Order of Business.
Central Fund Bill, 1951—Second Stage (Resumed).
 Do chuaigh an Cathaoirleach i gceannas ar 3 p.m.
Mr. M. Hayes: The only business is the Central Fund Bill.
Mr. P. O'Reilly: When the House adjourned last night, I was giving it as my opinion that instead of the Government directing local authorities to produce turf by their own staffs it would be better to foster private production. I indicated that many people who could and would produce turf on their own account, by using small bogs efficiently and economically would, because of the uncertainty as to the future of private production, be forced to work for local authorities. That would mean that the same effort would not be achieved. A man working for himself will make a better effort than a man working for the local authority, for the State or for an organisation like Bórd na Mona.
There does not seem to be any clear cut policy. Local authorities are asked to cut three years' supply, but they are given no indication as to how they are to handle that supply, how it is to be properly saved, transported and stored. Local authorities and the public generally are in the dark as to what organisation is to be set up by the State or what direction will be given to local authorities by the Government regarding the transportation of turf. Much improvement could be made on the transport position that existed in previous turf campaigns, particularly if private production is being taken over to supplement the fuel requirements of the City of Dublin.
Unless some definite statement is made about transport, and because of  the past history on this point, many people will be careful not to have anything to do with turf. We all know that before the closing down of the hand-won turf scheme many people were trying to earn an honest living in turf haulage by lorries. They were buying lorries on the hire-purchase system, and when the scheme was closed down they were left with nothing to do. They were not able to pay the instalments due on the vehicles and, although they had a substantial capital sum paid on the hire purchase, many found that the hire-purchase organisations took over the vehicles. Those people were left in the lurch and lost the savings they had invested in those days and they were worse off than before. Is it any wonder that people are now inquiring as to what will happen? Will there be turf haulage again and will the same thing happen as happened in the past?
People have approached me and asked if I could give any indication as to what will happen. I know at least two young men who had some money they wanted to invest in their own country to try to get a living here. They were considering the purchase of a lorry to go into turf haulage. They indicated to me that they were a bit afraid because of all the people who were stung before. They wanted to know if I could give any indication as to the long-term policy or if I could give any guarantee there would be reasonably permanent work in the event of their purchasing vehicles. Of course, I could not tell them to purchase a vehicle, neither would it be right for me to say they should not do so, as that might be a damaging thing to do. Because of that uncertainty, there should be a clear statement as to what organisation will be set up to deal with turf haulage, whether by Córas Iompair Éireann or by private individuals, if they are allowed to take part in the haulage.
It is the primary function of the local authorities to safeguard their own interests. They cannot act except in so far as they are allowed by regulation or are directed by the Minister. While officers of local authorities may keep one eye on the council that employs  them, they will keep a wide-open eye on the different Government Departments with which they have connection. Those with experience of local authorities know that that is so. Therefore, there should be a complete statement as to the plan, if there is a plan, for the production of turf, how far hand-won production will be absorbed and the position in regard to transport by county councils or Bord na Móna.
Of course the figure of over £83,000,000 for State expenditure is a fictitious figure in so far as it does not include all Government expenditure. The social welfare scheme under which employers and workers will pay into a fund I regard as direct taxation for a particular service over and above the general taxation that is being raised. If we are to have a true picture of what the taxation is, the contributions that may be levied under that scheme will also have to be included.
I might add that the social welfare scheme as introduced is not being received popularly in rural areas because the worst off people in this country, the small farmers and self-employed people generally, are in the position that if they employ a labourer, either part-time or whole-time, they are responsible for contributions but they will never receive any benefit. In my opinion, the small farmer in the congested districts is one of the worst off persons and there is no measure of relief being given to him under this scheme. There is an iniquity and an injustice in asking such people in the congested districts to pay such increased contributions. There is also the fact that many people may be part-time workers paying into a fund for such things as pensions and there may be farmers' sons who are working part-time as labourers and who later may become farmers themselves. They will pay contributions into this fund but will never receive any benefit. Therefore the scheme is not equitable in its effects on the congested districts. Just as in the case of ensuring that people who normally work for themselves will have to work for local authorities or Bord na Móna, this is one of those things that make people feel that  there is a definite desire on the part of certain people forming the Government to ensure that as many people as possible will come within the ambit of organised labour, such as self-employed people and small farmers' sons employed in rural areas. Many people think that some persons who would not normally come within the ambit of organised labour will be driven into it and that that is being done for a political motive.
Mr. McCrea: That would not be any crime.
Mr. Counihan: I was not here yesterday when Senator Professor O'Brien was speaking, but I think he made an extraordinary statement when he accused the Minister of dissipating our external assets.
Mr. Douglas: He did not say that.
Mr. Counihan: I thoroughly disagree with the Senator if he means that the Minister is dissipating our external assets' in getting fertilisers from abroad for the improvement of our land and buying machinery and other things necessary to carry out the Minister for Agriculture's land rehabilitation scheme or the building of houses, the extension of electricity to rural areas or the extension of the telephone service. If the Senator thinks that that is squandering or dissipating our external assets and that it should not be done, I thoroughly disagree with him. I remember a time when the banks were building up our external assets or extending them. At that time they were giving 5 per cent. on deposits in order to get money to send abroad to develop the resources of other countries and they were charging farmers 8 per cent. on overdrafts, when they could get them. I do not know whether the Minister has had experience of that or not, but I can tell him that I got 5 per cent. when I had cash to deposit but, when the times got bad and I wanted an overdraft, I had to pay 8 per cent. on it. That ought to convince anybody who would be doubtful about the way the banks carry on. I certainly did not like to see that statement of the  Senator's about our external assets in this morning's papers.
What I principally rose for was to ask the Minister to extend his liberality to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to enable him to provide for the building of abattoirs or slaughterhouses and the erection of quick-freezing plants. We want one extensive freezing plant at the North Wall and we could do with a few slaughterhouses and freezing plants throughout the country, because I feel it would be very much better if we could slaughter and export our fat cattle as fresh meat instead of sending them out on the hoof. It would give a lot of employment and keep the hides here which the tanneries are very anxiously looking for and it would be altogether to the advantage of the country. It cannot be done unless we have those quick-freezing plants and proper abattoirs to slaughter the cattle.
Another point I want to make is that we want an extension of our mercantile marine very badly particularly for the conveyance of live stock. At the moment we are almost entirely in the hands of a combine which does what it likes and not what we would like. It provides us with a moderate service. I think an extension of our mercantile marine would be a very good asset. I think, too, that we should have at least one boat equipped with refrigeration. I trust the few points I have made will receive the consideration of the Minister.
Mr. McGuire: First of all, since the debate so far has mostly consisted of criticism, I would like to mention a few of the good things the Government has done over the past year. I was very glad to see that determined efforts were made during the year to develop not only our diplomatic relations abroad but also our cultural and commercial relations. Under the auspices of the Department of External Affairs a Cultural Relations Committee is now functioning. I know that committee does not desire publicity but sometimes I think the work it is doing does not get the publicity it deserves. Its work is certainly worthy of publicity. I  think we are all interested in telling the world abroad about our culture and our arts, what we have achieved in the past and what we are doing to-day. Too often there is a tendency to stress what we did in the past. We are always talking about the Book of Kells and that era in our history when we had a glorious school of art here. Though our Cultural Relations Committee is aware of that classic era in our lives, it is also concerned with what is happening in modern times.
I would like to draw the attention of the House to the report issued by the Advisory Committee on Cultural Relations. Possibly Senators have read it for themselves but I would quote one sentence for them now: “The main objective of the committee has been to lay the foundations for the regular dissemination abroad of information regarding Irish cultural achievements, past and present.” In carrying out its programme, it accomplishes its objective in different ways. There is about to be a series of booklets produced; one is “The Theatre in Ireland.” by Michael MacLiammoir, illustrated by Nora McGuinness, and the other is “Twentieth Century Irish Poetry,” by Austin Clarke Both these productions are very worthy ones. The Cultural Relations Committee has also donated books of national interest to libraries abroad, such as Amsterdam, Louvain, Paris and elsewhere.
Films are being produced. The House will remember the one dealing with the life of W.B. Yeats. That was a very good beginning and it has achieved a large measure of success. Folk music and modern Irish music have been well advertised and compositions of ours have been performed abroad by competent artistes. Art exhibitions have been held in the U.S.A. and Canada. One is running at the present moment in Holland. A series of pictorial maps have been produced by Irish artists, one dealing with the country from the pre-Christian era up to the Norman invasion, another with early Irish cultural influence in Europe, and then Ireland to-day.
Photographic exhibitions are playing an important part. One is on view at  present in the U.S.A. This telegram received on last Monday will be of interest to the House. The exhibition with which it deals was on view here in the School of Art prior to being taken to America and some Senators may have had an opportunity of seeing it. The telegram is as follows: “Tremendous interest in photographic exhibition. Crowded all day long. Entire print of catalogue, 5,000 copies, exhausted first day. Prints of photographs and ‘Theatre in Ireland’ selling well.” Finally, lectures have been given abroad by some of our most competent scholars on Irish cultural achievements. Grants have been given to societies and universities to enable an interchange of ideas with other countries. I am sure it is only right we should draw attention to the work that is being done and compliment the Government on it.
There are other aspects of cultural policy about which I would like to talk but we can leave them until another day. I am sure everybody who is interested in art and culture will welcome the Arts Bill which is about to be introduced. I am sure we shall have very interesting debates on that Bill, debates which I hope will produce tangible results. Unfortunately since the establishment of our State we have had more or less to leave our cultural development in a secondary place. In view of all the money that is being spent in other directions, I think the cultural aspect of our aesthetic life should not be neglected.
With regard to commercial relations abroad, there has been a good deal of debate here on the necessity for increasing our exports. Last year the Government set up a Dollars Export Committee. The actual results of that committee's work have not yet manifested themselves, but it is encouraging to know that we at least realise the necessity for doing something in that direction. There is an Irish exhibition at the moment in Jordan Marsh, of Boston. There was a most wonderful display for Irish Week there. In connection with that display the managing director came over here last year and got in touch with me. He was looking  for goods to sell at the exhibition and was surprised to discover the few items that he could get. I found there was actually nobody to whom a prospective buyer could be sent in order to be put in touch with people who had goods to sell. That matter, I understand, has been brought to the attention of the Dollars Export Committee, and steps have been taken to rectify the position.
During the past year we have had a considerable outcry in connection with the cost of living. That outcry has emanated from different groups of our society. One had the political angle, the industrial relations angle and then the ordinary housewife's angle. It seems rather incongruous that we should have this outcry about the cost of living while there is no diminution in the demands for more and more State-sponsored schemes involving Government expenditure and taxation, which inevitably has the effect of raising the cost of living. People seem to think they can or should have everything and that it should cost them nothing. Outside factors also contribute largely to the situation. Last week there was a debate on agriculture in the Dáil and during that debate Deputies were demanding higher and higher prices for the commodities produced by the farmers. A few hours later the Minister for Industry and Commerce was engaged in the House and there was a complete change of tune. There was altogether a different tune being played. Some people were asking why prices were not being lowered. There were others standing up for higher costs. The farmers were asking for higher prices for their produce and lower prices for their feeding stuffs. Then, apparently, according to some people, there was something wrong with the Government because they could not give all these people what they were asking for.
We really should make up our minds what we want. If we are to protect industry we should set about protecting it with our eyes open. It is only right that we should protect industries, because through industries we are giving employment and the industries supply us with the goods we require. If we really want low prices  we can take down our tariff walls and then we will have very low prices, but other things will suffer. We will not have the industries in which to employ our people and pay them their wages, and in that way we will not have the people with the money to buy the goods.
Those who form the Government have to meet all sorts of arguments in relation to the cost of living; they have to deal with the people who growl a lot about the cost of living. In the past the main function of a Government was to administer the affairs of the nation in an honest, and economical and efficient way. That is the kind of administration that people look for. Nowadays Governments, not only here but in many other countries —this is expected from all Governments—are expected to engage in ceaseless activity introducing far-reaching innovations. For example, we have only to sit here to see the amount of legislation that the Oireachtas is asked to approve of, and we have only to observe the speed with which we are expected to get Bills through each House in order that more legislation may be brought in.
This is what happens when it is the duty of Ministers to administer the affairs of the nation. No living man could deal adequately with the spate of legislation that has been going through the Oireachtas during the past ten or 15 years and at the same time be able properly to administer his Department. I am in charge of a moderately-sized business and I can assure members of the Seanad that it is really a whole-time job if I am to do it rightly. At the same time we expect the Ministers of a Government, who are dealing with matters affecting the lives of every one of us every day, to deal satisfactorily with what seems to be almost endless legislation. We are really expecting too much of them; it simply cannot be done. Take any day in the life of any Minister. He is for quite a considerable time answering phone calls, interviewing people or answering questions in the Dáil or attending business in the Seanad. It seems totally unreal when you hear of  men in their position being charged with not doing this, that or the other. How some of them find time even to answer questions amazes me.
The cost of living has been spoken about very much in the course of this debate and also in the Dáil, and there is one aspect of it that has been stressed particularly and that is the Prices Freeze Order. The freeze Order, as we all know, was the result of the outcry about the cost of living. That outcry came in from all sides and the Government, whether they liked it or not, were forced to do something to placate public opinion. The agitation in connection with the cost of living was worked up almost to the point of frenzy.
As regards the freeze Order, I give the Government every credit. The reason they had to introduce it was because the situation was so bad, they felt that something had to be done. They imposed a freeze Order on goods as from a certain date. Obviously to do that and to keep it up would have meant paralysing the whole of the business life of the community, especially in a situation when prices were rising and goods were becoming scarce. There was plenty of competition in the world market for those goods.
I do not disagree with the Prices Freeze Order, but the main point to consider in connection with it is when it should have been thawed. For instance, in America they had a freeze order and it was thawed in three days. Our Government did thaw the Prices Freeze Order. There were some people who endeavoured to make out that the freeze Order in its operation here was a failure. It has not been. I believe the initial freeze Order should have consisted of a few primary commodities, what I might term essential commodities, and I really think if that procedure had been adopted it would have been regarded as successful.
What happened here was that everything was frozen, and obviously that situation could not be held. When only a few items are left in and quite a lot are taken out, some people are inclined to think that the whole thing is falling to pieces. It was the way in  which everything was frozen in the first instance that gave rise to the feeling, when the de-freezing Order came, that it was not quite successful. How did the de-freezing Order come about? It was done when the Government had time to look around. In that time, which, I think, was a little bit long, all the trade organisations became vocal and everybody was made price conscious. Everyone with goods to sell was brought up with a jerk and made to feel that he or they could not get along in such a situation with unfair prices, and the Order had a salutary effect.
The Associated Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Manufacturers and various other organisations approached the Government and, after careful discussions and arguments, proposals were produced, one of which was that all unessential goods should be thawed out of the Order. A second point was that other things that were to be controlled should be controlled on the marginal basis, otherwise you would have the position where every single item and every price rise would have to be presented before a tribunal in Dublin.
Certain people said that the Prices Freeze Order should not have been de-frozen. Anyone who said that is either playing politics of the most extreme kind or else he does not know what he is talking about. I believe the Government did the right thing in thawing the Order on the advice of, and in consultation with, people who are engaged in private enterprise. If Governments consulted vocational bodies before they did things, and even after they have done them, I believe there would be more peace and harmony and more economic stability in the country.
I think the situation as it stands, as regards the freeze Order, is satisfactory. It has been stated in certain quarters that when the Order was de-frozen the ceiling was taken off every price and the merchants were free to charge what they like. Of course it was not off. The freeze Order was off, but we were back to all the old controls by the prices body,  to the same controls that always existed. The controls are there the same as ever. It was, I will say, a drastic step in a drastic situation and it could be maintained only for a limited period.
Talking about vocational bodies making representations to the Government, there is one thing that comes to my mind that I would like, perhaps, to recommend to the Minister. For some years past the motor traders, after serious consideration, have put up certain proposals to the Minister about the road tax and the motor tax. I have discussed this matter with people who drive, sit in, and sell motor cars, and I have not met one person who disagrees with the scheme put up by the motor traders. I would recommend to the Minister that he should seriously consider introducing that scheme this year. I am not going into the technical details now, because they have been put before the Minister very fully by the motor trade, but I understand that the scheme as propounded would not mean any loss to the revenue.
I hope that in connection with the mother and child scheme that this idea of consultation with the people most concerned, in this case with the medical profession, will be put into effect. I hope no scheme will be put into operation that has not the full and friendly co-operation of the medical profession.
It was suggested yesterday in connection with the importation of luxury goods that a further tax be put on luxury goods, with a view to decreasing and limiting our consumption. First of all, as has already been pointed out, the difficulty is to define luxury articles. In any case, I doubt whether the device of increasing taxation will have the effect of reducing consumption and thus reducing imports. One of our largest imports, I think, is tobacco. It has been shown that in this country and in America higher prices for cigarettes have not reduced consumption in the long run. Long ago, when people lived on fixed incomes, putting on taxes on goods did undoubtedly reduce consumption. The trouble is that nowadays taxes on  cigarettes and tobacco in this country would only result in a new round of wage demands because it would be argued that the cost of living has gone up. Anybody who has studied Dr. Geary's cost-of-living index figure will remember that workers and the public generally will not accept nowadays a cost-of-living index which does not include beer and tobacco. Lipstick has been included now as a necessity for ladies. I agree it is myself. That being so, I feel that the effect of new taxes, unless very carefully chosen, can only be again to set off this cost-of-living agitation and give rise to another demand for rises in wages.
The cost-of-living controversy which has been carried on intensively over the past year has inevitably agitated the mind of the Government and influenced a number of its actions and public statements. The foremost topic in this agitation concerns prices, profits and taxation of industry and commerce.
Senator Douglas dealt very fully yesterday with the question of prices and profits and the need for some method of deciding what is a fair profit. This is a question which should be answered —if it is possible of answering at all— if any price tribunal here is to work with any degree of satisfaction. It is absolutely necessary, because this fact was evident this very week at a meeting of the Prices Advisory Body at which the Drapers' Chamber of Trade were presenting a case. The chairman of the Drapers' Chamber of Trade asked the tribunal if it would be prepared to define what exactly it had in mind when it published a statement recognising the principle that “reasonable profit must be allowed”. Strange to say, no member of the advisory body was prepared to commit himself in this matter. It was pointed out by the drapery representatives that this was unfortunate, as if it had been possible to agree on a reasonable rate of profit as a return on capital, it should have been a simple matter to adjust this as a percentage of turnover and come to terms along these lines. Surely it is a rather odd position to have a body advising the Minister as to profit margins which itself is unable  to declare what is a reasonable profit.
When I was speaking in this House on the Supplies and Services Bill on this very question of setting up a tribunal I said:—
“The success of the proposals we have before us depends totally on what kind of a tribunal we are going to have set up here and the spirit in which it is set up. If it is set up in a spirit of suspicion of industrialists and employers, it is not going to be a successful one. But, if it is composed of people with high responsibility and of the necessary competence, I feel that the tribunal can do a better job, perhaps, than was done by the Civil Service one and it will achieve the object which we all would like to see achieved.”
I am sorry that my hopes in that direction have not been fully fulfilled. There was a question put down in the Dáil recently by a member of the Clann na Poblachta Party in which he seemed to complain that the tribunal had been asked by the Minister to give a sympathetic hearing to industry. Apparently there was something wrong about that. Business people are ordinary citizens doing their work in an ordinary way and it is not usual to bring ordinary citizens and put them in the dock.
Mr. Colgan: The Tánaiste tried to do that.
Mr. McGuire: I am only talking about the tribunal. I do not agree with anybody being put in the dock. However, I trust that the tribunal will clarify its mind on this subject and I am sure that a perusal by its members of Senator Douglas's speech yesterday would be helpful to them.
A deplorable atmosphere of uninformed criticism of Irish industry and commerce has grown up in this country in the past decade. It undoubtedly has its origin in the influence of world socialism which inevitably affects the general trend of thought here. The atmosphere is one of criticism and condemnation of successful citizens engaged in industry and commerce. The object of this criticism is to secure the  imposition of more and more Government controls and taxes on the business community. The immediate effect of these measures is to hamper and retard the workings of industry and the ultimate effect will be to cripple many undertakings so that they either fail or pass into the hands of the State as nationalised concerns.
The function of industry and commerce is to manufacture, fashion, collect and distribute goods and services to the community. This function is performed here under the system of private enterprise. If industry and commerce is successfully conducted, it will perform these functions on an ever-increasing scale. In order to be successful and in order to achieve a steady expansion of supplies and services, a profit must be made. Provided that the supplies and services are produced at an attractive and low price to the consumer, the greater the profit the greater the benefit to the consumers.
There is a false idea prevalent that a profit is made at the expense of the consumer, whereas it is demonstrable by examples of many industries that concerns showing the largest profit figures are often those selling the lower price articles. If it is to be living and successful, industry and commerce must create and increase wealth in its own interest and in the interest of the national economy.
The Government has stated repeatedly that it is anxious to foster and help our Irish industrial growth. It is not only desirable, but absolutely necessary that they should do so. But the effect of the speeches of many men in public political life to-day would seem to be directed against the creation of an expanding industrial economy which we so much require in order to create additional wealth, employment and social advancement—the latter provided out of reasonable taxation.
There is an impression that all Irish Labour leaders are anti-profit and that they are parties to the campaign against profits. If this were so, then they would, in fact, be against labour and against the employment of workers; but my personal experience  is that amongst the more responsible and realistic Labour leaders, especially industrial as distinct from political Labour, there is a full appreciation of the vital part which profits must play not alone in the maintenance and development of industry but in the provision and extension of employment.
In the attacks upon Irish industry and commerce it is common to hear references to the motor cars, which are quoted as being the outward signs of the wealth and opulence of the successful man of commerce. Apparently, in order to prevent an industrialist from having his motor car, it is thought desirable to injure his whole industry and our whole industrial economy as well. Incidentally, the assembling of these large motor cars is an industry itself, fostered and protected by the State, an industry which employs, at a very high standard of wages, large numbers of workers. It is, apparently, of high social importance that the industry should exist and be successful, but to use its products is to be antisocial. I regret to say that this mentality of criticising people with cars seems to me to be a relic of the time when a tenant in this country was afraid to paint his house or dress his daughter properly for fear of the landlord putting up the rent.
I should like to quote from a speech made at the 33rd session of the I.L.O. Conference at Geneva last year. The speaker was Mr. Delaney, the workers' delegate from the U.S.A. He said:—
“In the United States a bicycle is not a means of transport for industrial workers, but the automobile is. I daresay more workers pedal to work each morning on bicycles in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland, than in all of the great industrial centres of the United States combined. The American worker regards the bicycle as a luxury for sport and exercise, the automobile as a necessity. Certainly, there are 100 times more motor cars on the factory parking lots of the United States than there are bicycles.
I have mentioned the automobile as one of the most obvious examples of the results of increased output.  There are many others. The mass production of electric stoves, refrigerators, inexpensive radios and television sets was made possible because American industry, given the freedom to produce, saw the opportunity of greater profits which come by producing goods in ever-increasing volume at prices which workers can afford to pay.”
Perhaps we could get our people to have something of that outlook rather than the outlook of trying to prevent people from having motors and more of the better things of life. We should look to trade and industry for expansion and for the things which such expansion would give, rather than extract everything possible out of industry by taxes and hold it back by futile controls. We seem to be taking the socialist way of looking for the better things of life and better conditions here—we are looking to the State to provide. It will never create an economy that will give citizens motor cars, wireless sets or refrigerators. The securing of these things may seem rather far-fetched, but the fact is that many Irish workers to-day already have motor cars, refrigerators and wireless sets—and more power to them. These things were not got, however, through State enterprise or through people who were controlled out of existence. They were got through private enterprise.
I want to make it quite clear that business men realise and accept that State controls are necessary in certain cases and in certain conditions. We have made that clear over and over again and I do no more now than advert to it. Instead of attacking industry and creating a class-war atmosphere here by condemning profits, we should be congratulating ourselves on building up our industrial economy, most of which is new and young, building up and ploughing back capital which will pay dividends in the form of employment to many of our people now forced to emigrate and supplying many goods which we now have to import. There is an atmosphere already created this year for a further spate of taxation on industry to pay for emergency measures and social services.  This taxation will be in addition to the existing taxes which weigh so heavily on the thrifty citizens. We hear frequent exhortations to save money, but, when people save money and invest it nowadays, they are heavily taxed on their earnings, on their investments and on the transfer of investments, and when, having paid their taxes and accumulated property or stock. they die, before their savings can be passed on to their dependents, the State again exacts more penal taxation.
My words will be dismissed by many in certain quarters to-day as reactionary in this age of so-called progress, but we in this country, if we are to give practical expression to our spiritual aspirations and professions, should turn our energies to the encouragement of private enterprise, which draws its very life blood from individual responsibility, initiative and hard work, rather than to the way of life in which the citizen looks to the State for everything. The people who attack our successful Irish business community—and it is only the successful ones who are attacked — are advocating a policy of negation and frustration in our industrial life, which, if persisted in, will make us a nation of State dependents. It is unfortunate that protection by the State had to play such a big part in the establishment of our industrial economy. Industry has had to pay for this help by having the State like an old man of the sea irremovably perched on its back at all times.
I do not want anything I have said to-day to be construed as an attack on the Government, because it is not. My remarks are prompted by the debate in the Dáil, and all these remarks, to which I am trying to make some small reply, were made by back benchers, of all Parties, I am sorry to say, because it has become the general mentality and not a mentality confined to any class in the community. I am glad to say that, in connection with the freeze Order particularly, the Government acted very fairly towards business people. I think that is agreed by all sections of the business community. They got a good hearing and their  proposals were responded to comparatively quickly. Everybody will agree that it took some courage to thaw the freeze Order, and I will pay the community the tribute of saying that, on the whole, it was very well accepted, because, for once, the reasons for it were read and appreciated, although they got very little publicity.
In conclusion, I should like to say, as a member of the Fine Gael Party, that I was at the Ard Fheis of that Party this year, the largest Party participating in the inter-Party Government, and the leader of Fine Gael, General Mulcahy, declared without any equivocation that Fine Gael stands for private enterprise. The Taoiseach on numerous occasions has reiterated that he stands for private enterprise. That is all right, and we who are engaged in private enterprise, which is the economic and industrial life of the country, are reassured by that, but, at the same time, I feel that we must see to it that the people who have these ideals will not allow themselves to be pushed around by people who have not got these ideals, but who are a noisy minority who do not give expression to the ideals of our State.
Mr. Summerfield: Because of bronchial trouble, I am under orders not to say anything, but I feel that I should follow on the very comprehensive survey of the situation given by Senator McGuire. It is rather interesting, as well as amusing, to a degree, to listen to all the viewpoints expressed in a debate of this kind, because about the only thing we are agreed on is that the State, composed of us all, is facing the most colossal and staggering bill for the cost of government that has ever been put before it. We agreed on that. Simultaneous with the admission of that shocking fact, we always get some members of the Oireachtas, both in this House and the other House, urging on the Government to do something else that will increase the load. Even here this afternoon we have had Senator Counihan suggesting, quite mildly and in that innocent way that is so plausible, that the Government  should set up quick-freezing plant at the North Wall. I only mention that to indicate what an absurd position we put ourselves in. Should we not all rather say: “Here is a colossal bill; what are we getting for it?” In the few remarks that I intend to make, I will be radical enough to suggest that the time has come for a complete overhaul of Government expenditure, in the same way as big business, finding itself going wrong or astray or making losses, would have to call in experts to show where the leakage was taking place or where avoidable expenditure could be cut out. Is it too much to suggest seriously to the Minister that it would be real economy to invite some of the many specialist firms of business management who have done amazing things in certain big industries in America, Great Britain and even here, into the Government and to say to them: “Take this, Department by Department; investigate the running of these Departments; give us an honest-to-goodness report on the administration; give us your opinion as to what is the amount necessary to run this Department economically”? I flatter myself that if I were a director of one of the many concerns doing this job, I would be willing to undertake it on a results basis. In other words, no effective economies, no pay. I make that suggestion in all seriousness.
There were one or two other things that were mentioned to which I must make some little reference because, in recent weeks, I took a rather prominent part in discussing them outside. I join with Senator McGuire in all that he said about price control, price freeze, and in paying tribute to the Government for the prompt way in which they did receive deputations of representatives of business interests and to some degree, but only to a limited degree, met the well-thought-out suggestions that have been made to them.
There is no use blinking our eyes to the fact that, even as the Prices Advisory Body exists to-day, it still has powers, if it cares to use them, that are obnoxious to the business community. In saying that, I say that I believe, as a result of representations made to the Government, which have  been conveyed to them, that they may not and probably will not use those powers, but the powers are there and those are the powers under which they can compel any applicant for a price increase to submit all the most confidential details of his business to this body which, of necessity, is of a transitory nature, which, I say without any disrespect, is of an untrained nature, in the sense that it is untrained for the work it has been given to do. That is obnoxious power and I again urge the Government to wipe it out because I honestly think they do not intend to use it but they will remove one of the most obnoxious things from a business man's point of view that is still retained in the terms of reference of the Prices Advisory Body.
In the course of the debate some reference was made to the desirability —unfortunately I have not got the whole speech here but I saw a Press reference to it—of a degree of worker participation in business management. That is a thing that of itself would monopolise a few hours' debate but, in passing, I would say that, as far as this country is concerned, it could be easily proven that, most of the businesses are one-man businesses. They are owned by men who not so long ago were themselves manual workers and I may boast, that I was one myself. If these men—and I say they are in the majority—have by their own enterprise, by the use of borrowed money, on which they have had to risk their future and gamble, have got themselves into the position that they have a business, either big or small, no matter what its operation or scope, who can claim that, as of right or even equity or anything else, the men these business men employ have a right or should have a right in the management of the business? I say that this statement, so oft repeated, is doing harm to our business economy and it should be dropped. I am sure my trade union friends will not object if I suggest, why do not the Irish trades unions, with their huge accumulated reserves, come into speculative business? Why do not they invest the hundreds of thousands of pounds——
Mr. Colgan: They are prohibited by law.
Mr. Summerfield: We would get around that if the will was there.
Minister for Finance (Mr. McGilligan): You would break the law.
Mr. Summerfield: So long as they are prepared to come in, not as the co-operative societies who are operating under preferential treatment as far as tax is concerned, but, if the trades unions like to come into speculative manufacturing and distributing business and take the same risks and the same loads as the rest, they will be welcome to-morrow. That ought to do something to dispel the belief that being in business is an automatic way of making profits. There is a great deal of worry about profits, but what about the poor devils who make the losses? There is no worry about them. The man who, even last year or the year before, made some profit, and this year, by reason of a combination of circumstances, has made a loss, has he got anybody's sympathy? There is no sympathy for him.
I am making a longer speech than I intended. I had now better get on to the matter that Senator McGuire referred to. It is the taxation on motor vehicles in this country. I have in my trade capacity taken some part in the preparation of schemes which we have submitted to the Minister. We do hope that he will realise that they are reasonable and that they are more in tune with Irish needs than the system we are operating under now. It must be borne in mind that the system of horse power taxation that we inherited from England is one of the things that we should have cast off long ago. It was devised by Britain to kill the big American car and had no other motive. It did not really fit English conditions because, after a while, they so concentrated on the small horse power car that they drove themselves out of their own colonial markets and the Yankees got on with the big car because the big car is more suitable to their conditions. By the system of British taxation the  British designer got himself out of the way of designing that type of car. That argument does not hold here.
An Cathaoirleach: Motor taxation is hardly relevant. I allowed Senator McGuire to make a passing reference to it and I allow Senator Summerfield also to make a passing reference.
Mr. Summerfield: I am simply reiterating. I do not speak at such great length, and I think the Chair could give me a little latitude on this matter that has been introduced by other Senators. I shall conclude by urging that the Minister in his coming Budget speech should take note of what has been suggested and see whether he cannot adopt a system which is more suited to Irish needs.
Mr. Quirke: I had not intended to speak on this Bill last night, when time was running short, but as there is plenty of time at our disposal now, and, having heard some of the speeches made since then, it is well, perhaps. for me to say a few words. I think it was Senator O'Reilly who suggested that it would be a great improvement if the various Ministers who are interested in particular sections of the debate were present. He mentioned that, as far as he was concerned he would like to have the Minister for Agriculture present. I am sure we would all like to have the Minister for Agriculture here, particularly when we are discussing the saving of money. It would save us spending money on going to the pictures, theatres and things like that. I am sorry the Tánaiste was not here to-day to hear the speech of Senator McGuire. While Senator McGuire went to great length to explain that he did not want his speech to be interpreted as an attack on the Government, I think I am right in saying that if the Tánaiste were here, if he did not take the speech as a direct attack on the Government, he would take it as a direct attack on himself, and I think he would be right. It is very interesting to see the pendulum swing. One does not have to be a prophet to say that in another 12 months Senator  McGuire will have gone completely left. I think his present position is an improvement on the past and I am sufficient of an optimist to believe that he will be all right yet.
Senator McGuire went on to attack the Government in its various Departments, particularly on the question of the importation of luxury commodities. This question of luxuries is very difficult to interpret properly. What Senator McGuire would regard as a luxury would be regarded as a luxury by most people while what Senator Counihan, Senator McGee or I might regard as a luxury, would be regarded as a necessity by most other people. We have got to the stage where people at present regard as necessities things which, even a few years ago, were regarded as luxuries. The thing that I think is wrong is not so much the difference in interpretation but the fact that a serious attempt is not being made here to produce things which are now described as luxury commodities. Several things were mentioned but I see no reason whatever why these commodities, even though they may be regarded as entirely unnecessary by some people but are regarded as more or less a necessity by the younger generation, should not be manufactured here. I think they should. I am quite in agreement with Senator McGuire in his attack, if you like to call it an attack, on the Tánaiste because it is quite clear that much of this unfavourable attitude about which Senator McGuire complains by various commissions which have been set up, comes about as a result of the open attack made on the industrialists of this country by the Tánaiate in his famous speech. There is no question about that. If the Government are prepared to stand over speeches of that kind, as they apparently are, then they must be prepared to take the consequences.
Senator Summerfield suggests that it is an outrageous thing for anybody, having regard to the tremendous expenditure which we have to face at the present time, to suggest that further things should be done which  would necessitate further expenditure. My attitude is entirely different from that. I believe that what we should do or what the experts suggested by Senator Summerfield would do, would be to go over the list of items of expenditure, find out certain things which could be cut out which might be regarded as non-productive, and put in their place items which would be of a definitely productive nature. I do not very often agree with Senator Counihan, but I must say I am in thorough agreement with his suggestion that we should have cold storage accommodation in this country. Senator Counihan said we should have it at the North Wall. I do not know whether we should have it at any one definite point; in fact, I think we should have cold storage not only at the North Wall, which, of course, would be a very desirable situation, but at other points. The reason that I am so much in favour of having cold storage is, as Senator Counihan pointed out, that it would appear to be a more desirable system to export our cattle in what might be called a more or less finished state than shipping them on the hoof, as we have been for a very long period. As a result of having cold storage and up-to-date abattoirs in the country which we have not got at present—at any rate there is nothing worth talking about in that line in the country at the present time—we would create a very considerable amount of employment. As a result of that employment and as a result of shipping meat in a half-finished state, at least, we would retain the offals in this country.
The position at present is, and has been for some considerable time, that we are purchasing hides from outside. A lot of these hides have been purchased from South-American countries at a figure somewhere in the region of 4/- per lb. At the same time the price of our own hides is controlled at approximately 10½d. That is bad enough at the present time but if a real emergency comes, if war develops as some people think it is going to develop and a major conflict comes about, we shall find ourselves in the position that we shall not have sufficient  hides to keep our other industries going. It is unnecessary for me to point out that if there is a shortage of hides, our tanneries will be put out of business and if the tanneries cease to operate, our boot and shoe factories will also have to go out of business. We shall then find ourselves in the position that we shall have to fall back on outside sources of supply for boots, shoes and various other commodities. There are various other items which can be regarded as offal such as hooves, which can be converted into glue, hair and various other items which would be saved for use in this country if cold storage accommodation were provided. To my mind a tremendous saving could be made by obviating payments to outside countries for the various commodities which could be manufactured from these offals here. If we can make a saving in one direction, surely there is nothing wrong in suggesting expenditure in another direction.
In connection with the statement made by Senator Hawkins last night regarding drain pipes, I have looked into the matter since. I discussed it with Senator Hawkins and he said that I had better have a talk with some of the Minister's colleagues. I had a talk with some of his colleagues and they told me that the figure was right—500,000,000 pipes—but that it was not as land drain pipes they were needed but to transfer the Lakes of Killarney to New Zealand. I have no doubt that if the Minister for Agriculture were to start blowing, he would get them there in due time. Senator Hawkins asks what about the rocks in Connemara. I have no doubt that if the Minister mixed some of the powdered rocks with the water he could get them to New Zealand also. However, I was referring to drain pipes and in connection with land reclamation it is a very regrettable state of affairs that a number of industrialists here, working men, not possessed of any enormous capital—I am not talking about the big firms at all—as a result of the Minister's statement that he required so many million pipes—whether it was a million feet of pipes or a million miles I do  not know—sunk their life savings in the manufacture of these pipes.
They were allowed to carry on with the manufacture of these pipes until they had practically all their money invested and then it was announced casually that these pipes were not suitable for the job at all. I do not think it right that they should have been led into manufacturing these pipes to such an extent before being told that the pipes were not suitable. Notwithstanding all the damage that we were told was done by the pip-squeaks, surely there were sufficient inspectors who could have a look at these pipes and could have pointed out in time that something was wrong? If that had been done in time, these men could have switched over to the manufacture of pipes which would be regarded as suitable by the Department of Agriculture and there by saved themselves from the ruin which many have reached as a result of the Minister's statement.
The Minister, in his statement in the Dáil, said he realised that he was taking a risk. He was referring to the size of the bill which is facing the country. I am quite sure the Minister was feeling uneasy. It is fairly evident that he was feeling uneasy with regard to this expenditure, and that the pressure behind him from other Ministers in the Government must have been sufficiently strong to force the Minister for Finance into this expenditure which many people regard as reckless, notwithstanding his better judgment, if one likes to put it that way. Now, the attitude of a lot of people in this country to-day is like that of a bunch of kids who would see money being scattered around fairly freely and who would say: “We might as well have some of it anyway if it is going as easy as all that,” My complaint against the Minister is in regard to his sins of omission.
I should like to deal for a moment with the Department of Agriculture which is the Department I would be most interested in. In the case of that Department, a considerable sum of money has been spent and is being spent on what may be regarded as  desirable development. A good deal has been done for the cattle industry in the way of producing special breeds, on research and so on. All that is very desirable, but, to my mind, a good deal of sensible argument could be put up for the establishment of a stud farm here for what might be called draught horses. We have the National Stud which looks after the thoroughbred horses. We have a farm in the County Meath on which the production of pure bred cattle, of a certain type, is being looked after, but, apart from that, we need, to my mind, a stud farm for the production of Irish draught horses.
My reason for stressing that point is this, that over a very long number of years the export of horses from this country has been a very important item. The cattle industry fluctuates. At times it is very good, and at other times it is very bad, but I think that, if one looks back over a long period of years, it will be found that there was always a considerable and valuable export trade in what may be called the half-bred or hunter type of horse from this country. Now, we are gradually reaching the stage where that type of horse is likely to disappear altogether. I am sure some Senators will say that is a very extravagant statement to make. I think it is by no means extravagant. Anybody who is in touch with the situation and knows what is happening at the fairs in the country, will realise that the horses, and worse still the mares, which are used on Irish farms are being exported for meat to foreign countries. If that situation is going to be encouraged, we will reach the stage here where we will not have the breeding stock from which our show jumpers were bred because most of our show jumpers—I would say 75 per cent. of them—were bred from dams that worked on the farms of this country. Now, apart from show jumpers, we have been breeding and exporting the better class hunter from this country. Most of those horses, in fact practically all of them, were bred from mares that worked on our Irish farms. I want to say that the continued breeding of that type of animal is not  only not being encouraged but is being discouraged.
I want to say, with very definite deliberation, that the tendency in this country, particularly over the last two, three or four years, has been to go over to mechanised farming. The present Minister for Agriculture has attempted to convince everybody that, as far as he is concerned, he believes that mechanised farming is the proper thing for this country. In his various appeals for mechanised farming and in his various statements condemning, if you like, the use of the horse and the plough, the traditional method of farming in this country, he has quite a number of supporters. We all know that the rising generation, the younger men in this country or, if one likes to call them, the boys, are mechanically minded. I think that can be taken as an accepted fact, that the majority of the younger people are to-day mechanically minded. Perhaps that is due to the fact that in practically every paper they take up they read of the various performances by machines in different countries—aeroplanes, tractors, motor cars and steam engines, even though the latter are now almost out of business. The result of all that is that even the farmer himself is being pressed by the members of his own family, against his better judgment, to get into mechanised transport on the farm. I have said that before on many an occasion when speaking on this subject.
I do say that it is very hard to put up an argument against the use of the tractor on the farm, but, from a national point of view, I think it is very important that we should maintain the nucleus of an organisation of native transport to carry on the work on Irish farms in case of a serious emergency. At the present time, we are in such a position that if, owing to our inability to obtain supplies of fuel for mechanical transport, we had to close down, we would find ourselves in a very serious position as far as farming here is concerned.
Now, in addition to the provision of abattoirs, I suggest that a very useful purpose could be served by the provision of storage tanks for fuel for  mechanical transport. I am not sufficiently against mechanical transport to say that we should not carry on. I believe we should carry on and ensure, as far as possible, that we will be able to carry on our mechanised transport for the duration of the emergency. Of course, if the emergency were to last long enough we would run out of this fuel. My complaint is that no serious provision has been, or is being, made in this country for the storage of this fuel. I think that if the Minister, or anybody else, were to go to the trouble of finding out what the real position is in that regard, he would soon realise that the supply of fuel for mechanised transport, including farming, would only last for a very short time. I suggest that even if we have to cut down on other items, money could be well spent on the provision of storage tanks for holding in this country not a few weeks' or a few months' supply but a few years' supply of fuel for diesel and other engines on which, one may say, the lives of the people of this country practically depend at present. I am thinking about the production of turf and the haulage of it, the production of wheat and of the various other agricultural products which, one may say, has been pushed over to mechanised transport. I make that suggestion in all seriousness.
Numerous matters were brought up for discussion during the debate. Some Senator referred to legislation which was introduced by the previous Government to enable a Government, if it so desired, to set up a Government-sponsored industry. It was suggested that that was a move in the wrong direction. All I can say is that no Government that I can visualise would interfere with private enterprise to any great extent but that it is a good thing that the Government should have the power to go into the manufacture of any particular commodity if private enterprise should fall down on the job. Rather than its being an undesirable thing to have that power, I believe it is very desirable. I believe that it would, if you like, act as an impetus to private enterprise to go ahead and do the job and do it properly. The State has  gone into certain industries and while in some cases the results have not been satisfactory, I think that there are several cases in which the State has gone into industrial development here which must be regarded as a definite success.
Senator McGuire said that the price freeze was a drastic step to deal with a drastic situation. My opinion is that it was a panicky step to deal with the panicky situation. One has only to travel around the country to become aware of the disastrous effects of the price freeze regulations. If you go into a shop and ask for bacon they will tell you that they have not any bacon. If you pursue the matter you will find out why they have not any bacon: it is because the selling price is controlled though no attempt is made to control the price which the shopkeeper has to pay for it. The same may be said in regard to several other commodities. Senator Counihan is back in the House now and I do not mind telling him that I support his idea of the establishment of cold storage plants in this country. There are other things which could be done and which are not being done.
At the risk of being described as a man who wants to have his loaf and eat it and to sell it to somebody else, there are some comments which I wish to make. Take, for instance, the tourist industry. Various deputations composed of hoteliers and other people have been sent to foreign countries and have come back again. As a matter of fact, they are back some months now. We have not heard what has been done since with regard to the experience gained by these people in the foreign countries which they visited. I am not finding fault because they were sent abroad but I am finding fault with the Government because it has not let us know its intentions so far as the tourist industry is concerned. When they were in opposition the present Government found every possible fault with what was being done by the then Government for the tourist industry. When the present Government came into office they took drastic steps in connection with that  industry to prove that they were right in what they had said when they were trying to get elected. I am glad to see that in this respect, as in other respects, the members of the Coalition Government are gradually being converted to the Fianna Fáil policy. We may hope that as time goes on the various other things which they condemned in the past will be accepted by the Government, as they were accepted and sponsored in the past by the Fianna Fáil Party.
Mr. M. Hayes: There would be no Opposition at all then.
Mr. Quirke: We would have Senator McGuire. There are various other matters about which I could find fault with the present Government and I could talk for 24 hours about them and still keep talking. My grievance against the Minister in many cases is because of his sins of omission. I find that, while provision has been made for expenditure of various kinds, no provision has been made in the Estimates for the expenses incurred in connection with the Locke tribunal, as it came to be known. I do not know what the position is with regard to all the people who were put to considerable expense in defending themselves before that tribunal which was set up by the Dáil, but I have met some people and they have told me that they have not been paid. They were surprised when I told them that the firm which I represent and which was, if I may say so, very ably represented before that tribunal, had not been paid its out-of-pocket expenses. I am sure the Minister could tell us if the various counsel engaged on that tribunal have already been paid by the people whom they represented before that tribunal. I am sure he could tell us whether, if these counsel have not been paid by the individuals whom they represented, they have been paid by the Government or whether it is the intention of the Government to pay them. With regard to the Minister himself, I do not propose to read out in full the speech made by the ex-Attorney-General, now Mr. Justice Lavery, but the Minister himself at that time claimed privilege as  a member of the Oireachtas under Article 15 (13) of the Constitution. After having claimed that privilege, he then accepted a job to defend Mr. Cooney, Junior. If Mr. Cooney, Junior, has already paid Deputy McGilligan, as he was then—our present Minister for Finance—I suggest that, in all fairness, Mr. Cooney, Junior, should be paid his out-of-pocket expenses. In all fairness, too, the owners of Locke's Distillery, who were in no way to blame, should be paid their out-of-pocket expenses. It is nothing other than political victimisation that the people who were brought before that tribunal, which was set up by the Dáil, have not been paid their out-of-pocket expenses. Provision should have been made for that. With the Minister firing money around in all directions, it would be regarded as ordinary common justice by the members of this House, by the members of the Dáil, and by the people of the country as a whole, regardless of their political affiliations, that the out-of-pocket expenses of the people in question should be paid.
Mr. Meighan: I wish to refer mainly to the question of agricultural policy as it affects the people whom I represent and I may say that my remarks are based entirely on personal knowledge of the position. As far as he farmers in the West of Ireland with whom I come into contact are concerned, there is general satisfaction with the agricultural policy which has been in operation for the past three years and, in a general sense, with our present Minister for Agriculture. It may be that people may disagree with him in respect of some minor matters but there is entire satisfaction with the general policy which he has pursued over the past three years. I come into contact with a very large number of small farmers and middle sized farmers in the West of Ireland and I may safely say that 90 per cent. of them feel that they have never been better off under any previous Government. Take, for instance, the land reclamation scheme which we hear condemned by some people. I have seen some fields which have been drained during the  past 12 months under that scheme and it would be impossible for anybody who had not seen these particular fields before they were drained to realise the wonderful improvement that has been brought about. It is not easy to realise the amount of brush, overgrown drains and scrub land that have been cleared under that scheme. If any of these reclaimed fields were put up for action now, it would be found that the value of most of them has increased 100 per cent. At present, because of the time of the year, they are looking their very worst. I have no hesitation in saying that with the lime the output will be very different in six months' time.
A large number of my neighbours are small farmers who migrate to England and Scotland for some months each year and I have come in contact with some of those labourers who worked on drainage schemes in England. They told me that the pipes used in the West of Ireland are exactly the same as those used across the Channel with very satisfactory results.
Nobody can find fault with the revised lime scheme where the ground limestone is delivered at 16/- a ton. It is deeply appreciated and everyone will find it much more advantageous than the scheme whereby it cost 30/- a ton spread.
I also think that the Government's tillage policy is sound. The people with whom I am connected always held during the emergency when compulsory tillage was in force that if less land were tilled and if it were better done, the result would be better. That has now been done. I personally am aware that during the emergency it was not unusual in the case of huge areas of land in Roscommon to see ten or 15 acres sown with one cwt. or two cwt. of oats just to comply with the regulations and never reaped. It is different now. We have less acreage and very much better results.
Mr. Hawkins: Would it not be a good idea further to reduce the acreage, then?
Mr. McGilligan: That is Fianna Fáil logic.
Mr. M. Hayes: That is not logic.
Mr. Meighan: It is the duty of everybody to encourage tillage and emphasise that it should be properly done. I heard from a county instructor in Roscommon that on a demonstration plot last year in a bleak area of poor land in one of the poorest districts in Roscommon five stone of Ymer barley was sown and the owner threshed 17 cwt. of grain from it.
There was a good deal in the point Senator O'Callaghan made about wheat when he said that it is the cheapest crop and when it is harvested next autumn, there will be the temptation to use it for animals. It would be well, I think, for the Government to look into that point.
I think that the heifer scheme which is about to be introduced is a wonderful scheme. For the last 20 years county committees of agriculture have spent a lot of money on premiums for dairy bulls. A lot of that money was wasted because small farmers find it hard to keep over the heifer calves until they are cows and in many cases no matter how good the progeny from the bulls were they had to be sold off as yearlings or one and a half year olds and in many cases left the country. Then they went in for a lot of crossbreeding and you had a lot of weeds of cows and heifers at the fairs. When the heifer scheme is developed it will counteract that and I have great hopes that it will make good.
With regard to prices, the Minister for Agriculture has been blamed for everything that happens, for the price of eggs, wheat, barley and bacon. The House might just remember, however, the time when there were neither eggs, bacon nor butter on the tables of anyone except the privileged few. It is not so very long ago, but the Minister was not very long in office until, at least, those commodities which were on the market were equally distributed and it was not long after that until there was a plentiful supply of everything.
I have heard adverse comments on the Danish butter. I was born and reared on a farm and have seen butter made at home and in the creamery,  and I do not like eating bad butter. No later than yesterday evening I had some of the Danish butter and I think that anyone who found fault with it would be very hard to please. I have a number of friends living in the city who also were reared in the country, and know what butter is, and there was a time when they and the majority of the people of Dublin would have been very glad to have it. The only comment I heard them make was that it was hard to spread on the bread and inclined to be crumby. Everybody, I think, has that experience with homemade butter during the winter. It is hard to spread, especially during frosty and very severe cold weather. It is uncalled for to say that it is not fit to eat. People may develop a taste for certain brands of creamery butter, just as they do for whiskey or tobacco, and there may be hard-pleased individuals, but those who say it is not fit to eat are making a great mistake.
The present price of eggs is uneconomic. However, if the fowl are fed on home-grown food, and we take the price over 12 months, the average over three years will not be so bad. That is what one must do, as we would all be millionaires if we could get into the production of anything when the price is at its highest and get out when the price is at its lowest.
The number of pigs is not as high as it was 12 months ago, but that is due to the campaign last October. Then the curers refused to pay 180/- and 190/-, notwithstanding that the Minister gave them three weeks notice. The moment the ports were opened and the pigs and hams were cleared away, we had a hubbub all over the country that there would be no bacon. It is hard to know what suits the people or how to please them. Instead of pig prices going down to nothing, they are paying 240/- for bacon pigs now and scouring the country to get them. Bonhams which sold last November at £6 a pair are fetching £6 each now. Owing to the campaign at that time, many people stopped keeping sows and that is bad for the country. No matter what we may think of the Minister for Agriculture,  we should think of the country as a whole. We cannot have too much production, especially if there is to be an emergency. We have realised before that food is better than £ notes in the bank. If there is any difficulty about prices, the sensible thing is for all Parties to put their heads together and give really solid advice. The Opposition could give wise counsel to the Government and suggest ways and means to overcome the difficulties. They will not be overcome by carping criticism.
With regard to milk prices, I represent people in mixed farming and I know they were pleased with the price of milk up to now. Our district represents only a flea-bite of the dairying industry, as they are small suppliers and carry on mixed farming, using the skimmed milk for fowl, pigs and calves. Quite recently I was in touch with the manager of our creamery, who tells me they could not afford to give the same prices this year. He showed me the invoices of the various commodities which go to the manufacture of butter. He told me that there has been a drop down of 40 per cent. for January and February and the estimated, as a conservative figure, the reduction would be 25 per cent. for the coming season. Basing his calculations on the increased cost of commodities that go to the manufacture of butter and the falling off in the milk supply, he estimated that the same price could not be paid this year as last year. If that is the case and if the present price was not considered high in 1947, there is at least something that the Minister should look into.
I would like to see a standardised salary or wage for local authority officials and workers. It is very annoying for members of county councils to get demands from time to time from officials for an increase, saying in the demand that the adjoining counties have done so for the same kind of work. If the county manager or county secretary or any other official is getting a certain salary in one county, he should get the same for the same work in another county of equal size. The same should apply to the road workers. I think the country  should be zoned. There are certain areas comprising cities and large towns where it is harder to live and rents are higher and it would be necessary to have higher wage rates, but these demands coming to county councils every day point out that the wages are different in nearby counties. It may not be the Government's business to do that, but I make the suggestion and if necessary they should take steps to see that the General Council of County Councils considers the matter.
I understand a resolution has been sent on by the General Council of County Councils to the Government, demanding that roads be made a national charge. The Government might consider taking over the main roads and having a separate board over the men, dealing entirely with the road question, including the labour question. There would be uniform rates of pay then, and there would not be these demands, unnecessary at times, from the workers.
There is another matter which came to notice in the last couple of days. Within half a mile of my own place, there are two minor relief schemes and there are rural improvement schemes. One of the minor relief schemes was finished. They happened to be in two different electoral areas, but are only about 200 yards from each other. When the gangers started on the second scheme they had not a sufficient number of registered unemployed. It was stated that they could not take men who were just a couple of hundred yards away because they were across the border. There was also a drainage scheme and they were so short of men that the gangers were canvassing the men from the drainage scheme on to the minor relief scheme which was a road scheme. At this time of the year when people have had to wait so long for weather conditions to improve, I think the drainage scheme was the most necessary. Red tape may be the cause of that, but it does not look like common sense and it is a matter which should be investigated.
With regard to fuel, I think there is a case for having a fixed price for  private individuals producing turf. In my district, for example, in the same bog and practically under the same conditions there is a difference in the price of the fuel. I know a private individual who was selling turf in the town of Ballaghaderreen at 35/- a load of 15 cwt. That is 2/4 per cwt. or £2 6s. 8d. per ton. Our county manager stated that it was remarkable during the last emergency that the price of turf went up by 5/- a ton, according as wages went up by 5/-. He said when the men were getting £2 per week the turf cost £2 5s. 0d. and when they got 50/- the turf went up by 5/-. He based his estimate this year on the rate of wages in Roscommon, namely £3 10s. 0d. and 5/- on top of that, making it £3 15s. 0d. Many councillors said that that was very high and that it was nonsense to base it on that figure. He replied that during the last emergency they had that experience, that they just tacked on 5/- per ton for increase in the men's wages. The £2 6s. 8d. per ton which I spoke about is considered by the people buying it, and I think by the seller, as a good price. I am taking the £2 6s. 8d. as a high figure. That turf can be produced from that bog and the individual has to cart it home and then into the town. I think private individuals should be encouraged to produce turf. It is a matter which should be discussed. I know that there would be more turf cut if there was a fixed price for it, if a private individual got an assurance that it would be taken from him at a certain price. I am sure there will be a market for it if there is no coal going into the turf areas. During the last emergency some private individuals who cut turf found it hard to dispose of it. It is felt that these people should be assured that it will be taken from them at a certain figure.
With regard to Senator Quirke's plea for the draught horse, I certainly have to support him in that. It would be a serious thing if the number of draught horses declined. If the machinery used in agriculture broke down, it would be a great matter to have such horses to rely on. When a question was asked in the Dáil about the number of horses in the country, the Government's  answer was that the horse population was down by about 9,000 and that was not considered very serious. I am sure an important matter like that has not escaped their notice. If that figure is correct, it does not look very serious. It would be a pity if the horse was entirely cast aside, because we may be glad to have him at some time.
As to the extravagant profits of drapers which have been commented on, all the farming community expect is an economic price for their products and I think the same thing should apply all round. Nobody, of course, should be asked to sell things or to carry on his business at a loss. Whether it is true or not, I have heard comments from time to time that the profits are extravagant. If what happened in one case that I know of is general, it gives the impression to people that there is something wrong. Within the last month, a drapery firm in this city advertised a big sale and bargains at sacrifice prices. A customer was offered a certain article for £5 10s. 0d. When he remarked that it was shop-soiled and that it should be sold at £5, it was sold at £5. When the purchaser opened the article at home, he found a tag on it marked in plain figures £4 16s. 0d. I just mention that case because we have heard so much about extravagant profits. If that is general, it will give rise to a lot of talk and leave a bad impression.
Mr. Colgan: I did not intend to speak in this debate, but, having listened to some of the speeches that were made, I think it only right that some of the remarks passed should be contradicted. The last speaker appealed for constructive advice from the Opposition. Unfortunately, some speakers seem to think that if criticism is offered at all it must be adverse criticism. Some false impressions have been created. We had an example of that yesterday when I intervened during the debate with a reference to Danish butter. I was not trying to score a political point. I know many housewives in Dublin and I was speaking from experience; I know many housewives who refused to accept Danish butter because they and their families found it unpalatable. Nobody  said it was unfit to eat. We were glibly told on one occasion that the people would not eat it for political reasons. That, of course, was a most outrageous statement. No one purchasing a commodity across a counter is interested in politics; all she is interested in is getting the best article she can for the money she has to spend. People in Dublin do not like this butter. Indeed, I know many households where they will not buy farmers' butter because they think it is unpalatable.
To-day Senator McGuire started off by praising the Government. He spread the jam, as it were. Later on in his speech I wondered if he was sitting on the wrong side of the House, because he devoted quite the most important part of it to criticism of the Government. He spoke about the cost of living. He said he had been in the Dáil and heard people complaining of the low prices farmers were receiving for their commodities. Later he said he heard people complaining of the cost of living. Now, we all know that when the present Government took office they promised they would either reduce the cost of living or keep it static. That was a foolish thing to do, because in the position in which we were then living it would have been very difficult for any body of men either to keep the cost of living static or reduce it. During election campaigns all of us say more than our prayers, and if we were to be held responsible for all that we do say, I am sure none of us would feel too happy. The fact is that that promise with relation to the cost of living was one of the main planks in the present Government's election campaign and particularly of what I shall describe as the senior partners of the Coalition, the Fine Gael Party. They promised to reduce the cost of living, and people are now entitled to ask why the cost of living has not been reduced.
Senator McGuire also referred to a socialistic trend amongst Labour people to bring the profit motive into disrepute. I think he did make a reference to show that there is a difference  between industrial labour and political labour. There is all the difference in the world. I have heard employers attacked because they were making too much profit. I think that attack comes mainly from the workers because they feel they are not getting a fair share of the profits they helped to create. He stated that the price freeze was the result of insistent demands. With regard to the insistent demands, so far as I know, the ground was first ploughed by the Tánaiste. He went out of his way to attack in particular Irish industrialists. As an old Sinn Féiner I know that many of these industrialists helped to keep the industrial flag flying here in days when they had to dip deep into their pockets to pay increased prices for Irish manufacture because there was a limited market for the goods. I think it is most unfair that those self-same industrialists should now be attacked by a political Labour leader. There was no necessity for it that I could see, but it had a purpose; its purpose was to pave the way for this Price Freeze Order. When that Order was under discussion here I pointed out that it would be impossible to implement it. It was introduced as a great achievement on the part of the Government in controlling profits. I pointed out here that it would be impossible to control profits when we had no control over the raw materials constituting the articles upon which the profits are made.
Senator McGuire told us it was statesmanlike to decontrol many of the commodities affected. He did not tell us it was very foolish and unstatesmanlike to bring in a Price Freeze Order without having regard to the actual position. The Order was hardly in when the majority of the articles controlled had to be decontrolled. No Government can continue to take decisions one day and mend its hand the next. I am not an industrialist but I worked for many years in industry. As a workman, I can see no necessity for price control and I do not believe there are excess profits. I think the Order was merely a political ramp in an effort to gain political kudos by doing something which would have a popular appeal but  which was in its essence impracticable from the outset. Senator McGuire's resentment ought to be directed to the Tánaiste and not to the workers. Nobody wants to deny any employer a fair profit on the money he invests in industry.
Senator Summerfield flew off at his old tangent, the workers looking for a share in the management of business. I do not think the workers worry so much about a share in the management of a business as about a share in the profit the business makes. I suppose that aspect would, in itself, ensure some control in the management of industry.
I said this before, and I shall say it again, that industrialists in this country, and in every other country, ought to realise that times have changed. The two wars were probably responsible for it. A workman nowadays is not prepared to work just for a mere wage. He feels that by his brain and brawn he is making a profit for the capitalist who invests his money in industry, and that he is entitled to some share in that profit. If he does not get it, the industry is going to suffer.
Nowadays working people want an incentive to create articles for sale. If we want increased production the workman must get some incentive. He is no longer prepared to work just for a mere pittance, to work for a mere wage that will keep him and his family just above the borderline of starvation. He must get sufficient to live on. That has been enshrined in the encyclical of Pope Leo XIII. He must get a wage sufficient to keep him and his family in frugal comfort and to have a sufficiency so that he can put away something for hard times, for sickness or old age.
I would not like Senator McGuire or Senator Summerfield to get away with the idea that there is anything immoral, anything wrong, in this question of profit sharing. It has been recommended by the highest authorities in the Church. I think it is included in Rerum Novarum. Unless the employing class are prepared to admit that the worker is entitled to a  share in the profits, I am afraid there is no hope for the future of industry in this or in any other country.
Senator Meighan referred to drapers' profits. I would like to relate an interesting thing that happened in connection with one firm. I do not know if Senator Douglas was here at the time. The Senator accused—he did not actually accuse, and perhaps I should say he felt, that drapers on occasion made undue profits. Not so very long ago, within the last five or six years—it might have been during the emergency—a very reputable and big firm in the city brought a consignment of boots from America. They paid 25/- a pair. When the boots arrived—it was, I think, during the war—they discovered that they were made simply of brown paper, and to get them off their hands they sold them at 10/- a pair. The man in the street thought he was getting a great bargain and the man in the shop felt he had to cut his losses. That was the explanation of that particular bargain. I want to say this in all fairness, that I have often wondered, with all the stock the drapers must of necessity carry, how they make what is considered a reasonable profit.
The amount we are asked to vote here is certainly a staggering one— £83,000,000. Senator Mrs. Concannon said that it has practically doubled in the last half a dozen years, and if it is to continue at the same rate, I do not know what the future of the country will be. The only solution I see is that we must produce more goods, and if we want to produce more goods here, the only hope of getting the worker to put his back into it and produce more than he has been producing is to give him some share in the profit the industry makes.
Mr. Tunney: I would like to say that so far as Senator Quirke's statement about keeping the horse in this country is concerned, I thoroughly agree with him. I feel it would be a bad national policy if we turned completely to mechanised farming, because the time might come when we would not be able to get the fuel. For that reason. I am fully in agreement with the Senator's  argument. I feel that the horse and the plough should be maintained and should not be allowed to die out.
As regards his reference to the Minister for Agriculture, I am not in agreement with him. I would like to say this about the Minister for Agriculture, that, although I do not agree with him on many things, when a Bill similar to this was going through the House last year, I made a suggestion— the Minister was not then present—for the betterment of sheep breeding and I am pleased to say that during the year I had a letter from the Minister stating that my point was considered and agreed to, with the result that he did give a premium in connection with the idea in certain parts of Ireland.
I am speaking now as an out-and-out supporter of the Government and their policy. I do not make any apology to anyone in that respect. I am satisfied the Government are making an honest effort to fulfil the promises they made when they got into power. I feel the Government are doing good work. It was generally believed that there was only one Party capable of governing this country. I do not wish to go into the political side now, but there was that belief. I am glad that this Government have proved that to be a lie; they have proved that there are other people quite prepared and capable of governing, and these people are doing their best for the nation.
So far as criticising the Government is concerned, I am one who is not in the least afraid to criticise them where I think they need criticism. They do not object to that criticism. The only man who seems to object is the Minister for Agriculture and the only thing I will say is that I think it would be far better if he was not so hasty; when certain people in certain places put forward good suggestions for the betterment of agriculture, I think the Minister should be more reasonable in his attitude towards such persons. After all, if a person in this or in the other House or elsewhere makes a suggestion that he feels will be for the benefit of the nation, I feel that the Minister and even the Government should consider any good point that  might be involved. At least the responsible Minister should make no attack on that person in any shape or form.
Recently we heard quite a lot from the milk producers. They are kicking up a great row over the price of milk. They say that they have only the same price as in 1947. I do not know sufficient about the cost of production of milk, but I am satisfied that costs must have improved since 1947. What strikes me as terrible in this matter is that the milk producers in Meath receive 2/1 a gallon and the unfortunate people living beside me in Dublin have to pay 3/8. I hold there is a case where the milk producers should get an increase without any additional increase to the consumer. I can never understand why the person who has to provide the land and the fodder, who has to work late and early, Sunday and Monday, every day in the year, to produce milk, should not be better treated. If a cow dies, he has to replace that cow; he has to replace any losses on the farm; in other words, he is the person who counts. That person receives 2/1 per gallon. After all his costs, wages and overtime he receives 2/1 per gallon and somebody else receives a profit of 1/7 per gallon for thousands and thousands of gallons. The latter has no danger of incurring those losses to which I have referred. That is a matter the Minister should take up seriously. Portion of that 1/7 profit should be given to the producer. I am speaking subject to correction but those figures were given to me by a very responsible official of the Meath milk producers.
Mr. Fitzsimons: 3/8 could not be right.
Mr. M. Hayes: 2/1 and 1/7—3/8.
Mr. Tunney: I know that the price paid by people in Dublin is 5½d. a pint. On that point I defy contradiction. The figures I give are those supplied to me by Mr. Marry who, I understand, is an official of the association in the County Meath. I am not at all surprised that Senator Fitzsimons thinks I could not be right but I think it is a tragedy that the figures  are right. I think it is a tragedy that any firm should get 1/7 per gallon for the bringing and distribution of the milk whereas the man who has to produce it gets only 2/1.
Mr. Hawkins: Is not this milk to which you are referring, pasteurised milk?
Mr. Tunney: I am speaking of milk——
Mr. Hawkins: Would it not be better to tell the whole story then?
Mr. Tunney: I am giving the figures and I am not pleased with the situation. The same applies to potatoes. I do not object to high prices where the majority of the profit goes to the person who has the biggest responsibility and all the worry, such as the weather and everything else. If that person gets a decent price I have no objection. I do object to any middleman getting such huge profits.
With regard to private industry, I hold that the person or firm who invests capital to give employment in this country and who gives good wages and a decent standard of living is entitled to a fair return. In many of these cases, however, some of the people who are making huge profits in this country and have made them at the expense of the unfortunate people of this city within the last 15 years had nothing at all invested in the country and had nothing to lose.
What about the position that obtained in connection with turf during the troubled times in this country? What about the people who made thousands of pounds' profit out of the turf? I wonder have they even paid income-tax. I am glad that the Government have taken up the production of turf in this country. We should import as little fuel as possible if it could be economically produced in this country.
On Friday last, unfortunate people were up at Norfolk Road, Cabra, waiting to get turf. About six o'clock that evening the lorries came in. The turf was dumped in the open and left out under the rain on Saturday and Sunday.  The turf was given out on Monday. Of course an odd agent in between blamed the Government as being responsible for procuring the wet turf. I hope the officials who are responsible will take a serious view of the racketeers who have been dealing with turf. I am not blaming the previous Government because I believe they were mistaken in putting their trust in certain people and certain methods and that they were let down. I hope the present Government will not allow themselves to be let down in that way.
As regards agriculture, no matter what the Minister says or what his personal opinion is, I hold that I am as much entitled to give an opinion as anyone else. The Irish farmer who produces wheat should get at least the same price as that for any wheat from a foreign country. The Minister's idea about foreign wheat was good some years ago, when wheat could be got in at the North Wall at a very low cost. I believe there would be a lot in the Minister's policy at that time when he could get in the wheat at such a low cost. The times have changed now. I would appeal to the Minister to go with the times. The man who will admit that he was mistaken on a particular point and turn over to the right side is a bigger man. There should be an all-out effort to induce farmers to grow as much as wheat as possible in this country. The Irish farmer should be offered the same price for his wheat as the foreigner is receiving for it. If that were done it would help to better the lot of the farmers and the agricultural labourers. As well as that it would mean taking out an insurance policy, and no matter how bad the times became our own people would not starve. I appeal with all the earnestness I can command to the Minister and the Government to be stronger in their encouragement of wheat production and give the prices for wheat that I have suggested.
Senator Colgan referred to the cost of living and to the fact that when some sections of the Government were appealing to the electorate they promised that they would reduce the cost of living. Times have changed,  and I am satisfied that it would be the wish of every member of the Government to reduce the cost of living if it were possible to do so. I am satisfied that every member in this House and outside will agree that the Government at present are very keen on the reduction of the cost of living, if it is possible.
In passing, he referred to an attack made by the Tánaiste on the industrialists. I am satisfied that no such attack was ever made by the Tánaiste on the honest industrialists. I took it that the statement made was that, as far as the firms who went in for huge profits were concerned, they would not get away with it, but that the honest industrialists, who made an effort to start an industry in this country and sought reasonable profits, were going to get all the help and the encouragement possible both from the Minister and the Government. I take it that that was the statement. I do not like the idea of twisting in any way what is said by a Minister. I think it was Senator Hayes who said that some people are more concerned with making an attack on the Minister for Agriculture than with advocating their own policy. I am sorry to say that there is a lot of that in this country, and I put it to the Opposition that, in view of the world situation—while things may not be as good in this country as they might be, they are much better than they are in many nations to-day—they should all pull their weight. If their brains and intelligences were directed more towards making suggestions for the betterment of the nation than towards making attacks on certain individuals, we could build this nation up into a country which would be the envy of other peoples and make people inclined to come in with us without any force. I feel that it would go a long way towards removing Partition.
Reference was made to butter and butter is one commodity in respect of which the Minister for Agriculture admitted he made a mistake, in that he underestimated the amount of butter our people would consume. I say again that it is a great man who will admit  that he has made a mistake. I should be very satisfied if the Minister, in view of the changed circumstances, would say that his attitude now is one of encouragement of the production of all the wheat possible. I do not even ask that he admit to a mistake in this respect, because the situation years ago was different.
With regard to turf, I appeal to the Government not to carry on in the way in which the previous Government carried on, adding further costs by reason of dumping turf in the Phoenix Park. They should appeal to all the people concerned to try to get as much as possible of the turf removed direct from the bog to the consumer's premises because turf is not like other products—it will not stand up to handling or to bad weather. I believe it would save expense and cost if it were removed direct to the consumer. I know that the turf scheme will bring happiness and comfort into many homes in rural Ireland because the whole family will turn out to produce turf, and, if we are to build up this nation, the best thing we can do towards that end is to keep the family circle together. I would even go further than the Government because I would prevent those people who are skilled and expert turf producers from going out of the country. I doubt if any country in the world would allow such people out, in the light of the serious danger of the world position at the present moment. It is not fair that they should be allowed out, but, on the other hand, I would offer them a decent wage in their own country and keep them here for the production of wealth and happiness for our own people.
The Opposition are now blaming the Minister for Agriculture because the price of eggs is not higher. Speaking as a farmer who has a very keen interest in farming, I want to say that I am glad the price is not higher, because eggs are one item of food which workers in the cities and towns are able to secure now. I hope they will always remain within their reach. I agree that certain people who go in more for the artificial side of the production of eggs may not be making a profit, but the small tenant farmer  and peasant proprietor will not be at all broken on the present price of eggs. It is very inconsistent to blame the Government, on the one hand, because the cost of living is high and to suggest that everything is out of the reach of the working class, and, on the other hand, to condemn the Government in respect of the one item which is at a reasonable price. You cannot have it both ways.
Mr. Fitzsimons: Listening to some of the speeches made here, I wondered what Government would be in power if the same speeches had been made by the Opposition two or three years ago. I am satisfied that the present Minister would not be here, nor would the people who support him, because they came out in 1948 and told the people that they would reduce taxation and the cost of living. They now know they did not do that, and they know that, when they made those promises, they could not do it. It would have been better if they had been honest and had sought the votes of the Irish people on an honest programme, if they had told them that, if they wanted done the things they said they would do, the only way in which they could be done was by increasing taxation, and consequently the cost of living.
Because of Fine Gael, Clann na Poblachta, Labour and the other Parties composing the Government now, Fianna Fáil have been out of power for the past three years, but the promises these Parties made in those days have not been fulfilled. As a consequence, we are faced with a Vote on Account of some £28,000,000 and a total bill for the year of £83,000,000, plus some millions which are to be borrowed, and if the speeches made for the past couple of days had been made in 1948, it is not the Minister in charge here to-day who would be introducing this Bill. The Government Parties sought the votes of the people on the basis of their doing a certain thing which they knew they could not do, and because of their failure, they should let the people decide who should be the Government of this country.
Mr. McGilligan: We did reduce taxation.
Mr. Fitzsimons: No, you did not.
Mr. McGilligan: Taxes were reduced. Revenue is coming in very well, but taxes have been reduced. Maybe you did not know that.
Mr. Fitzsimons: You cannot deceive the Irish people.
Mr. McGilligan: You are trying to.
Mr. Fitzsimons: When Fianna Fáil were in power, taxation was in the region of £57,000,000.
Mr. McGilligan: No, the revenue was.
Mr. Fitzsimons: You promised to reduce that by £10,000,000.
Mr. McGilligan: And so we did.
Mr. Fitzsimons: You did not because in the present year you are levying a total of £83,000,000, plus some millions borrowed from the Irish people, plus some other millions which you have got by way of Marshall Aid. Because you have got these amounts, you are giving a fair volume of work at present. If it had to be done out of taxation, the things that are being done could not be done. You knew that the promises you made to the Irish people in 1948 could not be fulfilled.
Mr. McGilligan: We did it.
Mr. Fitzsimons: You did not. Therefore, you are in this position in this House at the present time because of promises that you knew could not be fulfilled. You are introducing a bill to the Irish people which the Irish people will have to pay, as a result of promises that no Minister or leader of the Irish people could fulfil. I do not intend to dwell too long on this. We should have some statement from the Minister. We know his views on banking. We know the views of a Senator who spoke the other day, who was very averse to borrowing money in the old days. He signed the Banking Commission Report. The majority who signed that report were rather critical  of the amount of money we were borrowing. The Senator has changed his mind considerably. He has no hesitation now in complimenting the Minister on the amount of money he is prepared to borrow. It is hard to understand how that can be his viewpoint to-day having regard to the viewpoint he expressed when he signed the Banking Commission Report. He is a Professor of Economics and he should know what he is talking about.
In most areas in which local authorities supply meals to poor children, including urban districts in the City of Dublin, the full economic price of tea, sugar, butter and bread must be paid by the municipal bodies. In view of the fact that there are two Labour Ministers in the Cabinet, I cannot understand why local authorities should be expected to supply non-subsidised bread, butter and sugar to the poor people of the towns. I do not think that is any credit to this Government. I do not say for one moment that everything is wrong, but I cannot understand, when Mr. Norton and Mr. Everett are in the Cabinet, why the poor children of Dublin, Navan, Galway or any other town should not get tea, sugar, butter and bread at the subsidised price. It means in effect that the ratepayers are doing it instead of the Government. Under certain heads the Government have made efforts to save money, but it is not to their credit that they should save money at the expense of poor children.
Mr. Tunney: Are not they getting more than they were getting from the last Government?
Mr. Fitzsimons: From the ratepayers, not from the State. They are getting from the ratepayers in Dublin City and in the provincial towns, these foods at the full economic price. I know what I am talking about and the Senator should know it as he is a member of a local authority. We have a Government who claim to do a lot for the poor. That is something that could have been done for the poor, but they ask the local people to do it instead of the State doing it. That is  an undeniable fact. I do not know what saving it is to the State. In effect it means that most local authorities are faced with a considerable bill.
Many Senators dealt with the question of the growing of beet and wheat and the production of fuel. If they had said all those things and had asked the Irish people to produce these commodities in 1945 to 1948 they might have been better off but a great many of them did not. To be fair to Senator Tunney, he did and so did several others who are in the House but there were a good many people who did not. I would ask the Irish people to produce all these commodities. The production of these things is our only salvation. Because of the uncertainty of the international situation, the people must produce to the fullest possible extent beet, wheat, fuel, oats and any other commodity that will maintain Irish homesteads.
I would appeal to the Irish people, to the Irish farmer and the Irish worker, to be as helpful as possible and to assist the Government at a very important time, irrespective of what promises the Government made. In critical times, the Irish people always do the right thing. They will provide the fuel, the food and the other things that are necessary for the people but the people must get a lead, a united lead. Success cannot be achieved by haphazard methods.
As far as price freeze is concerned, it may have been necessary to do something about it but I think the Government went too far. It is done now and cannot be undone. There is only one freeze that I would suggest, that is a freeze of Mr. Dillon's and Mr. Norton's tongues.
Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.
Mr. McCrea: This debate having dragged on for the past two days, I do not think there is any new ground to break. However, listening to some of the speeches made by some Senators of the Fianna Fáil Party, particularly that made by the last speaker, Senator Fitzsimons, my colleagues and I feel somewhat bewildered. When this  Government was formed three years ago, we were taunted in this House, in the other House and throughout the country with lining up with the Fine Gael Party, whose Minister, we were told, would lock the cash box, and put the keys in his pocket. We were told that, as a result, there would be destitution, poverty and wholesale unemployment. To-day the shoe is evidently on the other foot and we are charged with being associated with a Party whose Minister is irresponsible, extravagant and, to use Senator Fitzsimons' own words, is throwing money wholesale around the streets. Like all other Parties forming the inter-Party Government, we feel perfectly happy and pleased with the results. For the first time, since a native Government was established, we have full-time employment in rural Ireland and for the first time, I think, in 100 years our population has shown an increase. If for no other reason than the two achievements I have mentioned, our action in joining the inter-Party Government has more than justified itself.
Senator Fitzsimons says that we have not fulfilled our election promises or pledges. That is a matter that we might examine. Not alone have we fulfilled our election promises but, I think, we are well ahead of schedule at the moment. Let us just name a few of these pledges. We pledged ourselves, if given the opportunity, to put the Fianna Fáil Party out of office. We certainly fulfilled that promise. Our next promise was to remove the emergency budget taxes which aimed at extracting something like £7,000,000 from the poorer sections of our people. We fulfilled that promise. Our next promise was to increase old age pensions. We did that—from 12/6 to 17/6 per week. Widows' and orphans' and blind pensions were also increased. Last but not least we removed the terrible standstill Order which froze wages and permitted prices to soar in every direction.
Mr. Colgan: That is not correct. The standstill Order was well removed before the formation of the present Government.
Mr. McGilligan: There was a new one in store.
Mr. McCrea: I happened to be a member of a public board at the time the standstill Order was imposed and I think I know what I am talking about. There was a predominant Labour representation on that council and, meeting after meeting during the emergency and following the emergency, we passed increases of wages to our road workers and to our builders' labourers and others and we were always met with the stereotyped reply that these wages had to be kept in tune with agricultural wages, and agricultural wages at the time were about 44/- per week.
Mr. Colgan: The Senator is entitled to express his views but it is not right to make an incorrect statement. The position is that there was no standstill Order in existence at the time of the change of Government.
Mr. McCrea: If it gets under your skin I cannot help it but I am stating what I know to be the truth.
Mr. Colgan: I think it right to make the correction which I have made.
Mr. McCrea: You will not worry me in the least, you can rest assured of that. The Minister for Agriculture came in for this quota of abuse and misrepresentation during the debate yesterday. Eggs were flying all over the House and Senator Hawkins was very perturbed because old cocks and hens were about to be slaughtered.
Mr. Hawkins: Not so much the old ones. I was more interested in the pullets.
Mr. McCrea: I know the word “slaughter” is a very dangerous one to use in this House. I do not want to open any old wounds at all. I will say this, that I think Senator Baxter very effectively answered the Senator during the lifetime of the past Government and of the present Government. Danish butter was being tasted and sniffed at all over the place. During my lifetime I handled hundreds of tons of Danish butter. I was surprised that  Senator Colgan—I am sure he will interrupt me again——
An Cathaoirleach: The Chair hopes that he will not.
Mr. McCrea: We had Senator Colgan, as a Dublin man, telling us that Danish butter was uneatable.
Mr. Colgan: I did not say anything of the kind, and I corrected a statement to that effect to-day. I said that the people of Dublin would not eat it.
An Cathaoirleach: Senator McCrea is in possession and should be allowed to continue his speech.
Mr. McCrea: I remember a time, 30-odd years ago, when Senator Colgan had his bread buttered with Danish butter, and when the citizens of this city, without exception, had no other butter from October until April. They were then supplied exclusively with Danish butter during that period of the year, because there was no other butter coming into the City of Dublin. The reason was that there was no winter dairying in this country then. I have tasted this butter myself. I think I am a fair judge of butter and I must say that I have found nothing wrong with it. Perhaps my tooth is not as sweet as that of others or that my palate may have disappeared, but I have found nothing wrong with it. I have seen Senators, Senator Hawkins, Senator Quirke and other Fianna Fáil Senators in the Dáil restaurant putting Danish butter on both sides of their bread. I admit that, from their point of view, it has a very bad flavour. It has the Dillon flavour instead of the Smith flavour. That must be their great objection.
Mr. Quirke: That would be bad enough.
Mr. McCrea: It is bad enough. I think the Ministers of this Government are doing a wonderful job for all sections of our people. After all, they are only three years in office. I am not even going to attempt to compare their first three years in office  with the first three years of the Fianna Fáil régime. I will not go back on the economic war, when the farmers were beaten into the gutter, and, even yet, some of them have not got out of it.
An Cathaoirleach: That is the dim and distant past.
Mr. McCrea: It is.
Mr. Hawkins: May I ask the Senator if he wants to have a discussion on the economic war? He can have it at any time.
An Cathaoirleach: That would not be in order on this Bill.
Mr. McCrea: I would be delighted to debate it, because I have a vivid recollection of it, and so have all our people.
Mr. Hawkins: May I put this to the Senator?
An Cathaoirleach: No, not on this Bill. The Senator should be allowed to proceed with his speech.
Mr. McCrea: Great play was made about the cost of living. The standard of living has certainly improved. Supplies have improved in every direction. The shops to-day are flooded with supplies of goods of every description. The people's income has been improved. That is far different from the methods adopted by the Fianna Fáil Government to keep down the cost of living when they gave no money to the people to buy anything, and even if you had the money there was nothing to buy. That was the real position during the emergency.
Mr. Colgan: During a war?
Mr. McCrea: And after the war. I remember getting up on Saturday mornings and trying to dole out a 1/2 lb. of rashers as a family allowance for a week and trying to make up a couple of 1/2 lb. of pig's ear. Whatever the position is to-day, certainly the supplies are in the shops.
Mr. Quirke: What about the bully beef that they had not to pay for?
An Cathaoirleach: I would ask Senators to allow Senator McCrea to continue his speech.
Mr. McCrea: It is admitted by all people, and not denied I notice on the opposite benches, that the farmers were never so prosperous as they are to-day. Their days of drudgery, I think, are over. They can come into the towns now, to the fairs and to the markets and to their meetings, comfortably seated in their motor cars. Notwithstanding the views which have been expressed by some of my colleagues, and by Senators on the opposite benches, the farmers, whether we like it or not, are adopting mechanised methods for the cultivation of their farms. I know that in my part of the country, where mixed farming is carried out on an extensive scale 50 per cent. of the farmers are adopting mechanised methods for the cultivation of their land, while 8 per cent. of them have motor cars. I say, more luck to them. I hope that, by the time the next Vote on Account comes before the Seanad, they will find themselves in an even better position.
The fuel position was another matter that came in for some criticism yesterday. Senator O'Reilly, I think, was not satisfied because the Minister for Local Government was prepared to force the county councils to produce fuel for their own institutions. I do not believe that the Senator has given the slightest thought to the question of fuel. The Senator suggested that private producers could produce the fuel for these public institutions throughout the country. I wonder, if his suggestion were adopted, who would produce fuel for the people in our towns and villages, and the thousands of other people throughout the country who are not in a position to provide fuel for their own households?
Mr. Hawkins: On a point of order. I just want to elicit some information from the Senator on this point as he seems to have more knowledge of it than the people generally have. Will he tell us what organisation or authority is now expected to do that one particular job of producing fuel  for the citizens in our towns and for these institutions?
Mr. McCrea: The county councils are charged with the responsibility of producing fuel for their own institutions.
Mr. Hawkins: But for no others?
Mr. McCrea: Senator O'Reilly suggested that the private producers could produce the fuel for these institutions, and that the county councils should buy it from them. The question that I am putting to the House is this: If the fuel supplies for the institutions of this country were to be provided by private producers, who would produce fuel for the hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country in our towns and villages who are not in a position to produce fuel for themselves?
Mr. Hawkins: May I ask the Senator this——
Mr. M. Hayes: May I suggest, Sir, that Senator McCrea is a most patient listener, and that he should be listened to?
An Cathaoirleach: I hope that Senator McCrea will be allowed to continue his speech and that there will be no further interruptions.
Mr. McCrea: Senator Hawkins brought the Tánaiste to book for some statement he made in his constituency last Sunday on the question of making the production of turf a national issue and to the employment of machines for the purpose. I want to say that, weeks before the Tánaiste made that statement, the Wicklow County Council had made provision for the purchase of two turf-cutting machines, rails, bogies and loaders at a cost of £8,000 or £9,000. I would advise all those who are moaning about the production of turf to go down to Wicklow and get a copy of the Wicklow scheme, take it home with them and get their local authorities to work on it. There is nothing more, I think, that I have to say except this, that, so far as our Party are concerned, we are more than pleased with the progress made by the  Government in catering for all sections of our people.
Mr. Hawkins: Perhaps Senator McCrea would give us a little bit more information before concluding. At the outset of his statement he said——
An Cathaoirleach: The Chair cannot compel the Senator to make any further statement.
Mr. McCrea: I will write to you.
Mr. Finan: My contribution on this Bill will be very brief indeed. I must confess that I was somewhat amused by some of the speeches which I heard here to-day. I asked a gentleman in this city this morning what he thought was wrong with this country at the present time. He is a man who lives in the city. He has lived in it for a long number of years, and may I say that by no stretch of the imagination could he be called a supporter of the present Government? His answer to my question was very brief — it was “nothing.” There is nothing wrong with this country at the present moment. I think that that is the cause of a lot of the long-winded speeches which we have heard here. When you deprive the people of something to grouse about, that is the greatest grouse of all. I have heard it said here that the country is rushing towards bankruptcy because of a rise in taxation. That, to my mind, is childish. A nation's taxation can rise every year without endangering the country provided the national income can keep pace with it. I am satisfied that every section of the community is prospering. It would mean national paralysis if the taxation of the country had to remain at the one level all the time. If we are to progress and develop it is natural that taxation will rise—and there has been development in almost every sphere of our social and economic life in the past three years. It is unpatriotic for anybody to decry the advances which are made by any Government. I have no hesitation in saying that we advanced under the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, that we further advanced under the Fianna Fáil Government and that we are advancing still further under the  present Government. I think everybody should rejoice that that is so. It is not to the advantage of the country that any political Party should attempt to decry the efforts of our Ministers.
I think that practically every matter has been dealt with during the course of this debate except one matter to which I propose to refer now. The wage earner has been ably defended and appeals have been made on his behalf. The so-called wealthy classes amongst the industrial and commercial section of the community have been spoken for. If there is a section which requires some assistance, it is the low-income group—and that one section has been entirely omitted from discussion in this debate. I have the greatest sympathy with the salaried people on low incomes. I am intervening in this debate to appeal to the Minister, when he comes to put his Budget in order, to try to give some relief from income-tax to the low-income group of our people. They do not grouse much. They make few complaints. They try to trudge along as best they can. They try to meet their shopkeepers' bills and their ordinary obligations. They are not very vocal about their grievances, but still they must be there. There is no use denying that there has been an increase in the cost of living. That is no disadvantage, provided the people have sufficient money to buy at the increased prices. The particular section of the community to which I have referred—the low-income group—have not had an increase adequate to meet the rise in the cost of living. The Minister can come to their aid in the matter of income-tax. It is absurd that anybody in this country at present in receipt of £300 or £350 per annum should have to pay income-tax. They are not able to pay it. There are in this city, I am sure, and all over the country many people who are really victims of the income-tax code and I commend those people specially to the Minister for his consideration. If at all possible, some relief in the personal allowance should be granted. I realise that, if that relief is granted, the Minister will have to look elsewhere for money. Despite what Senator McGuire has said, there should be in this country a scheduled list of unquestionably  luxury goods. To offset whatever the Exchequer may lose by way of relief to the people on whose behalf I have spoken, I think a tax on luxury goods should be considered. If people have surplus money to spend and insist on spending it, I suggest that there should be an inlet into the revenue of this country through which some of that money will flow—and that money should bring relief to what I consider to be the most necessitous section of the community at the present time.
Mr. Smyth: A number of Senators have spoken on turf development. Senator Hawkins criticised yesterday the appeal made by the Tánaiste, especially to county councils, to produce a three years' supply of turf. He insinuated that the county councils would produce a three years' supply of turf for their own use. That is not so. The Kildare County Council have undertaken to produce a three years' supply of turf—one year's supply will be for ourselves and our institutions: the rest can go into the national pool. At present we have negotiations with Bord na Móna and we are transferring a number of our council workers to Bord na Móna and we are guaranteed a three years' supply of machine-won turf for our institutions. For our hospitals, our sanatorium, our county home, our mental hospital, and so forth, we require about 7,000 tons per year. This year, with 270 workers whom we will transfer to Bord na Móna, we will be able to produce 22,000 tons of turf—7,000 tons for our own use and 15,000 tons for the national pool. That is what we are doing in Kildare as a result of the appeal made to us by the Tánaiste. We intend, as Senator McCrea has said in connection with County Wicklow, to produce our own machine-won turf. We are making arrangements to get the necessary machines during the course of the year in order that next year we shall be able to supply our full needs for all our institutions—and we may be able to do next year what we are doing this year and have a surplus supply to transfer to the national pool. That is nothing new in our county. During the emergency we not only produced our own supply of turf for our own  institutions but we were able to sell a large quantity every year. We carried on that work until 1947 when we were stopped by the late Government who informed us that there was no further need for hand-won turf owing to the large amount of coal which we had in the country.
I think 1,500,000 tons of coal were imported in 1947. Now Fianna Fáil is trying to blame the present Government for stopping the hand-won turf scheme. We in Kildare are in the midst of the turf industry. Hand-won turf has been produced there for generations. I spoke a few years ago on the Turf Development Bill and I said then that there was a racket in turf. Bad turf was being produced and the sale of that bad turf turned Dublin and other areas against the use of turf. The people of Allenwood in County Kildare have produced turf for generations. They used to travel to Dublin and sell the turf there even when coal was very cheap. They were able to sell the turf and the people bought the turf at that time. Unfortunately, however, some people went into the turf industry in the hope of getting rich quick. They went to Kildare and other counties to produce turf, but what they produced was not turf at all although they sold it as turf. Some of us who know what turf is know that a lot of the stuff sold in Dublin and elsewhere was not real turf at all. That spoilt the turf industry and it may take some time to get it back on its feet as people have turned against turf. I believe that the Tánaiste's appeal has had a good effect in County Kildare. Many Dublin firms have taken bogs there and intend to produce turf during the coming year. We in County Kildare believe that the turf industry should be developed and made permanent. In any case our county council intends to ensure that in future we can produce machine-won turf for our own county and also a surplus for other areas that need it. We believe that the future will be with machine-won turf as hand-won turf has got such a bad name that it will be very hard to find a good market for it again.
Senator Tunney mentioned the storing  of turf, and I agree with him. In the past turf was stacked and removed in July and August. Anyone who knows anything about the rearing of turf knows that it is not properly reared in July or August even in a good season and that in a bad season it is very difficult to rear it at all. The less turf is moved the better as every time you move it you are at a definite loss. We have had experience of that in the county council institutions where we stacked turf and had only a mass of turf mould the following year. We really lost half.
I come to the question of houses for the Army. I come from a military district, the Curragh Camp, in Kildare, and the married members of the Army there are housed under scandalous conditions. They live in Kildare and Newbridge in the worst slums in those towns. It will do little to encourage the recruiting campaign if people see them living in such conditions. Kildare County Council is in a very difficult position as a result. We have a huge scheme of houses in County Kildare; we have a scheme of 60 houses in Newbridge and we had 137 applicants, more than 50 per cent. of whom were in the Army. It is very difficult for the county council to provide Army men with houses even when they live in condemned houses, because by no stretch of the imagination can one describe a serving soldier as an agricultural worker. Even though he may have been an agricultural worker before he joined the Army, our county manager states that he is not suitable and we would lose the subsidy. The Army should provide houses in Kildare, where a large number of married soldiers live in such conditions. It is very unfair that the local authority should have to deal with this matter, but it is a matter that will have to be dealt with. We boast about our Army, but if visitors coming to this district see the conditions under which married members of the Army live it will not be a credit to this country.
Senator Fitzsimons spoke of what has happened during the past three years since the present Government  came into office. He lives in a neighbouring county and comes to Kildare and he will find there that the people are quite satisfied. They proved that in the recent county council election when they returned a council two-thirds of which were Government supporters. In the past we had a mass of unemployment in Kildare and hunger marches of workers looking for home assistance or for work, but all that has stopped. This year we had a huge programme of work, turf development, housing, works and drainage schemes, and we will find a great deal of difficulty this year in getting labour for them. Even during the past year there were practically no unemployed in Kildare. We found it difficult to get workers and so did the farmers last harvest. In fact, at times there was practically no one in the labour exchange, and I think that the Minister could make some economies in the future by closing down some of the labour exchanges in County Kildare. That is a big change from the days of the previous Government, and conditions have improved.
Senator McCrea mentioned the standstill Order and was contradicted. I know that we had a standstill Order in Kildare. Our county council, which like Wicklow had a strong Labour membership, wanted to increase the wages of our workers but it would not be sanctioned, as the late Minister for Local Government had laid down a definite rule that county council workers' wages should not exceed those of farm workers. Although we passed this motion on several occasions it would not be sanctioned but on the change of Government we granted our workers an increase of 9/- a week. That was sanctioned and now a further increase has been sanctioned of 7/6, which brings up the conditions of the lower-paid workers. Farm workers also have got an increase of at least 10/- a week since the change of Government and I think that all round people are more prosperous. Like Senator McCrea I know about the motor cars. During the election campaign in September when we went around to meetings we found that you could not get near the chapel gates with all the motor cars, while some  years ago you would scarcely find traps. That is a sign of prosperity amongst the farmers and any fair-minded farmer will admit that agriculture to-day is more prosperous than it was three years ago. The people of our county have proved that they are quite satisfied with the present Government and that they believe that things are looking well for the future. After all, employment is a very important matter and that is one of the things for which we would support this Government quite apart from the question of the cost of living altogether. I do not believe that the cost of living has gone up but if it has it has been compensated for by increases in wages to the lower-paid farm and road workers who are much better off than they were and it is the same with the agricultural community. Coming from a racing district I may say—this may interest Senators Quirke and McGee— that the racing community are also better off. Racing has never prospered more in my area than at the present time. The people there are very pleased and quite satisfied with the work of the present Government.
Miss Davidson: The setting-up of the Prices Advisory Body and the statements by the Tánaiste in regard to the prices freeze have been referred to here to-day as though the Tánaiste had but one object and that object was to victimise decent, long-established firms or industries which had made profits of any kind. Far from that being so, the Tánaiste made it quite clear that he and his colleagues were on the track of those who made unreasonable profits at the cost of the consumers, those who had been allowed to get away with extortionate profits, who had accumulated wealth they never even dreamt of previously and who, in many cases, had not engaged in industry at all until emergency conditions made it clear that with some slick manipulations they could make an excess profit out of the needs of the people. It is perfectly obvious that the Tánaiste and the Government did not intend restrictions on those who made reasonable profits having regard to the needs of their industry in raw materials, workers, etc.
 We are all well aware that, while workers' wages were frozen for a considerable period, profits were virtually unrestricted and many industrialists did accumulate money far beyond the reasonable profits of their business. When the present Government took office they found the workers with their incomes one-fifth below the 1939 figure due to the wage freeze. The Wages Standstill Order was abolished, but situations arose outside the control of the Government which made it impossible to control the price of certain commodities. Alongside this, other commodities which did not seem to warrant price increase went up and a campaign began against the rising cost of living, a campaign fostered in no small way by the Opposition Press. It was in these circumstances that the price freeze was decided upon and I may say that many housewives breathed a sigh of relief because of this. They would now have an opportunity of hearing the reasons why certain commodities must go up in price and why others could remain as they were and others could be reduced. If the price must rise, at least they would know the reason why. Much capital has been made of the fact that 37 articles were released from the freeze Order recently, but in the main these articles are already subject to price control and will remain under that control.
It is rather too soon to condemn as a failure the new Prices Advisory Body. Its work must necessarily be on the slow side and if firms are reluctant to co-operate in its work there will be delays. It is apparent, however, from some of the remarks here to-day, that the Opposition are rather fearful that the body will succeed in its task of controlling prices. Its failure would be in the nature of a facesaver for the Government which froze the worker's wages, but forgot to make any attempt to freeze the unreasonable profits of the industrialists.
Mr. McGee: I am satisfied generally with the policy of the Government and in no matter what market place or fair I go, I hear about the outstanding success of Deputy Dillon. Lately, I have been hearing a lot of favourable comment on the efforts being made by  Deputy Dr. Browne. He is out on his own and I hope he will continue trying as hard as he and Deputy Dillon have been trying. They have all my good wishes. Naturally, one has to look for grievances and, as I am speaking at the very end of the debate, the Minister might listen to me a little more kindly than to some of those who have spoken in the last two days and give me a little attention.
I am a bit disturbed about the distribution of the Road Fund. Thousands of motor cars contribute their share to the Road Fund but they are used mainly on second-class or county roads. It is impossible for the local rates to bring those roads to the standard of the main roads. In my opinion, the State should either contribute something to the maintenance of those roads or should reduce the valuations, which were assessed 50 or 60 years ago at a time when the difference in the maintenance of roads was not as pronounced or as marked as it is now. There is no equity in that. It is revolting, as you pass by on the main road, to throw your eye up a side road and see the potholes before you are three yards in. The people living on those roads had their valuations assessed at a time when all roads were assessed with equity as to valuation. There has been no reduction in the valuations of the thousands of people who live on those roads. I think the State must give more consideration to the maintenance of second-class roads, by giving some help, possibly starting some extensive loan that would permit cement roads. Since cement roads carry the weight on the main roads for ten years, cement would carry it for generations on side roads, if they were put in cement also. If you go out, as I do frequently, to sell a farm along a side road, one of the first things you are told is: “It is a shocking road.” Yet those people are contributing on the valuation assessed at the time that those living along the first-class roads were assessed, and they have got no relief. I hope the Minister will keep this in mind; I suppose he cannot jump to everything, but he may think over it.
The next matter is a more serious one. Senator Counihan and myself  sweated our brains here a few years ago to have market value paid for land taken over by the Land Commission. The Minister is the dispenser of the funds, the Minister controls the funds. It cannot be suggested that £25 per statute acre is the price that should be paid for first-class land in County Meath. The Minister himself issued an Order recently fixing a ceiling of £12 10s. 0d. per statute acre for forestry purposes. It cannot be contended that it is equity to distribute anything like £25 per statute acre when land is being acquired. There is a difficulty. No judge may have evidence sufficient to expect him to realise what land may make. There is only the one judgment, only the one aid you can get, and that is the price of the land around it. If he neglects to follow that, all will be lost. I appeal to the Minister to examine the returns—I would be glad to see them—of prices which the Land Court is awarding in such cases.
Mr. McGilligan: Senator Hawkins, in opening this debate, said that my introduction was brief and he presumed that that was because the news I had to bring was somewhat unpleasant. We can compare this booklet with the 1948-49 Estimates into which, he reminded the Seanad, I had put a note stressing my lack of responsibility for it. Looking back over three years, I still take that stand. I had no responsibility for the Book of Estimates as produced but, of course, the £70,500,000 on the cover was subject to an immense reduction almost immediately. Senator Hawkins in those days seemed to me to have, as the main stimulus of his exertions here, the thought of getting more impositions put on the taxpayer. Now he is full of laments about the taxpayer. He used the phrase—it is a bit of a platitude—that “the sincere convert is the ardent disciple.” I think that Senator Hawkins's conversion to economy is subject to such a lack of glow as to make me cast doubts on his conversion to that line.
He said, as others said, that this Book of Estimates makes no provision for the social welfare scheme. That is so. One does not make provision for services which have not been instituted. One makes provision only for such services as are in operation at the  time the Estimates Book is being prepared. Social Welfare is not in it. When it comes into existence, it will mean a very big increase on the community, who will have to pay taxes; but it will not mean as big an increase as the Fianna Fáil social security plan, which was produced as a sort of “stop press news” on the Friday morning on which the scheme introduced by the Tánaiste, Deputy Norton, was to be debated. Whatever may be put on the taxpayer with regard to administration, the last moment thought of Fianna Fáil was to do something more or less along the lines of the Tánaiste's proposals but to say that there was to be no contributions and that it was all going to be borne by the taxpayer. Similarly, the Senator makes it his criticism that there is nothing in this book for old age pensioners—the new amount to be given, the £1,250,000 which the modification of the means test will cost. When the Tánaiste made an announcement with regard to that, he said that it will have to be found out of taxation. So it will. There is nothing in this book for the provision of that money.
Senator Hawkins says there is nothing in the present book with regard to the mother and child scheme. I think there he was merely echoing what some of his equally unread colleagues in the Dáil said. There is provision in the Department of Health Vote with regard to it, such provision as I was warned by the Department of Health was likely to come in course of payment during the coming financial year. There is a rather unusual note appended—in my experience this is the first time I have seen such a note in the Book of Estimates—on a particular page saying that the scheme, when fully implemented, will cost £1,750,000 or £1,800,000 and, of course, if the scheme is brought into operation quicker than expected, more money will have to be found. When I come to the time of making my Budget provision both the Minister for Health and myself will be in a better position to know what is likely to be the expenditure in the coming year, but provision has been made in the neighbourhood of £635,000.
I am also told that I have not  covered any increase in rates. I do not know how the increase in rates affects the Government except as regards certain contributions made from the Central Fund which are based upon whatever the bulk rate may be all over the country. In so far as such items as rates on agricultural land and the provision for a subsidy in respect of them are concerned, we have made provision after being warned by those who advise us as to the likely situation of the rates during the year.
The Senator contrasted the attitude of Fianna Fáil with the attitude of the present Government in regard to such things as the provision of food, defence and fuel. I do not know what the provision of food means, except the Senator is harkening back to the complaint made by Deputy Aiken in the Dáil that we had not the same acreage under wheat as previously. We have not, but we are getting a better yield than was got; at any rate the last Government, before they left office, were asked to make a forecast for the purposes of E.C.A. as to the acreage which was likely to be put under the plough in connection with wheat in 1950. They put the figure at something like 250,000 acres. Why they reduced it to that I do not know. In the last year there were over 366,000 acres growing wheat. The Fianna Fáil estimate of their own programme projected for the year 1950 was 256,000 acres.
With regard to defence, that matter of course was complained about for the last two years. The Fianna Fáil attitude, starting in late 1948, was that war was imminent and everybody should be taken off work and got off productivity and into barracks. We thought that that was a premature and exaggerated programme. We made certain provision. We kept the Army at the strength which we thought necessary in order to have a nucleus of such forces as the country could be reasonably expected to provide. We increased the emoluments of both the officers and men and we made a second increase recently. We entered on a recruiting campaign some time ago when we thought the danger was somewhat more imminent than it had been  previously. If we had given way to the wails of Fianna Fáil about three quarters way through the 1948-49 financial year, we would have taken some thousands of people away from other work and put them at the rather wasteful occupation of getting trained against a war emergency. In these days we stated, and I still could make the claim, that there is a bigger potential expected of trained people in the country than it ever had in its history. We believe these people will rally, as they are rallying at present, when the call comes. I really believe that the reason they have not rallied in greater numbers recently is that the commonsense of these people told them that there is no great necessity yet. But they will come along when they are convinced by their own experience and by what they read in the newspapers, as well as what advice they get from those whom they regard as having some information as to the necessity for preparing for any warlike operation.
With regard to fuel, turf has been the subject of comment by a great many Senators and it is worth while spending some time on it. Let us get it clear, as Senator Smyth said, that hand-won turf was stopped by the Fianna Fáil Government in the year 1947. It was stopped by a circular sent by the then Minister for Local Government in August, 1947. Leading up to that there is a memo which I have on Government files, dated 18th October, 1946, in which this matter first came under consideration by the Government. The memo is headed: “Responsibility for hand-won turf production” and paragraph 6 reads:
“The Minister (that is the Minister for Local Government) would not merely object to any enlargement of the scope of the functions of his Department or of county councils in regard to turf production but also to any intention of continuing beyond the current year (that is 1946) his present responsibility for turf production through county councils. The principle of making local authorities responsible for turf production came into existence only as  an emergency measure and it would seem proper that local authorities should be informed as soon as possible that they have been released from these exceptional responsibilities.”
That was towards the end of 1946. In the summer of 1947 a decision was taken to thank the local authorities for what they did and to advise them that that particular job was over. I am sure that is the circular to which Senator Smyth referred.
There was a suggestion made in the Dáil—it is the new excuse discovered —that turf was not being stopped in production, even hand-won turf, but only being changed to a new authority and the new authority was to be Bord na Móna. At that point the matter switched over to the Department of Industry and Commerce, which was the Department charged with Bord na Móna. A famous conference was held on 12th February, 1948, six days before the change of Government. The Minister for Industry and Commerce presided at a conference in his own Department and the minutes of the decision taken at that conference with regard to this matter were: “No provision should be made in the 1948-49 Estimates for the Bord na Móna hand-won turf scheme.” The county councils were taken off it and Deputy MacEntee stated that that meant he was switching it over to Bord na Móna. Deputy Lemass then took it over and, as the person in charge stated: “If it is going over to Bord na Móna they will get no financial assistance and no provision is to be made in the 1948-49 Estimates for it.” No provision was made. In face of that, how anybody can deny that the Fianna Fáil Government stopped the production of hand-won turf beats me.
Senator Hawkins said that there is a change of mind with regard to turf and that the methods with regard to handling, haulage and storage were beyond contempt. Certainly the methods used in respect of turf under Fianna Fáil were beyond contempt. It was certainly ludicrous to think of turf being cut in certain counties, hauled across country, and a lot of it shovelled  into the park to be taken away again and distributed in many counties through which it had already passed. Certainly the storage done in the park looked impressive, but it certainly was not done in an expert way which would give the protection which could be got against weather conditions. The storage cost a frightful amount of money and the turf in the park deteriorated and wasted and went into a sort of turf rubble. The result was that the asset which the present Government was supposed to have when they came into office in respect of turf supplies turned out to be a shocking dead-weight debt. We have lost by paying £4,000,000, I understand. Possibly I may be going too far, but I understand that the sum necessary to meet the final losses in respect of turf and coal stored in the park ran into the neighbourhood of £4,500,000. Senator Meighan talked of racketeering in connection with turf. Of course there was racketeering. The files disclosed where the gaps were and what the gaps were through which very enterprising people, to give them no worse term than that, drove to their own great advantage. One of the ways in which plenty of money—or, to use the Tánaiste's phrase to which such serious exception has been taken, bags of money—was made by these enterprising people in connection with turf was as follows: provision was made for the allocation of extra petrol at a time when petrol was both scarce and dear; this extra petrol ultimately found its way into the black market with a very remunerative profit to those who purveyed it; people got petrol on the basis that they would haul turf for essential services, such as the Army, from far distances; they hauled from “near” distances; they had the turf at a cheaper rate than the price that had been agreed upon and they had, therefore, more profit out of the price agreed upon and they had the profit on the sale of black market petrol which brought them in quite a tidy sum of money.
Our present plans are framed in an attempt to get rid of some of the deficiencies that existed in the old schemes. Recently the Tánaiste met  a group of engineers and county managers. He explained to them that he had a scheme. May I interpose here for a moment to say that an effort is being made—I do not know what good will be gained by it—to show that there must be some fission or disagreement amongst members of the Government because the Tánaiste presided over that meeting. Senator Hawkins wanted to know was the Government fighting about this, as they were fighting about everything else? To that I can reply: yes, just in the same way as we are fighting about everything else—that is to say, not at all. Merely because the Tánaiste presides at a meeting of county engineers and county managers there is supposed to be, according to the Opposition, violent disagreement amongst members of the Government. One would think the Government is a group of scrummaging forwards. Someone eventually gets the ball and races forward on his own and the rest are supposed to be turning round and playing against him during the remainder of the match. Now, the Tánaiste was moving forward with a particular ball which we had handed him; that ball was a scheme. Senators will remember that the Minister for Industry and Commerce was seriously ill. He ordinarily would have been the chief man in connection with this matter. His Parliamentary Secretary was very heavily engaged.
Mr. Quirke: With the cost of living.
Mr. McGilligan: There were visits to London and a number of other matters that he had to deal with. Apart from all that, I suggest that the Tánaiste was the proper man to have in charge. The Department of Industry and Commerce, with its attachment to Bord na Móna, would be the Department which would promulgate any legislation in connection with turf. On the other hand, local authorities would be properly under the control of the Minister for Local Government, or his Parliamentary Secretary, and a coordinating authority was not unnecessary.
Senator Hawkins tries to deride the Tánaiste by speaking of him as the  new Minister for Supplies. Suppose we did decide to have a Minister for Supplies and suppose we decided that that Minister would be the Tánaiste, would anybody say he was a bad choice? I do not think he would be a bad choice. Just because the Tánaiste presided over that meeting, some people say there must be something wrong; there must be disagreement. According to the Opposition there has always been disagreement and the Government is simply hanging on by the skin of its teeth. That is the manner in which they try to ease the disappointment cast upon those who were so easily deluded by that type of story in the previous months.
The Tánaiste's scheme is criticised by Senator Hawkins on the ground that local authorities were asked by him to make provision for the fuelling of their own institutions. He referred to a brand new scheme in County Kildare, an overlapping scheme according to him. Senator Meighan also spoke about turf production and Senator O'Reilly had some points to make. I am not fully intimate with all the details of this particular scheme, but I know something about it since it was a council matter. There are several aspects of it that can be discussed. There is nothing hard and fast about the scheme. Indeed, there is a good deal of elasticity about the arrangement. No doubt there will have to be elasticity if all the aspects are to be covered.
I shall give the House a rough outline of the scheme. It has been traditional here for years past for private turf producers in certain areas to produce turf first for themselves and then for sale in an area surrounding the point of production. For years people in turf producing areas have burned turf and very little else. There are certain other areas that can be described as turf areas but which are not self-sufficient and have either to draw on coal, if coal can be procured, or on such extra turf as can be produced in the really turf producing areas over and above that which is required by the producers themselves in those areas. We divided the country roughly into three areas, without, of course,  adhering to any very rigid markings. We had the fully self-sufficient areas as far as turf is concerned; we had those areas that could be made more or less nearly self-sufficient and could certainly be left on their own with a little supplied from other areas; and, finally, we had the eastern counties where the people will have to be provided with turf brought in from near at hand or will have to use dear, and very dear, coal if it can be got.
With regard to county councils and local authorities and their institutions, we started off on the line that county councils would have to rely on themselves and would not get anything in the way of provision from Dublin in the way of coal. We told them to cut or procure turf for their own needs in their own institutions. At that point a conflict did appear. If a local authority was allowed to go to small turf producers in the neighbourhood and buy from them they might take away from those private producers the turf we want them to produce for themselves and their immediate neighbours. Now the local authority has a labour force of its own. That labour force is for the most part employed mainly on roads and sometimes on drainage. The idea was then that the local authority would take that labour force off road work when road work was not suitable, or off whatever work it may be engaged upon from time to time, and put it on to turf production for their own particular institutions thereby leaving the private producer to produce for himself and an accumulation of turf to be sold to his own immediate neighbours and to people outside, but not for sale to local authorities for use in their institutions. I still think that is a good plan. It may be said that if the local authority could fall back on the private producer they would get cheaper turf. I do not know. Perhaps that might be a better plan. There is no rigidity about the plan. That is merely an outline of the plan as I understand it.
I still think it is a good plan. We want local authorities to throw their labour force into turf production because we believe it will be difficult to get sufficient labour in the season to  cut all the turf that will be required. Therefore, we have advised local authorities to take their men off road work. That is not as urgent or as essential work as turf production is. If there are areas where that does not suit and where the private producer can provide turf for himself, for his immediate neighbours and some addition for the national stocks and yet have turf available to supply to the county council for its institutions that can be arranged.
If Senator Meighan has particular points to discuss on this matter, they can be freely discussed. No hard and fast scheme has been arrived at. If Senator O'Reilly has any points, they can also be discussed.
Senator Hawkins referred to 500,000,000 miles of concrete pipes. I have never heard of them. An effort was made by Senator Quirke subsequently to correct Senator Hawkins's blunder, but it was not very effective. Senator Quirke says that 500,000,000 may be feet instead of miles. May I say that is about the measure of Fianna Fáil's representation of the truth, the relationship between a mile and an inch, measured over the years?
Mr. Quirke: We did not swamp the land like other people are doing.
Mr. McGilligan: If 500,000,000 miles of concrete pipes were procured to drain off all the tears shed by the Fianna Fáil Party over the last three years there would still not be enough for that purpose. Senator Hawkins complained of shedding bitter tears over——
Mr. Hawkins: Would the Minister give us any indication of when the Department of Agriculture will issue the necessary specifications to these people engaged in the manufacture of concrete pipes?
Mr. McGilligan: I would not answer for any thing about 500,000,000 miles of pipes—I do not know anything about them. To me the whole thing appears more in the atmosphere of the Arabian Nights. So far as the reduction in the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture is concerned, that would have relation to the Land Rehabilitation  Scheme; that is cut down. I could put down £4,000,000, £5,000,000 or £7,000,000; the money is there and it all depends on what will be used. I had to get some realistic estimate of what was going to be used. Even though it is a capital project, it has this effect on the finances of the year, that I must get sufficient to repay borrowing and that will be great or small according to the amount of borrowed money that will be required. I endeavoured to get a realistic estimate and I got what is there, but if more work can be done on that scheme, the money is there for it. We have only to readjust our attitude. No tears, no addition ought to be made to the general dampness of Fianna Fáil, because of the reduction there is in M. 11.
I was rather interested in seeing that Senator Hawkins had so little to refer to that he had to get back to the question of oats in the Donegal election. I often wondered whether the curtain ought to be lifted in relation to that matter. That was the time when Deputy Blaney—as he was to become—went round trying to create a scare, telling the people in Donegal that they could not sell their oats. He did cause something of a panic, with the results that the oats were thrown over for Government purchase ultimately. We purchased the oats and stored them. We had to insure against loss and, at the end of the year, we sold at a little profit to ourselves. That was a profit that the Donegal farmers could have had if they had not been foolish enough to lend an ear to Deputy Blaney.
Mr. Hawkins: You purchased only to the end of December.
Mr. McGilligan: We purchased in such a way that we met the charges that the farmer could have met and, as I have said, we were able to sell at a little profit. We could, perhaps, have had a greater profit, but we thought that that might be somewhat unpleasant for the Donegal people who had allowed themselves to be so fooled by Deputy Blaney.
Mr. Hawkins: The oats would not have been purchased but for the by-election in the offing.
Mr. McGilligan: They would not have been offered for sale if there was not a by-election—the occasion would not have arisen. In the way I have indicated, something approaching a panic was created. The people would not have been so foolish in ordinary times to believe the story that was circulated.
Senator Hawkins advanced to another matter that I hope to be able to refer to in the months to come. He spoke about butter and he suggested that he would rather have an increase in the price of rationed butter than have what is happening now. That may be something we can remark on at some other time, and I hope we can get him as a supporter. I wonder will he remain such, if such a thing has to be done?
On the question of butter and the amount that has been produced, certain figures have been given in Dáil Eireann, and I think it is about time that they should be given once more. The Minister for Agriculture, speaking in connection with butter, said that in 1950 more milk went to the creameries than had been sent in any year for many years back, with the exception of 1936. He said there were 222,000,000 gallons supplied to the creameries. That produced for home consumption 745,000 cwt. of butter. The farmers' butter produced and held—or at least it was in use and consumed—came to about 383,000 cwt. That has to be an estimate; the figures have not been accurately calculated and that is the best guess we can make. That made a total of 1,128,000 cwt. of butter, between farmers' and creamery butter, consumed in 1950.
That was, I think, with the exception of one year, the biggest amount of butter, between creamery butter and farmers' butter, that was ever eaten in this country. Certainly, if you go back to the year 1931, I doubt if there is any year, except possibly one, in which there was such a provision of butter. So, when people talk about Danish butter, they ought to get it properly in perspective. If people have had to submit to what has been termed the indignity and distastefulness  of Danish butter, there was a very small amount in question, to start off with. I say this without any disrespect, that it was after their appetites had been well satisfied by something over 1,000,000 cwt. of home-produced butter.
The reason why any butter had to be brought in was not because of any lack of production of home butter, but simply because more butter, particularly more creamery butter, came into the control of the Department of Agriculture for storage than the existing storage was equal to. There is no question at all that there was any miscalculation. As much storage had never been required before, and nobody had ever expected that more than the storage as it was at the particular time of the year would be required. In these circumstances, there were two things to be done—either release more butter to the community, and there was an immense release, or else export it. It was exported at that time, and at a profitable sum. If the weather had not gone the way it did, and if the production of butter had not gone low, there would have been no necessity to buy butter. It was the particular time, and the weather that was unexpected, added to the fact that there was a surplus amount of butter in store, or going to store in the early part of the year—that is the explanation.
But the production was enormous. It has been said, of course, that there was as much creamery butter produced before. So there was, creamery butter that was available for consumption and that was consumed. I mentioned 745,000 cwt. in the year 1950. There was a group of years from 1934 to 1938 in which the production of creamery butter was considerably ahead. In 1934 there was a production of 769,000 cwt. and in the following four years the production was 827,000 cwt., 837,000 cwt., 750,000 cwt. and 766,000 cwt.
People who talk about selling a little bit of Irish butter at a good profit must reflect on this. From 1934 to 1938 there was an export of creamery butter to England. We exported 473,000 cwt. in 1935 and the exports  went down to 327,000 cwt. in 1938. There was an export in 1936 of somewhere in the neighbourhood of 460,000 cwt. of butter. I wonder do people remember what happened in those years? The average price of creamery butter in the export market in 1934 was 52/10 a cwt. There was another price made, but the British lifted part of it as their way of repaying themselves the annuities, arising out of the economic war. There was a subsidy which was taken from the butter producer and there was another subsidy that came out of taxation.
There was a bounty on exports and a subsidy on exports. In 1934 the bounty amounted to 51/8 and the subsidy to 31/2. The bounty and subsidy together were 82/10. We paid the British £4 2s. 10d. to eat our butter. As the Minister for Agriculture said, what happened was that we sent over certain cases with butter; the British got the butter and we got the cases. That was about the value that there was in it for us. It was one way of paying the British what we were pretending to take from them through the economic war. That was a phenomenal year. The total rate of bounty and subsidy on exports went down in 1935 to 46/-. In 1936 it fell short of £2 and in 1937 it was only 34/3. You can well understand what it was to export, say 450,000 cwt. at even, taking the lowest figure, somewhere in the neighbourhood of about 35/- per cwt. The people who thought that was good economics are now aghast at the sale to Britain at a profit of a certain amount of butter.
Mr. Hawkins: Would it not be fairer to say that this subsidy was given to the Irish farmer to produce the butter rather than to the British consumer to consume the butter?
Mr. McGilligan: In any event, the British got the butter at far lower than the cost of production. They were given in one year what amounted to £4 in order to eat our butter.
Mr. Hawkins: Would the Minister give us the figures in respect of the years 1933 to 1934?
Mr. McGilligan: I have not got them. There was no bounty on butter except during the time of the economic war.
Mr. Quirke: There is no necessity to defend the Fianna Fáil attitude in the economic war.
An Cathaoirleach: The Minister is in possession.
Mr. McGilligan: The insanity that occurred at the time of the economic war, we can only phrase it as such, we can only forget about it. With regard to tourism, Senator Hawkins makes a statement about converts to the industry. There are no converts to the industry. I have always considered tourism a good beneficial type of trade to this country in certain circumstances and a very harmful one in certain others. The time I objected to tourists being welcomed was the time when we had very little foodstuffs of our own and when we were not producing enough to give this community what they were entitled to. I thought it was the height of folly in those days to be welcoming people from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to eat the foodstuffs that were in short supply here. The encouragement of tourism was another type of economic madness more or less equal to the economic war. It is a different matter now. You have plenty of supplies and they help to restore the gap, at least to prevent the gap in the balance of payments this year being higher than it otherwise would be, and in later years will help to close the gap. With regard to any further measures in respect of tourism, there is a new tourist Bill and Senators will get the chance of discussing that one of these days.
Senator Hawkins and Senator Mrs. Concannon referred to Galway harbour. There has been a scheme before the Government for some months in connection with Galway harbour. A decision was taken with regard to it quite recently. The scheme is going to be a very expensive one for the rest of the country and it is going to be a very nice one for Galway. In that connection, I am  reminded of what Senator Mrs. Concannon said in another connection in regard to a scheme of £2,000,000 institutions going up in Galway. While welcoming the expenditure of money and the employment that is being created in Galway by these things, she was provident enough to think of the future, and to say who is a going to maintain them. That is a question for Galway. It is also a question for Galway harbour.
There was also a big a scheme of over £200,000. At that time Galway was in a position with the help of her neighbouring counties to finance part of the scheme. It was hoped that the better use of the port and the increase in the harbour dues would finance the rest of it. As far as an increase in trade and an increase in harbour dues is concerned, that has been a lamentable failure. If there is a new scheme— and there is a new scheme—it is going to be a costly scheme. It is for Galway to see how that harbour and the cost of it so far as any part of it is put on Galway will be remunerated in the future.
Stockpiling has been referred to. I did say in the Dáil that I found it difficult to say how much of the increase in imports was to be attributed to stockpiling. Speaking, I think, with a certain amount of reserve, I said it was not easy to determine how much it was. I did not think any significant part could be attributed to stockpiling. Since I made that speech, I have had my judgement in that matter questioned and I am inclined now to change the phrase. It has been put to me that when I was speaking in those terms, I was speaking merely in terms of Government stockpiling. It has been put to me—and I accept it—I do not know whether Senator O'Brien referred to it—that there has been a good deal of quiet stockpiling going on in the last nine weeks of the year by the ordinary citizen, that is, by the man who can afford to do it. He is buying suit-lengths and extra overcoats, and that mounts up when it is done over a period. I feel—it has been suggested to me with a good deal of argument—that there is more in the  stockpiling argument than just immediately meets the eye. I believe that to be the case still. It does not close the enormous gap there is as between exports and imports.
I want to comment upon one phrase used by Senator Hawkins in connection with social security that the insured workers have had their money put into the purchase of Store Street. They have not had their money put into the purchase of anything if the Senator means they have been forced to buy a building against their wishes. What has happened is that the funds of the National Health Insurance Society have been invested. It does not matter to the insured what they are invested in so long as they get a return. They are going to get from the Government the same return that they got from English securities. They are switching their investment into Store Street. It will cost them nothing. It will get the same return and it will get a use for a building that otherwise would have been an amazing type of white elephant.
As to the cement matter, there is a good deal of difficulty about that and the difficulties are not over. They arise mainly from the fact that the last Government established a monopolistic concern in connection with cement. Having established that concern, they put it under the control of a group of people some of whom are attached to one of the closest rings that there is in connection with any manufactured commodity. A letter was written which unfortunately was framed in some ambiguous terms dealing with dividends and the people who are in charge of the cement company believed that they have a Government-granted right to make 10 per cent. would be rather extravagant and that 8 per cent., although not regarded as a commendable dividend for everybody in the circumstances might have to be submitted to. The stranglehold was loosened and the situation is somewhat more in flux than it was some one and a half years ago.
The Minister for Industry and Commerce at a time when certain difficulties emerged did say there would be a new factory production. At best the  cement company if they got the right to make the cement promised they might have it completed inside a couple of years. Plans were changed and the date was postponed and no matter what could be done there was no question of any new cement coming into production from a home-manufacturing plant inside two years. My aim is where there is a situation where there is a monopolistic company and I see a chance of getting in somebody as a competitor I think it would be better economics and better politics to urge the introduction of a competitor than to add to a monopolistic concern. If I can get equal conditions between the present group and some other group I will favour the newcomer because I think that on the whole it will be better in two years if we have two cement companies in the country instead of one.
Mr. Hawkins: Would the Minister be able to give the House any indication of what the cost would have been as between the 8 per cent. and 10 per cent.? Would it have amounted to the sum of £1,000,000 that had already been paid on the subsidy of imported cement?
Mr. McGilligan: I am sure it would not. That is what we are aiming at stopping. The cost of living and the freeze Order were referred to by Senator Hawkins and other Senators. The freeze Order was mentioned first by the Tánaiste in a speech that has been more definitely distorted than any other speech which has been referred to in this House. Everywhere a manufacturer, an industrialist or a trader gets up to speak he quotes one phrase of the Tánaiste—that people were allowed to get away with a bundle of swag that astonished even themselves. That is picturesque language. It is not, I think, exaggerated. I do not suppose that I will be regarded as a standard in this matter, but I have used phrases at least as vigorous as this about the industrialists over the period to which the Tánaiste referred. This reference from the Tánaiste's speech occurs in the Official Reports of 6th December, 1950, at column 1809.  He there spoke about what happened under the Fianna Fáil Government when wages were kept low, while
“... on the other hand, we had created a new hierarchy of wealthy people, arrogant in their wealth, arrogant in their opulence, challenging anybody who dared to question their right to make extortionate profits....”
He wound up with this, and this is a point that is never referred to because it cuts so close to the bone:
“... yes, and threatening with a cheque-book at election times because one dared to question the profits that these people were allowed to make under the Fianna Fáil Government.”
He then asked:
“Will Deputy Kissane or anybody else in the Fianna Fáil Party tell me, in 1950, that it was for keeping prices low that a bunch of industrialists in this city issued an appeal for funds on behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party at the last election?”
I ask that question, too, but I will not wait for an answer. Was it because prices and profits were kept low that a group of industrialists came out with a manifesto on behalf of one Party at the last election, as well as having promulgated it two or three elections before that? The Tánaiste asked:—
“Was that done in appreciation of the Government controlling prices or is it not more likely——”
and here is the context in which he used the phrase:—
“——that that was done in appreciation of the way in which the workers' standard of living was depressed while the wealthy elements of the community were allowed to get away with a bundle of swag that astonished even themselves?”
In the context in which the Tánaiste put that, I do not think the phrase can be questioned. Is it not notorious that people made money hand over fist during the war period and, in fact, were they not allowed to do it? I have calculations here which I got from the Revenue Commissioners setting out the difference in taxation of the excess  corporation profits tax type imposed here and in England. I made calculations as to what special advantages people here got under our taxation in comparison with what they would have suffered if they had been operating under English taxation, and they show a considerable sum of millions. The excuse put forward at the time was that the money was given to these people to enable them to cushion themselves for what was called the difficult time of recovery when it was expected that materials would come on the market at cheaper rates and certain traders might be found with goods which they had purchased dear so that they had to get something in hand to cushion themselves against that situation. There was a little naiveté about that because one does not find a trader rushing to reduce his prices the morning after the cheap goods come on the shelves, although it is regarded as necessary for business, if the price goes up, that the imported goods have to begin to increase in price because, I am told, the minute they do, the trader thinks of replacement costs. Deputy Lemass took that as a principle in respect of his attempt to control prices. But there is no doubt that people got money, bundles of money, as the Tánaiste said.
The Tánaiste however went on to say:
“So far as the Government is concerned its attitude in relation to profits is this: it wants to ensure that the honest, decent man or woman, the honest trader and the honest firm, which invests capital in an enterprise, will be permitted to get a reasonable return on that capital. We want to permit the decent manufacturer, the good industrialist, the good provider of services, to obtain a reasonable return on his capital to assist him to pay decent wages and to observe decent conditions of employment.”
That quotation is not so well known and I had better give the reference— column 1822 of the same Debates. Is that holding the balance equally: to say that certain people did get any amount of money—or is that going to  be denied at this late date?—and then to say that, facing up to the present and looking to the future, the Government attitude is to ensure that the decent trader who invests capital will get a reasonable return on that capital?
The Tánaiste added, then, that an advisory prices body was to be set up and that that body would report to the Minister for Industry and Commerce. He said that the main thing we wanted with regard to that body was publicity and that there were two reasons for requiring that publicity. One was that, if prices had to go up, the public would know why, and would have it brought home to them that, if prices were going up, there was a good reason for it. The second was to ensure that there would be no abuse arising from the new condition of scarcity approaching. One would think, listening to the comments made about the advisory body in connection with prices, that it is the first time that anybody ever thought of controlling prices or thought that profits were unreasonable. In the recesses of Government Departments, there is a White Paper of a Bill called the Emergency Powers (Unlawful Profits) Bill, 1945. Those who have not been at the heart of Government may not know it, but, when projects get to the stage of being produced as a White Paper, they are on the verge of being introduced to the Oireachtas. This Bill got so far and then stopped there.
I understand that the objection taken to the present prices tribunal, leaving out the circumstances of its birth which are expressed in these phrases of the Tánaiste which have been distorted, is that unfortunate traders may be asked to disclose confidential information to a body which is a public body and therefore, the suspicious trader says, will act in public. You get added to that as a sort of facet of the same argument that people may have to give away their business secrets. I waited to have these business secrets defined. I saw that one jam manufacturer talked about his recipes for making jam, as if anybody was going to give that away to the public. Another man made some reference to costing  systems, suggesting that one firm might have a costing system different from that of another and that that might be disclosed.
The memorandum circulated to the Government at the time in connection with this Emergecy Powers (Unlawful Profits) Bill has certain points of interest. It first said:
“It is the aim of the methods of price control adopted by the Minister for Supplies to restrict profits within reasonable limits and thereby to keep down the level of prices.”
I quote that only because it is so often said by Deputy Lemass, now that he is in opposition, that profits have very little to do with prices. In this case, he said the reverse, because the opening phrase in that memorandum says that the aim of the price control methods is to restrict profits within reasonable limits and thereby to keep down the level of prices. The memorandum goes on to say that the Minister had become convinced that there were a certain number of people who had failed to abide by their undertakings with regard to both prices and profits. He said that these might be few in number, but added:
“The importance of the issue cannot, however, be judged relative to the number of defaulters, since such default, if tolerated, would likely be claimed as unfair to other traders and would almost certainly lead to a general failure of the system of control.”
He then asked that legislation should be passed and this I want to mark out: this was the project that was on foot in 1945: the Minister for Supplies in this memorandum demanded that legislation must give that Minister the fullest discretion in deciding what defaulting traders or firms deserve to have the penalties imposed, what traders or firms have erred unintentionally. The Minister was going to be the judge. If a group of people were before him—factually, one can gather this from this memorandum—he would be able to say: “There is a group of firms, A, B, C and X, Y, Z, and they have not carried out the  undertakings given to me about restricting prices and therefore restricting profits.” He said: “I want the right to choose as to which I will prosecute.” He wanted the fullest discretion. Supposing he picked A, B and C, and lit on those, he then proposed that there should be an appeal tribunal, and that appeal tribunal was not to be a law court because he said in a later part of the memorandum, going to law courts and giving the right of appeal meant rendering nugatory the whole of these proposals of his to restrict prices or to get back unreasonable profits. He would allow an appeal tribunal which, under the legislation, was to be a body of three people appointed by the Government. Of the three members, one was to be a practising barrister of not less than ten years' standing and one was to be a person having knowledge and experience of accountancy. The third might be anybody not having even these limited qualifications. Certainly, there was to be no judge and no appeal to the courts. That tribunal when set up would hear any appeal that might be taken.
Again, I understand, the objection to the present body is that it is somewhat ephemeral and may disappear in four to five years, and in any event, it is not a Civil Service body because I was told in the Dáil that a civil servant is bound by oath or some undertaking not to reveal anything that comes under his notice. This appeal tribunal was to be appointed for a period not exceeding one year, as the Government think proper—there could hardly be anything more ephemeral than that— and it was to be composed of three persons, not necessarily judicial but one might be a legal person. The appeal tribunal, the memorandum says, would have full powers of investigation, including powers to obtain all relevant documents, accounts and information. The Minister asked that he should have power of a wide and drastic type for the collection of the debts due to him, including power to put a receiver in the business, to carry on the business as a going concern and he asked for indemnification against loss for the people put in to run the business.
 That was a nice scheme. The Minister, without anybody's knowledge, would pick and choose the people whom he thought to be defaulters in connection with prices. Then he would assess the amount of money that they, by breaking their undertakings, had become unlawfully possessed of. He would demand those moneys from them and then, if those people liked to appeal, they would go before an appeal tribunal of this ephemeral type, with the three people on it appointed for not more than a year, who would have power to go into the business and look for all sorts of books and accounts and, finally, the Minister would take over the business, appoint a receiver and indemnify himself for the money that he was anxious to get. He said it was not intended that there should be any appeal to the ordinary courts against decisions by the Minister or the appeal court, as the case might be. “The delays which are unavoidable in such proceedings would greatly nullify the deterrent effect of the exceptional measures which it is proposed to take.”
That was not proceeded with but, instead, the 1947 legislation made its appearance, at least as a Bill produced in Dáil Eireann. I do not know do people in these days of controversy about private traders' accounts being examined by a body which is not a Civil Service body and which might be somewhat ephemeral, realise what was in the Industrial Prices and Efficiency Bill. The Minister was to appoint a commission. There were to be three permanent members appointed for a period not exceeding five years—it might be anything—they could be replaced, discharged, taken off, and the Minister had really complete control to call for resignations and appoint new people, when he liked. They could investigate on their own initiative and must, at the request of the Minister, investigate the prices charged. Then there were to be Price Orders made.
“The Minister shall not make an Order under this Part in relation to a commodity or service unless (a) the commission have recommended  it, or (b) the Minister is of opinion that
(i) unduly high prices are being or are likely to be charged for the commodity or service, or.
(ii) owing to the scarcity of supplies, there is a possibility that unduly high prices will be charged for the commodity or service.”
The Minister was taking powers that he would make Price Orders in times of scarcity if he thought there was a possibility that unduly high prices would be charged, or if he felt undue prices, for some reason, were being charged or were likely to be charged.
In that connection, it was interesting to note that in Part IX it occurred that
“the Minister, the commission or the chairman may, from time to time, serve on a person who carries on the business of producing or selling a commodity or providing a service a notice requiring that person to furnish at such times as may be specified in the notice, such accounts and returns relating to the business as may be specified in the notice.”
He was given further power to enter at all reasonable times to inspect the premises and to take notes and extracts from books, documents and records and, finally, to ask the people who were concerned in the business to furnish him with such notes, records or documents as he marked in the books.
If people are aggrieved at the moment because a Prices Tribunal consisting of an eminent judge, an accountant, an inspector of taxes and certain other people selected with various qualifications on the trade union side, is a body to whom information should not be given, they forget altogether what was proposed before. One would think that this was the first Prices Tribunal ever established in the country. It is a rather mild form of inquiry in comparison with what was proposed in the unlawful profits legislation and it is certainly not given as drastic powers as were proposed under the Industrial Prices and Efficiency Bill.
I want to say on that matter that I cannot understand these complaints  about prices. Two Senators spoke here who a wakened echoes in my own mind of things I heard said before and that are worth saying again. Senator O'Farrell was one of them. Another Senator said much the same thing— that there was a time that it was proper to demand privacy in regard to business accounts, and the strictest privacy, and to complain of any intrusion. Those were the days when people operated on their own capital and when they produced goods in competition with the whole world and were able to withstand competition and yet satisfy the consuming public and were able to sell their goods. In those days it would have been an unwarrantable intrusion on people to say that you wanted to find out what they were making because, if they were able to sell against the world, able to produce attractive goods which got the consumers' demand and to make profits on those, they were entitled to them. They were operating on their own money and against the most adverse conditions of trade. But those days have gone. Not merely we here, but the world generally, are living in very highly protected areas. The greatest possible protection is given against competition, certainly against the old-time, ruthless, red-claw competition of the capitalist system. That is all gone and the system nowadays is—and the higher the protection goes, the more truthful, the more accurate, are the phrases I am using and their application—the higher the tariff wall, surely, the more it can be said that the consumer is thrown at the mercy of the industrialist operating behind the tariff wall.
If you get added to the tariff wall the system in which there are inside rings developed in a country so as to prevent internal competition, when the external competition is prevented by the tariff or the prohibition, I certainly think at that point we are getting nearer and nearer to the stage at which it can be legitimately said that it is the consumer who is providing the addition to the original capital that the manufacturer or trader has and that he is no longer entitled to the old profits that he could demand in those very far off and, I think, better days.
 In any event, we have not gone to that stage or anything like it. We are merely asking that if a person here demands, in times of scarcity—what everybody is concerned about—an increase in prices, if a person demands the right to increase prices over a range of essential commodities particularly, he should make his case before the public and demonstrate to the public that his costs have risen and, on what the Tánaiste said, if he makes that case, he will get his increased price. We want to guard against unreasonable additions, which is the most we can guard against, and if we succeed in that, if we safeguard the public as a result of what has been done, we shall have done a good day's work both for the community and the trader. The trader will then no longer be under the cloud of suspicion that he is at present.
Senator O'Callaghan's remarks seem to be typical of the Fianna Fáil attitude towards any finance matter at the moment. He opened by saying that an increase of whatever number of millions he mentioned—it was an inaccurate number of millions but that does not matter—an increase of blank millions was a bad day's news for the public. Then, having made what I might call his formal genuflections to the new idol of economy that Fianna Fáil have erected for themselves, he promptly turned his back on economies and he went on to say that the price offered for timber in this country is very low.
He wanted more money for butter, for milk, for wheat growers and beet growers, and he thought that something should be done about the price of eggs. If you have that type of programme outlined by a Senator who does not put his finger on a penny piece of the alleged extravagances, but simply tells the people that they have to pay millions more and then proceeds to say that various types of producers should get more by way of subsidy, one cannot expect to take his suggestions of economy seriously. I am glad he drew attention to the forestry matter. I was rather shocked when he said that there was an Order made in the year 1949, which meant that owners of timber grown in this country have to  sell it at something less than half the price that could be got for foreign timber. It came, as I say, as a shock to me because I never had heard of such an Order being made in 1949. I had some inquiries made and I have discovered that this Order was really made in 1941. Why it was then made I do not know; may be Senator Hawkins could throw some light on it, but it is not as comprehensive as Senator O'Callaghan would have us believe. It applies only to certain timber. Standing timber is without a controlled price and firewood is without a controlled price. As a matter of fact, there is something of a racket developing there, and I am glad that the Senator called attention to the Order. I should like to know what change the Senator would recommend in that regard. If that Order is removed, Irish timber goes up in price and then we may find that Swedish timber is able to beat Irish timber on the home market. The next demand probably would be for a tariff on Swedish timber to keep the Swedish timber out. If Swedish timber is carrying a greater price at present than Irish timber, the Irish stuff must be shockingly bad if it cannot sell at a price which the Senator has stated is less than half the price of the Swedish timber. The Senator has alleged that Swedish timber is fetching twice what the Irish stuff is being sold for and yet the Swedish stuff, according to him, is able to beat Irish timber on the home market.
Senator Mrs. Concannon made a despairing appeal that I should go through the Estimates and try to lop off bits here and there. I took it for granted that, having said that, she had nothing else to offer in the way of contribution, but she went on to refer to the £25,000 provided for the Irish News Agency. Having made her little appeal that something should be done to go through the Estimates to lop off items here and there—incidentally she did not trust me or give me credit for having done that to the best of my endeavour already—she went on to make a demand for Galway harbour, money for more schools and an appeal for the maintenance of the two enormous institutions that already  exist on the health side in Galway. I have already dealt with Galway harbour. So far as schools are concerned, more schools have been built in the last year or year and a half than were built in the country for many years before. Certainly more money was provided for that purpose, and if Galway is not getting its share, somebody is lacking in vigilance in the Galway direction.
Senator Loughman added his effort in the way of calling for extra expenditure. He thought that we should subsidise coal inasmuch as coal has increased so much in price recently. The Senator—I failed to take him seriously when I heard him make the statement —announced that Senator Douglas had recently praised the Industrial Prices and Efficiency Bill. I read him, according to the report of his speech in the newspapers, unless my memory is shockingly bad, as stating that he thought that it was the most undesirable intervention by a Government into business that had ever been projected in this State. If the Senator regards that as praise, one can only regard it as typical of the distortions that membership of Fianna Fáil can bring one to.
Senator O'Reilly suggested in connection with turf production that better results might be obtained through the private producer than through the operations of the county councils. That I think is a matter that can be argued, taking into account the circumstances of each particular county.
Senator Summerfield seemed to be very excited about what he termed the staggering size of the bill but all he could suggest was that we might overhaul Government expenditure. He had the suggestion that one often hears made nowadays, that we should get some business experts to look into the various Departments. I do not want to give away any secrets but I think I can say that there has been a group of business experts looking into certain Departments. I do not want to be disrespectful to them in any way, but I think I am right in saying that the amount they are charging for their services, outweights any economies they have been able so far to make. That is the result of bringing in business  experts. I wish we could bring their good recommendations to firms like Senator Summerfield's to see if they could get any better results there, and then we might have another look at them.
With regard to the suggested change in the system of motor taxation, I would say that there is a mistaken impression, to which Senator McGee referred, that Road Fund moneys are being diverted from the particular purpose for which they were intended, namely, the maintenance of the roads. Those who spoke in that way seem to forget two things. One is that the produce of the petrol tax never went into the Road Fund. The Road Fund is fed by what is called the road tax. The road tax was increased in 1947 and the then Minister for Finance, in bringing in the increase in the road tax, said that he was going to appropriate the proceeds of the road tax towards the payment of subsidies. He estimated that to the end of the year, it would cost a couple of hundred thousand pounds to do that. For the couple of years that I have been in office I have been taking £300,000 from the Road Fund and in doing that I am not taking the full amount to which I am entitled because if I appropriate the full amount of the increased tax, I should be getting £500,000 towards the Central Government expenditure instead of the £300,000 which I have been getting and which I propose to take in future.
The motor tax system is a different matter and that is being examined at the moment. I believe the aim is to get the same revenue but to adjust the tax so that the incidence would be different on different types of cars. I believe there is this undesirable feature, that part of the revenue would have to be derived from an increased tax on petrol. I know very well what would happen if I were to come in here to suggest that I should be allowed to get an increased revenue from petrol to compensate for the adjustment in the other tax. I probably would be shouted down and everybody would forget the relaxation there had been on the other side.
Senator Quirke suggested that we  should try to provides more storage for petrol and various types of oil. We were not left much in the way of storage but we have been trying to get increased storage. It is not an easy task as the companies interested in delivering supplies here are not interested in storage in that way. The provision of storage that would hold any appreciable amount would be very expensive, and unless the companies could be induced themselves to bear the burden of the costs over a number of years it would mean duite a significant addition to the cost of oil fuel in the country.
One of the things which I could never understand in that connection was, why a decision was ever taken in this country to get rid of the electric trams and to throw us, more and more, in the face of a coming emergency, on imported oils of different types. We, at least, had the motive power provided out of our own resources, as long as the trams were allowed to run on the streets of Dublin, and yet that decision was taken. That decision was so far advanced that we could not stop it.
Senator Quirke referred to the controversial matter of the Locke case, and to the fact that no costs were paid. As long as I am Minister for Finance no costs will be paid. In that I am going on precedent. Many people have been brought before the courts of this country, the criminal and other courts of an inquiry type. Only in one case, and that was not an example which anyone would care to hold up as one to be followed, were costs ever paid, and even then they were the subject of a sort of wangle to get them arranged in the way the last Government wanted them. People have, from time to time, been brought before the courts and subjected to a vast amount of annoying publicity and very heavy expense, and even when a jury has completely and entirely acquitted them they have been left to their own resources.
The first of an exceptional type of case that my mind goes back to, outside that of the ordinary criminal case, was one which occurred in 1932 or 1933. Two servants of this State were  brought before the courts of the country for breaches of the Official Secrets Act. One was a member of the Army who died recently, and the other a member of the detective force. The case dragged on for one and a half days, and, at the end of the one and a half days, the judge hearing the case said that the thing was fantastic, and he ordered the case to be withdrawn from the jury. He would not let the jury hear it. He then made a statement which the people in court said they would carry to the authorities to the effect that these people had been subjected to very heavy expense for no reason whatever that he could see, and he hoped that their expenses would be paid. He did not add what, I think, was the feeling of most people, that these people would have been restored to their former occupations. Their costs were never paid, and that case stands as an evil example.
I think I answered Senator Meighan in the matter of the private as against the county council employee. I think there is something there to be discussed, but it is a matter which I would prefer if the Senator would discuss it with someone rather than myself.
Mr. Meighan: I did not mean that the county council were not to engage in turf cutting. I can have the matter discussed later.
Mr. McGilligan: The matter of price guarantee in relation to turf was referred to. Again, I want to insist that while there is no special or fixed price guaranteed that a guarantee has been given. I cannot see why anyone should look for a guarantee at this moment when the price of coal has reached the wild height it has gone to, particularly coal that may have to be imported from America. I think it is obvious that a market of an assured type is there for the person who produces turf. The private turf producer, if he produces good stuff, can rely on being able to get a ready sale for it. I would ask the Senator to get that matter discussed either with the Tánaiste or the Department of Industry and Commerce.
 Senator Colgan said, with regard to the cost of living, that the Government promised to reduce it, and that the promise had not been kept. I say it has been kept. It was kept early. I would ask the Senator to remember that it was not the cost-of-living index figure that it was promised to reduce. The promise was to reduce the cost of living. Surely, he will agree that the £7,000,000 which was to be extracted from the public on beer and tobacco was a significant addition to their living costs. We removed that. We also took 6d off the income-tax which gave relief to certain people. As well as the actual reductions on beer, tobacco and income-tax and various other modifications, there were other things we did. There were the increases we gave to the old age pensioners, to the widows and to the orphans, and the additional tea ration, which cost £500,000.
Later, there were the additions which we gave to a whole group of public servants, civil servants, teachers, the Army and the Gardaí. Add to these the additions that were given last year to certain pensioners. All these could have been saved, and of course if they had been saved they could have been put towards a reduction of taxation. The tot of all these amounts to something in the neighbourhood of £11,500,000, part of which was used to give back to the people some of the charges which had previously been imposed on them. There was one significant tax imposed in my time, and that was on petrol. That was one increase in taxation. We did cut out certain extravagances by, I think, a better handling of subsidy matters. Of course, the cost of living has gone up since, but we did reduce the cost of living, and I do not see how it can be denied. We kept even the new figure stable until the war in Korea opened. The deflation, which took place, mainly in England, did affect the price of certain goods which we had to import.
I would not agree with Senator Colgan that the price freeze was not needed because there were no excess profits. One can quarrel about this matter as to what is a reasonable  profit, what are luxury goods, and what is an excess profit. I have here the 26th annual report of the Revenue Commissioners for the year ended 31st March, 1949. Table 80, page 112, shows corporation profits tax and the assessments made in each year in respect of corporation profits tax. Incomes under £2,500 are not assessable to corporation profits tax. If one takes that table and makes certain adjustments in the figures given, what one finds is that in the year 1946-47 the figure shown in that table is £15,750,000. If I add certain things, which I must in order to get the taxable profits in that year, this corporation profits tax of £15,750,000 becomes £18,000,000. For the year 1948-49 the figure is £23,642,000, and, again making additions, that becomes £27,000,000. The position is that between 1946-47 and 1948-49 these profits rose from £18,000,000 to £27,000,000. That is to say, they rose by 50 per cent. That, I think, requires some investigation.
Mr. Colgan: Would the Minister say they are reasonable?
Mr. McGilligan: They are startling enough to require some examination. In the same report, at page 103, Table 70, figures are given with regard to income-tax, gross income and actual income and Schedule D—the part of the profits from a business or a profession. Again, there are certain adjustments to be made. If anybody wants me to make the calculation I will, but these figures surely bear this out, that in the period between these three years profits of a certain type have risen by 50 per cent. If I go back further and take Table 80—the standard year for the Excess Profits Corporation Tax, the best of the three pre-war years, I find that the total profits at that time were £10.5 million, and that these had gone up to £27,500,000. I realise, of course, that, going back to the best of the three pre-war years is something out of date. I think that, when one describes these as runaway extravagant profits of a profiteering type, they call for inquiry and for some investigation. They are enough to put the people who got  these profits somewhat on the defensive. That is all I say. I was amazed when Senator Colgan then went on to make the plea—I am in agreement with the principle of his plea—that workers desire to share profits. If there are no excess profits I think the workers are in for a disappointment. I think what the workers should ask for is a share in the productivity—in other words, that they will have the stimulus of knowing that they are not working for an outside boss, but at least in part for themselves. Until we get there I do not know that we can get away from strikes, slow-down tactics and so forth which, I am afraid, characterise certain parts of our working conditions at the moment.
Senator Fitzsimons labours under the delusion that no taxes have been reduced. I think I had better leave him at that.
I think that Senator McCrea gave the answer to all the lamentations to-night. He said that some years ago Fianna Fáil used to be talking one way. Now, as he put it, the shoe is on the other foot. It is not so much that the shoe is on the other foot: it is the pinch in the shoe that counts. It is because the shoe is not of their manufacture. I think that that is the real factor and that it is responsible for all the grievance. He is right in saying that we are ahead of schedule in our ten-point programme. There was an argument between himself and Senator Colgan in regard to the standstill Order. The Government files have again disclosed that when the old standstill Order had been removed in the autumn of 1947, the Government going to election had left behind it a scheme of legislation. I discussed this in the Dáil. That scheme was going to freeze wages as from mid-October, 1947. Certain allowances were to be made. The original proposal was to allow only such advances as the new cost-of-living figure could measure. The onus was to be put on the employer: he would be fined hundreds of pounds if he gave an increased wage. However, if the employee went out on strike or tried by any procedure of a strike type to get an increased wage he would be penalised and such controversy as  between himself and his employer was to be withdrawn from the Trade Disputes Act. That meant going back a very long time so far as the organisation of trade in this country is concerned.
Mr. Colgan: But my point was correct. There was no standstill Order at the time.
Mr. McGilligan: It was removed at a certain time. Wages went up and that was the line the Government had.
Mr. Colgan: It was only potential legislation.
Mr. McGilligan: It got to the length of a draft Bill. I understand it was discussed with the trade unions but without agreement.
Senator Smyth spoke of the Kildare turf scheme. I think I have covered the matter of turf in my reply to Senator Hawkins and to some other Senators.
I think I have answered Senator McGee also. I think Senator Douglas spoke in the same mood as Senator Professor O'Brien. I think some Senators accepted Senator Professor O'Brien's views and I think that their views were in association with his. While contradicting Senator Professor O'Brien, I think Senator O'Farrell's views run in the same way. Senator Professor O'Brien indicated—and I am glad he did so because I tried to pick it out myself—that the really disturbing feature of the accounts as they were presented last year was the increase in the gap in the balance of payments. It was £30,000,000 last year after all the invisibles could be totted up and taken into calculation against it. In the year 1947 it was a £30,000,000 gap. Although we were not responsible for the whole of 1948, we reduced the figure to £20,000,000, and in 1949 we reduced it to £10,000,000. It looked as if, because of the increase in the volume of exportable production in this country, that gap might disappear entirely— and then there came Korea, stockpiling, and the advent of all these scarcities which we have had. Undoubtedly, however, a figure of  £30,000,000 in 1950, following on £30,000,000 in 1947, £20,000,000 in 1948, and £10,000,000 in 1949—that is, £90,000,000 in four years—must give one cause to pause. In fact, I was very glad to hear from Senator Professor O'Brien that while he regarded the signs as disquieting he thought there were certain corrective points that could be brought into account. I shall have to wait until I see the full record of his speech in order to get it properly considered. He had three queries: perhaps I might be allowed to discuss them very briefly indeed. He asked if the disequilibrium can be trusted to right itself. He said that he thought it might. The terms of trade turned against us last year but at the worst, even if the import prices appear to be coming down a bit, we ought to get an increase for export values. There should be some little corrective there. I do not wish to dwell very much on stockpiling at the moment. I am not on too sure ground there. In discussing this matter I should prefer to speak conservatively and have corrections of a pleasant type afterwards rather than mislead the people now. Senator Professor O'Brien pointed to certain other correctives. I realise that there is probably more in the way of stockpiling than I have taken account of. In that connection, I think people are, in so far as their means permit them, doing a little bit of stockpiling, hoarding and quiet buying ahead. That would give some little strength to the draw by way of imports from the other side.
Senator Professor O'Brien's second question was: Should Government action be taken to close the gap; can we say what the amount of the gap really is, and how far will that gap be narrowed by the correctives mentioned? The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative but the Government's efforts will be strong or weak according to the size of the gap. It is when the Senator comes to the question of measures that I do not have the same agreement with him. Nobody can disagree with his division of the matter under four heads—private expenditure of the  consumption type; private investment; Government expenditure by way of current consumption and public investment. That would rule out both private and public investment altogether. I think the Senator would rule out any intereference with private investment as a means of closing this gap. I should, also, except in regard to a private type of luxury building, cinemas, and so forth. I hope all these have been done. However, in so far as any investment of a private type is being put into effect, I think it will prove to be beneficial. In that connection, there is an example which has often occurred to me. It is a great pity that the Erne scheme had not been built out before the war started. That kind of capital investment would certainly have repaid any money spent on it. Even now, with the very heavy additional costs because of increased labour and increased machinery costs, it will be a great scheme. But if the Erne scheme had been built out, as it could have been, at the prices which ruled about 1935 to 1938, it would have been of great benefit to this country. It would have been an enormous addition of great benefit to this country if we had the two of those schemes put together with the hydro-electric unit cost so low and they would carry any number of the relatively fantastically dear turf schemes of an electricity producing type. If before the war we had something like the scheme facing us now I would have applauded any man who would go on with a scheme of that type because it would clearly have been of benefit and if any private investor felt like going on with it even at a risk I think it would be worth going on with as it would be a good investment.
The Senator referred to our programme of borrowing but I take a different standard. The programme of Government finance by borrowing has been before the country for two years and no serious criticism of it has been made even by people who were anxious to criticise and would have been delighted to get a real point of controversy. They have not been able to find anything on which money should not have been spent except what Deputy  Lemass in the Dáil called fripperies such as the news agency and other things which he regarded as foolish expenditure. In the main it is a good programme and the facts have shown it to be good to the extent we claim. Some parts of it give immediate remuneration and other parts give results in the social sphere, while others are good in that they raise the national income to such an extent that that increased income will bear the cost and remunerate whatever moneys had been got over the term in which they have got to be repaid. We have passed all of those tests. The Government, however, might decide that although they might be acceptable and although they might pass muster under any of these three tests, they must be collapsed if the gap did not show signs of lessening. I agree with Senator O'Brien that our assets are not to be squandered. If they are drawn on for beneficial purposes well and good, but certainly they must not be squandered.
The Senator goes on to suggest that we should try to collapse expenditure on luxury goods because luxury goods will not have any great effect on employment, production, or particularly on the cost of living. The trouble is to find out what luxury goods are. Senator Colgan and Senator O'Farrell queried what were luxury goods and there will be many interpretations. I have got another difficulty, however. Many luxury goods are heavily taxed at the moment and it is doubtful whether they could bear anything else. With regard to the range of luxury goods there is a table produced by the Central Statistics Office, Table 8, to which Senator Hawkins referred, which shows the amount of money spent in relation to 1938 prices. It shows that whereas the overall increase is about 25 per cent., the increase on food and essentials is only 9 per cent. The increase on alcoholic beverages and tobacco, which some class as luxury goods and others do not, is only in the order of 16 per cent., while the increase in other goods is in the order of 32 per cent. There is where the money is being spent and that is where the collapse of expenditure may be obtained. That is a point which we will have investigated before it comes to  Budget time. I would thank Senator O'Brien. At all events, as he said himself, critics should at least indicate where reductions should be made and he said that schemes not already embarked upon should not be taken in hand unless the situation is rectified.
I need not weary the House at this stage but I would ask Senators to look at what I said in the Dáil when I was introducing the Vote on Account. I referred to statistical matter and tried to present a balanced account. I did say what were the disturbing features and showed how the expenditure had been necessitated. I pointed out that the increase in the main occurred under two headings, social welfare including health, and education. I pointed out that these two groups accounted for £5.4 millions between them with £500,000 in the supplementary Agriculture Vote, £130,000 in the Vote for Lands with £168,000 for Civil Service pensions while remuneration for the Civil Service as a whole has increased from £9.1 millions early in 1948 to £10.7 millions at present. These things cause the increase but savings have been made elsewhere.
I did, however, after calling attention to the disquieting feature of the gap in the balance of payments point out that there were certain other things that might be mentioned, in particular that there was disinvestment and that that disinvestment, that extraction of money from our investments on the other side only lead to home investment of £6,500,000. Capital investment at home came up to £6,000,000 and you must associate that with a disinvestment of £30,000,000. The terms of trade accounted for some part of it but still there is the situation that for the investment of £1 at home, £3 at least is disinvested to be spent on purposes other than investment at home. That is not a good sign. However, this is a difficult period and good objectives of policy might be frustrated by a deterioration in economic circumstances abroad. There are so many disturbing features abroad that we could not hope for economic equilibrium in a country such as this which must necessarily depend on outside circumstances.  Senator O'Brien thinks that it may not run so adversely towards us or that it may even turn in our favour.
There is a further point. The past 25 years have shown that this country saves only when it must on the national account, that is during the two war periods, and then not of any deliberation but only because we could not get purchases from abroad. It may not be a pleasant thing but that situation may develop again and we will then begin to pile up foreign assets—whatever they may be worth in terms of the new money which will exist when the war is over.
I should like to emphasise this point: surely it would be worth while to get in stocks while they can be got before further price increases are upon us. I have agreed—I have put it in any event—that inflation within the limit of price increases is in the main, in so far as it has occurred here, due to circumstances entirely outside the Government's control, but I have argued as it has been argued here that the fact that we are pumping out so much purchasing power through our various schemes means that we are running the risk of increasing inflationary tendencies. I confess to that, that to that extent we are running the risk of inflationary tendencies, but by an easy Fianna Fáil transition they have said that I agreed that it was reckless. There is a great difference between admitting taking risks and admitting being reckless. I do not admit to recklessness at all. We have to realise by hard experience that the value of our sterling assets is always subject to change, that these changes are not entirely under our control and that there is always the fear that such devastating changes might occur again.
As against all the things that can be said on the gloomy side of the picture, even with those exceptions under some sort of hedging conditions, there are certain points to our advantage. We have a great increase in industrial output and employment. There is a big improvement in agricultural production. The improvements that are there are such as to warrant bigger improvements. We have a good  application of fertiliser to land which has been run out for many years. There has been a good deal of mechanisation of agriculture leading to better and cheaper production. The level of unemployment is much lower than it was pre-war. There has been an unprecedented rate of capital outlay. Last year we built 1,000 houses per month. We have come to the point where in regard to the rural areas it may be said we are in sight of the end. Dublin is still a big problem and so are some of the other cities.
It must, however, be clearly borne in mind that there was a huge surplus of imports over exports in 1950. The volume of exports increased much more rapidly than the volume of imports in the last two years. In 1950 the volume of exports was 36 per cent. higher than in 1948. The increase in the volume of imports was only 12½ per cent., but the terms of the trade going against us destroyed that particular picture. We have still a high level of invisible earnings—mainly tourist receipts, though there are other things as well. There is every likelihood that it will continue and the more austerity grows in England the more the “tourist invisible” ought to grow here. Finally, we have at least got to some point of increasing our exports to the dollar area in commodities of the chilled meat type. These are ones that show signs of being stable. While disquiet may be caused by certain parts of the national accounts, there are good and satisfying features on the other side. It only requires care—the care that Senator O'Brien not merely asked us to take but showed us the lines on which to move to take it. These lines we will follow and hope to prevent not merely the gloom but the gloomy pictures which people anticipate in Budget time.
At the present time one sees only the paying-out side of the picture, but when the Budget comes one sees the relationship of revenue to expenditure. It is a satisfying thing to think—I would like it to continue as buoyant as it is for much longer—that it has been exceptionally buoyant and able to meet many things which occurred unexpectedly during the past two or three years, without any approach to  the taxpayer for new impositions. There are signs that warrant a certain amount of passive optimism, even if that optimism is to be shaded with caution. We will have the caution.
Mr. Quirke: I am quite sure the Minister did not deliberately ignore my question, so I would ask him if he would be so awfully kind as to answer the question I put to him, which was as to whether Deputy McGilligan, B.L., who defended Joseph Cooney, junior, or represented him before the Locke Tribunal, was paid his legal expenses. I would ask him still further whether the other seven members of the legal profession, who subsequently became members of the Minister's Party in the Dáil, were paid their legal fees. I merely wanted the information, to make sure that I, or the firm I represent, were not the only people who had to pay—and had to pay approximately £2,675, or some such figure. Now, I do not want to make a speech, but I refuse to believe that some of the people who were defended here by members of the Oireachtas, who were then members of the Oireachtas and who are now members of the Oireachtas, were paid their fees. I would just like to know.
Mr. M. Hayes: May I suggest that Senator Quirke is asking a question of the Minister in the Minister's personal and professional capacity and not as Minister for Finance and that that is something which the Minister is not called upon to answer, no more than Senator Quirke would be called upon to answer a question with regard to his own business? I suggest that it is not a desirable thing in any sense. He may get the information otherwise, but he cannot possibly get it in the House. He himself used the words, “Patrick McGilligan, B.L.” That is not the Minister for Finance.
Mr. Quirke: With all respect to Senator Hayes, I was not trying in the least to be disrespectful.
Mr. M. Hayes: I know that.
Mr. Quirke: To go back on it, I referred to him as the then Deputy McGilligan and I may say in all fairness to the Minister that I can understand why he refused four times and  why I have received four letters to say that he would not pay the money, which was out of pocket expenses as far as my firm was concerned. I know the reason. The simple reason was that payment by the present Minister for Finance would be an admission that he was one of the principal men in the biggest political racket pulled off in this country for generations, namely the racket responsible for the setting up of that tribunal by the Oireachtas.
If the Minister does not answer the question, I will put down a motion and we will have a full dress debate on it, in one House or the other.
Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take the remaining stages now.
Bill passed through Committee without amendment and received for final consideration.
Question proposed: “That the Bill be returned to the Dáil.”
Mr. Hawkins: On this stage, I would like to ask the Minister just one or two questions. He has agreed with many other suggestions put forward from both sides of the House, and I do not propose at this late stage to go over the discussion that we have had on the Second Reading. While he expressed his agreement that there should be undertaken by all those persons, organisations and importers that stockpiling which he now stresses as being so essential, I think it would be well if we had some indication as to what provision the Government proposes to make for importers or those persons who may be interested in importing the essentials to carry us over the period of the stockpiling which he considers essential. I do not propose at this stage to refer to the turf discussion; except to say that on many occasions here this matter was drawn to our attention. On more than one occasion, the Minister referred to a circular that was addressed to the various county councils. I would not ask him now to let us have definite information, but I would suggest that he might be so good as to have circulated  to at least every member of the Oireachtas a copy of a White Paper on Turf or Peat Production that was issued in 1946, wherein was indicated the Government's policy in relation to this particular matter.
We are not going to serve any very useful purpose in going back over what happened in the past or the mistakes that, in some persons' minds, might have been made. Suggestions were made here and advice was given to the Minister to convey to the Government, that steps should be taken to guard against what happened during the emergency years. My great fear is that we may not have the turf produced in that great quantity that we need. We should be terribly worried about the protective steps we must make to ensure about its production, unless the Government immediately takes a very active interest in encouraging our people to go into production.
I know that many questions were addressed to the Minister, but I think that this is an important one, and I might refer to it just in passing, that is, the present advertising campaign being carried on by the Department of Health. We have to-day seen some very small result of that. It was something that was bound to come. When one party to a dispute starts to publicise their case, it is only natural that the other party to that particular dispute—if “dispute” is the proper word to use—will utilise every means they can to put their views across. If the Government approves of this campaign, it will mean that public funds are being used to put before the people a particular point of view. You are going to have a very important organisation and, if the scheme is going to be effective, you must have their co-operation. I suggest to the Minister and the Government that they are not going to get that co-operation or going to make that scheme a success if they continue to indulge in a Press campaign, whether by way of letters or speeches or by utilising public funds in advertising of the kind which is being carried on. I suggest, through the Minister, to the Department concerned that this campaign  should cease as early as possible.
Senator McCrea, I do not suppose intentionally, was more than unusually sarcastic in his statement on the Second Reading. The Minister clarified one very important point which I had a note to raise at this stage, and that is in relation to the standstill Order. The standstill Order, as a member of a trade union organisation should be aware, was not in effect when the new Government took over. As a matter of fact, I think there was an understanding that there would be an all-round increase of wages of something like 12/6 in every group all over the country.
Mr. McGilligan: Not in your time. That came later.
Mr. Hawkins: If we are to discuss that increase, or any particular section of it, then we are going to have a very long debate.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: We will not have another Second Reading debate.
Mr. Hawkins: I think I have stated here before that the worst thing any person can do is to attempt to exaggerate his case, and that has been done in reference to wages, price freezing, price control and profits. If we examine it in a proper light, I think we will find that all the bogeys which all the different groups saw from different angles are not there.
The Minister was very sarcastic in his reference to the folly of the economic war. It is an extraordinary thing that it was during that particular period we had a great increase in butter production and in the production of other items which the Minister has held up as something to which we should direct our attention when discussing matters of this kind. It might be no harm in the near future if we got some of those controversial matters which have arisen in this debate off our hands. If we devoted a day or two, or part of a session, to their discussion, we would probably be doing good work.
 The Minister also referred to the Bill about to be produced in relation to price control by the former Government. It should not be overlooked that that was a draft Bill which would be discussed in Parliament and get the approval of Parliament, whereas the present Prices Advisory Body was set up without that opportunity being given to Parliament. It was set up under an Order which was made and, from what we know about it up to this, I think it has not served the purpose which the Tánaiste in his enthusiastic introduction of this body expected. I do not think that it will in the future serve that purpose. We have too much reference made in this country to the advantage of discussing things in public. I do not believe that is a good thing, because we see where that has led in other countries. We hear a lot at present about the people's court in various countries throughout Europe and I think the less we talk about the great importance of every matter being brought before the people's court the better for the nation as a whole.
Mr. Quirke: I should like to say a few words in connection with the speeches made with regard to butter. I dare say the Danes have a representative here who sends back reports of the speeches made.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: Have we not threshed it out pretty well?
Mr. Quirke: Not the question of butter. In my opinion it is bad policy for Ministers and Government supporters to be making these extraordinary and elaborate speeches about Danish butter. The whole suggestion behind all these speeches is that the Danish butter is much better than Irish. I have eaten Danish butter and many times in my life I have gone without butter. I do not find any difficulty in eating either the Danish or the New Zealand butter, but it is not as good as our own butter and it is not the best Danish butter or the best New Zealand butter. The reason that it is not is that the Danes and the New Zealanders realise that this country is not going to provide a market for their  butter. They know that there will be a change of Government here and that they cannot look forward to a market here in the future. The fact is that, in the opinion of people who ought to know, the butter imported into this country is slightly sub-standard. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with it, but there is no point in blowing it up as being better than Irish. It is not better, and I do not believe there is any butter in the world as good as Irish butter.
Question put and agreed to.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: I understand there is a proposal that the Seanad should adjourn until Wednesday, 11th April, when the Agricultural Workers (Half-Holiday) Bill and any other Bills which may come to the Seanad will be dealt with. I take it that that is agreed.
The Seanad adjourned at 9.50 p.m. until Wednesday, April 11th, at 3 p.m.