Business of Seanad.
Central Fund Bill, 1947 ( Certified Money Bill )— Second Stage.
The Industrial and Life Assurance Amalgamation Company, Limited (Acquisition of Shares) Bill, 1947 (Certified Money Bill)—Report and Final Stages.
Central Fund Bill, 1947 (Certified Money Bill)—Second Stage (Resumed): and Subsequent Stages.
 Do chuaigh an Cathaoirleach i gceannas ar 3 p.m.
An Cathaoirleach: Before the business for to-day is entered upon, I have to announce that it has been agreed that the House should meet next Tuesday at 3 o'clock.
Question proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”
An tAire Airgeadais (Proinnsias MacAodhagáin): Ós rud é gur cuid den nós imeachta airgeadais é an Bille Príomh-Chiste, is ar éigin is gá aon mhíniú rófhada a thabhairt ar cad is cuspóir dó. Ní foláir an Bille seo a rith chun a údarú go dtabharfaí as an bPríomh-Chiste (a) an t-airgead a deonadh i gcuntas le h-aghaidh na bliana seo chugainn, agus (b) an chuid sin den airgead a deonadh trí Mheastacháin Bhreise agus Nua le h-aghaidh na bliana atá fós againn agus nár deonadh cheana faoin Acht Leithreasa. Fágann san gurb é aidhm an Bhille seo ná a údarú go n-íocfaí as an bPríomh-Chiste (a) an tsuim a deonadh i gcuntas le h-aghaidh na bliana seo chugainn, sé sin, £17,681,000, agus (b) an chuid sin de na suimeanna breise agus nua, a deonadh don bhliain seo anois againn ach nár tugadh amach faoin Acht Leithreasa, 1946—sé sin, £2,670,422. Ina theannta san, bheireann an t-Acht cumhacht don Aire Airgeadais airgead a fháil ar iasacht agus urrúis ar bith is oiriúnach leis a bhunú agus a thabhairt amach.
It is scarcely necessary to explain to Senators that the Central Fund Bill, which is the annual feature of our financial system, is required to implement the Ways and Means Resolutions passed by Dáil Éireann.
Micheál Ó hAodha: Tá an ceart ag an Aire nuair adeir sé nach gá cuspóir an Bhille seo a mhíniú. Tugann sé caoi dhúinn tagairt a dhéanamh d'aon chuid d'obair an Stáit dar mian linn tagairt a dhéanamh. Tá faill ag lucht na Dála a dtuairimí a nochtadh ar na meastacháin i rith na bliana ach níl seans mar seo againn-ne acht amháin ar an mBillc seo agus ar Bhille amháin eile. Ba mhaith liom tagairt a dhéanamh do chúrsaí oideachais agus go háirithe dos na deontaisí atá ann i gcóir na gColáistí Ollscoile, is focal baochais a rá leis an Aire.
This Bill, as the Minister has said, needs no explanation but it does give an opportunity to the Seanad to discuss any particular piece of the work of the State to which Senators desire to refer. The Dáil can do that throughout the year in the discussions on the Estimates. We get this opportunity to do so and we get a similar opportunity on the Appropriation Bill. Apart from the general aspect of the measure, I should like to make specific reference to the moneys contained in this Bill which are being given by way of increased grants to university colleges. The Minister, in the Bill now before us, has increased these grants from the 1st September, but the actual increase is 50 per cent. in the rate of yearly grant to each of the university colleges. The grant to Trinity College, I think, does not become operative until next year.
The essentials of any educational institution, whether primary, secondary or university, is a staff and students. Buildings, equipment, materials, and so on, are necessary, but the essentials are students and teachers. University teaching has been a great many years one of the lowest-paid occupations in the country. University professors, lecturers or assistants, would be very foolish if, when entering upon a university career, they thought they were ever going to be wealthy.
Apart from making them wealthy, they should be relieved in regard to certain necessities, so that they could do their work rightly and so that their contact with the students would be  such as to give the students the maximum benefit that could be derived by them from actual teaching and from other contacts which certainly ought to exist in the university.
University salaries have always been low. The present salaries in the National University have not been increased since 1926, so that what is happening now is long needed. I should say at once that it is very welcome and what is more important than the actual sum of money voted in this particular Bill, negotiations of a very satisfactory and very cordial character have taken place with the Department of Finance and with the Minister, as far as the colleges of the National University are concerned, and there has been an extremely good attitude on the part of the Minister. We should welcome that attitude and be grateful for it.
Lest anyone should think that university salaries can compare with the new Civil Service salaries it must be said that they do not compare with them in any sense. The £900 basic becomes, under the new consolidated salary in the Civil Service, £1,395, which is much higher than that of the average university professor. The £1,000 becomes £1,525, the salary of an assistant secretary in the Civil Service, and £1,525 is considerably more than any university professor will get. The £1,200 basic, which is the salary of all the secretaries, with the exception of a few which are higher, becomes £1,774, which is a salary no one but the presidents of the three colleges could hope for.
I know that comparisons are not always sound and I do not want to institute a comparison between the Civil Service and university teaching, but when one considers that nearly all the higher civil servants come from the university colleges, obviously the Civil Service is a career of greater promise financially than a university career. There is considerable leeway to be made up with regard to equipment in the universities for laboratories. As that becomes available, we understand that money will be available for it. There is a certain amount needed for certain new Chairs that are  necessary in the university colleges and there is the subject of buildings which was alluded to by the Taoiseach in the other House and on which a beginning is to be made. The amount of money for that is considerable, but it will fall to be spent over a period of years.
What makes the attitude of the Minister so completely satisfactory is that only one condition was attached to these negotiations, namely, that the fees charged to students should be raised. Apart from what one would think about the amount by which they should be raised—I have my own personal view—the Minister is absolutely within his rights when he is giving money to say that the fees should be increased. There is a very sound case for raising the fees and the Minister is not in any way transgressing the principle of university independence or autonomy when he asks that they be increased.
There is a case for raising them, in so far as everything else has been raised. There is one difficulty, that is, that a great many people who are sending their children to the university are barely managing it and it is somewhat harsh on them if they have to pay, at very short notice, extra fees to the extent of 50 per cent. for studies of children of theirs who have already entered upon a university course and for whom a certain budget has been prepared.
A more important point than that is one which concerns the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Education and the Minister for Local Government; and I think it no harm to draw the Minister's attention to it publicly, as it is a matter in which he is bound to have an interest. When you raise university fees, no matter how necessary it may be and how good a case can be made for it, you make it more difficult for the children of poor parents to get a university education and you prevent the poorer students of exceptional ability—and there are some such students, though not as many as one would think—from going through the university as easily as they might. That raises at once the question of scholarships. I do not know if it is realised that there was hardly ever a  period in which less provision was made for the boy of exceptional ability whose parents cannot afford university education for him. There was hardly ever a period in which that was more difficult to obtain than the present. Everything has increased—fees, books, lodgings. In 1906, more than 40 years ago, there were scholarships to Trinity College, founded by Sir John Nutting, and given on the results of the intermediate examinations of the day, at £50 a year. In Trinity College very considerable additions to that sum could be had.
There were scholarships founded by the Catholic Archbishops and Bishops of Ireland, which were tenable at University College, Dublin—what we called the old Jesuit College, before the establishment of the National University in 1909—and these were £50 a year. At that time, it was a considerable sum of money. The student could get a scholarship at that time in open competition, without a means test, on the senior grade examinations. He was bound to win some sum in addition—say £20. It was possible to get £40 on the senior grade, in addition to the £50 scholarship. That is to say, a boy went into University College with a £40 exhibition and with an income of £70 or £80 for the three years in which he would be doing his course. It was an immense sum of money in that period. No unskilled labourer was getting 30/- a week and very few, if any, skilled workers succeeded in earning over the whole period of the year as much as 30/- a week. Books were extraordinarily cheap and plentiful by contrast with the present position. A book prize of £4 went a long distance to supply books for the two years. I had experience some years ago myself, in the case of my own son entering in first arts, that his books cost more then than mine cost for the whole four years.
The present position is that the scholarship is £80 and there is a means test. Even for a student living at home in Dublin, £80 is a very small amount. He will have to pay at least £20 in fees —which will probably be £30 in future— and everything else will cost more, so  that £80 will not suffice to maintain him. If he comes from the country and gets the £80 and has to live for 30 weeks in Dublin and pay for lodgings, the sum is insignificant. It is quite impossible for the student of exceptional ability, who has no money of his own, to accept a scholarship. He must have some assistance, whereas, 40 years ago, it was quite possible and, one might say, probable, that it was profitable for such a student to accept such a scholarship. May I say, Sir, that on this question of scholarships, I do not argue that we should give scholarships to universities for the sake of the pupils but from a rather different angle altogether? The main asset of this country, after all, is its people, and if there are students of ours who have special abilities it is our business to see that they are trained in the best possible way for the benefit of the State and for the benefit of our people. I do not, for a moment, accept the view that a democratic university is a place where everybody can get in. That would be a foolish view, but it is certainly a place for a person who has no money but has ability. Whatever arrangements are made should be with the view of seeing that everybody who has ability, special ability, should be given an opportunity of developing it not only from the point of view of the individual himself but from the point of view of the community at large. There are at present some negotiations going on about this between the university colleges and the county councils. They will have to adopt, perhaps, a different standard for county council scholarships. Certainly they will have to raise the amount of the awards.
There is also for university scholarships a means test. It all arises on this question of university grants and I suppose we will not have another opportunity of discussing it. Speaking from experience, as a person who went into a university, and certainly could have passed in under any conceivable form of means test, I have a strong view as far as a means test is concerned. I raised this question before in connection with scholarships to secondary schools and I do not want to go over it all again but I do want to  say this. It leads to deceit and to great unevenness and has very unsatisfactory results. A civil servant's salary is easily ascertainable and if the means for a scholarship is £500 a year, a civil servant with that salary has no possibility of getting a university scholarship for his son. On the other hand, a boy whose parents have an income of much more than that but which is not so easily ascertainable as the income of a civil servant or a corporation official can get the scholarship. It is an important matter and one which must be considered very carefully. The test might be abolished altogether and if not the limit should be certainly raised considerably. So far as I am concerned I would like to make it clear that investigations have disclosed that when you have 1,000 students in university colleges you have a certain number who have got scholarships. But when you have, say, 3,000 students in the university you have not got three times the number you had capable of winning scholarships. I do not think that any student should be helped into a university for the purpose of doing a pass course. He should be the kind of student who will do an honours course, a good course. If he can do that, he should be helped. I feel that both the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Local Government, the Minister for Education and the university colleges will have to come together and find a suitable plan to see that the persons with the best ability in the country who desire to go into a university can go and that the absence of means will not be a barrier.
It would be no harm to say one word about the importance of our universities in the national scheme. They are important for the work of our educational machinery. All our secondary teachers and many of our vocational and primary teachers have been through the universities. In fact you cannot become a registered secondary teacher without a university degree. So it is of great importance that the universities should give education of a high standard to people who will become teachers. I have said here  before and I do not want to stress it now that I have always felt, especially since I was Minister for Education, that our primary teachers should get a university degree rather than get a narrow professional training. I am confident that this would improve primary education, improve life in the country, and would have many repercussions of a very desirable character. It is from the university that the bulk of our higher civil servants come. It is upon university research in agriculture that there is some promise of improvement in our agricultural methods at a certain level and of a certain character. I think this particular matter is being discussed with the Minister for Finance at the present time. It is upon universities that all industrial research depends. We had a Bill here some time ago dealing with industrial research and standards and the Minister for Industry and Commerce was quite clear about the importance of pure science, unapplied science. You can have no improvement in industrial processes and industrial methods unless universities make available facilities for research and unless people can get preliminary training which is absolutely essential for any kind of applied research later on. There is, of course, a new world before us and we will have to equip ourselves to meet this new world and its new problems.
But apart from science, universities also have the function of enabling us to make our own contributions as Irishmen and of making us conscious of being Irishmen and of making us conscious of being Europeans. At the time when Ireland was most Irish it was most conscious of being part of Europe. Nothing could be more foolish than the idea that an Irish Ireland is something that is going to close us in and cut us off from the rest of Europe and the world. Apart altogether from the classes leading to diplomas and degrees, I would like to see the universities come into contact with ordinary adult education, that is, education for its own sake and not for the sake of getting degrees or posts or anything  of that kind. I know that in University College, Dublin, certain steps have been taken in this direction so that members of the staff without fee or reward are taking part in this work. I think it is desirable that the university staffs should be in the position to be able to give their services free for such work. One of the things we need here most is adult education. I do not mean by that that a man is educated for a position and thinks that if he had a higher degree he would get a better position. I rather mean the education of a person who is genuinely seeking knowledge.
Even this new grant will, by no means, put university professors and teachers generally on anything like a high level, but it is a satisfactory and very welcome addition. I think that the Minister deserves congratulations on the nature of the negotiations which have taken place, and which are still taking place and give promise of sound results.
On the other matter of the Bill generally, I would like to make one remark. This is an enormous bill, to which there must be added the big sums raised through the local rates. The Minister's revenue is buoyant. Either he or the Minister for Industry and Commerce pointed out recently that a good deal of that revenue comes from imported luxuries, if tobacco can be described as a luxury. The bill before us can be met only on two conditions. One of these is that international peace can be preserved, and the other is that we can have more production at home. One of the most remarkable things of recent years, particularly since the war, is that all the political and economic theories which were preached, particularly by politicians, and which were advocated as a means towards the millennium, have all disappeared. The British Government have recently issued a White Paper in which they make no mention of nationalisation but which reads like Samuel Smiles' Victorian book, Self-help, or the sayings of Poor Richard: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” The Minister  for Industry and Commerce has said something of the same nature to us here. The fact that it has been said before, and the fact that it has been derided, unfortunately does not take from its truth. It has, one might say, eternal efficacy.
With regard to the first point, international peace, I see no objection to our spending a certain amount of money on it. I know there are people who object but the fact is that our people are very far-flung from this island. We have a very complicated and interesting history and we should not miss any opportunity of taking some part in international affairs, not as wishful thinkers but as realists, in doing everything possible to try to make this world in which we live the best that we can.
With regard to the other point—production here has been hindered by politics, by political speech-making and by propaganda, by promises to the people of the millennium on various terms. We are now in the position that if we cannot increase our agricultural production we cannot pay this bill this year or pay any other bill. It is quite clear that our problems cannot be solved by Parliamentary debates alone. Parliamentary debates of a certain character, of a co-operative character, can be of assistance. Walking into the Division Lobby in Parliament can be of no assistance either. I think we ought to realise that we need something more than mere debate, something more than mere Parliamentary divisions and something more than scoring political points off one another: we need skill, experience and united effort, and I think that we can supply these. I think that we have, through our own history, both remote and recent, plenty of examples to show that we can supply them. We supplied them during the emergency, but we are now in a more real emergency than we were at any time during the war.
We are increasing our social services, which means increasing our Civil Service. My friend, Senator Douglas, reminds me that there was a time when he was working in the White Cross in  1920 or 1921, when you could walk into any town or village and get assistance of all kinds from the people—free, gratis and for nothing, from people of different ancestry, people of different religion and people of very, very different politics. I wonder whether we could not, in spite of the fact that the other thing is easier, although more expensive, make some endeavour to renew and revive that spirit of service? We did see it during the war. We saw it in a very remarkable way in bodies like the L.D.F., the A.R.P. and the L.S.F. I think that we could supply it again. If we cannot supply it again, and if we cannot eliminate matters about which we disagree, and concentrate upon the essentials, how are we going to remedy our present very great difficulties? Unless we do that, I think we are not going to fulfil the traditions which have kept us where we are, and built up Irish institutions here. We should endeavour in this House—may I say that it has got a very good example from the debate that took place in the other House last evening—to see whether there is not something that we actually could do, apart from pointing out where someone is wrong: to see whether there is not something we could actually do in way of co-operation and assistance to preserve our own existence in this country, which is now, I think, in grave peril.
Mr. Kingsmill Moore: In past years on this Bill and on the Appropriation Bill my voice has often been one of complaint, complaint on the insufficient portion of the national Budget which was devoted to the needs of education as a whole. It is, therefore, with all the greater eagerness that I notice and welcome the additional grants which are being made in the present Estimates for various educational purposes. The salaries of the secondary teachers have been notably improved. Recently, in this House we had the pleasure of approving of a grant being paid in respect of one of the highest spheres of education—to the school for the advancement of cosmic physics. Lastly, I come to a matter which, perhaps, I  may be excused for saying is very close to my heart, and that is the increased grants for the universities which are provided in the Estimates before us. If Senators will turn to page 109 of the Estimates they will see the grants, and I would say generous grants, that are being made to both universities. Senator Hayes has welcomed them both generally on behalf of the universities, and particularly on behalf of the university of which he is such a very notable figure. I also welcome them generally on behalf of the universities, and in particular on behalf of the university which I have the honour to represent in this House.
A grant of £35,000 has been made for the general purposes of Trinity College, Dublin. I believe I am correct in stating that the last grant for the general purposes of Trinity College was made by an Irish Parliament—a preUnion Parliament. There is, of course, the grant of £2,500 which was made by this Government in favour of the medical school, but I think it was to an Irish Parliament that we owed the last grant-in-aid for the general purposes of the college. Well, a long time has passed since then. I do not want this grant to remain an item obscure and unnoticed, tucked away in a corner of the Estimates. I am anxious that every graduate of Trinity College, whether he be north or south of the Border, should know of it and should appreciate it. And I think I can take it upon myself to speak not merely for the corporation of the university but for all those graduates in expressing our very great appreciation and our thanks to the Government for a grant which is as generous as it is wise.
I can assure the Minister that no penny of that grant will be expended rashly or unprofitably. I certainly am one of those who believe that the roots of our university extend deep and wide into the soil of the national life and that this grant will be returned fourfold in the intangible assets of knowledge, goodwill, learning, which, though you do not see them in the national Budget or the Estimates, nevertheless form a very great part of the national  wealth. I think I might also be allowed to express thanks for the cordial and cooperative way in which the representatives of the university who expressed and expounded their needs to the Government were met at every turn, and to say that we are extremely grateful and that we are quite sure of one thing and that is that the Government will never regret the grant which they have made and which appears in these Estimates.
Mr. Baxter: I am not going to discuss the very interesting and all-important question of university education, but I assume that no two Senators in the House would agree with me more quickly when I say that you can have no university education and you can have no secondary education unless, as I think Senator Hayes has put it, the roots of our national life are sound in the success and strength of agriculture. I am sure Senator Hayes and Senator Kingsmill Moore will agree with me that the problem which confronts not only the university people but all the people of the country to-day is to examine the conditions in agriculture and try as far as they possibly can to diagnose its strength and its weakness and ask what can we do about it, so that the whole national life may be strengthened.
I feel myself in debating this Bill which is before us, and in attempting a discussion of the immense demand which the Minister for Finance has made on the Oireachtas and on the country, that there really should be some order of priority. Certain things are fundamental to our life and we ought to get as close as we can and as quickly as we can to the point of determining what these things are.
I am sure the Minister will agree with me that the whole purpose of Government and above all the whole purpose of Government collection of revenue, and expenditure of that taxation, has, as its object, the betterment of the lives of the people. I would like for a brief few moments to ask the Minister to look at the position as I see it and see what inference we are to draw from it. If we are thinking of the Government's achievements—and I do  not want to enter into this debate in any Party spirit at all—I feel myself that we cannot make any progress unless we can see the facts as they are, not as they are presented to us through political eyes, but as they are, unquestioned and unquestionable.
What are the facts as far as our people are concerned? Is the lot of the people better? Has it been bettered? Or is it being bettered? What test would you apply in that regard? The Minister himself in his reply in the other House at the conclusion of his speech made what I regarded as a frank and rather dramatic statement when he indicated that the question that worried him most and the matter on which he had the greatest possible regrets was the problem of all the people who were leaving the country. I submit to the House that the test of the success of Government policy over a long period can be determined by whether this country has been made more attractive to live in or not. Over ten years we have lost, on the documents presented and available to us, 190,000 of our population. They have gone out of the country. They are all young people, physically in their prime. Why did they go? In the main, and I think the Minister will not contradict me, they left the country because they could earn more money outside it. They were physically able to work. Let us put them down, had they stayed at home with us, as earning the low weekly wage of £3, and it has meant that we have lost through the emigration of these people, the equivalent of £26,000,000 in earnings every year. A situation like that is tragic in the extreme, but it is even more tragic in-as-much as the very goods which these people could supply had they remained with us are now in short supply and are extraordinarily dear because they are in short supply. In the main these people—boys and girls—went from the hills and bogs of Ireland. I submit that the failure of the Government policy to raise the living standard for these people has been responsible for their going out of the country and the net result of their going has been to leave homes in this city and homes all over the country without the fuel which they could have supplied and would  have supplied if we had kept them at home.
I do not suggest “physically kept at home”. They have gone and they are still going. That is the gravest problem we have to solve. It is terribly urgent because we, like the people of Britain, are faced with a crisis in our man-power. The fact that we looked idly on as the boats were taking these people away means that we made our contribution to the situation in which we find ourselves. I know that criticism of Government policy which has reduced us to this plight can hardly be regarded as sufficient. What are we to do about it? In the other House, yesterday evening, there was a discussion on the problem confronting the farmers and the nation in getting in the spring crops. There will not be any harvest if the crops are not sown and the number of men able to do the job is a considerable factor in the degree of success we can achieve. Yet, there are men all over the country anxious to leave and leaving. When our young people are prepared to desert their homes and their country in a time of crisis and are prepared to leave the old people to be provided with food and fuel by those who remain at home, some drastic step must be taken. We have, I suggest, encouraged the going of those people over the years because we honoured every £ they earned in Britain and sent home by supplying the people who came into the possession of it with the goods produced by those who stayed in the country. We have reached a point when the Minister for Finance, in the interests of the life of the nation, will have to consider very seriously whether the £ which will come from Britain in future, representing earnings of those who went out of the country when their services were required, will be valued here at the equivalent of the £ into the possession of which the people at home come by their labour. If the British £, when it was sent back by those people, were at a discount as compared with the £ earned here, there would be much less desire on their part to run away and leave the people at home to provide for the other members of their families. We are actually fighting for our lives. As a nation in time of war cannot afford to  lose the most virile of her sons, we cannot afford to do so at the present time. I might carry that argument further by pointing to the effects of this emigration on our future situation.
Those 190,000 people who have gone are the potential fathers and mothers of future generations. Since they went to England, I am afraid they are lost to us. It has become customary to boast about the extent to which we are developing our social services. A very considerable proportion of the total bill which the Minister presents to the House is accounted for by the growth in our social services. I do not think that that growth is anything to boast about. I never thought so and I do not think that I ever shall. To the extent to which social services grow and to the extent to which we have to increase the amount of money made available for a number of them, evidence is furnished of national decadence. Many of our social services exist because the incomes of our people are too low. Those who have reasonable earnings are not in enjoyment of any benefits from those social services. A great deal of the money spent on our social services is so spent because the living standards of our people, from the point of view of food, clothing and shelter, are so low as seriously to impair their health. I have no doubt that thousands of our unemployed who are drawing benefit to-day are not physically fit. If they were subjected to a medical test or a test for physical fitness, it would be found that many of them would not be fit to do a day's work. We are spending vast sums on hospitals. Why? Because the health of our people is declining. A far greater number have to seek the aid of the hospitals than did so a number of years ago. It may be said that facilities were not then available but we have evidence all over the country that a larger proportion of our people are seeking entry to the hospitals than was the case 25 or 30 years ago. Instead of boasting of our social services, it would be far better if we were to probe the matter more deeply and ascertain why it is that so much money has to be spent upon them.
 The great problem arising under the Bill is that so much has to be taken out of production and that so little of it goes back into production. This money can be found only, in the last analysis, in production. Where do we stand in the matter of production? I want to get to grips with this question and I want the Minister to clarify the position for us. I submit that our production in agriculture has declined and is declining. The Minister, in replying to a debate in the other House last week, said, according to the newspaper report—I have not got the Official Report yet:—
“The fact that the system the Government adopted to get the acreage for cereals and beet we required during the war worked reasonably well is indicated by the growth of those crops during 1938.”
He went on to say that the wheat acreage increased from 55,000 to 641,000, oats from 536,000 to 828,000, barley from 73,000 to 142,000, potatoes from 317,000 to 392,000, that there was only a little swing up in turnips, but that beet went up from 41,000 to 78,000, cabbage from 14,000 to 18,000, and flax from 4,000 to 26,000. Then he went on:
“In face of these figures, can anybody say that the agricultural net output did not go up?”
I want to be frank with the Minister on this matter because this question of output is the basis on which our national taxation policy has to be built. We must get to grips with realities. He said: “In face of those figures, could anyone say that the agricultural net output did not go up?” It is a strange way he puts his question, and a strange question to put. If he had put the question: “In face of these figures, can anybody say that the agricultural gross output did not go up?”, what would have been his own answer to that question?
The Minister has given us the increases in a number of tillage crops and assumes that, because our tillage area has gone up, our output has gone up. If we are thinking of output, I would refer the Minister to authorities on that point. On page 176 of the Second  Minority Report of the Committee of Inquiry on Post-Emergency Agricultural Policy, he will find figures of the relative outputs of acres used in a variety of ways. It is interesting to discover that an acre of grass would give you the equivalent in starch and proteins of an acre of oats yielding 27 cwts. That is a higher yield than the average.
The Minister might tell me that I will not eat grass, unless I eat it through the cow or the calf, but if you are looking for output you can get it from land in a variety of ways and it does not necessarily follow that an increase in the area under tillage means a greater output. I submit that that is what we have to look to in the future. I do not like those figures used in that way, as they do not present the facts. When you talk about net output on the land, you get the net output by subtracting from the gross output the value of the foodstuffs which you import, the artificial fertilisers, the seeds and machinery, and the shoeing charges. You add these together and subtract them from the gross output and that gives you the net output.
The Minister says the net output has gone up and he can produce figures to show that it has slightly increased over 1938. Why? Because in fact we have imported much less feeding stuffs, fertilisers, seeds, machinery and equipment generally. Are we not only trying to delude ourselves in trying to believe that our output has gone up when we arrive at output in that particular way? The fact is that the gross volume of our output is declining, it has actually declined, and it is to that fact we have to look. One might as well say to me, when you make your calculation in that particular way, that if I were employing ten men and let three men away and, as a result, had not to pay their weekly wages and so was able to show a better balance than before, as it is quite conceivable you might, then the output had increased. But if I let the three men away, the probabilities are that the total volume of output had gone down. That is what is taking place. I do not think the Minister will challenge the accuracy of that.
 When the Minister was examining agricultural output, he should have conveyed this to the other House: included in agricultural output now is a figure for turf. I do not know how many of the people who come from parts of the country where they know about turf, like myself, would know that turf can be classified as an agricultural output, but it is so, and this is what you get. The gross output in 1938 was valued at £50.8 millions. In 1945 it was £50.7 millions; but turf in 1938 was £3,339,000 and in 1945 it was £8,535,000, so that in agricultural output there is an increase of £5,000,000 for turf and that is classified as agricultural output.
I know you can pay revenue out of turf and the people who produce turf are able to make contributions to the taxes. I think we are not at all facing up to the problem of agricultural output when we are classifying the output of bogs along with it and, because the output of the bogs has increased, closing our eyes to the fact that the output from the land has declined. I do not propose to discuss now how that can be conquered, but it must be faced and must be realised. It is the duty of the responsible Minister to give the Oireachtas the exact facts. Let us then make our contribution in any particular way, as to how the problem can be solved.
The Minister elsewhere in his speech pointed out, as evidence of our prosperity, the increase in the deposits in savings banks and joint stock banks and I think he said that the savings bank deposits represent the deposits of lower paid persons in towns and cities. I do not agree with that at all. I believe that many of the wealthiest people have deposited money in our savings banks, in their children's names and in their wives' names. It is no test at all and I am sure the Minister could find evidence of that, as I have personal experience that it is a fact. It is not from the lower income groups, whose incomes we are expected to accept have increased, that you get these deposits. The Minister would also have us accept the point of view that, because the deposits in banks have gone up, we are much better off.  Where did we get those deposits, so far as the farming community is concerned? There has been some increase in agricultural prices, but I submit that we have been doing something else, very grave indeed from the point of view of the nation and the future of agriculture. I referred to it the other day in the House.
I submit that the increase in the deposits by farmers is largely due to the fact that we have been cashing in on the fertility of the soil and putting practically nothing back. I gave figures here the other day. We have 9,000,000 or 10,000,000 arable acres, according to the Post-Emergency Committee. The plough has probably turned over 6,000,000 or 7,000,000 of these acres and everybody who is in agriculture knows quite well that we have cashed in on the phosphates, potash and nitrogen of these soils and have not been able to put back very much.
The situation is very different in Great Britain. In spite of this position here, the physical volume of our production has declined. In Britain production has gone up by 70 per cent. and at the same time they have been engaged all along in reconstituting and rehabilitating their soils. I believe their soils have now reached a higher state of fertility than was possible at the outbreak of war. They have been adding the essentials for a healthy soil all during the war and have laid their land down properly for grass, preparatory to increasing the fertility in the future. It has been said that the farmers' deposits have gone up. If they have, it is because they have cashed in on the fertility of their soil and because they have not been able to buy machinery or anything for the re-equipment of their farms. That, however, is a problem for the future. Now, I want to come to another point and I want to know what the Minister's attitude is. It is an entirely different matter. I have seen in the Book of Estimates under Public Works that provision is made for the erection of a number of dwelling houses for customs officials along the Border. I have intimate contact with conditions along the Border and I know what the conditions  are for these officers. They are very difficult indeed, very exacting. These men are out at all hours of the night and are poorly paid and, if you like, are in absolute control. But quite frankly, I do not understand the policy of the Government at this moment in building up along the Border the equivalent of or what in essence is, a number of block-houses. It is the wrong time for this. I think the taking of this decision means that the Government are, at this stage at all events, acquiescing in the view that the Border is going to be a permanent feature in the physical and spiritual life of the country. I know the atmosphere in which these people labour and their difficulties but whatever method might be taken by the Government to alleviate their position it should be in some form other than the building of new houses. I fail, completely, to understand the Government's policy in this, particularly when the view is expressed elsewhere and quite rightly expressed, that the existence of the Border and the iniquity of it must be brought much more forcibly before all the people in Britain and elsewhere who have made their contribution to its creation and who must make their contribution to its removal. While you send emissaries to Britain to preach about the iniquity of the Border and the need for its removal you do something at home which could be calculated to convince the people that the Border is going to remain.
I disagree completely with this. Whatever way the situation is going to be dealt with there, I think that not one penny should be spent along the Border over and above the barest minimum on improvising for the time being. There is another aspect of our affairs to which I want to draw the Minister's attention. Some districts in the country have suffered grievous losses since the storms. In the west end of my county, down in the mountains, I know that farmers have lost considerably. They have lost elsewhere, too, and I think that these losses are of such a nature as to demand intervention by the Government. Nothing can be more disastrous or discouraging for a farmer than to have  land without any stock to put on it. I think there are a number of farmers in the mountainous districts who are bereft of the bulk of their live stock. How is their economy going to exist unless they get help from outside? I do not know and I am sure the Government cannot know yet the full dimensions of this problem, but before we make up our minds that the export of live stock to Britain is going to continue during the spring and summer we should make certain that the lands of our own country are fully stocked. If a man has no capital or credit to restock his lands when they have been denuded of stock by an act of God I think the obligation is on the Government to come to his aid. Certain problems arise out of this situation. There are no fairs being held throughout the country; there is the inability of the farmers to find cash; heavy demands are being made on the farming community and there are the demands for local rates. All these problems arise out of the conditions we have experienced during the past few months and they are matters to which the Minister must give consideration. I do not wish to dwell on this aspect of the matter for reasons that will be obvious to the Minister. It is easy to exaggerate the difficulties confronting people and to convince them that their difficulties are such that they call for outside help when, in fact, they can be solved by themselves. But there are people who will not be able to solve their own problems and to the extent that they are not, responsibility is on the Government to come to their aid.
I am not satisfied at all that production in this country is up to the level that will enable us to bear the burden of taxation which the Minister has imposed. Unless the policy of the Government is drastically altered in a variety of ways so as to enable us to increase our productive capacity and to increase our population and maintain it, so that the demands of taxation will be spread over a greater number, we will find ourselves up against a situation in which we will not be able to meet these demands. That would be disastrous. We must get our people up to a level of production that will enable them to enjoy decent standards of life.
Mr. McGee: The last time I spoke before the Minister I had occasion to ventilate the famous beet question and I think it is only right to thank the House and particularly the Minister for the attention given to the matter. It has been placed on a footing on which we cannot look with anything but favour and a measure of appreciation of the attention given to it should be expressed by me. I am sorry that I must also allude to the fact that we approached the beet subject this year in most unusual circumstances. Not only was the weather bad but some favoured employees of the beet factories attempted to prejudice and indeed succeeded in prejudicing the entire crop to a very unfortunate extent. There are two classes of people that need drastic treatment, the farmer who, when the time comes, fails to put in his crops for the benefit of the nation and those who, when the crops mature, refuse to save them.
I question very much whether the State is paying sufficient attention to each of these parties. I wonder whether it should do so much in the way of providing social services and other benefits to uplift them. I think that when men seek selfishly to prejudice the State the State in return should deal with them with equal force. They have held the community up for ransom through selfish motives. That, I suggest, would warrant the State in excluding them from benefits to which they would be ordinarily entitled.
What are the facts? That in a country where the people are simply boiling with anxiety to grow beet, they are going to hesitate to do so in the future. Why should they be again placed in the position in which they found themselves last autumn? Due to all the uncertainty that has been created by what occurred last year, I am afraid that we cannot hope to secure this year the acreage in beet production that we could otherwise count on. That will be the position in certain counties. When Senator Baxter was speaking I thought he would develop the point that he was on about live stock. He referred to the enormous bill which is before us.  That, of course, does not include the heavy sums in rates to be raised by the local authorities. Within the last three weeks, due to the terrible weather that we have had, thousands of acres have been put out of production. I never remember anything like it. It has destroyed the splendid grazing and finishing land that we have in my county. The cattle which we used to buy in the county from which Senator Hawkins comes and which we were able to finish—12½-cwt. beasts—in five or six months will be out of production this year. The Glyde and the Dee have overflowed their banks. An enormous amount of damage has been done. The floods have come down to us from the counties of Monaghan and Cavan. They have destroyed all that had been achieved in the way of land improvement by hard work on the part of the people of Louth.
The Minister for Finance is well aware that Mr. Paddy Lynch and myself were two pioneers in wheat growing in our county. The truth is that we have now been forced to reduce our wheat production efforts to what the State demands. Neither of us is a millionaire and has no desire to be. We have good land and suitable land for wheat growing. We could easily grow 1,000 barrels of wheat. Since the moisture content test has been initiated, fear has come over us. Are we to be put in the position that we must simply accept the adjudication given by millers 50 miles away on the moisture content of the wheat that we grow? I do not think that we should be asked to accept that position. Some years ago I got in touch with a gentleman who had a house in St. Stephen's Green, where he was offering 33/- and 35/- a barrel for wheat. That was afterwards increased to 45/- or 46/-.
We simply cannot continue to grow wheat while this moisture content arrangement is continued in force. I may say that Mr. Lynch and myself are paying our staffs to the best of our ability. Our men have been with us for years and we are paying them as well as those who are employed in factories. Why should we be asked to trust ourselves to the millers and to their adjudication on the moisture content of our  wheat? We have no means of knowing how they carry out their tests. The fact is that when we get our cheque we are told that, due to moisture content, we are cut 10/- a barrel. I do not think the State should allow that. I have been growing wheat for ten years.
The position was quite satisfactory as long as we were paid according to bushel content. This new arrangement is not fair to people who take land at £16 and £20 an acre on which to grow wheat. Those people have nothing but a pair of horses. It is hardly fair that, after all their labours, they should be cut heavily because of moisture content. We are not going to trust to that system any longer. We have nobody to appeal to but the Government. I hope that the Minister will do something about this. For the reasons that I have indicated, Mr. Lynch and myself, instead of growing 100 acres, will be growing 50 or 60 acres each. All that moisture content means for the millers is that the wheat has to get some extra heating on the kiln. We, the producers, are cut, but the millers are able to make their millions.
The recent Government publication dealing with the census of population indicated the flight there is from the land. Years ago I advocated, as a means of keeping the people in the country, that the Government should remove the tax imposed on the travelling shops, which were of great assistance to poor people through the country, especially those living in labourers' cottages. There is a wonderful agitation going on to keep the towns in a prosperous state. It is so great that, I am sure, those who are behind it will make us all shiver in our boots when they go out canvassing before the next general election. I have scores of friends amongst the shopkeepers of the country, and I do not want to say a word against them. I know, of course, that there are some who would suck the blood out of the people in order that they may live in luxury.
The tax on these travelling shops imposes, as I have said, a great hardship on poor people through the country. Every facility is provided for the people in the towns. They have  shops at their doors. We in the country are not asking to have electric light installed in our homes although we have contributed our share to the cost of providing the current for the townspeople. We might make the same complaint in regard to the lack of water supplies for country areas. When I was a young man I used to see a flitch of bacon in the chimney of every labourer's house. That is not so to-day. If a labourer's wife wants to fry anything to-day, she has nothing to fry it with. She cannot get any dripping. She will be lucky if she can get a little butter. I think that as regards milk more attention should be paid to increasing the number of goats. The townswoman has no cooking difficulties. She can walk out to a shop and get dripping. Many of the difficulties under which the poor people in the country are labouring at the present time could be relieved, to a great extent, if the tax on these travelling shops was taken off. They would then be able to get supplies of many essential commodities which are not available to them under present conditions, but the hardships in the homes are big and grave. I do not know that I have anything else to say as I have already been ten minutes on my feet but I hope that the Minister will realise and think about all the points I have made.
Mr. Douglas: It is always easier to express gratitude for grants and to approve expenditure than it is to find methods of paying for it. Personally I have always found no difficulty whatever in finding ways in which in my business and in my private capacity I could usefully spend money, but I have always found considerable difficulty, particularly in business, in knowing exactly how I am to find the money which will be necessary if the expenditure is going to be made without becoming bankrupt. The State has as enormous advantage there. It seems to be able to go much further without going bankrupt than any individual. I am not sufficient of an economist to know at what point the State becomes bankrupt. You hear political speeches about “we are going into bankruptcy if we do this thing or the other thing,” but there is no doubt that there is an enormous amount of elasticity and I suppose it is on this elasticity that the Minister is counting when he has had to approve of a very considerable expenditure.
I do not think there is any likelihood, except in general terms, of anybody objecting to any expenditure except some heading of £200 or £2,000, possibly, which he may not like. Therefore, a democratic Government of to-day have got to set out a Budget and have got to carry it subject to very, very minor—if any—changes due to parliamentary discussion. That is more or less inevitable.
I am not going to take up the time of the House or the Minister in attempting to go into details. I have no hope of any substantial amelioration or reduction of taxation and I gather the Minister has not very much either. I want to make that clear because I want again to make an appeal to him to set up a commission or an expert committee to examine into the methods of taxation particularly with regard to income-tax. I am not suggesting that he is going to get income-tax down—in other words, that he is going to get any less from income-tax than he is getting at the present moment, as a result of expenditure to which we are more or less committed, but I suggest the time has come very definitely when we should seek to improve on the application of that tax on the British 1918 Finance Act, and that now in 1947 we might see whether it is not possible that Irish conditions vary somewhat, at least, from British conditions. We might see if we could get or devise something more definitely our own. Everyone in a debate of this kind—and I think properly—speaks about matters of which they have most personal knowledge and while I entirely agree with what has been said as to the need for maximum agricultural production I would also point out that the economy and prosperity of the State will also depend to a considerable extent on the maximum amount of industrial production which is complementary. In Ireland, it is, and I think it always has been, and should be, secondary to that of agriculture.
 I believe the method of taxation in the application of income-tax has a very important bearing on industrial development and I think the present method is bad. The big industries in Britain—those that proved to be the greatest value to the country, particularly during the war period and the emergency afterwards—were largely those which were built up with income-tax varying from 2d. to 1/-, because it was possible to build up considerable reserves. No one here imagines that here or anywhere else we are ever likely to get back to such income-tax rates. Therefore, it may be ruled out, but I do think it is a bad practice to charge the same rate of tax on profits which are retained in the business for capital purposes or as reserves against a difficult period, as we do on profits that are paid out to individuals to spend for their own livelihood or luxury or whatever it may be. I would urge on the Government—it is not an easy matter and it is not something that can be done by a section in the next Finance Act, but will require careful consideration—that they should carefully examine the position and see whether some expert committee could not be set up which would see whether it is not possible to devise different differentiation. In my opinion anyone is a fool who thinks you can ultimately build up a healthy and prosperous Irish industry unless that industry is able after its initial period to produce and sell its goods as cheaply and of as good quality as they could be imported. It is quite possible to maintain industrial development on taxation at a higher rate but it would be very limited indeed in its scope. Cheap prices mean larger production and also mean capacity to take risks. If a particular industry is to make a bona fide effort to produce at a lower cost and consequently at cheaper prices to the public it will have to take the risk that is involved in increasing its production substantially. To do that, it must have certain capital strength and the only real strength can only come through the accumulation of reserves.
Most of our industries—there are some notable exceptions, but only a small number—have really only started in the last 25 years and have not had  any opportunity because of high taxation to build up reserves. During the war they were not able to build up reserves. In many cases the operation of the excess profits tax meant that money which they would have spent on repairs could not be spent, because the parts could not be obtained. That was treated as excess profit and was taken to the extent of about 75 per cent., with the result that none of the industries during the war period have been able to build up reserves. I think that was more or less inevitable, and I am not to be taken as quarrelling with it, but there should be acceptance of the fact, apart from the individuals concerned, that a very large portion of the profits that may be made in industries are made for the purpose of developing. To get that done there should be some differentiation which would make it more attractive to keep money in hands than to give it out. At the moment, subject to certain restrictions, it is better to pay it out because of the operation of the corporation profits tax. I think myself that the corporation profits tax as it stands is a bad tax. It was invented in England after the last war. They found it inequitable and unfair and abolished it. It was almost abolished here. It was retained for companies with £10,000 profit until recently but the present Government brought it back in respect of all companies with profits over £2,500. I think that the tax should be examined at the same time as income-tax in relation to industrial profits to see whether it is not possible to have a new corporation profits tax which will be a tax on industrial and commercial profits to the extent to which the State considers reasonable and also have a separate income-tax which will be paid on individual income, whether it comes from industry or professional earnings or in any other form. There is a rather peculiar anomaly in connection with corporation profits tax which has always seemed to me to be unfair. It did not matter very much when only four or five companies with profits of over £10,000 were affected. But it now affects a number of persons. An individual who engages in industry  and who has shares in a company must pay a higher rate of tax on his income than a person who is a professor or a solicitor or a Minister or who is engaged in any of the more privileged types of occupation. Take the figure of £1,700, which, I think, is the Ministerial figure and assume that the Minister, Senator Buckley, Senator Sweetman, Senator Hayes and I have all got incomes of £1,700. I shall have to pay 10 per cent. on £700 of that because I have money invested in industry or in business. The others will not have to pay that 10 per cent. on £700.
That is a bad system. It was devised after the war before last in England and it was withdrawn after a short period. It is time it was changed or, at all events, revised. The Minister knows the position of a person engaged in commercial or industrial companies who gives his whole time to the business. If he happens to have more than 5 per cent. of the shares and if it be a director-controlled company, which applies to a large number of companies, he will pay 10 per cent. on £700, income-tax on £1,700 and surtax on £200. That is definitely penalising one section of the community. It was not done deliberately. The law had a sort of accidental effect, but it is a thing that requires remedy.
Senator McGee referred to a matter which requires very careful consideration. It is a thing which it will be extremely difficult to do under Party Government. I refer to the devising of agreed legislation to deal with strikes which are virtually strikes against the community. It is more or less inevitable in the state of relationship which exists between so-called capital and so-called labour that one side should take advantage of the apparent weakness or difficulties of the other in order to improve its own position. At a time when there is a large amount of unemployment in an industry it would be quite possible for combined capital to reduce wages and get away with it, because there would not be much trade going and they could afford to have a lockout. That is bad, but it is, more or less, inevitable under our system.
 The same thing happens where, in a particular industry or trade, labour sees that business is good, that labour is short and that that situation can be used for the purpose of improving wages or conditions. It is not to that that I object. I object when it goes a step further and when either side endeavours to improve its conditions by depriving the community of something to which they are entitled. I may refer to the sugar dispute as an instance, without going into the details. That is a situation with which democracy will have to deal. Nobody wants to deal with it drastically. Nobody wants to remove the right to strike. Nobody wants to deal with it as it would be dealt with in a totalitarian country. But we have to deal with it in some way. I do not think that it is a thing which could be dealt with as a political issue. It is a thing which one Party would find it very difficult to deal with and there would have to be some measure of general agreement. It is a matter of importance and is closely allied to our financial position because our losses were considerable in, at least, one case. The possibility of very severe loss both to the people and to the State as a whole by extension of that kind of action renders such a situation extremely serious.
One question which I have always asked myself when approaching the Finance Bill or the Central Fund Bill is: Is there any possible way by which economies could be made? Is there any hope of reducing the cost of government? I sincerely believe that the total cost of government per head is too high. It is easy to say that. Can any practical suggestions be made? I do not know whether my suggestion will be regarded as practicable or not, but it seems to me that there is one possible line in which there might be a saving. Could we not endeavour to administer our social services by voluntary effort? I do not know whether the Minister could give us any indication of the percentage of the amount spent on social services which goes to administrative costs. Obviously, there would have to be a certain amount of State expenditure on administration under my scheme, but I often  wondered if it would not be possible to carry out the distribution of benefits in a more human way under such a scheme than such work can possibly be done by the State. If we could get the kind of voluntary effort which we had 25 or 30 years ago brought into operation in the case of our social services—the State providing the money and whatever central administration would be necessary and individuals endeavouring, without pay, to do the rest of the work—it would not be as theoretically perfect as the present system, but it might be a great deal more human and Christian in its administration. It might also save a great deal of money. If anything of the kind were possible, it would be a great achievement and would give an opportunity for co-operation. I shall, probably, be told that it would be a impracticable, but if nobody makes these suggestions they will never be considered. I think that it would be possible to carry out something of the kind because, in the case of social services, you are dealing with the best type of charitable feeling.
A great deal is being done through bodies such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Why could not the nation do that work to the extent necessary? It would bring people into contact and give a greater appreciation of the real needs of those whose incomes are too low. While it might not be as theoretically efficient as the present system, it might not be impossible. If we cannot get more people willing to do something for the community and the State without pay, then the cost of Government will go up and up. Picture for a moment the amount of work that people of all kinds did in what was called the national movement. In the case of the White Cross, people gave voluntary service who had no sympathy with what we regarded as a national movement. They gave their services without pay. There was never any question of pay. Could we not see if it is possible to place portion of our social services on a voluntary basis? If that could be done, we should, certainly, reduce the total national expenditure. I suggest, too, that administration of the services in this way  would be more human and more Christian.
Liam Ó Buachalla: Is dócha nach raibh súil ag an Aire agus é ag éisteacht leis an díospóireacht seo go bhfaghadh sé oiread moladh agus a tugadh dó. Ní gnáthach go moltar an tAire ar an ócáid seo ar an doígh ar ar moladh é inniu. Níl le rá agamsa ach go n-aontaím leis an méid moladh a tugadh dó as ucht chomh misniúil agus a bhí sé agus an Bille Príomh-Chiste á mheas agus gá cheapadh aige. Ní dóigh liom go raibh aon duine ag casaoid inniu go bhfuil sé ag caitheamh an iomarca. Sílim gurb é tuairim gach duine a labhair go bhfuil an Bille, mar atá ceaptha aige, réasúnta agus mar ba chóir.
Ba mhaith liom aontú leis an méid atá ráite mar bhuíochas leis as ucht a bhfuil déanta aige agus ag an Rialtas le deontas na nOllscol a mhéadú. Is ceist í an mbeidh sé mór go leor. Is cinte gur méid tráthúil é agus ní mheasaim féin go bhfuil an focal deiridh ráite i dtaobh an scéil. Caithfimíd cuimhniú go bhfuil an córas sóisialach ina chóras orgánach, go bhfuil sé ag athrú agus nach bhfuil aon rud a bhaineann leis ina stad. Ar nós ceisteanna sóisialacha pléifear ceist an oideachais agus ceist na hOllscoile, ó am go ham. Tá mé cinnte, ón eolas agus ón aithne atá agam ar an Aire Airgeadais agus ar lucht an Rialtais trí chéile, ón Taoiseach anuas, i gcás duine ar bith ag plé le oideachas, gur cinnte go bhfuil cáirde dá chúis ins na daoine atá mé tar éis a lua.
Tá aon rud amháin ina dhiaidh sin ba mhaith liom a chur ós cóir an Aire agus a chabhair a iarraidh ina thaobh. Tá ráfla ag dul thart go bhfuiltear chun an scéim a bhí ann go dtí seo in Ollscoil na Gaillimhe, scéim na leaththáillí ar chúrsaí Gaeilge, a chur ar ceal. Faoin socrú a rinneadh don Coláiste sin i 1926, cuireadh in áirithe go mbeadh na cúrsaí i nGaeilge le fáil ar leath-tháillí. Ba mhór an chabhair é sin do chúrsaí na Gaeilge, ach ba mhaith liom a chur go speisialta os cóir an Aire gur daoine nach bhfuil a muintir ro-dheisiúil, a lán de na  daoine a cuireadh isteach ar na cúrsaí sin; daoine nach bhfuil mórán deis acu ar scolaireachtaí d'fháil. Is fíor go bhfuil scoláireachtaí sa Choláiste le haghaidh lucht na Gaeltachta. Tugadh cheithre cinn in aghaidh na bliana agus ní leor sin, do réir an méid daoine a bhfuil dúil acu a gcuid oibre a dhéanamh i nGaeilge chomh fada agus is féidir leo.
Do réir mar cloisim, is cuid den socrú atá molta go n-árdófar na táillí ins na Coláistí agus go gcuirfear deireadh le scéim na leath-tháillí. Is cinte go mbeadh cúis casaoide san Coláiste dá dtuitfeadh sé sin amach, mar raghadh uimhir na mac léinn i laghad in ionad bheith ag dul i méid, agus dob ionann sin agus ioncam an Choláiste a laghdú. Má tá contúirt ann go raghaidh líon na mac léinn i méid i gColáiste na Gaillimhe an oiread sin, ba chóir go mbeimís sásta an cúiteamh atá riachtanach a thabhairt don Choláiste as a ucht sin. B'fhéidir nach bhfuil ann ach ráfla nó moladh. Tá súil agam, nuair a bheas an scéal á réiteach sa deireadh, go cuimhneoidh an tAire ar an méid atá mé a rá agus go bhféachfaidh sé chuige, chomh fada agus tá sé ar a chumas, nach gcuirfear deireadh leis an scéim sin.
Tá aon rud amháin eile a bhaineann leis sin, ba mhaith liom a ath-iarraidh ar Aire ar an ócáid seo. Baineann sé le chomh mall agus atáimid ag cur téacs-leabhra ar fáil le haghaidh na mean-scol agus na nOllscoil. Ní dóigh liom gur féidir locht a fháil ar an dóigh ina dtoghtar ábhar na leabhar. Feictear dom go bhfuil an taobh sin den scéal sásúil go maith. Ach nuair atá ábhar an leabhair toghtha, tá moill mór in áit éigin atá ag cur as, ní amháin d'obair na Gaeilge agus d'obair na múinteoireachta agus d'obair na mac léinn, ach ag cur as do dhaoine gur mian leo dul ar aghaidh agus leabhra a scríobh. Is rud amháin é leabhair a ullmhú ach, nuair a chíonn tú na blianta ag dul thart gan iad a fhoillsiú, ní bhíonn mórán dúil nó misneach ann leanúint den obair. Níl fhios agam cén chaoi is féidir é leigheas. Ní mheasaim gur  ceist eagarthóireachta ar fad é. Níl fhios agam an ó thaobh Oifig an tSoláthair atá an deachracht ann, ach ba mhaith liom go bhfiosrófaí arís é agus go bhféachfaí chuige go laghdófar go mór an mhoill atá ar fhoillsiú na leabhra Gaeilge.
Thaithnigh sé go mór liom an chaoi ina ndearnadh tagairt inniu don riachtanas atá ann go bhfeachfaimís feasta le táirgeacht na tíre a chur chun cinn. Is fada mé ag dul síos suas na tíre ag tabhairt léachtaí poiblí i gceard-scoileanna agus in áiteanna éile, agus an port á sheinm agam go raibh gá anois le méadú táirgeachta. Chomh fada agus is eol domh-sa, is beag an méid atá déanta ag aon Rialtas in áon tír eile, thar mar atá déanta sa tír seo, chun táirgeacht a chur chun cinn.
Tá dhá rud fíor-riachtanach, má tá an táirgeacht le dul chun cinn mar ba chóir, le go mbeimís ábalta na seirbhísí sóisialacha atá i bhfeidhm faoi láthair a choinneáil ar bun agus breis a chur leo. Siad an dá rud sin mianach na mbainisteoirí agus stiúrthoirí a fheabhsú agus mianach na gceárdaithe féin a fheabhsú. Níl fhios agam an bhfuil lucht ceannais gnótha na tíre chomh dall sin ná feiceann siad chomh géar agus atá éileamh i Sasana agus i nAlbain ar na ceardaithe oilte as an tír seo. Tá siad á dtabhairt isteach mar “cadets” i gcúrsaí bainisteoireachta agus á dtréineáil chun dul i mbun gnótha na tíre sin. Tá lucht ceannais gnótha in Éirinn sásta, do réir deallraimh, a chuid gnó a dhéanamh ar an sean-nós ach tá an lá ag teacht go mbeidh fadhbanna géara ann agus ní dhéanfaidh siad a gcuid gnótha i gceart gan bainisteoirí agus stiúrthoirí intleachtúla tuigsionacha tréineálta. Ba cheart do lucht ceannais na tíre a bheith ullamh daoine as na hOllscoileanna a thabhairt isteach agus iad a ullmhú le dul i mbun an ghnótha ar ball.
Tá an dara rud tábhachtach— mianach na gceárdaithe a fheabhsú agus a líon do mhéadú. Níl fhios agam an bhféadfaimís níos mó a dhéanan h le feabhas a chur ar an gceardaíocht go dtí seo. chomh fada agus a bhaineann sé leis an stad ina bhfuil na  agus ranganna ceárdoideachais. Tá scéim ceaptha le tuilleadh scoileanna agus ranganna a chur ar fáil. Mar adúirt mé anseo ar ócáid eile, isé an locht atá ar an scéal a laghad daoine a bhí ag baint tairbhe as na scoileanna agus na ranganna sin. Sílim go bhfuil athrú intinne tagtha ar thuismitheoirí agus ar fostuitheoirí i dtaobh tábhacht agus tairbhe na scoileanna sin. Tuigeann siad níos fearr inniu ná a thuigeadar go dtí seo chomh mór agus is féidir dóibh cur le héifeacht na ndaoine óga mar tháirgeoirí. Ó thaobh eile, ní bhaineann sé go díreach le scoileanna ná leis an Rialtas, ach leis na ceard-chumainn féin. Rinneadh tagairt inniu don mhéid daoine óga a d'imigh as an tír agus na fáthanna a bhí leis. Ní scannraíonn sé mise, go háirithe, go bhfuil cuid mhaith ag imeacht as an tír. Do réir mar atá na daoine óga ag imeacht as an tír, tá siad ag tabhairt caoi níos fearr do na daoine eile a fhanas slí maireachtála a bhaint amach. Níl aon rud eile le déanamh, agus tar éis liúntas a dhéanamh le haghaidh na hoibre annseo, caithfimid an cuid eile de na daoine a ligint amach, idir buachaillí agus cailíní.
Ní dóigh liom go bhfuil sé ceart ná cóir gan deis a bheith ag daoine óga cur isteach ar ceárdanna. Sílim go bhfuil na ceard-chumainn ag cur srian ar an líon printíseach ag dul isteach ins an chuid is mó de na tionnscail. Creideann siad gur dainséarach an rud é uimhir na bprintíseach a mhéadú, mar tá faitíos ortha go ndéanfadh sé sin an páigh a isliú, faitíos go mbeidh na coinníollacha saothair níos measa ná mar a bhí roimhe. Níl an baol sin ann anois. Tá an Rialtas agus an pobal ar aon intinn go mba chóir go bhfuigheadh na hoibrithe, is cuma cén ceárd a cleachtaíonn siad, páigh réasúnta. Agus chomh fada agus is féidir leis an Rialtas agus an pobale dhéanamh, tá an goireas curtha ar fáil chuige sin.
Tá geileagar na tíre ar nós an cáca a dhéanfadh bean an tí. Tá optimum riachtanach ins gach rud. Má tá an iomarca salainn ann, millfidh sé an cáca; ma tá an iomarca bainne no sóide ann, millfidh sé an cáca. I gcúrsaí geileagair, má tá an iomarca oibrithe neamh-oilte ar thaobh amháin agus  ualach ró-throm ar an taobh eile, cuireann sé as nó coscann sé go mór an tseirbhís náisiúnta. Tá fhios agam go bhfuil deacrachtaí ann i dtaobh an scéil. D'iarr mé cheana ins an Seanad ar lucht ceannais na gceard-scol an cheist a scrúdú go cúramach, ar mhaithe leo fhéin agus ar mhaithe leis an tír; agus má tá cruthuithe ina dhiaidh sin go gcaithfidh na daoine imeacht as an tír, ní mheasaim gur cheart dúinn a cheapadh gur dearmad nó cailliúint airgid é iad a thréaineál agus a ligint amach. Is ró-fhada a bhíodar ag baint an adhmhaid agus ag iompair an uisce, agus má tá siad ag dul amach ba cheart go mbeadh siad ag imeacht mar cheardaithe oilte.
Cuid de na fadhbhanna is tábhtachtaí sa tír faoi láthair is ea na deacrachtaí atá ann cheal ceárdaithe. Níl na rudaí ag teacht isteach ón gcoigríoch mar a bhí siad, ach dá ainneoin sin ní bheadh siad chomh gann agus atá dá mbeadh na ceárdaithe againn. Má táimíd chun iarracht a dhéanamh ar chosc a chur le cuid den imeacht as an tír, déarfainn féin gur ceann de na príomh-rudaí go mbogfar an srian atá ann faoi láthair ar dhaoine óga ag dul isteach ins na ceárdanna éagsúla.
Rinneadh tagairt do pholasaí an Rialtais le blianta anuas agus do caitheadh aimhreas ar thoradh an pholasaí sin. Níl fúm an cheist a scrúdú é féin, ach ní mhiste dhom breithniú ar dhá thaobh na ceiste ar feadh neomat—ó thaobh geileagair agus ó thaobh sóisialachta. Ar theip ar an bpolasaí a bhí i bhfeidhm againn i 1932 ó thaobh geileagar dhe? Caithfimid cuimhneamh ar seo: ó 1932 go dtí an lá atá inniú ann, ní raibh tréimhse síochána againn gur cheart tréimhse síochána a thabhairt air. Ní túisce tús curtha leis an bpolasaí nua geilgeagair ná tháinig an cogadh geileagair; agus ní túisce an cogadh sin socraithe ná tháinig an cogadh mór. Ach d'ainneoin na ndeachrachtaí, tá mé cinte gur éirigh linn. Idir 1932 agus 1938, tháinig stop beagnach ar fad leis an imirce.
Mícheál Ó hAodha: Bhí sé stoptha i 1931.
Liam Ó Buachalla: Bhí.
Micheál Ó hAodha: Ní fhéadfadh sé stopadh arís.
Liam Ó Buachalla: Tá mé ag caint ar an athrú atá tagaithe leis an linn sin Ó 1932. Bhí daoine ag fanacht abhaile ach ní raibh siad díomhaoin. Idir 1932 agus 1938, bhí 75,000 duine curtha isteach i lán-obair sa tír. Ba céim mhór ar aghaidh í sin mar thoradh ar an bpolasaí ó thaobh geilleagair. Nílim chun a thuilleadh tagairt a dhéanamh don phointe sin——
Mícheál Ó hAodha: Ná do na daoine atá ag imeacht ón tuaith.
Liam Ó Buachalla: An chuid is mó de na daoine a fuair an obair sin, ba daoine ón tuaith iad. Le linn an chogaidh a bheith ar siúl bhí ganntanas ann, agus marach go raibh an tionscail sin ar bun againn agus oibrithe oilte againn níl aon aimhreas ná gur fíor drochbhail a bhéadh ar an tír. Nuair a bheimid ag déanamh an moladh deiridh faoi, caithfimid é sin a chur san áireamh. Caithfimíd a admháil nár éirigh thar barr leis, ach d'eirigh níos fearr leis ná mar a cheap mé féin i dtosach báire a eireodh leis.
Ó thaobh soisialachta, níl aon aimhreas ná gur éirigh linn breis seirbhíse sóisialacha a chur ar fáil. Níl fhios agam an ndearnamar an obair i gceart. Tá ath-dháilíú ar chuid mhaith den ioncam náisiúnta. An bhfuil sé déanta mar ba chóir, nó an bhfuil an t-am tagtha anois chun léirmheas a dhéanamh air agus b'fhéidir é athrú? Nuair a thugaim faoi deara, ar an bPáipéar Bán ar an Ioncam Náisiúnta a foillsíodh tamall ó shoin, chím gur caitheadh £35½ milliún ar ól agus tobac ins an tír. Is cinte go bhfuil ioncam na ndaoine méaduithe go mór agus is cinte go bhfuil ath-dháiliú curtha i gcríoch ar an ioncam náisiúnta. Ach, rud nach bhfuil chomh cinte, ar tháinig an dáiliú sin ar an mbealach a bhfearr. An figiúir a caitheadh ar bhia, is ionann é agus £93 milliún. Níl fhios agam ar fiú dúinn cuimhneamh anois ar an gcuid den airgead a caitear ar ól agus tobac i gcomparáid leis an suim a caitear ar bhia. Ar aon chuma sé an toradh atá ar an gceist gur rinneamar  ath-dháiliú ar an ioncam náisiúnta agus go bhfuair a lán aicmí ins an tír cuid den ioncam sin. Maidir le polasaí na mblianta atá caite a scrúdú, caithfimid cuimhneamh ar thorthaí geilleagair agus sóisialachta. Má dhéanaimid é sin, sílim go gcaithfimid a admháil go bhfuil obair an-mhaith déanta.
Rinneadh tagairt don laghdú atá togtha ar líon muintire na tíre. Ní bheidh aon duine againn sásta go dtí go bhfeicimid stop ar fad leis an tuitim ar líon na ndaoine. Ach duine a bhreathnaíos ar thorthaí an mhóráirimh ó thús scéim an mhor-airimh go dtí seo, nach bhféadfadh sé a rá inniú go bhfuil an scéal sásúil? Ins an mór-áireamh deireadh bhí an scéal tagtha chun cinn. Ní raibh laghdú ar éigin tagtha ar dhaonra na tíre. Bhí sé sin sásúil. Bhíos ag ceapadh, nuair a thiocfas mór-áireamh eile, go bhfeicfimid plus in ionad an minus a mbíodh cleachta againn an roimhe sin. Nuair a bhí an mór-áireamh deireadh ceaptha, bhí sé soiléir go raibh stop ar an tuitim. Nuair a smaoineann tú ar an stop a bhí ar thionscail na tíre; nuair a chuimhníonn tú ar dheachrachtaí an chogaidh ag cur isteach orainn anseo, agus ar an méid a bhí ag imeacht as an tír le linn na tréimhse sin, ní hé an t-iontas go bhfuil an laghdú comh mór ach go bhfuil sé chomh beag agus atá sé. Nuair a chuimhníonn duine ar na figiúirí, in éineacht leis na figiúirí ón Roinn Rialtais Áitiúil faoi an méid pósadh agus beireatais, agus líon na mbás, agus ar an “natural increase” is dual don tír, ní gá aon imní a bheith orainn faoi dhaonra na tíre.
Rinneadh tagaírt don mhéid airgid ab fhéidir leis na himirceoirí a shaothrú nuair d'imigh siad. Do réir na ndaoine atá ag caint anseo, cheapfadh duine go bhfuil El Dorado le fáil taobh amuigh. Níl fhios agam, i gcás daoine a bhionn ag caint mar sin, ar chaith siad aon tamall le gairid i Sasana nó in Albain, ar thug siad aon chuaird ar na cathracha, ar chuaigh siad isteach ins na siopaí, ar thug siad faoi deara na scuainí taobh amuigh ar na sráideanna, ar áiríodar na luachanna ar a lán rudaí agus ar chuireadar i gcomórtas leis na anseo iad, agus ar chuimhnigh siad ar  an gcostas ar mhuintir Shasana nach bhfeictear go ro-shoiléir, .i. an deontas a chaitheann siad a reamhíoc chun an costas maireachtála a choimeád síos go dtí leibhéil réasúnta. Tá beartaithe ag Rialtas Shasana éirí as an deontas sian. Mar sin, feicfimid, faoi cheann trí mí nó sé míosa, cén chaoi a bheidh an costas maireachtála ag muintir Shasána.
Bíodh sin mar atá, cé mhéid a b'fhiú do mhuintir na hÉireann saothar na ndaoine a chuaigh go Sasana? Na figiúirí deireannacha atá againn, d'innis siad dúinn gur thainig breis agus £9,000,000 isteach ó airgead na n-imirceoirí in aghaidh na bliana ins na blianta caite. Tháinig £2,000,000 as na Stát Aontaithe agus táimid an-tsásta gur tháinig an t-airgead sin isteach. Is trua nach bhfuil a thuilleadh le fáil. mar ba mhaith linn fáil a bheith againn ar dholairí mar mhalairt ar phúint. Nuair a chuimhnímid ar an méid airgid a thagann isteach ón imirce, ní fiú é mar choda den airgead atá riachtanach le haghaidh earraí na tíre. Caithfimid smaoineamh ar an méid airgid a théann trí na bancanna in aon bhliain amháin —700,000,000—agus mar sin sílim go bhfuilimid ag tabhairt an iomarca áird don tsuim sin a thagann ó na imirceoirí. Nuair a áirímid nach caitear cuid den airgead ach go gcuirtear i leataoibh é, feictear dom-sa go bhfuil an iomarca cainte déanta air. Abair go dtagann £9,000,000 ar fad ó Shasana, sin £190,000,000 ins na deich mbliana atá caite, agus cé mhéid sa tseachtain é sin? Níl ann ach 14/- nó 15/- sa tseachtain. Na daoine a chuaigh amach as an tír seo, is dochtúirí, innealltóirí agus daoine tráchtála cuid acu. Tuigtear dúinn ins an deireadh a laghad agus is fiú an méid airgid a cuirtear a bhaile ós na daoine atá ag fanacht ann.
Mícheál Ó hAodha: Is toil leo é dhéanamh.
Liam Ó Buachalla: Is toil leo. Sílim, nuair a bheas fáil ar fhigiúirí sa deireadh, ar theacht agus imeacht paisinéirí idir Éirinn agus Sasana, go bhfeicimíd go bhfuil an sárú iompaithe an mbealach eile agus go bhfuil cuid mhaith de na daoine ag teacht  abhaile. Ní luaim an pointe seo ach ar an gcúis seo; na daoine atá ag caint ar fhigiúirí, ba cheart go bhféachfaidís feasta le iad do scrúdú i bhfad níos curamaí ná atá déanta acu go dtí seo. Má dhéanann siad é sin, beidh tuairim eile acu seachas an tuairim a bhí acu go dtí seo agus ní bheidh siad a chur ina luí ar na daoine óga go bhfuil an saol thall chomh luachmhar san.
Mr. S.T. Ruane: I propose to address myself to the points raised by other Senators in the opening of the debate. As Senator Baxter very properly remarked, the success or failure of the country to meet this huge Bill depends largely on the success or failure of our efforts to increase agricultural production. A committee was set up in 1945 to report on post-war agricultural policy and, after a considerable time, that committee of experts brought in a series of reports, and anybody who took the trouble even to glance at them would come to the conclusion that considerable aid must be brought to the agricultural community in order to bring production up to the standard that is necessary if this country is to survive.
I will not go over the various items in this Bill to find out what steps the Government has taken to meet the views of the majority report. Unless something is done immediately to arrest the present migration of labour to England, our other efforts are doomed to failure. Senator Baxter rightly suggested that some drastic remedy is necessary as even within the past few days, since the call for the mobilisation of our labour forces went out, with a view to making up leeway caused by the abnormal weather of January and February, the exodus to England goes on.
I am quite satisfied that the way to impress upon the people the necessity for the drastic remedy Senator Baxter suggested is to satisfy them that they can make as much money in their own country as they can make in England. There is no use telling them that in going to England they are going to live under conditions that are far worse  than those existing in Ireland, or that as regards food, fuel and clothing, conditions are far worse in England than in Ireland. These boys and girls know that. They are leaving Ireland not for a good time but because they get a higher wage in England than they get here, and until some policy is brought forward under which they will be remunerated for their services as well in this country as they are in England, the trek across the water will go on.
I was very interested in Senator Kingsmill Moore's remarks regarding the manner in which the universities are being treated in the matter of extra grants, and I am quite satisfied the guarantee he gave, that the money will be wisely spent, will be carried out. Senator Hayes stated that the increased grants to universities were contingent on increased fees being paid by students. The matter of university fees, as far as students from the country are concerned, is a bagatelle compared with the increased cost of maintenance in cities where the universities are situated. That is a rather serious problem for people whose children are being educated at university centres.
I am sorry to see, that while considerable sums of money are being made available to finance the universities, to increase the remuneration of secondary teachers and, to a certain extent, primary teachers, the Minister for Finance could not see his way to take into consideration the just claims of a section of the community, numbering, I believe, 3,000—the pensioned national teachers. These people did good work for the country. They taught the language and took a prominent part in its revival and other national activities at a time when it was neither as safe nor as fashionable as it is now. Numbers of these people are existing to-day on miserable pensions varying from £1 to 30/- per week. With them the value of £1 is just as small as it is with other persons, whose claims were met. These veterans deserve better treatment from a country for which they did so much during their period of active service. It is notorious that in the Six Counties  extra provision could be made for pensioned teachers, while no such provision is made on this side of the Border. That is just another way by which the Border is and will be perpetuated.
I should like finally to deal with the question of public health. There has been comment on the fact that, notwithstanding the huge amount of money spent on hospitalisation, the national health, if I might put it that way, is not up to the standard which we would like it to be. Some time ago a Public Health Bill, that was spoken of as the be-all and end-all in that respect was, as a result of certain necessary opposition, withdrawn. We were told when that Bill was before the Dáil that it would be the remedy towards improving health conditions here. While we are waiting for another Public Health Bill, the Government should seriously address itself to the whole question of public health, and a start should be made by implementing the present medical inspection of school children. A certain form of inspection is carried out now, but a large share of the money spent on it really leads nowhere. In County Mayo the medical officer entrusted with that important duty carries out his work in a very efficient manner but he can only make one call to a school in every five years. The health statistics which are tabulated as a result of that call are filed in the Public Health Office, but the children concerned have left school before the county medical officer can pay a return visit. A recommendation was made some time ago that dispensary medical officers should be associated with the county medical officer in his work of school inspection, but the then Parliamentary Secretary considered that they had not the necessary training for such work. Until a new Public Health Bill is brought forward I think something might be done for the health of the people by implementing school medical inspection. Very often as a result of visits to the schools valuable information can be got as to home conditions, and those engaged on this important public health work would thus have some ground to go on in their efforts to improve the health of the people.
Mr. Honan: In the course of this discussion there have been references to the agricultural industry. That is fit and proper in view of its great importance to the community and to the future of the State. However, people living in urban districts have to consider their position. For instance, the county rate in Clare this year has been very substantially increased. The increase will represent in the town of Ennis an extra rate of 2/9, apart from the town rate. In the case of the county rate the increase is to some extent offset by an increased agricultural grant. In the towns, unfortunately, no relief of any kind is given against a rate of 26/9 in the £. While some business people can afford to pay that rate, it must be remembered that the majority of the ratepayers are small shopkeepers. It will be a hardship on many people in the towns to meet such a demand. Many urban towns cannot afford to meet such a rate.
My main object now is to direct the attention of the Minister to the cost of housing, seeing that there is a possibility of some housing schemes being undertaken in urban areas. If local authorities in these towns are to tackle housing under Acts that were passed in pre-war days the financial conditions must be amended before they can attempt to deal with the question with any degree of success, or let houses at rents that will make them economic. In Ennis we had a scheme which provided a house, water and other amenities at a cost of £350, on which, I think, the Government gave a two-thirds subsidy. That subsidy was all right at that period. Costs have gone up so much since then that a subsidy of two-thirds on a £350 house would be of very little value, because the cost of building has increased so much that the probable cost of building such a house now, that is, a house that cost £350, would be nearer to £900. As a matter of fact, I saw recently where some council adopted an estimate for nearly £1,000 per house for the same type of houses. If the ceiling is not raised above the two-thirds subsidy and a higher grant given by the Government, it will not be possible to get the people for whom  those houses were intended to pay the economic rent, which would be from 15/- to 20/- a week. In one of those schemes that we had for a clearance area, a slum area, people by compulsion had to leave their hovels. They should not have to be compelled to leave these hovels, but they had them very cheaply. Some paid only 1/- and others only 1/6 a week. They had to pay 5/10 for the new houses, which combined rent with rates. I must say most of them paid up very well.
If the ceiling is not raised the rent will be anything between 15/- and £1 a week for these houses and that would be out of the reach of many of the people for whom they are intended. Many of these people have not regular employment; they live on pensions or unemployment assistance and would not be able to pay these rents. They will have to be cleared out of the slum areas in any case and I do not know how they are to be accommodated unless the ceiling is raised very high. There is another form of building which has proved most useful in our towns and that is, building under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts, whereby any respectable tradesman could borrow up to £800 for the building of his own house, provided the value of the house did not exceed £1,000. That was all right ten years ago but a house that cost £750 then would probably cost twice as much now. This ceiling must be raised also so that people will get an opportunity of building houses that will be valued for more than £1,000. I know of several houses built under this Act. They are decent types of houses and were valued for about £750 when they were built. I asked an engineer recently what it would cost to build these houses now and he said it would be anything between £1,500 and £1,600. I hope the Minister will take note of these points and that something will be done to amend these Acts.
Mrs. Concannon: As senior member for the National University it seems right that I should join with the other Senators who have thanked the Government for coming to the aid of  the universities in the generous way in which they have done. Everybody knows that the most valuable asset to any country is an educated and healthy people and one of the main springs of education is the university. As has been pointed out, all the secondary and the vocational teachers and, to an increasing degree, the primary teachers, are educated at universities. The good that they can do, therefore, spreads through the whole country. For this reason we should congratulate the Minister and the Government on having taken a wide view and I only hope it is not at the expense of the students. After all, the students are a very important part of the university. I think the universities exist for the students, but nothing at all has been done, so far as I know, to come to the aid of the students in the very serious problem of lodgings. No matter how much money is spent on a university if the students live in such conditions that they cannot avail of the advantages of the university, it is very much to be deplored. Last year I spoke of the necessity for the Government and the universities together looking into the question of providing university hostels or something of that nature. It is a primary need. You must look after the students attending the universities. They are increasing in numbers in Galway, Cork and Dublin and the conditions in which they have to live give serious cause for alarm. I hope the Minister will take this point into consideration and, with the advice of the universities, devise some means of meeting it. I was glad to hear Senator Seán Ruane speak of the crying claims of the old pensioned teachers. They were paid at a rate that was simply deplorable and now that their pensions are based on these rates they are left in a state of penury. It is one of the advantages of old age, a condition at which I have arrived, that——
Mr. Sweetman: Oh, no, no.
Mrs. Concannon: Well, at any rate I remember the beginnings of the Gaelic League and no one gave such  help and at such cost as the old teachers and some of those who gave this help are now in need of help themselves. With Senator Ruane, I commend their claim to the sympathetic consideration of the Government. I was greatly interested in what Senator Douglas said about voluntary help in connection with the social services. It comes well from Senator Douglas, who belongs to a religious community that has an honourable record in this regard. My mind is fresh in regard to this subject because recently I have been reading the records on the famine and it is moving to read of the work done at that time by the religious confrères of Senator Douglas. Familiar names are mentioned in letters as having come to the help of those in dire necessity. Reading these letters now we must appreciate what it means to have our own Government to manage our own affairs. If we had our own Government 100 years ago there would have been no famine. As we read, it would have been the easiest thing in the world to have come to the people's assistance. It was because there was no Government with sufficient interest in, or who knew the needs of the people, that the awful calamity happened. Fortunately we are not in this position to-day and when a cry comes from the Government as it does now we find that the old spirit of service is not dead. We found that, we are proud to say, in the course of the harvest and now, please God, we will have the same spirit in the sowing of the crops this spring.
Whatever voluntary help can be given will be given. Voluntary help is always forthcoming. The Red Cross is a type of voluntary help, and so is that given by religious communities. I am not one of those people who have an inordinate admiration for the Middle Ages. I have read too many lives of the Saints to have that. The conditions at the time were awful. There were only a few people who were inspired by charity to come to the rescue of those in need, and they often had to do so under almost impossible conditions, but that leaven of charity spread through the whole nation. When you see a nation with good social services, that is because  its social conscience has been developed. That is quite right, and is as it should be.
I do not like to hear people talk about State interference, because it is not State interference. It is the whole country coming to the help of people in need. While we still want plenty of voluntary assistance, and while we want to keep alive the spirit of charity which is at the root of all our social services, we must get from the nation itself the public money that is needed to maintain these services. The work must be done on a more or less official basis. Everyone in Ireland knows that the officials are animated by a spirit of social charity. All of us, Senators and Deputies, are for ever going to Departments of State for help for one thing or another.
That help is given in a spirit of fraternal charity that is most heartening. It is given in a spirit that we like to see kept alive. The spirit that Senator Douglas reminded us of is the very spring of all our social services. It is in accord with the proud record of our race in the way of feeling for and providing for the poor and the needy. In view of all that I think we can face the future with proud hearts.
In conclusion, I would deprecate the words spoken by those—not in this House—who would ask us not to extend our hands to the needy in other countries. One is ashamed that Ireland, which prides itself on being a Christian country, would not be moved by the many appeals which have been made on behalf of those people, the appeal of His Holiness the Pope and by others—appeals especially on behalf of old people and little children. Let us, therefore, not hear any more about begrudging the money that we spend in helping the poor, the old and the little children of those afflicted countries.
Mr. Sweetman: May I be permitted a small smile of amusement without in any way decrying the efforts of Senator Hayes, Senator Kingsmill Moore and Senator Mrs. Concannon in thanking the Government for what has been done for the universities, while at the  same time not adding a word of thanks for the taxpayer who, of course, is the person who will have to foot the assistance given. The first point that I want to deal with is one which, I think, was inadvertently forgotten by the Minister last year.
As the House is aware, the Government then introduced a scheme of supplementary agricultural grants, largely for the purpose of meeting the increased cost of labour which farmers have to bear. When that scheme was introduced there was one omission. I am satisfied that the omission was due to a mistake. The omission was this, that the farmer living in an urban area was forgotten and, consequently, did not benefit under the scheme. That applies to a number of farmers living in fairly large urban areas. The urban area of Naas, for example, is an extremely large one. You have on all sides of Naas a number of substantial farmers. I can think of three, each of whom has about 100 acres of land. They are as good farmers as one would find in any part of the County of Kildare. Due to this omission they did not get any portion of the agricultural grant that has been given to farmers living in rural areas, although in fact they had to pay more by way of increased wages to their men than the farmer living away in a rural part of the county. That is due to the fact that they live near a town. I suggest to the Minister that he should correct that omission in the coming year, and should go further and deal with it retrospectively so as to put the farmers in the urban areas in the same position as their colleagues who live beyond the urban boundary.
There is another matter of administration to which I desire to direct the attention of the Minister. It is one in which some difficulty has been experienced by local authorities. I refer to the Ordnance Survey Office in the Phoenix Park which, I understand, is under the control of the Minister for Finance. It prohibits the copying of any of its maps for copyright reasons. While it is desirable that such a prohibition  should operate in respect of any copying for sale, it is at the same time what one may call an excess of bureaucracy to suggest that local authorities may not copy these maps for their own work. I understand that by reason of the prohibition they are unable to carry out portion of their work, especially in the selection of housing sites, in an expeditious and cheap way. If they were allowed to make copies of these maps it would facilitate them greatly as regards the marking of plots. I can fully appreciate that there should be no provision by virtue of which any copies of the maps in the Ordnance Survey Office could be put up for sale, but I think any local authority should have the free use of them so as to enable it to do its work in a cheap and expeditious way.
Finally, I want to refer the House to item 72 in the Central Fund Bill— the item which makes provision for the alleviation of distress. I do not subscribe to the view that it is not our duty, so far as we can, to help those other nations that are in a worse way than we are. I feel that is a Christian duty that is thrown upon us since we are not so badly off as they are. It is, I think, undesirable to suggest that it is not right and proper that we should do so. I do make this suggestion, however, that we should be far more selective in the objects of the State's bounty. It was a matter, I think, of regret during the past year that at the time when the whole people were united —I am not suggesting for a moment that the Government were not at one with the people—in condemning the communistic outlook of one country as well as the manner in which, I think, that country has shown publicly that it is not going to stand for the ordinary principles of justice and freedom as well as the practice of religion in which we here believe, a delegation from this country was also out seeing the Government of Yugoslavia as to how the moneys which had been allotted to it from this country could be distributed there. I agree, of course, that the matter had been arranged before it was seen exactly how that Government was  moving. That, however, is no longer the case.
It is desirable, I think, that we should make certain, when we give whatever we can afford towards the relief of distress in Europe, that we give it in such a way as to make certain that we are not helping to bolster up a form of government with which we in Ireland have nothing in common. Everybody will agree with me—the Minister will agree with me—that gifts coming in from outside inevitably redound in some degree to the prestige of the Government that happens to be in power at the time the gifts arrive. I suggest that, in the coming year, it would be desirable that we should restrict our assistance to those countries that have shown, and who are showing, that they place the same value on the concept of the human being as we do ourselves—as a person with a soul, with something beyond the mere animal materialistic view that is, of course, the product of Communistic Russia, and of the satellite States that she has gathered around herself.
Just before Christmas I happened, for personal reasons, to be abroad for some short time. During that period I happened to bump into a good many people of different nationalities. I was put in the position then that I have been put in before of having to defend the actions taken by the Government here of which I am rather critical at times. It was commented upon by those people that I met that it was undesirable for us to assist in any way, directly or indirectly, in the bolstering up of a Government such as the one that I have referred to, because by assisting it you add to its prestige. There are very many free people throughout Europe in a bad way who are very deserving of our support. We know exactly where we stand in their regard. I think it would be better if, next year, we restricted ourselves to assisting those people.
Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.
 Question: “That the Bill be received for final consideration”—put and agreed to.
Question: “That the Final Stage be taken to-day”—put and agreed to.
Question: “That the Bill be returned to the Dáil”—put and agreed to.
Bill ordered to be returned to the Dáil, without recommendation.
Question again proposed: “That the Bill be now read a Second Time.”
Mr. Meighan: There are just a few points I would like to stress and one of them has been alluded to by Senator Ruane, that is, in relation to the county medical officers of health. The position is very greatly aggravated. The doctors in our county find it impossible to make rounds to the schools and although I have not the exact figures I know that it is a number of years since they have been able to attend some of them with the result that there are various children suffering from defects which should have been attended to in earlier years.
An Cathaoirleach: Would not this be a matter for the local authority?
Mr. Meighan: It is one of the services, I presume.
An Cathaoirleach: It is one of the local services administered by the local authority.
Mr. Baxter: There is a grant given in aid of it under this Charge.
An Cathaoirleach: But the administration is really a matter for local authorities.
Mr. Meighan: I do not want to take any advantage of the House but I think it is a very important matter. If  the Chair rules against me I will willingly abide by that ruling. I just had a suggestion to make to relieve the situation—that dispensary doctors would examine the children. The point has been raised that they would not be fully qualified on that particular subject. What I would suggest to ease the position is that the dispensary doctors in Roscommon, for instance, would, if possible get leave of absence for six months and take a special six months' course. They could then go to work in the schools. My idea would be that even if they were not experts on the matter they would be better than a layman about children who are not up to standard, and arrangements could be made that the most important cases could be examined by the county medical officer of health. That is all I have to say on that.
In regard to workers going to England, I think at the present time when there is a great need for tillage and fuel that they could be very usefully employed over here at fairly decent wages. I think the majority of our Irish boys if they got fairly decent wages at home would prefer to work at home rather than go to England especially under present conditions. I think the food situation beyond is not very good. A big factor against them staying at home is that they have seasonal work instead of permanent employment. I am going to suggest that the people engaged on turf, for instance, could be permanently employed. I know there is a lot of turf on the bogs at the present time and if these bogs were properly drained and proper roads made into them it could be taken out and transported by rail or lorry to Dublin. On that point, too, I think provision could be made for paddocks adjacent to bogs and along the main roads. It might mean the making of a little by-road for 15 or 20 yards and some draining. The turf which it was not possible to remove could be brought from the bog and built into those paddocks. If that was done along the main roads then at any time lorries would be able to get it away or you could have it transported by rail to the city. I have personal experience of a bog at the present time where  there is a lot of turf in ricks but it is built in half-a-mile in the heather, whereas if it had been brought out and built on the road it could have been transported when turf was very necessary.
In this particular case I have drawn the attention of the local authority to it and probably the next time there might be something effective done. I think with regard to little grants or making provision in that way where the amount would not be much, it would be money very well spent. There is hardly any winter in which we do not get a spell of cold or bad weather—a fortnight or three weeks— and there is scarcely any winter in which we do not find that a little extra turf would be useful.
The next point is one in which I am in thorough agreement with Senator Seán Ruane. He made an appeal on behalf of the ex-national teachers. I would like to couple with those the old age pensioners. I understand some provision is being made at a later date for an addition to their pensions, but that addition I have heard is 2/6 and it is not a big lot. I think that scarcely any taxpayer, whether rich or poor, would complain of an addition to the old age pensions. Senator Ruane referred to the old national teachers, who moulded the youth of the country in their day and who gave very meritorious service to the country on very small remuneration. It is too bad that, in the evening of their lives, when the value of the £ has dropped to 10/-, they should feel in any way insecure.
I do not think that a proper return is obtained from the premiums paid through the agricultural committees. The Government give a grant and the county committees also make a contribution. I do not think that the scheme of premiums for bulls, for instance, has met with the success we should like. That is very noticeable in the dairying districts. I briefly referred to it before and I should like to stress it. In a large area round my district, which is a creamery district, the countryside consists of small farms of £3, £4 and £5 valuation. The operation of this scheme means that these  farmers may have to keep an extra beast. They get a heifer-calf and they are anxious to keep that calf. They must keep her until she is three years old to become a cow. That means feeding an extra beast during that time. I fear that very valuable calves are lost, not alone in that district, but in the country in general, owing to being sold as suck calves. I suggest that the Department should consider some scheme by which calves got by bulls with a good milk record would be inspected and branded. Then, whether sold as calves or not, they would, at least, be in the country. I should go so far as to say that the export of a number of these should be prohibited. Even if farmers had to get some little subsidy in the dairying districts for keeping them, it would pay in the long run. At present, very large prices are given for bulls. Very large premiums are paid— as much as £28 a year—for dairy bulls. All that is lost. If you went into some of these places and asked any farmer what was the record of one of these bulls, I do not believe he would be able to tell you.
If the Department would insist on bull-owners giving notice in the papers of the milk record of the bulls and the history of the animals, it would have a great effect. Later, the calves could be branded and that would mean, at least, that they would remain in the country. Farmers who went into the market to purchase a cow would then know what they were buying. The present system is, I think, largely responsible for the milk yield. I speak for my own county of Roscommon, where that scheme has been in force for practically 20 years, and I cannot say that there is an improvement in the milk yield.
Taxes which the farmers will have to pay are included in this Bill. May I refer to the increase in the rates for carriage on the Córas Iompair Eireann system? That will have a serious effect on cattle fairs. If anything could be done in the way of giving special rates for the carriage of cattle, even during the emergency, it would be a relief which would be very much appreciated because it is very much needed.
Mr. Foran: I was present when this  debate was opened by Senator Hayes, and I was very pleased to hear him praise the Minister for the way he had treated professors and lecturers in the universities. Professors in universities cater for a comparatively small section of the community. It may be an important section but it is small in number. It is good to know that some people appreciate those who are responsible for education. I am sorry that the same spirit does not obtain in the Department of Education. That is a pity. The nation is the poorer, because, in our national schools, the harmony which ought to exist between the teachers and the Department is absent. It is in those schools that the great majority of the students of the country are to be found. Judging by published reports, the relations between the teachers and the Department are very strained. In fact, the Department is acting in the same spirit in which many employers used behave in the bad old days when they got the better of strikers. They rubbed their noses in the mud; that is being done in the Department of Education to-day. I shall mention only one incident—a most unseemly incident, in my opinion.
The people who remained at work, although members of that trade union, were regarded in trade union circles as “scabs” or blacklegs. The fact that these people are being singled out for particular honour and special remuneration by the Department is calculated to intensify the very bad feeling that exists there already. I am not speaking on behalf of the teachers but I am very much concerned regarding the students. I am anxious that they should be fully equipped to fight the battle of life. So long as that spirit exists, I submit that they are not getting the instruction they should get. Yesterday evening, according to the Press, one of these teachers stated at a public meeting that 90 per cent. of the students attending national schools were fitted only for labouring work. If that statement be true, we are spending a great deal of money unwisely. The nation is not getting value for the money that is being spent.
We hear a great deal about youthful delinquency. I shall not expatiate on  that. My main purpose in rising is to try to influence the Department of Education to give more sympathetic consideration to the teachers. I do not propose to go into the merits or demerits of the dispute. I refrained from making any comment at the time it occurred other than appealing to the Minister to do all in his power to prevent a strike occurring. The strike occurred and continued for a very long period. The children were deprived of education during that time and they can never overtake their loss. The Minister had his victory and he should not rub it in, if by rubbing it in he is going to deprive the mass of the students attending the national schools of the education they should get and the sympathy and interest which the teachers should have in them. It is extremely important to educate the mass of the people so that they may be equipped to fight the battle of life in this or any other country to which they may go. I appeal to the Minister and, through him, to the Minister for Education, to bury the hatchet. He had his victory, if it can be called a victory, and he should not rub it in.
Certainly, it was most unseemly to pay those people a bonus or honorarium for having “scabbed” on their fellows. That is not calculated to create good feeling amongst the teachers in general and it is, certainly, not going to create good feeling between the teachers and the Minister. I am not concerned either with the teachers or the Minister. I am sincerely and earnestly concerned regarding the students at our national schools. I do hope that a better spirit will prevail between the teachers and the Department and that the Minister will use his best endeavours to bring that about, not in the interests of the teachers but in the interests of the future citizens of this country. There are other features in the measure before us to which I could refer, particularly the national health provision. However, I reserve my remarks on that matter for the Bill which will be before us in the near future.
Minister for Finance (Mr. Aiken): I think Senator Foran is quite wrong in saying that there is any vindictive spirit in the Department of Education towards national teachers. As a matter of fact, when one comes to look at all the increases that have been given to civil servants, to the Garda, to secondary teachers, or by way of grants to universities to help them to pay their way, and give some salary increases, it will be found that percentages were given to national teachers that were not given to anybody. If we take averages, their average was higher. Senators have only to look at this Book of Estimates to see what was done for national teachers.
Mr. Foran: I referred only to the spirit that existed.
Mr. Aiken: I regard this as an important subject, because we have been talking all day about various national problems: what has to be done in the universities, on the farms, in the factories, and in the vocational schools of which Senator Ó Buachalla talked. The big majority of our people get their education for life in the national schools. I do not want to let it go with Senator Foran, or with anybody else, that this Government did not fully realise that, and did not do all it could to try to put the national school teachers into as good a position as this country could afford.
As Senator Sweetman properly pointed out in relation to the increased grants to the universities, the Government did not pay them out of their pockets but had to take them out of the taxpayers' pockets. We have also to take out of the taxpayers' pockets the very big increase we gave to national school teachers. Anybody coming from the West of Ireland knows that the sum given to some of these teachers per year represents the combined income of very large numbers of families of the pupils they teach.
Anybody can see for himself what was given to the national teachers. I think that the increase was a very reasonable one, having regard to the circumstances of the people who must pay the taxes to pay the salaries. It is wrong to say that the Government,  through the Minister for Education and myself, started out to be strike breakers. In the City of Dublin there are large numbers of teachers, but a big percentage of them was not in the teachers' organisation. They were represented by religious organisations or communities teaching in national schools.
It is well known to the people of Dublin that they took in big numbers of pupils, that their work was very much increased. We gave them a small bonus by way of appreciation of the very good work they had done for the children of Dublin, in taking them off the streets and contributing in some measure to their education. I do not think the national teachers have any right to resent the small amount of money that the Government gave these people by way of appreciation.
Everything that could be done was done by the Minister for Education in order to prolong the negotiations with the national teachers. On two or three occasions the Minister came back and asked the Government to increase the sum made available for improving their status and the Government made improvements. The Minister came back again and said that the teachers wanted the last word. The Government gave the Minister the last word. Before we knew where we were, we had the unfortunate strike that was carried on in the City of Dublin for so many months. I think it is time the national teachers pulled themselves together, and realised that they are paid reasonably well, having regard to the income of the people who have to pay their salaries. They have very valuable work to do, and the people appreciate that work. The people have shown their appreciation by the amount of salaries they are prepared to pay.
Some Senators adverted to the size of this bill for the public services we are going to budget for this year. They stressed the fact that our ability to meet the cost depends on increasing production in the future. I wholeheartedly approve of that line of argument. If we can increase the national income we can bear with equanimity  this particular bill. I would be glad to double it if by doing so we could double the national income. Supposing we brought this bill up to £100,000,000, and the national income up to £500,000,000, then the people would have £400,000,000 left, whereas they have only £200,000,000 left for themselves at the present time. In the last Budget we did everything we could to stimulate enterprise in this country. Unfortunately, during the year the amount of machinery and the quantity of raw materials available for purchase elsewhere were not as large as we had hoped. However, it can be seen from the statistics of exports and imports published in this day's newspapers that during the year we imported a very large volume of goods.
I am hoping that during the coming year we will be able to get an increasing amount of raw materials and machinery, so that they can be put to the work of producing goods that would give us an increased standard of living, and create national income out of which these various services have to be paid. Numbers of people think that we can get over our present difficulties by increasing the volume of money within the country. I wish it were as easy as that. If we had a problem here of a surplus of goods, and a short supply of money, it could be met by increasing the volume of money. At the present time when money is more plentiful it would only be foolish to meet our difficulties by increasing the volume of cash.
Senator Baxter suggested to-day that we should discourage emigration to England by reducing the value of cash sent back here; in other words, by appreciating our £ in terms of the British £. The difficulty with Senator Baxter is that on occasion he does not see the whole picture.
Mr. Baxter: I know what the Minister is going to say very well. It is in reference to cattle prices, of course.
Mr. Aiken: Let us follow that up. Supposing we made £22 that a man earned in England and sent back here worth 20 of our £'s. Then when a person should get £44 for a cow he would only  get 40 Irish £'s. We could if we wanted to do so, change the value of our £ in relation to the British £, but the immediate effect of appreciating our £ in terms of the British £ is to put a tax on exports, to give a bounty to imports. To depreciate our £ our £ in relation to the British £ is to give a subsidy to exports and put a further all round percentage increase on imports or to place a tariff on all imports. I do not think that would meet the situation.
It is unfortunate that since the war we were not able to provide sufficient jobs that would attract our people to stay at home, having regard, particularly, to the amount of money the British were prepared to pay for work connected with the war. Even this year the British have gone further into debt, and with a big volume of money floating around freely, it attracts our people by the nominal value of their weekly wage. I spoke already about the real value of the wage here compared to the wage in England.
As to the real level of the wage here, compared with the real level of the wage in England, taking the position in our urban communities of the man in a job, whether he be artisan, teacher or university professor, it will be found, I am quite certain, that in all but very few posts which are highly paid in England, our people are better off in terms of real living. It is true that the nominal cost of living in England has only gone up by 30 per cent., but if a housewife, accustomed to a basketful of goods of a certain size for her family, is suddenly told she can fill only one-third of the basket at a very cheap price, what concerns her is what she will get a full or something near a full basket for to keep her husband and family in a reasonable standard of physical comfort. The fact of the matter is that taking the workman's basket that could be filled pre-war in England for a certain amount of money, and here for another amount, if we take the position as being equal prewar—it was not quite that—it will be found that the same basket could be filled much cheaper here than in England at present.
Mr. Baxter: What could be put into it?
Mr. Aiken: A half or one-third of the basket could be filled in England at 30 per cent. above pre-war cost, but the other portion would cost 300 per cent. more. Here the total is 70 per cent. for a full basket. All I wanted to prove in the Dáil, and all I am attempting to prove here, is that circumstances are not such as should make it over-attractive for people, who can get a reasonable job in this country, to migrate to England to look for a job. I hope that with the increase in raw materials and machinery more and more of our people will be put to work to produce the things we require and be given as high a standard of living as the country can afford. There is no use in saying that we should have here overnight the standard of living that the people of America now possess. This cannot be done at once, but if we have the will and if our people have the wisdom to go at a reasonable speed we can develop towards that standard. If we go too fast we will simply break our necks. Take any particular group here in this country who are organised. They can hold the community up to ransom if they are performing an essential service: they can, for a time, improve their position vis-à-vis the rest of the community but the rest of the community is going to suffer for their selfishness.
The modern community is very complicated and is so interlocked that selfishness on the part of any individual group is going to throw the whole machine into chaos and the final result will be that these groups will make the whole community, including themselves and their own families, worse off. In this complicated age we want enlightened selfishness and not unenlightened selfishness. Enlightened selfishness on the part of people who have a fair appreciation of their own good as part of the community will urge them to go carefully at the present time and not demand from the community more than the community can afford to pay for their services. Certain increases have been enforced recently with the result that certain industries that could start  here cannot start now because wages here are so much higher than in Britain. Senator Douglas and a few other Senators spoke about the question of strikes and what should be done to stop them. I do not think anyone wants to have that type of issue settled by legislation. They would prefer that it would be done by reasonable compromise between employers and their workers, reasonable compromise arrived at with due regard to the national interest as a whole.
There are certain industries here, whether it is one employer or a group of employers, that have a practical monopoly of their particular products and in circumstances like that an employer and his workers might be shortsighted enough to agree to improve each of their positions at the expense of the community. But this thing must eventually come to an end. I think that when wage levels are being fixed by employers and employees they should have regard to what the community can pay for the services they are giving and that they should act in reason. Now, Senator Ó Buachalla spoke to-day about increasing the number of artisans, men with trades, and he alluded to the fact that you have very restrictive practices in certain of the trades regarding the number of apprentices that will be admitted. That is bad in the long run. Take one trade union, for instance, that I am up against at the moment as Minister for Finance and as Minister responsible for the Government's Stationery Office. We find that at the moment there is an urgent necessity for getting 50 per cent. more printing done than pre-war but the capacity of output of the Dublin printing firms as a whole is only about 75 per cent.
Mr. Hayes: Seventy-five per cent. of pre-war?
Mr. Aiken: Yes, on present hours and output. This has a most disastrous effect. The printers who form the trade union want to see their sons and their sons' sons live here in this country but they are holding up development at the moment to the extent that urgent printing cannot be done, printing that is necessary for trade and industry, printing that is necessary for  State work of an urgent and important kind. They have restricted the number of hours they will work and they have restricted the number of apprentices they will take in. That is a very bad business for the community at the present time. Even if there could be some easing of the situation until such time as we can get more machines it would be all to the good. People who complain about the volume of money not being sufficient to do the nation's work should try to secure that we have a sufficient number of printers and machines to do this work. It is important, very important. In modern economy we cannot get away from forms. I wish we could get away from a lot of them but unfortunately everything we do seems to involve forms, books and booklets of all kinds. Someone complained here to-day that we were giving a very small amount to the old age pensioner but our problem, in view of the shortage of printing machinery in this country, was how on earth we could give them even the half-crown before six months' time.
Mr. Baxter: That is bad enough.
Mr. Aiken: It is quite true and the Department of Social Services have had to devise a scheme by which they will give some sort of stamp which will be put on the books. If this country is going to progress, as I hope it will, we will require not only all the existing artisans and school teachers and professors and so on but a very increased number, and if we are to do the programme of house building, not to talk of the programme of public works that is suggested and that the Government would like to see carried out, I see plenty of work here ahead for all sorts of tradesmen for the next couple of generations. I think that trade unions who have the power at the present time to control the life of the country, trade unions of teachers and associations of this, that and the other, should act up to the responsibility they have and see that their particular groups do the work that is required of them in order that the nation may make progress in the future. Senator Honan, speaking of the increase in town rates, dealt with the necessity for housing and for increasing housing grants. But he is  mistaken if he thinks there is a limit of two-thirds of £350. In addition to the two-thirds of £350 there is an average, at the moment, of about £250 per house promised out of the Transition Development Fund.
This enables a house to be built even at the present high cost and let at a few per cent. more than the pre-war rent. There is a limit to what can be done in this regard. I brought forward the Transition Development Fund last year and it is available for next year as well. Up to date we have paid very little out of it but we have promised to pay out of it about £1,500,000 for housing, sewerage schemes and other sorts of activities in the country. There are several items that go to make up the cost of a house of which money is one and we have reduced down its cost pretty well. We are able to give the money at cheap rates for long terms. In addition we are prepared to give, out of the Transition Development Fund, a reasonable amount, having regard to the present costs due to scarcity of the materials. But there are a couple of other items in the building of a house that should be looked into. One is the point of view of the contractors, to see whether they have their jobs organised in such a fashion as will give a reasonable output and enable them to produce houses at a reasonable cost. The other is trade unions who can set wage demands and have control over the methods of work of their members.
I think that one of the most urgent of our problems is to get a large number of houses built quickly. We will have to build them with the materials that are available in the country. We start off in the post-war world with a good record of house building in the past. During the six or seven years through which we passed before the outbreak of the second world war, we added about 20 per cent. to the number of houses in the country. That was reasonable progress to make. Some people will say that the houses that were built are not as good as they should be; that they should have been  bigger, that, where they had no bathroom, they should have had one, and that where they had one bathroom, they should have had two. Well, if we want to make progress along these lines in the future at least we start off with the knowledge that, in spite of all difficulties—dear money, world economic wars and our own economic war with our neighbour—we did add that 20 per cent. to the number of houses in the country within a period of seven years.
If we can get money at reasonable rates, and if we can get the co-operation of contractors and their work people, even though foreign materials are scarce, I believe that we can within the next five or ten years give every person in the country who is looking for one a house of a reasonable standard, and that, after that, we can continue to improve that standard as time goes on.
I do not think that either the contractors or the people employed by them need fear that housing is going to come to an end, because the desire for a house, like every other human desire, has no end. The first desire of a man who has no house is to get one. No sooner has he the house than he wants to get a better one, and he has not that very long when he wants to get a still better one. I feel that contractors and their employees should get into this job of work. They should try to organise themselves and understand that they have a responsibility to the community to give us houses as quickly as they can and at the cheapest possible rate.
I doubt whether we can go any further at present in regard to the Small Dwellings Act, as Senator Honan wants us to do. In the immediate future there will not be very much material left over after the requirements of the local authorities have been met. I do not want to see the price of houses inflated at the present time either. I think it is a bad thing that the prices for old houses have been inflated to the extent they have been in the last couple of years. I am afraid there are a good many people going to get their fingers burned in that matter. In my talks with the banks I asked them not to  advance money for the purchase of old houses—to enable people to bid against each other, and to their own detriment in the last analysis.
Senators know that outside the ordinary commercial banks we have some other organisations here that are advancing money for the purchase of old houses. I think that is a bad policy for everybody concerned. Much as I would like to see building going ahead, I would prefer, if we were going to give money for the purpose of small dwellings, that it would certainly be for new dwellings only and not for old ones. As soon as materials become available, I certainly would look with favour on raising the limit of £750 somewhat higher.
There were a number of minor points raised in the course of the debate that I do not care to go into since they concern other Ministers and other Departments. The fact is that I have not got the details to enable me to deal with them. Senator Meighan seems to have the same idea as a Deputy who spoke in the Dáil the other day, namely, that, if we could by some measure prohibit the export of dairy cows and of heifers, we would cure the milk situation. The number of cows and the number of in-calf heifers that we have depends on what the farmer thinks now the price of in-calf heifers is going to be in a year's time from now. If we were to attempt to put an export tax on in-calf heifers or on cows, the result would be that the supply down the country would dry up, and that our last case would be worse than our first.
We have almost the same number of cows now that we had away back in 1939. The number that I gave the other day was about 1,200,000. We have plenty of cows to give us all the milk we require for butter and to provide a big increase in the consumption of milk, if the cows were good milkers, and if they were cared for to give good milk yields. You can have the best bred cow in the world, one with a good milking strain from its father and mother, but if it is not well cared for it will not give you milk. You require a cow to have a good milking strain and to be well cared for in order to get  the output. I gave figures in the Dáil the other day showing that both the consumption of milk and the consumption of butter had gone up until last year. Of course, there is not the export now that there used to be. During the last four or five years people who formerly used margarine have been eating butter.
The earlier speeches on the Central Fund Bill were devoted principally to the question of university education. It is important that we should have higher education both of a cultural and technical character. If we want to improve our farms we will want agricultural technicians and they can only be turned out from the universities or the agricultural colleges. The same applies to the other types of technicians that a modern community requires in order to have a reasonable standard of life. The Government, in spite of the fact that it had to get the money from the people, felt that if this nation was to make progress in the future the people would have to make the sacrifice that goes with providing for an improved university education. We are giving increased grants to the colleges. I feel, having met the heads of our colleges to whom we are giving grants, that the people will get good value for them. Senator Hayes said that he thought that all primary teachers should have a university degree. That is really a question for the Department of Education. At the present time the universities in Dublin, Cork, and Galway are simply crowded with students, and I do not know how they could accommodate any more.
I am afraid that it is going to be a long-term problem to increase the size of the university buildings and the equipment in them so that they may be able to take more students. It is a problem which has been gone into. In our post-war programme of buildings of all sorts, we have in mind that a number of million pounds will have to be spent on the extension of university premises. The way the Government feel about it is that we cannot afford not to spend that money.
I remember arguing with Senator Baxter before as to the amount of farm production here during the war.
 The net output went up from £41,000,000 odd in 1938 to £46,000,000 in 1945 at 1938 prices. I suppose there would be included in that figure of £46,000,000 a couple of millions for turf.
Mr. Baxter: Not more than that?
Mr. Aiken: If we take the price of turf delivered here in the City of Dublin in 1946 it would be a different matter, but if you are talking about volume, in relation to 1938 prices, it also is a different matter. Probably £1,000,000 or £2,000,000 for turf at 1938 prices would come into these statistics. The fact that the net output of agriculture went up by this 10 or 12 per cent. represents really a tremendous achievement. The farmers of the country do not realise how big an achievement it is. I stated in the Dáil, in order to give them a realisation of the work they did, that in the boom years in America, if you wanted a tractor or 100 tractors, if you wanted 1,000 gallons of oil or 1,000,000 gallons of oil, all you had to do was to go to the telephone and they would be at your door instantly, and that during those boom years from 1922 to 1929 the American people were proud of the fact that their output went up 3 per cent. per annum. Here our farmers, with all the disabilities from which they suffered, went up a couple of per cent. per year during the war. It was really a tremendous achievement, and I feel that having done that job of work so well during the war, when they get more and better equipment and can get feeding stuffs, manures and so on, they will give a still better account of themselves in the future.
I have no doubt that as time goes on, with better agricultural education, with more experience in the handling of breeding problems, seed, and cattle and so on, we can increase our agricultural output and give our farmers a better standard of life and at the same time give the people a better article at lower cost than they are getting it at the moment.
The farmers, I repeat, have the money to do the job, the money to  modernise and improve as opportunity offers. They reduced their shop debts, they reduced a big amount of their land annuities arrears which they had before the war. They have reduced their rate arrears. They have paid off their bank debts to a large extent and they have increased their deposits by about 70 per cent. in the commercial banks since the war. They have the money to do it and if anybody urges me to give more and cheaper credit from the Government I say that the best and cheapest source of credit is that the farmers should use the deposits they have lying at the banks at 1 per cent. or no rate of interest. Not only have the farmers the money to equip themselves but industry has it too.
I could see no evidence to support Senator Baxter's statement that the Post Office deposits are largely held by the rich. There are about 400,000 or so different depositors in the Post Office Savings Bank and I do not think Senator Baxter in his more pessimistic moment would say there are 400,000 prosperous people in the country.
I do not think the Border is going to be stereotyped for all time simply because we give cover from the weather and the wind to the unfortunate customs officers who have to do their job there. I do not agree with Senator Baxter that the provision of houses for customs officers should be postponed. I do not think it will have any influence at all on the final solution of that problem.
Senator Baxter concluded his remarks by saying that we should make provision for storm damage. Now, everyone from a humane point of view would like to see storm damage—particularly of a harsh and severe kind— dealt with by the State but it cannot be dealt with by the State. One thing about the Government, of its very nature, is that if the State makes provision for meeting a particular case it will be drawn to meet all such cases in the future even though they do not approach the original case in hardship. If you were to compensate a man whose house and farm were wiped out by floods or some act of God, then you would be driven to compensate a man who loses a few cocks of hay owing to  bad weather. There is no saying “Here we stop”. We will be driven from one to the other and that is the very good reason behind the refusal of all States to take official responsibility for compensating people for acts of God. It cannot be done.
In conclusion, I want to say that I feel we can make good economic progress in the future if we use the brains and the brawn that the Lord gave us. There is no use in saying that there are vast numbers of our people sick. I think the health record here is as good as that of any other white people. We have plenty of people here sufficiently strong and healthy to do a good job of work to improve their standard of life if they want to do it.
Mr. Campbell: The Minister referred to the printing industry—might I ask him to give a more detailed explanation?
An Cathaoirleach: Perhaps on the next stage.
Mr. Aiken: I can answer it by way of answer to a question.
An Cathaoirleach: Well, yes, as an answer to a question.
Mr. Aiken: Our experience is this: if you take that Book of Estimates there, we did not know whether we were going to get it out in time to give the Dáil, the Seanad and the President the constitutional time. In fact we did not, even though we started many months ago to get it out. There is a five day week and I think there are restrictions on overtime.
We got to the stage in regard to the Supplementary Estimates that in order to get them before the Dáil we had to roneo them, a thing that never happened before, I think. We could not get them printed. I know that the Controller of Stationery has orders stacked up for six months and I have recent complaints from the Revenue Commissioners that they could not get certain tax forms ready, and that we could not get them printed and that this was going to result in a loss of revenue. These considerations are what  I have in mind when I spoke about the matter.
Question put and agreed to.
Question —“That the remaining stages be taken to-day”—agreed to.
Bill passed through Committee without recommendations.
Question—“That the Bill be received for final consideration”— put and agreed to.
Question proposed: “That the Bill be returned to the Dáil.”
Mr. Campbell: With reference to the Minister's reply to my question, there are certain terms or words that cannot be used in this House since a decision was given in the Dáil a couple of weeks ago, but I want to contradict flatly the statement made by the Minister that there is any restriction on overtime in the printing industry. We are in fact forcing our men to work overtime. If there is one industry in this country, or more particularly, in this city, that has had regard to the difficulties of the present situation, it is the Dublin printing industry and I state that very categorically as chairman of the Dublin Printing Trades Congress, with a membership of nine unions including the National Union of Journalists. I want to make that very clear to the Minister. A recent demand of the printing industry was made for a 50 per cent. increase and shorter hours in the industry. We went ahead with our 50 per cent. increase demand and succeeded. We were also looking for shorters hours and notwithstanding the advice given against it by myself and other officials of the printing industry they instructed us to go ahead. We advised them not to proceed having regard to the conditions obtaining and ultimately we prevailed on our people not to press for a shorter working week at the moment.
We are working 45 hours now, the same as in 1939, and I would say that we are working longer hours than most other industries in this city which in some cases have only 41 or 42 hours. After we had agreed to accept the 45-hour week, the union which controls the  whole of the unions of Dublin, the British union got a 42½-hour week. Naturally our people feel aggrieved but we prevailed on them for the time being not to force that issue. The Minister has made several incorrect statements. The difficulty here is much the same as all over England in regard to the supply of craftsmen and that difficulty arises from the fact that no new machinery has been introduced. Huge orders have been placed with British and American firms for new machines but these cannot be supplied. There is a shortage of printers all over the world. Last year, we had agents here from South Africa who took away several of our members. I filled in a form only yesterday for a young man about to go to South Africa, certifying that he was a member of our union. They were paying his fare to South Africa and he was being guaranteed two years' work at £10 a week.
These are the difficulties against which we are contending. So far as my union is concerned, no union has greater appreciation of its responsibilities, having regard to the conditions of emergency which exist at present. I myself had a piece of printing on order for my own office since last January. I received it only yesterday. These difficulties are not peculiar to Government Departments or to any large organisation; they are general.
I regret that the Minister thought fit to make an attack on the printing industry. As regards the question of restriction of apprentices, we deal with that matter as conditions arise in the industry and complete unanimity with employers is achieved. Naturally, they would like to see 2,000 apprentices for every 1,000 craftsmen. When conditions so require and when representations are made by employers, we agree to an increase in the number of apprentices. A few days ago, ten extra apprentices were allowed to the Dublin newspaper industry—an industry in which it is very difficult for a man to become a craftsman, because he deals with only one class of work—newspaper work— when serving his apprenticeship. I do not want the impression to go to the House or to the public that we are  engaged in a racket to restrict output by reduction of the number of working hours or by preventing an adequate flow of apprentices to the industry. All the facts are to the contrary.
I am sorry that the Minister has thought fit to make an attack on one union, which has done everything to meet conditions of emergency in the printing trade in Dublin. The people here are heartbroken trying to get men from other centres. Everybody is trying to pinch them from other centres. There is a war between the newspapers and jobbing printers because they are stealing men from each other, notwithstanding that some of those in control are directors of both jobbing houses and newspaper offices. We are not responsible for that. We have no power, such as the Minister has, to introduce legislation to prevent it. I want to protest, not alone on behalf of my own union but on behalf of the Dublin printing-trade group, of which I happen to be chairman and of which I have been chairman for ten years, against the Minister's statement. To my own detriment, I have often expressed views more akin to those of the employers than to those of the workers. I feel very sore that the Minister has thought fit to single our industry out—one industry which is facing up to all responsibilities of the emergency conditions in which we find ourselves.
Mr. Aiken: I was speaking of one of the difficulties in the modern world— that is, to get done the work that people require, so that the standard of living may be raised. I instanced the printing business. I did not refer solely to the Dublin printing houses. My reference included the printing houses in the country. There is an increased printing demand of about 150 per cent. and, due to whatever causes, there is only 75 per cent. of the 1938-39 output. These are figures given to me by people whose job it is to know not only the amount of printing demanded but the volume and output in Dublin and in the whole of the country. The Controller of Stationery gets very little of his work done in Dublin—a few jobs. It is only a few weeks since I had to give him authority to take a car and go round  the country, taking orders from one firm and hawking them around to other firms to see if he could get them fulfilled. That is a bottle-neck so far as development is concerned and I do not care what is responsible for it—whether it is, as Senator Campbell says, due to reduced machinery or whether it is due to the reduction of hours given to all the printers outside Dublin.
One of the excuses we get from the master printers is that they cannot execute the work because they have not the men, because apprentices are not coming along and because the men are working shorter hours and will not work overtime. That is the report I got when I had to make complaints to the Controller of Stationery, and ask why this Minister's job was not done and why that Minister's job was not done, and why work for the Revenue Commissioners was not done. I am sure that he did not invent that explanation, that he got it from the master printers whom he had asked to do the work. I am merely using the printers as an example——
Mr. Campbell: It was a bad example you took.
Mr. Aiken: Even on the case made by Senator Campbell, a certain amount of controversy is going on between the unions and the master printers as to the number of apprentices who should be admitted. I think that the working printer should take a chance in this matter. As the standard of life goes up, there will be an increased demand  for printing and printers. Trade unions are not the worst offenders. The masters are often much worse as regards restrictive practices than the trade unions. I am not blaming the trade unions more than the masters. I think that both masters and craftsmen should, in their own organisations, do their best to step up production. It is my job to see that what is produced is distributed, that the money is there in sufficient quantity, and I shall try to do that job if I live.
I want to get Senator Campbell and other persons in charge of unions to discuss the matter. If they demand a higher standard of life, they should do their best to produce more and not to restrict unduly the number of apprentices. I know that one apprentice per man would be unreasonable but a reasonable number should be arranged. What that reasonable number should be, the trade will have to determine because I do not know. If we are to have an expanding economy, then there will be an expanding need for printers and the number of apprentices should be expanded accordingly.
Question put and agreed to.
Bill ordered to be returned to the Dáil without recommendation.
An Cathaoirleach: The next motion on the paper is in the name of Senator Duffy but he is not available. In the circumstances, we must now adjourn.
The Seanad adjourned at 8.40 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 25th March, 1947.