Thursday, 24 March 1960
Seanad Eireann Debate
Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I was saying when we adjourned that it was certain that Trinity College was not in fact excluding Catholics in the 19th century, that they were not excluded by any Trinity ban or any ecclesiastical ban any more than the students of the Sorbonne are now. Therefore, I felt that the impression given by the Minister was not quite a fair one. I noticed with interest that, according to the Minister, it is the Government's intention to set up a new University commission.
Dr. Sheehy Skeffington: I do not intend expanding on it, my main point being that it would be a pity if the commission were to be set up on the basis that the Belfield principle has already been accepted, because it seems that the whole University situation ought to be reviewed by such a commission, if it is to be set up. On the point of the possible co-ordination of the universities, it seems to me that the Minister ought to be interested in lines along which this might be established. I should like to make the point that although in certain subjects co-ordination would not be either valuable or feasible, for the simple reason that the lecture rooms in both Universities are already full, in other fields and subjects, it might be quite possible to establish, by co-ordination, a degree of specialisation as between the universities, and establish a basis for co-operation and co-ordination for particular subjects.
 Now I should like to turn to the Government policy on the allocation of grants to the Universities. I should like to make the point that under various heads, the Government decide to subsidise people coming into this country, rightly, I think—tourists, foreign investors, and so on—because they bring money into the country. We subsidise them, in fact, through Bord Fáilte, through various development projects, and so on. In fact, we are subsidising tourists who come into the country to spend, perhaps, a few weeks here, but I think we are failing to see that a strong justification can be made for similar subsidisation of overseas students who come, not just for a few weeks, but for four years to our Universities, bringing money in with them. The point has been made several times here by my colleague. Senator Stanford, and it seems to me to be a very sound one, that, in a sense, in supplying University facilities which are sufficiently good to attract overseas students, we are attracting people to the country, who, during their four years or more of residence, are bringing quite a lot more money into the country than their equivalents among tourists.
Speaking for my own University, I can say that quite large numbers of overseas students are attracted by what Trinity College has to offer. We are proud of that fact and proud to welcome them. We also remember that for the country they represent a big financial asset. Therefore, that is a point that should not be forgotten in whatever policy is laid down by the Government for the allocation of funds to Universities.
I should also like to make the point briefly, en passant, that our very buildings in Trinity College are part of the national architectural heritage. I am aware, of course, that there are some utilitarians in our midst who would like to remove the very green from College Green, on the ground that cars could pass faster if you just reduced it to a pavement, but I am certain that that is not a majority view and it is not a Government view. It is symbolic of the utilitarian attitude which could be  disastrous, were it to be given greater power as well as expression. In other words, these buildings of Trinity College in the heart of Dublin are part of all our heritage, the heritage of Dublin, the heritage of Ireland. Their upkeep entails a considerable expenditure. It is worth doing, not merely from the point of view of Trinity College, but anyone thinking about it will recognise the fact that it is worth doing from the national point of view.
It is true it is sometimes said, rather longingly, as it were, that Trinity College has got a magnificent central site bang in the middle of the city, but it is also true that credit must be given to the successive Boards of Trinity College down the centuries for preserving that site and not selling it out as building land. It is something which we value. It is something which, I think, Dublin and Ireland value and some credit should be given to those who have preserved this well of green in the heart of our city.
I suggest, arising out of these various factors and considerations, that the grant to Trinity College is, in fact, far too small. I do not think that the grant to the National University is in any way exaggerated. They get £793,000 and could well make the case for getting quite considerably more, but, in comparison with that figure, the £163,000 granted to Trinity College seems to me to be less than what is required.
I want to pass from that point and turn finally to the question raised by Senator Quinlan. He raised the question of our foreign policy, our external affairs, and he talked about the attitude of our representatives at the United Nations and made an attack upon our Minister for External Affairs because he had the audacity to suggest, and to support by vote and speech, that the question of the admission of China to the United Nations should be placed on the Agenda. I feel that Senator Quinlan in making the kind of speech that he did is seriously underestimating the impact of Irish foreign policy, small and all as we are, upon the United Nations
 It is very easy, as a Deputy did in another place, to sneer at Ireland because, by reason of our policy, he said, all we have succeeded in doing is to win the undying friendship of the Dalai Lama, but, in fact, if the Leader of Fine Gael makes that point in all seriousness, does he not want us to have the friendship of the Dalai Lama? Who is hitting the Dalai Lama at the moment if it is not communist China? And in suggesting earlier than the question of China's admission to the United Nations should be on the agenda, are we not in a ten times stronger position to make the case against the aggression against Tibet? It is all very well to sneer at the Dalai Lama but is it the undying friendship of those who are hitting the Dalai Lama that Deputy Dillon wants? I think it is a cheap sneer and the kind of thing that does no good to Fine Gael and Fine Gael policy. The Fine Gael attitude as exemplified by Senator Quinlan, though he is not a member of Fine Gael, does not do him justice and does not do them justice as an adult Party.
There is no question that Ireland in the United Nations has spoken up with courage and in accordance with conscience on a number of issues, upon which other big and important nations would have preferred us to keep our mouths shut. I have no sympathy with the policy which says: “Let us be good boys. Let us not irritate the United States; let us not irritate the United Kingdom. Let us just go to the United Nations and be a ‘yes’ nation doing what we are told.” If we can do nothing but say “yes” every time the United States or the United Kingdom want us to vote in a particular way, we might as well be represented at the United Nations by a post card; there is no point in sending a delegation.
I am very proud of the fact that as a small nation without military power, we have been cutting ice in the United Nations by reason of the fact that our delegates there have spoken honestly in accordance with their conscience. Senator Quinlan says we should act as the conscience of the world, and so on. Are we not  being a bit smug if we think that Ireland can be the conscience of the world? Should we not occasionally examine our own conscience and wonder whether the fight against Communism would not be more effectively carried out in terms of economics and social reform, in the field of economics, in making war on poverty, disease and under-privilege, rather than in making flowery speeches attacking our first-rate delegates in the councils of the Parliament of the world?
Senator Quinlan has glib phrases about “Communism versus the rest”: the aim of Communism was “world domination,” and so on. However, does he really feel that Ireland by merely pronouncing itself as anti-Communist on every occasion is really serving the anti-Communist cause? I find it difficult to reconcile the professions of Christian compassion which were mentioned by Senator Quinlan with his attitude towards the Communists. It seemed to me that he was speaking with hatred in his heart and not with pity and compassion. He even went so far as to say in effect: “It is all right. We need not worry about the H-bomb because we believe in God.” I would ask him in all seriousness to think that the wrath of God might be provoked by the overweaning arrogance of man. It is a dangerously irresponsible thing for a member of our Parliament to stand up and say: “Do not worry about atomic warfare. Do not worry about nuclear weapons.” I believe that some protest should be made against that irresponsible attitude of mind when it is expressed in the Oireachtas.
I salute the courage of our representatives at the United Nations. It took courage for them to support the question of China's admission being put on the agenda. A great deal of fuss was made about it in circles that complained about our attitude, forgetting that at one and the same time —I think in the same debate but certainly within a few weeks—Ireland, having perhaps angered or distressed the United States and the United Kingdom by the attitude she adopted on China, was angering and distressing  the Soviet Union by the unequivocal statements she was making about Hungary and Budapest. I feel proud as an Irishman that, despite the Soviet Union with all its power, we could stand up and speak about Budapest and, at the same time, despite the United States and the United Kingdom, we could stand up and speak about the question of whether China's admission should be discussed or not.
If we were simply to say “yes” and wave the right flag when we were told to do so, we would not be playing our part as a nation at all. Our record is one of which we can feel proud and if we compare it, for instance, with the record of the United Kingdom, which long ago recognised the Chinese Communist Government and which yet abstained from voting on the question of putting the admission of Communist China on the agenda, we can only conclude their attitude was wretched and contemptible and our attitude was courageous and bold. I resent the attitude of those who try to make Party political capital by attacking our delegates for taking an entirely honourable stand in the United Nations and one that has won respect from all sides there, irrespective of whether they differed from us on a particular issue. I believe the status of Ireland has been enhanced.
I do not think all the credit for this goes to the present Government because when the Coalition Government were in office, the then Minister for External Affairs, Deputy Cosgrave, spoke courageously in the same spirit, not being prepared simply to be tied to the apron strings of the greater Powers. Consequently, I entirely agreed with the Taoiseach when he explained to the Liberals of Cambridge not so long ago that it was Ireland's right and duty to say in the United Nations what we thought of the French attitude in Algeria, of the attitude of Israel, Britain and France in Suez, the attitude of Russia in Budapest, the attitude of Britain in Cyprus, Kenya and Nyasaland, and the attitude of South Africa at home.
I feel we were absolutely entitled to speak according to the dictates of our conscience on all those things and I feel that the Taoiseach in postulating  our rights to criticise those other countries was basing his argument soundly. I felt disappointment, I must say, that almost in the same breath, he was telling the British that they had no right to say anything about the export of horses; that it was a purely local affair. Other nations are not to look at us, show photographs of us or criticise our policy but we have the right to go to the ends of the world to criticise them. I support the view of the Taoiseach that we have the right, and that our friends must accept it, to criticise them when we feel criticism is due but I feel there is a counterpart of that which is that we accept criticism when our friends feel that it is merited.
I want to refer very briefly to the question of Government policy on the export of live horses. I am not satisfied that our policy of indifference to the fate of these horses, once they are sold, is justified and I feel that our indignation at the adverse publicity results from the fact that we do not like being judged. I should like to ask what is the Government's policy on this? The Government's policy, I feel, ought to be changed. The Government's policy is that they are not prepared at the moment to make any protest to the French Government. They are not prepared to express any special concern over the fate of our horses once they are landed and sold. I think they have been extremely slow in the making of recommendations arising from a report that it took two months to bring out. Three months after the City of Waterford disaster, the Government said in the Dáil the other day that they were still working on the formulation of new recommendations arising out of this disaster. We are very touchy about outside criticism but we feel ourselves free to criticise other nations. On the second point we would be more strongly justified if we were not quite so prickly when we ourselves are criticised.
Quite frequently we hear people getting up in this country making statements and moralising generally about “pagan Britain” and the immorality  in various countries of the world. Now we are being judged and we do not like it. I believe the best way to avoid that is to change Government policy in this matter.
The Taoiseach said he is in favour of the dead meat trade and I believe that such a trade will, in fact, be built up. I was interested to note that the dead meat trade in horses from Britain to Belgium in the last year amounted to a sum of money equivalent to £330,000 on horsemeat. A trade like that can obviously be built up. I should like to feel that the Government are not content to say: “We would like it to happen”, but are going to take positive action to see that it happens.
I should also like to see them take positive action to end the attitude of callousness and indifference to what happens to these horses after they have been sold. I should like to see them actively interested in setting up the ancillary industries from which all our people would benefit. I venture to forecast, if I may, that when this trade is set up, at some future date not very long distant, somebody will get up and say after it has become successful: “What a splendid Fianna Fáil idea this was. Do you remember, way back in 1960, how the Taoiseach spoke in favour of the dead meat trade?” Then, a Fine Gael speaker will get up and say: “Why was not this done years ago?” I should like to conclude on that point for this evening urging the Government to start planning actively on this issue now, to end the scandal which continues to stink in the nostrils of the world.
Mr. Roddy: The Book of Estimates published this year has given a great shock to the people. One was entitled to expect that the Government, in its third year of office, would try to redeem some of the glowing promises made in 1957. It generally takes a Government a couple of years to adjust itself to the task of governing. Good results are expected after that but instead of an improvement, the position has worsened.
The Government promised to relieve unemployment, to stop emigration,  to increase production, to raise the standard of living and to reduce taxation. That has not happened. The position is much worse now than when the previous Government left office. The unemployment figure has not altered much, if any; emigration is going on at the same rate as before and people are finding it very difficult to live and there seems to be no hope of any improvement in the future.
The Taoiseach, in the Dáil recently, said that taxation was still high and that there was nothing that could be done about it—a pretty statement after all the glowing promises of 1957. Taxation is the most serious feature, to my mind, of all our problems and if a stop is not put to it in the near future it will drive all decent people out of public life. I can envisage the day when local bodies will refuse to strike a rate. These authorities are being described in the Press as a bunch of spendthrifts. Local rates are increasing alarmingly and as far as one can see there is no hope of curbing the increase.
I maintain that the Government are solely to blame for this. They are pushing on to the local authorities annually greater financial burdens and obligations which they should shoulder themselves. The extension of institutions and the appointment of additional officials should be financed solely by the central Government. Each month a new order comes from the Department of Health or the Department of Local Government demanding improvements and extra officials. The ratepayers are at their wits' end to meet these new obligations and the Government are utterly regardless of their plight.
I thought when the White Paper on Economic Expansion was issued, that money would flow ad lib for expansion and development. So far, we have not seen any of it. I wonder what has become of the £250,000,000 mentioned in that White Paper. It is significant that in that White Paper, Mr. Whitaker, who was responsible for it, stated in the last paragraph that no Minister in any Department was  responsible for anything in it. Obviously that is the fact.
I come now to the main industry, agriculture. Nothing has been done for agriculture. The plight of those living on farms is very bad. It is as bad now as it was during the years of the Economic War. The Government are responsible because they made no attempt two years ago to renew the 1948 Trade Agreement with Britain and they allowed European competitors to gain an increased foothold on the British market.
It is said that the cattle trade is a total loss and that the non-operation of the T.B. eradication scheme is responsible for that. If that is so, the Minister for Agriculture will have to bear full responsibility because he made no effort of any kind to settle the dispute between his Department and the veterinary surgeons.
I emphasise once more that the Government are solely responsible for the economic position of the country to-day. Indeed, it would be worse were it not for the fact that the Government did make an effort to adopt the policy of the inter-Party Government. Unfortunately, they had neither the desire nor the ability to implement that policy properly.
I should like to mention just a few of the very beneficial schemes operated by the inter-Party Government, schemes which were abolished when the present Government took office. Section A of the Land Project was abolished. That was one of the most beneficial schemes ever operated here. It gave a number of farmers an increased acreage on which to rear cattle or grow crops. I ask the Minister to restore that scheme.
Again, the Local Authorities (Works) Act was very beneficial to farmers. A great deal of land which had hitherto been under water for nine months of the year was drained and restored to fertility. I know areas in which this scheme did just as good work as any work done under the Arterial Drainage Act. I can instance my own county, a county intersected with innumerable small rivers. Excellent work was done there. If this scheme had been continued all those  rivers would be drained just as competently under the Local Authorities (Works) Act as any drained under the Arterial Drainage Act.
Mr. J.M. Sheridan: I sat here last night listening to Senator Lenihan. He informed us of all the increases in the Book of Estimates, from the beginning to the end. He told us about the increase in industry and industrial employment. He conveniently forgot to mention that there was a very notable decrease in agricultural employment. He also told us about increases given to agriculture. These increases were never more necessary.
I come from a rural area. Do the Government realise what is happening in rural Ireland to-day? I agree with Senator Roddy when he says that this country was never, since the Economic War, in such a serious condition as it is to-day. I hold there is complete stagnation in agriculture. I defy contradiction that that is so. Good reactor cattle are being sold in fairs and marts all over the country for as little as £5 per cwt. In the Farmers' Journal last week, and in other papers too, there were accounts of the various markets. Dropped calves, according to report, are being sold from £3 10s. to £5 per head. That is unprecedented since the Economic War.
Mr. J.M. Sheridan: It is not childish talk. I know what I am talking about. I know that the people on the opposite side will admit that at one time our cattle trade was one of the biggest items in our economy. That is not the position to-day. More money is to be voted this year for the eradication of T.B. That is welcome. I agree that every step must be taken to wipe out that scourge. There are, however, snags. Possibly these can be overcome.
One snag is that in a non-clearance  area, where a man co-operates with the scheme to the fullest extent, he may find he has so many reactors. He has no market for them. What is he to do? One small farmer in my own area tested five cattle. All five were reactors. He is left with those five reactors on his hands. He does not know how he will meet his rates and other expenses this year, and his expenses this year are heavier than ever before. That is an aspect of the matter that needs serious consideration.
Again, there is the man in the dairying industry. I am sure Senator Lahiffe will agree with me that the instructions given are that these cattle are to be bought by weight. It may well be that buyers will be able to buy a big beefy cow, with no milk capacity at all, from one farmer; a neighbouring farmer with a cow yielding 600 or 700 gallons will get the same amount, or perhaps not quite so much, for his good milch cow. That is quite wrong and some steps will have to be taken to remedy the position. There should be a differential between a valuable milch cow and one which is not so valuable.
The statements I have made are true. There is ample proof for them. Nobody can deny facts, and those are facts which I have stated. The Government are greatly to blame. As somebody said before me, some agreement should have been reached long ago, in order that we would be assured of a market for our cattle. That is my opinion.
Pigs were always a very valuable asset to the small farmers and the cottiers of this country. The small farmer depended to a very large extent on the pig trade to balance his economy. It would seem now that he would want an architect to plan pigs to suit the factories. If a pig is over 11½ stone and under 14½ stone— say, he is worth £17 15s. at £8 a cwt. —the factory will give only £6 10s. a cwt., which means £3 loss or a bigger loss if he is over 14½ stone. When the same unfortunate small farmer or some labouring man's wife goes in to a merchant for a lb. of rashers, he or she will be given a lb. of back rashers at 4/6 per lb., and will not  be told whether it is off a fat or a lean pig. That is something which should be looked into very soon in the interests of the producer and the consumer. As I have already said, if money is being given in a big way towards agricultural production and the marketing of our produce, it is greatly needed.
Potatoes will be sold this year in Westmeath and Meath for as little as £3 per ton, and even if they go a little higher, there are no opportunities now other than that the potatoes will go to a factory in Ballina and be sold again for £6 per ton. It is too bad that that is the only market left to the farmers of Ireland for their potatoes. It is really too bad, because potatoes are not a crop that is easy to manage. You will never find a lazy farmer growing many potatoes.
Let us get away from farming and take the business of the rural community in the rural towns. I know of three public houses which were sold in small towns lately, and the average price per public house—believe it or not—was £500. That, surely, is a sign of decay in rural Ireland.
Mr. J.M. Sheridan: I was speaking to the chairman of the chamber of commerce in one of the largest midland towns recently, and he assured me that the months of January and February, 1960, were the worst months in the business life of that town for 25 years. I merely mention these facts —and they are facts of which everyone from the rural areas must be aware. I appeal to the Minister before it is too late to take notice of what I say. We are painfully aware that the working people are emigrating as fast as they can and that if something is not done, and done in the very near future, to help the small farmer, he, too, will be seen on the emigrant ship.
Mr. L'Estrange: The Fianna Fáil Government have been in office for  three years and we now have an opportunity of reviewing their work. This Bill also provides us with an opportunity of ascertaining the manner in which they have kept their promises during the past three years. On the other hand, we know from the figures before us what the Government are doing, and what they intend to do in the year ahead. We all remember the promises made before the last election. Never in the history of this country were so many promises made as were made at that time. Never was so much expected by the people from a Fianna Fáil Government, and never was so little done by them to redeem the promises they made then to get into office by hook or by crook.
In this Bill, the Minister is seeking to extract from the pockets of the people the largest sum ever asked for by a Minister for Finance. There is no denying that everyone in the country suffered a profound shock when they heard the figure of £123 million. We all know that the people are already overtaxed and are unable to bear any further taxation. The increase in the total requested for the next financial year is £7,900,000—7 per cent. increase in taxation—and it is very doubtful if we have even a two per cent. increase in production. This figure is £13½ million up on the figure for the year ending March, 1958, without taking into account the £6½ million saved by the abolition of the food subsidies. A sum of £9 million was saved by the abolition of the food subsidies; the Government gave over £2½ million in relief; therefore, they saved over £6½ million.
If we take all that into consideration, the increase is now £28 million over the figure for the last year of the inter-Party Government. Many people want to know when will there be an end to this increased taxation and when will the rake's progress stop. It is time the Government remembered that it is often the last straw that breaks the camel's back.
It is interesting to read what the Taoiseach had to say about taxation away back in 1953, when, as I say, things were much better than they are to-day, and taxation was £28 million  lower than it is to-day. In the Official Report of 8th May, 1956, at Column 49, the Taoiseach is reported as having said:—
In 1953, the Fianna Fáil Government, of which I was a member, took a decision that taxation in this country had reached the danger limit. We announced that we had made up our minds on that fact and that, so far as we were concerned, there would be no increase in tax rates above the 1953 level. We made it clear that, if any Budget difficulty arose, that difficulty would be met by a reduction of expenditure and not by increasing the burdens on the taxpayer.
Mr. L'Estrange: That was the Taoiseach speaking when taxation was budgeted at £28 million less than we are budgeting for here to-night and, on that account, I think it is relevant to the debate. If, in 1953, the Taoiseach thought that the people could not bear the taxation then imposed on them, surely I am entitled to say to the House that the people of Ireland are not able to bear an additional burden of taxation to the tune of £28 million, in 1960?
Mr. L'Estrange: I am sorry I cannot share the optimism displayed  yesterday by some of the Fianna Fáil speakers. I should like to know if they were sincere or if they were merely speaking with their tongues in their cheeks.
Mr. L'Estrange: No one can welcome a counter irritant as a substitute for a cure and I cannot welcome this Bill because that is precisely what it is. The country needs a dynamic Government who are prepared to work hard and lead the people and if they work hard and lead the people then perhaps they can lead us to better times. They should devote more time to the work of their Departments and less to running around the country attending dinners and making after-dinner speeches. Everything in the garden may seem rosy at an after-dinner speech but it may not seem quite so rosy the next morning. The majority of the present Government are too old and too staid. We need young men at the helm.
Mr. L'Estrange: No, I admit that. Young men won the last war and perhaps young men will save this country. The Fianna Fáil Government remind me of an old farmer sitting in the chimney corner of a derelict farmhouse who is hoping that with the help of God and money from Aunt Maggie he will turn the corner somehow.
Our people have never been lacking in energy or in courage but they need direction and control. Unfortunately, they are not getting direction from the present Government. When the present Taoiseach, Deputy S. Lemass, spoke recently at Inchicore, he proclaimed, for the first time, that the keystone of Fianna Fáil economic policy is the British market. That sentiment represents a very big change in the outlook of that Party. It is a pity they did not utter that sentiment 30 years ago. If they had, perhaps we would be a wealthier country today and indeed some innocent blood might not have been spilled.
 At one time, those who preached the importance of the British market were told they were guilty of high treason and sabotage. They were told we would not feed John Bull. They were accused of being ranchers and Imperialists. Fianna Fáil even went so far as to say that the British market was gone and gone for ever and thanks be to God. I remember that when the President was Taoiseach he attended a meeting in Arva at which he said that the cattle trade was finished and he advised the farmers to keep bees. We are all glad that, even at this late stage, the Fianna Fáil Party have been converted to the importance of agriculture and of the British market in our economy.
Last night, Senator Lenihan talked about all the foreign money that is now coming into the country. He brought back to my memory the self-sufficiency policy which we had at one time when we were to burn everything British but their coal. Deputy Aiken, the Minister for External Affairs, said that even if every ship on the seas was sent to the bottom we could do without Britain and the rest of the world. We remember the Control of Manufactures Act which was introduced in 1932 by the Fianna Fáil Government. It kept foreign money from coming into this country for a long number of years. It is grand to see that at long last they are converted and, in this regard in any case, are moving in the right direction. Perhaps it is better late than never.
On this side of the House, we have always held that Ireland is primarily an agricultural country. We have always claimed that if the people on the land are wealthy, the whole nation will be wealthy. Our leaders have stated on a number of occasions that the standard of living of every person in this country depends upon what our farmers and their labourers can take out of the land and export profitably. Now, the Fianna Fáil Party agree with us in that matter.
We have 12,000,000 acres of arable land. In a country with a population of 2¼ million, that represents five acres for every person. I agree with Senator J.M. Sheridan that not since the days  of the economic war have our farmers been in such a bad plight. Instead of an improvement in their conditions, things are worsening. Nobody can deny it. Even the Taoiseach admitted it last week in the Dáil during the debate on the Vote on Account.
Last year, our farmers had to sustain a drop in cattle prices of £12½ million. Our farmers are bringing cattle from cattle mart to fair and nobody asks them where they are going with their cattle, especially the store cattle, the small cattle. The small farmer is the backbone of the country but if present conditions continue the majority of them will have to put the lock on their door and emigrate. If that happens, it will be a bad day for the community in general.
As we all know, the cost of living is increasing steeply for our farmers. Their rates, taxes and expenditure are increasing every year. They are now getting only the 1953 prices for their produce. Compared with 1958, cattle prices last year were down £10 to £15 per head; lamb prices were down £3 to £5 per head and those for ewes were down at least £4 to £8 apiece. I saw ewes being sold at Ballinrobe Fair for £1 each. People could do nothing with them. They do not call them “sheep fairs” now but “sheep wakes”. I saw them sold at £1 apiece.
The Government are to be blamed for the price of pigs. The last Minister fixed a guaranteed minimum price of 235/- per cwt. The Minister for Agriculture, when he came back to power in 1957, thought the farmers were getting too much and he cut the guaranteed minimum price for Grade A pigs to 230/-, a cut of 5/- per cwt. It took the previous Government a long time to try to build up the export of pigs. In 1947, we exported over £7,000,000 worth of bacon and, judging by what we know from the Book of Estimates, the export will be very small this year.
Milk was reduced by the present Government by 1d. per gallon. We all know what the unfortunate farmers' wives and labourers got for their turkeys last year, despite the fact that there was a sum of  £250,000 set aside for marketing about three years ago. We were told with a great flourish of trumpets what was to happen and what was not to happen. Farmers' wives suffered severely. Turkeys were sold last year at a loss.
Things are very bad for our primary producers. If the farmer goes down, the whole country will go down with him. In 1953, the farmers received 29.4 per cent. of the national income. On the last occasion, the Minister questioned some of the figures I gave but if he looks at page 8 of the Statistical Survey for 1958, he will see that 25 per cent. of the national income was received by the farmers in 1958. Last year, it was reckoned they received less than 24 per cent. If the income of our primary producers is to continue dropping and their overhead expenses and rates to continue to rise there is no denying that they will be crushed out of existence in a very short time.
Let us contrast the state of affairs that exists in this country to-day with the promises made in 1957. Then the people were led to expect that the subsidies would be maintained, that there would be no increase in food prices, that we would have vigorous measures to solve our economic problems and that immediate action would be taken to provide employment. The Government were to get cracking. There was a £100,000,000 plan to provide 100,000 new jobs. The farmers were promised better times. Instead, our people got dearer food. The subsidies were removed. There were increased hospital charges and there are over 70,000 people still unemployed. Emigration has not been stemmed to any great extent.
There are fewer people at work to-day. There are fewer houses being built. In our county, where we were building 200 and 300 cottages for a long number of years, there are two in course of construction at the present time. We have been sending up plans for the past three years to the Minister's Department. They are being sent back to us because they are too costly. They want the scheme changed. At the  same time, the Minister gets up and says there is money available to pay this grant and that grant. It is very easy to give grants to cover the building of two cottages in the County West-meath where we should be building a couple of hundred houses. The need is still there for them but the plans have not been sanctioned by the Department. If the Minister looks that up, he will find it is two and a half years since we submitted them and they still have not been sanctioned.
Fewer homes are being built. The Local Authorities (Works) Act was scrapped and still expenditure is higher. That Act gave much-needed employment. I think it was money well spent because it was spent on the drainage of land. By draining land and making it better, you were helping to increase production which is so vital for our economy. The double byre grant was scrapped.
I heard Senator Lenihan blaming the inter-Party Government for falling down on the bovine tuberculosis eradication scheme. Let me say that the inter-Party Government had the scheme prepared in 1951 when they left office. Fianna Fáil were three long years in office up to 1954 and they did not introduce the scheme. It was Deputy Dillon who then introduced the scheme and got it going. The scheme was held up for the past three years because there was a dispute between the Minister and the veterinary surgeons. Neither Senator Lenihan nor any other Senator should try to put the blame on the inter-Party Government. If Fianna Fáil were so concerned about it, why did they not start the scheme from 1951 to 1954? We all know that Britain started it over 25 years ago and that America started it over 30 years ago. If they devoted the same amount of energy to the eradication of bovine tuberculosis as they did last year to the attempt to get rid of proportional representation, it would have been much better for the country.
The price of wheat, despite all that we are told, is down 10/- to 12/- per barrel. Barley, last year, was 10/- per barrel less than it was in 1948. Last  but not least, despite all the promises the Government made, they abandoned price control in this country. That also had serious effects on our economy.
The dairying industry is being crippled. There is no denying that. Instead of getting the increase the dairymen were led to believe they would get when the inter-Party Government were in power, they got a reduction. I was in Limerick and I saw a Fianna Fáil T.D. putting up posters calling upon the people to march in Dublin to protest against an increase in the price of milk. People were led to believe that if Fianna Fáil were returned they would get this increase. In return they got a penny less. The price of calves is down £10 to £20 per head. That represents a further reduction of from 2d. to 4d. per gallon in the price of milk. It all depends whether the cow is giving 400 gallons or 800 gallons of milk.
We are told that 1957 was a dreadful year. It is supposed to have been a disastrous year for this country. We all admit that in 1957 there was an economic crisis. You had the Suez crisis and certain action had to be taken by the Government. It was taken and it left our economy in a healthy state when the present Government came into power. If we go back to 1957 we will find that our exports reached an all-time record of £131,000,000. That had increased from £35,000,000 in 1947, an increase of £96,000,000.
I do not think that the Minister for Finance can contradict any of the figures when he is replying. He told me the last time that some of the figures I had quoted were wrong. I am going to quote some of them again. I think the Minister will find they are correct. They are taken from the official statistics and they cannot be denied. We had an all-time record of exports in that year. Unfortunately, the present Government in three years have not been able to reach the record that was then created of £131,000,000. In 1957, for the first time in our history, we had  a surplus of wheat. It was not achieved by filling ten fields with inspectors but it was achieved because the farmers had confidence in the Minister they then had that he would give them a fair crack of the whip, that he would stand up to the millers, or any other monopoly or section of the people who tried to exploit them. He did that at all times and even compelled the millers to take the wheat during the year of the very bad harvest. For the first time in our history, in 1956, there was sufficient barley grown for ten months of the year and we had to import very little Indian meal. We exported £7,000,000 worth of bacon. We exported butter to the tune of £4,000,000. There was very little butter exported last year and according to the figures before us, the Government do not expect very much to be exported this year.
In 1947, there were 3.9 million cattle. That increased to 4½ million in 1957. It is slightly higher to-day and the reason it is higher is that the farmers have their cattle on their hands and cannot sell them. We all hope that the Government will be able to negotiate a first-class agreement with Britain and that the farmers will be able to sell their cattle. Indeed, the farmers and the people cannot understand the delay in announcing the terms of the present trade agreement and are waiting anxiously to know them. In the past, they were generally announced around the end of February. It is now almost the end of March.
In 1957, we had 1,000,000 pigs. That figure had increased from .45 million in 1947, but unfortunately to-day it is down to 852,000. There was a decrease of 95,500 in 1959 compared with 1958, a decrease of 10.1 per cent. If we are to progress at all, we must export more cattle, sheep and pigs. The small farmers are depending to a very large extent on the export of pigs and as I say, the number is down ten per cent. I do not think we can be proud of that.
In regard to sheep, the figures increased from 2,000,000 in 1947 to 3.4 million in 1957 and now stand at 4.4 million. We have there an increase of 5.7 per cent, but again, unfortunately, in this case, it is due to the  fact that the farmers are unable to get a market for their pigs. I hope that in any future negotiations with Germany or France, or any European country, the Government will be able to get back the market which we had with France and with Germany for the export of our sheep. We lost that market in the past few years. We are buying over three times the amount from both France and Germany that they are buying from us. If the Minister's officials are not able to get favourable terms for us from the French Government or the German Government, it is up to our Ministers of State to leave the dinners and the after-dinner speeches behind them and go over to France and Germany, as Deputy Dillon and Deputy Morrissey did in 1948, and secure for the farmers and the people the markets which are needed so badly. There is no denying that we have a first-class produce to sell to these people, if we could only get the market.
Senator Lenihan spoke last night about the disastrous year of 1956 and 1957. Yet, if you look at the figures in the Book of Estimates, you will find that in those disastrous years, according to Fianna Fáil speakers, in 1957, £18,064,828 was spent on electricity development. According to the Book of Estimates before us today, we intend to spend only £12,354,243, a reduction of £6,000,000 compared with the disastrous years we were told about. If we look at the figures for the number of men employed by local authorities on the building of houses, we find that in 1957 there were 6,147 employed. In January, 1960, there were 1,781, a decrease of 4,366 in the numbers employed by local authorities on building houses. Yet the Fianna Fáil members of the county councils and Fianna Fáil Senators are as silent as can be on those figures.
I remember Senator Colley shedding crocodile tears a few years ago over what was supposed to be happening in Dublin. There was supposed to be nobody employed in 1956/57; yet in those years there were over 4,000 more employed by local authorities than in January, 1960. On the land of this  country, if you take the people employed on it and the farmers' relatives, there were 90,826 employed in 1956 and in 1959, after two years of the Government getting cracking, after the promise of 100,000 new jobs for the people, we had 78,296 people employed on the land. That is a reduction of 12,000 after three years of office by the Government. Those figures cannot be denied because they were recently given in the Dáil in reply to a question.
Let me now turn to local authority houses. In the nine months from the 1st April, 1956 to the 2nd March, 1957, the amount paid from the Local Loans Fund-and I want to emphasise it because people come in here and tell us that there were debts left which had to be paid, and if they do not believe the figures they can be found in Iris Oifigiúil of 5th March, 1957— was £8,550,000. In the same period in the current year, the amount being paid by this Government is only £3,450,000. That is how the Government are getting cracking—by spending £5,100,000 less on housing this year.
Certain organs are claiming that the inter-Party Government left debts which had to be cleared up. The inter-Party Government accepted and paid for a Local Loans Fund capital programme of £18,064,828 in the same year. I see some people smiling. They do not seem to believe those figures. They can check on them and they will see they are correct. I shall repeat the figure: £18,064,828, which compares with the figure of £10,733,152 in the current year. This £18,000,000 was paid by the inter-Party Government. The facts are known; yet people deliberately mislead for political propaganda purposes.
Let us take the Land Project. This is an agricultural country. We want to export more. We want to improve the fertility of our soil. If you look at page 217 of the Book of Estimates, the provision this year is £521,000 less than the provision in 1956-57. Yet we are told by certain speakers that these were disastrous years. In 1959, there was a reduction of 137,000 in the wheat acreage compared with 1958. I had better give the figures: In 1958,  418,900 acres and in 1959, 282,000 acres. That was a reduction of 32.6 per cent. in the amount of wheat grown in the country, and that was at a time when the apostles of wheat production were in power. The acreage of beet sown was down from 84,000 to 69,000 in 1959.
Nobody can deny that 1959 was the best year we ever had. The weather was ideal in the spring for ploughing, harrowing and sowing. Despite this, there was a reduction of 18.3 per cent. in the acreage of beet sown. Yet we are told that everything is all right, that the people are having a wonderful time and that the country is going ahead. In 1959, the total of corn crops, including wheat, oats, barley, rye, etc. was down 9 per cent. from 1958. Root and grain crops were down by 3 per cent. Figures have already been given in the Dáil to show that between 1956 and 1958, there was a reduction of 32,000 in the number of people at work.
We are told about the debts and the chaos the inter-Party Government were supposed to have left; yet we have it on record from the Taoiseach that when the Fianna Fáil Government took office, the balance of payments problem had already been resolved. Speaking in the Dáil on 14th May, 1957, two months after the Fianna Fáil Party came back into office, the Taoiseach who was then Tánaiste, dealing with the action taken by his predecessors in office in connection with the balance of payments problem, stated at column 51 of Vol. 161:
I did not think they were dealing with it the right way but we certainly recognised their obligation to do something about it and as a result of the measures they took that balance of payments problem was solved for the time being.
Therefore, we have it on record from the head of the Government that he admits the balance of payments problem was solved by the action of his predecessors. When Senator Lenihan comes into this House and makes the accusations he made yesterday, does he not believe the words of his own leader?
 Let us turn now to unemployment and emigration, two of the things which, we are told, provide the acid test of any Government. Not since the days of the Famine have there been so few people at work out of the total population as there are at present. Worse still, the Government seem to be blind to all this and accept this catastrophic and unnatural state of affairs with complacency. They regard as cranks anyone who calls their attention to it. I have already given the figures in respect of the number of people employed on the land—12,000 fewer employed on the land.
In the Dáil, on 18th March last, Volume 180, column 9, Deputy Corish asked the Minister for Local Government to state the number of men engaged in house building by local authorities on the nearest available date and on similar dates during 1959, 1958, 1957 and 1956. From the answer given we find that on 31st January, 1956 6,147 people were employed and on 31st January, 1960, the number employed was 1,781, a reduction of over 4,000.
Another significant reduction in the Estimates is the reduction of £17,000 in respect of children's allowances. By that figure, the Department officials admit there are fewer people in the country and that fewer children will be born in the years to come. The reason, of course, is that our people are flying from the country. Deputy Lindsay in the Dáil, at Column 349 of Volume 180, gave figures for county Mayo. He pointed out that in April, 1957, there were 81,855 persons on the register for Dáil elections. In April, 1959, there were 78,818, a drop of almost 3,000 in those last two years. Those people had families. The majority of those 3,000 people over 21 who emigrated from Mayo may also have brought wives and families with them, so perhaps over 5,000 people have emigrated from Mayo alone in those two years.
Senator Ó Ciosáin here yesterday challenged us regarding the cost of living. He stated that there was no increase in the cost of living since Fianna Fáil came back into power. He said that no one on this side of the  House had anything to say about the cost of living and he wondered why. Of course he conveniently tried to forget that Fianna Fáil were in office in April, 1957, when they introduced their Budget. He would love people to forget that and he knows that people have short memories, but I want to mention those figures because I mentioned figures about the increase in the cost of living here last May and the Minister for Finance challenged me on them, stating my figures were completely wrong. He stated that the cost of living had increased by exactly the same number of points under Fianna Fáil as under the inter-Party Government.
I have gone to the trouble of getting exact and correct figures and I want to refute that allegation. In 1948, when the inter-Party Government came into office, the cost-of-living index figure stood at 99. They were three years in office and when they were going out in 1951, the cost-of-living index figure was 109 points, an increase of 10 points in three years. Fianna Fáil came in then with the cost of living at 109 points. They introduced their famous Budget in 1952 and when they were going out of office, the cost of living stood at 127, an increase of 18 points. The inter-Party Government came back into office in 1954, the cost of living standing at 127 points, and they went out in March, 1957, with the cost of living at 135, an increase of eight points in their three years.
Fianna Fáil took over in March, 1957, with the figure at 135 points and after their Budget of 1957, in May, 1959—the Minister for Finance disputed the figure with me—the cost of living here stood at 147 points, an increase of 12 points. With the 10- and 8-point increase over two terms, the inter-Party Government had an increase of 18 points in six years. With their 18- and 12-point increase over two terms, the Fianna Fáil Government had an increase of 30 points. So, taking increases from 99 points to 147 in May, 1959, the Fianna Fáil Party were responsible for an increase of 30 points and the inter-Party Government  were responsible for an increase of 18 points. Those points are in the official statistics and it should be remembered that during the inter-Party reign, we had the Korean War and the Suez crisis. The Minister may laugh, but despite that fact, he tried to convince us here the last time that the cost of living increased by the same number of points under both Governments. I challenge him to produce figure to show that.
Mr. L'Estrange: I am not making the same speech. I could not have the 1960 figures in 1959. The Minister put me down last year when replying and I am replying to him now, and I think I am entitled to do it.
Mr. L'Estrange: The Fianna Fáil Party appealed to housewives. Fianna Fáil must be the housewives' choice, they said, because the soaring cost of living was robbing the wage packets of their value. These are the words that got the Minister for Finance into the office he is in to-day—those promises, as well as the promises made at Belmullet by the man who is now President of Ireland and the promises the Taoiseach made at Dungarvan two years before being elected, that they would retain the food subsidies. In the Dáil, a question by Deputy M.J. O'Higgins revealed that since 1957, out of 190 items calculated in the cost-of-living index, 149 had increased in price following increases in 1947: food had gone up by 11.5 points; clothing by 2.4; housing by 7.6; drink and tobacco  by 10.1; durable household goods by 2; and other goods and services by 6.6. What the Fianna Fáil Party are trying to do is to say nothing about the increases that occurred during their reign in 1957-58. They are telling the people now that the cost of living is coming down but that is because they put it out of sight, sky-high, with the all-time record of 147. We do admit that it has been reduced at the present time, but if it is reduced, it is at the farmers' expense because smaller prices are being paid for potatoes and other food at present.
Senator Lenihan here yesterday made an attack on the Fine Gael Party and the inter-Party Government in regard to the tuberculosis eradication scheme. Senator Lenihan spoke about things “that have an integrating effect, that help to bring our people together,” but I think it is generally admitted that statements like those help to divide our people and I think it is very important that on this question our people should be united at present-and there is no denying that they are. There is not a committee of agriculture in Ireland, no matter what Party control it, but is co-operating actively with the present Minister in his efforts to eradicate bovine tuberculosis. I think the Minister cannot deny that. He has been invited to different committees and all the members of those committees have supported him wholeheartedly in his efforts. I think it is a shame that Senator Lenihan, who knows very little about agriculture, should get up in this House and make those statements.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: The arrangement was that the Minister would get in shortly after 9 o'clock. I understood that a few minutes more or less would not matter so the Senator has some short time to conclude.
Mr. L'Estrange: This is a very important point and I think it is very unfortunate that Senator Lenihan, or  any Senator, should try to blame or cast aspersions on any Party as regards bovine tuberculosis. All Parties throughout the country are working together and co-operating with each other, and are prepared to help any Minister who may be in power in his efforts to eradicate bovine tuberculosis.
I have little else to say except that I should like the Minister to tell us how much of the £250,000, set aside a few years ago to improve our marketing facilities, has been spent. It is very essential and very desirable that we have proper marketing boards, but we do not seem to have them nor do we seem to be interested in them. Whatever has come over the Government we were not even represented at the trade fairs recently held in Brussels, in England and other countries. If you take up the Farmers' Journal of last week, it will be seen that bacon from Kenya is fetching the same price on the British market as is ours. The price of our bacon has reached an all-time low level, 10/- below what the Hungarians and the Poles are getting, and 15/- to 30/- below what the British farmers and Northern Ireland farmers are getting for their bacon. If this money was set aside, it is time it were spent and that some results were shown.
Many people claim that we are spending £10,000,000 on jet planes. I think it would be much better if we had a plane service from Ireland to London, to the best market in the world, which is on our door-step, to fly vegetables, cream, fresh meat and things like that to that market. It would be much better if the money were spent in that direction.
In conclusion, I think it is time we had a Buy-Irish campaign, not for one week, or for one day in the year, but for the whole 52 weeks of the year. If we had, we would go a long way towards offsetting our adverse trade balance.
Dr. Ryan: Senator O'Donovan was the first speaker. In comparing expenditure this year, he said we had Supplementary Estimates last year, and suggested that surely I could not say there would be no Supplementary Estimates in the coming year. On the contrary, I mentioned a couple of Supplementary Estimates in the Dáil that we were certain to have, and so I am not unaware of the fact that we may have such Estimates. He compared the Estimates of 1957-58—that is, the Estimates prepared by the previous Government and which were taken over by me in their printed formwith the present Estimates.
I should like to remind the Senator that though I eliminated food subsidies and gave some compensation for social welfare, making a net reduction of £5.5 million, that year I had to increase taxation by £3.5 million and, as well, I had to face a deficit at the end of the year of about £5.8 million, so that the bill that was presented to my Government when we came into office would have required, if we were in a position to afford it, £14 million additional taxation. We did not, of course, impose that additional taxation and I do not know how the present Opposition could have met that bill. They would give one to understand that they would not have taken off the food subsidies but I do not know how otherwise they would have got that £14 million. I should like to hear from them how they would have done it.
Dr. Ryan: I think I shall demolish a lot of what Senator L'Estrange said if he will only listen. We dealt with that mess and we cleared it up. We put on no additional taxation in 1958 and we balanced our Budget. That was a remarkable achievement for any Government after the mess that was there when we came into office, faced with finding £14 million either by additional taxation, by having deficits or some other way. We managed to do it. We succeeded and I am quite sure that the members of the other Parties did not think we would succeed.
Dr. Ryan: Senator O'Donovan said he expected the cost of living to go up from eight to 10 per cent. in the near future. I will say it is expected that the cost of living will go up. Bread has already gone up in price and other items have gone up in price, but I am not inclined to think that Senator O'Donovan is right. I do not think the cost of living will go up as much as eight per cent. in the coming six months or, indeed, in the coming 12 months.
Senator O'Brien pointed out in his speech that increases in wages without increased productivity must lead to increases in the cost of living. I would advise Senator Murphy to read the observations of these two economists, Senator O'Brien and Senator O'Donovan, and see if he finds any fault with them. However, I shall come back to Senator Murphy in some observations later on.
The cost of living figures were dealt with by Senator L'Estrange. I should like to point out that the official figures which are taken for February each year—of course they are taken every quarter—were as follows: in 1954, when the Fianna Fáil Government came in, the figure was 124; in 1957, 135 and in 1960, 144——
Dr. Ryan: ——so that actually during the three years of the Coalition Government the cost of living went up by 11 points and in our three years, up to last February, even though we took off the food subsidies, the cost of living went up by only nine points. Therefore I do not think we can be tackled too strongly on the cost of living issue alone.
Senator O'Donovan also quoted the Taoiseach as saying in the Dáil that in the matter of increases for civil servants it was one of the first acts of the Coalition in 1954 when they came in to give an increase to civil servants. As Senator Dr. O'Donovan pointed out, the Taoiseach was not altogether correct because they did not give that increase until 1956. That increase was given as a result of a promise made during a general election and, if we were to try to explain our defeat in 1954, and take up the time of the Dáil and Seanad in doing so, we could say that was one of the reasons we were defeated in 1954, because the Coalition Government promised to give an increase to civil servants. We have given it to them with no election at all in mind so we cannot be accused of political motives in giving the increase at the present time.
Senator O'Donovan talked about the past year and said that there was some confusion in my mind because I had taken refuge in the bad year for conditions in farming. Some of the results of that year occurred in 1958 and some in 1959. Anybody who knows anything about agriculture will not dispute that in that very wet year of 1958, we had very bad crops, a very bad corn harvest, very bad yields of wheat and fairly bad yields of barley and of oats, bad yields of beet and other products, and then we had bad winter feeding of cattle in 1959, even more than in 1958. Milk yields also suffered more in 1959 than in 1958. To that extent, it is permissible to say that the bad year had its effects in both years.
Going on to foreign trade, Senator O'Donovan again took up the Taoiseach in saying that there was a  difference in the approach to foreign trade in 1947-48 and at the present time. The Taoiseach talked about the horse trade that we had at that time, and I think he was quite right. In 1947-48, when we sent our delegates to negotiate with any foreign country, it was a question of: “How much will you give us if we give you something?” Britain said to us: “Give us so many cattle and we shall give you so much goods.” We both spoke of things we wanted badly from the other. They said: “Give us so many eggs”, and Deputy Dillon was so carried away that he said he would drown them in eggs, and that was what they wanted.
Conditions are different now. They do not say: “If you give us so much cattle, we shall give you so much coal”, nor does any foreign country speak like that. Germany or France will say: “The conditions are these: we have a tariff of so and so, and whatever you can send in over that tariff is welcome”, and we shall say the same to them. It is not so easy— in fact, it is more difficult now that these combinations of Sixes and Sevens are formed to alter these tariffs. There was some hope before that of getting them to change their quotas and allowing certain numbers in, but that was the only hope and of course quotas are disappearing now in the liberalisation of trade. For that reason, there is very little we can do with those Continental countries. I can talk about the British later.
Senator O'Brien made a very interesting speech and one has to agree with most of what he said. He said that if our national income has not a bigger increase than 3 per cent. our taxation is too high. I must say that I would at least put it to Senator O'Brien to dispute that point, that we should at least separate current expenditure from capital expenditure in that connection. If current expenditure year after year—one must take one year with another—were going up more than the national income, then we would be running into trouble, but as a matter of fact, it is not. It is keeping more or less in line with the national income all the time, so that things are not so bad in that respect as one might think at first sight.
 He went on to say that our problem was that we were living so near to Britain, that it was, of course, a good thing from the point of view of unemployed people and emigrants to have a place to go to, but it made it more difficult for the national economy, which is quite right also. As he pointed out, wages tend to find the same level here as in England, but at the same time costs are a little less favourable to us because our industries are smaller. All that is very good, and it only points to the fact that we must try to cut our costs as well as we can to be able to compete on the foreign market, because, as he points out, any expansion means export, and to find a place on the export market, we must be able to compete.
Senator O'Brien said that he was not worried about the balance of payments. He was very worried about the balance of payments when I came in first after 1957, and it is a great achievement, again, for the Fianna Fáil Government that you have a very critical economist as far as we are concerned like Senator O'Brien who says that he is no longer worried about the balance of payments. It is a great tribute to this Government that we should have that position after three years of Government.
Taking a period of three or four or five years, because you will have variations from year to year, we find that our current expenditure has remained almost constant since prewar. It remains about 20 per cent. of our national income all the time. Of course, it must be remembered that in that expenditure, you have such things as social welfare, health and education. After all, everybody would expect whatever Government are in office to keep expenditure on those headings at least in line with what we could afford; in other words in line with national income. These are very big items, forming a big proportion of our total expenditure. Looking at it in that way, if we keep our expenditure in line with national income, we are doing fairly well and, in fact, doing what we should do.
Senator O'Brien thought that our  standard of taxation was too high, and might have the effect of discouraging industry here. Our taxation on industry is not too high. I think it does not unfavourably compare with the taxation on industry in any other country Our terms are good on the whole and particularly good on any products produced for export. There is no income tax on these. I do not think we should have any worries on the score that our taxation is so high as to discourage industry.
I agree with Senator Ó Ciosáin when he said that he could not see what was the foundation for these pessimistic speeches of Fine Gael. Some of them have been delivered since he spoke, and it is very hard indeed to see justification for them. As he pointed out, unemployment is going down and employment going up. I hope to give some figures on that point, too.
I want to say with regard to exports that as compared with 1956-57, our exports last year were 21 per cent. higher. That was remarkable in this way: it was, if you like, because we had a big increase in industrial exports, and if cattle had been going out normally, our exports would have certainly reached the highest level of all in 1959. But, cattle did not go out in 1959, for various reasons.
One reason given here is the tuberculosis regulations in both countries. I do not think that explains the matter entirely. Cattle came through the Winter of 1958-59 in very bad condition and were not fit for export early in the year. Then, as the year went on, being a very dry year in England, there was no great surplus of grass there and the usual Autumn demand did not come. We have the cattle in the country, according to the census now, and we hope we will be able to get rid of them profitably this year.
Going back to the surprise of Senator Ó Ciosáin at the pessimistic speeches, it is hard to understand them unless it is a Fine Gael complex, which perhaps it is. It is hard to understand that complex on the facts. If we bring in a Budget, as we did this time last year, and take a chance, as I was accused of doing in both Houses last year, on getting in revenue which  was not likely to come, and if in fact much more revenue comes in than we budgeted for, that shows revenue comes from somewhere; somebody must be paying that revenue. The yield from income tax has not, indeed, gone up very much but has gone up a bit. It came principally from tobacco. If people are smoking more, smoking being a semi-luxury, and if people are taking more beer and spirits, the consumption of which went up slightly also, it is not a sign of bankruptcy in the country. It is at least a sign that there is some resilience in the country in regard to revenue. Since the State was established it is the first time that two Budgets in succession have been balanced-not only last year but balanced this year again. We have only another ten days to come and we know now that our Budget for 1959-60 will be balanced.
I think it was Senator O'Donovan who more or less complained that the banks were not as kind to people in 1956 as they were last year. Banks, I suppose, have their own reasons for that and I do not like to answer for the banks. At any rate, there was more credit available and that is a good thing as far as the country is concerned.
There are other factors which could be quoted to show that everything is not as bad as might be painted by Fine Gael. When some of the speakers on the other side were talking about farmers representing the milk suppliers, they talked about Fianna Fáil henchmen and Fianna Fáil racketeers and so on. As I said before, when there are four-fifths of the farmers supporting Fianna Fáil consistently, even through the Economic War, in spite of Blue Shirts and everything else, it is only natural that some of their representatives will be Fianna Fáil when they come to Government Departments.
Dr. Ryan: Of course we did. They have always supported us and I can say that they always will. When they supported us during the Economic War in spite of threats from the other side, they will always be with us.
Dr. Ryan: Senator O'Quigley took a part in criticising the Taoiseach's speech. He said the Taoiseach was talking about the £2,000,000 that went to civil servants. He said it was a very small proportion of £123,000,000, which, indeed, it is, but it is a big proportion of the increase of £4,000,000 and the Taoiseach was only trying to explain to the Dáil, which I think a Taoiseach is bound to do, how this £4,000,000 arose. If I sat down here as a dummy I am sure Senators on the other side would attack me if I could not tell them why this £4,000,000 increase was needed. The Taoiseach was doing that. He said £2,000,000 came by way of increased salaries, which is true. In fact, the Taoiseach was too modest in his figure because it will be more than £2,000,000. However, £2,000,000 will do. Then he went on to the other figures. Social welfare accounted for another £1,000,000; pensions for £400,000, and so on.
Senator O'Quigley stated that this increase to civil servants was due to increases in the cost of living. The Taoiseach said—this is in reply to Senator Murphy also—that it was the first time that in these categories of wages the people who got the increases got a higher standard of living. That is the Taoiseach's opinion. He did not say it was all a higher standard of living at all, or anything like it. As a matter of fact, we all know that there was an element in it of cost of living and I suppose, as Minister for Finance, I would have to say that I could not agree to give the civil servants these increases unless I was convinced that there was a large element in it of increased cost of living because I suppose the taxpayers would say that I was not fit to hold that office if I did  otherwise. But, the Taoiseach was of opinion, and he has a right to his opinion, that the increases generally more than cover the increased cost of living, and that is as far as he went in that respect.
Senator O'Quigley spoke about the small farmers and he said there was £220,000,000 laid down in the Programme for Economic Expansion. His idea was that it should all go to the small farmers. On second thoughts, he would not agree to that.
Dr. Ryan: Let us say it should be devoted to a great extent to the small farmers. He complained that he does not know what our policy is with regard to the small farmers. He said it should be possible to make a dramatic improvement in the standard of living of those farmers. A guaranteed price for wheat, he says, is no use to them. I quite agree. The price of cattle, he says, makes no great difference to them. Whether the price of calves goes up and the price of cattle down or the price of calves goes down and the price of cattle goes up makes very little difference to them too.
The suggestion he made was that nearly all these small farmers keep a couple of pigs and the aim should be to enable them to increase the number of pigs to twenty. It is a good idea. There are various schemes in operation with regard to credit for piggeries and for manures to improve the land for the production of crops to feed pigs, and various other schemes. Small farmers may not be able to go from two pigs to twenty in one year but I am quite sure that if they took advantage of the various schemes they could reach twenty pigs in two or three years if they thought it was a profitable matter.
The Senator said that with higher production farmers could take a lesser  price, which is good economics, and that the same guaranteed price would not be necessary. That is all very good. I certainly welcome any suggestion from any Senator in a case of that kind but I do not see why at the same time the Senator should sneer at Scéim na Muc because it was at least an honest attempt to deal with the Gaeltacht and it was more or less on the lines laid down by the Senator for the small farmers generally. Even though a scheme like that is put up by Fianna Fáil, I would ask Senators at least to let it pass. If they are not inclined to go to the country to recommend it to everybody, I would ask them at least to let it pass and let it have a chance.
Senator O'Quigley criticised the Taoiseach for sending circulars out to local authorities asking them if they had any suggestions to make with regard to development. Why does the Senator want an insertion in these circulars to the effect that the Taoiseach said: “In God's name, have you anything to offer us?” He never said any such thing. It just shows the prejudice of Senators on the other side against anything that may be done by the Taoiseach, by Ministers or anybody else on this side.
I have often argued that if Senators opposite are not satisfied with the way things are going—it is quite obvious they are not satisfied with the way things are going and they want to improve things—it would be better to take the facts as they are rather than manufacture falsehoods and argue on them. You would never get anywhere on that. You must take the facts and argue on them and see if you can make things better than they are.
Dr. Ryan: There is not a Minister in this Government or the last Government who would not be glad to avoid half of those dinners if he could, but I know Senator L'Estrange would  not miss any of them; he would take all the free dinners he could get. Take the case of the Minister for Agriculture going down to Waterford. I remember when I was Minister for Agriculture a man would come to me and say: “Why do you not come down to such-and-such a place? You do not know what is going on in Limerick. You do not know what is going on in Waterford. Come down and see.” I was accused in the Dáil and Seanad of being out of touch with things, as was the Minister for Agriculture. If I had to deal with a beet factory I could deal with it 100 times better when I saw it. If the Minister for Agriculture went down to see, say, a plant for the pasteurisation of milk he was doing his job by looking at it, and if the people of Waterford said to him: “Will you have lunch?”, do you think he would say: “I am going over to the hotel to have lunch on my own”? Do you think he would be so rude as to say he would not have lunch with them? Is it not time to stop that demagogery?
Dr. Ryan: The Senator said that they should be in their offices. This is pure demagogery, appealing to ignorant people in the country. There is an Irish proverb which says, as far as I can remember: “Sás a dhéanta a smaoineodh air.” Senator O'Quigley went on to talk about Partition as if we had done nothing. I am in a Government where there are eight Ministers who did prison because they would not accept Partition.
Dr. Ryan: And now we are expected to reverse the most disastrous decision ever taken by people in this country. It is not easy to reverse a decision once it is made. It is much easier not to make it, and that is what we wanted to do.
Dr. Ryan: Senator Lenihan said it was better to have increased imports and to have a higher standard of living. That is quite right. That is what we should aim at. I must say nobody in this debate criticised increased imports. What we should aim at is to increase our exports and also our imports and that will give us a better standard of living than we have. We heard figures here about employment amongst insured people. The number of insured people on 1st October, 1959, was 17,598 higher than on 1st October, 1958.
Dr. Ryan: The Senator stopped me in the middle of a sentence, he is so quick. He is always quick with the bad thing. I was going to say I asked the Central Statistics Office—I thought of it even before Senator Donegan, quick though he was— how many people were in the £600 to £800 category? They said they estimated that at 6,000. Senator Donegan does not accept that. The Central Statistics Office must be on the Fianna Fáil side. We have a net increase in employment of 11,500. Senator Donegan said we should have more tillage and more cattle on the land.
Dr. Ryan: At the same time. I argued myself to a standstill against Fine Gael from 1927 to 1932 on that  point. I was all the time talking about tillage when I was in Opposition and my opponents always said: “Do you want to do away with the cattle trade?” I wanted more cattle and more tillage. They could not see it. They argued all the time it could not be done and I was always arguing it could be done.
Dr. Ryan: I was going on to say that I agree with Senator Donegan in much that he said, strange to say. He made some very sensible remarks in regard to wheat and barley. He said it was not so easy to increase the price of wheat and feeding barley and when Senator L'Estrange talked about the price of wheat coming down by 12/- a barrel in Deputy Dillon's time, it is very hard to bring it up again.
Dr. Ryan: Senator Donegan went on to say that there is no great opportunity for increasing prices for farmers. He is right. He is right in saying the only way to give some benefit to the  farmer is to increase his production without increasing its cost. That is behind the policy of giving a subsidy on fertilisers and if there were other methods of that kind that could be introduced, they would be all to the good.
Senator Donegan said that Fine Gael decided to relieve, the small farmers of the cost of administration. I had not heard that; they may have. I am not denying it, but it was never passed on to me. As a matter of fact, only recently, I got some complaints about the cost of administration and it is a very serious matter because while big farmers, we might say, could afford it, in the case of the small farmer, if he tries to get a loan from the Agricultural Credit Corporation and if his administration has not been taken out, the loan cannot be put through. It applies in other ways also. It would be a great thing if they could administer a little more cheaply. All the cost is not due to Government Departments: a fair amount of cost comes in in other ways, but I am having the matter examined.
I do not know if I could agree with the Senator that free loans would be better than grants in many cases: perhaps they would, but I should like to see that examined fully. The Senator made a suggestion which I have often heard before and which I think deserves consideration—would small farmers not be better off away from the Land Commission completely if they got help instead to enlarge their holdings by loans and so on? These are all things which merit consideration.
When Senator Donegan came to the matter of trade between Britain and ourselves, he suggested that we should lower the tariffs on all industrial goods coming in and try to secure the same terms as British farmers in the British market. That is the obvious sort of thing that any Government would look for and all I can say at the moment is that to get an agreement of that kind, you need two people—not one—and that is the big trouble.
Senator Barry spoke about the cost of central and local government. This Book of Estimates deals only with central Government and does not, in  fact, deal with non-tax revenue. Then, you have local government finance as well. Taking them all together, local rates have gone up three and a half times on average since 1938-39 and central taxation has gone up by about four times, but we are actually giving five times as much to the local authorities. The amount we are giving local authorities has gone up from £5,000,000 to £25,000,000. We are giving them more than they raise themselves, so that we have kept step with expenditure since that time and in fact we are giving a little more than we gave them in 1938-39.
Dr. Ryan: I do not think so. The Senator spoke of health charges. I do not know what the health charges were in 1938-39 but I know when I was bringing in the Health Act, or rather, since I brought it in, all the local authorities combined were contributing at that time and I think the figure would be about 40 per cent. up.
Dr. Ryan: Senator Barry says it is up 150 per cent. in Cork. Going back to 1953, before this Bill was brought in, the amount contributed by local authorities has not gone up 50 per cent., somewhere between 40 and 50 per cent. altogether in that time, while central Government has contributed millions more.
Senator Burke wanted to know if between now and Budget time, I could cut down these Estimates. He would be surprised if he saw the cuts we have already made and I am afraid we cannot do any more. I do not know where we would look for any further cuts.
The point was made by more than one Senator that if we could give the same amount of money to the development of agriculture as we give to industry, agriculture would do well. I have not got the figures here but I am convinced that if the figure is properly brought out, it will be found we are  giving much more to agriculture year after year than to industry. Take all the import levies, duties, the degree of protection, and you will find that agriculture is much more protected than industry. Take the amount of loans and you find that much more goes to agriculture. Take grants, and again, very much more goes to agriculture. Therefore, I do not think it fair to say that if all the money going to industry were to go to agriculture, it would be quite a different story.
I agree with the Senator that there should be no antagonism between State and private enterprise. It is wrong that people in favour of State enterprise should attack those in private enterprise and say certain things would not happen, if it were left to State enterprise. It is equally wrong for people in private enterprise to accuse State enterprise of carrying on by way of high protection and so on. Both types of enterprise are doing the job as best they can and should be allowed to carry on. I agree that State bodies are responsible to nobody, unlike private companies, and there are no shareholders and it is something that must be examined very fully but it is a matter for which it is not easy to get a solution.
Senator McGuire said he was talking to the Indian Ambassador in London, Madame Pandit Nehru, who said that she spent 90 per cent. of her time attending to trade matters. I am quite sure our Ambassador in London spends 90 per cent. or more of his time on trade and less than 10 per cent. on political matters. I do not know whether the same could be said of our Ambassadors in other countries but in most countries they do spend a good deal of time attending to trade matters.
I want to say a few words about Senator Murphy's speech. I think it is very unfair for a Labour Deputy to describe the Taoiseach's speech as pillorying the trade union movement. I wonder could Senator Murphy, or  the Deputy who made the same attack, let me see a marked copy of the Taoiseach's speech from which he gathered that impression. There was no such intention nor was there anything in this speech in any way to support that view.
Dr. Ryan: The Taoiseach came to the Dáil to make a frank speech and stated the facts. He said there had been a round of wage increases. I was listening to him. He did not lay any blame whatever on the Trade Union Congress or on the Labour Party for getting that increase, but he spoke about what the result would be. He quoted one member of the T.U.C. as saying that nothing was going to happen and said that he must be very naïve if he thought that because in his opinion, the Taoiseach said, there was going to be an increase in the cost of living. He knew at the time that the price of bread was going up, and that was one reason. Bus fares had gone up.
Dr. Ryan: The Taoiseach knows these things but, according to Senator Murphy, he must put his head in the sand and say: “Everything will be all right; do not mind about that increase in pay.” He must not tell the Dáil what will happen as a result. Is that not ridiculous? What sort of talk is that to come from a Labour Senator or from anybody else? The Taoiseach spoke of what might happen and his next point was that farmers, naturally, would be looking at these increases and saying: “What about us?” Of course the farmers were certain to get a demand from the farm labourers for an increase in their wages.
Dr. Ryan: The farmers knew they would get a demand. What they are giving may be disgraceful, but, if they were to give more, where would they get it? The Senator puts his head in the sand. The Taoiseach asked where would the farmers get the money if they gave this increase in wages. He pointed out that the increase would have to be put on to the price of food or met out of taxation by way of subsidy. Somebody must pay, irrespective of whether or not the Senator believes that. Somebody must pay every increase and that increase must come ultimately either in the price of food or through the medium of an increase in taxation.
That is all the Taoiseach said and, because he said that, he is accused of attacking the trade union movement. I never heard such nonsensical and childish talk in my life. It may suit the Labour Party to attack the Taoiseach and say that he is no friend of Labour. That may be a political stunt. If it is a political stunt, good luck to the Labour Party but they will not get very far with it.
Dr. Ryan: The Senator quoted Deputy Casey. Deputy Casey tried to prove the same point as Senator Murphy, namely, that employers could pay the increase and need not ask for it from anybody—C.I.E. excepted, of course. Deputy Casey, as quoted by Senator Murphy, said that he examined 90 companies and they were up by 40 per cent. The Revenue Commissioners examine all companies. They have told me what to expect next year. According to the figures they have given me, they are not expecting to get a higher increase in tax revenue than ten per cent.
Dr. Ryan: Deputy Casey made his point in the Dáil. He argued in much the same fashion as Senator Murphy; he said the Government should say nothing about an increase in prices; they should keep quiet, and see the prices did not go up. In order to show where the money would some from, he said companies were making a 40 per cent. increase in profits. The increase is only ten to 15 per cent.
Mr. Murphy: He said according to the published accounts of companies. The Minister says something different; he says the accounts of all companies. We have two different figures and two different sources.
Dr. Ryan: He said the Taoiseach was trying to set one section against another; that was his object. The reason behind his speech was simply to set Labour against Fianna Fáil; he has been trying to do that for years, but he has never succeeded yet, and he will not succeed now.
With regard to the delay in publishing educational reports, I shall inquire into that. It is wrong that they should be so long delayed, but there must be some good reason for it. I shall try to find out what the reason is. It is not right for Senator Sheehy Skeffington to say that we are delaying these reports intentionally because we are afraid to produce them. That kind of comment really leaves me cold. We are not afraid of Senator Sheehy Skeffington or anybody else. We are not afraid of anything.
 I was inclined to agree with Senator Sheehy Skeffington that it would be better if we had more utility schools— that is, if we spent less on the individual school and did more—but I found, on investigation, that we would not do any more and it would be bad economy in many ways. There were several reasons advanced against it and, in the end, I capitulated. All we can do now is to get more money to build more schools.
Senator Sheridan made the usual point made by people in the country about the farmer going into the fair and selling his pigs. The pig is downgraded by the buyer. Later the farmer goes into the shop and he pays 4/2d. for a lb. of rashers. It is very difficult to cope with that type of mentality. It is very difficult to fight that and, at the same time, improve the pig industry. We must export top quality bacon if we hope to hold our markets, or get more markets. They are very particular in these markets as to the type of bacon they will take. We can produce that bacon only in a certain way and, if we meet with that sort of interpretation of our efforts, it will eventually become impossible to make any headway at all.
Dr. Ryan: I shall give my figures first. In June, 1951, we had 557,000, when we came into office. In 1954, when we left office, there were 958,000 —almost double. In June, 1957, Deputy Dillon went out of office once more and he left us 900,000. The pig population went down during his three years.
Dr. Ryan: I do not wonder that it went down because Deputy Dillon did not seem to know what policy to adopt from one day to another. One day he put a tariff on pigs going over the Border; the next day he took it off again; and the day after he put it back on again. It is no wonder the pig population went down.
Dr. Ryan: After the war, we know the pig population declined. I heard Senator L'Estrange giving figures with regard to the decline in cattle and sheep. I buy lambs every autumn. I sold them about a week ago.
Dr. Ryan: Apart from the figures being wrong, the Senator talked about beet as if he were talking to a lot of ignorant people. He said the acreage went down. What are the facts? There are four factories working full-time from the middle of October to January.  Last year or the year before, there was as much beet as they could take and, as a result, then, the acreage went down while the yield went up. Is that not what everyone is calling forincreased production from the farms? Senator L'Estrange does not like that. That is really progress, to get more beet from the same acreage.
Dr. Ryan: We got more beet out of the same acreage and more productivity out of each acre of land. The farmers are better off and Senator L'Estrange does not like that because it was achieved under Fianna Fáil.
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