk with a mouse out of it.” When this House was asked to elect a man to the Chair who is one of the most competent of Irish speakers, Senator McGinley would not vote for him. Now, apparently, he cannot vote for a Senator who has not [20] a competent knowledge of Irish for the Vice-Chair. It is very difficult to believe that there is any reality or sincerity behind that kind of operation. The most important qualification for a Chairman in this House is not a knowledge of Irish. Anybody who gives any thought to parliamentary institutions will realise that.

I went to some trouble before to put into the Chair a man who had a knowledge of Irish, who was completely competent for the doing of the business, and had other qualifications for the Chair. On that occasion, I took particular care to say that I would not elect to the Chair, or to the Vice-Chair, or to any other post, a man who was incompetent to fill the job, even though he had a knowledge of Irish. The most important thing for us is to get somebody who can fill the Chair properly. If he has a knowledge of Irish, well and good; as a matter of fact, I would prefer it. But, Senator McGinley, who wants a Vice-Chairman with a completely satisfactory and competent knowledge of Irish, did not vote for such a person when he was proposed for the Chair. Senator Healy quoted something I said and, as I pointed out to him, he quoted only what satisfied himself. I will not read the quotation, but I did say that a Chairman of the House should have a sound knowledge of the Irish language and should be able to understand fully and at once speeches made in that language. I went on to say:

“In spite of what we have heard in Irish, however, the majority Party have not seen fit to accept this principle and propose for the Chair a person competent to transact the business in Irish.”

It is a distasteful subject and I do not want to enter into it, except to say to the people, whether they call themselves a group or a Party, and however they are composed, that they are able to trample on the principle in one respect and then come along in the most virtuous, and I am tempted to say but I will not say, pharisaical manner, to uphold the principle.

Senator Baxter is a man who has had long association with national [21] movements, plenty of experience of public life, good parliamentary knowledge, and has as much interest in the Irish language, and has given as much proof of his interest in it as most people here. I take no credit myself for knowing and speaking the Irish language. There are people who do not speak Irish and who do not know Irish, but who, at the same time, have a great interest in it and have done a great deal of work for it. Deputy Baxter is one of these. I am going to vote for him. I share to some degree the views of a Senator who said that the kind of thing we hear put forward about Irish really makes one wonder how the Irish language is going to survive some of its advocates.

Professor Tierney:  I feel that before this goes to a vote it ought to be cleared up a little. Personally I have the greatest possible respect for the idea that the Irish language should be made a qualification for anyone who is appointed to office in this House. As some Senators may remember I did my best to give effect to that idea in the last Seanad. But we seem to be proceeding in this question on the altogether unproved assumption that Senator Baxter has not a knowledge of Irish. As one Senator who cannot say with any certainty whether or not that is so, I do not think it is fair that we should propose to have a vote on this question until we are a little more satisfied than the evidence that has been put before us so far would cause any reasonable person to be. As far as my knowledge of Senator Baxter is concerned, I know he was a member of the Gaeltacht Commission over ten years ago, and I should be very much surprised, if there was an examination, to find that Senator Baxter would not turn out to be as well able to conduct the business of the House, in so far as it requires to be done, through the medium of Irish, as you are yourself, Sir. It sounds perhaps a little Gilbertain, but the whole trend of the discussion on this subject seems to be working itself up towards a state of affairs in which we will have to have an examination in elementary Irish before we can appoint anybody to anything in this House.

[22]Peadar Mac Fhionnlaoich:  Agus ba cheart é sin.

Professor Tierney:  When we have that idea put into practice we ought to change the titles of Chairman and Vice-Chairman and call them Keeper and Vice-Keeper, which would be more appropriate titles. We heard a lot about “Gaedhilg ar a thoil” for the Chairman and Vice-Chairman. There is no one who would agree with that principle more than I would. But we are faced with a situation in which that principle was not observed by the people who are now insisting on its observation. There can be no question about it that it was not observed. Nobody can get up and tell me that it was observed in the last vote on a question like this in this House. To pretend that it was, is simply throwing dust in the eyes of the public and nothing else. When you take that line in one case; when you are satisfied with the minimum in one case and you demand the maximum in a perfectly similar case, we are entitled to ask that there should be some fair play. If we are going to vote on this question on the assertion of Senator Quirke that Senator Baxter has not a competent knowledge of Irish, we are stultifying the procedure of the House and stultifying ourselves. What qualification has Senator Quirke to tell us anything about Deputy Baxter's competency in the matter of Irish? If it is to be argued let it be argued on some sort of sane basis. I have, as I have said again and again, the greatest respect for those who have a knowledge of the Irish language, but I am afraid that that respect shrinks to a very small quantity when it comes to a question of those who use their knowledge of the Irish language in order to make themselves deliberately and maliciously unintelligible to everyone else. That is what the Irish language is largely used for both in this House and in the other House of this Oireachtas.

Peadar Mac Fhionnlaoich:  Ní ceart sin.

Mr. O'Donovan:  I think that is ridiculous.

[23]Professor Tierney:  I have seen that happen several times already and I am prepared to assert without fear of contradiction that that is mainly the object of the use of the Irish language in this House. I speak as one who has the greatest possible respect for the Irish language and the greatest anxiety that the Irish language should be restored. But if the Irish language is to be used in this futile and half-witted fashion, there is no hope either for the Irish language or anything else in this country.

Mr. Quirke:  With your permission, Sir, I should like to make a personal explanation with reference to the remarks of Senator Tierney. Senator Tierney suggested that I constituted myself an authority on the question of whether Senator Baxter had a competent knowledge of Irish or not. I should like to say that that definitely is not so. In making my statement, I said that the reason we propose to vote against Senator Baxter was because of the opinion of people with whom I am associated that he had not a competent knowledge of Irish. I should like to go further and say that, if I had any doubts about it, I could not appeal to a greater authority than Senator Hayes, and the substance of his speech was, in fact, an admission that Senator Baxter had not the necessary qualifications in Irish.

Mr. Hayes:  The substance of my speech was that Senator Baxter has not got sufficient knowledge to understand, let us say, Mr. Pádraig O Máille when he was in this House. Neither has the present Chairman, and that was demonstrated to us with the greatest malice.

Mr. Healy:  I do not wish to transgress the rules of the House, but I do not think it is fair to let pass a remark made by a Senator behind me with whom I am not acquainted. I was in the Seanad which was dissolved in 1936. This Senator was not here then. I have not the honour of knowing the Senator, but I must take exception to the statement——

Mr. MacDermot:  Is it in order for Senators to speak twice?

[24]Cathaoirleach:  I listened to the Senator on his point of order, but it is against the rules of the House for a Senator to make a second speech.

Mr. Healy:  I said that I did not want to transgress the rules of the House.

Mr. MacDermot:  I suggest that the Senator is transgressing the rules of the House.

Mr. Healy:  A very ugly remark was made about those who gave their life services to the Irish language and I must take exception to that. When we started in the city—including yourself, Sir—some 40 years ago——

Mr. MacDermot:  I must press my point of order.

Cathaoirleach:  You have made your protest, Senator.

Mr. O'Donovan:  I have not a fluent knowledge of Irish, and on that account I must speak in English, though I should like to be able to conduct the whole debate in Irish. I rise to offer strong objection to the Senator who spoke—I think it was Senator Alton—about thrusting Irish down his throat at every turn. I think that it was very undignified for any Senator to use such an expression.

Professor Alton:  If it is considered offensive, I apologise to the House. I did not intend to be offensive.

Mr. O'Donovan:  I object to the use of the words and I am glad the Senator is withdrawing them. Remarks which are just as objectionable have been made by Senator Tierney. Surely at this hour of the day nobody from any side of the House should use such remarks. I am a member of the group who meet as supporters of the Government in this Seanad. I was elected on a panel quite apart from any Party, but I am proud to be here in support of the Government. I am also proud to be here as a supporter of the Fianna Fáil organisation, and one of the aims of that organisation is the advancement of the Irish language. People may [25] point the finger of scorn at us and say we are not competent speakers of Irish, but we must maintain the position that Irish must be the principal language of the country.

Mr. M. Hayes:  You have let that principle down.

Mr. O'Donovan:  I maintain that we have not. Several of us would be capable of understanding Irish, but we are not fluent speakers of Irish. I hope to see the day when every Senator will be a fluent speaker of Irish—

Mr. M. Hayes:  Hear, hear!

Mr. O'Donovan:  ——Why should we, at this time of the day, when we are making advances, try to outlaw people who come in here and speak in Irish and who, by the Constitution, have undoubtedly the right to speak through the Irish language? Are we going to outlaw them?

Mr. Hayes:  You have done that. That has been said.

Mr. O'Donovan:  It has not. The word “malice” has been used. Malice cannot be attributed to any speaker from this side of the House, so far as the support of the Irish language is concerned. Senator Tierney has made a most objectionable statement.

Mr. Counihan:  I regret very much the attitude taken up by the last speaker. I thought that when the Seanad met and when they elected a Cathaoirleach unanimously we were laying the foundations of what was going to be a peaceable, well-regulated House that would do some good, in a legislative way, for the country. I thought the same thing would apply, and I had reason to believe it would [26] apply, previous to your election, a Chathaoirligh, that if we did not create any objection, and if the Cathaoirleach was elected unanimously, the Opposition would have the right to nominate the candidate for the Vice-Chair. I got no definite assurance on that, I must say, but I gathered it and understood that that was the feeling of the people who are now opposing the proposal to elect Senator Baxter. I would like to ask a question of Senator Brennan, who spoke so vehemently against anybody getting a position who had not got a thorough knowledge of Irish. I would like to ask him would he appoint a manager to his business for no other reason or qualification than that he had a knowledge of Irish. I wonder what he would say to that. I wonder what would any of the other speakers say about the appointment if the only qualification such a man had was a knowledge of Irish. I say that the attitude of the Fianna Fáil Party, as I may term them now, is going to turn this House into a farce, and I would appeal, even at this eleventh hour, to Senator Quirke and his Party to reconsider their decision.

They have made their protest at having a Leas-Chathaoirleach without a knowledge of Irish—I believe he has a fairly competent knowledge— and having done that, for the good name of the Seanad and for the peaceful working of the House, I would ask them not to call a division. We are aware that if Senator Quirke and his Party want to defeat Senator Baxter's nomination they can do it, but if they do it they will be not only turning the House into a farce, but they will be doing a great disservice to this House and to the Irish language.

Question put.

The Seanad divided:Tá, 15; Níl, 28.

Alton, Ernest H.
Butler, John.
Counihan, John J.
Crosbie, James.
Delany, Thomas W.
Douglas, James G.
Doyle, Patrick.
Hayes, Michael.
Johnston, Joseph.
MacDermot, Frank.
McGillycuddy of the Reeks, The.
Madden, David J.
Parkinson, James J.
Rowlette, Robert J.
Tierney, Michael.

Níl

[27]Blaney, Neal.
Brennan, Joseph.
Byrne, Christopher M.
Colbert, Michael.
Concannon, Helena.
Corkery, Daniel.
Farnan, Robert P.
Goulding, Seán.
Hawkins, Frederick.
Hayes, Seán.
Healy, Denis D.
Honan, Thomas V.
Johnston, James.
Kehoe, Patrick.
Kelly, Peter T.
[28]Kennedy, Margaret L.
Keohane, Patrick T.
Lynch, Peter T.
MacCabe, Dominick.
Mac Fhionnlaoich, Peadar (Cú Uladh).
Magennis, William.
Moore, Maurice G.
O'Callaghan, William.
O'Donovan, Seán.
Nic Phiarais, Maighread M.
Quirke, William.
Ruane, Thomas.
Stafford, Matthew.

Tellers:—Tá: Senators Counihan and Butler; Níl: Senators Goulding and O'Donovan.

Motion declared lost.

Mr. MacDermot:  I would like to put this question: Whether in the event of another candidate for the vice-chairmanship being put forward from among those members of the Seanad who do not belong to the Government group, his candidature would be accepted by the Government group, provided that he had a knowledge of Irish that would meet the fullest and strictest tests that could be applied and is suitable in other respects.

Cathaoirleach:  That would be a matter for discussion through the usual channels outside the House.

Mr. Crosbie:  As a matter of information, would you oblige the House by informing them in Irish what the position exactly is?

Cathaoirleach:  The failure by the House to elect a Leas-Chathaoirleach is without precedent, and I would suggest that an order be made for the election of a Leas-Chathaoirleach at the next meeting of the Seanad after this week. I think that certain notice is necessary before the election can be proceeded with.

Mr. Douglas:  Is it necessary to fix a date? Would it not be possible to move such a motion within, say, the next month. I do not know whether we shall be meeting next week or not. In those circumstances, would it be well to force us to have the election at a fixed date?

Mr. O'Donovan:  We do not know whether the House will be meeting next week or not. In my opinion, a motion can be tabled at any time, provided sufficient notice is given.

Cathaoirleach:  Perhaps, in the circumstances, it would be better to leave the matter open. Are Senators agreeable to that course?

Agreed.

Cathaoirleach:  I ask the permission of the House to nominate Senator C. M. Byrne to act in my absence this evening as I may have to leave the Chair before the proceedings conclude —that is in case they are unduly prolonged.

Agreed.

Mr. Quirke:  I move:

That notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in Standing Order No.58 of the Standing Orders relative to Public Business, the Committee of Selection appointed under that Standing Order do consist [29] of eight Senators; and that the following Senators be appointed to serve on the said Committee:— Joseph Brennan, Martin Conlon, John J. Counihan, Denis Healy, Margaret L. Kennedy, Eamonn Lynch, William Quirke, and Robert J. Rowlette.

Mr. Douglas:  I second the motion. The names proposed seem to me suitable. I think there was a measure of agreement among some people who were consulted with regard to the composition of the Committee. In supporting the motion, I should like to make some remarks which I think would be in order with regard to the working of the particular Committee we are appointing. I understand that the practice in the Dáil generally is that as you have there three Parties— or is it four—the different Parties send in their quota of names, and that the Selection Committee practically always accepts the names so sent in. I want to suggest that in this House that would be a highly undesirable and unnecessary method. I hope that this Committee will not, as it were, take Party orders, even to the extent of the proportion that a Party may claim, but will consider the names for Committees having regard to the peculiar qualifications of Senators.

I, personally, would like, if I may, to appeal to the leaders of the main political Party to adopt the practice here that no Senator should be pledge-bound to any Party as far as his actions in this House are concerned. There are, of course, Party affiliations. Nobody denies them. They are inevitable with the system of election which we have at the present time for this House, but if the desire of An Taoiseach and others, that this House should be different as far as possible from the Dáil, is to be achieved, it is essential that each individual Senator should be free to vote according to his own views and opinions. This House cannot upset any Government. The time for delay that is allowed to it is short. It is really a revising chamber, and if it is to have any real effect as a revising chamber it seems to me that it is necessary that there should [30] be freedom. I would like to appeal to Senators that there should be agreement all round that there will be no Party discipline against individuals because they exercise their own individual judgement in this House. Now, there are a number of Senators who were elected without any Party pledge and who, it is known, are not tied to any Party, though no doubt they have their Party preferences. There are a number of others of whom we cannot speak, because we do not know, on that matter, but if there could be a measure of understanding on this, I think it would add greatly to the dignity and usefulness of this House.

Mr. Quirke:  Speaking for the majority group, if one likes to call it that, I am glad to be in a position to state that no member of this Party group is pledge-bound, and that it is not the intention of the group to insist on any such regulation.

Mr. Douglas:  Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. Quirke:  I move:—

That, in accordance with Standing Order No. 59, a Committee on Procedure and Privileges be appointed; and that the Senators to serve on the said Committee be nominated by the Committee of Selection.

Question put and agreed to.

Dáil Eireann has passed the following resolution in which the concurrence of Seanad Eireann is desired:—

That it is expedient that a select committee to be appointed by the Dáil be joined with a select committee to be appointed by the Seanad to prepare draft joint Standing Orders relative to Private Business.

That the select committee of each House consist of seven members.

[31]Mr. Quirke:  I move that we concur with Dáil Eireann in the resolution.

Question put and agreed to.

Ordered: That a Message be sent to the Dáil accordingly.

Question proposed: That the Bill be now read a Second Time.

Minister for Finance (Mr. MacEntee):  No doubt Senators generally are already aware of the circumstances which have made this Bill necessary. In the case of certain civil servants who were transferred from the service of the British Government, with special rights in regard to tenure and conditions of service Board, which is a statutory, judicial tribunal, that while the officers in question had not been discharged from their employment, their translation from the Civil Service of Saorstát Eireann to the Civil Service of the Government of Éire operated to effect their discharge from the service of the which it was held had ceased to exist upon the coming into operation of the Constitution. It will be seen that this discharge had no detrimental effect upon the employment of the officers in question. Their employment was continued, and the tenure, conditions of service, remuneration, security or privileges were all likewise continued, and have been secured to these transferred officers under the Constitution.

This measure, which has been passed by the Dáil and which is now before the House, provides that, if it should be held in the future that a public servant, by reason of the coming into operation of the Constitution, was discharged from the service of the Government of Saorstát Eireann, such discharge shall not be held to imply or constitute an actual discharge from employment. The Bill, therefore, provides in Section 2 (a) and (b) that every public servant, who was in office prior to the 29th December, 1937, [32] shall be deemed to have received an appointment on the same terms, conditions and tenure, and in all respects identical, with that held by him in the service of the Government of It is further provided in Section 2 (c) of the Bill that such discharge followed by appointment as above shall not constitute a break in service, such as would entitle an officer to compensation under the terms of the 1929 Act.

Sections 2 (d) and 3 of the Bill deal with the special case of officers transferred to the service of this country from the service of Great Britain. These officers were all transferred, secured in certain rights in relation to the terms and conditions of employment. If they are discharged, or if their conditions of employment are altered to their detriment, these officers are entitled, as I have already indicated, under the Act of 1929 to claim compensation which take the form of retiring allowances at enhanced rates. The decision of the Article X Board that the change of employment which took place on the coming into operation of the Constitution effected a discharge of these officers would render the Government liable to pay compensation of demand to everyone of the transferred officers, numbering about 9,000, who still remain in the service. No actual discharge from employment of these officers had been effected. As I have said their remuneration, tenure and conditions of employment remain unchanged. Accordingly, the Government of compensation to persons who have suffered no material loss or damage. It is not, of course, intended to deprive transferred officers of any of their rights to compensation in the event to actual discharge from their employment or any detrimental alteration of their conditions of service. It is intended merely in this Bill to protect the taxpayers from a heavy burden of compensation in respect of any purely notional discharge or notional alteration of conditions of employment consequent on [33] the coming into operation of the Constitution. As a corollary to the former provisions, it has been necessary to provide that nothings in this Bill shall be construed as effecting any detrimental change in the conditions of service of the transferred officers. That has been provided for in Section 4 of the Bill.

Section 5 of the Bill was amended on Report Stage in the other House in order to go as far as was reasonable to meet representations received from the body of transferred officers and from various quarters in the other House, that it would be equitable to allow a fair interval to elapse after the decision in the test case, which has necessitated this Bill, before placing a complete stopper on the hearing of claims of transferred officers. It will be accordingly observed that this section of the Bill, as passed by Dáil Eireann, provides for the exclusion from the operation of it of any transferred officer whose claim for compensation arising out of the coming into operation of the Constitution was made in writing on or before the 31st October of this year. Any such claims which have not been already referred to the board will be referred to it and any awards of compensation made by the board will be duly paid.

In the event of any possible question arising as to the date on which a claim was made, it has been thought advisable to leave the decision of that question to the Civil Service Compensation Board, to sift any evidence as to the date of the application and to decide whether the claim was made within the permitted period or not. Provision has been made in this Bill accordingly. That is a full explanation of the measure now before the House. I have only to add that so far as the Bill is concerned it is an agreed measure and I think meets very equitably and fairly any claims which have arisen up to the date limited in the Bill. I shall be glad if the House can see its way, having adopted the principle of the measure, to let me have all the stages this evening so as to clear up the anomaly which at present exists, whereby all civil servants would have the right to go out and claim, as I have said, enhanced compensation [34] for what is after all, not an altertion, to their actual detriment in their conditions of service.

Mr. M. Hayes:  The Bill, the principle of which we are asked to accept, is in all the circumstances a very reasonable measure. In the circustances as they exist, I personally a inclined to agree that the Minister should get it as soon as possible. He used a word about the meaning of which I am not quite clear, though I happen to know somebody who could tell us the meaning. That was the word notional. It appears that the Government were in such a hurry to dress up a new Constitution that they neglected to wonder what would happen if some civil servants transferred actually believed them that a real change had taken place. Hence this Bill. It is going to cost some money. The Minister and his colleagues having made a mistake are taking the best possible measures to remedy that mistake. We do not grudge the Bill to them.

Mr. MacEntee:  I am grateful to the Senator for recommending this Bill to the House, but I would point out to him that, after all, we assumed that the 1929 Act, which was drafted by our predecessors, was drafted to deal with an objective situation——

Mr. Hayes:  To deal with what?

Mr. MacEntee:  The situation where a person actually lost hi employment and suffered some grievance and disability thereby—lost his employment, if I might say so, owing to unfair and prejudiced action on the part of the Government of the day. The extraordinary thing about it is the that the tribunal set up under the Act, a decision of which cannot be remedied except by Act of Parliament, held this:

“That prior to the coming into operation of the Constitution, Mr. O'Hegarty was a transferred officer in the service of Saorstát Eireann. Upon the coming into operation of the Constitution, the Government of Saorstát Eireann ceased to exist Mr. O'Hegarty was not thereby dis charged from office as Assistant [35] Inspector of National Health Insurance. Mr. O'Hegarty was thereby discharged from the service of Saorstát Eireann.

It was by virtue of his discharge from the employment of the Government of Saorstát Eireann that the Article X Tribunal thought fit to award him the benefit of the 1929 Act I would submit that the situation which the 1929 Act really contemplated, and the situation which the relevant clause in the Constitution was intended to cover, was a discharge from office, and not, if I may say so, a discharge from the service of an employer.

Mr. O'Donovan:  Does this not mean that the term Saorstát Eireann should be finally disposed of in the literature of this House as quickly as possible? I do not know why it should be kept in cold storage. I should like to see it finally disposed of under the terms of this Bill.

Mr. Hayes:  That is more notionalism.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill put through remaining stages without amendment and passed.

Question proposed: That the Bill be read a Second Time.

Mr. MacEntee:  This Bill requires to be enacted before the end of the present year. It continues for another year the statutes which appear in Parts I and II of the Schedule of the Expiring Laws Act of 1937. I might say in connection with the Bill that permanent legislation is in draft to deal with poor law matters in the State outside the City and County of Dublin. That when enacted will make unnecessary the annual renewal of the Local Government (Temporary Provisions) Act of 1923. The Poor Relief (Dublin) Act, 1929, must be continued for the present. A permanent measure to amend the Local Authorities (Combined [36] Purchasing) Act of 1925 is also in draft. Consideration has been given to the desirability of enacting legislation to give permanence to the Acts hitherto continued by means of the Expiring Laws Act. It is not, however, considered necessary to make permanent any of the Acts in the Schedule to the Bill, with the exception of the Acts to which I have already referred.

As regards the measures to which I have referred, the necessary legislation will not be ready for some time and, accordingly, it is necessary to continue them for a further period by means of the machinery of the present Bill. I understand memoranda explanatory of the measures in the Schedule have been circulated to the House. I ask the House to give a Second Reading to the Bill to-day. Should any member care subsequently to raise any point relating to the measures set out in the Schedule I shall be glad to draw the attention of the Minister responsible for the administration of the Act referred to, to the comments made here and to ask him to deal with them on another occassion.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill passed through Committee without amendment, received for final consideration, and passed.

Mr. Counihan:  I move:—

That, in the opinion of the Seanad, a subsidy should be paid on fat cattle exported between the 1st January, and 21st June; as the best means of encouraging the production of more fat cattle, of creating more employment on the land, of encouraging more tillage, by creating a market on the farm for the crops, and of helping to reduce the adverse trade balance.

The Seanad accordingly recommends that a subsidy on fat cattle exported be paid on the following scale:—

From the 1st January to 1st February, 30/- per head;

[37] From the 1st February to 1st March, 35/- per head

From the 1st March to 1st April, 40/- per head;

From the 1st April to 1st May, 50/-per head

From the 1st May to 21st June, 40/-per head

If there is going to be a discussion on this motion, I hope it will not develop into a debate on the economic war. The economic war is over and I am sure that nobody wants to hear any more about it. The farmers of the country, at least, do not want to hear any more about the terrible nightmare which afflicted us for five long, weary years. We now want to get on with the job of building up to our industry and re-establishing the markets we lost during those years of depression. The attitude of the British Government in paying a subsidy for the production of fat cattle in Great Britain and Northern Ireland has completely altered the fundamentals of our cattle trade. The markets are still there, and the demand for fat cattle is still there, but the production of fat cattle for export to these markets has now become an uneconomic proposition. unless something is done on the lines I suggest, the country will go out of fat cattle production, or, at least, fat cattle production by stall feeding in the winter months.

The British Government pay a subsidy of 7/6 per live cwt. on home-bred first-grade fat cattle, and 5/- per cwt. on imported fat cattle fed in Great Britain and Northern Ireland for a period of 90 days. That means that we would have to compete against a difference of £4 10s. on the home-bred 12 cwt. beast, and a difference of 3 on the imported 12 cwt. beast. That cannot be done, and unless something is done to remedy the situation, the production of fat cattle is going to be finished. We do not object to the British Government paying a subsidy on fat cattle produced in Great Britan and Northern Ireland. We are pleased to see them paying it, [38] because the more prosperous the British farmer is, and, for that matter, the British public, the better it will be for us. If they are prosperous, they will be ade to pay us a better price for our forward stores, and in that way, we will receive some compensation for the loss of our fat cattle trade.

Let us compare the position of the British and Northern Ireland farmer with that of our farmer. In the three years from 1934 to 1937 Northern Ireland farmers received a subsidy on fat cattle of £815,453, which represents more than £270,000 a year subsidy on the production of fat cattle. The amount which the British Parliament estimates will have to be paid in subsidies for fat cattle this year is £4,500,000. That is to be allotted in the proportion of £3,077,200 to Great Britain and Wales; £945,000 to Scotland, and £233,000 to Northern Ireland. Together with that subsidy on the production of fat cattle, those farmers have to pay no rates on their agricultural land. They have a subsidy on wheat, beet, milk, and other agricultural produce, so that it is very difficult to produce fat cattle to compete against farmers with such facilities. Our Government started a scheme, and for the first time this year they paid 30/- per beast, for a beast certified fat, from 1st January to 15th June. The total amount which that scheme cost was £45,477 for the whole of Éire, compared with over £270,000 for the Six Counties. In the Six Counties and in Great Britain farming is only a secondary consideration, but it seems that they think more about helping their farmers in recent years than our Government do, although farming is the only source of wealth we have.

The Minister for Agriculture has not yet decided whether he will continue last year's scheme. He has not made up his mind in that respect, but I think it would be more correct to say that he has not yet persuaded the Minister for Finance to give him the money. I believe the Minister for Agriculture and the experts of his Department realise that this subsidy [39] scheme should be put in force and should be made substantial, but that the Department of Finance refuse to give the money. Unless something is done, the production of fat cattle will go out, and the production of fat cattle by stall-feeding in the near future will be a thing of the past. The Government want more tillage and more wheat, but I cannot see how we can ever keep up the acreage of wheat we have at present if we have not got rotation of crops. We cannot have that rotation unless we have farmyard manure, and the only way of producing farmyard manure is by stall-feeding.

The questions now are: Do we want to produce more fat cattle and better fat cattle? Do we want to have more wheat and more tillage? Do we want to give better wages to the agricultural labourers and keep them off the dole? Do we want to create a market for the crops we are growing? The Minister has stated that he has advised the farmers to grow no oats or barley this year because there will be no market for them. If we go in for stall-feeding on any large scale we will have a market for more oats and barley than we are growing at present, but if we want the farmers to be any way prosperous we must vote for this motion, and in doing so we will be strengthening the hands of the Minister for Agriculture and giving him an opportunity of doing what I firmly believe he is most anxious to do.

Mr. Baxter:  In seconding the motion, I feel that whatever side of the House farmers may unfortunately find themselves sitting on, or whatever fence may stand between them in an artificial kind of way, there will be no difference whatever as to the wisdom and necessity of the adoption of this motion between farmers who understand farming and who are, to a great extent, dependent on it for their livelihood. It may be different with others who have not the opportunity of understanding agriculture and its difficulties, or perhaps because of some unfortunate circumstance, cannot have the sympathy with the industry which the industry ought to have from all. [40] The fact is that in moving, as Senator Counihan has seen fit to move, that the House should agree to this motion, he is only trying to have made operative again the policy which the Government operated last year. So far as the stall-feeding farmers are concerned, conditions are no better for them to-day and no more favourable than they were when this scheme operated last year. The cattle feeder in this country cannot go suddenly into cattle feeding during the winter, if he has not made some provision against the winter in the previous spring. He has to go out after the previous harvest and plough his fields in preparation for the grain and root crops essential for his winter feeding.

All of us know that we have had a rather disastrous year from the point of view of the farmer. The season on the whole has been very bad, and very trying indeed, and so far as we on the land are concerned labour costs have been higher than they have yet been with us and the fruits from the labour this year will be lower than for many years past. A very great number of our farmers have not been able to gather their harvests as they would like, and the total return in food value for the money spent on labour will be much lower this year than last year. Food is scarce and food is dear, but there is food on many of our Irish farms waiting to be fed to cattle if conditions were more favourable that they are.

The position the Irish feeder is up against is that against his Northern Ireland, Scottish and English competitor, he has to come into our fairs and meet those competitors who are coming in with a subsidy in their pockets for their fat cattle when they are ready for the market, and by his stores against them. The net result, of course, is that the Northern Ireland, the Scottish and the English feeder can come into our fairs to-day and buy the best beasts there. That in itself is a definite disadvantage to our home feeder. If our Irish beef is to be kept up to the high standard of excellence which it has enjoyed in the past, it is essential that our home feeders should be able to buy the best store cattle in our markets. The reputation which the [41] Scottish feeders have won for their beef has been won very largely because they have been able to come into this country and buy our very best bred and best fed store cattle, while the Irish feeder, not subsidised as they are has generally, and almost for a certainly to-day, to take the worst. The amount of money which he has available for spending is not as great as that of his competitors, and he must take a lower price and must also take the worst looking animal and the animal which is more poorly fed. As a result of that, our stall-feeding industry is going to be up against difficulties which it would not have to face were it competing with English, Scottish and Northern Ireland feeders on level terms.

We know all that has been said against the poor bullock in this country. It was once a little calf on a small farm, probably in a congested area. It was probably bred on a ten, 15 or 20-acre farm of poor land, and perhaps well bred, but badly fed, because there was a thin soil that could not produce much. That poor small farmer, however, was glad to get the man with the larger farm and deeper soil who could grow more and better food than he could, to buy his beast, take it away and feed it, and finally it grew into a noble beast, was sent out of the country and brought good money back, not like the boys and girls we are shipping away to-day, who have cost good money and are not sending much back. When boys or girls go out of the country there is no cash coming back for them, but there has been for these beasts.

It is as well that the people in the towns should understand a little bit more of the facts of rura life. Farming in Ireland is not all sunshine. We have too little sunshine in it. If some of the other people could give us a little of their brains and assistance and more understanding, we would perhap have agriculture on a higher plane and an industry in which there would be more encouragement for our people to stay and to work.

We have, undoubtedly, the Irish cattle feeder to-day with his crops costing [42] more than they cost last year. His labour costs are higher. His overhead charges clearly are higher than they were last year. I am satisfied that there is not a county rate in the Twenty-Six Counties that is not higher this year than last year, and in some counties higher than it was ever before, as it is in my own county. The costs of the machines and other essential that we require on our other essentials than they were 12 months ago and much higher than they were six years ago. Artificial manures, if you want to topdress the soil, ploughs, reapers and binders, cost more than they cost across the Border or in England or Scotland. Our agriculture, whether we like it or not, has to compete with these farmers. We ought to agree that every thing possible must be done to enable our farmers to compete and hold the own. We should clearly understand that farming in this country always was and will be interlocked, big farming with small farming, mixed tillage and grazing, so that you can-other.

When the House is asked to agree that this subsidy ought to be made available again this year, let it be clearly understood that, in the judgment of people who know, this sub sidy is going to help all the cattle raisers in the country, just as in the initial stage it is going to help the man who is going to get the subsidy Perhaps, the first effect it will have will be to affect the price of store cattle in the fairs, because if the feeder is going to get an increased price for his finished product, he will, undoubtedly, be prepared to pay more for stores in the fairs. So that really the first men who will get some benefit are the smaller farmers. They need help and ought to get it. When you are told by Senator Counihan that last year in the Twenty-Six Counties the cost of the subsidy to the Exchequer was £45,000, while across the Border in the Six Counties the subsidy was of value to the feeders to the extent of £270,000, you will see that there is a justifiable claim that this subsidy ought to be continued this year.

I agree that it is not a matter that [43] requires labouring as, apparently, there is an appreciation on the pare of the Ministry itself that something ought to be done. I recognise that what Senator Counihan proposes may not be absolutely the most perfect method of utilising the subsidy if it be made available. Senator Counihan, I understand, is not tied absolutely to his method, but he is anxious that the principle be accepted by the House, so that the Minister would know that this House unanimously recommends that he should put the principle into operation. If there be a better way, if there be a way that will give greater encouragement to our cattle producers and tillage farmers, and which would help the fattening work on the farms, I think farmers generally would be prepared to accept it.

Of course, it can be argued that there are great difficulties in making the subsidy available, and even when it is made available, that there will be all sorts of complaints and arguments that the farmers are not getting the benefit of it. So far as I am concerned, while I realise that you cannot do absolute justice to all farmers, that there is no scheme which you can make operative which will make an equitable distribution of the money which may be available to help farmers, I am satisfied, if there is a decision on the part of the Ministry to give a subsidy, that that money will flow through the various channels into the pockets of our farmers in one way or another. It will encourage and stimulate activity of a kind very badly needed. It will be a demonstration to them that the Minister realises their difficulty and, having an appreciation of the competition which they are up against, is prepared in these days of difficulty to give them the assistance they require. The total money necessary is only a bagatelle. I am sure that there will be agreement on the part of all Parties, whether this scheme or some other sort of scheme is the better, that there ought to be a indication from the Minister immediately that such a scheme will be forthcoming.

Mr. Honan:  I could enthuse over [44] this motion, indeed I do not oppose it; but I am of opinion that there is another branch of the cattle industry the requires attention before the small minority of people who stall-feed cattle. Everybody agrees that stall feeding is a very expensive business; but so is milk producing in winter. If we take the average, you have seven months in the year during which cattle are fattening on the grass, and five months during which they are stall-fed. In the 12 months, as in every other industry, they should produce a reasonable profit on the average yearly yield.

The method suggested has left a rather nasty taste in the mouth of farmers. No method has yet been found of giving bounties except through the shippers. During all the years in which bounties were available, I never met a store-producing farmer who would admit that these bounties that were paid to the shippers came back to him. That may be right or it may be wrong, but still the producer of store cattle never believed of the bounties paid.

The number of cattle exported as fat is approximately around 200,000, while the stores are approximately around 300,000, and it would take, say for the five months, or five-twelfths of the year, probably about £7,000. The average bounty suggested by Senator Counihan would be around 39/-, and that on the number of cattle would amount, I believe, to something about £164,000 or £156,000, a rather big sum, but that I would not begrudge at all if I was not aware that the small farmers especially in the West of Ireland had been put in a frightful position through a most virulent disease and nothing has been done for them by the Government. In 1925 and 1926, at least 50 per cent. of the cattle in the West of Ireland, particularly in the damper areas, were nothing done for them by the Government of the day—they got neither loans nor grants—with the result that those farmers took nearly ten years to come back again, after the most frightful privations, to normal conditions.

[45] When, in 1937, a similar fate overtook them the terrible disease of fluke, which is known more in the West of Ireland than in the central or eastern parts, owing to the dampness, nearly wiped them our again. I have a list here covering two small parishes adjoining each other in West Clare. Without worrying you with all the details, in those two parishes 171 yearlings, 39 two year olds, 12 cows, 15 calves and four sheep died in 1937, as a result of fluke. That almost completely wiped out the essence of the small farmers of those two parishes and I regret to say that the Government, in their wisdom, did not find any law or regulation by which they could compensate them in any way or help them to restock their lands.

In the old days, even under an alien Government, these were two diseases recognised, foot-and-mouth in cattle, and swine fever in pigs, and that alien Government were prepared to compensate, and did compensate, the farmers who suffered by those two diseases when their pigs or cattle were destroyed. In these days it is the disease of fluke that we see becoming more virulent, much more, of course, in numbers than either foot and mouth disease or swine fever, of which we did not hear for a long time. The Government has failed to help the farmers in any way although this matter entirely came on them through to fault of their own. I do say they did something inasmuch as that farmers who were associated with creameries found it possible to get advances from the creameries at a rate of interest of 5 per cent. But needless to say that was next to no help at all. Having to borrow money and pay it back at 5 per cent. after losing stock is of very little advantage.

Another point—this is not drawing any red herring across Senator Counihan's motion—if anything is to be done for the cattle industry those who have lost their cattle in the West of Ireland should be taken into consideration when any motion by Senator Counihan or any other Party is being discussed or brought before the commission. I am merely mentioning it to initiate the matter here [46] because I do not believe that it has been discussed, even in the other House. I want to initiate the claims of these claims will be considered if a commission is set up. The claims of in the West of Ireland, even retrospectively, should be considered in connection with any other branch of the cattle industry.

Mr. Quirke:  I want to say that I refuse to make a martyr of Senator Counihan, notwithstanding the fact that he made a desperate attempt to draw us into another repetition of the discussions on the economic war. However, I do not propose to vote against this motion of Senator Counihan's, but, so far, I am surprised I must say, that somebody has not put up some alternative suggestion to the suggestion put forward by Senator Counihan which is, practically speaking, the same as the scheme that was in operation heretofore. Senator Counihan, in his statement, has in my opinion gone out of his way to create an impression which really could not be justified. If he were to make the statement which he has made in connection with this motion at a meeting of the Northern Farmers' Union, I have no doubt that some farmer in the North of Ireland would stand up and would tell him that his statement was contrary to the facts. I did not expect that Senator Counihan would try to paint such a rosy picture of the North and tell us what a Utopia they had up there for the simple reason that I thought he would be sufficiently in touch with the situation to know that at numerous meetings of farmers in the Six Counties, several outstanding men have expressed the opinion that the condition of the farmers in the Twenty-Six Counties, or in Ére, were much more favourable than the conditions of the farmers in the Six Counties.

Senator Counihan presses this motion as a motion which if adopted would be likely to benefit the farming community. Now, it is scarcely necessary to go over the discussions we had here in this House in the past in that connection, and I think Senator Counihan [47] will have to agree with me that even when we here in this House were convinced that the farmers were getting the benefit of the bounties, the farmers themselves did not believe anything of the kind. Last year the farmers were paid in bounties £1,906,906. I suggest that if he told that to any ordinary individual around the country the reply would be that he was losing his mind.

That is a fact, and the reason I would like to see some alternative proposition instead of Senator Counihan's proposing the scheme in operation last year, is because of the simple fact that there is always a doubt as to where the bounty is going. As a result of that doubt, the buyer goes into the fair to buy cattle and he is not at all sure if they will all come under the bounty scheme. The man selling the cattle has convinced himself that they are all eligible for the bounty but, as the buyer has the matter in his own hands, he is not likely to do very much gambling on the thing at all. It he buys, say, ten cattle, he is going to make sure that he will provide for three or four of them not getting the bounty.

Mr. Counihan:  What about competition?

Mr. Quirke:  Yes, even in competition, because most of the cattle dealers would be in the same position, except a man in the position of Senator Counihan, who would probably be shipping his own cattle. There would be no slip between the cup and the lip, so to speak, in his case because he would be breeder, feeder and exporter all in one. He buys a few, as I know, because he bought cattle from me when I was a very small boy. If all the farmers were in the same position I would say it would be a good one, but Senator Counihan knows himself that he was not able to convince the farmers that they were getting the benefit of the bounty, and I suggest it is up to him to put up some similar scheme. I do not propose to vote against his motion, but I am going to suggest that he could make some useful changes in it. He said in his motion:—

[48]‘That, in the opinion of the Seanad, a subsidy should be paid on fat cattle exported between the 1st January and 21st June as the best means of

I would suggest that the words from “Seanad” to “of” in the second line, should be eliminated and that he would substitute:—

“That some scheme, such as the scheme in operation last year, or some other scheme be introduced...”

and then carry on:—

“to encourage production of more fat cattle, to create more employment on the land, to encourage more tillage by creating a market on the farm for the crops and to help to reduce the adverse trade balance.”

That would leave the motion not quite so definite. It would leave the Minister free if he could not find any-anything better, to go back to the scheme of last year again. I think we should be able to work out some other scheme which would not leave that constant doubt in the minds of the farmers as to where the money was going, and consequently reduce the price of cattle.

We had another thing brought into this—the question of derating in Northern Ireland and what a great thing it was for the farmers up there. The fact of the matter is that the British have budgeted this year for £233,000, as far as I could gather from Senator Counties, to apply towards derating. Here in Éire, or in the Twenty-Six Counties, the annuities have been halved and the cost amounts to something like £2,000,000 a year. The fact of the matter is that farmers in Northern Ireland are rapidly coming to the conclusion that they would be far better off under the regulations, as far as land is concerned at any rate, of this Government then under the Northern Ireland Government. With regard to the rates on agricultural land, they have been wiped off agricultural land, but have they been wiped off the farmers altogether? I say they have not; they [49] have been transferred to their houses so that if a farmer proceeds to build up his premises to feed pigs or cattle, extra rates are slapped on him.

We cannot go on passing resolutions calling for subsidies for this, that or the other without, realising that the farmer who is the producer must provide the wherewithal for those subsidies. The fact of the matter is that in any case we should try to work out some other system of relief or leave it to the commission to be set up on agriculture to find a better way out. I do not know whether Senator Counihan will be in agreement with that or not.

Mr. Counihan:  It will be too late then.

Mr. Quirke:  Not necessarily too late. I have seen commissions sitting down to talk and after a short while producing reports, and those reports were accepted and acted on, as far as it was practicable. Senator Counihan goes on to say that apparently the Ministers and Government in Northern Ireland have more consideration for their farmers than our Ministers. I think that remark comes very badly from a member of this House no matter what group he may be attached to or what interest he may represent or claim to represent, especially at the present time, when the combined forces of all Parties in this part of the country are uniting and working hard to abolish Partition, that Senator Counihan should stand up and try to paint a picture which is not a true picture. I would ask Senator Counihan to correct his statement on that matter because surely he must know that those statements were not in accordance with the facts? Here in the Twenty-Six Counties last year, the Ministers of our Government, or the Government, as such, agreed to pay £906,906 in bounties and subsidies and still Senator Counihan makes out here that the Ministers have not the same consideration for the farmers as Ministers in the Northern Parliament. I am afraid that Senator Counihan and Lord Craigavon will go very badly in double harness if they come into it.

I do not know if there is much more [50] to be said on this matter. Senator Counihan asks if we want wheat. We say we do. Do we want more tillage? Yes. More wages, yes. More crops, yes. He goes on to say that the Minister for Agriculture advised people against growing barley.

Mr. Counihan:  Or oats, as a cash crop.

Mr. Quirke:  I say that that is not correct. I say that he did encourage the farmers to grow more barley and oats but what he wanted to impress on them was the importance of growing wheat. It is not right to quote the Minister in that kind of way which is liable to misunderstanding, not here, because people have heard the Minister stood outside.

Senator Baxter says that English buyers are at a disadvantage here in our fairs because of the fact that they may be better buyers than the local buyers. We have heard enough about it without going back to the economic war again. Senator Counihan has suggested what a great advantage it was to have English and Scottish buyers coming to the fairs, and I agree with the man who made that statement that it is a great advantage. Senator Baxter then went on to say that this thing would help our stock breeders if it was accepted and if the scheme, as suggested by him, went into operation. I believe that any scheme which will help the production of beef and the export of cattle is bound to benefit the people, right down to the man who produces the calf on the five-acre farm or even on the one-acre plot, for that matter. But, if it is a question of doing anything towards establishing subsidies or developing any other scheme, then I say that we should not tie the Minister down to this particular scheme which he and his advisers in ing out quite satisfactorily. I understand that they are working on some scheme at the present time. If they discover a better scheme, why not give them a free hand to adopt that scheme [51] rather than tie them down to the particular scheme which is before us.

Peadar Mac Fhionnlaoich:  Ní dóigh liom gur ceart na deontais seo íoc le feirmeoiribh. Cé íocas na deontais seo? Lucht íoctha cánach agus cuid acu sin ar na daoine is boichte sa tír; bean bhocht a cheannuigheas unsa tae nó punt siúcra agus an fear bocht a cheannuigheas unsa tobac.

Tá buan-sealbh ag na feirmeoiribh ar ithir na hÉireann agus is as ithir na hEireann a thig ollmhaoin agus saibhreas na hÉireann agus ba cheart go mbeadh na feirmeoirí ábalta teacht i dtír agus slí bheatha fháil as an talamh gan teacht go lucht dhíolta na gcánach le deontais fháil.

Tá coimisiún fiafruighthe le dul isteach sa cheist agus ba cheart dóibh dul isteach sa cheist go domhain agus go cruinn agus dlús a chur leis na slighthe is fhearr le tuilleadh tortha bhaint den talamh. Ba cheart don choimisiún dul go domhain i gceist na talmhan agus a fháil amach cé an chaoi is fhearr leis an talamh a shaothrú agus talamh a thabhairt do na daoine is fearr a d'fhéadfadh é shaothrú.

Tá daoine óga go leor a tógadh ar fheirmeacha ag imeacht as an tír gach bliain mar nach bhfuil slí bheatha le fáil sa tír acu. Ba cheart féachaint le slí chur ar fáil do na daoine óga sin le n-a gcoinneáil in Éirinn mar is mór an chailleamhaint don tír iad bheith ag imeacht.

Professor Johnston:  With reference to the fact that I am speaking from this bench, may I say, in the first instance, that I do so with a certain diffidence because I like not the foremost place in the synagogue. But it was suggested to me that such service as I can render in this House can be rendered more effectively from this bench than from any other, and, there fore, I accepted the invitation to sit here as an obligation as well as an honour. I do so only on the understanding that those who sit on this bench are not bound by any Party Whips, and that we remain the captains of our souls. I welcome the statement made by Senator Quirke from the [52] other side that there is a similar freedom from Party discipline with regard to the group associated in sympathy with him.

May I say, with reference to the very eloquent speech to which we have just listened and which few of us understood, that, every member of this House has a perfect right under the Constitution to express himself in the Irish language, but there is also an obligation on all of us to try and make ourselves intelligible to the other members of the House. That presents a practical problem which, up to the moment, has not been solved in this House. This summer I had an opportunity of attending a conference of agricultural economists in Montreal. It was attended by the representatives of at least a dozen or a score of nations. The languages used were at least three —English, French and German. Everyone had the right to express himself in one or other of those languages. Everyone listening was able to follow the speeches made, in whatever language used, almost as soon as they were delivered, because opposite each person was a set of earphones. All that a person had to do, if he could not understand the language which the speaker was using, was to put the earphone over his head, and then he heard, word for word, a perfect translation, in his own language, of what was being said. I would suggest, in all seriousness, that if we are not to make the use of Irish in this House a farce we should adopt some such arrangement, so that all of us may understand what each of us is saying.

With regard to the resolution which Senator Counihan has moved, I would like to say a few words, first of all, about the immediate economic background which has given rise to the resolution, and, secondly, with reference to the immediate financial problem affecting the price of cattle, which also has given rise to the resolution. There has been, in the last ten years, a considerable tendency in all important countries in the world to feed one dog with a portion [53] of the other dog's tail. In the case of Great Britain it has been perfectly feasible to feed to the agricultural dog a portion of the industrial dog's tail because the agricultural dog is relatively a very small animal, and the industrial dog is relatively a very large animal. But in our case the agricultural dog is a very big animal, something in the nature of a mastiff or an Irish wolfhound, whereas our industrial development is such that it might appear more readily as a Pekingese dog or, perhaps, in certain aspects of it, it might be regarded as a pup which was being sold very industriously to us by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and his predecessors during the last 18 years, because there has been a definite tendency to encourage industrialisation. Nevertheless, it is not sufficiently important to enable industry as a whole to subsidise agriculture as a whole. In consequence, then, what we have been experiencing for some time now has been a policy not of feeding the agricultural dog as a whole with the industrialist dog's tail, but with a policy of feeding the small-farmer dog, who happens to be a numerous animal, with the whole body of the large-farmer dog. In fact, the result of that has been that the large-farmer dog is now in such a cruelly bad condition that he needs a plaster to restore him to something like healthy well-being. In essential respects certain of Senator Counihan's proposals represent an effort to provide such a plaster. I feel a certain sympathy with the position of the large farmer, and that this remedy proposed is a treatment of symptoms rather than of fundamental causes. What we really need in this country is a sound and sane national agricultural policy: a policy which will view the position of every size of farm, with a complete absence of sentiment and humbug and of historical complexes, and that will do its best to put every aspect of our farming—large scale, middle size and small—on its own economic feet.

The immediate causes outlined in Senator Counihan's resolution make a certain plausible appeal to many of us. [54] They arise, not so much from the economic war, as from the British subsidy on fat cattle as Senator Counihan so ably pointed out. I do not know how long that subsidy has been going on. I believe it amounts to sums varying from 2/6 to 7/6 per live cwt. on every beast sold for fat in that country and that has spent three months in that country. The effect of that subsidy is to enable feeders in Northern Ireland and in Great Britain to pay a price for our exported store cattle which our feeders and finishers simply cannot afford to pay. It puts our farmers, who would like to finish cattle, completely out of business as cattle finishers, whether they are large farmers or small farmers. Everyone who has studied the matter is aware that the farmer who normally specialises in fattening stock cannot possibly rear as many cattle as he is in a position to finish. Therefore, he must buy a considerable number of young cattle —yearlings, 18 months old and so on— if he is to work up to a decent turnover on any sort of large farm. Consequently, his profits depend on the margin between the price at which he must buy stores and the price he must pay for bought feeding stuffs, in so far as he must buy feeding stuffs to supplement what he grows on his own farm. If he is a farmer who goes in for stall feeding, his margin of profit depends primarily on the price that he pays for young cattle and the price he gets for finished cattle, and the effect of the British subsidy has been to inflate the price currently paid for our young cattle, thus contracting the margin which our finishers may hope to obtain. In fact, it makes it impossible for them to obtain any profitable margin at all.

Now, that is a serious and injurious matter for our agriculture, because as every person knows, who knows anything, the fertility and productivity of our soil depend on the extent to which we feed cattle, whether we feed them with grass in the summer or in the stalls in winter. It is also well known, of course, that the value of the manure returned to the land by cattle in the finishing stages of their ration is of much greater importance than the [55] value of the manure returned to the land by cattle in the earlier stages of their growth. The effect of the British subsidy then has been to contract that margin, and our problem is to restore a normal margin to enable the cattle finisher to get back his business in a normal way. Though, in general, I dislike artificial interference with the course of trade, it is sometimes necessary to meet one artificial interference by another artificial interference, which may have the effect of negativing it and restoring what may amount to a normal situation. To my mind, a more or less normal relation would be restored between the price of young cattle and the price of finished cattle if we proceeded to put a tax of 5/- a head on all young cattle exported, and used the proceeds of that tax to pay a bounty on all finished fat cattle exported. At present our exporters of young cattle are, in fact, able to divert into their own pockets part of the subsidy which the British have been paying to their own cattle finishers, because the effect of that subsidy is to inflate the price which British importers pay for our young cattle above what they otherwise would pay. Therefore, if you put a tax of 5/- per head upon young cattle exported, we are merely putting our exports of young cattle in the same position and making them fetch the same price as they would get if the British had no subsidy system at all. We put them, so to speak, in a normal position, and at the same time, by widening the margin between the price of young cattle and the price of finished cattle, we are enabling the cattle finisher to get back into business on a normal, healthy basis. Last and most important of all, if we do it in that way, we are going to impose no financial burden on the Exchequer at all, because the suggestion is that we use only, for the purpose of bounty, money acquired by putting a small tax on the export of young cattle.

If I am in order, I should like to say a word or two about what I regard as the importance of large-scale agriculture from the point of view of [56] national economy as a whole. In my view, first of all, there is the important fact that there are only 50,000 agricultural employers. In other words, in a total of about 400,000 farmers there are only about 50,000 who employ any wage-paid labour. The number of wage-paid labour, mostly male, is in the region of 120,000. The total number of employers of every kind, industrial, commercial and agricultural, in the country as a whole is given in the 1926 Census Report as 80,000. I think it would not be unfair to say that public policy has been more concerned to encourage the economic activities of the 30,000 non-agricultural employers than those of the 50,000 agricultural employers. What I say is, that on the fair, sound and equitable treatment of these 50,000 employers of agricultural labour depends, in the next generation, whether this country is going rapidly to increase its national wealth or whether we are going to continue just “dithering” along, as we have been for the last 20, 30 or 40 years.

Everybody who studies the matter is aware that the output per person is higher on large farms employing wage-paid labour than it is, or can be, on small farms where labour is rather redundant. The net output per person employed in British agriculture in 1926 was £150 per year. The net output per person employed in Saorstát agriculture, in 1926, was £101 per person. Land here is just as fertile, if not more, than land in Great Britain. Our farmers are just as intelligent as the farmers over there, but the average farm in Britain is 60 acres while the average farm in Éire is 30 acres. In my view, the difference in output is accounted for mainly by the fact that there you have large-scale farming, and the output per person, equipped with every kind of modern labour-saving device, is naturally and necessarily much higher than it can be here.

An increase in the output per person employed in agriculture is of the greatest importance, not only from the national agricultural point of view, but also from the point of view of our general commercial and industrial policy, for only in so far as the agricultural [57] producer produces food over and above the requirements of himself and his family, is it possible to have any development of the commercial and industrial structure. Obviously people employed in commerce and industry live on food produced by farmers and unless these farmers are producing more than they themselves require, producing a surplus for the sustenance of those engaged in commerce and industry, you cannot have any industrial or commercial development. I doubt very much if our small-scale farmers are producing more than they require for their own consumption. If that be so, then the policy of reducing all our agricultural holdings to a dead level of 20 or 30 acres per head, will simply undermine the whole foundation of the commercial and industrial structure that we are so actively trying to build up.

Now that we have got back freedom to export I think national policy should aim at encouraging our farmers to employ additional labour, and that we should consider very carefully, in the light of the report of the Banking Commission, the whole policy hitherto followed with regard to the division of the so-called ranches, and the creation of numerous smallholders. In my view, given security of tenure, there is no reason why thousands of our large farmers, who at the moment may have specialised mainly in grass cultivation, should not expand and develop their agricultural activities and undertake poultry and pig production as well as a certain amount of home-dairying and cheese-making. If we were given a situation in which it would be a sound enterprise from the farmer's point of view to invest capital in that kind of development you would do more for the expansion of agricultural production and for the development of well-paid agricultural labour, than you could possibly do say, by any of the other methods which have been so much in vogue.

I have been very much impressed by my experience of a particular farm of 200 acres in County Louth, which employs at good wages, 20 people in a thoroughly scientific and very varied [58] form of agricultural activity. It has 30 milch cows, 2,000 poultry, and prac-tises cheese-making and a certain amount of tillage. That farm, I am told, would employ practically the same number of people even if the farmer did not go in for tillage at all, because what really creates agricultural employment is the intensive feeding of live stock, whether they be stall-fed cattle, home-fed pigs, poultry or what not. In my view, it would be simply disastrous if that 200 acre farm were to be broken up into say, six 30 or 40-acre holdings. It could not possibly give so large a volume of well-paid employment as it now provides. In my view, we should aim at creating a situation in which our 50,000 employers of agricultural labour will be induced to add at least one each to the number of agricultural workers they employ at decent wages. If we could expand the wage-paid agricultural employment by 50,000, from 120,000 to 170,000, even taking the value of the output per person as low as £100 per annum, we would add £5,000,000 to the national income. I can conceive no other direction in which we could so rapidly expand the production of national wealth. The other policy which seems to be so popular is threatening the State with bankruptcy. According to the Banking Commission's Report, paragraph 511, each person allotted land, in the process of land division, on the average costs the taxpayer £600 in dead-weight debt. Any attempt to solve the problem of agricultural employment by that method will prove very costly. To settle 14,000 new occupiers of land has already added £8,500,000 to the National Debt. If we should be so foolish as to try to settle 100,000 landless men on farms on those terms, the net effect would be to increase the National Debt to £60,000,000, which is a figure I shudder to contemplate.

Perhaps, a Chathaoirligh, I have been trespassing a little beyond what is strictly relevant to the motion. Before I sit down I should like to say that I regard this problem, which the motion is an effort to solve, with great sympathy. I consider the motion [59] which has been proposed as a remedy which might relieve the more distressing symptoms. I should like to refer for a moment to paragraph 509 of the report of the Banking Commission, which states:

“Great importance attaches to the question of security of tenure. This, as is well known, was one of the primary objects of the early land legislation, and it must always remain a fundamental factor in a healthy agricultural system. It is in particular the best type of farmer who thinks of adding to his capital investment in agriculture that is most affected by this consideration.”

May I illustrate this by pointing out that the farm which I have in view, cultivated on an extensive scale, with all the goodwill and valuable employment of labour now associated with it, if it were, for any reason, to be disposed of, and if it were offered for sale in a normal community, with the goodwill representing a real asset, would probably command a figure of £5,000 or £6,000 at least. But as things go, with the Sword of Damocles of the 1933 Confiscation Act hanging over it, its value is considerably diminished. The owner knows that if he abandons it, some local Jacobin organisation may start an agitation to have it taken over by the Land Commission, and the net effect would be that no one would bid for it. The value associated with it would simply evaporate, and he would have to give it away for something like £1,500. So long as that situation exists, and so long as that element of insecurity is allowed to continue, there can be little hope of securing that increased agricultural production by which only we can increase our national wealth.

The McGillycuddy of the Reeks:  I did not realise that this debate was going to develop into a discussion of Government policy and I should like now to get back to the amendment. Senator Quirke told us that we could not go on granting subsidy after subsidy, one after another, in order to put our exporters on the same terms [60] as feeders in England. He said that agriculture last year was given subsidies amounting to very nearly £2,000,000. Subsidies, however, were also given to various nascent industries either directly, or indirectly in the form of tariffs, and as compared with the amount of these subsidies, £2,000,000 is practically nothing. I gathered that the Senator agreed generally with the idea contained in the motion. He made no proposal to alter the old system, and he left it to other agriculturists to suggest what should be done. I realise his difficulty. It is almost impossible to improve on the method in operation at present. There are all sorts of complaints that the actual producer gets nothing and that the shipper gets the whole thing. That is a suggestion which means that the average farmer has no sense whatever of the value of his animal and of the general operation of agriculture from the beginning up to the shipper. That is not so, and although he complains, as he will always complain, I think that down through the various stages, from the young animal up to the original person who gets the subsidy, there is probably as good an indirect distribution of any subsidy as you would get by any other means.

I have been in touch on several occasions with the English markets and I find that there they have a different system. They grade the animals A and B. They have a committee for doing this grading, consisting of such people as farmers and butchers. There were tremendous complaints about the grading. When the grading is over, the animals are put up to auction, and it is interesting to find that in many cases the butchers bought the grade B animal rather than the grade A animals on the general principle that they are buying the better animals. That makes a fresh complaint, so that it is extremely difficult to find anything better, and if you cannot find anything better, and if it is realised that a subsidy is desirable, I should try the other one again and make sufficient use of instruction and propaganda to make people realise that it is as fair a system as can be operated.

[61] I was at one time not enamoured of subsidies of any kind because I was quite convinced that they came, partly or mostly, and particularly in this country, out of the pockets of the farming community, because without a farming community, there would be nobody for the industrialists to sell to; but so long as the present policy of building up industry at the same time as agriculture and making agriculture pay for it indirectly, goes on, I think my ideas about subsidies should be changed, and not only do I agree with the subsidy proposed by Senator Counihan, but I should like to see it applied to store cattle and calves, and by some fresh scheme which possibly Senator Quirke will have to invent for us.

Mr. McEllin:  I find it rather strange to hear the misunderstanding that exists with regard to the quotation which Senator Quirke used as to the amount paid in subsidies and general assistance to the farming community from year to year. I should like to remind the House that even though Senator The McGillyuddy pointed out that while other industries are contributing their share, they, in turn, are getting considerable assistance. The agricultural community, as a whole, has reserved to itself the home market for agricultural produce, so that valuing it on the basis of what industry is getting, we find that the agricultural community are also getting assistance. I might add also that if you take any single item of agricultural produce in this country to-day and leave it open to world competition, you will buy that particular agricultural produce at a figure less than that at which it can be produced at home. That is a hard, solid fact. Every single item of agricultural produce in the world market is more or less cheaper than it is here. If we were to follow the general principle of free trade and of letting everything develop in its own way, we would go abroad to buy Chinese eggs and foreign bacon, margarine and butter. I wonder where we would find ourselves if we allowed matters to develop on that line? That is an aspect which [62] people should not forget when talking of this question of free trade.

Senator Johnston gave some very interesting points of view on agricultural economics, both at home and abroad, but I cannot help saying that a good deal of his arguments was merely theorising from the armchair, and from the ordinary working farmer's point of view his theorising would not enable him for any length of time to maintain himself and his family. He suggests as a way out of our difficulty to-day in finding a profitable market for the farmer the taxation of store cattle in order to provide sufficient subsidies for the production of beef or stall-feds. When he made that suggestion I do not think he had fully studied its implications. If he had done so he would realise that 70 per cent. of our cattle leaving this country over a whole year are stores, and the most lucrative end of our live-stock trade is our store trade. The English and Scottish farmers generally do not go in for the feeding and rearing of calves and bringing them to the two-year-old stage as we do. They rather rely on the people here to do that and to supply them with the raw material. Are we going to tax 70 per cent. of our trade in order to subsidise our beef trade and stall-feds? That suggestion came from a man who is supposed to have a sound knowledge of agricultural economics, and I do not think it is at all practicable. I think that much more injury than good would be done by it.

He talked also about the output here compared with Great Britain and said that the value of output was £150 in Great Britain as against £101 here. In assessing that value of output, you have again to take into consideration many different points of view. In Great Britain there is large-scale machinery and mass production in certain given circumstances as against small farmers here, working in very small fields under certain restricted circumstances, and if that elaborate machinery, with all that goes with it, costs and capital invested, were valued, I am not so sure that we are not as well off with [63] our output of £101 as compared with the £150 output in England.

Professor Johnston:  On a point of explanation, may I say that the net output as defined for the purpose in the English official report from which I derived the information is the same as the net output as defined in our own report of agricultural output. It is £150 in one case and £101 in the other, and it means the same in both cases.

Mr. McEllin:  In any case, so far as we here are concerned, we are catering for a market which is being severally attacked to-day by the prairies of the world. You have intense competition as the result of modern transport developments both on land and sea and the prairies of the Argentine are able to put beef on the British market under ideal conditions in a few days, which they took months to do before.

We find ourselves in the position to-day of producing beef to compete against the virgin prairies of the world at competitive prices in the world market. Not alone are we at a serious disadvantage in trying to maintain our trade there against intense competition, but actually the British and Scotch farmers within their own market are seriously jeopardised as a result of that intense competition. Last year the British Government, in order to save their own farmers from being swamped by the Argentine competition, subsidised their own farmers to the extent of £5,000,000 per year. What was the net result? In actual fact, a short time after the subsidy started to operate, the price of English meat was coming down accordingly. Eventually it came down—and I think Senator Counihan if he speaks frankly will admit it—to the actual amount of the subsidy. To-day you have English fresh beef and mutton sold on the British market even at a lower price than the Argentine stuff as a result of this subsidy.

It is often said that any artificial aid of that description ultimately defeats itself and that is a case in point where it did so. The net result is that if the beef trade is to be saved, and not alone for the stall-feeding community of this [64] country, which is a minority so far as the trade as a whole goes, it is not, in my opinion—and I am only expressing my own opinion—by the system of subsidy which operated last year, or the system which operates in England to-day. There has to be some other method got if we are going to be up against this intensified Argentine competition in the British market.

My own personal opinion as regards the stall-fed trade is that it is in for a healthier time during the next few months than it has had for a long time because we had a very bad year both in Ireland and in England last year for the production of the feeding stuffs which are consumed in the stall-feeding season and, as a consequence, there will be a serious shortage in England as well as here of stall-feds this year because of the serious shortage of feeding stuffs. It is, therefore, quite possible that there will be much keener competition for stall-feds within the next few months than there has been for some time anyhow. That brings me to a point on which Senator Counihan interrupted Senator Quirke —that competition is the life of trade. The whole basis of any industry is supply and demand. Supply and demand govern the price of everything. All the artificial aids and subsidies that you can give to a market will not be of the same benefit as the operation of supply and demand. If the demand is there and there is a shortage of supplies, you will have enhanced prices.

That brings me to a point which deals more effectively with what Senator Johnston was trying to make out. In my opinion, the presence of a buyer for the German trade in our market every Thursday is more of a tonic—and I think it is generally admitted by the trade—to that market and to the Irish beef trade than any artificial form of support you can give. I am very glad that the Government are in a position to be able to continue that tonic to the Irish market. Generally speaking, if there were more of that tonic, I say you would be on a sounder basis for securing the beef trade in future than you are by temporary artificial aids, which defeat themselves ultimately.

[65] Personally, I think that if anything can be done it will not be done by more or less idle debates of this sort. I do not know what the ultimate result of this motion will be. I do not know whether it will have any effect or not, and I am not very much concerned with how the result goes. But I am sorry that the two motions were not moved together so that we could have a general discussion on the whole question of agriculture and its economics. My own personal view is that we have a commission about to inquire into agriculture in all its aspects. There are a lot of people who are anxious to have something to say before this commission sits. But the whole thing is sub judice at present. I think if people who are anxious to talk on the subject at present were to use up their energies in making this commission effective and practical in its results so that it will produce some workable scheme of improving the condition of the farming community in the future, they would be doing more useful work than discussing the subject now. I have no objection to this motion going through, as I would be very glad, like Senator Counihan, to take a few extra shillings for my stall-feds.

Mr. O'Callaghan:  The principle of subsidising cattle originated with the Beet Growers' Association. I was one of the delegation who put the idea before the Minister. He did not assent to it at the time, but a little while later it was brought into operation. If this debate has made any point more clear than another it is that we should aim at the production and export of high-grade store cattle rather than subsidising fat cattle. We ought to aim at capturing the bounty paid by John Bull for the fattening of cattle on the other side. If the figure given by Senator Counihan is correct it is a huge sum, and we should be able to capture the bulk of it, as I expect there will be nothing to hinder us. I do not know whether I am correct in that, or whether there is only a certain amount for the Irish exporter. But if the whole of the money which they pay [66] as a subsidy is available for the Irish cattle I think we should aim at capturing the whole of it, and there should be no difficulty about it. The production of high-grade store cattle is the thing that we should aim at, in my opinion. I am not opposed to the motion because, as I say, it originated with the Beet Growers' Association, of which I am a member.

I was very much impressed by the suggestions made by Senator Johnston as to large-scale farming in this country. Statistics show that millions of Irish money are invested abroad. Many companies have been started in this country for industrial purposes. None have been started to develop agriculture, and I think the time is ripe when some such step should be taken. I think money invested at home in that way would be much safer than if it were invested in many places abroad.

Animal diseases have been touched upon by Senator Counihan. We have had an unparalleled attack of animal diseases, which was particularly heavy in the dairying counties. I am not now referring to fluke, which has taken its toll. I think that far more intensive research work is needed in connection with such diseases. I have in mind, particularly, contagious abortion, sterility and mastitis, which are taking a heavy toll from dairy farmers; in my opinion, the heaviest they have to pay. It is estimated by experts that our animal diseases cost us millions of money. If we could reduce that by even £500,000, would it not be going a long way? Would not a little money spent in research be very well spent? I am not opposed to the motion, but I think that the export of high-grade stores would be far more desirable than the export of fat cattle whilst the subsidy continues on the other side.

Mr. O'Donovan:  As Senator O'Callaghan has spoken of the effects of disease and the loss due to disease in cattle, it has compelled me to enter into this debate. Up to that I was not inclined to do so, because, when Senator McEllin referred to the two motions here being taken together, I said:

[67]“We seem to have confusion of thought and confusion of argument amongst ourselves and amongst the farmers as to the remedies for our live-stock trade and farming generally, but, thank God, we have not the two together or we would have greater confusion still.”

Farmers on both sides of the House seem to have quite opposite opinions as to the cure of the trouble. That is unfortunate because it means referring the question to a commission, against which I spoke when the motion was before the Seanad. I think it would be only deferring matters. I noticed that the seconder of to-day's motion, when Cu Uladh spoke against it, said it was again a case of “Live horse and you will get grass.” He was, therefore, speaking against the arguments he put forward previously. This is a question about which something will have to be done in the immediate future. Possibly it should be decided before the whole of the evidence is taken by the commission as to the various ills from which agriculture is suffering and the various cures that the various doctors and veterinary surgeons have for it.

As the question of disease was brought in and also the question of casualties from fluke and the provision of some compensation for it, I may say that compensation is only paid for notifiable diseases and diseases over which the farmer or live-stock owner would have no control. Therefore, so far as compensation for disease, the cause of which is known and the control of which is evident, is concerned, the Government cannot be asked in all these cases to provide compensation for losses of live stock, no matter what the live stock may be, from the fowl to the horse and the bullock. Undoubtedly, the question of research into the causes and cure of several diseases affecting live stock is very necessary, and it has been urged by the veterinary profession in the past and up to very recently. That has been done, undoubtedly, in the interest of agriculture and not in the interests of the veterinary profession.

We find ourselves faced with a situation—perhaps the doctors in ordinary [68] practice find the same thing—that there is always a necessity for research. We find that we have not a system of control of certain diseases. Senator O'Callaghan referred to two—the two most evident to the live-stock owner, namely, contagious abortion and bovine mastitis. They are the ones which are staring him in the face. But there is a still greater one with which he will be faced in the near future, and that is bovine tuberculosis. We have been working strongly in favour of efforts to eradicate that disease both from the point of view of the live-stock owner and of public health. It would take too long to dilate on the danger to the human subject from tuberculosis of animal origin, chiefly, of course, of bovine origin through the drinking of tuberculous milk.

Senators are well aware of the dangers of diseases contracted in the human subject through tuberculosis of animal origin. I do not know whether agriculturists, live-stock owners and farmers have realised that in the near future they will be faced with the problem of guaranteeing that our live stock when exported is free from tuberculosis. We have coming into force on the 1st January the grading of milk under the Milk and Dairies Act, which will be the first legal step in this country really to produce dairy herds free from disease; that is, they have to be guaranteed free from tuberculosis, as well as mastitis and other things. It is the first real step towards the eradication of bovine tuberculosis. But then, there is the great mass of dairy as well as other bovine animals through the country which are not touched at all. They are making and have made a far greater advance in England, even though England is far behind other farming countries in its eradication of tuberculosis in the human and bovine species. I do not know whether farmers have realised that they have got to face the problem and probably face it very soon, where our live stock exported to Great Britain will have to be guaranteed free from tuberculosis. That really is why I brought it up here. I do not want to introduce a further line of argument, a red herring, if you like, in this matter.

[69]Mr. Baxter:  It is just as well that the Senator would not be creating any scare.

Mr. O'Donovan:  I am not creating any scare among the majority of the people, because it should be no secret to farmers themselves. There are three main diseases to which losses are due. In two of them the losses are directly felt by the farmers, while in the third, the loss is not felt by the farmer; it is felt by the butchers, because tuberculosis is a chronic disease, and loss is incurred at a subsequent date. The farmer must realise that he has to face this in the near future.

Mr. Baxter:  He is doing it.

Mr. O'Donovan:  Reading the motion here, one sees that the first thing it asks for is more fat cattle. The first point is the only one I will object to. My object would be the production and finishing of all the cattle we can, for the reason that it would create more employment, cause the encouragement of tillage, and the getting of a market on the farm for the crop. If we could feed and fatten all our cattle, we would be able to create more employment and maintain more people on the land. Certainly, that is the object of the organisation to which I belong, to maintain more people on the land. Then we enter into the confusion of thought as to whether we should maintain our store cattle or go in for a greater number of fat cattle. Undoubtedly, if we were in the position to market, as the Scottish people have been marketing for generations—they produce the finished article—we would be on sounder lines.

Unfortunately, I do not think that we have ever produced the finished article. If we did that, my idea would be to kill it, thus giving more employment and developing a dead meat trade, as we did develop it for a short time. I cannot understand why the cost of a dead meat trade should be excessive as far as our country is concerned. When the Scottish people are able to produce their first quality beef on the London market, I cannot understand why we cannot do the same. [70] However, there is the possibility that it is easier to ship the animals alive than to ship each animal in two sides or four quarters of beef. That method would produce the greatest amount of employment in the trade, as well as helping other employment also in the finishing of the article and the putting of it on the market as such. I am in agreement with Senator Counihan's argument entirely that the trade, as at present, is developing into a store cattle trade, and the fat stock trade is suffering in consequence. Undoubtedly, our object should be to produce the finished article and market the finished article.

In connection with the payment of the bounties, we had considerable discussion and differences of opinion. If the benefit could be paid directly to the producer instead of paying it at the ports, it would eliminate several of the complaints made against the system of bounties. I cannot see why this cannot be done, though there might be a reaction that it would mean more officials. It is quite possible that with the co-operation of the Farmers' Union, or some other body, that the cattle could be examined as previously, on the producer's farm or in his stall. All that would be necessary to prevent the bounty being paid twice would, I maintain, be a system of ear-tagging. Once an ear-tag has been inserted, an animal cannot be ear-tagged a second time. I put that suggestion again for somebody to consider. I think the bounty could be paid directly to the men who produce the finished article to obviate the complaint that it is the trader who buys them and brings them to the port that gets the benefit.

I would like to refer to some of the remarks made by Senator Johnston, because they were instructive, but, if they were, he finished up in a subtle mood. If his remarks generally were as subtle as those about happenings in Canada, then they depreciate considerably in my estimation. Surely, if he goes to Canada for a conference, and there are three different languages spoken there, and they have a system of earphones and translators, so that everyone may understand what is being [71] said he does not want to suggest seriously that we in this country are going to put Irish in the same category as German or French in Canada? French is one of the native languages in Canada, but I could call it only a subtle method of introducing his remarks. He finished on a similar subtle argument, that a Government would take away a farm from a man who was employing a large number of people, because the farm was 200 acres, although he was utilising that farm to the fullest possible extent, and employing labour to the fullest possible extent. I do not think there is any record of any Government taking his farm away from him.

Professor Johnston:  On a point of personal explanation, may I say that the farmer in question maintains that he has not, under present laws, the legal security that he should have, and he says that as the laws might operate against his interests or the interests of his successors, he had not a feeling of security in his own farm. Mind you, I do not think that under present conditions the Government would dream of taking it but circumstances change and something might happen that would operate against his interests.

Mr. O'Donovan:  I still believe that that argument is much too subtle to be taken seriously. Nobody here is sure of anything. We are not sure of our existence for the next half hour, and such an argument that some Government, at some time, would take a farm from the owner is a bit far fetched. I know and believe that there are several farms divided by the Land Commission consisting of 22 acres that should be taken back because they are not being used.

Professor Johnston:  Where is the security of tenure?

Mr. O'Donovan:  When the farm is used to its fullest extent. Your argument is that because it was of 200 acres the danger was that it would be taken away. There is as good security of tenure as there is security [72] of life, and the person who utilises land to the service of both himself and the State has perfect security.

Mr. Quirke:  As they had in 1929.

Mr. O'Donovan:  We have had terrible confusion of thought among farmers, cattle traders and others as to the cure for all this.

Mr. Baxter:  And among “vets.”

Mr. O'Donovan:  I am in favour of the bounty on fat cattle. My idea is to export the finished product and to raise our name as producers of the finished product, as Senator Parkinson, my colleage, nominated by the same body, will say we have done in horses. I think our aim both in horses and cattle, and in the products of horses and cattle, should be to produce the finished article. We should produce the finished article as far as cattle are concerned, as we have produced the finished article as far as horses are concerned. Perhaps in training them we must send them to the British; they seem to make a better job of it than we do. We would give greater employment and maintain more people in the animal industry by producing the finished article, and that is why I would be prepared to support any subsidy which is deemed necessary. The subsidising of animals is deemed necessary in Britain, and we have to try to maintain our competition. I am in support of producing the finished article, and I agree to that extent, whether his figures are desirable or not, with the principle of Senator Counihan's motion.

Mr. W. Cummins:  This question of stall-feeding has a very intimate bearing on a vital economic problem for the country, that is, the drift of the rural population to our towns. I have always felt, like Senator O'Donovan, that farmers did not avail themselves fully of the advantages which this wider field of international trade afforded. I felt that those animals that went to England in a half-finished state put into the hands of the English rival of the Irish stall-feeder an instrument that the Irish farmer could not compete against. He [73] took every opportunity of securing the best materials, the best breed of stock in the market, and was often in a better position to secure that better breed of stock than the home producer. He paid the highest price; he took them away at times when in some cases a few weeks or a week's feeding would have completed the process at home.

If the food could not be walked off the land in the form of fat cattle then I would say there was something wrong with the whole system of dealing with the question when they cannot be sent off the land as careases. That, I am aware, has been tried, but it was in the early stages of the development of the fat cattle industry in this country, when, as it were, the farmer was only getting his land legs in regard to the English trade. He was accustomed to the whole system of rearing the stock, of half-finishing them at home, and sending the flower of the stock to be finished in England, to put money in the pockets of the English and Scottish trader.

He was only getting on his sea legs when a dead meat factory was started in this country. Perhaps Senator Counihan could tell us something about that if he went into the history of it, and it would be interesting, and I would like to hear him say that it was not due to any fault inherent in the proposal to send carcases out of the country, but rather that it was attributable to something in the working of that particular firm, some loophole, some looseness, something maybe in shipping, or maybe in internal management of the work, but I would like to hear him say that it was not because of anything inherently wrong in the proposal to have a fruitful dead meat trade in this country if properly handled.

Now, I think it is a pity that Senator Counihan has dealt with this item of the agricultural policy alone. I think every section of the House agrees on this, that a mighty effort should and must be made by the Government of the country with the co-operation of the farmers' unions, and the co-operation of the trades unions, [74] to put the farmers and agriculture in a sound position in this country. The position is critical. It is dangerous, and dangerous for the manhood and womanhood of our country who are fast disappearing from the countryside, and disappearing not to rehabilitate the towns and cities of this country, but leaving our shores perhaps for ever. If that is to be prevented a more intensive system of agriculture must be followed of, say, mixed grazing and house-feeding with the cultivation of kindred industries.

To-day, over the rich plains of County Kildare, it is almost impossible to get an egg. The shopkeeper is bestowing a compliment on you if he gives you one or two eggs to tide one over the day. We have the same strange position with regard to milk. What are the producers doing, and what system of agricultural economy allows such things to happen? I think it is a pity that Senator Counihan took up this matter because it seems to me to be a lopsided way of dealing with the bigger question. The Labour Party will put proposals before the House, and, speaking for trade unionists in the country areas at any rate, I hope that these proposals will meet with co-operation in every part of the House, so that by our united effort we may put agriculture and the farmers of the country on a sound basis. The motion before the House is not incompatible with the proposals which we intend to bring forward, and perhaps a combination of the two might produce good results. The proposals which we and the Labour Party are submitting are wide and revolutionary. I maintain that nothing short of a very revolutionary change in the system of financing our farmers will succeed in putting them on their feet. I am wholeheartedly in favour of anything tending to help the agricultural industry. I am not satisfied that the best method of achieving that end is to be found in Senator Counihan's motion. I do think, however, that it is essential that immediate steps should be taken to preserve this industry. I hope that steps will be taken to see that if a subsidy is given it will go into the proper channels.

[75]Mr. E. Lynch:  We approve of this motion if the tendency of it is to create more employment in the rural district and to help the economic position of the farming community generally. The motion has already been well debated and a good deal of very important information has been given to the House. I would be glad if Senator Counihan would tell us, when he is replying, why he suggests that the payment of this subsidy should be per head rather than per cwt. of beast produced. I gathered during the debate that the subsidy paid in England on stall-fed cattle is based on a per cwt. basis. I am inclined to think that would be the more equitable way of giving a subsidy here. It does not seem equitable to me that the subsidy should be the same in the case of a large beast and a small one. Perhaps Senator Counihan will tell us his reason for suggesting the per head basis. If the Standing Orders of the House allow the motion to be amended, as I think Senator Quirke suggested, it should be amended, then perhaps it might be well to postpone the further consideration of it to enable that to be done.

Mr. Parkinson:  I am strongly in favour of the motion for several reasons. The first is that by giving effect to it would have the effect of increasing the number of stall-feds in the country, and that in turn will increase permanently the number of acres under tillage. Without stall-feds there cannot be sufficient farmyard manure to manure the land. In the seven counties in which stall-feds are mainly catered for 80,000 acres of barley are grown every year, and these 80,000 acres of barley are sold almost entirely to one firm. From that firm the Minister for Finance receives £4,000,000 annually. If the stall-feds disappear a great portion of the land under tillage will not continue to be tilled. The barley will not be grown, and the net result will be that that amount of money will be lost to the State.

From that angle alone, I think it is essential that the Government would [76] spend the £40,000 which they spent last year in bounties. If any question should arise as to where the £40,000 for this year is to come from I would suggest to the Minister that the £40,000 which the Dáil in the past two years voted for the purpose of buying a stallion—a sum which so far has not been spent—might well be devoted to this purpose. It is vital from any angle that one looks at it that the farmers must be helped. In my opinion, the biggest help they can get to-day is security of tenure—that is, that they should own their holdings. But to-day the farmer is a landless man. He is a tenant-at-will of the Land Commission. If he is given security of tenure you immediately create credit facilities for him, because the banks will then be in a position to finance the farmer in the future as they did in the past.

When the Land Act of 1923 was going through the Dáil the then Minister for Agriculture, the late Mr. Hogan said—Dáil Debates, May 28th, 1923, column 1151:

“We propose to take up any land of any kind anywhere.”

On June the 14th, he said—column 1943:

“The Land Commission has power to acquire any land of any kind anywhere.”

On July the 4th—column 683—he said:

“We are taking power to take land already purchased.”

On July 5th—column 265—he said:

“We are acquiring not only landlords' property; we are acquiring tenants' property.”

On the same date, speaking on the question of evicted tenants, the Minister said—column 1064:

“If these men were never evicted we might be taking the holdings off them under this Bill.”

And on the same date again—column 1071—he said:

“Deputies must remember that where land exists for the relief of congestion we are to take it.”

[77] The Minister at that time set out to get rid of the army of occupation that was left—of the men who refused to sell their land. He succeeded. Unfortunately, there was no determination as to the time in which this thing could be done. When it was finished the new landlords were the previous tenants. To-day, the tenant who goes with the title deeds of his farm to a bank is told by the bank that they cannot advance him any money—that his collateral security is useless, and that he does not own his land. What can a farmer do when he has no credit?

Mr. McEllin:  That is not correct.

Mr. Parkinson:  Will the Senator get up and explain himself?

Mr. McEllin:  The tenure or security of a man's land does not enter into the question as to whether a banker refuses him or not. Why a bank cannot give security to a land holder to-day, and why his land is no security is due to this: if that man fails to pay back to the bank the money he has got, the bank will not be in the position to take over his land for sale because it will not be allowed to be sold by the public. There will be sympathetic support for him. On the other hand, if a farmer goes into a bank and is able to show that the Land Commission are prepared to take portion of his land he will immediately get an advance to the extent that the Land Commission are prepared to take up land from him. In actual fact, in certain circumstances, where the Land Commission are prepared to take portion of a man's land, that is the best form of security that a bank can have.

Mr. Parkinson:  I do not see that the explanation that we have heard from the Senator carries us much further. The Land Commission to-day has, as I have described, the right to take land. The Minister whose words I have quoted was not a Fianna Fáil Minister, and the quotations that I have given are not meant by me to be used as a political weapon against the present Government. But, as I have shown, the Land Commission have the [78] right to take land, whether a bank has any interest in it or not. The Land Commission are not bound to come to the bank's rescue, if the bank has advanced more than a place is worth from the Land Commission point of view. I believe myself that if a friendly arrangement could be made between the Land Commission, the banks and the farmers, and if security of tenure could be met by that means, it would be the easiest way in which agriculture could be financed in the future as it was prior to the Land Act of 1923.

I think that Senator Counihan's motion should be accepted by the House. Not only would the farmers benefit by it but the Government would benefit. Labour would also benefit by it, while the taxpayer would derive a tremendous benefit out of the revenue accruing from the stall-feeding of cattle and the consequent permanent increase in tillage.

Mr. O'Dwyer:  I should like to support Senator Counihan's motion principally for the reason that it would create additional tillage and that it would give additional employment at a time of the year when employment is very scarce. I see no reason why this system should not be developed so as to promote stall-feeding all over the country and to make it a much more widespread industry than it has been in the past. I cannot say that Senator Counihan's scheme is the best method of promoting stall-feeding, but I think it at least deserves careful examination and I see no way of extending this industry except by a system of bounties. I do not think it would be wise to place a small tax on young cattle at present. A time may come when such a step would be advisable, but at present the producers of this type of cattle are only just emerging from the very hard time which they had to encounter during the economic war. If they are getting better prices for their young stock now, they should be allowed to enjoy those prices to the full to enable them to recoup the losses which they incurred during the economic war. As regards what Senator Johnston has said about the preservation of the larger farms, I [79] think that in general there would not be much disagreement with his views. It would be a bad thing if all farms were reduced to a certain stereotyped size. I think it is necessary that there should be farms of mixed sizes, large farms and small farms, otherwise it would be very hard to find employment for the agricultural labourer.

The great difficulty with small farms is that there is not a sufficient amount of land to provide employment for all members of the family and, naturally, the occupiers of such farms are reduced to a very low standard of living. In general, I think, we are all agreed that the time has come when agriculture must be set on its feet permanently. That should be the business of the whole community. The agriculture of the country is the possession of the whole nation and it is the business of the nation to employ all its resources in putting agriculture upon its feet again. There is no reason, when all is said and done, why Irish agriculture should not produce many times more than it is now producing. Now that the markets of the world are open to us, there is no reason why we should not increase production enormously. The principal reason for under-production up to the present has been lack of capital. Agriculture has been starved for want of capital, but if capital is provided we must admit that our methods also must be changed. If we look at Denmark and other countries on the Continent we see that with much smaller resources their production is many times greater than our own. It should be the business of the Department of Agriculture to investigate conditions in these other countries and to see how similarly favourable conditions can be brought about here. There must be a change in our methods of production. I am sure that there will be no necessity for controversy in this regard. Everybody will agree that the future of the nation depends on agriculture and that it is the duty of everybody to set agriculture on its feet and to place it in a position to support the nation for the future.

[80]Mr. Counihan:  The discussion, in the main, has ranged over a very wide number of subjects, but it was a very interesting debate and one that was well worth listening to, even when it went outside the terms of the motion. I have been asked why not pay a subsidy per cwt. instead of per head, as the motion suggests. The reason that I do not think it would be feasible to pay it on the basis of the cwt. is that the majority of these cattle are sold by hand and not by weight. The difficulty of having cattle weighed, and of having a subsidy paid on that basis, would make the scheme very awkward for owners or buyers. The system which I propose was carried on from January to June last year. The Department of Agriculture considered all the pros and cons and they decided that this was the best system. Some Senators suggested that the cattle should be graded in the fairs, that they should be tagged, and the subsidy paid to the farmers. The price which is paid for export will make the price at the fairs and in the markets at home. As Senator McEllin said, everything depends on supply and demand. If the English exporter is getting a subsidy of 30/-he will give that amount in the Dublin market or in the fairs more than he would give in the ordinary course. Everybody has to take risks as to whether the cattle will be subsidised or not. If the buyer is a competent judge, and if the inspectors at the ports are competent judges, there will be no difficulty in an inspector or an exporter deciding whether a beast will be certified or not. It will be his own fault if he buys something that is not beef.

Senator O'Callaghan says that we should go in for stores and cease stall-feeding. I can tell Senator O'Callaghan that the farmer will produce the beast that pays him best. He will go in for producing forward stores, export them to Great Britain or Northern Ireland, and let them get the subsidy there on being fed there for 90 days. That would be all right from the grazing point of view, but I say it would be a national disaster if the country got out of stall-feeding, and that the consequences [81] would be very far-reaching. It would mean that we would have increased unemployment, and that the farmers would stop growing wheat or beet. If you have not stall-feeding, you cannot have any quantity of farmyard manure, and you cannot carry on tillage. You cannot grow such crops as wheat and beet without putting something back into the land, and you must have farmyard manure for that purpose.

Mr. McEllin:  What about winter dairying?

Mr. Counihan:  Winter dairying is all right, but you cannot get the farmers to engage in it to any extent. Senator McEllin speaks of supply and demand. I am surprised that an intelligent Senator like Senator McEllin does not know that, even with the law of supply and demand operating, we cannot go into the British market and compete there against a beast that is getting a bounty of £4 10s. Supply and demand cannot work in that case. Supply and demand cannot work unless you have equal opportunities, but when you have equal opportunities it will work. Here is a quotation from a British stock report:—

“The proportion of animals imported from Eire which were certified as first quality standard was higher than in the case of animals home bred in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.”

Another report states that animals from Éire comprised 27 per cent. of the animals certified in England, 4 per cent. in Wales, 34 per cent. in Scotland and 20 per cent. in Northern Ireland. So that we are getting portion of the bounties for these cattle.

[82] The English feeder can come across the Border in Northern Ireland, buy a lot of forward stores, take them back and, when he has kept them there for 90 days, he will get a certificate entitling him to a subsidy of £3 per head as imported cattle. He will have another lot coming on then, and, under this system, with a little concentrated food, in 12 months he can get about £12 per 1½ acres. I stated that I wanted the bounty to be paid on a sliding scale, and that the scale was to be regulated from January to June. To show the effect that the subsidy had on the production of fat cattle last year, I shall give the figures certified for 1937 and 1938, starting with the month of January. In January, 1937, there were 11,473; in January, 1938, 13,495; in February, 1937, 8,801; in February, 1938, 7,296; in March, 1937, 6,236; in March, 1938, 6,291; in April, 1937, 3,397; in April, 1938, 5,330; in May, 1937, 2,075; in May, 1938, 4,439; in June, 1937, 3,376, and in June, 1938, 10,084. The big increase in the number of fat cattle exported in the later months of the year was a direct effect of the subsidy.

I think the motion has been fully thrashed out from every point of view, and I have nothing further to add to it.

Motion put and declared carried.

Mr. Lynch:  With regard to the motion in my name and that of Senator Foran, Senator Foran unfortunately became ill to-day. He desires to have consideration of the motion postponed to the next meeting of the Seanad.

Ordered accordingly.

The Seanad adjourned sine die at 7 p.m.