Central Fund Bill, 1943 —( Certified Money Bill )— Second and Subsequent Stages.

Thursday, 18 March 1943

Seanad Éireann Debate
Vol. 27 No. 18

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

Minister for Finance (Mr. O Ceallaigh): Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Tá fhios ag na Seanadóirí gurab é cuspóir an Bhille seo ná comhacht do thabhairt chun méid an Bhóta i gCúntas, £13,820,000 agus méid na Meastachán Breise agus na Meastachán Nua a cuireadh os cóir na Dála tar éis don Acht Leithreasa teacht i bhfeidhm, d'íoc amach as an bPrímhChiste. Tugtar sa Bhille, freisin, an ghnáth-chomhacht don Aire Airgeadais chun airgid d'fháil ar iasacht.

Sé méid an Bhóta i gCúntas ná breis agus an tríú cuid den mhéid iomlán atá uainn le haghaidh na Seirbhísí Soláthaír. Mar atá fhios ag na Seanadóirí ó leabhar na Meastáchan, tá £40,696,211 glan ag teastáil uainn le haghaidh na bliana so chughainn agus, mar sin, tá £264,383 sa bhreis uainn i gcompáráid leis an soláthar glán a deineadh i rith na bliana so. B'é an soláthar glan san ná £40,431,828 agus airmhítear na Meastacháin Bhreise agus na Meastacháin Nua sa méid sin. £39,112,201 méid meastachán na bliana airgeadais seo nuair a tugadh isteach iad agus, i gcomparáid leis an bhfigiúir seo, tá £1,583,910 sa bhreis uainn i gcóir na bliana so chughainn.

Sé cúis na breise seo ná go bhfuil airgead dá sholáthar sna meastacháin nua le haghaidh bonus práinne d'oibrithe an Stáit, breis is £656,000, agus íocaíochtaí breise i gcóir congnamh díomhaointis, £122,000 agus liúntaisí bídh £118,500. Tá soláthar déanta chó maith i léith (1) cláir speisialta d'oibritheóirí talmhaíochta agus móna, [1594] (2) congnamh airgid chun praghas na móna don phobal do choimeád síos, (3) leasú barraí do chur ar fáil dos na feirmeóirí ar chostas réarsúnta, (4) conganta airgid alos tortha talmhaiochta do mhéadú.

As Senators are aware, the Central Fund Bill is designed to authorise the issue from the Central Fund of the amount of the Vote on Account of £13,820,000 for the coming financial year and of the total of the Supplementary and Additional Estimates for the present financial year which were passed subsequent to the enactment of the Appropriation Act, 1942, and which amounted to £1,295,608. The Bill also makes the usual provision for borrowing by the Minister for Finance. and for the issue by him of such securities as he thinks proper.

The amount of the Vote on Account for the coming year is £13,820,000, which represents slightly over one-third of the total net provision of £40,696,211, required for the Supply Services. The sum required for the Supply Services for the coming year represents an increase of £264,383 on the total, including Supplementary and Additional Estimates, required during the current year; compared, however, with the original Estimates for the current year the increase is £1,583,910. This latter increase is attributable to the inclusion in the 1943-44 Estimates of provision for the payment of emergency bonus to members of State services (estimated to cost £656,000 approximately); for increases in the rates and scope of unemployment assistance (£122,000), and food allowances (£118,500); for the establishment and maintenance of a special register of agricultural and turf workers (£104,000); for payment of a turf subsidy (£380,000); for subsidising the importation of fertilisers for agriculture (£634,000) and for the payment of increased agricultural produce subsidies (£200,000). In addition to these increase, which may be attributed to the emergency, there is also an increase of £120,000 on the Estimates for old age pensions due to an anticipated increase in the numbers eligible for pension.

The sum total of all these increases [1595] is £2,334,500. It will be apparent, therefore, that had the course of events during the past 12 months not rendered necessary the establishment of new, and the expansion of old, services there would be a reduction of more than £750,000 over the whole Supply Services.

The bill which we must frame for the coming year is indeed a heavy one. We have, however, succeeded to a large extent in maintaining the status quo despite very substantial increases in the amounts being made available for social and emergency services. Senators will have noticed that new Estimates introduced since 1938-9 account for more than £3,375,000 while there is an increase of almost £6,736,000 on the Army Estimate as compared with that year. In addition the Estimate for Local Government and Public Health contains £284,000 in respect of new emergency services, while the Estimate for Agriculture contains a sum of £634,000 for the subsidisation of imported fertilisers. All these new items which can be directly attributed to the emergency, and to the emergency alone, amount to £11,029,000. Reference to the Estimates Volume for 1938-39 will show that expenditure in that year was expected to amount to £30,322,710, and, compared with this figure the present Estimates Volume, minus the £11,000,000 odd for emergency services which I have just quoted, shows a reduction of over £650,000 despite the fact that our normal services show no diminution in either quantity or quality.

The Estimates for 1943-44, as compared with the current year's Estimates, including Supplementary Estimates, show increases on 46 Estimates and decreases on 23 Estimates. Four Estimates show no change. The total of the increases on the several Estimates is £1,530,331, while the total of the decreases is £1,265,948.

For the information of Senators, I propose to comment briefly on the principal increases and decreases, other than those to which I have already referred. Vote 6—Office of the Revenue Commissioners—shows an increase of £36,715. The main increase (£41,750) is under sub-head A and [1596] is due to salary increments and emergency bonus payments. This increase is offset by additional Appropriations-in-Aid. Vote 8—Compensation Bounties—shows a decrease of £26,000, due to the proposed discontinuance from 1st April next, as unnecessary in present circumstances, of the bounty on sugar and to the reduced quantity of waste tobacco qualifying for bounty. Vote 10—Public Works and Buildings—is down by £82,740. There is a decrease of £95,000 on sub-head B (New Works, etc.) owing to the difficulty in obtaining essential building materials. Sub-head J (5) is down from £11,000 to £6,500, as the various old drainage schemes are being wound up. An increase of £9,000 under sub-head E is due to higher payments of rent on certain Government premises. The sum of £17,500, included under sub-head J (1), is a new provision in respect of the River Fergus drainage. Vote 16—Superannuation and Retired Allowances—is up by £8,715, due primarily to an increase in the number of pensioners. Vote 21—Stationery and Printing—shows a decrease of £15,517. The 1942-43 Estimates contained provision for the purchase of fairly considerable reserves of paper which it is not necessary to repeat in 1943-44.

Vote 30—Agriculture—shows a reduction of £113,944. There is a reduction of £166,005 in the provision for subsidising imported fertilisers. A decrease of £10,234 occurs under sub-head N (1), owing to diminished activity under the Diseases of Animals Acts. The main increases which offset the foregoing reductions are £12,200 in respect of emergency bonus; £14,500 in respect of grants to county committees of agriculture, and £22,217 in respect of the provision of free seeds, manures, implements, etc., for certain allotment holders.

Vote 33—Gárda Síochána—shows an increase of £104,979, due mainly to an increase of £103,859 under sub-head A, owing to payment of emergency bonus. Sub-head D is up by £8,600, due to increased cycling allowance and the provision made against extra travelling in the event of a general election. [1597] Sub-head E is up by £25,879, as a general issue of uniform will be necessary in 1943-44, and prices of cloth, etc., are rising. There are offsetting reductions totalling £43,548, due primarily to the absence of provision for replacement of Gárda motor transport and reduced provision for L.S.F. equipment—a general issue of uniform having been made in the current financial year.

Vote 41—Local Government and Public Health—is down by £115,498. The bulk of the decrease is accounted for by a reduction of £150,000 in the amount being made available to public assistance authorities for the provision of assistance in kind to certain recipients of home assistance. There is also a decrease of £40,500 under sub-head S (2) due to a fall in applications for grants for private houses, etc., in urban areas. The chief offsetting increases are under sub-heads N, which provides an additional £49,700 for treatment of tuberculosis, and L (1), which provides an additional £26,000 for school meals.

Vote 46—Primary Education—shows an increase of £128,948 which is due mainly to the payment of an emergency bonus to primary teachers. Vote 47— Secondary Education—shows an increase of £24,195, due also to provision being made for the payment of emergency bonus to secondary teachers.

Vote 52—Lands—is down by £64,077. The main decrease of £75,000 occurs under subhead I—Improvement of Estates, etc.—and is due, in part, to less activity in land division and also to shortage of materials. This Estimate now contains provision for the Quit Rent Office. Vote 53—Forestry—shows a decrease of £36,241, due mainly to a decrease of £30,000 in the amount required for the acquisition of land. Vote 54—Gaeltacht Services—shows a decrease of £34,989, due almost entirely to an anticipated increase in the receipts under Appropriations-in-Aid from sales of rural and marine industries' products.

Vote 55—Industry and Commerce— shows a decrease of £18,735. Decreases of £37,850 under sub-head J (3) [1598] (Advances to Comhlucht Lorgtha Mianraí Teo.), and of £12,000 under J (1) (Advances to Comhlucht Gual Láthrach Shliabh Ardachadh Teo.), are offset by increases under sub-head A (Salaries) of £25,194; under sub-head B (Travelling) of £1,750; under sub-head J (2) (Prospecting for Coal) of £2,000, and under sub-head J (4) (Prospecting for Minerals) of £1,500.

Vote 56—Transport and Meteorological Services—shows an increase of £18,418, due mainly to the necessity of strengthening the staffs employed. Staff increases amount to £22,236 in respect of the airports, and £11,292 in respect of meteorological services. These substantial staff additions have been rendered necessary by a general increase in activity at the airports. There is an offsetting decrease of £18,875 on the provision for canal barges. Vote 58—Marine Service— shows a decrease of £21,441. The decrease is principally due to a reduction of £19,000 in the provision under sub-head J (1) for grants for the equipment of ships for protection against magnetic mines. Vote 61—Posts and Telegraphs—is up by £87,069. The in crease is due almost entirely to the payment of salary increments and emergency bonus.

Vote 63—Army—shows a decrease of £434,418. The largest single saving (nearly £247,000) is in respect of L.D.F. uniforms and equipment. Other large decreases occur under the heads of warlike stores (nearly £120,000) and fuel, light and water (nearly £157,000). The latter decrease results from reduced purchases of coal and turf from merchants and increased production of turf by Army personnel. The chief increase of note is £211,000 on the pay sub-head which is mainly due to the increase of 6d. a day granted to soldiers last summer. Vote 64— Army Pensions—shows a decrease of £77,172. The fact that fewer pensions are now being paid under the Military Service Pensions Acts is responsible for the fall of £92,165 under sub-head I of this Vote. An increase in the number of pensioners under the Defence Forces (Pensions) Schemes and in the number of recipients of [1599] wound and disability pensions accounts for increases totalling £22,098 under sub-heads E and J.

Vote 67—Employment and Emergency Schemes—shows an increase of £12,840. This Vote is an amalgamation, under a new title, of the former Employment Schemes Vote and Special Emergency Schemes Vote. Provision for certain of the services previously included in the latter Vote is now made in the Votes for Supplies and Local Government and Public Health. The Farm Improvements and Seed Distribution Schemes (£105,000), together with Urban Employment Schemes (£10,000), account in the main for an increase of £117,550, but there are offsetting decreases of £31,000 on Rural and Minor Employment Schemes, £31,800 on Bog Development Works, £27,450 on Miscellaneous Schemes and £14,460 on Salaries, etc., due to transfer of staff.

Vote 69—Supplies—is up by £386,545. The grants-in-Aid of the Turf Development Board (sub-heads K (1) to K (7)) and certain other Expenses (sub-heads H, I and J) in connection with the production of fuel have been transferred to this Vote from the Vote for Special Emergency Schemes. The large increase is accounted for (1) by emergency bonus and the provision for salaries, etc., and travelling expenses of additional staff, and (2) the provision for the first time of a sum of £380,000 to subsidise the price of turf.

Vote 72—Damage to Property (Neutrality) Compensation—shows a decrease of £174,750. Most outstanding claims arising out of past incidents have been finally disposed of. No provision is made in respect of claims arising out of possible future incidents other than minor matters such as exploding sea mines.

Those are the principal differences— increases and decreases—in this Volume of Estimates as compared with that of last year.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  This Central Fund Bill gives an opportunity to the House to discuss matters of Government [1600] policy. The Minister gave us a detailed and informative review of all the Estimates. He seemed to think that certain increases would not have taken place if certain other things had not happened, but the truth is that, from 1932 up to the war, expenditure was increasing as a matter of settled Government policy. There have been increases since the war, due, of course, to the mobilisation of the Army, and other matters arising out of the emergency, but, even before the war, increased expenditure was a settled policy of the Government. Increased expenditure in itself might not be a bad thing, if in fact it meant that certain of our problems, economic, educational or national, were being solved, but I think it is true to say that none of our problems has been solved in spite of immensely increased expenditure. We have very considerable unemployment, which would be greater still if we were to count the people who have emigrated and the people who are in uniform for the period of the emergency. But what I should like briefly to touch upon to-day is an entirely different matter, a matter which concerns another part of our national policy and our educational system.

The modern world is getting smaller every day, and there can be no doubt that after this war the lot of small nations will be still more difficult. That will be so both from the point of view of their economic survival, and from the point of view of their efforts to preserve their national identity in a very much smaller world. Those, of course, will be our two difficulties. I do not want to deal with the economic one, but with the Government's outlook and the Government's attitude with regard to the preservation of our national identity. We are told, for example, that there is a national objective and a national policy in regard to the Irish language. There may very well be an objective, although I do not think it is very clearly defined, but I would deny there is any national policy. We have, for the last ten years in particular, been simply following, in a kind of patchwork and not very clear way, [1601] what was done before, and what was done before was really begun in an emergency. I felt in 1922, when I was Minister for Education, that one of the great reasons for accepting the Treaty was that it gave us control of Irish schools, and I freely confess now that I attributed more power to the schools with regard to the revival of the language than, in fact, they have proved to have. But I did recognise, from my own knowledge of Irish and of languages, that it would be difficult to revive, and to adopt for modern urban purposes, a language which had been for a long time in disuse for certain purposes, one which was essentially the language of a rural civilisation.

But we had great hopes, and we adopted two methods. We adopted them rather hurriedly after certain consultations, without having worked out the future with any great degree of clarity. I do not think that was our fault, because we could not work out the future then. The civil war complicated that particular difficulty, not entirely in the material sense, but complicated it because it hurt people's morale and blunted their idealism. We adopted two methods, one educational and another economic. We thought that if Irish was taught in the schools, and if a preference was given to Irish in the making of appointments, that the Irish language would grow stronger. The task set at that particular moment was not identical with that of any other country. Our particular trouble was of a nature which had no complete parallel, indeed, no parallel at all. We insisted on teaching oral Irish, but I think we over-estimated the power of the schools, and the other powers which we possessed for the purpose of cultivating the Irish language. What was done in the first ten years has not been improved on over the last ten years, and has not been materially altered. We should now endeavour to take stock of what has been done in both directions, to find out whether we have made any progress and if the plant we put down has grown stronger or is wilting. When I say that I am firmer, if possible, in the belief than I was 20 years ago that we do need to maintain our distinctive [1602] nationality and, having the language, that we must take every step we possibly can to preserve it. On the question of theory or rights, I am quite an unrepentant believer in our right to use compulsion, if compulsion is the thing that will produce results. Before we decide what we should continue to do, we should clear our minds and act in the light of our own experience and reason. There are a great many false analogies in common use in Ireland. One hears the argument that the British Government destroyed the Irish language and that the Irish Government can restore it. The more one examines the history of this country the less one is inclined to believe that the British Government alone destroyed the Irish language. There were certain other very important forces. It is not wholly the truth to say that the British Government destroyed the Irish language; but whether it is the truth or not, it is undoubtedly true to say that an Irish Government cannot model itself upon the methods of an alien Government. We are restricted in that particular way. It is necessary for us to carry the people with us, it is necessary for us to excite interest in the Irish language and what it stands for, and to diffuse knowledge about it, apart from actual knowledge of the language itself. I think we have completely broken down there.

I have observed children, a whole generation of them, and in few instances are they as interested as their parents were in the Irish language. In some instances, in spite of the schools, in spite of their hard work, great energy, and the immense enthusiasm put by the teachers into the work, the children know less Irish than their parents and, in almost every case, they are less interested, particularly culturally, than their parents were, in more difficult circumstances and with fewer advantages. It seems that in teaching Irish verbs, grammar and conversation we have overlooked the background of Irish history, Irish literature and Irish life, and have failed to produce a generation of people who have enthusiasm for the revival of the language or for the life and the outlook [1603] which is behind the language itself. Seeing that that is so, I am afraid we have, to that extent, to confess to failure. How many children leaving the schools at the present time, or how many civil servants, are anxious to continue the study of Irish? I was recently at a past pupils' dinner, and I said what was perfectly true, that a particular Christian Brother inspired a number of us with an abiding interest in the Irish language, but that I doubted whether the better methods now in use, and the greater knowledge now available, had the same results on recent generations. After the dinner a number of young past pupils came and told me that the attitude of a great many civil servants—I am telling the facts and I am not blaming them—was that when they got over the last oral test they said: “Thanks be to God, that is over; that is the end of the Irish language as far as I am concerned.” The same thing applies to barristers and solicitors' apprentices and to medical students who have to do compulsory Irish. It also applies to many other students who have to do compulsory Irish. They say to themselves that it has to be done. It is like a hard labour sentence and when it is served, goodbye to Irish; they have no more use for it.

Apart from having a national policy we have no national objective. What do we mean by Gaelicisation? Do we aim at destroying soccer, rugby and jazz? There may be some possibility of reviving the Irish language. There is no possibility of destroying soccer. If we had any intelligence surely our object would be to have Irish spoken at Dalymount Park. If there was as much Irish spoken there as at Croke Park it would not be an immensity. The position is that we have a number of people clamouring that they are the custodians of the Irish language, Irish games, Irish dances. I think the Irish language has enough weight to carry without having to bear the rinnce fada and the eight-hand reel. At any rate we have no plan, and I suggest that we ought to examine what is happening to see whether we are going too fast in certain directions and too slow [1604] in others. The most discouraging aspect of the situation is the complacency of the Minister for Education. We had him here recently and he spoke at great length on a subject rather analogous to this. The burden of his remarks was that everything was for the best in the best possible of worlds, that what is being done is right and that should any change be made, small or great, it would be treason to the Irish nation. There is a certain attitude of mind which says that what Cumann na nGaedheal did must be continued. They are the great apostles now and anything done in their time must be continued and, if you do not continue it, you are committing a sin against the Irish language and Ireland. That attitude of mind appears to me to be entirely wrong and, as I said on that occasion, it is a hopeless attitude about the whole problem. It is simply sticking one's head in the sand and refusing to look at any of the difficulties.

As a matter of fact, the springs of the Irish language are drying up in the Gaeltacht. Not only are young people emigrating from the Gaeltacht, but people here who have reared their children as Irish speakers find they cannot get work for them. Parents who, at great expense and difficulty to themselves, send their children to all-Irish schools, find, when they come out of them, that there is no work for them in this country. Teachers are endeavouring to work miracles—because that is very largely what it is— in overcrowded schoolrooms with classes of 50 pupils and, in some cases, with classes of 80 or 90 pupils. To my knowledge, a great many young people cast off the Irish language like an old garment; they do not even give it away, they simply throw it off and leave it there.

One of the things that strikes me is that those who learned the Irish language long ago under an old, bad method retain more of it than the people who learn it now under good and modern methods. I know people who left school in 1906 who could make a better shot at reading a bit of Irish in a newspaper than their children who [1605] left school in 1936, because oral knowledge fades more rapidly. There is very little sustained interest and very few people willing to show a cultural interest in the Irish language itself. In the old days, as the Minister knows as well as I do, the Irish language was a broadening thing. To belong to the movement meant that you were enlightened. We appear to have reverted to a complete narrow-mindedness, to abusive English, rather than enlightened Irish.

Apart from that question, which ought to be investigated, I think there is also the question of the preference given for Irish when filling certain posts, particularly technical posts. I was myself entirely in favour of that, and as Chairman of the Civil Service Commission I saw it working out in the service for a number of years. There was one thing of which I was always afraid and I did my best to remedy it. I felt, in the first place, that nobody should get a preference for Irish by any kind of casual examination; that he should only get a preference if he really knew Irish. Nobody should get any preference at all for a smattering of the Irish language. The way in which a preference for Irish is given now has a bad effect on the work to be done from a technical point of view, on the one hand, while, on the other hand, there has been no countervailing advantage to the Irish language. From a number of cases which have come under my own personal observation, I doubt if there has been any advantage to the Irish language. We are told, for example, that a doctor gets first place from a selection board and that a person who gets 9th, 10th or perhaps 13th place is appointed to the post because he gets a plus for Irish, and he gets a plus on an examination carried out by a person on the board perhaps not particularly skilled in examination and not particularly skilled in assessing the value of the person's knowledge. I should like to know whether real knowledge is insisted upon, and if it is, whether we are satisfied we are getting an advantage which outweighs the disadvantage of not appointing the best qualified person. At any rate, we ought to be [1606] clear about these things. We ought to have an examination of the problem by persons competent to judge and who, apart from being competent to judge, are in the most complete sympathy with the idea of restoring the Irish language.

On that point we get a considerable amount of humbug. For example, the Galway County Council was asked in 1929, by the then Minister for Local Government, whether they would, after six years, carry on their correspondence with the Department in Irish. When they got the letter, they were rather inclined to take it as a joke. They thought the Minister was giving them too long and they decided that, in honour of our national apostle, St. Patrick, they would begin to conduct their correspondence in Irish in 1932. But in June, 1942, they had not begun. I am sure that if they were asked to pass a resolution about Irish they would do it like a shot—in English. That is humbug. You can get many other parallels. Last June there were 89 people in Galway County who had not complied with the Gaeltacht Order. Nearly 50 of these were more than five years in the employment of the county council and had not yet complied with the Gaeltacht Order, which prescribes that people must have a certain competency in Irish before working in that particular area.

The difficulty is that we are endeavouring to settle a vexed question, which involves linguistics, history, schools and the science of education, on a basis which is not an expert basis or a secure basis. You cannot settle it by speeches at street corners or elsewhere. We should endeavour to get for ourselves a clear view of what exactly the results of our operations for the last 20 years have been; whether we should continue these or resort to different and, we would hope, better methods. We have to get away from the notion that the Irish language is the possession of a number of people who are benefiting by knowing it, or the pet hobby of a certain number of narrow-minded cranks, who want to keep the Irish language as a kind of preserve for themselves. It should be something in which the [1607] whole people would be interested, something deep and wide and high belonging to the whole people. It is not a political matter. If it is used for political purposes, then that spells disaster for the whole movement. It should be considered as the non-political possession of the whole people.

It seems that after 20 years the very products of our Irish schools are coming out and displaying opinions which are a great surprise to some people—and displaying them in no uncertain terms. I have discussed the whole question with very young people, who spoke very good Irish, and their opinions were rather a surprise to me, and I think they would be rather a surprise to the Minister. I was not charmed by the opinions, but we have to remember that they are there. We are reaching a very critical stage and unless we can bring reason, rather than emotion, to bear upon it, and a critical analysis rather than abusive Irish or abusive English, then we are lost.

For that reason I should like again to make the plea I made before. Since we can get from nowhere else except from our own experience any information as to what we ought to do in this matter we should sit down to consider what we have done and where we are going. We should have an examination as to whether we are going too fast in certain directions and too slow in others. We should adjust ourselves to the situation as we now see it and we should adopt whatever methods may seem best. I would be prepared to take almost any method if I thought it would be successful. I think that no method can be successful which puts a premium upon a mere oral smattering of Irish and ignores the very big background, which is the thing that makes the Irish language important. To a very large extent, I think we have missed that.

I meet very many people who are interested in this matter. In the old Sinn Féin days, about which the modern youth knows very little, there were two songs which were sung at [1608] every concert. One was, The West's Asleep and the other, My Dark Rosaleen:

“The Erne shall run red with redundance of blood”.

It may seem very foolish now, but it stirred a great many people at one time. I do not think there is any school child, or any growing person, in Ireland at the present moment who gets the same thrill out of the original Irish:

“Beidh gach gleann sleibh ar fúid Éireann is móinte ar chrith

Lá éigin sul a n-éagfhaidh mo Roisín Dubh”.

Nobody understands it in the same manner in which it was written. Nobody feels the same thrill that was felt in the English. One of the results is—I am going away from my thesis, I am afraid, Sir—that the children are taught songs in Irish in school which they never hear outside. They forget them when they go outside and begin to sing about “the boys being all mad about Nellie”.

There is no use in our ignoring that there is some great difficulty in the matter and I do not know any scheme for finding what the difficulty is except for intelligent people and completely sympathetic people—not cynics—to sit down and inquire into it. But you will not make any progress simply by saying that everything is going all right. We are like people who want to go to Cork and who get into a train at Kingsbridge and, when they are coming slowly into Kildare, say: “Boys, we are now in Mallow.” They are not in Mallow. They are not even in Kildare. I am not sure if they are even in the right train and that is a very disquieting frame of mind for a person to be in who has this particular matter at heart.

I do suggest it is time, on a completely non-political basis, for this matter to be inquired into and settled because, if it is not settled by the generation that started it—that includes the Minister and it includes myself—it may be settled in a very unexpected way by a newer and a different generation.

Mr. McGee: Information on James Thomas McGee  Zoom on James Thomas McGee  With reference to one item in the Minister's Bill, namely, the [1609] grant of £64,000 for fertilisers, I am rather uneasy. The Minister has not said very much about it, but it appears from the Press that most of that grant will be devoted to the production of beet. In that respect some of us are in a very prejudiced and unhappy position. I have examined the question with one or two Departments. In the present year a contract is being given for something over 79,000 acres which, it is estimated, will produce the desired amount of sugar in the year 1943-44, but in northern counties the position is far from pleasing. Everybody has read that the Great Southern Railways contemplate applying to have freights increased under an Emergency Powers Order. Heretofore, a subsidy of 2/- per ton was given to producers in Co. Louth and, I think, in Co. Monaghan, but that subsidy is not of much value to people who have to pay 27/3 a ton as against people who have to pay a freight of only 3/-, 4/- or even 6/- a ton. That is a matter that I suggest should receive the most earnest consideration in the Department.

Beet factories have been erected by the taxpayers of the entire nation, and this grant of £64,000 for fertilisers, which will go mainly to beet producing, is also provided out of the taxes of the entire country. Last year I tried growing some £700 or £800 worth of beet. Unfortunately, it costs almost one-fifth of its value to transport it to the nearest factory. That takes any profit we might otherwise look for. If the beet factories are so situated as to prejudice producers in certain areas, some offset should be given to those producers on such an occasion as this. I suggest that the Minister should avail of the present opportunity to rectify a grievance of growers from Donegal as far down as the Boyne.

I remember being on a deputation to the Taoiseach, in 1933, when the tillage campaign was in full swing, representing these counties. The deputation suggested that factories should be erected in counties such as ours, where the raw sugar could be extracted. It is obvious that if the raw sugar were extracted from the beet at these factories, it would then be much easier to transport it to one big factory. I am [1610] sorry to say that the answer we received was that the experts advised against it. If the same request were made to-day in the same Departments, the same reply would be given. In England that is the practice. I understand that in many counties throughout England the sugar is first extracted and eventually sent to Tates in Liverpool to be refined.

I fail to understand why it is that two crops so essential to the nation's well-being—wheat and beet—should be dealt with in such different ways. Wheat is paid for to the farmer in the farmer's yard. I am talking, not as an expert, but as an experienced producer of wheat and I say you can produce wheat ad infinitum if you are in a position to produce along with it beet. The farm that has been producing wheat for a number of years must of necessity go back to beet. No other crop will restore as much manure to the land. It is only fair— and I challenge the Government on the point now—that County Louth, which has been the leading wheat-growing county, should be permitted to be also the leading beet-growing county. We are ready. We can do the work. We have the men and the materials. I would suggest that the farmer should be paid for beet and wheat on the same basis. Why not? They are both equally essential.

There is a greater grievance still. We are to provide manures for the rest of Ireland and we are to be excluded from the grant for fertilisers. That is really what the Minister. means. Seventy-five per cent. of these fertilisers are being provided for beet growing. All honour to that. But those of us who are outside the sphere of the activities of the beet factories, obviously, will be excluded from this grant. I am told it is impossible to erect the factories I have referred to which, I think it is generally admitted now, should have been erected, especially for the northern districts. If it is not now possible to provide the necessary steel or equipment for these factories, it should not be held against us and we should be allowed to obtain our share of these very essential [1611] manures. In view of the importance of this matter to these counties, with one of which I am well acquainted, I suggest to the Minister that he should have it brought to the notice of the Department concerned, so that if we are not permitted to grow beet, we will be assisted in the growing of some other root crop, and will be given our allocation of the fertilisers which the taxpayers have to provide.

Mr. Goulding: Information on Seán Goulding  Zoom on Seán Goulding  I was very much impressed by the case made by Senator Hayes and his examination of the position with regard to the language. I think, in regard to a Department on which we spend such a large amount of money, we should make every effort to see that we get value for that money. The Department of Education is, perhaps, the most important Department that we have. It is the Department that is charged with the duty of training our future citizens to be good Irish men and women, anxious to make this country what we all in our time hoped it one day would be, an example to the rest of the world. Perhaps we were unduly optimistic. Like Senator Hayes I, at one time, also visualised an Ireland under a native Government that would be thoroughly Irish and, while not cutting itself off from the culture of Europe, would provide a culture of its own that would be distinctively Irish, a culture which, while keeping pace with modern thought, would still be native to this country and not a mere imitation of the culture of any other country.

I must agree with Senator Hayes that we appear to be further than ever from realising that ideal. We have spent a considerable amount of money endeavouring to promote the growth of the Irish language among our people, and we have not succeeded. What is worse, there is a great danger that, instead of making our young people enthusiastic over the Irish language, we are creating a feeling of distaste for it. That is deplorable. One only needs to meet a group of young people to-day and speak to them about Ireland [1612] to find that not alone are they not enthusiastic about the language, but they appear to be absolutely indifferent to their country. The strongest argument that is used to-day in respect of the Irish language is, unfortunately, that it is purely materialistic, that a person will not get a job unless he or she has a knowledge of Irish. When young people are arguing with you about Irish, they will say: “We cannot get jobs unless we know Irish”, and the younger people will tell you that they are quite tired of “old Irish”.

What is the cause of all this? Where is the spirit that was there 20; 30 or 40 years ago? I quite agree that something will have to be done to find out what is at fault and how the position can be remedied. There is a school of thought in this country that has no use at all for the Irish language, or anything distinctively Irish. These people are quite honest about it. The people who think that way tell us that the best thing to do is to give up the idea of a distinctive Irish nation and get ourselves absorbed into another culture. They suggest we should adopt the ideals of another people, cultivate the literature of that people, and forget that such things as an Irish language or a distinctive Irish culture ever existed. Of course, the whole thing rests with the Irish people, but if the trend of our educational system has been to strengthen that opinion, then it is about time that we called for a revision.

There is surely a reason behind all this. Speaking here on another occasion, I ventured to suggest that it might be due to a lack of knowledge of the history of our country, that the young people are not being taught what really underlies the teaching of the Irish language, that it is not alone as a linguistic curiosity that we want them to learn Irish, and it is not because they will not get jobs if they do not know Irish. We want them to know the real reason behind this call for the revival of Irish. At one time ours was a very important country in Europe. We are always boasting of the days when we sent our missionaries and scholars all over Europe to save that [1613] continent from the effects of the barbarian invasion. Apparently we were satisfied to rest there.

If we are in earnest about this matter, if we mean to have a real Irish nation, we will have to make up our minds to have it a distinctive nation. It will not do for our people to be great scholars in English, German, Russian or any other language. If we want to preserve Irish nationality, as some of us at least understand it, it will have to be a nationality peculiar to our own people, founded on the great events in our long history. If we are willing to forget our past, to ignore all that was done by great Irish men and women long ago, well and good; let us make up our minds to it and immediately reverse our policy and finish with Irish altogether—throw it out of the schools and make the schools purely utilitarian places where the children will be taught how to get jobs and where they will learn how to forget their country and its glorious history. We will then at least know where we are heading.

At the moment there is a lot of insincerity among our people. We sing patriotic songs and speak of the men and the great events of the past. If there were any sincerity behind all that talk and all the singing, we would be like the people of other countries, where there is a definite move for national and cultural improvement. Our educational system will have to infuse some such ideas into our young people. I have been told that that is not a matter for the schools, but rather more for the home. Unfortunately, as Senator Hayes has pointed out, the home has not a very great influence and the children are forming their ideals on the pictures and other things and are forgetting their Irish nationality. Our system of education should endeavour to see that the young people are imbued with a sound idea of nationality.

Perhaps I am placing too much stress on this subject, but I think the root cause of the difficulty lies in the fact that the young people do not understand. I believe they are just as good as the boys and girls of 40 years ago, but they do not understand. In our [1614] day we were up against a determined opposition. We had a foreign authority in control of our education. We had every Department of Government inimical to things Irish, and this created in us a spirit of opposition, and perhaps it helped to make us better Irish men and women.

There is a general decay in national sentiment in this country. I do not mean purely partisan sentiment—I do not care whether it concerns Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or any other Party. What I am anxious to get is an Irish man, a man who is really in earnest about his country, a man who has a knowledge of his country and who wants to put it before any other country in the world. I quite agree with Senator Hayes that this is not a Party question at all. It should be the duty and the pleasure of any man born and bred in this country to do everything in his power to create that distinctive type of Irishman. If our educational system is not tending to do that, then we had better examine it and find out, if we can, where the fault lies.

As regards this proposed expenditure, it is, perhaps, true to say that Senator Hayes and myself have dealt with only one aspect of it. We feel, however, that it is so important an aspect that every thinking person agrees with us that every effort must-be made to get the best value we possibly can for the Irish nation for the money we are spending. The total bill, it must be admitted, is mounting up. That is true of other countries as well. None can escape the effects of a world war. I am afraid that, for some years to come, we must make up our minds that heavy expenditure must be our lot here. Senators, I am certain, would be only too glad to point out any economies which, in their opinion, could be made. It must be admitted, however, that any which could be made would represent only a very small portion of the total expenditure that has to be incurred in these abnormal times. As long as the present crisis lasts we must, I fear, be prepared to incur this heavy expenditure.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I think the House ought to be very pleased with the two [1615] excellent speeches that we have just heard from Senator Hayes and Senator Goulding on a question that, for a long time, must continue to be for us a fundamental one. However perturbed we may be at present, because of our internal difficulties or because of the outlook externally, I feel somehow that if the Minister for Finance, who also happens to be the Vice-President of this State, were to announce that he was going back to his colleagues to urge on them that some form of inquiry should be immediately set up to take stock of our present policy and scheme of education, particularly in reference to the restoration of the Irish language, the announcement would be regarded as a very gratifying one indeed. I, like other members of this House, have, in more difficult times, stood on Gaelic League platforms in this country. I do not agree with Senator Goulding that the minority here, who oppose the restoration of Irish, are so powerful that it is they who are responsible for the rather depressing atmosphere which to-day surrounds the efforts that are being made to revive it. I do not think that statement is true. That amosphere of depression is due, perhaps not altogether, to the faults in our scheme of education, but to other considerations. A good deal of that depression is, I think, due to the unreality and hypocrisy that, to a certain extent, are part of the plan of discussion going on for the restoration of the language. We must look outside our scheme of education if we are to discover the causes for the cynicism that prevails—for the many doubting Thomases there are—as to our power to restore the national language. You see it in the homes of people who are intensely patriotic, you can see it among boys and girls whose fathers and mothers were prepared to lay down their lives for their country.

I commend to the Vice-President the importance of the point of view put forward by Senator Hayes. If I were asking the Minister to take advice on agricultural matters, I would appeal to him to seek it from a practical agriculturist, from a man who knew what he [1616] was talking about. I think that this House, as a whole, must pay deference to Senator Hayes' knowledge and understanding of the kind of problem confronting us in the restoration of the Irish language. The Senator's bona fides cannot be challenged, due to his contacts with the rising generation. He is a man who is very competent to advise as to what we ought to do if we are really in earnest in trying to find a solution for this problem. If we of this generation cannot find that solution soon, then I am afraid the restoration of the language is going to turn into the by-ways instead of keeping on the highways. If such a thing should happen, then the generations to follow will pass a very severe judgement on us.

With regard to the total charges to be levied under the Bill before us, they are higher than those of last year. They are going to press more heavily on the fewer people we have this year as compared with last year. The burden of taxation on the individual is mounting year after year. I appreciate the fact that during a period of emergency certain things must be done which, in normal times, we would cavil at. I have urged time and again in this House, in regard to the levying of taxation, that the major problem for us is whether we were doing our utmost to provide major incomes for all our people which it is within the country's potential to provide, so that that burden of taxation will be equitably distributed, and so that the payment of taxes will not mean the placing of an undue burden on the most lowly paid of our citizens. I do not think the Government have succeeded in doing that. Neither do I think that our resources are being exploited as much as they ought to be. Therefore, I believe that this rising bill, which the Minister is asking us to pass, is going to mean greater hardship for our people in the coming year than the one they had to face last year.

I am mainly concerned with problems relating to agriculture. I am also concerned about the national income because, in the economic field, our major problem is this: that our capacity to continue to pay must be [1617] measured by the capacity of our farmers to produce, and their ability to earn an income. I have considerable difficulty in trying to discover what the actual position of our farming community is. I would like to refer to a statement made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce at a debate held recently in University College, Dublin. In speaking of the difficulties that faced a Government in improving social services here, the Minister quoted certain figures which indicated —I do not know where he got them— that in 1938 the earnings of an individual in agricultural employment were £68 per person, and in other employment £168. The most recent figures that I have been able to lay my hands on—those for the year 1926-27—strange to relate, put the earnings of our farmers at £96. In Northern Ireland they were £104, in England, £169; in Scotland, somewhere over £180, and in Denmark, £186.

I want to have some information on these figures because, in my opinion, they are very important. In the first place, if the actual income per person in agriculture has fallen from £96 in 1926-27 to £68 in 1938, it is a revelation to me. It is a contradiction of all the things that have been said about the fruits of Government policy as expressed in getting the farmers' to pursue a particular type of production. What is disturbing about it to me mainly is that the earnings of the man in the country are put down at £68 while the earnings of a man in a town or city are put down at £168. I want to ask who it is has put that value on the respective services of the man in the town and the man in the country? I want to quarrel with it because, in my opinion, it is not a fair or just evaluation of the respective services of the two individuals. I say so because I believe that what we produce from the land is by far the most valuable product that the country has got. I do not know who the people are who are prepared to say that the man in the town and the city is producing services for the State equivalent to £100 more than the value of the services of the country producer. There you have the answer to much which [1618] we deplore. There you have the reason why men want to leave the country to go to the cities and towns of our own country and to the cities and towns of other countries. It is this queer conception of the plan of life we have got and the extraordinary power which some people somewhere are able to exercise, which value services in the country at £68 and services in the town or city at £168.

I am drawing the Minister's attention to this because I am anxious that the figures should be explained. They are figures which I am not prepared to accept as being truly representative of the two types of labour in which our people are engaged. I would urge that in this connection we have a very difficult problem to face. We have got a situation which demands an effort to create that position of equity which is absolutely essential if we are going to have any sort of balanced life between town and country. Think what you will or use what propaganda you may, you are never going to get the people to stay on the land if you have a situation in which every year you put a valuation of only £68 on the work done by a man in the country while you put a valuation of £168 on the work done by a man in the town.

Perhaps this is a matter about which I should have given the Minister some notice but anyhow it is quite clear, and the Minister should have enough sense to realise it—that talk about the flight from the land and about providing for people on the land recreation and all possible amenities is so much nonsense while you put down against what they produce and sell a sum which is considerably less than half of what you put down for the products of the city workers. If we are going to face up to the problem of keeping the people on the land and of balancing our economy as between town and country these are figures of which we must take stock. I do not think at all myself that they represent the actual earnings of our people. From our total national income we can see what proportion comes to us and what proportion the people in the towns and cities are able to retain. I think there are all sorts of things [1619] which we need to do for agriculture to make it more attractive for the people who are now in it to keep them in it, and to attract other people, particularly the rising generation, into it.

An idea has occurred to me very frequently—I do not know that I have raised it in this House before in this specific way, but I have raised it in another way. We hear a lot of propaganda about the country and how necessary it is that rural life should be brightened, made pleasanter and happier; but it strikes me that the efforts of one of the instruments in our possession, which might make a considerable contribution towards this end, are rather futile. That is our broadcasting service. I do not know whether many members in this House have thought much about this matter, or have listened to our broadcasts in so far as they have to do with country life, but if they do listen to them and compare them with what we can get from the British broadcasting organisation, it is quite clear that we are making no progressive effort at all to think intelligently about the life of our own country and our own people. There is no vitality or imagination about our service; we have been getting the same thing for years, I might say. Of course, I will admit that, interspersed here and there, occasionally there is a very valuable contribution, but generally the whole plan—well, in fact, there is hardly a plan.

A number of years ago I took it upon myself to communicate with the then director—a gentleman who is no longer there—to urge that there were ways and means by which the service could be made more useful for the farming community. I have the letter which I received in reply. I shall keep it as long as I can. It was just the kind of thing which one would expect from a mind quite incapable and incompetent of dealing with that sort of problem at all. It was curt, lacking in courtesy, and showed no appreciation of the sort of situation about which we should try to get an understanding. In my opinion, there is an absolute necessity for the organisation of some sort of advisory body which might do something [1620] of real value to utilise the broadcasting service in a way that would be beneficial, not only to the farmers in a technical sense, but to the country as a whole in trying to get a better appreciation of what agriculture means to the life of our whole people. I know, for instance, that the British Broadcasting Corporation has an advisory board, assisting, criticising its talks and preparing its whole plan. Curiously enough, one of these men in Northern Ireland is an intimate friend of my own. They have indeed a plan, but we have none. I may frankly confess that I have almost lost interest in this matter, but it is one of the things which I should like the Minister to look up because I am quite convinced that we have people in this country who could do something to produce a better plan. I think a better plan for an improved broadcasting service for agriculture would mean that the service in the country as a whole would be considerably improved.

There are one or two other matters which I want to put before the Minister. Has the Minister any information as to whether the Government has taken any steps to implement the resolution unanimously accepted by this House some weeks ago with regard to increasing the supply of artificial manures? We passed a motion here urging on the Government the necessity and advisability of making further efforts to bring into operation a scheme of barter, whereby some specific exports could be utilised to obtain increased quantities of artificial manures for the coming season. This is a matter of grave urgency and if the Minister has anything to communicate to the House regarding it, it will be very welcome indeed.

The Minister may have an opportunity, before he makes his reply, to look into this matter. He is giving a subsidy of £636,000 for fertilisers. He told us there was a subsidy of £200,000 for other forms of agriculture. With regard to the subsidy for fertilisers, that is part of the price we have to pay in order to get increased food supplies this season and next season. The amount of food we can get from our land will have a considerable [1621] influence on the amount of other kinds of food available in the country towards the end of 1944. If the policy had been different before the emergency, if the Government had not pursued the policy of placing tariffs on imported fertilisers, we might have more fertility stored up and less necessity now for a subsidy on imports. However, we have no choice in the matter now. It may be more difficult to bring this home to the Minister than to the Minister for Agriculture, but it is not difficult to bring it home to the farmer, who can go across the country and see all the fields where the fertility should be increased in order to obtain crops worth reaping.

There is another point on which I would like clarification. I know that what we asked for in this House was actually being done by the Government in various other forms. I saw a report in the Press the other day which indicated that the Government has succeeded in making a barter arrangement, whereby our exports of flax would procure sufficient supplies of binder twine for the coming season. I do not know how the Press got that particular statement, but I want enlightenment on it. I discussed the position at some length when that motion was before the House some time ago, and now I cannot make head or tail of the statement. So far as I can get figures, the truth seems to be that the quantity of binder twine which we imported in 1936 was larger than in 1937 or 1938. I suppose supplies were drying up or were retained, or perhaps we had enough in to carry on with. The value of binder twine purchased in 1936 was £18,662. The value of all the twines and cords, sash cord, cables, ropes, twines, cordage for tethers and reins, imported in 1936 was £56,296. Our total flax area last year amounted to 18,000 acres. The flax area is mainly in my county——Monaghan—and in Donegal, with a little bit in West Cork. I am sure 17,000 acres would have been grown in these three counties. Our calculation is that an acre of flax last year was worth £50—that is, the scutch flax we were able to send out, and none of which is manufactured here. On 18,000 [1622] acres we had over £900,000 worth of flax. The impression abroad is that we have exchanged all our flax for binder twine. That does not make sense, and I would like more information about it.

Senator McGee was talking about the situation which confronts the farmers in Louth, where they are growing a great deal of wheat. The ideal root crop to continue the production of wheat is a crop of beet, and the Senator has difficulties because of the transport charges on beet to the factories. That is a situation which the Minister should try to remedy. If we want the wheat, we should have the beet along with it. The Senator wants a special quota of artificial manures for his county. We all know that Louth is a magnificent tillage county and that Senator McGee and all the people living there are very fortunate. What strikes us in the northern counties is that our flax is being exchanged for binder twine—we do not know at what ratio—and that £1,000 worth of twine would do the three northern counties. We think that, if we have produced £750,000 worth of flax for export, we should get something against that, to put back into our soil.

I know there are difficulties which confront any Government in this matter and I am not trying to suggest that, because one county may grow a crop which is exported, that particular county should get something back to put into the land. That might be quite impossible in this small community, where we have to pool our resources. However, flax is a difficult crop, which is hard on the soil and, as the Minister for Agriculture told us here, it is one of the most valuable bargaining crops that we have. There will be a considerable addition to the amount of flax produced in the northern counties this year and it will be worth £50 an acre on the average, and some of it more than that. That is not the net price, as considerable employment is necessary, pulling the flax and scutching it, but the return is considerable. The process of exhaustion in the soil, as a result of exploitation for the production of flax, is [1623] something of which our farmers and the Minister for Agriculture must take cognisance. I have argued before that we cannot go on exhausting the soil and, when the war is over, expect to compete with Northern Ireland and England, where they are pouring artificial manures into the soil. That makes the fight for fertilisers as stern a fight as any we have to make.

The Minister should give the information required to the House and to the country. The presentation of the case through the Press to the country can hardly have been the correct one. If it was, I think we made a very bad bargain in exchanging our season's flax against binder twine for one season. The Minister may feel that he cannot release the relative values, but we have told the world that we are exchanging flax for binder twine, and I see no reason why we should not give the value of the imports of binder twine and the value of the exports of flax.

The question of the fertility of the land is one on which the Government must take a very determined line. I do not think that the Minister and his colleagues appreciate the extent to which this shortage of fertility is disturbing our farmers. We propose to increase this year the area under cultivation, but every intelligent farmer knows that, unless the soil is fertile, you may have a greater area under crops than last season, but the quantity of food which will be produced may be less, even assuming that the weather is as good as it was last year. We may put more labour and more money into production, and, because of our inability to obtain this essential of production, the yield of food for our own people and the surplus for export may be less than last year. The case is so strong that the Government should argue it everywhere and stand over it as a matter of first-rate importance. If no action has yet been taken by the Cabinet on the motion passed by the Seanad, I submit that that is the first duty which the Government should discharge to the farmers.

[1624] The Minister told us that there was a decrease in the Estimate for Forestry of, approximately, £36,000. The same Minister has, I think, told us of how much was being done for afforestation. I am one of those who are thoroughly dissatisfied with the nation's slow progress in the matter of afforestation. I do not say it in any critical way but I think we have got no real plan for afforestation. I inquired a short time ago about the number of students who were taking forestry as a subject. I wonder if anybody in the House—even Senator Tierney or Senator Johnston— could guess the number. I think it is only three or four; in any event the number is alarmingly low. I was interested in a particular individual but I got no encouragement. It was rather suggested to me by those whom I consulted that they did not think there was much hope for him in that line. The Minister tells us of what is being done but we shall be a long time dead and the next generation will be a long time dead before any proof will be forthcoming as to what we are even attempting. You cannot have a really far-flung scheme of afforestation unless you prepare the technical men. Should it not be the first thought of the people preparing a plan to secure that the men would be available to carry out the plan? I urge the Minister to investigate the statement which I have made and to see whether it corresponds with the facts. I may have been incorrectly informed but I do not think that I am far wrong.

If there is to be a far-flung scheme of afforestation by the Minister's successors in Government, the foundation should have been laid long ago by educating the necessary number of persons in the technical requirements for the carrying out of the plan. I do not think that there is anything to justify a decrease of £36,000 in the Forestry Estimate. The Government should have gone ahead with that work. Apparently, this decrease arises in connection with the purchase of land. Why should that be held up? If the scheme is to be proceeded with after the war, will it not be an advantage to have the land purchased? It was as essential to keep the men on [1625] that work as it was to keep them on the bogs and men who could have worked on afforestation have left the country.

The Minister mentioned that there was an increase in the cost of the farm improvement scheme. That is a grand scheme and I have no fault to find with it. All I would urge is that it should be extended. I shall not labour that point. I gathered from the Minister's statement that there was a decrease in the amount to be spent on work in our bogs. I should like to get some further explanation of that. I should have thought that if there was anything we should continue it was the work on the bogs. I said that in the House before and I shall say it again, because I believe it. If you are going to get any return from the bogs, it will not be obtained by spending less money on the work. The fact that more money is to be spent on the farm improvement scheme is no reason why there should be a reduction in the work on the bogs. I do not say that that was the argument that was put up, but it is a thing that should not happen. That is an aspect of Government policy after which I would put a note of interrogation.

Donnchadh O hEaluighthe: Information on Denis Donnchadh D Healy  Zoom on Denis Donnchadh D Healy  Ní cuirfead móran moille ar an Tigh. I agree with Senator Baxter as regards afforestation. One would expect that, instead of a decrease, there would be an increase of expenditure in respect of that item. The process of denuding this country of trees has been going on consistently for 40 years. When the Land Acts were introduced, before the landowners sold their lands, they disposed of their forests. In the Great War of 1914-18, attention was again given to our timber and our forests were reduced. The present emergency has resulted in the making of deep inroads into our growing timber. When one takes all those factors into consideration, one would be inclined to think that there would be an increase in the Forestry Estimate rather than a decrease. Our mountainsides are producing very little at present, whereas, if used for the purposes of afforestation, a good deal of employment [1626] would be provided and we would be creating a source of income for the State later. When I heard the Minister refer to the decrease in the Forestry Estimate, I felt rather dissatisfied.

A few other matters were also referred to by Senators. One had to do with the national language. I do not believe that the position is as bad as it has been represented to-day. I have some knowledge of the position in regard to the national language since I commenced the study of it in the City of Dublin 45 years ago. In my opinion—and I have some experience—the national language is making headway by leaps and bounds in this city. The children of this city are making wonderful headway and the greatest credit is due to the efforts they are making to become masters of the language. If I may say so in the presence of the Minister, who has given yeoman service to the language cause, the mistake we are making is that, when the children leave school at 14 years of age, we do very little for them in the direction of giving them some opportunity of continuing to speak the language they have learned at school. Great credit is also due to the teachers, who have made such headway in teaching the language to these children.

Reference was made to the fact that civil servants have to study the language for their examinations, but that after passing their examinations, they seem to take little interest in it. If that is the case—I do not say it is— they compare very badly with the civil servants of 40 years ago who were then in the service of an alien Government. Forty years ago, the civil servants of this city were to a great extent the backbone of the national language. They were the hardest workers in the cause of the language, and if the position to-day is as it is suggested to be, the present-day civil servant compares very badly in the matter of patriotism with the civil servant of 40 years ago. The suggestion was also made that it would be as important to have Irish spoken in Dalymount Park as in Croke Park. I do not propose to go into that matter, but I would point out that [1627] those who have given their time to the advancement of the national language never entered the grounds at Dalymount.

Professor Johnston: Information on Joseph Johnston  Zoom on Joseph Johnston  I am sure there are many reasons why we should wish that the piping times of peace were back again. If that were the situation, instead of what actually exists, I for one would derive considerable pleasure from the making of a comprehensive onslaught on some aspects of the Minister's commercial and fiscal policy, as indicated by the complications of the customs and excise tariff. Unfortunately, however, I feel bound to deprive myself of that pleasure, because I cannot help regarding the Minister —and I have so regarded him since September, 1939—as morally occupying the position of a Minister in a national Government, whether that be his actual position or not, and consequently I have felt bound, in any remarks I make, to contribute only such criticisms as might in due course become the basis of an agreed national policy for emergency and, perhaps even more so, for post-emergency purposes.

There are some major aspects of the national policy to which I propose to refer, but, before coming to them, I should like to refer briefly to one or two minor points, one of which concerns sugar and beet for sugar. Last year, there was a serious shortage of sugar, but, in spite of it the Government attempted very nobly to provide a certain amount of sugar for jam-making purposes, three stones, I think, being the maximum both for people with gardens of their own and for people who bought fruit for the purpose of making jam. The whole scheme turned into a complete racket, so far as I can understand, and numerous private householders availed themselves of the scheme in order to acquire additional sugar for household consumption.

As that scheme was worked and administered, it was impossible to enforce it properly and to prevent that abuse of it. If the privilege had been confined to people with gardens of their own, there would have been some [1628] objective test of whether the sugar was wanted for jam-making or not, but people were allowed to claim sugar for jam-making if they produced evidence that they had bought fruit from a fruit seller for the purpose. They would, of course, have been very foolish to have bought the fruit before getting the sugar, because there was no certainty as to when they would get the sugar and there was a great probability that the fruit would be rotten by the time the sugar came, so they must have faked the returns, with the co-operation of a complacent greengrocer, and in that way acquired a certain amount of sugar which may or may not afterwards have been added to a certain amount of fruit. In fact, we believe that in most cases it was not so used. Consequently, the scheme has been washed out so far as the current year is concerned, and I think it is a little unfair to genuine fruit growers who would greatly appreciate a little extra sugar for jam-making this year.

However, the main problem is that enough beet should be grown and enough sugar made available to provide for the minimum requirements of the whole population, with a reasonable allowance for jam-making in one or other of the various ways in which jam is made and, from that point of view, I welcome the innovation made by the sugar company by which any grower of beet will be entitled this year to obtain a stone of sugar for every ton of beet he produces, up to a maximum of four stones of sugar for jam-making.

That scheme does not seem to have been sufficiently advertised. As soon as it became known to me personally, it completely altered the point of view of a lifetime and made me, for the first time in human history, an intending beet-grower. I contemplate growing half an acre of beet, hoping to raise eight tons of beet and to get at least four stones of sugar, and any person to whom I mentioned the existence of the scheme immediately fell for it and said: “I, too, will put down a certain amount of beet in the hope of getting this sugar for jam-making purposes.” If it is not yet too late to [1629] broadcast a knowledge of the scheme, I think it might easily lead to the growing of a far greater acreage of beet than the most lucrative financial bribe you could offer in the way of fixing a profitable price for beet. Half an acre per farm over 400,000 farms would be a much greater acreage of beet than we want, and you do want to encourage the growing of a great many half-acres of beet.

In that connection, I think that if we could bring about the growing of enough beet to produce, say, 100,000 tons of sugar, which is something like our normal consumption, we would be able to use that considerable increase in the output of sugar as a bargaining point in our dealings with Great Britain. It would be worth our while, instead of enjoying our full peacetime complement of sugar per head, to do with, say, a three-quarter ration and to offer to sell to our British neighbours 20,000 tons of sugar in exchange for some of the things we most urgently want, and especially the artificial manures referred to by Senator Baxter. If we approached them on those lines, I think we should probably find our neighbours more than willing to meet us and to arrive with us at a common deal to our mutual advantage. To get to that position, however, we must make sure, first of all, of having 80,000, and preferably 100,000, acres under beet, and then we will be able to make a deal with our neighbours for any surplus sugar that we may manage to produce.

In a general way, there are many things that I should like to say about Government policy in its economic and financial aspects, especially in so far as it concerns our attitude towards industrial development versus agricultural development. I do not want to be looked upon as being absolutely opposed to industrial development, but I do think that we ought to put first things first, and that we ought to make it our policy to develop, most of all, those things for which our national resources are best suited. I think that, if we were to do that, we should be rather more inclined, with a view to the post-war period, to emphasise the [1630] desirability of increasing the development of our agricultural production and, perhaps, to slow down the rate at which our industrial development is taking place. As I put it on a former occasion, we may have had, as a result of certain circumstances, the necessity of putting the industrial cart before the agricultural horse, but I think that we should now concentrate on keeping the agricultural horse before the industrial cart, and, if we do that, I think I can assure the Minister that we shall have every reason to think that in the long run the industrial development that we should all like to see will take place, and that it will take place on a more sound and permanent basis as a result of agricultural prosperity. That has been the experience of other countries, including New Zealand.

The first essential in dealing with our immediate necessities, as well as the necessities of the post-war period, is to bring about as rapid and as substantial an increase as possible in the total of our national income. That is necessary, both because we want to improve the general standard of living in the country and also because, as a result of the example of our neighbours, in the introduction of the Beveridge scheme, which is likely to be adopted in some form or another over there, we shall have to adopt some similar scheme.

It would be almost impossible for us to do anything else, but it must be remembered that, so far as we are concerned, it would be almost an insoluble problem, if we were to try to follow the example of our neighbours with an average national income of over £100 per head, when our average national income is only about £50 per head. Accordingly, we could not adopt the Beveridge scheme, as it appears at the moment, without such financial restrictions as would make our provisions look cheap, and therefore something must be done to endeavour to increase our average national income. Consequently, the primary duty of any Government will be to do what it can to further the most rapid possible development of the national income.

Now, I hold that the best opportunity [1631] for such a substantial increase in the national income lies in well-considered and vigorously-pursued agricultural development. My expert friends, who know more about these matters than I do, assure me that if the best use were made of our arable land—and when I say “use” I do not mean, necessarily, that it should be all under tillage, but used in the most economic way—it would be possible to produce, from 5,000,000 acres of our land, a sufficient diet for our population of 3,000,000, leaving us with another 5,000,000 acres of arable land which we could use for the purpose of growing commodities for export—unless we are to allow that land to remain derelict.

I hold, therefore, that the problem of the expansion of agricultural development is closely and intimately connected with the problem of getting access, on favourable terms, to the British market. That is a thing which, I think, should occupy the thoughts of the Minister and of the Government, and one to which enough thought could not be given. For some reason or another, we have not enjoyed complete access to that market since 1933, and I think it is essential that we should try to restore the commercial equality which we had in 1932 and which we have never regained since. Assuming that we could arrange some bargain with our neighbours by which we could restore that equality, it would then become possible for us to calculate the possibilities of increasing our agricultural production, or what the results of that would be.

I think that the chief possibilities of expansion in agricultural production arise in connection with the most fertile lands which, as it happens, are mostly on large farms, from about 50 acres upwards. Actually, there are about 50,000 farms in the country which employ any wage-paid employees at all. From such information as I have been able to acquire, there are about four agricultural producers for every 100 acres of crops and pasture on good average farms. That is “bogey”, if I might use a golfing expression, but actually I know of many farms on which there are as many as seven or eight producers for [1632] every 100 acres, and I think that, if we could level up to “bogey” where we are now below it, it would mean an addition of about 80,000 persons to the total number of persons now occupied as wage-paid agricultural labourers in this country.

One of the causes which makes it difficult for farmers, who might otherwise employ additional agricultural workers on their farms—apart from the present scarcity of such workers, due to the emergency—is the fact that the wages of agricultural labourers have been pushed up very considerably in the last few years. Now, I am not going to urge that there should be any attempt at a sudden or drastic decrease in agricultural wages, because I think that the wages of our agricultural workers compare very unfavourably, from the point of view of the workers, with the wages paid to similar workers in Northern Ireland, and, still more so, in Great Britain, but the fact is that as a result of the wages of agricultural labourers being at their present level in this country, the farmer here cannot employ as many workers as he might employ if the wages were lower or if his capital equipment was more amply available. A chief factor, influencing the decision of the farmer, is the output per person occupied on the land, and one of the causes affecting the output per person occupied in agriculture is the extent to which capital equipment is available. I am thinking now, not of the immediate emergency situation, in which it is almost impossible to acquire capital equipment, as we all know, but of the post-war situation, in which such capital equipment, conceivably, might be obtained. If that better equipment were available and could be availed of by a larger number of our larger farmers, I think they would find it an economic inducement to increase the number of workers they employ.

There are about 600,000 agricultural producers in the country, and their average net output is in the region of £100 per person occupied, but that average conceals a wide variation; I am pretty certain that in the poorest and most congested areas of the country the output per person [1633] occupied is probably not much more than £50 per annum, whereas in the better equipped and more fertile farms I am equally certain, from such investigations as I have been able to make, that the output per person approximates to £200 per annum, and that relatively greater output is, among other things, the result of the fact that those farms are better equipped. As a matter of fact, comparing our agriculture as a whole with that of New Zealand, for example, we come even worse out of the comparison. There, incredible as it may seem, I understand that in 1938 the output per person approximated to £400, so it seems that there is yet a very considerable expansion possible in the output per person occupied in agriculture here, if only we used more modern and up-to-date agricultural techniques.

The possibility of expanding the national income then seems to me to be closely associated with the possibility of expanding the agricultural output, and that again seems to be closely associated with the possibility of increasing the capitalisation of agriculture in the immediate post-war period. On that general point, I was invited some time ago to express my views in a paper known as the Irish Press, and so far as anything of mine which the Irish Press publishes is concerned I am quite willing to accept the theory that everything appearing in its pages is the gospel truth, so if the House will bear with me for a few minutes I should like to put on record what appeared in that paper about two months ago, or at all events the principal points which I then made, because I think the matter is not without a certain public interest. I said:—

“We should direct our main energies in the next decade or so to intensive agricultural development. The fundamental fact that we must export half the products of our farm land, if it is effectively used, must be constantly kept in mind. Increased agricultural production will mean, in the first instance, increased expenditure of capital in reconditioning neglected land, providing [1634] modern buildings and equipment, acquiring machinery and implements when once more available, re-seeding exhausted pastures, restoring fertility to over-cropped land, draining waterlogged fields, cleaning out ditches, trimming hedges, and doing the hundred and one things that get neglected when farmers are short of capital and are producing for a falling market, or when, as at present, skilled agricultural labour is scarce and only urgent jobs can be attempted.”

My argument is that more capital will be needed, and that capital is not likely to be in the possession of the farmers themselves in 100 per cent. of the cases; this need for additional capital becomes part of the problem of agricultural credit, and I suggest a new approach to that problem. I wish to draw the Minister's particular attention to that suggestion:

“In terms of capital, this will mean an investment which might well add up to £100,000,000 in the course of the next decade or two; in terms of labour it will mean the permanent employment of, on the average, at least one additional wage-paid agricultural labourer per farmer by the 50,000 farmers who now employ any wage-paid labour at all; and in terms of agricultural income it will mean at least an additional £20,000,000—at 1939 prices —for the agricultural, and probably the addition of more than that to the income of the nonagricultural community. All this is well within our reach, provided that certain conditions, which it would take too long to explain, are fulfilled. One might ask where is this hundred millions to come from, and how is its investment to be secured. If we continue to believe in private enterprise and the private ownership of land, it must come in large measure from the private resources of farmers. Even in the darkest days of the economic war they had £36,000,000 on deposit account in the banks, and it is perfectly possible for them to invest substantial sums in the permanent improvement of their land. Not all [1635] the capital needed can be provided from the private resources of farmers, as there is bound to be some disparity between command of owned capital and opportunity for its productive use. Credit in many forms will be required, and the national credit will have to be called in to supplement the deficiencies of private credit. Rightly used, such resort to the national credit should not cost the taxpayer anything in the long run, and very little in the short run. I suggest that the Agricultural Credit Corporation might lend quite freely in large amounts if the final sanction was not forced sale but compulsory purchase at a fair market price for the account of the State. In that case the defaulting debtor, instead of being sold out, would be bought out, that is he would be given the difference between his debts and the market value of his land and told to go about his business. There are large numbers of inefficient farmers squatting on tens of thousands of acres of our best land to whom this procedure might be applied in one form or another. Side by side with the Agricultural Credit Corporation, an agricultural development corporation should be established, and endowed with an initial fund of, say, £10,000,000.”

I may add that this suggestion of mine is really borrowed from a similar suggestion made by the late Sir Daniel Hall with reference to the post-war requirements of English agriculture, except, of course, that I had to make certain modifications in applying it to our somewhat different system of land tenure. I went on to say:

“Land acquired for the State should be vested in the development corporation, which should undertake its ‘reconditioning’, the provision of necessary buildings, and so on.”

The essence of the suggestion is that the land, having been acquired by the State, through this proposed agricultural development corporation, should be kept in the ownership of the State indefinitely, and under no circumstances should the State part with the [1636] sole ownership of that land. My suggestion continues:

“Then it should be let on lease, with covenants ensuring the use of proper methods of husbandry, to persons of adequate agricultural knowledge and possessed of enough working capital, preferably persons who had graduated from one or other of our agricultural colleges. Incurable celibates should be ineligible for such farms.”

More than 50 per cent. of the success of a farmer depends on the capacity of the farmer's wife, and consequently only a farmer who is either married or about to be married should be even considered as one of the possible tenants of those larger farms owned by the State.

Another aspect of the matter, I am told, is that many of the people who graduate from agricultural colleges have no farms to go to after graduation, and consequently their fate is to become candidates for Government jobs of one kind or another. It is highly desirable that the largest possible area of agricultural land should be farmed by people who have had the best possible agricultural education. Actually, I believe it is rather difficult for the son of a large farmer to acquire a first-rate education at Glasnevin Agricultural College, because all the vacancies there are reserved for scholarship winners, and unless the son of a large farmer is able to come out near the top amongst the list of scholarship candidates, there may be no place for him in the college. That seems to be almost incredible, and I hope I am misinformed, but if I am right in making such a statement it is a matter that should be looked into and put right as soon as possible.

One of the reasons why I recommend this system of leaseholding of land owned by the State as an innovation in our system of land tenure is that in that way young men possessed of agricultural knowledge, and a reasonable amount of capital for working purposes, could spread that capital over a much larger area of land than they could if they had to put down the [1637] price of their own farms. It is desirable in the national interest that the largest area of land should be farmed by those with the best agricultural knowledge, and with a reasonable amount of working capital. It goes without saying that the annual rent should fully cover the interest not only on the purchase price of the land but-on the public money spent on reconditioning it. If at a later stage the tenant was able to buy the fee-simple of the land he should, of course, have the option. But the general policy should be to have a substantial acreage in the full ownership of the State, and let to tenants who would be bound, under the covenants of their leases, to carry out the form of agricultural activity which, in the opinion of experts, was for the time being the best, both from the point of view of the agricultural interests concerned and that of the national economic welfare. If it really turned out to be the best, the infection would spread, and private owners of land would be very willing to follow the profitable example set by State-owned farms.

In conclusion, some adaptation of the Beveridge scheme will have to be made to our conditions, always remembering that our national income is not much more than £50 per head, whereas that of Britain is more than twice as much. Our primary problem is to increase the national income as rapidly as may be, and we must not grudge the enterprising classes in agriculture and industry a moderate increase in their share, though we should endeavour to ensure a more rapid increase for the less well-to-do and the disinherited. An anti-social scramble on Socialist lines for increasing proportions of a diminishing real national income would be simply disastrous. I should like the Minister to think over these suggestions and perhaps, at a later stage, he may be able to express an opinion on them.

Mr. O'Connell: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  Advantage has been taken on the Vote on Account to raise again in this House the question of the revival of the Irish language, especially as it affects our schools and educational system, and I was pleased at the [1638] spirit in which it was discussed. It should not be regarded in any way as a Party or a political question. It is one that affects the whole nation, and has been raised in this House on several occasions during the past few years. When it was under consideration here on the last occasion, I referred to the report that had been presented and published by the national teachers' organisation. For a number of years that organisation had been pressing upon the Minister the necessity for making some kind of inquiry into the progress or want of progress that had been made in the teaching of the Irish language, as set out in the programme for national schools. The teachers were always met by a refusal or, as Senator Hayes put it, with the assumption that everything was right, and that there was no necessity whatever for a change. Seeing that that was the position, the teachers determined to have a detailed inquiry, to get the opinion of teachers, and the result was published and presented to the Minister. Senators will remember the attitude to that report that was taken up here by the Minister. Practically from all sides of the House, Senators who spoke on that occasion gave it as their opinion that some inquiry was necessary, and, as a result, the least one would expect was that the Minister should see for himself that there was necessity for some inquiry. Actually, I think the attitude of the Minister could be fairly described as resenting the action of the teachers' organisation in examining the question. He stated in this House that he was perfectly satisfied that the report was worthless. I am not purporting to quote the Minister's exact words, but that fairly represented his attitude.

I think if the Minister was acquainted with the earlier history of the revival movement, he would know that the teachers and their organisation had some claim to speak with a certain amount of authority in that respect. It may interest Senators to know that two years after their organisation was founded in 1868 the teachers, at the second and third annual congresses, adopted a resolution urging [1639] that Irish should be made a subject of instruction in the schools. As far as I know that was the first occasion on which any public body of that kind passed such a resolution. The demand was repeated at two or three successive congresses of the teachers' organisation and finally a memorial, as it was called in those days, backed by a number of managers of schools, was presented to the Commissioners of National Education. As a result, in 1878, Irish was for the first time made a subject of instruction for the national school programme, and results fees were paid at the rate of 10/- per pupil who passed an examination, an amount which in those days was a fairly considerable sum, and was an encouragement to teachers to take up the study of Irish. It will be found that the first publication in Irish, the Gaelic Journal, was founded or edited by a teacher, John Fleming, so that it hardly lies with the Minister to say that teachers had no right to present a report on this subject. Everybody recognises that teachers are in the best position to say what progress has been made.

I do not consider that any inquiry such as Senator Hayes or Senator Goulding suggested could be contemplated without getting the opinion of the teachers. I want to support what Senator Hayes said, that the view of the Minister seems to be that if any change is made in the present method, it would, of necessity, be a retrograde step. We had a definite instance of that here some years ago. A certain regulation was introduced by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government—I think it was in the year they went out of office. It was a certain penal regulation introduced for teachers actually in the service unless they secured certain certificates from the Department, irrespective of whether they were teaching the language well or otherwise. It was repeatedly pointed out to the Minister that that was illegal and that, apart from that, it was unfair and unjust to those in the service who were doing as good work as if they had these paper certificates. The result was that a [1640] legal action was taken and the Supreme Court decided against the Minister, the State being put to very considerable expense. While the Minister at several interviews agreed that there was a certain amount of equity and justice in the case put up to him, the main argument used was that, if he revoked this regulation made by the previous Government, it would be a retrograde step. That attitude of mind is not helpful to the revival of the language.

After all, as Senator Hayes pointed out, all this business is new to us; nothing like it has happened in any other country. Therefore we should proceed as it were, by a system of trial and error. We should not assume, because we started out in a certain way 20 years ago, that that happens to be the right way, without making any really serious inquiry as to whether or not we are making the progress that we expected to make. If it is found after a serious and impartial inquiry that this is the best method of reviving the language, we shall be all the more satisfied that there is no better way. But, if people think there is a better way and continually maintain that there is, there will be division, dissension, discussion and argument as to whether or not we are on the right lines. Therefore, I most strongly urge again, as I have urged on many occasions, the necessity for making some investigation as to how far we have progressed along these lines.

But I feel inclined to say this—I do not want to be in any way personal to the present Minister—that what we want is a new outlook, a new spirit at the top. I do not want in any way to be personal—I have no reason in the world to be personal—but I will go so far as to say that that would require a new Minister, because I think our present Minister has shown on various occasions that he is absolutely satisfied that no change is needed, that everything is progressing satisfactorily. But, undoubtedly, there is a large number of people in the country who think differently. As I say, the personal relations between the teachers and the Minister are of [1641] the best. He has been always willing to receive us and listen to our representations. He has been very helpful in many things. But, on this particular matter of the revival of the language, he and his Department seem to feel that there is no need for any investigation, that everything is quite all right.

We had an instance of that attitude of mind, if I might put it that way, when it was argued in that report to which I have referred that the present method of trying to teach subjects through the medium of Irish to English-speaking children put a strain on the young people. The Minister said that he had been into one or two schools in Dublin and found no evidence of any strain on the children. I would be very surprised if he did find any strain. If there is one thing that will relieve any strain on the children it is a stranger of any kind coming into the school. Their minds are immediately taken off the task they are working at and, as I say, there will be no evidence of strain so far as the stranger is concerned. But seriously to say that that counteracts the volume of evidence produced by those who are in daily and hourly touch with the children shows that there is no sense of reality about the matter, no real advertence to the importance of the arguments used.

I have no hesitation in saying that this attitude on the part of the young people to the Irish language is, in the main, due to the policy of using Irish as the medium of instruction to English-speaking children. This all happens inside the school. Irish is made the medium of instruction for all the ordinary subjects. It is an artificial thing. There is no sense of reality. It has no real relation to their outside life. They come to regard it as having no relation to their outside life. I speak as one who is in touch with those actively engaged in the work. Everyone knows that there was a different spirit altogether in regard to the language movement among the young people 20 years ago. There are, of course, other reasons and causes for this attitude of mind, but I feel that the main reason is the one that I have given. It accounts, too, [1642] for a certain want of enthusiasm on the part of the teachers who feel that they are expected to do something that has no reality about it, and no relation to life outside the school.

Senator Healy said he believed the language is progressing by leaps and bounds. I do not know how he judges that. He may judge it by what he hears at Feiseanna, or what he heard on the occasion of the big Feis in Dublin last week. Undoubtedly, if we were to judge by that alone, one would say that there had been great progress. There has been a certain amount of progress undoubtedly. It would be strange if, after 20 years of energy, trouble and expense, there was not some considerable progress.

But is the progress that has been made comparable with the amount of time, energy and money that has been spent on it? That is the question. The real test is, if you go outside the school and if you go outside the Mansion House, or the halls where the Feis is being held, do you hear Irish spoken? Do you hear it in the shops, in the streets? Go into any shop in the city where young people, who must have done a lot of Irish in school, are employed and ask in Irish for what you want and you will see the result. Until we hear it in the market place, in the shops, in trams and buses, until we hear the young people speaking it amongst themselves going along the road or hiking through the mountains, we cannot really say there is any real progress in the matter of the revival of the Irish language.

I am afraid there is a good deal of show and bluff about some of the reports that are made as to the number of passes in the Intermediate and in secondary schools, and all that kind of thing. I feel that if they were carefully inquired into, it would be seen that there is very little substance in it.

There is another matter arising out of this Vote which was referred to briefly by Senator McGee and to which I would like to refer—it is a question which concerns all of us, farmers and others—that is, the amount of wheat that is likely to be produced in the coming season. I have made some inquiries about it and I have been informed [1643] that at least up to the middle of February last, that is, before the recent spell of fine weather, there was far less wheat sown than there was at the corresponding time in the previous year although we know that we require very much more wheat this year if we are to be on the safe side. I daresay the recent spell of fine weather has made a considerable change but I would like to know from the Minister whether the Government are satisfied that we are likely to have this year an adequate supply of wheat. We are rapidly approaching the end of the sowing season and it is essential, I think, that we should get some information and some assurance on that point. I have some doubt as to whether the methods adopted by the Government in urging the people to grow wheat could not be improved. I think if they were to use the same methods as they have adopted in the case of beet it might be more satisfactory. In any case it would be more informative. We would know better where we were. I mean something in the nature of getting a contract from the farmer as to the amount of wheat he would sow or the acreage he would sow.

It might be even better if some plan could be devised whereby the farmer would be expected—compelled, if necessary—to supply to the national pool a certain number of barrels of wheat in proportion to the amount of arable land on his holding. It would be easy to estimate the amount of wheat required by the nation, the amount of arable land and the yield per acre. Taking the yield as being five or six barrels per acre—which is a low average—you could say to each farmer: “You have so many acres; you will be expected to supply for each acre five barrels of wheat, which will go into the national pool.” It will be his job then to supply that number of barrels of wheat and, having done that, he has done his share. If he grows more wheat he can use it for his own purposes or, he may get his quota from his neighbour if he is not able to produce it himself. I think if something on that line were done, we would [1644] know better where we were in the matter of the supply of the necessary quantity of wheat for the people.

Senator Healy referred to forestry. There has been a lot of discussion about forestry, but I feel that one way of getting quite a number of small belts of land planted would be to give a grant under the farm improvements scheme or some other such scheme to individual farmers who would plant suitably, and according to the directions of the Agricultural College or somebody from the Department, a certain area, say, half an acre or an acre of waste land. Afforestation on a large scale necessitates the cultivation of large areas of land, but on many farms there are small areas, half an acre, or one or two acres, that could be planted by the farmer if he got a certain amount of encouragement by way of grant under the farm improvements scheme. Such a grant should not be confined to the year of planting. There should be some small grant each year for maintenance. Under a scheme of that kind quite a large area of small plots would be planted all over the country. After all, it is not the big forests that are being cut down now; it is the small woods of an acre or half an acre, and these require to be replaced. If the Government were to consider such a scheme, I believe it would encourage the farmers to plant and make up for the denudation of the country that is taking place at the present time.

Mr. Honan: Information on Thomas V Honan  Zoom on Thomas V Honan  We have all listened with great interest to the debate, especially the discussion regarding the revival, or lack of revival, of the Irish language. I wish to discuss another matter. We have heard from the Minister that the amount of the subhead for old age pensions has been increased by £120,000. That, I understand, does not represent an increase in the amount payable to old age pensioners, but arises out of an increased number of old age pensioners. That speaks volumes for the good health of the old people of the country, for which we are very glad. The point I wish to make is this: if we wish to maintain the great value of the Old Age Pensions Act, which, I think, was [1645] one of the most beneficial Acts that came to us from an alien Government, we ought to do something more than we are doing. We all appreciate that since that Act was passed the purchasing power of the half-note has decreased to a very great extent. I think, notwithstanding our heavy expenses, the time has come to consider an increase in the old age pension. I would suggest, in view of the depreciation of the purchasing power of money, the Minister for Finance might see his way to increase the old age pension by at least 50 per cent. Some people believe that everybody in receipt of an old age pension gets 10/-. That is not so. The amount varies from 10/- to 4/- according to the means of the recipient. I am sure every Party in the House would agree that the time has come when an increase in the old age pension is highly desirable.

Leas-Chathaoirleach:  That would be a matter for legislation. This Bill deals with administration.

Mr. Honan: Information on Thomas V Honan  Zoom on Thomas V Honan  We have the Minister for Finance here and, having thrown out the suggestion, I hope he will make use of it at the proper time. I was interested in the comparisons made by Senator Baxter of the earning power of a man in the city and a man in the country. The city man apparently values his standard at £168, whereas the countryman is worth only £68. I suggest, without any expert knowledge, that that is owing to the peculiar circumstances of both parties. In the town there are equal opportunities for all, but that is not so in the country. That is due largely to the inadequate holdings that the country people possess. In the West of Ireland generally, 75 per cent. of the holders of farms are under a valuation of £15. How could any of these people make £68 on a farm with a valuation under £15? The Senator went back to the years 1927-28. That is a long time back.

Mr. Fitzgerald: Information on Desmond FitzGerald  Zoom on Desmond FitzGerald  I think the Senator was referring to the 1937-38 comparison.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I mentioned £96 for the country man in 1926-27.

[1646]Mr. Honan: Information on Thomas V Honan  Zoom on Thomas V Honan  Some large estates have been divided since, and perhaps the countryman's standard has increased. The comparison was easily understood from the point of view of the means they have in the towns of earning a greater amount of money. A countryman could not possibly make that sum out of his small holding, and I do not think there will be any improvement in that respect—it would be simply impossible. In the towns there are always possibilities, but, in the case of the small farmer, he cannot make much more out of his land than in preceding years. Then, again, the number of people who have to subsist on the small farm is much more considerable than in the case of larger farms. I think I struck a wrong note with regard to the old age pensions.

Leas-Chathaoirleach:  The Senator was playing the wrong instrument, not striking the wrong note.

Mr. Honan: Information on Thomas V Honan  Zoom on Thomas V Honan  I agree with other speakers as regards the Irish language. I have heard it stated on all sides that there seems to be something wrong and nobody knows where the trouble lies. The extraordinary thing is that in the case of some primary schools the students of particular teachers come out of those schools with a very good standard of Irish. It occurs to me that in the case of these particular schools the language sticks in the children, as it were, and that must be because of the enthusiasm of the teacher. We all remember the enthusiasm that existed when the Gaelic League was a voluntary movement from 1900 to 1929. There were evening classes and feiseanna all over the country. Since teaching the language became a State charge, and the country is paying very substantially for the knowledge that is being imparted, somehow there does not seem to be the same eagerness or enthusiasm. Perhaps it is because we had something to fight for then, and now that we have got it, our enthusiasm has disappeared.

I should like to add my voice to that of the man in the street in saying that there is a need for some inquiry as to [1647] whether there are better methods of reviving Irish. If there are, we should adopt them. Let us forget the past and look to a successful future. That policy would have the general approval of everybody interested in the promotion of Irish.

Pádraic O Máille: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  Is áthas liom na smaointe a chualamar ar gach taobh den tSeanad indiu mar gheall ar theangaidh na tíre seo. Is tráthúil an t-am ar nochtadh na smaointe seo, go mór-mhór ó thárla gurb é aimsir Lá Fhéile Pádraig atá ann; agus freisin mar gheall ar phosta ollamhain a líonadh i gColáiste na hIolscoile an lá faoi dheire.

Labhair an Seanadóir Ó Conaill i dtaobh na hoibre atá déanta ar son na Gaedhilge ag na múinteoirí náisiúnta ar fud na tire. Níor thug sé thar a gceart den mholadh dóibh, mar tá sár-obair déanta aca. Ach, nuair a thosuigh sé ag cáineadh agus ag fagháil locht ar an Aire Oideachais, chuaidh sé thar fóir. Ní raibh sé ag labhairt ar son na múinteoirí a rinneadh sár-obair ar son na Gaedhilge. Tá a fhios aca san go maith nach bhfuil aon Aire sa tír seo is dúrachtaighe i dtaobh na Gaedhilge ná an tAire Oideachais. Nuair a thagas sé annseo, nó nuair a bhíonn sé ag labhairt sa Dáil, tugann sé deagh-shompla i gcomhnuidhe. Fear dáiríribh atá ann; agus aon fhear atá dáiríribh—pé aca tá tú ar aon intinn leis nó nach bhfuil —caithfidh tú meas a thabhairt dó.

I think the present is a very approprivate time for us to have this general approval from all parts of the Seanad of the spread and restoration of the language, coming so soon after a certain recent appointment made in Dublin. Every great movement makes a surge forward and there is then a temporary reaction. It is well to have it clearly stated that the Irish language is not the possession of any Party or section in the country. It belongs to the whole of the Irish people.

Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.

Pádraic O Máille: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  I was dealing with [1648] suggestions made by Senator Hayes for general co-operation in the country on the question of the restoration and spread of the Irish language. Judging by the responses that came from different parts of the House, it would appear that that co-operation will be forthcoming. The Senator made one remark that I could not agree with. He expressed the fear that that great song, which he quoted in Irish and in English—Roisín Dubh—would, at some time, perhaps, appear ridiculous. I think the Senator's fears in that direction are groundless, because the spirit of the original version of Roisín Dubh, and its magnificent translation by Clarence Mangan, will outlive empire.

The Taoiseach, in his broadcast last night, stated that there were two important questions before the country at the moment awaiting solution. The first was its re-unification, and the second the restoration of the Irish language. We hope to see in our time the restoration of the national territory under one jurisdiction. We hope that every patriotic Irishman will do his duty to see that the unity of Ireland is brought about at the earliest possible moment. There are outside forces to be encountered in that respect, but these, with God's help, will also be overcome.

As regards the second point, the restoration of the Irish language, that depends entirely on the people themselves. We have the power, if we have the will and the enthusiasm, to establish the Irish language once more in our land. Senator Hayes said that it might be unfair to charge the British Government with the abolition of the Irish language over large parts of the country. If the British Government did not do that directly themselves they had their agents in every corner of the land to help do it: the landlords, their agents and underlings. They even went so far as to anglicise Irish names and give them so-called English translations. But they are gone, so that the task of restoring the Irish language to its original position falls upon us. I notice that the Irish Times is a pessimist on this question. But faith moves [1649] mountains, and if we take up this matter with the energy that characterised us in the early Sinn Féin days, we ought to be able to complete the task.

I was sorry to hear certain insinuations made here to-day against the Minister for Education, one of the most consistent supporters of the language movement that we have in the country. He speaks the language in his own home, uses it in his office and frequently in addressing both Houses of the Oireachtas. There are some people who would wish to speak harshly of the Minister for Education because he might wish to do more work for the language than they are really doing. It is just to say that a tribute is due to the great body of the national teachers of this country. They have for long years past done magnificent work on behalf of the language. They did it in the old days without fee or award. They have been continuing that work since but then these very same teacher workers would be the first, as I know, to pay a just tribute to the Minister for Education for his efforts on behalf of the language. This, as Senator Hayes has stated, is not a sectional matter. We are appealing to a wide public. We are appealing to the Gáll, to the nua-Gháll and the sean-Gháll; the Irish language belongs to every man, woman and child nurtured and reared in this country. We want the co-operation of all of them and with that co-operation, please God, we hope in a short time to see the old language established throughout the country.

The McGillycuddy of the Reeks: Information on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  Zoom on McGillycuddy of the Reeks  I should like to support Senator O'Connell's appeal for an inquiry regarding the language. We are all ready and willing to help in every possible way to restore it and to make it a really living language, but I think that energy, applied without judgment and experiment, will possibly make the language unpopular rather than popular, and will certainly not make a success of its revival. Tremendous difficulties are facing the national teachers in this country, and one which Senator O'Connell did not mention is [1650] that it is not everybody by any means, in fact it is only a minority, who is able to teach a language. If you take the National University, you have a Professor of Economics, another of Greek, another of Education—all specialists because they can do one particular thing better than any other person; but if you merged all their functions together and made them all do the same lectures in turn, they would become a bit of a joke in the college after a week or a fortnight.

In regard to the question of afforestation, Senator O'Connell said that it would be a great thing if small farmers and others could get grants to enable them to plant waste land. They can get grants, but the real difficulty, particularly in the West and South of Ireland, is that you must get fairly good land to plant trees just as you must have fairly good land to raise wheat or oats. Many of these patches of land have been reclaimed from the rocky mountains and cultivated by the efforts of the present occupiers and they are not going to devote any of it to forestry because they say that they cannot wait 40 or 50 years until the trees reach maturity before they get any return. That is the great difficulty facing the Forestry Department at the present time. They cannot get land in places where it is wanted for afforestation purposes.

On the question of general policy, I think the Minister's statement gave us very little indication that the Government has any forward policy in process of crystallisation. I agree that a considerable proportion of the money that is being spent is attributable to expenditure required for the emergency. The Government is doing what it can to meet that emergency, but a great deal of the money for which we are asked is required for normal expenditure. The figures do not, however, give any idea of what provision there is on the part of the Executive Council for the future. By the future I mean the time when hostilities have ceased in such a way that the countries with which we are concerned—chiefly western Europe and Africa—are able to resume their peaceful activities. We shall then find a [1651] Europe torn and stricken as a result of this conflict, requiring reconstruction. At a time when there is a great deal of work to be done after this conflict, thousands of our young men and women who have been earning wages on the other side and assisting the efforts of one of the belligerent countries, will be coming home, seeking employment in their own homes. This is a problem which I think I mentioned to the Minister on the Appropriation Bill last year and at the time he could not see any solution for it. Can the Minister tell us now of any plans which are being made to ensure that we shall get our share of the raw materials which we shall require to give employment to these young people when they come home, and so avoid the trouble which unemployment is bound to bring with it? Furthermore, will we be able to make articles for export to countries which require them, and thus make it possible for us to keep up our standard of living and, perhaps, raise it? I feel that we must know whether there is any definite plan to enable us to export finished produce. We would all be happier if we knew that satisfactory contacts were being made with other nations and that we are not going to be left as the last people to be supplied with the raw materials during the reconstruction period after the war.

I urge the Minister and the House to realise that the competition for contracts for the reconstruction of the devastated countries will be very keen and that many will be tendering for them. Arrangements should be made now, and we should know about them, to the end that we get our part in the work. When you find Prime Ministers, First Citizens of States, moving all over the world in order to further the success of their particular countries, it is a little disappointing that our Ministers are not prepared to make such personal contacts and negotiate for those things which will be required here if we are to succeed. They seem to leave it to other people, who have not the definite powers to make a settlement one way or another.

The problem of post-war unemployment [1652] is most serious—far more serious than the question of Partition or the Irish language. It is not a question which can be dealt with suddenly, when it arises, by our unproductive and casual relief schemes and doles, which make for discontent and restlessness. It requires a very clear-cut policy, which visualises the production of goods which we can sell. Such a policy should be examined and crystallised to the greatest possible extent at the first possible moment. I recommend that to the Minister and would very much like to hear whether the Government's plans are in any way advanced towards that end.

Mr. Campbell: Information on Sean Patrick Campbell  Zoom on Sean Patrick Campbell  I have not very much to say in regard to the Bill which the Minister has submitted to the House, except in so far as the increasing demands for expenditure arising out of the emergency are concerned. Having regard to the circumstances that have necessitated that expenditure, no one can cavil at the amount of the bill or criticise it unduly. It is not really the amount of the bill that matters: it is the way in which the money is spent. In the main, I have not much objection to the way in which it is spent, but would like to see more of it spent in doing something to alleviate, if not solve, the difficulties that continue to press so heavily on such a large section of our people. Undoubtedly, a vast amount of money is being spent on the social services, but it is not nearly enough to permit people to meet the ever-increasing rise in the cost of living. In all conscience, it is serious enough for the person who is in full employment, but the condition of the unemployed—both those who receive unemployment benefit and those who are reduced to unemployment assistance, the widows and orphans and the aged to whom Senator Honan referred —may be more easily imagined than described. I add my appeal to that of Senator Honan and ask the Minister to do something, however little, to improve the conditions of those people so sorely hit by the present emergency.

The question of education has come before the House to-day and emphasis has been laid by Senator Hayes and [1653] others, quite rightly, on the desirability and, indeed, the absolute necessity of restoring the Irish language as the everyday method of expression of our people. Everyone—whether he or she is in the fortunate position of being a fluent Irish speaker or has, like myself, only a very limited knowledge of the language—will agree that that very desirable objective should be achieved in the shortest space of time. An inquiry is long overdue into the reasons which prompt so many of our children to give up the language, willingly and readily, when they leave school. There must be sound reasons why children are anxious to get away from the language when they leave school. It is not for me to indicate the methods that should be adopted to ascertain those reasons, but, in my experience, I find that children are very glad to be rid of the necessity to study Irish once they leave school. I attended a meeting of the Municipal School of Printing on Tuesday last, when one of the reports came up. We try to make every apprentice to the printing trade have an adequate knowledge of Irish. We started a special class for advanced students last session with 26 students, and on Tuesday last there were only three boys, I think, left in the class. There must be a reason for that. It may be found in the statement made by Senator O'Connell that teaching other subjects through the medium of Irish has caused a dislike for the language.

I find that ardent advocates of the Irish language can be intolerant at times, and that people like myself who have only a very indifferent knowledge of Irish are looked down upon by those possessing a more adequate and competent knowledge of the language. Occasionally I find, too, an arrogance that is very hard to define on the part of some people who are keen advocates of the Irish language. A little incident came under my notice recently. It does not really refer to the Irish language but it shows the attitude of mind which prevails in some quarters. I was a member of an association up to a few days ago which, at its last meeting, solemnly passed a resolution denouncing a certain foreign representative in this [1654] country because he had presented a trophy of some kind—a shield or a cup —to a hockey league. They solemnly passed a resolution denouncing this foreign representative for daring to do such a thing. Unlike Senator Hayes, who seems to be a soccer fan, I have never been at a soccer game. I never attended any but native games but I think that the attitude of mind to which I have referred is to be deplored. In his very admirable speech this evening, Senator Hayes referred to the different atmosphere which manifests itself now from that which obtained 30 or 40 years ago. Listen ing to “Question Time” on Sunday nights, it is amazing to discover the absolute ignorance of young people regarding matters of Irish history, Irish literature and other things pertaining to the cultural life of the country. I do not know what the cause of the difference is or how it has become so manifest. Senator Hayes referred to the thrill which he used to experience in listening to the singing of “My Dark Rosaleen” 30 years ago. I am sure that the modern young boy or girl of 16 or 17 years of age would describe that as “all blah”. It is deplorable that such a situation should exist but there it is. I often feel ashamed, listening to “Question Time” on Sunday night, of the absolute ignorance of our young people not in regard to the Irish language, but in regard to Irish history and the songs which we were accustomed to sing and to which we were accustomed to listen when we were young. That is an amazing commentary——

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  There is a radical change in the circumstances.

Mr. Campbell: Information on Sean Patrick Campbell  Zoom on Sean Patrick Campbell  It is deplorable that such a spirit should be manifesting itself to such a degree. I join with other Senators who have asked for an inquiry into the reasons for this condition of affairs. While it may be possible to restore the Irish language as the everyday language of our people, I see tremendous difficulties in the doing of it. It is easy enough to keep the language alive amongst children who pass on to the university and who have further opportunities of studying it [1655] and speaking it there, or amongst children who go into the professions or who get a job in the Civil Service. But it is not so easy in the case of a young boy of 15 or 16 years who is taken from school and put into a workshop where he never hears the language spoken. How is the Irish language to be kept alive amongst people in that condition of life? That is a very serious problem and one which will have to be tackled as soon as possible. If the language is to attain the place it ought to attain in the nation, then attention will have to be given to that aspect of the problem.

While on the question of education, I should like to refer to another aspect of our educational system—the small amount of attention given to the teaching of civics in our schools. It is only necessary to read the papers each day to realise how lack of citizenship is manifesting itself in damage to public and private property in our cities. The children concerned are not deliberately or wilfully committing these little offences of breaking lamps and damaging public and private property. They are doing these things because they are not told that it is wrong to do them. I think that some time should be devoted by the schools to tuition of that kind. Ultimately these little offences multiply and, unfortunately, some of the children concerned find themselves in industrial schools. That is to be deplored because the industrial school is, in many cases, merely a step to the prison. I made an investigation and in many cases I found that, as a result of these small offences, many of our youths later drift to the prisons. Some time should be devoted by our schools to making good citizens of our children because, if we are to attain a position of nationhood in the real sense, we must have good citizens. Something should be done to effect that.

Senator The McGillycuddy referred to the problems which will confront us in the post-war period. I should like to urge on the Minister the absolute necessity for taking steps now to prepare for that period. Planning will [1656] be necessary and now is the time to commence the planning. We have had statements from responsible Ministers that planning has been already undertaken to some extent, but to what extent I am not sure. The problems which will, assuredly, confront us in the post-war period may be much more difficult than those of the period we are now going through and our energies and efforts might well be directed to ascertaining how we will meet these problems when the war is over. It does not matter what Government is in power—whether Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael—we shall have to face up to these problems and anything worked out now will be of assistance to whatever Government is in power. We ought to urge on the Minister to do everything possible to prepare for that period. We are told that hundreds of thousands of people will be coming back from Britain and a rather advanced view will be manifesting itself when these people come back. Having regard to their environment at present, they will not meekly submit to the conditions that may be imposed upon them through unemployment in the post-war period.

I should like to refer to one little item in which I have a personal interest. There is a decrease of £15,517 in the Vote for Stationery and Printing for the coming financial year. It is explained that that decrease is due to the fact that in 1942-3 provision was made for the purchase of fairly considerable quantities of paper. I do not know whether the Government or the Stationery Office, which has a competent chief, is satisfied that sufficient paper is available for our needs during the present emergency. I would, however, urge that, if paper is available, it should be purchased. It is the raw material of the fourth or fifth most important industry in the country—the printing industry. If paper is available, the Government should not neglect to purchase it for the sake of a saving of £15,000, or even £150,000. We all know the difficulties under which the newspaper industry is labouring through lack of newsprint. Some of the newspapers have only themselves to blame. They had tens of thousands of pounds lying on [1657] deposit before the war and they did not take steps to use that money for the purchase of paper. They are very critical of the Government now because of the shortage of paper but some of them are responsible for the position in which they find themselves in that respect.

I agree with Deputy Dillon who stated in the Dáil, on this Bill, that he would borrow to the extent of £100,000,000 provided that the money would be used for productive purposes. It does not matter so much what amount we borrow, provided the money is spent in the right way. I urge on the Minister to give consideration to the points I have made, particularly in regard to the inadequate allowances given to the most sorely pressed of our people.

Professor Tierney: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  If there is one subject more than another agitating the people's minds at present it is the approaching general election, and it is fairly clear that the ferment of the general election is already beginning to work in the minds of all the Party leaders. I do not know whether there is anything sinister about the fact that the only reference to the general election in the Minister's statement was contained in what he had to say about the Vote for the Gárda Síochána.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  He expects interruptions.

Professor Tierney: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  It is an unfortunate consequence of the constitution of the Seanad that Senators are practically precluded now from expressing any views on such questions as the general election, but I for one would like to put on record my own feeling that it is a terrible pity that something could not have been done to avoid running the very grave risks which will be involved in holding a general election at present. We heard a lot to-day about unity, about national tasks and about the grave period which will confront us when the war is over, but in all probability, long before the war is over, we shall have gone through an experience which, quite [1658] possibly, may be more dangerous to us than even the invasion we were so much afraid of a few years ago.

No one knows what the result of the general election may be, and it may quite possibly be that we shall have no real Government at all after the general election. It is, I suppose, too late now to appeal to anybody to take measures at the twelfth hour to bring about that national unity which has been so much talked about, but, in spite of the apparent unanimity among the Parties that we must have a general election, that there is no avoiding it, I still think that, in holding a general election at present, in the name of democracy or in the name of legality, we are running a grave risk of bringing about a situation in which democracy and legality will cut their own throats.

Senator O Maille referred to the speech of the Taoiseach on the wireless last night and to what the Taoiseach said about the two great national tasks confronting the country. The first of these tasks, he said, was the bringing about of the unity of the whole nation. It sounds almost like a note from the dim and distant past to hear a reference to that subject, and I think that everybody in the country feels that the prospect of unity in the nation as a whole has receded further and further into the distance as time has gone on.

When we talk about unifying the nation, one thing we seem to forget is that there is no hope whatever of uniting the whole Irish nation until this part of the nation has got itself united first. No single Party is ever going to unite the Irish nation. That is as sound and as certain an axiom as anyone ever propounded, and so long as we have the lunatic Party division we have, whatever the origin of it may be or whatever justifications there may be for it, we can put all notions of uniting Ireland out of our minds and forget about them, because we have about as much chance of bringing down the moon as we have of getting a united Ireland by having general elections and denouncing each other at every crossroad.

[1659] We can get progress towards uniting the nation only by uniting ourselves, and I think that principle applies with equal force to the other national objective, the restoration of the national language, of which the Taoiseach spoke. There is no hope of restoring the national language unless we can get some form of agreement among ourselves about what we mean when we talk of restoring it and about what steps we propose to take to that end. If anyone thinks he is doing good to the cause of the language by denouncing other Irishmen in connection with it, by working up an agitation against the National University, for instance, or by saying that the governing body of University College consists of people who want the Black and Tans back, he is suffering from about as great a delusion as it would be possible for any man to suffer from.

Senator O Maille talked about enthusiasm, energy and so on, but enthusiasm and energy are valuable in proportion to the extent to which they are diffused over a large number of people. If you have a small minority of rather noisy people, enthusiastic and energetic against a very large proportion of their fellow countrymen and adopting a pharisaical and hypercritical attitude towards that majority, you are not going to get any value from that enthusiasm and energy, and we might as well recognise that at once, because we are simply wasting our time, so far as the language is concerned, if we proceed on any other basis. The first thing to do about the Irish language is to get the people to want to restore the Irish language.

That, I am afraid, is the great trouble about the whole situation— that the work we have done for the last 20 years, in spite of all the wonderful energy, enthusiasm and self-sacrifice which many people put into it and in spite of the real progress which has been made, has not brought the people as a whole with it, and that there has been a great deal of falling off by the way. There is no use in saying that the people who have fallen off, or who have become less [1660] enthusiastic about the language now than 20 years ago, are traitors. If the majority of the people become traitors in that respect, your cause is lost. You may call them whatever names you like, but it will not get you anywhere. That, I am afraid, is the trouble about the whole language movement—that it has been forced with such energy in certain directions, and with such little consideration for realities and facts, that it has tended to cause a very large number of people, who once upon a time were solidly behind it, to turn against it.

When we get that type of situation, especially in connection with a subject like the Irish language, which is so vastly important to the country, it is time we began to take notice and began to consider the question of how far our methods have been right up to this, and whether we cannot do something to amend them, if we find anything wrong with them. I was very pleased to hear the speeches made from all sides of the House to-day, by Senator Hayes, Senator O'Connell and Senator Goulding—all on the same note and all making the same suggestion to the Government—and so far as I have any weight, I should like to add my voice to theirs, and beg the Government, at this late hour, before any more harm is done than has been done up to the present to the cause of the language, to take time to consider the matter, to set up some body which will go into the methods and procedures used so far and try to find out what has been wrong with them and what has led to the phenomenon which I think most people agree exists—the falling away from the language cause.

Senator Healy said that he did not notice any falling away and that the children of Dublin were making wonderful progress. I do not know whether Senator Healy was talking about his own children, or whether he has any experience of the position with regard to children. If he was talking about children of his own, he is a very unusual parent.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  Senator Healy is not here and I do not think it fair that the [1661] Senator should refer to him in this way.

Mr. Byrne: Information on Christopher Michael Byrne  Zoom on Christopher Michael Byrne  He is not married.

Professor Tierney: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  I beg the Senator's pardon. I might have known that in any case, since if he were married and had children he would be a most unusual type of parent, because I think that 99.9 per cent. of parents in this country would agree that there is something wrong with regard to the teaching of the Irish language.

Mr. Quirke: Information on William Quirke  Zoom on William Quirke  You are ruining the Senator's chance of getting married!

Professor Tierney: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Well, he might find some optimistic and enthusiastic upholder of the present methods of teaching the language like himself. But I think it is a fact that the vast majority of parents in this country at the present time would agree that there is something wrong in the present method of teaching the language, that it is imposing too great a burden on the children and that, apart from the very great burden that is being imposed on the children, no proportionate results are being got from the efforts of either the teachers or the children. Now, when you have a situation like that, there is no use in talking about traitors, or of wanting the Black and Tans back here, and so on. You have to take the facts as you find them, and if, after 20 years, you find that not much progress is being made in the restoration of the language, you certainly will not restore it by that kind of talk—far from it. Rather, you will only strengthen the opposition to the language—the new opposition that is already forming among our own people, forming to such a degree that, sooner or later, unless something is done about it, our people will throw the language away, and, probably, bring on our country a worse disaster than anything it has experienced before in our whole history.

There is one thing that particularly concerns me here. Perhaps, it may be said that I am an alarmist or a pessimist. I do not think I am, although I have been called a sworn enemy of the Irish language. But one thing that I [1662] do see is that, as a result of the new conditions, where young people go through the schools and colleges and are taught subjects such as Algebra through the medium of Irish, they are inclined to say afterwards that they have got no good out of it, and, once they have left school, the language is thrown away, so to speak. As I say, I may be an alarmist. Surely it would be well to look into the matter with a view to seeing whether there is any justification for that contention. At any rate, that is what I feel, and I think that feeling of mine is shared by a great many other people.

I agree with what Senator O'Connell said. I regret to say that I even agree with him in what he said about the Minister's attitude to the setting up of a commission of inquiry, and when he pointed out, that, undoubtedly, the movement for the restoration of the Irish language has failed to a greater extent than anybody expected it would fail, and that it has lost whatever momentum it originally had. I would even go further than Senator O'Connell, and say that a real retrogression has shown itself, so far as the language is concerned. That is a thing that I do not like. It is a thing that no one could look upon with equanimity, and I think we should examine into its causes with a view to trying to remove the dangers that are quite obvious to us all.

It is quite easy, of course, for anyone to pick out causes for the comparative failure in the restoration of the language so far. In all probability, there are half a dozen different causes. The greatest cause of all, of course, is that the enterprise of restoring our national language is a very difficult enterprise, and it is really nobody's fault that there should be such a failure. We all know that the people who are engaged in teaching Irish are doing wonderful work, and that they have put a great deal of enthusiasm, energy, and so on, into that work, but the task is so difficult that all the enthusiasm and energy in the world cannot get you beyond a certain distance, and the task is especially difficult when you try to accomplish it in an unreasonably short period of time.

[1663] In that connection, I may say that it is extraordinary what views some people can have on this question of changing over from one language to another. For instance, a booklet was written recently on this matter of the restoration of our national language. It was written, obviously, by a man who had studied the matter with great care and with whose point of view most people would be in sympathy, but in the end he puts a dilemma to the people with regard to the language. He says, in effect, that either we must abandon the language altogether, and everything that goes with it—throw it away and forget about it altogether— or else we must decide to restore the language, as the full speech of our people, in the Oireachtas, in business affairs, in the schools and universities, in all national institutions, and in every walk of national activity—and that that must be done in four years' time. Why he should take the term of four years, I do not know. But it is extraordinary how people can present a picture in that way. Now, we often draw analogies with the past when we are speaking of the future. For instance, we talk a lot about the English Government destroying our language, but what happened was that it took at lease 300 years to extinguish our language to the extent to which it has become extinct. It was not the Famine or the national schools that destroyed the language. Neither of these influences could have destroyed it if it had not been already gravely weakened, and that weakening did not begin in the 19th century, or even in the 18th century, but long before that. That decay had been creeping on for at least 300 years.

Pádraic O Máille: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  Since Kinsale!

Professor Tierney: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Yes, since Kinsale. First of all, you had the disappearance of the learned classes; then you had the Williamite Wars, and it is my belief that one of the things that tended more than anything else to destroy the language was the prestige of Grattan's Parliament in 18th century Dublin. I think that the [1664] prestige of that Parliament with the people of Ireland had a lot to do with the weakening of the grip which the Irish people had held on their language up to that time. Now, if it took all that time to work out the process of changing our people from an Irish-speaking people to an English-speaking people, how can you expect that to be undone in 14 or 15 years, much less in four years? It will take a generation or two at least, and what I think we need most of all is patience and toleration by all our people.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  And courage!

Professor Tierney: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Senator Campbell spoke, for instance, of the disdain of people who have a more competent knowledge of the national language than he has. If it were confined to that alone, and if they really had a competent knowledge, it might be understandable enough, but very often the people who are disdainful and contemptuous in that regard are people who know very little themselves, but whose chests are big and strong——

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  And whose heads are empty.

Professor Tierney: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  ——and who like to shove out their chests. Now, that kind of thing is not going to produce enthusiasm for the language on the part of people who do not know very much about it, or even on the part of people who know the language very well. That spirit of impatience and intolerance is probably the most dangerous enemy that the Irish language has at the moment, and if there is one thing that will kill the language, it will be that kind of intolerance and disdain, and the apathy that such intolerance will produce in the majority of our people—an apathy that is increasing day by day. That apathy, and even incipient hostility, is not confined to the Irish Times or to the Unionists, or the people who want the Black and Tans back; it is now to be found amongst people whose fathers were “out” in 1916. It is to be found amongst people whose parents were able to speak the language, but who [1665] do not find it in accordance with their self-respect to speak the language in such circumstances as those in which they are expected to speak it now.

If that attitude is persisted in, you can be quite certain that, no matter what views we may have or how strongly we may feel, it will kill the Irish language stone dead. We will have to get rid of it. We will have to put it out of our minds. We will have to begin to practise charity towards one another and patience in regard to reaching our objective before we can get any further. Another virtue we must begin to practise, I believe, is intelligence. The Taoiseach talked last night about the necessity for doing something, getting a move on, making progress, making this year a red-letter year in the development of the Irish language. It is all very fine to talk like that, but, if all the Taoiseach means by that is that we must keep on as we have been going, that we must simply keep our heads down and persevere in the methods that have brought us where we are, he is simply wasting his time, with all due respect to him. He will not get the effort or the enthusiasm unless, first of all, the people are persuaded that there is intelligence behind the language movement, that there is a plan which has been thought out and which intelligent people are concerned in working out. One of the great troubles at the present moment is that the people are not persuaded and cannot be persuaded of that when they see what is happening to their own children in the schools. They cannot be persuaded that it is intelligent to take a little boy or girl in the Dublin slums, whose whole future will depend on his or her capacity to read and write at the age of 14, and teach that little boy or girl arithmetic, for instance, through the medium of a language with which that little boy or girl is utterly unfamiliar and with which the teacher who is trying to teach it. is largely unfamiliar. That sort of attitude, that kind of unintelligent approach to the problem, has been doing an immense amount of harm, and, in the interests of the Irish language itself, apart altogether from the interests of general education, we [1666] ought to consider whether it cannot be modified or abandoned.

This evening we heard a good deal about the teachers and the great work they are doing. Somebody very rightly pointed out that there are all kinds of teachers; that no two teachers are alike; that one teacher can get the greatest success in teaching a language, while another teacher, who might be a first class teacher of mathematics, for instance, or of music, or of some other very important subject, cannot make any fist of teaching a language at all. You cannot get teachers to do more than they are capable of doing. One of the things that have led up to the report which Senator O'Connell spoke about is that the teachers were expected to do more than they were capable of doing. The rest of us sat around and folded our hands and twiddled our thumbs and expected the national teachers and the secondary teachers to perform miracles. Now, when all that has failed and the miracle has not happened, we are turning to the National University and asking it to perform a miracle for us. We expect that, by having lectures in Irish on philosophy and history and such subjects, the whole problem will be solved. It will not be solved. You can wipe out the university in the morning, and abolish higher education altogether if you like, but that will not bring you half an hour nearer to the day you restore the Irish language. The sooner you get those notions out of your head the better, not merely for general education and the future of the country, but for the Irish language itself. If it is going to be tied to all that sort of narrow-minded prejudice and arrogance, it cannot prosper; there is no hope for it.

I think Senator Hayes was on very sound ground when he suggested that another element in the failure has been the tendency not to make enough use of the Irish language in its cultural aspects. If the Irish language means anything to us, it does not mean algebra; it is not a series of linguistic formulae. It is the embodiment of a magnificent tradition that belongs to us alone, and of which we alone have the right and duty to be proud. That [1667] tradition has not, I believe, been imparted to our children to anything like the extent that it ought to have been imparted. Senator O Máille suggested that Senator Hayes had been saying that a time would come when “Dark Rosaleen” would be regarded as nonsense. That was not what Senator Hayes said. What he said was that the time should have come now when the Irish original of “Dark Rosaleen” could cause as much enthusiasm in the youth of Ireland as the English translation did twenty-five years ago, and that moment is very far from being here.

Pádraic O Máille: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  What I did say was that Senator Hayes had fears that a time would come when the English and Irish versions of “Dark Rosaleen” would appear nonsense.

Professor Tierney: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  I do not think Senator Hayes said anything of that kind.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I did not.

Professor Tierney: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  I think Senator Hayes made a very sound point when he suggested that, if the language movement had been as successful as we all hoped it would be, we should by now have reached a time when the Irish original of “Dark Rosaleen” would have the same appeal to the youth of Ireland that the English translation had 20 or 25 years ago. I think that is the line on which we ought to proceed. There is far too much of a tendency to think that what we ought to do with Irish is to teach mathematics through it. I do not know by what ill chance this extraordinary misalliance between Irish and algebra was brought about at the very beginning. It has always been a puzzle to me. Personally, I have never been an enthusiast for algebra, and the most useless key to unlock my heart, or to arouse any enthusiasm in me is an algebraic formula, and I do not know why it should be expected at all to work with children. My experience of children is that they learn just enough algebra to pass examinations, and forget it as [1668] soon as they can, and what they have been doing in the last 20 years is forgetting the Irish they were taught along with it.

I noticed a most extraordinary thing only a few weeks ago, a criticism by a professor on the English course for the matriculation examination. There was a course of reading in English poetry suggested for the matriculation examination, and the professor—I do not think there is anything particularly confidential about this—wrote in to criticise the suggested course. Among his criticisms the one that struck me most forcibly was that there was not enough national atmosphere in the English poems chosen for the matriculation examination. What struck me about it was that this is the position we are in at the moment: we are teaching nationalism through the English language, through the medium of Thomas Davis and James Clarence Mangan, while we are teaching algebra through the Irish language, and expecting our children, by some peculiar quadratic equation, to associate Irish with patriotism after having gone through that course. That is perhaps a grotesque way of putting it, but there is a great deal of truth in it. We have dissociated Irish from the things that belong to it, from the tradition of the country, from the unique and unparalleled volume of popular poetry, popular music, popular lore of every kind, and we have linked it up with algebra and science and natural history and things of that sort. Of course, when we have made it a school subject like that, and linked it up with those other dry subjects, the natural result is that people abandon it when they leave school.

I have often wondered whether it was not a mistake to make Irish so much an examination subject at all; whether, for instance, in spite of the effect it had at the time, the whole agitation to make Irish compulsory for the National University Matriculation Examination in 1909 was not a mistake. It is very doubtful whether the idea that you can get anything permanent in the spiritual way through examinations has anything in it, and it is very doubtful whether the normal [1669] average child—whether indeed 99 per cent. of ordinary children—does not associate what he has to do for examinations with boredom. For instance, even with languages like French, with which there is no question of bias and no question of wanting the Black and Tans back or anything of that sort, it is quite common to meet children who have been taught French at school up to senior grade or up to leaving certificate, and who have been taught well enough to be able to read French at that age, but who promptly forget it when they leave school, and the main reason is that they have been taught it largely to enable them to pass examinations in it. Once they have passed the examinations—as was pointed out here in connection with the Civil Service— everything to do with the examinations is put aside. I doubt very much whether it would not be a wise thing, if we could do it, to dissociate Irish from examinations altogther, to put it on a different footing.

Indeed, I doubt very much if any good is served by the policy that we seem to have adopted from the begining to the end of the school curriculum, from the smallest child to pupils preparing for the leaving certificate, the policy of following the English model in everything we do with regard to the teaching of Irish. I see my youngest child, seven years old, who is learning Irish at school, learning it from infant text-books modelled exactly on English text-books, containing pictures of lovely little English children, orderly English fields, English cows, with the Irish language put in as a kind of addendum. The same applies in other subjects.

The programmes in the schools are organised on the same basis, as if you had to find some Irish equivalent for everything English. If you put Shakespeare into a course, you must have some Irish equivalent, and if you have not some Irish equivalent for Shakespeare, so much the worse for Irish. By such false comparisons you are ultimately doing damage to the Irish language; you associate it with something backward and defective. If we are to unite on the advancement of [1670] the language, we ought to work and to unite on an intelligent basis. Unless we so work and unite, intelligent men, women and children will not unite, and we will get nowhere. We must not argue that, at this hour of the day, after 20 years of what we have seen. There is no use in asking people to shut their eyes to the position of the Irish language. That may be very bad, very anglicised, very Black-and-Tannish on their part. They will not do otherwise, and it will be found that a generation will grow up which will throw away the language altogether, and be glad to be rid of it.

However I may be accused of being an opponent of Irish and of being too critical, I am one person who would regard it as the greatest single disaster that could befall the Irish people that they should lose all that immense body of tradition that makes our history, and without which we as a people have nothing to show. If we cannot keep that, and keep it through the medium of living Irish speech, our whole effort at self-government and to secure independence is gone for nothing. I am entirely in agreement with those who say that. The only difference is that I want to see intelligence applied to the problem of reviving the Irish language. I want to see people who know something about languages called in to help. I want to see all the aids of modern science put at our disposal and used for the purpose of reviving the Irish language. It is an extraordinary thing, after all these years, that there is hardly such a thing as a gramophone record, made by a native speaker speaking native Irish. You have gramophone records made by the Linguaphone Company, and in which people talk about pianos and drawing-rooms, but I doubt if there is one gramophone record in existence on which you can hear a native speaking as natives speak. That seems to me to be an astounding position. While we have neglected doing things like that we are driving people half crazy with algebra.

Mr. Goulding: Information on Seán Goulding  Zoom on Seán Goulding  May I intervene to mention that I think the Folklore Commission has made records?

[1671]Professor Tierney: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  Not gramophone records.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  They are dictaphone records.

Professor Tierney: Information on Prof. Michael Tierney  Zoom on Prof. Michael Tierney  If I am not mistaken, I think the director of the Folklore Commission has often complained to me on that point. He was able to get one record made but could not get sale for it. He could not get the Government to take it up. The same applies to grammars of the Irish language. There is no such thing in existence as an ordinary intelligent grammar of the Irish language of the same type as can be got for any other language. That is a remarkable fact. Children are taught Irish on the basis that they do not know any other language. They are made to use grammars written entirely in Irish before they know any Irish. You can imagine how children are helped to love a language presented to them in that way. We must get intelligence first; we must get an intelligent effort made so that our young people will really love the Irish language and want to learn it. One man who wants to learn the language does more good than 40 men compelled to learn it, and who throw it away when they get the chance. The whole effort should be concentrated on producing intelligent enthusiasm and love for the language. The great defect is that that is not being done at present.

While on that point, I think we could combine with our inquiries into the position of the language an inquiry into the possibilities of two inventions about which there has been nothing done here for cultural purposes. As Senator Baxter pointed out, one of these inventions is the wireless, and the other is the cinema. We have lived for the last 20 years under our own Government, and practically nothing in the way of propaganda of a decent kind has been done on the wireless. We have made the wireless a money-making instrument for the Treasury. As far as I am aware, its principal function has been to bring in a large amount to the revenue. As for planning its use intelligently, not merely for Irish, but for Irish history and Irish music, extremely [1672] little has been done. I am not blaming the officials in charge of the wireless for that. It is not their fault. It is because the people at the top, the Government, have done nothing, have no ideas about it, and have not tried to put any ideas into effect. Then there is the cinema. We imagine that we can restore the Irish language in Dublin, and other towns throughout Ireland, where there are cinemas by the dozen propagating American culture. Large numbers of people go to the cinemas every day of the week. Plenty of our people spend every spare penny they have on “the pictures,” where they watch and listen to American films, and get filled with the sort of crazy romantic ideas that they find in them. We have done absolutely nothing, except in a negative way, to control that powerful instrument.

When inquiring into what we have done about the Irish language, I think we might also inquire as to what has been done about the gramophone, the wireless, the cinema and the possibility of making some kind of intelligent use of them, not merely for the revival of Irish but to equip ourselves with some sort of decent standard of culture. I know that there are people who, when they hear culture mentioned, want to reach for their guns. If Ireland was worth fighting for, it was in order that the Irish people might become civilised after centuries of slavery, and it is because the Irish language is by far the greatest instrument that could be used to create Irish civilisation that it is worth saving. If we approach it in that fashion, bring intelligence to bear on it, as well as patience and toleration, we will get somewhere. If we do not do that soon, we will be face to face with a situation when the Irish language and everything that has gone with it will be lost.

Mrs. Concannon: Information on Helena Concannon  Zoom on Helena Concannon  I regret very much that I missed the greater part of this debate, but what I heard convinced me that the high note which was struck by Senator Hayes, when he initiated the debate after the Minister's opening statement, was well sustained. That speech devoted itself mainly to [1673] the fundamentals of our existence as a separate national entity. It dealt with the language and with economics, and I think there will be agreement on all sides of the House with what was postulated, namely, that it is time we should consider very carefully whether we are making the most of the money spent for the advancement of our national objects or whether there is any means of improving our methods. The speech of Senator Tierney was conceived in the same fashion, and, although I do not agree with everything he said, I think it was very useful. It is necessary at this juncture, more necessary than ever, that we should devote ourselves to questions such as these as we are at a critical point in world history and in our own history. The last war was supposed to be fought for the rights of small nations. In connection with this war there is no pretence at all that the smaller nations will have any rights. In fact, it is taken for granted that, if one particular group wins, they will divide the world amongst themselves and hold it in thrall. The best the other side claims is that there will be a series of big States round which frightened little nations will have to cluster for safety. Therefore it behoves all small nations to consider how to keep their identity. That is why this is so important and why the tone of this debate and the subjects treated in it were of the nature that they disclosed themselves to be.

Senator Tierney said what is quite true, that we are in danger of losing something that has come down to us through the centuries. That would be more tragic than if we lost our political independence. We have enjoyed that only for a comparatively short time. But the other thing, that feeling in our souls that we are a separate nation and a nation which was worth while keeping alive—that we have never lost. It is well that Senator Tierney reminded us that there is a danger of that being forgotten at the present moment. Therefore, we should cling to these things that are the realities of a separate nation. First of all comes the language. All Party differences should be forgotten and the great aim we should set ourselves is, in an intelligent [1674] way, to set about the task we have taken on ourselves to preserve, strengthen and defend the Irish language and all that goes with it. Words are nothing. It is the thoughts and feelings that they express that count. We have to aim at preserving all that is worth while that has come down to us from our ancestors. Senator Tierney put that splendidly, and I think his speech is well worth preserving if it were for nothing else than the point he made in reference to that.

I think it necessary at this juncture for small nations who wish to preserve their identity to remember that they have to be as self-reliant as possible. I hate the phrase “self-sufficiency”. There is no such thing; there never was such a thing. But there is such a thing as not being dependent on other nations who can take us by the throat and throttle us. We should go all out to produce everything that is necessary for a healthy existence. We should do what Senator Baxter wants us to do. We should aim at a high standard of farming, and here the education of our people will come to the rescue. Farming is a highly specialised profession. It needs a very careful and scientific training. It needs, above all, the help of women. No farmer is any good unless he has a helpful wife. Therefore, our girls should be trained for what is one of the greatest professions in the world, and for helping our men to make our country prosperous.

Another problem that we must face up to is that of unemployment, which will be aggravated, as Senator Campbell reminded us, when the war ends and thousands of people who left our shores come back clamouring for work. We must have plans for them. There is nothing in the world so bad as unemployment. It is bad for character, bad for the morale of the people, bad for their physical health. Therefore, we must have plans to absorb these people when they come back. We must aim at a system of education which will make the most of the capabilities of our people and teach them to turn to hard physical work, to be thrifty and to be content with simple pleasures.

[1675] Another thing which must be emphasised is that we must get away from this craze for pleasure and drink. We must work hard and realise the things we have to work for. These points I think were well emphasised during the debate. The Seanad has reason to congratulate itself that it took this line and the Minister ought to be glad that in any planning for the future which he and the Government will take in hands the Seanad will be behind them.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Seán Francis Gibbons  Zoom on Seán Francis Gibbons  I presume it is the intention not to sit to-morrow and to conclude to-night?

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  If possible.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Seán Francis Gibbons  Zoom on Seán Francis Gibbons  Then perhaps I might have some indication of the number of Senators who wish to speak. If necessary we can continue until 9.30 p.m., so as to give the Minister an opportunity of replying.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  It would be more necessary, I suggest, to know the length of time Senators who wish to speak will take.

Pádraic O Máille: Information on Pádraic Ó Maille  Zoom on Pádraic Ó Maille  The last buses will be leaving at half-past nine, and some Senators want to get home to-night.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Some of us will not be able to get home to-night, and will not be able to get home to-morrow unless the business is concluded to-night.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Seán Francis Gibbons  Zoom on Seán Francis Gibbons  Senators still to speak will, I am sure, bear these considerations in mind.

Mr. Cummins: Information on William Cummins  Zoom on William Cummins  This has been a very interesting discussion on the language. I listened to most of Senator O Máille's disquisition. It was vigorous, but it was out of date. It was such as I heard from Senator O Máille over 40 years ago, when he was one of the pioneers of the Irish language. I do not think the vigour of the speech was called for to-day; nor do I think that [1676] from any section of this House or the other House any word has been said against the preservation of the language. I think that is recognised by everybody, and that no responsible voice has been raised against it. We all recognise that it is the bedrock and the cornerstone of nationality; that if we are to preserve our identity in the world, where we will form a very small part, the national language must be an outstanding feature. Anything that has been said about the language had reference to the methods adopted. I agree with other speakers that the methods adopted have proved a definite failure. Instead of sympathy for the language and a desire for its preservation being cultivated during the last 20 years the contrary has been the fact. However, we can get down to the psychological reasons for that. That is difficult, and can only be done by an examination by such a committee as has been suggested with the object of investigating the whole matter.

I should say that 90 per cent. of the parents have no sympathy with the language at the moment. That arises chiefly from a deficiency in education in other subjects, notably perhaps in the English language. We find people with university degrees coming out into the world to earn a living who are not able to spell the English language or to write an intelligent letter through the medium of English or through the medium of Irish. That applies to native Irish speakers, who have failed ignominiously, after two years' course in some of our colleges, to pass the examinations as laid down for appointments in the public services. I wonder if the Minister has any influence with the Minister for Education. As he pays the piper, he should call the tune. We were not impressed here by the attitude of the Minister for Education towards the suggestions that came from the national teachers on the last occasion that this subject was discussed. I think it was unsympathetic and in bad taste. He treated with scorn the suggestions of the body of people who are mainly responsible for the work that has been done for the last 20 years. I am not suggesting that I would join [1677] the ranks of those who would dictate to people how to manage their own business, but so far as the language is concerned, I hope recent events in a large educational institution in this country will react in favour of the Irish language and that a new impetus will be given to the life of the language. I should say the first step in that direction should be the setting up of a commission to examine the best ways and means of dealing with this situation. The methods adopted up to the present have failed and, unless they are changed, we will continue the same humdrum methods resulting in antipathy on the part of the parents and dislike on the part of the children.

We have a very big bill before us, and I must say that, for the most part, it is disappointing especially inasmuch as there seems to be no constructive plan for the disposition of the moneys that the public are asked to provide. That applies particularly, I think, to agriculture. Our country has come to recognise the fundamental importance of this great industry. It is the basic industry by which all others live. There is no plan as to how all this money is to be spent. There is no indication that the policy for the future will be any better than it has been, that the policy, for instance, in the dairying section of driving out of the milk trade people who have a small quantity of land, in towns and villages, by compelling them to till a proportion of their land, will be changed. That policy has resulted in tremendous scarcity of milk in country towns and villages at the present moment, and that scarcity will continue even in the milk season. I have in mind two or three cases where the Minister was appealed to in respect of people with 13 or 14 acres of land who fed cows on purchased materials, but who had to till their proportion of land in spite of the fact that they could not get suitable fencing and had no implements. The result is that these men were driven out of the milk supply altogether. They were unable to continue. Of course, we are told that if they tilled more and adopted a mixed farming system permanently they could produce more milk. As a matter of [1678] fact, it would mean embarking on a new scheme of things, and I am doubtful as to whether they could produce more milk than they had been producing by the system of purchasing material and hand feeding. They are examples of many others. That arises, I suggest, on the Vote for Agriculture, and I think it should be remedied.

The ghost of unemployment still haunts us. There is no suggestion as to how this is to be met under the grants. There is under-employment, with consequent home assistance or unemployment assistance. £8,000,000 is devoted to that purpose. I suggest that it would be much better that money should be spent in useful employment of those who are employable. In that way, the provision would be reduced by half. There is a national asset going waste in the 90,000 persons that are at the moment on the unemployed list. At least 100,000 have left the country. We cannot very well trace them because they have gone across the Border. That is a tragedy, and if that tragedy continues we will have a land depopulated and agriculturally ruined.

Then there is a very low standard of living for possibly 250,000 of our people on account of small wages and high cost of goods. I have a case in mind of a poor woman who was receiving home assistance, which brings me to another matter—the black market. Vigorous steps have not been taken to suppress this hateful thing. The poor woman I have mentioned was getting a voucher for goods to the value of 3/9, out of which she bought one ounce of tea for 1/6. That made a good hole in her home assistance allowance. That sort of thing should be dealt with more vigorously. People are getting away with it.

The Land Commission is practically out of action at the very time when the best of the land is understocked, undertilled, and, in many cases, becoming a wilderness. The excuse is that they are employed in other activities, bog development, and so forth. Utilisation of the land by State means, if not the division of the land, should be taken up or, eventually, it will [1679] come to this, that all our land will have to be worked on a co-operative State system, with, perhaps, larger holdings than there are at present.

In regard to old age pensions, there is an increase in the amount, but that does not represent an increase in individual pensions, but, as has been pointed out, an increase in the number of old age pensioners. There is a section of pensioners that I have in mind, that is, those who were once national teachers, who retired on very small pensions, and who have not in some cases as much as old age pensioners. There are such cases. There are men who, after 20 to 40 years service, are not drawing as much as the normal old age pension. I think the Minister should make some provision for them. I do not know what the number is. There are only a few thousand of them, but I think they should not be forgotten. They gave good service to the State. They educated men who now fill the highest positions in the Civil Service in this country and in other countries. To-day they are starving on a miserable pittance allowed by this Government. Provision should be made for them.

The position in regard to afforestation is deplorable. It is completely neglected. Nothing has been done although about £4,000,000 a year is spent on unemployment. Men are standing idle while there is this opportunity of developing afforestation schemes. In regard to housing, it is very doubtful whether we will not find ourselves, before the emergency is over, without houses for many of our people. I think it is time that a committee of experts should devise some fresh housing plan. We should try to get away from the present system of housing and see whether we cannot get our houses erected purely with home-produced materials. It is desirable that we should have some new system whereby we will get cheap and comfortable houses. A lack of stone masons might be a difficulty, but that difficulty could soon be overcome. There are plenty of people who could easily turn from bricklaying to stone [1680] work. I think it is not beyond our ingenuity to devise some scheme which will involve the use of materials procurable in this country.

In the matter of housing, no scheme can be devised that will bring complete relief while the present system of credit exists. Practically half the cost of every house is involved in the purchase and preparation of the site and the payment of interest on loans, the repayment of which in many cases runs to 25 years. I say that that is a crying scandal. I suggest that houses should be built on State credit, with a State guarantee. While you are tied to the present system, with certain people holding the strings in connection with loans, I do not think the housing problem will ever be solved.

One of our most conservative Senators gave a hint that he was converted to State guarantees in the matter of building. That has happened in the case of Senator Johnston. I was very glad to hear him give utterance to that, because he is very cautious in his statements and very conservative in his financial outlook. I have to censure the Government with regard to the position of our food supplies—commodities such as milk, butter and bacon. If supplies of milk, butter and bacon continue to be short in this country, I pity the rising generation.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  I had not intended to enter into this discussion but, after hearing Senator Tierney and other Senators on the subject of the Irish language, the thought went through my mind, would we have had so much about the Irish language if a certain incident had not occurred in one of the universities in Dublin recently? It also occurred to me, were some Senators not trying to justify a certain action when they were talking generally about the Irish language? I welcome all that, for this reason: out of evil good sometimes comes. One could talk, year in and year out, about the awful hardships imposed on the children of the working classes who are attending the primary schools—[1681] supposed to be bilingual—and very little notice would be taken. Now that the National University has taken a certain step, perhaps the Government will seriously study the problem in all its phases. As I have said, out of evil good sometimes comes, and the children in the primary schools may get more consideration in the future with regard to this matter.

I should like to call the attention of the Minister to the provision in the Estimates for £129,000, and to mention that there are 300 schools that have been condemned as insanitary, unfit for use as schools. The Minister has a reputation as a financial wizard, and perhaps he will explain to me how he is going to make the 300 schools sanitary with that sum of £129,000. I want also to remind him that recently we passed an Education Act and, in this House, we inserted a clause making it possible to employ children of 12 years. That is a new phase of our educational system—our freedom to impose certain working conditions with reference to children of 12 years. That is not very creditable.

Under the heading of National Health Insurance the Minister proposes to save £1,869. How will he manage that, in view of the extra benefits? I should like to know how he proposes to do it. With regard to unemployment assistance, there is an increase of about £250,000. I cannot understand how the Minister is going to meet the new situation created by the war with such a small amount as £250,000. I suggest that it cannot be done. Despite the fact that large numbers of people have left the country to seek a living elsewhere, there is still an enormous number of unemployed here. The Minister and everyone else know that industries that employed considerable numbers are closing down almost every day and the ranks of the unemployed are being substantially increased. Where industries are not closing down, the workers are put on short time. That type of thing is proceeding day in and day out; week after week the numbers of unemployed are increasing, and that must go on as long as the emergency lasts. I should like the Minister to explain [1682] how £250,000 will meet the new situation.

I do not know if adequate provision is being made for widows' and orphans' pensions. The amount provided this year seems to be the same as that provided last year. What provision is being made for children's allowances? In other words, are we here going to remain indifferent to what is going on in most other countries? What plans are we making for after-the-war conditions? Has any notice, for instance, been taken of the Beveridge plan with a view to reestablishing great numbers of people in employment? All these are immediate and pressing problems, and I hope the Minister will give some indication as to how it is proposed to deal with them. In my view the sums set out in the Book of Estimates are not nearly enough to meet the situation. Therefore, it is essential that we should have some statement from the Minister as to what plans have been made to meet all these problems in the near future.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  If I were to attempt to answer, even briefly, the number of questions addressed to me in the course of this debate I am afraid I would not have concluded at the hour which, I understand, the House normally adjourns. I said here before, and I repeat it very sincerely this evening, that this House is a very interesting place to come to. I find it so at all events. One never knows what will turn up, and can never be sure of what exactly one will be asked to discuss.

This has been a most interesting day for me—the most interesting, I think, that I have ever spent in the Seanad. I had no idea that we were going to spend the greater part of the day discussing that important, most interesting and vital question— the Irish language and the possibility of saving it. I took it for granted, judging by the normal course of events, that on my coming here to ask for a sum of nearly £14,000,000 on account of a bill of more than £40½ million the House would discuss the [1683] enormity of that bill, and that Senators according to their attitude of mind—their likes and their dislikes— would select particular items in the Book of Estimates to discuss what use is to be made of this money. I agree that we are asking for an enormous sum, the largest that has ever been asked for from the Dáil or Seanad. Yet, there was not one syllable to-day from anybody to say that the bill was too big. Generally speaking, the suggestions made were that we had not asked for enough.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  We will have another day for that.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  That has been the result of to-day's discussion, and no Senator can deny that. I would like to point out, especially for the benefit of certain elements of the Press, that not one of the influential gentlemen who are members of the Seanad—and, of course, being in the Seanad they are all influential—emphasised or underlined the fact, although often invited to do so, that this Government is afflicted with the disease of squander-mania. I am glad to note that. Before becoming Minister for Finance, I had always been more partial to spending money than keeping it, particularly when I could spend it on useful purposes. I have now, as Minister for Finance, to exercise all the power I possess to try to keep the Government and my colleagues—particularly certain individuals amongst them—from spending more than I think we ought to spend. That, however, is not the rôle that I prefer to adopt.

To-day, the Seanad, instead of discussing in detail the deeds or the misdeeds of the Government with regard to expenditure, spent a most interesting and, I think, instructive time discussing the problem raised by Senator Hayes in regard to the future of the Irish language. Whatever the reason that inspired Senator Hayes to initiate this discussion, I congratulate him. I am glad he did so. His doing so was timely and helpful. I was particularly pleased with his speech: with [1684] the matter of it, the tone and the delivery of it, if I may say so with respect to him.

I am still an enthusiast for the revival and spread of the Irish language. I think Senator Hayes is, too, though he has adopted in the recent past on this topic, to my thinking, the tone, oftentimes, of the cynic. I do not think he was sincere in that. Evidently he was not, judging by his speech of to-day. I think that to-day he expressed his real, his true, views when he said that the language was the foundation of our nationality, that without it we would not be truly Irish, and that the nation would not be truly Irish. That is my view as it is his view. I am somewhat older than Senator Hayes, and I am glad to note that he is still loyal to the old ideas and to the school of thought in which we were both brought up in regard to the Irish language and Irish nationality. I am glad that he initiated the discussion on this subject. It was one of the most useful and valuable acts in his public life, because never, I think, was such a discussion more necessary.

I was also very pleased to hear Senator Tierney's views. I was agreeably surprised to hear his views because he, too, I believed had fallen from grace so far as the Irish language and loyalty to it were concerned.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  In whose opinion?

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  That was my opinion, and, I think, to a certain extent I was justified in holding it with regard to him because of certain views that he has expressed from time to time in a certain way and actions of his of a recent kind with regard to the Irish language. But his speech this evening was, I think, a sincere speech. That is the way it impressed me—an honest speech, the speech of an enthusiast and of an Irish nationalist. He may have been stung into that by some of the critical remarks that were made in the last week or two by people on platforms outside—perhaps uncalled-for criticisms—attributing to him opinions that, judged by his [1685] speech of this evening, he never entertained.

I think it was well worth while for Senator Hayes to initiate this discussion if for no other reason than for the speeches we got here to-day on the value of the Irish language, to have it pointed out to us, to the country, and particularly to certain newspapers and certain leader writers in Irish newspapers, that this House regards the Irish language as the most valuable national asset the country possesses. It is of the greatest importance to have that emphasised and to have these scoffers, sneerers and cynics told from this platform, from all sides of this House, that it is the desire of the people to save the language. I believe the Seanad was speaking with a sense of responsibility, knowledge and experience, realising how important an asset the language is and telling the country that the language must be saved, but that, of course, we have differences of opinion as to how best it can be saved.

That is natural and reasonable. To have that said by people, some of whom in the last 15 or 20 years have been thought—I think this applies in some minds even to Senator Hayes; it was certainly in the minds of many people with regard to Senator Tierney —to have deserted the language cause, and to have these people outside definitely told that there was no foundation for that, that it was a lie so far as these Senators are concerned——

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Who were these people and what right have they to judge?

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  The public has the right to judge everybody, sometimes without any information.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  And sometimes on lies and propaganda.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  That is a fact. I have been judged and misjudged a thousand times in the last 20 years. We cannot help that if we are in public life. All we can do is to carry on, have our opinions, express them when we get the chance, and try to put them [1686] into practice as opportunity offers. That suspicion has certainly been in the minds of some people in regard to Senator Hayes—in the minds of perhaps, a very small number, but in the minds of a greater number in regard to Senator Tierney.

To have these men and women, as well as others in this House about whose views on the language people perhaps knew nothing and, probably, did not care much, spending the greater part of the day in this House discussing this matter and giving expression to these important views and sentiments in regard to the language is of the greatest value to the country, especially at the present time in my opinion. Again I congratulate Senator Hayes on initiating the discussion. Personally I think as one who has had a long association with the language movement, as Senator Hayes had too, that nothing but good can come out of the discussion and out of the tone of the speeches here to-day.

With regard to the practical matter that was discussed in relation to methods of teaching, my recollection is that the policy adopted by the last Government, and continued by this Government, was the policy laid down for us when there was no division of opinion, laid down by a commission set up by the first Dáil.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That is not so.

Mr. O'Connell: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  It is not correct.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I think the commission was presided over by Deputy Fahy, the present Ceann Comhairle.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  It was presided over by me. It was set up in 1921-22 and reported in 1923.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Was there not a Dáil Commission?

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  There was a Dáil Education Commission of which I was myself Chairman. I ceased to be Chairman when I became Ceann Comhairle.

[1687]Mr. O'Connell: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  The Commission which formulated the first national programme that was adopted by the Saorstát Government was called on the intiative of the National Teachers' Organisation.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  It was at a time when there was no division of opinion. All the educational people in the country were invited to express their views, and their views having been heard, the programme was adopted. That is the programme that has been in operation since.

Mr. O'Connell: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  No.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  There was no division then.

Mr. O'Connell: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  There was another commission set up in 1926.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I am not speaking of that one.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  The Primary Programme Conference.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I am speaking of the earlier one which laid down a programme for education in the Irish language. There has been no change of policy since as far as we know.

Mr. O'Connell: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  That is the trouble.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  That is what is wrong.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I do not see why it should be wrong.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  We all do; we see it in our children.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  The suggestion underlying the debate to-day was that this was regarded as a Party business——

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  No.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  By some speakers. I take it that the programme agreed [1688] to when there was no division of opinion has been in operation——

Mr. O'Connell: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  There is no question at all as to what Government adopted this programme. We are speaking now of the result of an experiment that has been in operation for 20 years and we are not satisfied that the programme adopted then was the best method that could have been devised.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  We have 20 years' experience now.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I do not think that Senators and I would differ very much as to what we ought to do on this question. This much can be said about the present Minister for Education. There is no greater enthusiast for the language in Ireland. There is no man in the country who, in season and out of season, talks the Irish language more persistently.

Mr. O'Connell: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  That may be.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I never meet him that he does not speak in Irish to me. He is an enthusiast for the language all the time. I doubt if you searched Ireland, you could get a man who has a greater desire to help the language. I believe if he were convinced that things were not as they should be, so far as the teaching of the language in schools is concerned, he would have no hesitation in taking any steps that might be necessary to remedy the situation.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  He could be wrong, of course.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  He could, of course; we all could be wrong. There is no one in the world who cannot be wrong sometime: maybe, some of us are wrong all the time, but I do not think it has been proved yet that the Minister for Education is wrong.

Mr. O'Connell: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  We could have an inquiry.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I suggest that the [1689] report that the national teachers sent in did not prove he was wrong.

Mr. O'Connell: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  We did not prove it, but we suggested that there was necessity for an inquiry.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  That is all we are seeking.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  My own view is that an inquiry does no harm, and might do good.

Mr. O'Connell: Information on Tomas O'Connell  Zoom on Tomas O'Connell  That is all we ask.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Provided always that one were satisfied that those pushing and promoting the desire for a commission of inquiry have the fundamental idea of promoting the interests of the language.

Mr. M. Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I stipulated that always—several years ago.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  But that may not be true of everyone demanding an inquiry.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  The minority does not count.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I would like to be satisfied about the minority.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  The Minister should not bother his head about them.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  If it would be to the benefit of the language and the teaching of it in the schools, I would be happy to see an inquiry started immediately. I would like to continue this discussion, as I am interested in the subject. Nothing in the world is closer to my heart than this question of saving the language. If I tried to do anything in my lifetime and to use any influence or power I possess through my position as Minister, it would always be to push the interests of the Irish language. I agree with Senator Tierney and Senator Hayes that to lose the language would be a disaster. Senator Tierney expressed it better [1690] than I could, when he stressed the vital necessity to safeguard the language and said that to lose the language would be the greatest single disaster that could befall the Irish people. No one could express it more strongly or more distinctly than that, and I am glad to have been here to hear Senator Tierney give expression to those sentiments.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  He thinks we will rue it if we do not change our plan.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Senator Tierney was very precise and definite in his views and does not need any assistance from anyone in conveying his meaning. I was glad to hear Senator Hayes say that we need to maintain our distinctive nationality. That needs to be emphasised in these days. If we lost the language, we would be little better than an English shire: we would have no claim to exist as a separate nation. That shows the urgent necessity to set up the best possible means in the national schools, intermediate schools and universities to enthuse the youth and inspire them with the ardent desire to save the only sure bulwark of our nationality. I hope that, in the future, we will have another opportunity to develop this most interesting topic. It would be of inestimable advantage, nationally speaking. Culturally and educationally—in the narrow sense of education—the loss of the language would be the greatest calamity to our people, and the country should be grateful to the Seanad—and particularly to Senator Hayes—for introducing this topic.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  A monument.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  The best monument is to get another dozen or two children in some of our schools in Dublin, to become competent Irish speakers.

Some points were raised regarding agriculture and other matters, on which Senators asked for information. On the question of fertilisers, raised by Senator Baxter, I understand that the available supplies are expected to be 35,000 tons of 30 per [1691] cent. superphosphate and 19,000 tons of compound fertiliser. The 35,000 tons mentioned would be distributed as to (a) 28,000 tons to be sold by merchants on a ton-for-ton basis of customers' purchases last year, and (b) 7,000 tons to be sent to the congested districts. The 19,000 tons of compound fertiliser will be distributed as to (a) 16,000 tons to beet growers, and (b) 3,000 tons to plot-holders and growers of mangold seed.

We have included in the Agricultural Estimate this year what I regard as an enormous sum for subsidies on fertilisers and other things. The total of the subsidies is £880,000, and that is to be devoted as to (a) 28,000 tons at £17 a ton subsidy on fertilisers which used to cost £3 or £4 a ton and now cost £32 a ton. Of that the Government pays £17 a ton. The 28,000 tons of (a) subsidy would come to £476,000. Then, (b) to certain areas, £119,000— that is for superphosphates; the compound fertilisers, 16,000 tons at a subsidy of £15 per ton would be £240,000; 3,000 tons to certain classes, at £15 per ton would be £45,000. These items amount to £880,000 in subsidies. In addition, the farmer has to pay considerably enhanced prices for fertilisers.

Senator McGee asked about fertilisers for beet growers. The subsidy for that will cost £240,000, out of the total expenditure of £880,000. Taking the general distribution to farmers, the 28,000 tons of superphosphates will be subsidised to the extent of £476,000 which is just twice the cost of the subsidy for sugar beet fertiliser.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Could the Minister say if anything has been done to implement the Seanad resolution for an increased supply of fertilisers? Are there any prospects?

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Everything possible is being done. The second last ship which was sunk—the Irish Pine— was on its way for fertilisers when it was sunk. As a result of that, we lost several thousand tons of material for fertilisers. There is no subject to [1692] which the Government has given more serious thought than this, on account of the necessity to grow foodstuffs. The Government realises the aid that a proper supply of fertilisers would be to that end. In addition to the supplies for beet, supplies are being made available for flax and early potatoes. Some Senators objected to the reduction in the Forestry Estimate for the coming year. There will be £20,000 unspent in this year's Estimate for the purchase of land and we are providing £30,000, in addition, in the Estimate for the coming year. Already, the forestry section of the Department has 24,000 acres of land which they are unable to plant. They are planting slowly and they have much more land in hands than they will be able to plant for the next few years.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Why?

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I do not know the reason. The reduction by any amount of the sum for the purchase of land during the coming year will not retard the development of forestry by a single foot of plantation.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  You have 24,000 acres altogether. If you said 240,000 acres or 2,000,000 acres, there might be some reason in it.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I should like to see a vastly increased afforestation programme, but I am informed that, owing to the emergency, progress cannot be any faster than it is. One thing which is impossible to get is netting for new plantations to keep out rabbits and other vermin. It would be useless to plant an area if you could not protect it against vermin.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  You will be able to get that when the war is over, but you will not have the land purchased.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  When you are urging people to till more land and when, at the same time, you propose to take land from them for forestry, you [1693] are told that you cannot have the land both for tillage and for forestry. Like other plants, trees require fairly good land if they are to grow properly. Senator Cummins and another Senator spoke about the dairying industry and said that we had failed to give it due assistance. We are subsidising the dairying industry to the extent of £908,000—almost £1,000,000.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  You are subsidising the consumers.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  We are subsidising the dairying industry.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  You are subsidising the consumers who are buying a product under its true value.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Will not the Senator, for once, give credit where credit is due? We are giving almost £1,000,000 to that single branch of agriculture—admittedly, a very important branch. If the Senator admitted that we were giving assistance to that extent to the dairying industry and urged us to give more, I could understand his attitude, but I cannot understand his denying that this money is going to the dairying industry. Senator Baxter was also interested in the expenditure on bog work. He said that we had reduced the amount available for development in this connection in Vote 67. If the Senator will look at the Vote for the Ministry of Supplies, he will find that, for turf development, including the development of bogs in a variety of ways, a sum of £580,000 is provided. That is a larger sum than was ever granted for that purpose before. He will also find that sums of £20,000 and £30,000 for the provision of roads into bogs and work of that kind are included in the Vote for the Local Government Department. On the whole, there is a very big increase in the provision for turf development.

Senator Baxter asked about the position in regard to binder twine. I cannot answer a number of the questions which the Senator asked. He inquired about the exchange of flax for binder twine. We are to get 2,000 tons of binder twine.

[1694]Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  At how much per ton?

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I could not say. That amount, with the stock we are carrying, will give us sufficient for the current year's corn crops.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Will the Minister give the other information for which I asked?

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  I have not got it.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  At some other time?

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  The Senator might address this question to the Minister for Agriculture. He will have all that information.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  I could not get the information from him the last evening he was here.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  He might not have had it then. I think that it was only during the past week or so that the arrangement was made.

Cathaoirleach: Information on Seán Francis Gibbons  Zoom on Seán Francis Gibbons  If the Senator had given notice of the question, the information might have been available.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Is this information which the Minister has no objection to give?

Mr. Quirke: Information on William Quirke  Zoom on William Quirke  The important thing is that the binder twine is coming in.

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Other questions were raised in the debate but, as the time available is so short, I ask the House to excuse me for not dealing with them.

Mr. Baxter: Information on Patrick Francis Baxter  Zoom on Patrick Francis Baxter  Will the Minister not say something on the question of the Broadcasting Service?

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Senator Tierney spoke of the amount of money the Minister for Finance was making on broadcasting. We are losing £5,000 a year on that service. If Senators will look at Vote 62, they will find that the total expenditure on broadcasting is [1695] estimated at £109,000, and the total revenue at £104,000.

Mr. Foran: Information on Thomas Foran  Zoom on Thomas Foran  Will the Minister make no reference to the provision for relief of unemployment in the Estimates?

Mr. O Ceallaigh: Information on Seán T. O'Kelly  Zoom on Seán T. O'Kelly  Not to-night.

Question put and agreed to.

[1696] Agreed to take remaining stages now.

Bill put through Committee without recommendations and reported.

Bill received for final consideration, and ordered to be returned to the Dáil.

The Seanad adjourned at 9.30 p.m., sine die.


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