Central Fund Bill, 1962 (Certified Money Bill) — Second Stage (Resumed) and Subsequent Stages.

Thursday, 22 March 1962

Seanad Eireann Debate
Vol. 55 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 6 Next Page Last Page

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

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Before the debate was adjourned last evening, I had dealt in a general way with the fall in population, with emigration, and with the flight from the land in the light of the demand made in the Book of Estimates. I had also dealt particularly with a very serious aspect of our economy, that is, the flight from the land and the dissatisfaction of the farmers as a result. I should like to make one point on that before moving on, that is, that many people seem to take the view that the farmers are protesting solely against the increase in rates. That is not entirely accurate. They are protesting particularly on the ground that they are not getting their fair share of the national income compared with other sections of the community.

I shall not detain the House very much longer, but throughout the discussion on the Vote on Account in the Dáil and on the Central Fund Bill here, reference has been made to the general policy of the Government on health, and I should like to deal with that policy in so far as its affects the bill we are asked to approve here. The health services are now entirely regulated by the Health Act of 1952, and [240] there can be very little doubt that that Act is a most unsatisfactory piece of legislation. It has not given satisfaction to anybody, to the lower income group, the middle income group, or what are described as the higher income groups.

I do not think the Government have any policy on health. That is one aspect on which they can be seriously criticised. The last general election was fought here not so very long ago and the health services formed one of the principal bones of contention. It was a very short election campaign, fast and furious, with not much time for the Opposition Parties to put their views before the people. The Minister and the Government fought the election and defended the health services as regulated by the Health Act, and the Fine Gael Party put an alternative health scheme to the people. I can be fairly accurate in saying that the result of the election was that the Government got a serious rebuff. They lost 80,000 votes and seven seats. The Fine Gael Party gained 50,000 votes and seven seats.

A very short time after the Dáil reassembled, the Fine Gael Party put down a motion for debate condemning in so many words the Government's policy on health and inviting the Government to bring in a comprehensive health scheme. One would have expected the Minister for Health either to come into the Dáil and do what he did in the country, defend the Bill, say it was a good Bill, that he approved of it and that he would continue to operate it, or accept the Fine Gael proposition and say that the election had proved that the people did not want the Health Act because it was unsatisfactory.

The Minister for Health did neither of those things. It was the clear duty of the Minister and the Government to put a policy on health before the Dáil and the country but that was not done. The Minister simply said in so many words: “I have no policy on health. I admit that the Health Act is unsatisfactory, but I have no alternative and I invite all Parties in the Dáil to give me a health policy.”

I say he neglected his duty in that [241] respect and that the Government must be condemned for continuing to impose on the country an Act that it does not want and which, at any rate by implication, the Minister admits is unsatisfactory. I may be pardoned for going into detail because I am replying to figures given by the Minister in the Dáil on the cost of the Health Act. It has been said that it is too expensive and that it is costing much more than was promised when it was introduced.

The Minister gave certain figures in the Dáil for Wexford, and I propose to give the figures for Cavan dealing with the increases which I say the Health Act and the policy of the Government on health have brought about. In 1953/54 the rate in the £ for health services in Cavan was 9/4. In 1962/63, the current year, the rate in respect of health in Cavan is 16/11. That is an increase of 7/7. I want at once to say that there is no sum for public assistance in these figures. Admittedly, in that increase of 7/7 there is a sum of 1/8 in respect of mental health. That means the increase in the demand for health services in Cavan between 1653/54 and 1962/63 was 5/11 or, in round figures, 6/- and that does not include public assistance or public health.

The Minister said that the sum of 2/6 in Wexford was included in the figures which he gave in respect of Wexford to cover the increases in salaries, wages, and that sort of thing. Cavan is a smaller county than Wexford and probably the population is not as big and, therefore, we may take it that the sum in Cavan would be less than 2/6. I do not say that 2/6 is relevant. I say there is an increase amounting to 6/- on the health services in Cavan, as a direct result of ministerial action. The major portion of that 6/- is due to the unsatisfactory Health Act, and all of the 6/- is due to ministerial action, either the action of the Minister for Finance when he was Minister for Health and introduced the Health Bill of 1952, or the action of the Minister for Finance when, as Minister for Finance, he removed the food subsidies in 1957 and started off a round of wage increases which ultimately ended in the last wage increase.

[242] Those are the figures in detail. I have not the figures for Monaghan as accurately, but I am sure there are some people in the House who have. According to my information the increase in Monaghan is 7/-. I have not got the figures for Monaghan broken down as accurately as the figures for Cavan, which are deadly accurate. I say the Government have failed in their duty to the people and to the country in regard to the health services.

There has been talk about inflation. During the earlier stages of the discussion it seemed to be doubtful whether or not there was inflation, but after the speeches of the Taoiseach and the Minister in the Dáil, and after the very learned and powerful speech we heard from Senator O'Brien here, there cannot be any doubt but that we are in the midst of inflation, brought about not by any outside sources, but by positive action on the part of the Government.

Of all the points with which I have dealt, in my humble opinion — and I say this with great deliberation and after giving it a lot of thought — the most serious aspect is the flight from the land of the small farmers, the middle-sized farmers and, in Monaghan, Cavan and Donegal, the fair-sized farmers. I understand the Minister told me last night — I think it was not very orderly at the time— that he had not any policy to deal with this drift of population from the land. If I am wrong in that he will correct me, but if the Government have no policy on that dreadfully serious aspect of our economy it is high time they got down to it and made some honest effort to do something about it.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  Ar an mBille Lár-Chiste seo, tá caoi againn ar imeachtaí na tíre do mheas féachaint an ag dul chun cinn atáimid nó a mhalairt. Dar ndó, nuair chuirimid chun an gnó san a dhéanamh, is ceart dúinn é dhéanamh chomh beacht cruinn agus is féidir linn agus gan ligint dár ndearcadh poilitíochta ná dár gclaonadh aigne chur isteach orainn. Admhuím áfach, nach fuiriste é sin a dhéanamh nuair a thuiteann sé amach [243] go mbíonn an duine i bhfus ag iarraidh an lámh uachtair d'fháil ar an bhfear thall agus vice versa. Mar sin féin, tá dualgas fé leith orainne, comhaltaí an tSeanaid a tuigtear atá saor, nó leathshaor, go h-áirithe, ó chungas na poilitíochta aghaidh a thabhairt ar an gnó so go ciallmhar agus breith a thabhairt ar obair an Rialtais maidir le rialú na tíre i gcúrsaí cultúir agus oideachais, i gcúrsaí eacanamaíochta agus sóisialacha agus mar sin de. Mar aon leo san uile agus bhféidir níos tábhachtaí ná iad san uile, tá ceist na síochána sa tír agus is mór againn an cheist í. Is cúis sásaimh dúinn go bhfuil síocháin sa tír againn agus gura fada mar sin é, pé Rialtas dár gcine a bheidh i mbun cúrsaí, mar is maith atá a fhios againn ná bíonn rí ná rath ar aon tír ná bíonn síocháin bunaithe inti de réir toil na ndaoine.

Maidir leis an méid caiteachais atá beartaithe ag an Rialtas i gcóir na bliana airgeadais seo atá fé mheas againn, tá níos mó ná stracfhéachaint tugtha againn ar na breiseanna atá leagtha amach agus dá gcuirtí ar mo choinsias mé ní fhéadfainn méar a leagadh ar aon ceann acu a déarfainn ba cheart laghdú a dhéanamh air— talamhaíocht, na seirbhísí sóisialacha, oideachas, rialtas áitiúil, cuartaíocht. Siad san gan amhras na seirbhísí is tábhachtaí agus na seirbhísí go mbímíd go léir ag iarraidh cur leo, nó ba cheart dom a rá, ag áiteamh ar an Rialtas cur leo ar mhaithe leis an náisiún. Chím, leis, go bhfuil breis bheag airgid le cur ar fáil don Ghaeltacht le haghaidh scoláireachtaí don Ghaeltacht, tithe sa Ghaeltacht agus mar sin de agus dar ndó, is caiteachas é sin go bhfuil a lán againn toilteanach seasamh leis agus é mholadh ar son na teangan agus lucht labharta na teangan sa Ghaeltacht.

I have listened to the speeches from the opposite benches on this Central Fund Bill and, while some of them could be regarded as constructive, I fear that the same cannot be said about others of them. It is extraordinary, when we have a task like this to perform, namely, to examine the amount of expenditure proposed [244] for the coming financial year, that we cannot do so without letting political affiliations run away with us.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  The Senator has his tongue in his cheek when saying that.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  I have listened to Senator Fitzpatrick last night and again today. One would imagine from the way he spoke that the country was in a very bad state. He mentioned such things as emigration, the flight from the land, and so on. He painted a very dismal picture about Cavan. He tried to impress upon us that there was emigration from that county and a flight from the land to a degree never known before. If there is such a flow of emigration and such a flight from the land as he says, one would be justified in coming to the conclusion that economic conditions there are not good but it is a strange thing that in the last general election — and it is not too long since the last general election — Cavan was one of the counties that gave Fianna Fáil two seats out of three.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  There was a reason for that — there was, indeed.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  The reason was that they voted Fianna Fáil.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  It would appear from that that the ordinary people of Cavan are quite satisfied with the policy of the Government because otherwise they would not have given them two seats out of three.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  They got two by the skin of their teeth.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  It was no mean achievement under proportional representation to get two seats out of three. We can take the Senator's description of the frightful conditions in Cavan with a grain of salt. He told us last night about the way in which small farmers as well as other people were closing their doors, abandoning their homes and flying to England. He said that to his knowledge three families had closed their doors, abandoned their homes and gone to England but he did not tell us when that took place. That could have [245] taken place a few years ago because I remember we had a debate in this House on the question of emigration when the Coalition Government were in office and I pointed out to them then that there were families in a certain part of the country with which I am acquainted leaving their homes and going to England at that time and the then Minister for Industry and Commerce had no remedy.

Now, these people stand up and try to impress upon us that it is only now that there is a tide of emigration from this country. The incidence of emigration at present is not as great as it was. I do not want to go into this in any detail because it has been ably dealt with by the Minister and by the Taoiseach in the Dáil.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Can they explain the census figures?

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  The Taoiseach, in the Dáil, quite recently, gave statistics to show that emigration at present is not as great as it has been. The situation is improving as regards emigration and we have now reached a position in which the natural growth in the population equates the amount of emigration taking place.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Could the Senator quote the figures, please?

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  I need not quote the figures. They are there to be seen.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Read them.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  As the Senator is so anxious to get the figures, I shall give them. There are no absolutely reliable statistics for emigration because, as has been pointed out, people go into the Six Counties and come back again; there is a passage of people through the Six Counties and that cannot be accounted for. But, on the basis of the movement of people to and from England by sea and by air, the figure of emigration for 1955/56 was 44,000 and for 1961, 27,000 — 17,000 fewer.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Does the Senator accept the census?

[246]Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  These are the figures I have for emigration. These are the statistics given in the Dáil quite recently, last week or whatever time it was.

Senator Fitzpatrick also referred to the monstrous expenditure for which this Government are responsible. “Monstrous expenditure”. That, of course, was a sweeping statement. Other people also, people in Dáil Éireann, colleagues of the Senator's, members of the same Party, launched an attack on the Government on account of this expenditure, but did any single one of them point a finger to any item of expenditure that could be done away with or reduced? Not at all.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I did not criticise the expenditure. I criticised the return received for the money spent.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  I admit that it is very important entirely to ascertain to what purposes the money is being put. It is at least as important if not more important to find out how the money is to be utilised than the size of the bill. There is no doubt about that but here again we have the items. The Minister for Finance was good enough to circulate a table which gives the items of expenditure that are to be increased and the items that are to be decreased and among those items to be increased is agriculture. There is an increase of £3.5 million there.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  A decrease.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  An increase of £3.5 million for agriculture. Is there any Senator here who will have the hardihood to stand up and tell us that is too much for the farmers of the country? On the contrary.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  It might not be spent like the £250,000 for marketing.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  Have we not been told by economists that we are not spending enough on agriculture, enough to improve the quality of the land, enough to make fertilisers, lime and so on cheap for the farmers to purchase so as to improve the fertility of their land? Is it not for that purpose as well as for the purpose of bringing technical instruction within reach of the farmers [247] that this increase is included in the Estimates for the coming financial year? We have heard from other speakers opposite and from members of the Fine Gael Party in the Dáil about the plight of the farmers and, of course, they are showing great sympathy with the farmers now. We were told by Senator Fitzpatrick here last night that the present leader of the Fine Gael Party was a wonderful Minister for Agriculture. He must think, of course, that we have very short recollections because one of the first things he did when he took office was to slash the price of wheat without rhyme or reason and without consulting any section of the farmers. That amounted to 12/6d.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  It is less today.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  That was the first action of the Minister for Agriculture and his second—there were others but I am talking about the major operations for which he was responsible——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  The British market is gone and gone for ever, thanks be to God.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  How did he stand by the dairy farmers? He made a serious attempt to cut the price of milk delivered to the creameries. He told them they should be prepared to accept a shilling a gallon for their milk and that for five years. When he made these decisions, did he make any attempt to consult the farmers? He did not want any consultation with the farmers because we remember one time when the farmers tried to send a deputation to him he would not receive them, sent them about their business and said they were racketeers and Fianna Fáil racketeers at that.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Give us one of those quotations.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  The Minister who directed the affairs of the Department of Agriculture for three years during the Coalition period——

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Trebled exports in any case.

[248]Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  I am not going into all the details of these increases, but there is also an increase of £3 million for education and that in my view is right and proper. We in this country regard education as very important. We also regard the building of new schools and the renovation of old schools when new ones cannot be built as very important and the money has to be found for all that. I am very glad to say — and all of us are very glad to be able to say — that the rate of building schools at the present time is much in excess of what it has been for years.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  The same as houses.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  The building programme being carried out at the present time by the Fianna Fáil Government is far ahead of anything that has taken place so far.

There is an increase of £1.4 million for social services. Nobody will find fault with that. I have not heard any Senator finding fault with it nor did any Opposition speaker in the Dáil. There is an increase of £1.2 million for Post and Telegraphs, an increase of £1.6 million for the Army and the Garda Síochána; an increase of £1 million for industrial promotion, that is money to be given to the Industrial Development Authority for the inauguration of industrial projects; there is an increase for tourism of £.3 million. That will be money well spent because we all believe that tourism should be encouraged more and more. When we spend money on tourism we are backing a sure winner. There is no doubt about that, especially when we know that last year we got a return from tourism of something in the region of £42 million and the tourist industry, in my opinion, is capable of better and further expansion.

All these increases I have mentioned — I could mention more but these are the major increases — amount to about £12 million or most of the increase in the Bill we have before us today. On top of that, of course, there is the increased remuneration for all the State servants. Nobody here [249] has blamed the Government for accepting the awards that came as a result of conciliation and arbitration to these public servants: teachers, Gardaí, the Army, Civil Servants and so on. All of these are as much entitled to increases as the people engaged in commercial pursuits. Therefore, if there is to be criticism of the Government for the amount of expenditure, we should expect those who criticise us to show exactly why this item of expenditure should not be there, why that item should not be there, and so on.

Having listened to Senator McGuire last evening, I must say he made what I consider to be a very constructive speech. There is one point on which I should be inclined to disagree. He said that it was the duty of the Government to keep control over expenditure and to resist the claims of people outside. Of course, there is no doubt about that; it goes without saying that it is the duty of the Government; but if there are people in the Opposition who criticise the expenditure, it is also their duty to show how expenditure should be cut down.

Mr. Carton: Information on Victor Carton  Zoom on Victor Carton  You will have the Opposition joining the Government yet.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  If there are members of the Opposition who are critical of the Government because of the amount of expenditure they find necessary to keep the services of the State going, then a duty devolves on those who criticise to show exactly where economies could be effected.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  You are in Government. We told you why the Government should not be there.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  I am quite satisfied the Government are doing a good job. They put the Programme for Economic Expansion before the people and at that time, they said they expected there would be an increase of two per cent. in national production. It is very gratifying to know that their expectations were not alone fulfilled but very much exceeded. As was pointed out to us, there has been an increase of five per cent. If the Government keep on that course, then in [250] a couple of years, there will be an even brighter picture to show to the people.

The policy of the Government has been praised by people engaged in the commercial life of the country, people who had no political axe to grind. Their statements appeared in the newspapers for everybody to read. I do not intend to read them now. They have said the policy of the Government is proving itself and that the Government's ambition to have productivity increased is being realised. They said that and they are perfectly right.

The standard of living here is as high as in most parts of Europe. We hope that the people will continue to enjoy that standard but we know that to keep up that standard, productivity will also have to be kept up and probably increased still further. If there are certain politicians who find fault with the position as it is, it is up to them to show us exactly how the position can be improved. It is extraordinary how the ideas and outlook of politicians change when they go from one side of the House to the other.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Hear, hear!

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  When Fine Gael were the dominant Party in the Coalition Government, they had nothing for anyone. They had nothing for the farmers and very little for the recipients of social welfare, but now that they are out of office, they are prepared to scatter largesse between all sections of the community. In other words, Fine Gael in office are a totally different proposition from Fine Gael out of office. We know that from experience.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  We gave you the Land Reclamation Scheme which is sneered and jeered at.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  They talk about the plight of farmers now and they refer to the farmers' organisation and to the farmers' demands on the Government, which of course the farmers are perfectly entitled to make and one would imagine from what Fine Gael speakers say that they are the [251] champions of the farmers and were always the champions of the farmers. Everybody knows they were nothing of the sort. The farmers themselves know it. They are intelligent enough to know who are their friends and who are their enemies.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  It would not appear so from the last election.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  It would appear so from the last election and it will appear much more clearly after the next election.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Roscommon, Meath, Cork.

Mr. Carton: Information on Victor Carton  Zoom on Victor Carton  There is no question about the next election. That will be a swan song.

Éamon Ó Ciosáin: Information on Eamon Kissane  Zoom on Eamon Kissane  Mar fhocal scoir, is dóigh liom go bhfuil muintir na tíre lán-tsásta le cuspóir an Rialtais. Tá cúrsaí na tíre ag dul ar aghaidh go maith agus má leantar mar sin, beidh toradh obair an Rialtais le feiscint i gceann cúpla bliain eile. Molaim-se an obair atá ar siúl acu agus tá sé le moladh ag muintir na tíre ar fad.

Tomás Ó Maoláin: Information on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Zoom on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  I wonder, Sir, before we continue, would you inform Senator L'Estrange, who seems to have been demoted, and Senator Fitzpatrick that we can conduct the debate in a calm, civilised manner, as we have been doing up to this, but that if this sniping continues, two can play at it.

Mr. Carton: Information on Victor Carton  Zoom on Victor Carton  Senator L'Estrange has not been demoted.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  In reply to Senator Ó Maoláin, might I say that last night, in his absence, I made what was virtually a maiden speech in the midst of a barrage of interruptions from the Minister and everybody else on that side of the House.

Mr. Brosnahan: Information on Sean Brosnahan  Zoom on Sean Brosnahan  Tá sé deachair domh-sa labhairt faoin mBille seo, ós rud é go raibh baint agam le cúrsaí eadrána agus idir-réitigh maidir le tuarastal na múinteoirí náisiúnta.

Is mór an bhreis atá a chur leis an [252] Meastachán le haghaidh oideachais, ach sé mo thuairim go mbeidh gá le níos mó a chaitheamh ar oideachas ins na blianta atá le teacht.

Bíodh is go bhfuair na múinteoirí breis ní dóigh liom go bhfuil siad sásta fós.

I find it rather difficult to speak on this Bill for the reason that I was individually responsible to a certain extent for adding a considerable sum to it in my capacity as a member of the arbitration council for teachers' salaries. The second largest item in the Estimates is an increase of £3,000,000 for education. I intend to approach this question in a very objective way because, like Senator Stanford, I represent a vocational group and I want to try to steer my way as carefully as possible between inter-Party interests.

The Seanad should be a body which should look objectively at the various aspects of national economy and treat our problems objectively because they are problems which affect the entire community. They are matters which affect the whole nation, especially at this very vital juncture in our existence. We should try to get away from the type of debate of which we had some experience and get together as people elected by the people to see what we can do for the betterment of the nation and the people who sent us here.

It is true that this is a record bill but I shall forecast that next year we will have another record bill and the one after that will be another record bill because that is the history of the depreciation in the value of money. If you throw your minds back to the story of the Good Samaritan finding the man on the side of the road between Jerusalem and Jerico, you will remember that he brought him to an inn and it is a source of great amusement to children to hear that taking out two pennies he gave them to the innkeeper to keep the injured man and said that he would on his return pay him any extra expense incurred. Children laugh at the idea that the man found by the wayside could be kept for two pennies. Such is a history of the depreciation of money down along the line.

[253] Side by side with that, of course, you have the increase in public expenditure. There has, over the past hundred years or so, been a very considerable change in the attitude towards public expenditure from the time when the policy was of restricted public expenditure and the neglect of large sections of the community. Over the past hundred years you have had a more egalitarian approach, spreading out money to give more people a better chance. That is the situation you will have to face. If the bill is large this year it will be larger next year because if we go into the Common Market — I do not like mentioning this matter because I believe it is verboten here— you will have to tackle the question of equal pay and a revision of the educational system to bring it into line with other systems. If you envisage the abolition of the Border you will have to agree that it is time there was an inter-Party statement of national policy on what we are going to do to maintain the advantages enjoyed by people in the North of Ireland by way of free places in schools, free secondary education and university education practically free. All books and equipment are given free in primary schools. There will have to be a statement of attitude towards that situation. That should not come from any one Party. It should be at inter-Party level, expressing the attitude generally of the people this side of the Border towards the advantages enjoyed by people in the Six Counties in the field of education.

The bill next year will be even bigger still, but that is, as Senator Professor O'Brien said yesterday, the history of public expenditure. It is not a phenomenon confined to this country. It is the experience in many countries throughout the world. In the estimated increase of £16.6 million we have been told that £1¾ millions need not be taken into account but we will have to meet about £14.9 million extra. Judging from the way the taxation net is drawing in considerable amounts, that will be met so I do not think there is any great cause for alarm in the suggested increase in expenditure over the coming year.

It is a well-known law of economics [254] that governments tend constantly to assume new functions and perform old ones more carefully, and this involves nations in considerable increasing expenditure. A thing which has to be looked after, however — and the point was raised by Senator Professor O'Brien in his very constructive speech yesterday — is that in relation to public expenditure one must keep an eye on the level of taxation and the level of debt. These are the two main things which I hope the Government will watch when bringing in the Budget— the level of taxation so that it will not reach beyond the safe level of 25 per cent. set out by Colin Clarke, and the level of debt. The amount of money we pay for the service of debt at the present time is dangerously high, but I think the Government will have the wisdom to look after that aspect of our economy.

There was a welcome announcement in the Minister's statement that he is going to do something for pensioners. We all have a social obligation to our pensioners, and a civilisation is judged largely by the way it treats old people. If we disregard those people who have suffered immensely because of the depreciation in money over the past few years and neglect them, we would be doing them a great injustice. We are bound morally in conscience to see that, as far as possible within our economy, the purchasing power of their pensions should be equated to what it was when they left the service. I am speaking on behalf of national teachers when I mention that many people who retired when their pensions equalled half of their salaries, now in relation to the present level of salaries and purchasing power, those pensions have been reduced to one-third. That is completely unjust and is a vote of no confidence in the services these people have given to the nation. We should in fairness, justice and duty see, as we are morally bound to, that as far as possible those pensions are brought up to their proper level so that they will regain their purchasing power.

There is one thing which I certainly deplore which has been going on for the past few years throughout the country, not alone during the present [255] régime of the Fianna Fáil Government but also during the inter-party Government. That is the spreading of gloom through the country, the talk about our being sunk, that we just cannot make the grade as a nation, that we are beaten by emigration and are being wiped out. It is about time that we turned round and faced in the opposite direction, because we are at a very important crossroads in the history of our country, and if we face into the situation considering that we are beaten before we begin there will be disastrous effects. There is an old Latin dictum posse quia posse videntur—those things are possible which seem to be possible. Like a young lad doing a problem, if he says before beginning that he cannot do it he will never do it. But if he faces into the problem with courage and determination and sets about it with a feeling of confidence that he can do the job he will do it. He may fail to complete it but he will make a better shot at it than if he faced into it with no confidence. As a nation we should on every side of this and the other House get together and face up to the very large task which lies ahead. Whilst it is very nice to indulge in political sniping as between one Party and another we should realise that we all have a very great obligation placed on us at this juncture. Looking at the political situation of this nation, many people who have no connection with politics feel convinced that there will be a period of great political instability for ten or fifteen years, because looking at the present state of the Parties, suppose you had an election tomorrow morning——

Acting Chairman (Professor Stanford): Information on William Bedell Stanford  Zoom on William Bedell Stanford  The Senator will keep in mind that it is expenditure policy we are discussing.

Mr. Brosnahan: Information on Sean Brosnahan  Zoom on Sean Brosnahan  We have to face up to certain aspects of our economy and I feel that we can deal with them in a kind of supra-Party way. I am leading to that, and speaking as one not connected with any political Party. If you had an election in the morning you might have a little shift here and there but the overall picture would be [256] much the same, and if you repeated the performance three years after, it would be still much the same. There is rumour that the farmers may come into politics which would lead to further fragmentation of the entire elected groupings in the Dáil and Seanad.

Because of that and because of the serious position facing the nation on the road ahead, certain aspects of our economy should be treated as being above politics — such a matter as unemployment, which is of course almost synonymous with emigration. That can only be tackled with the goodwill of every side. A group representative of all those in this House and the Dáil should get together with an advisory group drawn from industry, farming, advertising, marketing and so on to see in what way they can engage in land reclamation and exploitation and also in the establishing of new industries. It is only through the establishment of new industries you can create greater employment and stem emigration. From that greater employment, you will have the sequence of higher national income and, paradoxically enough, lower taxation.

We should examine certain aspects of our economy on a non-political basis. With the help, maybe, of vocational people here, we might table a motion that certain stated aspects of our economy should be dealt with in that way for the betterment of the nation. We should not adopt an attitude of gloating and criticism as one Party scores a little point here and another Party another little point there, as a result of victory or defeat in relation to a certain policy. We must come together as a nation and do the best we can for our people.

Mr. McGlinchey: Information on Bernard McGlinchey  Zoom on Bernard McGlinchey  When opening the debate here yesterday, Senator McGuire made a special plea for constructive criticism. He deplored a destructive critic. I considered his sentiments very noble indeed, and was foolish enough to think that his colleagues would pay attention to him. However, the Senator from Cavan, Senator Fitzpatrick, made a speech that was not only destructive but unrealistic. He painted a picture of [257] dismal gloom, of utter despair, of a nation going backwards instead of forwards, of a nation approaching bankruptcy. Senator Fitzpatrick is a lawyer and he sometimes is obliged to make a case when he has nothing to go on.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  He has plenty to go on now.

Mr. McGlinchey: Information on Bernard McGlinchey  Zoom on Bernard McGlinchey  I am sure Senator L'Estrange will be given ample opportunity to speak before this debate closes. Senator Fitzpatrick is also a keen drama enthusiast. His performance here yesterday was superb.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I shall pick the Senator for my next play.

Mr. McGlinchey: Information on Bernard McGlinchey  Zoom on Bernard McGlinchey  Listening to him, I could not help thinking that if bold Hanrahan were here, he would surely say “We'll all be ruined before the year is out.” But is the picture really so bad as we are led to believe? Senator Fitzpatrick based his arguments on the fact that the estimates for the coming year have been increased by ten per cent. He gives as an example the businessman who spends more than he can earn and faces bankruptcy. That may be quite so; but the businessman who invests more money in his business to increase production and have greater efficiency will not go bankrupt. He will prosper.

That is exactly what the Government are doing in this Book of Estimates. Practically the entire increase is being used to increase production. It is being devoted to agriculture, tourism, industry, the social services and the eighth round wage increase. Senator Fitzpatrick had the audacity to question the policy of the Minister for Finance.

Mr. Carton: Information on Victor Carton  Zoom on Victor Carton  We are becoming melodramatic now.

Mr. McGlinchey: Information on Bernard McGlinchey  Zoom on Bernard McGlinchey  Let me say to Senator Fitzpatrick that we have very long memories. We do not forget so easily the bleak winter of 1956-57. We do not forget the circumstances which led to the departure of the Coalition Government. We do not forget the [258] occasion when they deserted the ship. Listening to Senator Fitzpatrick, one would get the impression that he and Fine Gael could do better than the Minister for Finance. But they had an opportunity in 1957 and, rather than face that Budget, they resigned. No one asked them to resign. Their term of office did not expire for two years. Why then did they leave?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Why did Fianna Fáil leave in 1933 after one year?

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  But they came back again.

Mr. McGlinchey: Information on Bernard McGlinchey  Zoom on Bernard McGlinchey  We cannot easily forget the financial state of this country when the Minister went to the Department of Finance in 1957. Like Old Mother Hubbard, he found the financial cupboard bare. Now, in the very short time of five years, he is able to give extra boosts to agriculture, tourism and industry. The tourist industry is of particular importance to this country. Year after year, the earnings are increased. Every section, including the farmers, benefit from tourism. This year, it is proposed to increase the allocation of money for that purpose.

The anxiety of foreign industrialists to build factories here is a vote of confidence in the stability of the Government. In my own town, a factory opened two weeks ago; 12 miles away a factory will open in a month's time; and 40 miles further on there is another factory in course of construction. This is as a result of Fianna Fáil's policy to bring industry to this country. It is now proposed to provide an extra £1,000,000 for this purpose.

Listening to Fine Gael speakers and members of the NFA, one would get the impression that agriculture is the stepchild of Fianna Fáil. Senator Fitzpatrick made a passionate speech about the flight from the land. It is quite true that in rural Ireland many people are leaving the land, but it is wrong to think that this is due entirely to their inability to earn a living from it. The tendency among our young people to-day is to get off the land [259] and work in the towns and cities of this country or, in some cases, abroad.

Many people leave the land today because the social conditions do not compare with those enjoyed by their cousins in the towns and cities of this country. Twenty years ago social amenities were considered luxuries in rural Ireland, but today the provision of proper water and sewerage facilities is no longer looked upon as a luxury but as an absolute vital necessity. The modern young girl, with her secondary or technical school education, refuses to marry and settle down in the primitive conditions that have existed in parts of rural Ireland. This is a very important factor in the flight from the land. What are the Government doing about it?

They are doing everything about it. An ambitious programme has been announced under which, within the next ten years, it is hoped that water and sewerage facilities will be made available to as many homes as possible in the country. There are, of course, people who oppose this programme and to those I would point out that we are living in an era of progress. People living in rural Ireland deserve the same social amenities as urban dwellers and the Fianna Fáil Government will provide them with those facilities. In this Book of Estimates, more money is being provided for the Bovine Tuberculosis Scheme. In the Dáil, Deputy Booth stated that the Coalition Government retarded that scheme in 1954.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  They started it.

Mr. McGlinchey: Information on Bernard McGlinchey  Zoom on Bernard McGlinchey  Like myself, Deputy Booth is not a farmer but he had his facts right. The scheme began in 1954 and for three years it was muddled by the Coalition Government. Tests were carried out in certain areas. One farmer had his stock tested while his neighbour had not. Reactors were left on the farms and farmers were allowed to sell those reactors in the open market and had no call to state that they were, in fact, reactors. That was the policy of the Coalition Government in respect of the Bovine [260] Tuberculosis Scheme. It was not until a Fianna Fáil Government returned to office that the first five areas were cleared in a very short time. I defy contradiction of what I say in this respect. I speak as a member of a family of veterinary surgeons.

Several Senators have referred to the marches that have been taking place in this country in recent months and curiously enough Senator Fitzpatrick compared them with the marches in the early 1930's. We know what the policy of those marchers was and is he now suggesting that today's marchers have a similar policy? In 1960-61 farmers in this country paid £7,750,000 in rates on agricultural land out of a total of £22,000,000 paid altogether. At the same time, they paid £250,000 in income tax out of a total of £28,000,000 in all. The farmers contributed in 1960-61 £8,000,000, but in this year £36,000,000 is being provided for the farming population. These figures alone suggest that it is an utter fallacy to say that agriculture is the step-child of Fianna Fáil.

By increasing the Estimates this year, the Government are preparing this country for entry into the new Europe. If we are to satisfy the EEC that we are in a position to fulfil the obligations of the Treaty of Rome, greater efficiency and increased production are required. Senator Fitzpatrick asked what the Fianna Fáil policy in this respect was. It is to increase production and improve efficiency. The Book of Estimates indicates quite clearly that Fianna Fáil are tackling this problem quite well.

In this crucial period in our history it is essential that the morale of our people should be at its highest if we are to satisfy the other European countries in the Common Market that we are capable of fulfilling our obligations. We must make them realise that an Irishman is as good as any man and that he is capable of producing goods and commodities as well as anybody in any country.

Since Fianna Fáil came into office in 1932, Fine Gael have opposed every worthwhile programme introduced. It appears from the pattern of Senator Fitzpatrick's speech that [261] they intend to continue doing just that. The Vote on Account can be responsible for discussions of a varying nature, some of them quite irrelevant, and I would in conclusion like to refer to a speech made in the Dáil by Deputy McGilligan during the debate on the Vote on Account. For reasons best known to himself he alluded to a letter written by me in connection with a Fianna Fáil bazaar. I do not know what that had to do with the Vote on Account.

Acting Chairman:  The Senator will understand it is a rule of this House that we do not comment by name on Deputies in the other House.

Mr. McGlinchey: Information on Bernard McGlinchey  Zoom on Bernard McGlinchey  If that speaker could persuade his colleagues in the same Party in Donegal to run similar bazaars they might be able to pay not only their expenses in the last general election but in the four general elections before that.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  They have not got secret service funds like other people.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Did the Senator get some of those?

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  In rising to speak in this debate I shall pick out a few facts and try to probe what the Government's policy is in regard to them — the policy as revealed, as far as we can judge, in the Book of Estimates. I must begin with the Vote for the Universities. At the outset, I must say it is heartening that the Government have at last made a start on facing up to the requirements of the Universities because for almost 50 years the universities were left without any significant capital addition while universities in all other countries boomed and expanded and have been recognised as the main forward force in any forward-looking country.

We are thankful a start has been made but we hope that start will not be confined to our capital city. We hope it will be recognised that there are such places as the provinces. We hope our very legitimate requirements in Cork and also in our sister College in Galway will be met because [262] we work in conditions which are not comparable even with those in Ghana.

Having said that, I must criticise very sharply the short-sighted policy of the Government in their approach to the current staffing and running of our universities.

The Estimates are a severe jolt inasmuch as they leave out the very minute expansionist policy which was in being in the past three years and under which there was a recognised additional sum, almost a token sum, for University College, Cork, with similar sums for the other colleges, of something around £10,000 per annum. At least, it recognised the necessity for a staff expansion and modernisation.

What do we find in the Book of Estimates? We find that the National University has been given an increase of 18 per cent. which, when considered in the light of the fact that public funds provide two-thirds of the income of our universities, means that unless we raise students' fees, which we are very reluctant to do and which will be strongly opposed by hard-pressed parents, the net increase is just 12 per cent.

Already, most of our technical staff, technicians, and so on, have received awards far greater than that. Therefore, with what is being provided, I think it is impossible to give even to the statutory staff the increase that has been given to all the State employees here, the increase that is just cushioning those receiving it for the round of inflation that will inevitably follow. It is not that we are being given a 12 per cent. increase because I am certain that, within 12 months, most of it will be eaten up in inflation.

In analysing the picture, we find real reasons to congratulate Trinity College, Dublin, on succeeding in getting a 50 per cent. increase on their grant of the previous year. Some of that was put down for repairs to buildings. I can assure the Minister and the House that our problems in Cork for repairs and buildings are no less pressing than those in other [263] universities. Yet we can read in the Book of Estimates that only Trinity College, Dublin, has been given a 50 per cent. increase.

Even if you rule out that increase for repairs, which we have to meet, in any case, it still leaves an increase of 33? per cent. I do not say that grudgingly. I should like to learn the secret from Trinity College, Dublin, of how they achieved this — or is it that the nearer you are to Dublin, the better chance you have of getting it?

We have to look at our whole university system in contrast with that of the nearest university to us, Queen's University, Belfast. We have to recognise that, as well as having a political Border in this country, we have an educational border, a border that is probably a bigger barrier to unification than the political Border. We find that Queen's University, Belfast, with 3,500 students, is receiving a greater yearly assessment from the Government than our whole National University, with double that number of students. In short, the cost per student here is somewhere around £150, while in Belfast it is £300, and that figure is not excessive. It is actually an average figure for the whole British system.

Can the Minister name any other single body in this country — industrial or institutional — capable of doing a job at half the amount the job costs in either the Six Counties or in England? I should like to know the Government's policy in this connection. We talk about Partition and we picture it ending. If it ended in the morning, what is our policy on education? Are the North to have to come down to the totally inadequate levels which we have in the Twenty-six Counties? I think the academic people in Queen's University, Belfast, would fight very strongly if they were subject to a reduction in their standards which would prevent them from doing the job that a modern university must do.

I should like to hear the Minister outline his policy in this connection. I should be glad if the Minister and the Government would at least set a target and say: “We cannot next year increase you up to levels in Queen's.”[264] In fact, we could not absorb an increase next year that means the provision of additional staff which, in itself, is a relatively slow and long-term project.

I want the Government to say they will do it in, say, ten years and match the building programme being put up in ten years, progressively increasing the standards of all the universities here. Then we can say that the universities are prepared for the unification of the country, that parity has been achieved between standards here and in the Six Counties.

We are not asking for special conditions for ourselves in making that request. We are asking only for facilities that other countries deem absolutely necessary so that the university can play its proper rôle in the full development of the country. All the speakers here have painted a picture of our being a forward-looking, dynamic, progressive nation, ready to join the Common Market, and so on. If we are, we must recognise that Western Europe owes its greatness to the way it has developed the mind of its people, the skill conveyed to them, manually and otherwise. If we join, we must ensure that our people will get the same standards.

It is a high tribute to our universities that our graduates can compare so favourably with those from highly-endowed universities. That cannot continue indefinitely. Year after year, the gap is growing wider. The real expansion in university facilities has taken place since the last War and we have scarcely heard about that expansion yet. Consequently, I am putting it to the Minister to see that something is done about this matter. I have figures before me to show——

Acting Chairman:  The Senator will understand that he may not go into details.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  I am summarising.

Acting Chairman:  The Senator will understand that they are more suitable for the Appropriation Bill.

[265]Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  I have this paper here——

Acting Chairman:  It depends on what the Senator says, not on what he looks at.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  These figures show that in the past 15 years university income here has increased 400 per cent. That takes account only of inflation and a very moderate increase in expansion. That is for the National University system. However, the figure in respect of Trinity College, Dublin, has increased 750 per cent. I wonder how Trinity College, Dublin, succeeded in doing that? I hope we can learn the secret.

I was somewhat disturbed by Senator Stanford's talk yesterday about discrimination. By and large, I think the Government have met the problem of Trinity College, Dublin, very fairly. If any universities can claim to be discriminated against, I think it is the two provincial university colleges in Cork and Galway whose income has not kept pace with that of the others and who are finding it very difficult to cope with the situation at present.

Of necessity, our classes are smaller than the classes in the very much larger universities in this city. Consequently, the cost per student has to be somewhat higher, unless you say that some subjects such as archaeology should close down in our universities. Even that means that we cannot mass-produce our graduates. Therefore, again, the standard has been laid where, with the present round of wage increases, a professorship in Cork or Galway is remunerated at the level of that of a senior lecturer in a university here. That is a situation that is plain discrimination unless the Government state as definite policy that these colleges should be treated as junior colleges and that it wishes to concentrate everything in this city.

Again, we have a very real case of discrimination practised against Maynooth College which is our greatest jewel today. I can speak from firsthand knowledge of the wonderful research work that is being carried [266] out there under simply appalling conditions without clerical help or any of the facilities which should be provided. Yet, their grant stands at the same level as it did ten years ago.

Acting Chairman:  I hesitate to interrupt the Senator again but he must not go into details of the Estimates.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  I take it that “without clerical help” in the Maynooth context means “without the help of clerks”?

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Yes.

Acting Chairman:  The Senator will understand that this is a debate on general policy and if we get into details we shall not be able to finish.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Surely general financial policy, if it means anything, means how the Government are cutting the loaf and sharing it out? This is our opportunity to show that the Government are being unfair to a certain section of the community. I give the example of Maynooth College. Why has its grant not been increased? If £20,000 is fair for them today, it was much too generous ten years ago. Yet we find, in today's context, that £20,000 is just what it costs to——

Acting Chairman:  The Senator will excuse me interrupting him but I must insist that he shall not go into details of the Estimates. That is how this debate is going to be conducted.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  It is very difficult to see how I can prove charges of discrimination without giving facts to substantiate them.

Acting Chairman:  The Senator will have an opportunity on the Appropriation Bill, when it will be perfectly in order.

Professor Hayes: Information on Michael Hayes  Zoom on Michael Hayes  Surely it is in order for the Senator who comes from Cork — I do not, I have a different College to be interested in — to discuss the grants UCC gets in the Estimates as distinct from the grants other Colleges get? If he is not entitled to do that, I [267] do not know what he is entitled to discuss.

Acting Chairman:  The understanding I have is that general policy only will be discussed and detailed questions relating to detailed expenditure should be reserved for the Appropriation Bill. I hope the Senator will co-operate. I think the business of the House would be better done if we observe that.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Yes, but under protest. I do not see how the very general conclusions I have drawn and the facts I have given can in any way be described as detailed. I do not think that this is a detail — the muddle that prevails here in veterinary education, a muddle which I feel will be made worse by the new building programme that may go ahead of the report of the Commission of Higher Education because we have two Faculties sharing in the one building. We find that the fact that they produced 36 veterinary surgeons last year cost £200,000 out of State money or as much as it cost to run our University College. I suggest that that should be looked into very carefully.

I want to make a plea here — and I do not think it is a detail — for the neglected College of Surgeons. Again, it has stayed at pre-glacial level with its grant of £4,500. I think it should be either crossed off the books or treated in a proper and adequate way as a unit of our educational system.

There is a lesson to be learned from all those Estimates and the lesson we in the universities feel very strongly is the lack of consultation. When we put in our estimates for what we require to do a reasonable job for the year ahead, we hear nothing more of these estimates until the results appear in the papers. That would be all very well if our other groups were treated in the same way but, as far as I know, I believe that with State companies or State Departments their estimates can be argued back and forth across the table — as they should be — and finally they are given opportunities to justify [268] their figures and to arrive at a mutually satisfactory decision or agreement with the financial authorities.

I think that is why we find that those who are nearest with pressure get the best results and consequently we find that increases to those are higher than the increases to those further removed. For instance, the private agricultural schools and colleges have a mere 2½ per cent increase, 6d. in the £, while the corresponding agricultural schools run by the State have an increase of 16 per cent., omitting, of course, the capital sum for the purchase of land in last year's Estimate. I am not saying that is an over-estimate but I am very definitely saying that 2½ per cent. for our private agricultural schools is almost an insult to the bodies which are doing such a remarkable job for the development of our country.

I might contrast university grants with the increase that is being given to the governing bodies of the Veterinary College. They get a 40 per cent. increase while the others get increases of the order of 17 per cent. or 18 per cent. They show very worthwhile provision for equipment. In other words they had an opportunity to argue their case——

Acting Chairman:  Will the Senator now come to general policy? He has been going into considerable detail.

Professor Quinlan: Information on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Zoom on Patrick Michael Quinlan  Surely it deals with the Government's approach to parcelling out the finances of the year? I am just making a plea that the time has come when there should be a combined committee of the Dáil and Seanad or a committee of the Dáil alone, something that would approximate the Appropriations Committee in the American Senate, where the elected representatives would have to do their duty of going over the Estimates while there were still opportunities to correct anomalies. It would be a very forward step if we got such a committee. We saw how its action in the US recently cut a bill for 100,000,000 dollars to 25,000,000 dollars when it asserted its authority.

Finally, I might say that our staff in the universities, speaking of those [269] that I can see, are fit to hold their own with similar staffs anywhere because all members of this staff have gone abroad to the best graduate schools in England, America and elsewhere and have brought back their degrees with distinction from those places. Universities outside would be eager and willing to snap up those people and appoint them to positions far higher than they hold here.

The older people, those who are settled in for a number of years, are perhaps tied here but we are finding it increasingly difficult to attract back to our country the younger trained scientists. Unless we can bring them back there is little hope of getting the dynamic approach we need for the future. Many of us are seriously worried about the difficulties of bringing back such students. In my own department and the allied department of engineering, we have 12 students in training and we are worried as to how to get them placed so that they can make the maximum contribution to our national effort. I would appeal to the Government to set their standards high and not to adopt a penny wise and pound foolish policy. It is pound foolish to take a trained scientist in whose education a great investment has been made, to bring him back and not give him the tools to do the job he is trained to do because you are paying him for sitting down and not producing what he is capable of producing.

I want to draw attention to the down-grading of these private and semi-private bodies. Another body which has been very seriously downgraded and on which our future depends a great deal is the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society. The grant-in-aid to this organisation which represents the spirit of co-operation in this country stands at exactly the same level as it stood ten years ago. I dare not mention the figure — that might be detail — but Senators can check the figure from the Estimate. Surely when we are trying to market agricultural produce, when we are trying to set in motion a new spirit in relation to our farming, the IAOS has a vital role to play? Even though it was by-passed, [270] and wrongly so, in my view, in the setting up of the recent Bord Bainne, the fact remains that it is the body on which the whole of our agricultural development depends and it is the body that must diffuse the co-operative spirit throughout our agriculture. It is that co-operative spirit that will enable our small farms to meet the challenge of the large investment in mechanisation that is necessary in modern agriculture.

I appeal very strongly to the Minister to reconsider the treatment of those bodies and above all, to reconsider the setting up of some type of appropriation committee to ensure that all those presenting claims on the public purse will have an opportunity of proving their claims before a committee that is concerned only with trying to keep an even balance between State and non-State demands. I am not saying that in any spirit of criticism of the present administration or those in charge of our finances. It only stands to reason that if you are trying to share out something that is scarce, those who have the greatest opportunity for pressure, those who are closest in to you and have the best opportunity of arguing their case are those who succeed best. Our immediate requirements for the coming year were three times the increase we were actually given. I do not mind our being treated in that way if other bodies are treated the same way, but when others have an opportunity of putting through their legitimate demands, all bodies should have that opportunity. I make a special plea in the case of the universities because it is not something for ourselves. We want the tools and the equipment to do the job for this country that a modern university can do for a modern state in the modern world.

Mr. Nash: Information on John Joseph Nash  Zoom on John Joseph Nash  The purpose of this debate is to consider Government policy as indicated in the figures before us. The function of the Government is to raise moneys to stimulate production, to give better and more advanced social services and to improve the amenities of the community so far as the public purse can afford it. Those three items can be [271] extended as the people can afford to extend them, and the people can extend them as productivitity increases.

In some respects, the Government have not a completely free hand because there are certain important sections of the community who, by virtue of the right of free bargaining, can make their own arrangements. Employers and trade unionists can fix their own figures to a certain extent and by reason of the figures they fix, we may have a tendency towards inflation or a tendency towards deflation. Over those tendencies the Government have only a limited control. They can control them only within very small limits of taxation. Those figures, however to a great extent bind the Government when they come to prepare their Estimates for the year. They cannot say that our civil servants, our teachers, our Guards, our Army personnel, all other public servants, are not to be rewarded on an even scale. They must reward them on the same basis of a fair day's pay for a fair day's work which already has been arranged between those private bargaining bodies. A very substantial part of the increase in the Estimates is due to this.

It is for us to consider whether or not we think the Government's policy in that respect is correct. I do not think anybody will suggest it was incorrect. That accounts for approximately 45 per cent. of the total increase in the Estimates. We have to consider the remainder of the Estimates in toto. There is no use in saying that it is the biggest increase ever. That is not constructive. What we must consider is whether this bill is one which the people can meet, whether the appropriations in it are such as will stimulate production as production should be stimulated in accordance with the economy of the country, whether the cost of the services provided comes within the limits of our capacity to pay, whether it gives the best social services it can give, and whether it improves the amenities of the people.

I notice that the largest portion of the bill, £39,000,000 goes to the most important section of our community, [272] the farming community. We are primarily and fundamentally, and have been up to the moment, an agricultural country. From 1953 to 1961, I notice that the grants to the farming community have been increased from £13,000,000 to £39,000,000. In that respect, I congratulate the Government. I think that was a very proper increase. There are, however, limits to the extent to which any Government can help the farmers. There are fundamentally only two ways in which one can help them — one, by increasing subsidies and, secondly, by improving their productive capacity. Unfortunately, in this country, and perhaps, unfortunately also, in most of the civilised countries of the world, the trend has been away from the land. Certainly in every country within the European Common Market, that has been and is the trend. The farmer, once he goes outside his own country, is unable to get for his products the cost of production; the nett result is that every country, without exception, in the European Common Market today is granting subsidies to its farmers for export and, when our Government try to find export markets for our farmers, they find themselves faced with that problem. They have to compete with prices which are depressed below the level of production, but they have to compete also with the subsidies given by other Governments. Proportionately to the wealth of our country, our subsidies exceed those of any other country in the European Common Market. There is, too, a limit to the extent to which one can grant subsidies, without doing damage to the farmers themselves.

Senators who take an interest in our agricultural community, as most of us do, even those of us who have been a very short time in public life, are aware that this country got a very sharp rap on the knuckies not so long ago by reason of the size of the subsidies which it gave to the Irish farmers on the export market. The policy of the Government, therefore, in that respect must be to give the Irish farmer the maximum subsidy possible without creating offence, the maximum subsidy which will not prevent our country from being admitted on equal [273] terms to the Common Market, because, as we all know, the Treaty of Rome provides that subsidies cannot be granted ad lib for agricultural exports. That, of course, will mean that the price of farming products will have to be increased to the cost of production. Within those limits, as far as I can see, our Government have gone to the very edge to which they can go, without doing actual harm to the Irish farming community.

The balance of the products which our Irish farmers sell, one way and another, even on the home market are subsidised as to 75 per cent. of them by our Government. On the export markets, one-fifth, or as near as makes no difference, of the price which the Irish farmer gets for his exports is actually paid out of the taxpayer's pocket. We do not begrudge that to the farmers. The Government apparently do not begrudge it to the farmers and, having examined the matter, they presumably are in the best position to judge. But, further, by financial assistance, we cannot assist our farmers, other than by education and by every endeavour possible to get further markets for them.

In this respect, I note the figure provided. A very substantial sum will be expended in the investigating and procuring of further markets. I notice, with pleasure also, that in the boards set up to study the possibility of securing new markets, the Irish farming community is represented. Undoubtedly, the farming community is depressed here. It is depressed everywhere. But, within the limits I have mentioned, that is all any Government can do.

In another way, of course, the Government can help our Irish farmers and our rural community. In the ordinary course of events, a farm of 30, 40 or 50 Irish or statute acres will provide a living for only one child. No farmer can hope to keep his entire family on the land. To absorb the surplus members something further must be done. That is done now by the encouragement of rural industries. In this respect, I am happy to note that the increase in employment in industry in this country is approximately 7,000 per [274] annum. The grant which our Government give towards the fostering and development of these industries is approximately £3,750 per annum. Now, let me say, and I can speak from some experience over the years, as an industrialist, my experience has been that £1,000 to £1,500 capital expenditure on an average is necessary, we have found, for each extra employee. In other words, if you decide in your industry to employ 10 new people in the year, you will find on an average that you have got to expend in capital a sum of from £10,000 to £15,000. For a contribution of some £500 per head, or slightly less, the Government have helped the Irish rural community to absorb into industrial employment an extra 7,000 per annum, thereby providing an outlet for the second, third, and fourth son of the Irish farmer.

May I say that I should like to pay a very sincere tribute to Senator McGuire for his constructive and instructive approach to the examination of these accounts. I should also like —I am referring to them in the order in which they spoke — to pay a very sincere tribute to Senator Murphy. I do not wish to be taken, when I speak about free bargaining, as criticising the trade unions in the eighth round of increases. I have a very considerable experience of trade unions in this country, and of more than one trade union, and I may say for myself— perhaps I was lucky — that my experience of them has been that they are very responsible people.

They do not do things haphazardly. They approach them in an objective way. Sometimes, being a democratic body, they have to take the views of their members who, perhaps, are not as well versed as the officials in the underlying principles and they may have to go beyond the limits of what industry can bear. At least, they have endeavoured in the eighth round increase—and they have made no secret of the fact that that has been their approach — to increase the status of the Irish worker. They said they were increasing that status on the increased productivity of last year, and what they hope will be the increased [275] productivity of next year. It does seem, perhaps, that they have gone a little far, that there has been a certain amount of inflation as a result, and that the country will have to answer for that inflation. On the other hand, there is a possibility, as Senator McGuire pointed out, that with the co-operation which now exists between the employers' federation and the trade unions, we shall get that increased productivity.

For a young country, our increased productivity has been phenomenal, and we are under a debt of obligation, not only to the Government who have sponsored and encouraged that industrial development, and to our employers, private individuals who have sunk their money in it, but also our trade unions and workers. This Bill is far too important and far too serious in the life of the country to be used for political sniping. I should like to pay a sincere tribute to those Senators who have approached it objectively, and I hope that as the years go by, while constructive criticism continues, if our Government, our employers, our workers, our trade unions and our farmers, with one and all in a small community knowing one another, pull together and work together, there is a great future for this young country of ours.

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Timothy McAuliffe  Zoom on Timothy McAuliffe  I should like to congratulate Senator Quinlan for sticking to matters in which he is interested. I, coming from a rural area, will try to deal with the effects of the Government's policy on the rural areas. I am afraid I cannot accede to the request made by Senator Brosnahan in his comments on the painting of dark pictures of rural Ireland today. In my opinion, the picture is indeed very black now.

We in the Labour Party were not shocked by the size of the Estimate, and for that reason, there is a fundamental difference between the attitude of the Fine Gael Party and the attitude of the Labour Party on this matter. The Fine Gael Party believe in taking out the axe, that that is the cure for all ills, but we in the Labour Party are under the impression that [276] more money should be forthcoming under certain headings. We believe that would be of benefit to the country, and that unless more money is available under various headings, we shall not get to the root of the evils, and to the root of our troubles, especially in rural areas.

We believe there should be more money for social services, employment, education and lands and various other Departments. There has been some progress in that direction and it is only natural to expect that there should be increased taxation. That progress has not been as great as some of us were led to believe, because, as Senator Murphy said, the Government give with one hand and take away with the other in the form of income tax. We disagree with the Government's policy with regard to the spending of money collected through taxation. We consider it absolutely ridiculous, for example, to give £5 a week unemployment benefit to a man with a family when he could be usefully employed on the roads, in forestry, in drainage, and various other works, at about £6 10s. or £7 a week, which is the average wage for a rural worker. We believe the gap between what is handed out in social welfare benefits and the actual wage that can be earned should be closed by way of money given in some judicious way, to provide employment or increase productivity, instead of by way of unemployment benefit.

There is too much concentration on Dublin and too little on the rural areas where there is decay and dry rot. Any Government whose policy it is to have one-fifth of the population concentrated in one big city are facing disaster. It happened in another country in Europe. Austria were faced with disaster when they concentrated a great portion of their population at one point. An attempt is being made by the Government to keep people in the undeveloped areas by giving huge grants for industries but it is time the Government asked themselves if that policy has paid any dividends.

In spite of those grants, we find the population is falling, year in and year [277] out, in every county west of the Shannon. Now Monaghan, Cavan and Longford have been included in the undeveloped areas. What I find hard to understand is that these grants are given to keep people in the undeveloped areas, but it is the policy of the Irish Land Commission, when they acquire a farm in Westmeath or Meath as a result of agitation by local uneconomic holders and farmers' sons, to bring people across the Shannon from the areas to which these huge grants are given and give them holdings instead of giving them to the uneconomic holders and farmers' sons in the midlands.

Those farmers' sons have been reared on farms and know how to farm them. Under the present system, if there is no industry in the midlands, as a result of the policy of the Government, they are forced to go to work in industrial concerns in places where they could be described as square pegs in round holes. In my opinion, they are the people who should get the farms. Because of that policy, there are many locked doors, and the NFA hold protest marches throughout rural Ireland.

It is logical, when huge grants are given to the undeveloped areas, that people who know the conditions of farming in the midlands — and particularly farmers' sons — should be entitled to a holding of land as well as people who qualify because they have a couple of acres of land and who could be described as the “baby” of the Land Commission. Westmeath, particularly Mullingar, has lost industry after industry as a result of the haywire policy of the Government in refusing to give the same grants as are given in the undeveloped areas.

I should like to refer to the policy of the Government in allowing foreigners to buy up all the land in Meath and Westmeath. When it is a case of the sale of a 500 or a 600 acre farm it is the dollar or the mark that counts. The Minister should increase the amount given for land so that farms which come on the market could be bought and given to Irish [278] people. The sooner that is done the better.

The greatest problem in rural Ireland today is the absence of job security. Bog workers, farm workers, forestry workers and road workers have no job security. They have a very low standard of living owing to wage rates and instability of employment. The employment is seasonal. If the Government, and particularly the Department of Local Government, would not dicate so much to local authorities as to how money should be expended, a great deal could be done in the provision of employment in the off seasons.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Departmental expenditure does not arise on this Bill.

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Timothy McAuliffe  Zoom on Timothy McAuliffe  I am saying that we should be given a free hand to decide how the money given under this heading should be spent. The inter-Party Government were the only Government that made any attempt to deal with the problem of casual and seasonal employment. They did so under the Local Authorities (Works) Act and gave county councils a free hand to use that money so as to absorb labour during the off season and to provide employment. No man will stay in a job unless he has job security. Job security does not exist for rural workers and the Government have been doing nothing whatsoever about it.

If the Government were to provide schemes to give full employment to rural workers there would be a huge saving in social welfare benefits and people would be employed in productive work such as land drainage, road improvement, forestry and various other useful operations. That could be done for the small difference, in many cases, between the weekly social welfare benefit and a week's wage.

The decrease in the number of farm labourers is a tragedy for rural Ireland. In Westmeath, in 1956, there were 1,595 full-time farm workers. To-day there are 816. That figure is borne out by the fact that there were only [279] 816 claims for rebate of rates in respect of employment last year. Apparently, farmers are unable to pay the miserable wages that a farm worker gets. It is important to remember that within 12 months of the day a farmer dispenses with his labour he is a poor man. He will find that his drains are blocked, his hedges uncut, noxious weeds growing in his fields and his crops not sown or cared for as is done where there is proper husbandry.

It would seem that the small farmer faces annihilation. Unless some system is adopted to save him, I am afraid we will never cure the ills of this country. All politicians that I ever heard, at chapel gates or anywhere else, always said the small farmer was the backbone of the country. No one talks about the small farmer today. He cannot rear his family on his holding and, unless he has some side line, he cannot carry on. In no part of the country was that proved so convincingly as in the midlands where Bord na Móna were operating. Every small farmer in the neighbourhood, by hook or by crook, got a car and travelled 15 to 20 miles to work for Bord na Móna every day and his farm became purely a side line and no longer a means of livelihood for him. Bord na Móna went to the trouble of providing houses. According to last week's paper, they are seeking tenants for these houses because there is no one to go into them. It was thought that they would have to go across the Shannon for extra workers but now they have sufficient labour available in the vicinity. If that state of affairs continues, it cannot be said that there are any prospects for rural Ireland when the small farmer whose father reared a large family on his holding cannot make ends meet.

The small farmers must devise means to reduce overheads. In other words, they must start a co-operative system. There is too much individuality. If Jack Murphy gets a tractor, Paddy Murphy has to get a tractor. That is the cause of the trouble. Farmers should form small groups for the purpose of buying and using [280] machinery. The people who invest money in that machinery should have their work carried out first. There could be a big reduction in overheads under such a scheme, which might make it possible for these people to make ends meet.

People say that the Government are doing nothing about education. Nothing is further from the truth. The colossal total of £20,500,000 for education for the year 1962-63 indicates that the Government are doing quite a lot for education. Again, apparently, if you are in Dublin or in one of the big cities you will get everything you want. The universities are getting what they want.

Mr. Lahiffe: Information on Robert Lahiffe  Zoom on Robert Lahiffe  Not according to Senator Quinlan.

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Timothy McAuliffe  Zoom on Timothy McAuliffe  If one takes a trip to rural Ireland one can see whether the schools there are adequate or not, whether the sanitary accommodation in them is suitable, and whether they are the type of schools we should have in 1962.

The Government this year introduced the Apprenticeship Act. I hold that about three or four years ago every vocational committee in the country should have been warned that the Apprenticeship Act was about to be passed and told what commitments they would have as a result. There are vast rural areas which have no vocational school. The people have no means whatever of getting their children to vocational schools to get their group certificate to qualify as apprentices. The Act was premature, first of all, because if a man buys a bird, surely he buys a cage first and surely we should have provided the schools first.

I agree with Senator Stanford that it is gratifying that the Government have provided a substantial sum for scholarships. He had a reasonable complaint about the position in relation to Dublin Corporation and Dublin County Council but the picture is not exactly as black as he wished to paint it. Scholarships to secondary schools [281] and universities are available to the minority and I do not know of any county outside Dublin where conditions are laid down about what school you go to. They may have good reasons in Dublin but the position regarding Dublin University is ridiculous. The Minister should give consideration to both Dublin Corporation and Dublin County Council because if a person belonging to the minority wins a scholarship and makes application to Dublin County Council to attend the school of his own choice, assuming that is Trinity College, he should be allowed to attend Trinity College. It might be said that the Minister has no function in this matter. The Minister has a function because he gives the money. He provides a vast amount of the money for these scholarships so he should direct how the money should be spent, just as the Minister for Local Government directs us on how the money should be spent in the county councils.

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

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Timothy McAuliffe  Zoom on Timothy McAuliffe  I think I was at the point of dealing with remarks made by Senator Stanford on Scholarships given by Dublin County Council.

Professor Stanford: Information on William Bedell Stanford  Zoom on William Bedell Stanford  On a point of fact: Dublin Corporation, not Dublin County Council.

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Timothy McAuliffe  Zoom on Timothy McAuliffe  The Senator mentioned the county council yesterday.

Professor Stanford: Information on William Bedell Stanford  Zoom on William Bedell Stanford  No; I did not mention the county council yesterday.

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Timothy McAuliffe  Zoom on Timothy McAuliffe  If a person wins a scholarship, he should be in a position to write in and say he wished to go to a certain school and that would obviously be Dublin University. If Dublin Corporation, in their wisdom, operated some restriction, then there should be an exception to that restriction, because we should have no religious discrimination. It is something that should be settled because on the whole we have no complaints in the rest of the country and there should not be any here in relation to Dublin [282] Corporation. This council, if it is not acting in a way that can be described as repugnant to the Constitution, is certainly acting in a way that is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution.

Senator McGlinchey and others raised the point that the Government had increased the grants to Bord Fáilte. We in Westmeath have more reason to complain about the distribution of these grants than any other county. We have the most beautiful lakes in the country.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  The question of distribution does not properly arise.

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Timothy McAuliffe  Zoom on Timothy McAuliffe  We are asked to provide the money in the Estimates for this work and I hold that there should be more equitable distribution.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  The Senator may hold that but he may not discuss it in detail. It would be more properly raised on the Appropriation Bill.

Mr. McAuliffe: Information on Timothy McAuliffe  Zoom on Timothy McAuliffe  We contribute to these funds and should get a fair share of them. We have no access to our lakes, no proper roads or anything else, and I would ask the Minister to ask the Minister responsible to consider giving a fair distribution of grants throughout the country, instead of concentrating on Dublin, Wicklow and Donegal.

I wish to criticise the policy of the Government on expenditure under the Health Act. It is absolutely impossible to find anyone in this country today who is satisfied with the Health Act as it stands. The maintenance fee for insured workers is the cause of quite an amount of trouble and it should be abolished completely. There should be an increase in the health grant, if necessary, to meet that maintenance fee of 10/- per day for insured workers. When a man is ill, he is not earning and that is sufficient reason why he should not be asked to pay maintenance. According to my calculation, an increase in the national health contribution of 2d. would cover the full amount being collected from people insured under National Health. It is worth consideration. This extra 2d. should be added to national [283] health contributions and in that way eliminate this 10/- maintenance fee per day for the middle income group. I am not exactly worried about the increase in taxation, especially if the Government will remember that there are 26 counties to be considered. The major portion of the money should not come to the city of Dublin. Everything comes to the city of Dublin. A new aircraft factory is being built and possibly the Government will provide £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 for that purpose. It is a very good thing but it is still Dublin which is getting it. We are drawing the people away from the rural areas.

I am sorry that I cannot paint a brighter picture of the situation in rural Ireland to-day after 40 years of native Government. Every day I get letters from people looking for work. I got one last night which was typical. Here is an extract from it:

I wonder if you could get him a spell on the roads——

This was written on behalf of another man——

He has nothing but 27/6d. dole and I can assure you he is hungry. He owes £4 cottage rent and he has got the final notice before taking him to court. There is no work with the farmers.

That is typical of the type of letter I get every day. I often get five or six of them. We believe that something must be done by the Government, no matter where the money comes from. They must try to cure the ills of the rural areas, if this country is to be as it should be. I would much prefer to come in here and say that Ireland is a land flowing with milk and honey rather than to have to come in and say that everything is not all right. Everybody living in rural Ireland realises that decay is setting in and that it is getting worse every day.

Tomás Ó Maoláin: Information on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Zoom on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  I wonder, a Chathaoirligh, could we get any indication as to how many others intend to speak so that we can ascertain when the Minister will get in?

[284]Mr. Carton: Information on Victor Carton  Zoom on Victor Carton  We have about four speakers. I am not tying myself precisely but I think the Minister will get in around the time suggested, 9.30 p.m. or so.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  It is understood that the Minister will get in at 9.30 p.m.?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Without tying ourselves.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Approximately 9.30 p.m.

Miss Davidson: Information on Mary Frances Davidson  Zoom on Mary Frances Davidson  This debate is one in which I intervene with trepidation. The huge sums of money being referred to and disposed of create an atmosphere something akin to Wall Street, a place in which I would find myself ill fitted to say anything in regard to higher finance. What I would like to say however, is quite simple. It arises from this table which shows the major increases and decreases compared with the 1961-62 Estimates. This looks to me to be very imprudent housekeeping. It looks like using the housekeeping money on luxury articles, while some of the family are in need of essentials. For instance, take tourism. There is to be an increased expenditure of £359,000. I wonder is it a really good bargain to spend money on attracting tourists here? I wonder, indeed, if it is even necessary. So far as I can judge, we still have our eyes on the very distant lands, America, in the main, for the largest volume of our tourists. Yet we know, with few exceptions, American visitors are people who only come once and are not likely to come back again. That being so, does it really matter how greatly they are impressed with our new rich hotels? Many of us know that a very big volume of Americans who come here do so simply because they have been saving for a lifetime to get the money to come, and others come because years ago they took out an insurance policy which at maturity gives them not a pension for life, not a lump sum, but a holiday. I have seen advertisements for these policies and I have discussed them with visitors, [285] one of whom told me that in no circumstances would the companies give a money payment in lieu of the holiday. One might be in delicate health or really ill when the policy matures but to use my informant's own words: “You must take the holiday, even if it kills you.”

No matter how elaborate we make our hotels, these visitors can never be what I would call repeat visitors. I feel we can get a very large volume of visitors, and the revenue we require from them, from our neighbours in Great Britain and countries much nearer than America. I feel we can do that at far less expense. I should be the last person in the world to advocate poor, shabby hotels and I should not like to be misunderstood on that point. I think it was Senator McGuire who coined the phrase that what we really wanted was “first-class second-class hotels” and I would be in full agreement with that.

The next item that struck me was defensive equipment for which there is an increase of £300,994. What can be visualised here, when we do not know what we have to defend ourselves against and what type of equipment we can give to our defence forces that would not be out of date in a very short time? There has been criticism from time to time of huge expenditure on equipment that was obselete almost before it was unpacked from the delivery crates but I do not want to go into that. What I would like to know is—would the country be any worse off if instead of increasing this Estimate we had left it as it was or even reduced it?

The increase in grants to vocational education committees is smaller than that for either tourism or defensive equipment. I would like to have seen this on the upward trend, for in this lies our true and only defensive equipment. In the Common Market atmosphere we know we will require, as well as trained scientists, highly trained technicians if we are to survive, and, in the main, these technicians will come from the students of our vocational schools. We have a crying need for trained technicians. Emigration due to unemployment, low wages [286] and lack of opportunities have robbed us of our best technicians. Indeed, many of our skilled technicians whom we trained and paid for their training will be working for our competitors, and these must be replaced by men well equipped and trained to meet the competition we will have to face.

I should like to have seen our national housekeeper making an even bigger increase in the money available for this work even at this stage if it could be done; if not, maybe in the Budget the Minister would hammer off a very big chunk of the proposed expenditure on tourism and on defensive equipment and give it where it is most needed. If he would do that it would be a very good thing. Give it by increased pensions and benefits to our aged, to our infirm, to our widows and orphans and those in receipt of social welfare benefits, and add a good bit of it to the vocational education committee grants where they can be used for the training of our technicians so that by their skills they will be able to contribute to the building of this country as a truly Christian country, a peace-loving nation, where the shadow of insecurity will disappear and where the old, the infirm, the widow and the orphan will be enabled to live in decency and comfort.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  The bill before us today in the Estimates for the public services for the year ended March 31, 1963, is for a sum of £148,373,916. There is no doubt about the fact that the Minister for Finance is seeking to extract from the people of this country with a dwindling population the largest sum ever asked by a Minister for Finance. There is no denying that everybody got a profound shock when they heard the sum of £148,000,000 as it will be agreed that the people of Ireland are over-taxed and unable to bear any further burden. The increase that is demanded this year is £17,000,000 more than what was spent last year, and it represents an 8 per cent. increase in taxation with only a 4 per cent. increase in national production. It is £43,000,000 up on the Budget of 1956 even without taking into consideration the £9,000,000 which the Minister [287] saved that year when he abolished subsidies.

We have heard a lot about criticism, but it might be no harm to state that when the Government of that day introduced their Budget for £105,000,000 they were criticised very severely by the Fianna Fáil Party. They were severely criticised by Deputy Lemass, who is now the Taoiseach and one of the people responsible for putting on the people this further burden of £52,000,000. In the Dáil debates for the 8th May, 1956, Volume 157, at column 49 the present Taoiseach stated:

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.

Now we find the same people who in 1956 wanted to reduce expenditure and stated that they would not increase taxation coming before us looking for an extra £52,000,000. Of course, this is nothing new for Fianna Fáil, who say one thing when in opposition and do the very opposite the moment they get into power. This Bill was just an opportunity to discuss Government policy, and the Government policy has been discussed for the past few days. Of course, when we criticise the present Government we will be told that it is only destructive criticism. It is the duty of an Opposition to say what they believe to be right and what they believe should be done in the interests of the people of the whole country. There is no denying that the huge impost imposed upon the people by the present Fianna Fáil Government is grinding down the people of Ireland. Farmers and business people are being crushed between increased costs, increased rates and reduced prices.

Unfortunately, some of the people have got so used to the crushing burdens imposed by successive Fianna [288] Fáil Governments that they have become like punch-drunk boxers. They can absorb punishment without seeming to be affected in any way, but they are affected and very seriously affected. The fact that there are so many closed homes in rural Ireland and that £215,000 people have emigrated during the past five years shows that the people are losing faith and confidence in themselves and the Government and are gravely affected by soaring taxation. Like the punch-drunk boxer, many of them have lost initiative, ambition and the competitive instinct. They have become like animated punchbags for the two-fisted pummelling of increased rates and taxes. The burden of £148,000,000, represents nearly 30 per cent. of the national income; in 1930/31, it was only 18 per cent. The Party now in power told us at that time that if they were elected they would run the country on £2,000,000 less than it cost to run it at the time. Instead of running it at £2,000,000 less, they have increased it by almost £120,000,000.

This sum of £148,000,000 represents an average of £48 a head for every man, woman and child in the country, or nearly £220 for an average-sized family. Under such a crushing burden, with emigration and unemployment chronic, is it any wonder that incentive is lacking and money for investment scarce? One would think the Minister would be guided by what happened already in regard to industrialists. In 1956, the inter-Party Government brought in a Bill to reduce taxation on exports and we all know there was a great breakthrough in that direction. The same would happen in other directions if the people had less taxation to bear.

The fact that the Government have introduced this huge bill shows a complete lack of understanding on their part. There is nothing in it to give our people further employment. The pot seems to be boiling over without the Government paying any attention, but that is merely in keeping with the Fianna Fáil policy of taking money and squandering it. Over the years, the Fianna Fáil Governments have squandered much of the taxpayers' money. As I said, Fianna Fáil in [289] opposition say one thing but as a Government, say something else. Let me quote the then Deputy Lemass speaking in the Dáil on 6th March, 1951, at column 1167 of the Official Report. He said:

We have got to persuade the people that, instead of giving the Government 5/4 out of every £1, they should give 6/- or 6/6d. or 7/-, persuade them that it is better for themselves that they should spend less at their own discretion and let the Government do their spending for them.

I doubt if that is a good policy in a country where we believe, or should believe, in private enterprise. The Government are increasing the burden and taking 5/-, 6/- or 7/- from the people. Therefore, they cannot have the initiative to plan ahead and work as they should. They will say to themselves: “What is the use of our working? We are working only for the Government. As soon as we make the money, they will take it from us.” The Government are certainly taking the 6/- or 7/- from the people and they are certainly spending it. ESB charges and bus charges and, in fact, every single thing a person can purchase has increased in price at present.

We are entitled to discuss Government policy here and compare it with the promises they made to the people in the past. Let us contrast the state of affairs existing today with the promises made by Fianna Fáil, especially in the 1957 election. The people were led to believe that if Fianna Fáil were returned to power, the food subsidies would be maintained and there would be no increase in food prices. Both the President of Ireland, the then Taoiseach, and Deputy Lemass, who is now the Taoiseach, stated this—one of them in Dungarvan and the other in Belmullet.

Vigorous measures were to be taken to deal with economic problems and to provide employment. They were to “get cracking”. We were to have the £100,000,000 plan to provide 100,000 new jobs. But, in spite of all we heard about that, there are 57,000 [290] fewer people employed today than there were in 1955 or even in 1956, despite all the new factories that have been built and opened since then. We all know that instead of the people having better times they got dearer food, the subsidies were removed to a tune of £9,000,000 and increase in the cost of living took place. Since then, we have had increased hospital charges, fewer people are at work and fewer houses have been built.

The Local Authorities (Works) Act, which gave valuable employment in the different counties, was referred to by Senator McAuliffe today. It helped to give employment in the lean periods from December to March. I have always believed that was money well spent because it helped to do drainage.

I agree with Senator McAuliffe that in an under-developed country like ours, where there is plenty of work to be done on drainage, forestry and land reclamation, we should have no unemployed people. Instead of expecting a single man to live on 30/- a week or a married man to live on 61/- a week, our efforts should be directed at having them employed in constructive work at £7 a week or whatever rates county councils pay. County councils were able to do a considerable amount of such work in the past under the Local Authorities (Works) Act.

The present Government scrapped that scheme and that is another reason why rates have increased in nearly every county. That is so because councils had to face up to the major problem of trying to give employment to such people thrown out of work through the abandonment of the Local Authorities (Works) Act. The Government also did away with the double byre grant scheme.

I heard Senators today lamenting the fact that Deputy Dillon reduced the price of wheat. He did reduce the price of wheat by 12/- in 1953 or 1954. However, if we look at the Statistical Abstract for Ireland, 1961, we will see at Page 316 that in 1953 the farmers got 32/- per cwt. for wheat but that in 1959, under Fianna Fáil, the very people now shedding crocodile tears, they got only 29/4d. per cwt. In 1960, [291] still under Fianna Fáil, they got only 27/7d. We should also bear in mind that in answer to a question in the Dáil yesterday the Taoiseach announced that £1 in 1953 would purchase only 14/2d. worth today.

Barley prices have also been reduced by 10/- per barrel since 1953. That was done by the people who tell us they have always done well for the farmers, better than Fine Gael or any other Party. Let us take pig prices. The official statistics show that in 1953 porkers, dead weight, were 256/- per cwt. In 1960 they were 224/- per cwt. The same applies to bacon pigs. In 1953 they were 256/9d. but by 1960 they had dropped to 228/9d. per cwt. We can take turkeys. They also dropped in price as did eggs and chickens.

We all realise that the small farmer, the backbone of this country, has been trying to live on the sale of pigs, of barley, poultry and a little wheat. Each one of those commodities has been reduced in price. If we take another look at the statistics we will see that cattle and sheep have also been reduced in price. The Taoiseach stated in the Dáil that the farmers' income had increased by £16,000,000. I hope the Minister will tell us where the Taoiseach got his figures. I have given the prices for wheat, pigs, poultry and barley. I can also give details of the price of wool which dropped from 4/1½d. in 1953 to 3/10½d. per Ib. in 1960.

Let us then come to cattle. In 1955, referred to as one of the disastrous years under the inter-Party Government, two to three year old cattle realised £60 17s. Compare that price in 1953 with the price in 1960.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  Compare 1956 with 1960.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  I am making my own speech and the Senator can make his. I shall give the Senator the Statistical Abstract if he wants it. In 1955 the price of two to three year old cattle was £60 17s. In 1960 the same animals were selling at £56 6s. Yet the farmers are supposed to be [292] well off now. Fat cattle, three years old and upward, were £66 12s. in 1955 and in 1960 they had fallen to £62 14s. The same trend was noticeable in sheep prices. Let us take 1953.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  No, 1956.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Yes. In that year, for store sheep the price was £6 16s. 6d. and in 1960 it was £5 14s. 9d. The Senator asked me to give him the figure for 1956 and I have given it.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  I asked the Senator to take cattle.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  I am at sheep now. Take 1956 for fat sheep, two year olds and over. That price was £6 2s. 9d. but in 1960 it was £5 8s. 3d. Take the worst year—the one bad year in the reign of that Government —the prices for sheep were from £1 to 50/- higher than they were in 1960. If we take pigs, on which the majority of the small farmers make a living, young pigs were 118/3d. in 1953 and in 1956 they were 111/6d. Then in 1960 they were exactly 110/-. Yet we are told the farmers are well off and that Fianna Fáil did better for them than any other Party. That should prove to Senator Yeats or any other Senator that after taking the worst year overall, 1956, the prices were much better than they were in 1960 under Fianna Fáil.

Fianna Fáil speakers will always tell you they have been consistent. I think they have been consistent in breaking every major promise they made over the past 30 or 40 years. They would promise the sun, moon and stars at a general election in order to get into power. Then, when they get back into power, they very quickly forget about the promises they made. They have also been consistent in increasing the cost of living. Today, they have another record: the cost of living stands at an all-time high record of 145 points.

Despite the promises Fianna Fáil made away back in the past that they would maintain the subsidies and reduce the cost of living, through deliberate Government action they [293] increased the price of the loaf by 7d., the pound of butter from 3/9d. to 4/7d. and the stone of flour from 4/- to 8/-.

The Minister for Finance has always claimed, in argument with me that he gave figures in the Dáil to prove that the cost of living went up nothing more under Fianna Fáil than it did under the inter-Party Government. I went to the trouble today of getting the figures. They are to be found in the Statistical Abstract. If the Minister looks at them he will find that during the six and a half years of inter-Party Government the cost of living went up roughly 21 points and that during seven and a half years of Fianna Fáil Government it went up 34 points.

When the inter-Party Government came into office in 1948, the cost of living stood at 99 points. They were three years in office. I have the days and dates. In the past, the Minister got up and said that Senator L'Estrange quoted figures here which were wrong and that that is the usual Fine Gael stunt of getting up and giving wrong figures in the hope that the people of Ireland will believe them.

When the inter-Party Government went out of office on 30th May, 1951, the cost of living stood at 109 points, an increase of ten points. Fianna Fáil came in with the cost of living at 109 points and introduced the Budget of 1952. When they were leaving office in May, 1954 the cost of living stood at 124 points, an increase of 15 points.

When the inter-Party Government came back to office in May, 1954, the cost of living stood at 124 points. When they were leaving office in March, 1957, the figure was 135 points, an increase of 11 points.

Fianna Fáil took over in March, 1957, when the figure stood at 135 points. Today, it stands at 154 points, an increase of 19 points. If you add the ten plus 11 points increase under the inter-Party Government you get an increase of 21 points in six and a half years. If you add 15 plus 19 points under the two terms of Fianna Fáil Government—the third, if you like, counting their last six months—you get [294] an increase of 34 points in seven and a half years.

A Senator:  The £ has remained static.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Due to the action of Fianna Fáil, it has remained anything but static. In today's Irish Press,“The Truth in the News”, we read that the Minister announced yesterday that compared with 1953 the £ will now purchase goods to the value of 14/2d. Anybody who asserts that the £ has remained static would need to send up to the Park for an Oxford Dictionary.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Why send there for it?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  At one time somebody needed it in relation to the definition of the word “Republic”.

Tomás Ó Maoláin: Information on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Zoom on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  If Senator L'Estrange wishes to continue along those lines, he will get a bellyful. He is seeking to insult the President.

Mr. Carton: Information on Victor Carton  Zoom on Victor Carton  I do not think that was meant.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Of course, it was meant.

Tomás Ó Maoláin: Information on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Zoom on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  There was a deliberate sneer. It is not the first time Senator L'Estrange has done so. It is about time a stop was put to it.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  We on this side of the House have always believed in this predominantly agricultural country that if the people on the land are prosperous the whole nation will be prosperous but if the people on the land are poor, as they are today, then the whole nation is poor.

We have very little underground wealth in this country. We have no coal, steel or ore. However, we have 12,000,000 of fertile arable soil for a dwindling population which is now roughly 2,500,000. In the final analysis the standard of living of every man, woman and child in this country depends on what the farmers of Ireland and their labourers can get from our land and export profitably. The farmers are entitled to a fair crack of the whip and they are not getting it.

[295] Their costs, as I have proved, have been reduced since 1953 while their rates, taxes and costs of production are soaring.

The farmer must live on his profits which represent the difference between cost of production and selling price. From 1948, perhaps, to 1953 or 1954, his costs of production increased slightly but due to the trade agreement which Deputy Dillon made with the British Government in 1948 the cost of everything he had to sell also increased so that he had a margin of profit and could earn a decent living for his family and himself on the land.

Today, the farmers' costs are increasing and the prices at which they sell are decreasing with the result that their profits are becoming smaller and smaller. As Senator McAuliffe pointed out, many small farmers have to work on the roads or on the bogs or wherever they can get work. Even Mr. Lemass speaking in Brussels recently—

Tomás Ó Maoláin: Information on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Zoom on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  The Taoiseach.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Yes. The Taoiseach speaking in Brussels recently admitted that the farmers in Ireland represent nearly 40 per cent of the people and were responsible for 75 per cent of our exports, but if we look up the national income figures, we find that in 1953 they were getting 29.9 per cent of the national income, while at the present time the percentage they receive is down to 20. I cannot understand how anyone has the audacity to say that the Government are the friends of the farmers and that Fine Gael in the Government who preceded them were not the friends of the farmers.

In the past, the farmers were attacked as they were attacked by the Taoiseach recently in the Dáil. In the past, he said they had feather-bedded conditions——

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  And who said that?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  The Taoiseach spoke about the feather-bedded conditions the farmers had——

A Senator:  Quote!

[296]Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  On 24th November, 1953, Mr. Lemass told members of the Dublin Society of Chartered Accountants that the farmers in recent years enjoyed—and I quote—“feather-bedded conditions of regulated sales and guaranteed prices.”

Acting Chairman (Mr. Cole): Information on John Copeland Cole  Zoom on John Copeland Cole  Perhaps the Senator would give the reference?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  The Irish Press of 25th November and he made the speech on the 24th. Irish farmers are not surprised at being taxed out of existence by the Taoiseach because while he was always anxious to bolster up industry as much as possible—all credit to him—he never had any regard for the people and farmers of rural Ireland.

On 1st February, 1954, Mr. Lemass told UCD Literary and Historical Society that the farmers did not want to be better off. He said—and I quote:—“It appeared to him that the difficulty up to the present was that the farmers did not want to be better off. He believed that farmers up to recently had a standard to which they aspired and were not prepared to make the effort necessary for a higher one.” That statement is reported in the Irish Press of 2nd February, 1954. Earlier, in the course of the same speech, he said they had grants and guaranteed prices for certain crops and so long as the farmer continued to be successful in his political agitation, he was not likely to be attracted by the idea of having to do these things for himself. We also know, and were not surprised when, the Minister announced that the subsidy on fat cattle is to be withdrawn from 1st April. That is a retrograde step that will have very dangerous consequences.

Tomás Ó Maoláin: Information on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Zoom on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  It took the Senator eight months to wake up to that. It was announced eight months ago and a month ago in the Dáil. The Senator only woke up to it yesterday.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  We once had a Fianna Fáil Senator who wanted to put a tax and levy on every beast leaving this country. I can give the relevant quotation, if necessary. The

[297] Tánaiste in introducing his Budget on 6th May, 1953, said—and I quote from the Dáil debates, Volume 138, column 1185: “Taxation presses lightly on the land.” The farmers of Ireland know now why they are being attacked by the Government. The Taoiseach has said they have too many grants, that they have feather-bedded conditions and he was going to see to it in the future that they will not be as well off as they were in the past.

The farmers are on the march at the present time and people will not, and I think, cannot blame them. Senator McGlinchy said here today—I do not know what he was getting at— that he wanted to know if they were the same as the marchers in the 'thirties. They are marching today because they believe they are not getting a fair crack of the whip, not getting a fair share of the national cake. Nobody can deny that they are the hardest-worked section of the community and their labourers with them. For long periods of the year, they work, not five days but six days a week and often seven days a week.

Somebody mentioned yesterday that they are the worst-paid section of the community, not able to pay the agricultural worker a decent wage. There are many small farmers. It should be remembered that 65 per cent. of the farms in Ireland are less than 30 acres and that any man with less than 30 acres has not £5 a week from it. He has not as much as a road-worker and is not able to pay agricultural workers £6 a week. It is a deplorable state of affairs in an agricultural country because I believe the agricultural labourer is a highly technical man. He has to work hard from eight in the morning until six in the evening for five and a half days of the week and should get as much as a bus driver, £10 or £11, or anybody working in a non-productive capacity. He is doing his part. The majority of these men have stood loyally by the farmers and, with the farmers, are responsible for 75 per cent. of our exports.

I do not blame the farmers for marching. They have been in the front [298] line in every war in this country, national, social and economic. They are seeking justice, demanding a fair return for their labour and they are not getting it. Seeing the huge sums that are being spend at present and seeing that people are getting an eight round of increases—I do not begrudge them to anybody—is it not wrong that some people get increase and others get no increase but instead reduced prices since 1953? I do not care how anybody argues; the figures and statistics are there and nobody can suggest that the farmer is not getting less today for everything he has to sell than he got in 1953. Instead of getting pounds he is getting only so many fourteen-shillings-and-twopences.

The Government should remember that, at present, out of the chaos of conflicting ideas and theories of which the farmers have for long been the victims, there at last arises a unified voice demanding attention. There is a limit to the endurance of any section of the community and that limit has been reached by the farmers of Ireland.

We were given certain figures today by Senator McGlinchey. As far as my county is concerned they are completely wrong, He said the farmers of Ireland paid £7,500,000 rates out of £21,000,000. In my county of Westmeath 76 per cent. of the rates comes from the land. I do not know what the percentages are in other counties but I do know that. The farmers' incomes —the Taoiseach admitted it — did increase from 1947 to 1955 but the increase in rates and their overhead expenditure have been out of proportion to their incomes. If you look up the statistics you will find that from 1947—I am taking the years the Taoiseach mentioned in the Dáil—rates in the county health districts have increased 200 per cent. from £3.9 million to £12,000,000 but the farm incomes have increased from £78.9 million to £124,000,000, a 57 per cent. increase. I wonder is that justice. In my own county the rates increased from 12/8 in 1947 to 36/9 in 1962, another 200 per cent. increase.

It will also be admitted that farmers are paying for a large number of [299] services from which they receive little or no benefit. They are paying for sanitary services and water schemes for other people from which they themselves derive no benefit. Senator Fitzpatrick mentioned last night, and it was decried here today, that any degree of prosperity we have in Ireland was due to the work of Deputy James Dillon and the work of the inter-Party Government from 1948 to 1951 and especially to the cattle trade agreement that was negotiated in 1948. If you read the Taoiseach's speech you will find it is stated at column 1199, Volume 193, of the Official Report of 8th March, 1962, that he said:

The general pattern revealed by our record is, however, that in the period from 1948 to 1961 farm incomes per head improved more rapidly during the first half of that period and non-farm incomes caught up in the second half.

Statistics go to prove that farm incomes improved from 1948 to 1953 and that since that they have not improved in any way. Senator McGlinchey criticised what had been done by the inter-Party Government on the bovine TB eradication scheme which began in 1954. If Fianna Fáil are as progressive as he claims they were, why did they not support the scheme in 1951, 1952, or 1953? They had to wait until they got back into power to try to operate the scheme prepared in 1951. Senator McGlinchey ruined his own argument because he said it was not until Fianna Fáil came into office that five clearance areas were cleared in a very short time. They were certainly cleared because the spade work had been done before the change of Government.

A Senator:  That is nonsense.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  It is not nonsense. If Fianna Fáil are as progressive as they claim to be, why did they not start the scheme in 1951, 1952, or 1953? England started it away back in 1945. The United States started in 1943 or 1944 and other countries started 25 and 30 years ago. Why did Fianna Fáil wait until Deputy James [300] Dillon came into power in 1954 and started the TB eradication scheme? Is it not because Fianna Fáil had no belief in the cattle industry? Did they not tell us from their own mouths the British market had gone and gone forever?

On the 9th May, 1960, when the Taoiseach was speaking at Inchicore he said that Fianna Fáil realised that agriculture is now the cornerstone of their economic policy. It is a pity they did not realise that 20 years earlier. If they had the people would be much better off than they are today and there would not have been the emigration of 215,000 people during the past five years.

One of the greatest dangers facing us today on the ever of our decision to enter the Common Market is the high-priced economy forced upon us by the Fianna Fáil Government. It was forced upon us by their reducing the food subsidies, extravagantly increasing the cost of living, the cost of Government administration and taxation which is now, according to the Book of Estimates before us £2,000,000 higher than it was five years ago.

Senator Nash said that when the Government got markets abroad it was found very often it was not economic to export to those markets. What is the real reason? It is that the Government have forced upon us a high-priced economy and we are now pricing ourselves out of many of the markets of Europe and even of the world. That has been forced upon the farmers and people of Ireland by deliberate Government policy. As regards butter, for example, it costs us £3,000,000 or £3,500,000 to export it to Britain and sell it there at 2/7d. when we were charging our own people 4/7d. per Ib. Some of our industrial products are much higher-priced here in Ireland than in Common Market countries due, I claim, to the Government policy of putting prices in Ireland at a relatively higher level than world prices. A flabby cost structure over the years has been inflated like a balloon. There is a serious danger of a collapse of the balloon. It cannot be denied that Government policy both in its timing [301] and general direction has caused this rise in costs and in prices.

As far as we on this side of the House are concerned we welcome new industries. Away back in 1924 Cumann na nGaedheal started the first of our industries. They started the Shannon Scheme and the first of our beet factories. We hear people talking about destructive criticism but people who are now Ministers and in high and important positions in the Government referred to those industries as white elephants. We welcome industries. We do not mind who sets them up. We welcome people with money from abroad, with technical know-how. In 1956 it was the inter-Party Government who made the decision that those people could come here, who gave tax concessions, and who gave grants of up to two-thirds of the cost of erecting the factories.

We hear talk about constructive criticism but it might be no harm to quote what the Taoiseach had to say about those grants at that time. At column 1948 of Volume 160 of the Official Report he said:

These are provisions which I think are likely to be far more effective in retarding industrial development than helping it. I believe that over the main part of the industrial field, private enterprise is the best force on which to rely.

At column 1949 he went on to say:

I must confess that I have a very considerable dislike of most of these proposals for money or nothing...

He was not in favour of these grants at that time. Further down in the same column he said:

I have calculated that the maximum amount of money that it could possibly cost the Government, even if we assume that we will get a 10 per cent. increase in industrial exports and a 10 per cent. increase in coal production, is less than £10,000.

I have not the exact figure but I would say that, perhaps, from £25,000,000 to £30,000,000 was spent on grants since the Taoiseach made those [302] famous statements away back in 1956 when the Bill to give grants to industrialists coming in here was introduced in Dáil Éireann. At column 1950 of the same volume he said:

The Minister can have his Bill, as far as I am concerned, but I want to make it clear that, in my view— and I may at some time in the future be empowered to influence Government policy—I think it has no importance whatever in relation to our industrial development and it represents a completely wrong approach to the problems of Irish industry as they exist to-day.

How wrong can a man be? The Taoiseach bitterly opposed the Bill at that time and now, in the Seanad, Fianna Fáil are claiming full credit for the industries which were established under it. Yet here it is in black and white that the Taoiseach opposed the Bill that gave the concessions which made it possible for those industrialists to come here from abroad with their money.

We all know that at the time of the 1932 Control of Manufactures Act Fianna Fáil wanted no one. They wanted us to be a little isle in the middle of the Atlantic. They told us that if every ship were to go to the bottom of the sea we would be all right, that we could do without England and the rest of the world. They made it impossible for anyone to come here from abroad with foreign capital. We believe it is better to have such people coming here and setting up industries giving employment to Irish boys and girls at home than that they should have to go to London, Birmingham, Liverpool or any other part of the world. We are completely in favour of that now, and we were then. It was the inter-Party Government that introduced the Bill for which Fianna Fáil are claiming credit today. Unfortunately they are getting much of the credit because they have three newspapers, the radio and television, to put across their side of the story at all times.

The Fianna Fáil Party went around the country putting up posters at every [303] graveyard and on every hoarding saying that borrowing money would make the country bankrupt, that it was a wrong approach and we were even told, to use the Taoiseach's words, that the provisions of the Bill were “likely to be far more effective in retarding industrial development than in helping it.” They have changed completely over the past few years and they now know and value the work that was done under those schemes.

The Industrial Development Authority Bill was introduced in 1949. The Taoiseach voiced his aggressive opposition to it in these terms:

I want it understood that my opposition and the opposition of Fianna Fáil to the whole idea in this Bill is fundamental and that at the earliest possible occasion we will terminate it.

They have not terminated it yet. They adopted it, as they adopted other schemes introduced by us.

It has been pointed out that despite the promise of 100,000 new jobs there are almost 51,000 fewer people employed to-day than there were six or seven years ago. I shall give the figure for 1956. Some one always asks what about 1956, because 1956 is always looked upon as a very bad year? There were 1,163,000 people gainfully occupied in 1956. In 1960, that figure had dropped to 1,112,000, that is, a decline of 51,000. That is the year that Fianna Fáil like us to take. We were told during the election that 1960 was the country's best year. The Minister has the figures. I should like him to refute them if he can. Instead of more people being put to work, there are fewer in industry, fewer in agriculture, fewer employed on the roads, fewer employed by the county councils. That is especially true, and it is caused principally by the discontinuance of the Local Authorities (Works) Act.

Before the elections, away back in 1957, Fianna Fáil said they were to be judged on what they would do in relation to emigration, if they were [304] returned to power. They published a pamphlet headed “Facts for Voters”. In that pamphlet, they said:

The present state of emigration is the most serious problem now facing the nation. The recent census return has shown that the situation must be righted quickly if disaster is to be avoided. The full employment proposals recently announced by Fianna Fáil show how the Party intends to deal with the problem of emigration by providing work for our own people. The Fianna Fáil plan proposes an increase over the years for five years in the number of new jobs by 1000,000.

Instead of ending emigration, 215,000 people were driven out of the country in those same five years, due to Fianna Fáil policy and, as I have already said, there are 51,000 fewer people employed in 1960 as compared with 1955.

When the Germans were running out of East Berlin to West Berlin at the rate of 1,000 per week, that exodus rated bannerlines throughout the length and breadth of the world. If we take an average over the five years, we find that 43,000 people left the country annually at the rate of 800 per week. In face of that, we have Fianna Fáil speakers telling us that everything in the garden is lovely. We have Fianna Fáil Ministers making after-dinner speeches at public engagements, and some of them are just Party political meetings. The Ministers are like film stars. At these dinners they tell us all about the great little country we have. Every Irishman and woman would like to see our own people working at home for decent wages. Any responsible Government would face up to the situation and tell the people the truth. They would admit that their policy has not been a success; they would promise to change it and to do their best to give employment. But they do not tell the people that, even thought they have their papers, and the wireless, and television. No—they say the people were never better off.

Recently a Fianna Fáil councillor in Westmeath mentioned a townland [305] where there were 46 people on the register ten years ago. The last voter died a month ago. There is not one voter in that townland now. In Westmeath in 1926, we had a population of 57,818 people; in 1936, the population was 54,706. It remained at that figure up to 1956; it was 54,122 in that year. Then we had the golden reign of Fianna Fáil. In 1961, the population was 52,778. That is no proud achievement for any Government. It was Goldsmith who said:

“Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,”

where Governments impose more burdens, increased taxation “and men decay”. Governments may flourish or may fade, but people can unmake them just as people made them, and——

“A bold peasantry, their country's pride,

When once destroyed can never be supplied.”

As Senator Fitzpatrick has stated, going through the country today, one sees doors closed and houses locked up. The people have emigrated. Some of them have written home to auctioneers instructing them to sell out the little homes. Nobody likes to leave his own little home or his own parish and go abroad to a strange land; but there is no living for these people on the land of Ireland today. It would be much better if the Government faced up to their responsibilities and told the people the truth. One of the grave failures of the Government is their inability to realise that a declining population means a reduced home market for the products of both agriculture and industry. What is the use in talking about increased production when the most important market we have is shrinking daily? The Government's complacency in face of a rapidly declining population is alarming. It shows how completely out of touch they are with the facts of the situation.

Fianna Fáil claim credit for a reduction in the number of unemployed. That reduction was purchased at a dear price. It is an empty boast to [306] claim they purchased a reduction in the number of unemployed by exporting 215,000 of our people in the past five years. These were the cream of the country. What is left are those under 15 or 16 and the older people. If we want to hold our own in the future, we must keep the cream of our people at home. It seems to be the Government's intention to create two social strata in the country—the well-off and the poor. Admittedly, there is prosperity in the cities and towns because there are industries in these places. In rural Ireland, the majority of the people are worse off than they were four or five years ago.

The policy of the Government of giving increases of £10 to £20 per week to High Court and Supreme Court judges is completely wrong. Their policy is to give the man at the top of the ladder £10, £12, £20 a week and to give the man on the bottom rung of the ladder 5/-, 7/6d. or 10/- per week. The man at the bottom of the ladder requires the increase more than the man at the top. The Government's policy in that respect is wrong.

Another breach of faith by the Government with the people is in regard to the Civil Service. We clearly recall the popular reaction to the statement by the Minister for Finance a few years ago that he would carry out a survey which would result in greater economy in the Civil Service; that it was the intention of the Government to weed out any surplus personnel and that the examination would result in more efficient administration with fewer personnel. How has the Minister weeded them out? What is the position in regard to the promise made in 1957? The Minister will have to admit that he has failed miserably in reducing the number of civil servants. He has not weeded them out. According to the Book of Estimates, there are 483 additional permanent civil servants and an increased cost to the taxpayer of £2,000,000 as compared with last year. What is the explanation for the fact that the number of permanent civil servants has increased by 483 and the number of temporary civil servants by 247—a total of 730?

I should like to know what the [307] Minister has to say now about the proud boast he made in 1957 that he was determined to see that the numbers and the cost of the Civil Service were reduced. How has he kept that promise? He has kept it as Fianna Fáil have kept the majority of their promises, by doing exactly the opposite. Instead of weeding out surplus personnel and reducing the cost to the taxpayer, he has increased the number of civil servants by 730 and the cost to the taxpayer by £2,750,000. So much for that promise. It is not to be wondered at. It is just one to be added to the long list of promises broken by the Government.

I have already referred to the fact that the subsidy payable on the export of beef is to be abolished on 1st April. That is a retrograde step which may have far-reaching consequences. This country lives by its export trade. Eighty per cent. of the increase in our exports in the first nine months of 1961 was attributable to agriculture.

I want to refer briefly to our marketing system, which, unfortunately, is antediluvian, hundreds of years out of date. For that reason, everybody on this side of the House gave the Minister credit and was delighted when, in 1957, he announced that he was setting aside the sum of £230,000 towards the establishment of proper marketing boards. What has been done in the past four years? Where are the boards that were to be set up? A question was asked in the Dáil about a month ago as to why out of that £230,000 only £23,000 had been spent. Nobody can claim that that is progressive policy or that the Government are doing their part to find markets.

According to the Book of Estimates, we are spending nearly £750,000 on embassies. Even though we are a small nation, it is right and necessary that we should hold our head high and hold our own in every country but I should like to know if we are getting value for the money that is spent. I believe we are not. In each Irish embassy or consulate, [308] there should be a graduate of agriculture or a salesman having a knowledge of agriculture. In the modern world, aggressive salesmanship is required to secure the markets needed for the progress we should like to see. Farmers could increase production in the morning, if they had a market for that increased production. Unfortunately, it has been the experience of farmers that the moment they increased production of cattle, sheep, pigs, wheat or any other commodity, the bottom fell out of the market and the only time that it was profitable to increase production was a time of scarcity. It is completely wrong that that should be the case but it arises from the fact that our marketing system is completely outdated and outmoded.

Irish people are scattered throughout the world. If we had good salesmen in our embassies abroad, they could bring to the attention of Irish people in the different countries the fact that we had agricultural produce for sale and that the extra money was needed at home and could organise these people to buy more from us than they are buying, in the knowledge that they would be helping their own brothers and sisters at home. Our ambassadors would be better employed in that way than by apeing some of the bigger countries by having big functions and wining and dining. That might be all right for other countries but does not get us anywhere.

We should have our own ships to take our produce to the British or any other market and not be dependent on British Railways or any other company. We should have an air ferry service to London, which has a population of 6,000,000 and is one of the best markets in the world.

I want to mention health schemes. The Minister stated in the Dáil that he was prepared to quote figures to show that the health rate did not increase by more than 2/6d. or 3/- since 1953. Senator Fitzpatrick has spoken for Cavan and Monaghan and I should like to say that in Westmeath, the health rate is one of the most crushing burdens on the ratepayers. [309] In 1953, it cost 2/11¼d. and at present it is costing 9/6d. in the rates. Rather than an increase of 2/-, there is an increase of 6/6d. The same applies in the majority of counties.

The year 1962 is a year heavy with destiny for the Irish people. Political decisions may be taken this year that will alter the fate and the character of our nation for years to come. I refer to the question of our entering the European Economic Community. The Government should have published a White Paper giving full information to the farmers in regard to the economic implications of our entry into the EEC and the effects on farmers, if we are accepted, as I hope we will be. Senator McGlinchey spoke to-day about destructive speeches being made by certain people. It would be no harm if he were to mention that matter at some of the meetings of the Fianna Fáil Party. It is a well known fact that some of the most destructive speeches were made by our own Minister for External Affairs.

Mr. Browne: Information on Sean Browne  Zoom on Sean Browne  Deputy Sheridan has destroyed you anyway.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  I am quite happy and content where I am.

Tomás Ó Maoláin: Information on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Zoom on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  We are not.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Speeches were made by the Minister for External Affairs where he insulted some of our friends and tried to give succour to some of our enemies at the United Nations. It is a well known fact that the Belgians and French are anything but favourable to our admittance to the Common Market.

Tomás Ó Maoláin: Information on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Zoom on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Do not be silly.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Another article of creed.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  We never claimed that if every ship were sent to the bottom of the sea we could do without the rest of the world. We were prepared to co-operate with the rest of Europe in the interests of our people. It is an important question because if we are accepted the Sinn Féin protection policy and tariffs must be [310] eliminated. Free Trade must be the order of the day and we shall definitely cease to be as independent as we are at present. Undoubtedly, we shall have a voice in the deliberations but ours will be a small voice. There are many people throughout the length and breadth of Ireland who are asking the question asked on Telefís Éireann by a man who interviewed the Taoiseach when he was going abroad: “Where is the Minister for Agriculture?” Everybody is asking that question. If we are an agricultural country, if the Government had agriculture at heart, why was the Minister for Agriculture not brought over to Brussels?

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  The Senator may not debate this question of the Common Market.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  He is not debating it.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  I was talking about Government policy and Ministers are paid out of this particular Vote. We all agree with increased production. We would all like to see it, but we should remember that all the throaty exhortations in the world will not prepare us to play our full part in the future if an inefficient Government and an inefficient Minister for Agriculture inefficiently administer wrongly conceived policy. That is what is happening in this country. Valuable years have been lost. The people should have been prepared by the Government for the task that lies ahead. Grave matters will require negotiation on behalf of the Irish people in the years ahead and I think it is a pity that we shall not have men of the calibre and ability of Deputy James Dillon who negotiated the cattle trade agreement of 1948 which, as the Taoiseach himself admitted when speaking on 7th March this year, brought prosperity to the farmers of Ireland in the period from 1948 to 1953. There is no doubt in the world that enterprise, initiative and leadership will be needed in the years ahead. We want people to deal with agriculture and I think it is unfortunate that it has been handled in the way it has been handled over the past few years.

[311] I think it was Patrick Pearse who said—and it is undoubtedly true in our own day—that Ireland has excommunicated some of those who have served her best and canonised some of those who have served her worst. That is very true if you look back over the past 20 or 30 years. It would be much better if the people of Ireland today would take a lesson from what happened in Germany after the last war, pulled their weight and instead of saying “What do I get out of the country?” said “What can I do?” To succeed in the future and meet the challenge that faces us, I accept Pearse's definition: “a true Irishman or Irish woman is one who specifically or virtually recognises this Irish nation as an identity and being part of it owes and gives it service.”

Tomás Ó Maoláin: Information on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Zoom on Thomas Lincoln Mullins  Deo gratias.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  Before I come to the general policy of the Government as referred to in the Bill, I should like to say a couple of words on a matter which, strictly speaking, does not relate to the Bill but which was raised by Senators Stanford and McAuliffe. I hope I will not be out of order but I certainly do not wish to say much on it: the question of university scholarships. I would heartily agree with what they said. I feel that when a local authority is considering the question of university scholarships and arranges its schemes for them, there should be no provision whatever regarding the university at which the scholarships are held. The matter should be left quite simply. If someone succeeds in winning a scholarship it should be left to him or to her to decide where he or she wants to go. Even in Northern Ireland, which is not always renowned for its broad views on matters of this kind, several local authorities do, in fact, include provision in their schemes whereby scholarships can be held in any university in Ireland and I would be sorry to think that any of our local authorities would not be as broadminded as they are.

I would not agree with one or two Senators who have poured scorn on the idea of dealing with the Bill in [312] a political manner. The Bill deals with Government policy generally is an entirely political matter.

Mr. Murphy: Information on Dominick F Murphy  Zoom on Dominick F Murphy  Hear, hear!

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  I cannot see any objection to dealing with a matter of this kind which is an intensely political one and on a basis of Party politics, but that is different from dealing with it in an entirely destructive manner. I was interested listening earlier on to Senator McGuire's speech in which he appealed to Senators in general to deal with the Bill in a constructive way. I do not know whether he felt it would have any results. I was a little bit dubious myself, I am sorry to say. Later we had a speech from Senator Fitzpatrick and rarely if ever have I heard a more destructive speech. Then we had a speech from Senator L'Estrange and, of course, it became instantly clear that Senator Fitzpatrick's record had gone by the board. Listening to Senator L'Estrange I felt one might borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill and say: never in all human history has any one man taken so long to say so little.

Mr. Carton: Information on Victor Carton  Zoom on Victor Carton  I will not ask the Senator to quote his actual words. That was about the air force—something to the effect that never had so much been owed by so many to so few.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  I am not attempting, like Senator L'Estrange, to misquote. I was quite honestly borrowing a phrase and applying it to the matter in hand.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Where was I misquoting?

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  It is a matter to which I intend to come.

We had all the paraphrases and the round phrases which sound so well and mean so little that this Book of Estimates is the largest there ever has been in the history of the State, as if that had not been true of almost every Book of Estimates over the past 30 years. We have had a string of utterly meaningless phrases of that kind. I could not attempt even if I wished to, [313] to follow Senator L'Estrange into the highways and byways of modern and not so modern Irish history and the statements or alleged statements made by people in 1921 and 1927. No one is interested in what people said in 1921 or 1927. I am convinced that the public has no interest in what happened 30 years ago.

A couple of matters were dealt with by Senator L'Estrange which, in the interests of accuracy, ought to be cleared up in the record. There were, for example, a couple of alleged quotations attributed to the Taoiseach. The first one has appeared many times in propaganda issued by Fine Gael. I have heard it in speeches and seen it in leaflets. The first time I saw it in a leaflet, I thought to myself that I should check it. It was about the people having to spare 6/8d. instead of 5/4d., or whatever it was, to give to the Government. The only trouble with it was that six words were left out of the sentence—not another sentence but the same sentence. I cannot remember the exact words—I have not got the quotation with me—but what it amounted to was that it started off by saying that if the people wanted more Government services, then they must be taught to give 6/8d. instead of 5/4d. and so forth. Then, of course, it becomes a completely different statement and is almost a truism, that if the people want the Government to spend more, they must expect higher taxes. That is a perfectly reasonable statement with which Senator L'Estrange would have to agree. I recommend Senator L'Estrange the next time to look up the original report and find the six words.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Give me the six words now.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  I was giving them when the Senator left the House.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  The Senator said he could not remember them when I was going out.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  The quotation, in effect, is that if the people want more Government services, they must expect to pay higher taxes which is an [314] eminently reasonable statement and I recommend that Senator L'Estrange check it before he uses it again.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  He will not.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  It is not in it to check it.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Did the Senator not read it out for Senator L'Estrange?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  He is only giving it from memory.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  I checked it carefully when I first saw it. The second statement attributed to the Taoiseach was that Fianna Fáil said they would not increase the Estimates. Fianna Fáil never said anything of the kind. What the Taoiseach has always stated, and which there again can be quoted as a truism, was that if the national income increases, it then becomes possible either to give a remission in taxes or increased Government services. That is a point that we in Fianna Fáil have always made, that one must attempt to increase the national income and alongside that, give either a remission of taxation or increased services, or both.

The only other thing I wish to refer to from Senator L'Estrange's speech is this question which he has so carefully evaded about the price of cattle in 1956 and now. I asked him to quote the price of cattle when he was quoting from the Statistical Abstract and of course he did not. I am not blaming Deputy Dillon for the price of cattle in 1956; I am not suggesting he had any control over it. This is a matter of the export market. We cannot control it and Deputy Dillon could not. If we are to have comparisons of prices, then it may be said that the price of cattle in 1956 was far below what it is now. There is a very big difference and the price in 1962 is more favourable than it was in 1956. That is not really a matter about which one wants to boast, although it is fair to say that the guaranteed payments made last year amounting to over £5,000,000 had a lot to do with it. If Senator L'Estrange wants to quote figures, it is well to quote ones which do not suit him as well as those that do.

[315]Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Let us have the 1956 statistics.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  I think Senator L'Estrange is as well aware as anyone in this House that the price of cattle in March, 1962, is far and away higher than it was when Deputy Dillon went out of office in 1957.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  You must take an average.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  I think we can be clear on it and I do not think it requires quotations from the Statistical Abstract. One thing that is clear about the present economic position is that it is better now than it has been for many years. We are not suggesting that everything is perfect— certainly not. We are not suggesting that many things could not still be done. We are not suggesting that with regard to farmers great improvements could not be effected. There is no point in producing distorted and exaggerated figures to spread about an atmosphere of gloom and despondency. There is no point in that at all, because these gloomy pictures are totally unjustified. As regards the present position, as people might not be prepared to accept figures I might give and might suggest that I might have taken the wrong ones, or that I distorted them, I just jotted down one or two points made by Senator O'Brien yesterday.

He mentioned that last year the national income went up by five per cent; that industrial output went up by nine per cent.; that emigration last year for the first time in a long time just about balanced the natural increase in population and that therefore we can say for the moment that the population is stable. He stated that, in the balance of payments, there was a deficit of perhaps £5,000,000 but that that was certainly more than offset by the imports of capital. This is a picture which on the whole one must regard as favourable. It may be that in a year or two, other factors may intervene to change that picture somewhat, but we have to look at the picture as it is at the moment and it does not in any way [316] justify the gloomy forebodings and statements we heard in this debate.

As regards the position of farmers, we have heard an enormous amount about them. We have heard about the flight from the land. Senator Fitzpatrick seemed to think one of the greatest insults he could fling at the Minister was that he had stated that the flight from the land existed in many other lands. That is perfectly true. We are not saying that to suggest it absolves the Government from dealing with the position. The fact remains that in every country in Europe and in the United States and Canada, there is the same problem, that there is a constant flight from the land to the cities, and in our case abroad as well.

What are the reasons for the flight from the land? I suppose it is fair to say, speaking very generally, they are the same in every country. They result from the general conditions, the standard of living and the standard of amenities on the land which are not as good as in the cities. That is the basic reason. People want the same standard of life that they see enjoyed by others in the larger cities. The only way in the long run that one can deal with that position is to try to level up the standard of living to that in the towns. That is what the Government are trying to do.

It may be said that the Government are not doing enough, but we should be clear on this—in March, 1957, the last inter-Party Government left office and Deputy Dillon ceased to be Minister for Agriculture. One assumes that at that time members of Fine Gael particularly were happy that everything that should be done for the farmers was being done for them, and that what could be planned was being planned. The fact remains that in this present financial year double the amount is being spent on various aids to farmers as in the last year of Deputy Dillon. If Deputy Dillon was doing well we are doing twice as well. It may be suggested that we should spend even more than the £35,000,000 being spent this year. That is an arguable point, but it is not a point that comes well from people who were quite happy when only £17,000,000 [317] was being spent. This money is going basically for two purposes—to increase the prices paid to farmers for their produce and to reduce the cost of producing farm produce.

There is only one other point I wish to make and I hope I will not seem to be destructive in my turn in doing so, that it is only fair to make a short comparison between the present position and the beginning of 1957. At that time there were about 95,000 or 96,000 people out of work. The number is something like 30,000 fewer now. At that time the country was emerging from a very serious balance of payments deficit of £35,000,000, whereas, as we heard from Senator Professor O'Brien yesterday, we have the position today where the balance of payments is pretty well in balance.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I think he said that we were heading for another balance of payments problem.

Mr. Yeats: Information on Michael B Yeats  Zoom on Michael B Yeats  I am prepared to agree that he said that because of other factors the position in the coming year may not be so favourable, but he said that in the present year we are in balance. Both industrial and agricultural production were falling in 1956-57. They are now, of course, increasing. National income itself fell between 1956 and 1957, whereas in each of the past three years there has been an increase of something like five per cent. in the national income. It was four and a half per cent. in the first year and round five per cent. in the next two. This is a rate of increase which we have never had before in this country and which compares very favourable with European countries generally. Only two or three have done better than we have.

These facts are enough to show that, although we do not suggest for a moment that matters could not be better or that things could not be improved, there is no justification whatever for the moaning and groaninge we have heard for hours in this debate. Anyone who looks at the position in that factual way must consider that things are better than they have been for a long number of years, [318] and that there is every prospect that if present Government policy is continued they will get still better in the years to come.

Mr. Fitzgerald: Information on John Jack Fitzgerald  Zoom on John Jack Fitzgerald  I do not intend to make a very long speech or to be over-critical, because I realize there are problems facing the Government and I believe any criticism offered should be constructive. I hope that what I have to say will be taken as being constructive.

It has been mentioned that the bill we are confronted with of £148,000,000 is a record, but, as Senator Brosnahan pointed out, it is a record that will not stand the test of time because, like all other records, I believe it will be broken this time 12 months. At least it has beaten the record of the Budget presented 12 months ago. Maybe in many ways that is a good thing.

I was surprised to hear speakers referring to the eighth round of wage increases as being responsible for this budget of £148,000,000. I do not think that that is the case, because it must be conceded that the eighth round wage increases, which in most cases were fixed by the Labour Court, were granted to catch up with the increase in the cost of living. We have heard that as a result of shorter working hours and bigger wages we should have increased productivity. I for one feel that this phrase “increased productivity” is a hackneyed one, at least to the farming community, because not so very many years ago we had full page and half page advertisements in all our papers calling on them to grow more wheat, more oats and more barley. It will be conceded that the farmers did just that, and as a result, we found that the market is very limited for most of those commodities, especially oats, bacon, poultry, milk and butter. There are many commodities that come into that category. I do not know what is responsible for it. Is it our haphazard and inadequate marketing system, so that you can have over-production in so many items and so many ways? This is a problem that should merit the attention of any Government, because [319] where you have over-production you have depressed prices, and it is like the story of the family “first up, best dressed”. In this case it is a question of the people being first in the market who can get the best prices and those who through no fault of their own—either because of the weather or late sowing or something—come in with the bulk of the commodity find they have a commodity for sale that is not wanted.

I would impress on the Minister and the Government that if something were done to alleviate that position it would be a step in the right direction. I know that it is easy to make that suggestion and somebody can ask me what I would suggest. It is very difficult to offer a solution but I believe there must be some system whereby we can have organised marketing and not this rather haphazard system that we have at the moment.

It will be noticed that Britain has again played a rather slick trick inasmuch as she has limited our butter quota to 12,000 tons. That leaves us with a large surplus of butter on our hands. At present it does not seem there is any alternative market available and quite an amount of that butter will have to go into cold storage. When it is in cold storage it will not bring in any money. It is rather unfortunate, although I believe we have no alternative, that the 12,000 tons of butter we are exporting to Britain at the moment is being exported at a price of approximately 256/- a cwt. That butter cost 466/- a cwt., so it means it is being sold at a loss of 210/- a cwt. These are circumstances over which we have no control. If the price of butter were reduced on the home market from 4/7d., which is a luxury price, there would not be so much of it in cold storage and we would not find ourselves in the position of having to ask the British to take our butter with a ten guinea cheque put into each box. I offer that suggestion and hope the Government will do something about it. It would be appreciated if butter were to [320] be made available at a more economic price than 4/7d. per lb.

I was glad to notice in today's paper that the Minister in the Dáil last night made a very definite promise that old age pensioners were to get sympathetic consideration in the Budget. I realise the Minister is confronted with a problem of finding the money, but I can assure him that the people would not resent a small increase in taxation if the money were devoted to alleviating the position of old age pensioners, blind pensioners and those in receipt of unemployment assistance. I am sure everybody will agree it is asking the impossible to expect old age pensioners to live on 30/- a week. A lb. of butter and a loaf costs almost 6/-, and that is one-fifth of what they get in pension. Pensioners living on their own with a non-contributory pension of 30/- a week have to pay for light and heating and so on. Such people would be on semi-starvation level were it not for the goodness of neighbours. I would appeal to the Minister to be generous in dealing with them and not deal with them in terms of 1/- or half-a-crown. He should give them a decent increase to enable their standard of living to be improved.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  I must draw the attention of Senators to the fact that there is an understanding the Minister would get in at approximately 9.30.

Mr. Carton: Information on Victor Carton  Zoom on Victor Carton  It is not a hard understanding, but I think we on this side of the House are just about finished now.

Mr. Murphy: Information on Dominick F Murphy  Zoom on Dominick F Murphy  Members of the Labour Party have offered. I deliberately interrupted, when this arrangement was announced without consultation with me, to say there were people offering from this side. I asked had account been taken of that and I was told yes. If Senators are offering to speak, they must be heard. After all, we have not taken up all the time this evening.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  There was an understanding that the Minister would get in at approximately 9.30, and I did make the remark that it would not matter very much if it went a few [321] minutes on the other side. I mention that in the hope that speakers would be as brief as possible in order to give a chance to those who have already offered.

Mr. Mooney: Information on Joseph M Mooney  Zoom on Joseph M Mooney  I agree with Senators that the creation of this air of gloom is not for the good of the country. We all may have cause to complain under various headings. I come from a county where there is a high rate of emigration. Nevertheless, we appreciate that at least something is being done to alleviate the difficulties facing our people. In County Leitrim 75 per cent. of the money available comes from Government sources and 25 per cent. directly from the pockets of the ratepayers. Under the Health Act 99.1 per cent. of our people qualify as middle-income group patients. Of over 1,000 patients treated last year in our county hospital, over 60 per cent. received free medical attention. The Health Act must be given a chance. I do not know what the old Health Act was like, but I am sure it had its growing pains, too. Some people are advocating that health should be a national charge, but that could cut both ways.

I believe emigration is not entirely due to economic conditions, and I come from a county that has suffered severely from it. There is a good deal of psychology involved. People are prone to go for various reasons. We do not hear anything about the people coming back, and some are coming back. I must criticise the outlook of some of our public representatives who actually encourage people to get out as soon as possible before the ship sinks. Public representatives, particularly Deputies and Senators, should encourage people to avail of Government and local authority services. If they avail of them and make use of them, they will be able to make out.

I can quote the case of a farmer in the so-called poor county of Leitrim to show that people can make out. In a farm management competition a man with a 35-acre farm came second out of 25 farmers. He raised his income to £6000-odd for the year. He [322] was second, not because he was less efficient, but because the income level had risen. That might not have sounded good to the farmers. This man told me he had a terrible time trying to convince his neighbours that that was the position. That means also that he has to feed nine in family and the only thing that he has coming is the family allowance. He is operating his farm as well as he can and availing himself of all Government services. That is happening in a county which has not got the potential of other areas. Our people must be given a lead and we should not be arguing that they should get out of the country as quickly as they can.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Over 20,000 have left Leitrim.

Mr. Mooney: Information on Joseph M Mooney  Zoom on Joseph M Mooney  This is the Senator who sheds crocodile tears over the farmers, but what contribution does he make towards the economy of this country? My information is that he has a big farm in Meath or Westmeath. What is he doing to help the economy of the country?

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  I was up until 6 o'clock this morning doing something about productivity.

Mr. Mooney: Information on Joseph M Mooney  Zoom on Joseph M Mooney  There is a quotation which occurs to me when I hear all this talk about expenditure. It is the people who make Governments and it is the people who create the services, and if a demand is made, it must be met by the Government. The quotation I have in mind is: “The Government can only give you what you give them.” It is all right from the point of view of political expediency, and to make political capital, to get up here and criticise the Government, but when Senator L'Estrange made his marathon speech here today, he never once indicated what he would do for the future. We must all look to the future and work for the future. We had five glorious years here when we had a patriotic spirit abroad and why not join together behind the Government and develop our country on the eve of it joining the Common Market? Having heard the speakers here this [323] evening referring to the Common Market I am beginning to wonder whether Fine Gael are genuine in their desire that we should join it.

Professor Dooge: Information on James CI Dooge  Zoom on James CI Dooge  Senator Stanford said that there were several roads to be travelled. I want to take only a few short strides along the vocational road. My concern is mainly in regard to the salaried workers. I commend the Minister on the increases in Civil Service pay, but I would ask him if he is absolutely sure he has done enough in order to give to the Civil Service the morale necessary in the tasks that lie ahead in the critical years we are now facing.

The Civil Service will have as difficult a job of adaptation as any of our manufacturers or industrialists and I would ask the Minister to ensure that all sectors of the Civil Service are kept in line with comparable outside employment. If the Minister is to maintain a proper morale among civil servants, it will be necessary for him to institute a fact-finding body which would have the confidence of the Minister and his advisers and of the responsible associations of the Civil Service and which would be able to report to both bodies on this question of comparability of employment within and without the Civil Service.

Unless this is done, there will be very grave danger—in fact, the danger exists—that we will lose staff from the Civil Service, staff we can ill afford, to private industry. There will also be a failure to recruit sufficient people to the Service of the calibre required. I would urge this point especially on the Minister.

The second and final point is in respect of the question of expenditure on education. I should like it to be remembered that expenditure on education is not only social expenditure but also sound investment. Not only is expenditure on education necessary because everybody with talent has a right to be educated to the limit of that talent, but also because this expenditure is one of the best ways in [324] which we can invest our capital. Here is investment in the great natural resources of the brain which can be educated to make up for our lack of other resources. Senator Quinlan said the grants in Britain to universities are more than twice what we give here. If maintenance grants are included, the total grants from central funds for universities in Britain are four times what they are here in proportion to the student population. Yet what does Britain think of this level of university grants? Here is what the London Times on Thursday last said:

Are the economy and public finances really in such a bad way that this is the best the Government can do for a truly vital sector of the economy.

Can we not ask with much greater force if our economy is in such a bad way that we must leave this vital sector of our economy in such a poor way when we need to develop it much more because of our undeveloped state by comparison with Britain.

Mr. Ross: Information on J N Ross  Zoom on J N Ross  I shall restrict myself to two points. The first is the extra grant of £1,000,000 for future development projects. I am not a gloomy Member of the House and I do not want to be associated with those who are. It seems to me that the economy is in a healthy position. It may be perfectly true there are signs of inflation, but the economy is healthy and even shows signs of buoyancy. At the same time, I look at these grants made for industrial promotion and it does seem to me that there is a good deal of foreign investment attracted to this country from Europe, America and elsewhere by our grants and by loans through the Industrial Credit Corporation. But the amount of money which comes in in this way compared with that put up by the foreign investors very often seems to be in too high a proportion. It seems to me there is a certain danger in our policy on these lines.

Certainly we have attracted a number of important and thriving industries, but I do not know quite how far we shall be able to support those industries. From my experience, the foreign investors come here and are attracted by two things: first, the [325] comparative cheapness of our labour and secondly, by the export tax reliefs we give some of them. They are also attracted, of course, by the skill of our labour which is quite high by comparison with other countries. I do not know for how long we shall be able to keep down the cheapness of our labour, or for how long those export reliefs will be valuable to us.

It seems to me that with the eighth round increase in salaries and wages, if there are further rounds, and there may very well be, if productivity is not kept up, the cheapness of our labour will no longer attract new industrialists. We must therefore pay greater attention to labour-employer relationships and increased productivity. We must be very careful, too, about our export reliefs because they tend to be too much towards industrialists who are exporting to the United Kingdom.

At the moment, most industrialists who export are getting a certain bonus because they can get into the United Kingdom market with Imperial preference. If we enter the Common Market, Imperial preference will be of no use to us. We shall be on very competitive terms with other countries in the Common Market and possibly other countries as well. Therefore, we have to try to divert our exports, if we can, from the United Kingdom to other countries where we can export without the benefit of Imperial preference so that when the time does come when we must compete on the open market, we shall be able to do so successfully.

My second point is completely different. I hope I shall be forgiven for bringing it up again. I think it is important. It is the point mentioned by Senator Stanford yesterday about university scholarships. I mention it again because I think there has been some misunderstanding about the true position. I think the House should know the true position.

This afternoon, Senator McAuliffe spoke about university scholarships not being available to the minority from [326] Dublin Corporation and from Dublin County Council. I think the House should know that he was not fair to Dublin County Council. Dublin County Council make grants equally available to the minority to go to Trinity College, Dublin, or for anybody to go to University College, Dublin. The terms of the scholarship scheme for Dublin Corporation should be made quite clear to this House because I think the House will agree they are most unfair.

Dublin Corporation propose to allocate a sum of £7,680 in 1962 for the provision of 48 university scholarships of £160 each. They are tenable only in University College. The candidates are placed in order of merit by the President of University College and they may take the university course only in accordance with the report of the President of University College. That seems completely unfair to the minority. I do not believe it is the wish of the House that that situation should exist. Certainly, Trinity College, Dublin, has been most fairly treated by the Government—and I speak as an ordinary graduate, not as a member of the staff. The ordinary graduates are very appreciative of that.

The House should know that there are only 13 counties and cities which encourage, by ordinary scholarship arrangements, students to go to Trinity College, Dublin. They are: Dublin County Council; Cavan; Donegal; Kerry; Kildare; Laois; Limerick City; Meath; Monaghan; Offaly; Roscommon; Westmeath, Wicklow and, under certain condition, Carlow, Leitrim, Louth, Sligo, Waterford, and Wexford. Nine or ten counties or cities in this country do not give scholarships to Trinity College, Dublin. That seems unfair and I think it should be publicised.

The graduates of Trinity College, Dublin, are active and more than willing to play their part in this country. It is only fair that the graduates of the future, who are the school-children of to-day, should equally be given their chance in all the counties and cities of Ireland which give scholarships to universities.

[327]Seán Ó Donnabháin: Information on Sean ODonovan  Zoom on Sean ODonovan  Can the Senator tell us if there was any provision about Matriculation in Irish? Does he mean to say there is a bar on a religious basis or on the basis of the Irish language?

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Leave the matter as it is. The matter has been dealt with. I think we have gone far enough.

Mr. Ross: Information on J N Ross  Zoom on J N Ross  It is not a question of the Irish language at all.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  The matter can be debated later.

Mr. Desmond rose.

An Cathaoirleach: Information on Liam O Buachalla  Zoom on Liam O Buachalla  Might I draw attention to the time and to the agreement with the Minister?

Mr. Desmond: Information on Cornelius Desmond  Zoom on Cornelius Desmond  I intend to give every possible facility to the Minister to reply. There are just a few matters which I wish to mention. I shall omit practically all of what I intended to say. I did not think that statements as long as some we have heard would be made in this debate. We must recognise that so long as a Senator has something to say he is entitled to do so. I shall try to be brief.

In so far as some essential services are concerned, the Bill could not be considered even sufficient let alone be thought, as some people think it is, rather large. I am referring to social services such as social assistance and social welfare. Reference has already been made to that by Senator Fitzgerald. I think it was practically the only reference to it in this very lengthy debate. In my opinion, it is one of the most important points. Each of the various services referred to is important in its own way.

What could be more important than the poorer sections of the community? I have in mind disabled persons unable to work and not qualified for certain top level social benefits. A disabled person might receive 22/6d. a week social welfare assistance. Is it not about time the Government examined the position to see what is the purchasing [328] power today of 22/6d., or of 30/- which widows and old age pensioners receive? What about all the other people in receipt of social welfare benefits? Just think of their plight.

To judge by some of the debates, one would imagine that, even as things are, we should not be doing so much because the money has to be taken off in some other direction. It is money well spent to assist the most helpless sections of the community. Give them purchasing power. We are not exporting something. In that way we are distributing the national income to a greater extent.

It is generally admitted that the national income has improved. We hear talk about buoyancy in our economy. Some people criticised our production but it is keeping in line with any increase. Not alone that, the figures will show anybody who examines them that production is keeping well in advance of the eighth round. I have the figures and could quote them but I have said I will be brief.

It is about time we thought of distributing the national income as much as possible to the more helpless sections of our community. It is not to our credit that we have not apportioned a greater part of the national income to those in need of assistance. I have not time to develop that point now but all Senators know the categories I have in mind.

The Minister should tell us the intentions of the Government. I understand they have continually under examination the Programme for Economic Expansion. Have any of the various responsible organisations been consulted in that connection— organisations such as the Congress of Irish Unions, which represents the organised workers, the farming organisations including, of course, the agricultural workers?

Agriculture is undoubtedly a vitally important industry in this country. We have talked a lot about it, and rightly so. We are all sorry to note that, gradually, employment on the land is lessening. There is much I [329] could say on it but at this stage I cannot refer to what I intended to say. I should like to know if these bodies have been consulted. We have the Federated Union of Employers, a responsible organisation concerned with negotiations between workers and employers. All those organisations are important in the study and improvement of production so that everybody will have the better standard of living to which they are entitled. Have they been consulted, or is this something that has been drafted outside those organisations? Consultation with such bodies is very important. Their advice and experience could be most useful.

Minister for Finance (Dr. Ryan): Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  I shall deal first with the last question put to me. The first Programme for Economic Expansion dealt with the five years ending in November 1963 and the Government some time ago did start to assemble data for a new programme but at present it seems almost a waste of time to publish anything until we find out how we stand in regard to the Common Market. I am afraid we must wait for that before we publish a new programme. That does not prevent us getting the material ready in the meantime. Also, there is a committee on industrial organisation, as Senators know, on which we have representatives of manufacturers, employers, trade unions and Government Departments. They are dealing with what they believe it will be necessary for industry to do in order to fit itself for entry into the Common Market. That, I feel, will be of some importance when we come to publish the Programme for Economic Expansion.

Senator Ross spoke about our industries going into the Common Market. We have considered this for some time back in this way. Our industries have been going into the British market and competing very successfully there against British industries. Now, going back to Euclid, things equal to the same thing are equal to each other. If British industries think they can compete in the Common Market, then so should we. We should be just as good. [330] Looked at in that way, we should have no fear of the Common Market. We may have some failures. That cannot be helped, but on the other hand, those who succeed in competing in the Common Market will be all the more competent for that and will, I hope, be able to give us better and cheaper articles at home as a result.

I do not agree exactly with the Senator that industries are coming in here because of cheap labour. Any of those I met who started industries here always stressed the intelligence of labour and the interest that labour here took in its work. They did not claim that they were getting cheaper labour here than elsewhere: perhaps they are.

Senator Fitzgerald made a very constructive suggestion. Dealing with the disposal of butter, he suggested we were charging the consumer what is regarded as the economic price to the producer. I think everybody would agree with that if we had no export, the consumers here should pay a fair price to the farmer for his butter. That is what the home price of butter is. Some producers feel they are not getting enough and would like more. Perhaps they are entitled to it, but that is the understanding of the home price.

The Senator suggests that we could lower that price and get more butter consumed and have less for export and therefore less export subsidy. I can assure the Senator that idea has been very carefully considered more than once but it would be extremely costly. To do anything worthwhile in regard to the home price of butter, to bring it down substantially so as to have a much bigger consumption, would cost more, I fear, than we could afford. Of course, it would have to be raised by taxation and perhaps the taxation would not be any more welcome than the present price of butter.

Both Senator Fitzgerald and Senator Desmond expressed the wish that we should not forget the social welfare group in the Budget. I think I can claim that out of the five Budgets I brought in, I remembered them in [331] four, which is fairly good. The amounts, to the Senator's mind, were small each time but I think it is better to do that, to give what we can afford each time rather than wait until next year or two years' time when we might be able to give more. As far as I am concerned, that would be my policy.

I can assure Senator Dooge that I am quite satisfied that the morale of the Civil Service is quite good. As Senators know, in most cases in this last round of wages, we made agreements with the various organisations in the Civil Service. We agreed to give them a certain amount and it was accepted. A few cases went to arbitration and I am sure they were pleased also. I think I can say that we are getting a better standard of recruits than has been the case for a few years back. Of course, we improved conditions considerably for recruits and as a result we are getting better recruits and I believe the future of the Civil Service is not in any danger.

As regards university grants referred to by the same Senator and also by Senator Quinlan and, I think, by Senator Stanford, I certainly have no time to go into the matter in detail but one cannot judge this matter very well by percentages. First, the basic amounts may not be, in all cases, a fixed amount. It may happen that we would have to raise the basic amount in one place as compared with another. I do not think you could say that for all time there will be a fixed percentage all round and there will be no difference in that percentage. It is rather intricate and I could not possibly go into it now.

There was some criticism that we did not give sufficient to enable the Colleges to give increased remuneration to their staffs. It was discussed with me and I agreed to give what would enable the Colleges to pay the same rate of increase as would be applicable to equal salaries outside in other occupations. I think that was fair enough. The Colleges may argue that the basic wage is too low, but I fear we shall have to discuss that again. For the moment, we thought we were [332] doing what was right by enabling them to give the ordinary percentage increase.

Senator Quinlan talked about the Appropriations Committee but I think he was rather mistaken about the powers of that Committee. While it has power to cut expenditure, it has not power to increase it. I do not think that was the type of committee Senator Quinlan had in mind.

Senator L'Estrange made the same speech as I have heard for many years, with the same misleading figures and the same misquotations. I do not want to go into them fully; I shall just mention one thing. The Senator picked out certain figures for 1953. He spoke about sheep and a few other things, but he did not mention cattle and milk products which are two big items.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  I did mention cattle.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  If the total is taken, we find the income of the farmers in 1953 was £149.3 million and their income in 1956, just by way of contrast, was £143.5 million. Their income in 1961, calculated within £1 million of being correct, was £168 million.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  The £ is worth only 14/2d.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  If the Senator would listen to me as patiently as I listened to him for an hour-and-a-half tonight, he might learn something but I do not know whether he is capable of learning anything. According to statistics— we are all arguing on statistics and therefore we must accept them—the farmers have £25 million more than they had in 1956. That does not correspond with what Senator L'Estrange told us.

Senator L'Estrange wound up almost every point he made by telling us what the inter-Party Government did. If we were to believe Senator L'Estrange— I think he almost believes it himself— we could say we would hardly be alive now only for the inter-Party Government. Is it not strange that the Senator does not go down to any crossroads [333] and say: “Give us back an inter-Party Government”? He knows he would be mobbed if he did. Not a single person in this country wants an inter-Party government. The Fine Gael Party do not want it; they would not mention it outside for the world. The Labour Party do not want it and they are quite right because they got a sickener there, I am sure. Fianna Fail do not want it. Nobody wants it and the Senator is only wasting his time telling us what the inter-Party did because he will not look for an inter-Party Government again.

Towards the end of his speech here today, Senator Fitzpatrick, when giving the health figures, said there was no public assistance included. He did not look them up properly if there is no public assistance in them because practically all expenditure in 1953 was classed as public assistance.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  According to my information, it was under a separate heading and I had it excluded deliberately from the figures I got.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  If the Senator left out public assistance, the figures could not be right because dispensary doctors were paid out of public assistance in 1953; hospitals, fever hospitals and practically everything else came out of public assistance. The figures are no use if the Senator excluded public assistance. However, I was attacked in the Dáil by some Fine Gael speaker—we have some unreasonable men there, too—on the ground that I did not live up to my promise when I said the 1953 Act would never cost more than 2/- in the £. I said I lived up to it and I produced the figures from Wexford to show the 1953 Act would cost not more but considerably less than 2/- because the mental hospital, which was nothing whatever to do with the 1953 Act, cost a certain amount. The increases given to dispensary doctors, nurses and all the staffs of district and county hospitals, fever hospitals, and so on, have to be paid, if there was never a 1953 Act. It was on that basis the calculation was made and I produced those figures to the Dáil.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Why are you going to scrap the Act?

[334]Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Right enough. Some Senator said when the Minister was faced with this motion in the Dáil he should have said: “I will accept” or: “No; I am defending the Act as it is.” However, he acted admirably because when this motion was put down in the Dáil, he said: “Let us set up a Committee to examine this.” He knew that when the Fine Gael members of that Committee sat down around that table, they could not go on with this wild talk about the expenses of the Health Act. They would have to get down to real figures. When the report of this Committee appears, it will show what were the good points of the 1953 Act and the bad points. There may be bad points in it; I do not claim to be infallible as Senator L'Estrange claims for Deputy Dillon. Mistakes may have been made but they will be pointed out in a factual way but not by means of the type of criticism we have heard from some of the Fine Gael Senators in this debate.

Senator McGuire said that the State first spends and then collects, which is a very bad way of doing business. It strikes me the system is very like that of the bean a' tighe, the women of the house, who spends her money and says to the wage earner: “You will have to give me a little more this week because I spent all you gave me last week.” The following week she may say: “You can go to the picture because I got on fairly well.” She changes from week to week as the Government change from year to year. Sometimes they give back money and sometimes they take money.

Another point made by Senator McGuire was that the Estimates are published before the Budget is introduced; in other words we publish the Estimates before we know where we are with the finances. We do not exactly do that but we shall let that point go. These Estimates come in in December. It is difficult to know what the revenue will be from 1st April following that and for the ensuing 12 months. We have some idea. Some years, the Minister for Finance will say to the other Ministers: “We have a very bad year in store and you must cut your Estimates down to the bone”.

[335] Another year, he may say: “I think we are going to have a good year and we can be a bit liberal in our expenditure.” When it comes to the Budget, cuts have to be made sometimes. I had to cut the food subsidies on one occasion when I was up against a situation that was handed over to me, and the boys cut a shilling off the old age pensions in the same way. That can be done to a good extent.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  A lot of things happened since 1929.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  So many things happened that they will never do it again. Sometimes we can bring in a Budget in which we can afford some expansion. We can do something for the social welfare people, for the farmers, and so on, but the change is made at Budget time. That is the point I want to make.

I have been attacked again on this question of the increase in the number of civil servants. I said in my first Budget I had to make a saving on the Civil Service. I had to make substantial savings because of the position that was left to me by the inter-Party Government. They gave me the favour —they gave me so many favours—of a deficit of £17 million and I had to do something about it.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  The Minister said £7 million.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  It was £17 million to start with. We took off the food subsidies and reduced the amount for the Civil Service by £250,000. From that on, the Civil Service went up again. The State, as I am sure all Senators are aware, is expanding in its activities all the time, and everybody wants it to expand. Everybody wants that service to expand. Everybody is looking for a telephone. The number of subscribers has increased enormously in the past few years. One of the biggest items in increase in personnel is in the Post Office in the grades responsible for installing telephones and servicing them. That is one of the biggest increases that have taken place. Indeed, we cannot keep up with the demand for telephones.

There is then PAYE. Increased [336] personnel are required to look after that. Practically every Act that is passed—not all, but a good many— means extra staff. Take the Road Traffic Act passed last year. I mention that in particular because only a few days ago I had a request for the staff necessary to administer that Act. I have to look after all these things. Numbers are therefore going up. There is, too, an increase in staff because of shorter working hours. That is what has happened with regard to existing personnel. We had to increase the existing staff in order to give shorter hours.

Against all that there are, of course, economies. O and M has been introduced. Reports are given as to where staff can be cut or where an office can continue to function successfully without quite so many staff. I quite agree with the point made by Senator McGuire with regard to the forms issued by Government Departments. They are far too long and involved. I have come across some myself which I have noted for consideration. That is a matter that is being attended to all the time. These things are being examined to see if some change can be made.

Senator O'Brien posed certain questions. He said the net income had risen rapidly in 1961-62 and he wanted to know if net income will rise as rapidly in 1962-63. He asked about the balance of payments. I am afraid I shall have to give the Senator the answer I give to so many questions at this time of the year; we shall have to wait for the Budget.

I do not want to deal with the cost of living here. I dealt with it in some detail in the Dáil. There, I said that over the five years since 1957, the percentage was just a shade lower than it had been in the three years before 1957. That, of course, is nothing to brag about. I need not remind the House that the cost of living did go up rather rapidly under the inter-Party Government. We were able to do only a little better in our five years.

There was a good deal of assumption in relation to the flight from the land and, listening to some Senators here, [337] one would imagine that nobody ever left the land until 1957, and that everybody has been leaving since. There is, of course, no truth whatsoever in that. Senator L'Estrange seems to have all the statistics under his control and anybody who wants them can get them from Senator L'Estrange, if he has not altered them to suit himself.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  I guarantee none is altered. The Minister may check them all.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  The Senator will show them to anyone who is interested. Senator Fitzpatrick might look them up. It would ease his mind to discover that things are not as bad as he thinks.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  It was a drive through the country that convinced me.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Take the three years 1954, 1955 and 1956; 27,000 left the land. Since we came in, the number over the five years is 22,000. That is 22,000 in five years as against 27,000 in three years. The number that left employment other than employment on the land during the three years 1954, 1955 and 1956 was 22,000. During our five years, it was 1,000.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  I challenge that.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  If one adds the two together—those who went out of employment on the land, and otherwise, during the Coalition three years and those who acted similarly during our five years—one gets a total of 49,000 respectively in the three years and 24,000 in our five years. That is the flight from the land. It would be too much to hope, I suppose, that Senators will in future correct their figures.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  It will be easy to correct those because they are wrong.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Reference was made to employment outside of agriculture. I think some Senators were under the impression that things were very good in 1955. So they were. There was an increase from 1953 to 1955 and the increase reached a fairly good figure at that time. Then, of course, we had the catastrophe of 1956. That did away with the improvement. However, the [338] figure has now gone up from 153,000 around that time to 168,000. In the past few years, it has been going up very satisfactorily.

The Taoiseach's speech was referred to by a number of Senators sitting on my right. They tried to give the impression that the Taoiseach was rather insulting to the farmers. I asked Senator Fitzpatrick could he quote anything the Taoiseach said for which blame could be imputed to him. It is just no use baldly saying he was insulting. Mark you, practically every executive thought the same way; it was sort of passed round that the Taoiseach had made an insulting speech. They had not read the speech, but they accepted the rumour. It would appear now that, even though the Senators here may not accept the rumour themselves, they want everybody else to accept it. They continue to make the allegation. There is not one sentence in the Taoiseach's speech in the Dáil to which objection could be taken by any farmer, unless he was prejudiced against the Taoiseach. The Taoiseach said the NFA was a very responsible body.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Irresponsible.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  But when they made this claim for £84,000,000, he thought they had departed from their responsibility. That is about the worst thing he said against them. I am quite sure that if I came into this Chamber and the only thing I said about Senator L'Estrange was that he was irresponsible, he would think I was letting him down very lightly. He might even think I was being complimentary to him. That was the worst thing the Taoiseach said against the farmers; they had become irresponsible in their demand for £84,000,000. So they had. There is no doubt about that.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Half the NFA are Fianna Fáil.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  The Fine Gael half are leading them now.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  That is a good, healthy sign.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  It is a good thing to have leaders.

[339]Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  So it is. There is no doubt about that. Any of them I know in my own county, I met them with a different shirt on them on another occasion.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  Some of them have no shirts now.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Some of them are over there on the Minister's side of the Chamber.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  Another figure that was played about with a good deal was the Agricultural Price Index. Taking 1953 as base 100, it is now 101.1. That is not much of an improvement, but it is a vast improvement on 1956 when it was 93.5. At the same time, output had gone up by about six per cent. so, if you multiply the three per cent. increase in prices under the Coalition Government by the increase in output, the farmers are about ten per cent. better off. I mentioned in the Dáil that those working on the land were in receipt of about £20 less per head. After all expenses had been deducted, such as rates, the cost of foodstuffs, fertilisers, and so on, the money divided amongst them would be £20 per head per year less as compared with what those employed in industry were getting and, if that £20 were covered, the farmers would be as well off, or should be as well off, as those engaged in industry. That would cost some £8,000,000 or £10,000,000: it would not cost £84,000,000. We can only hope that things will continue to improve.

The average profit from an acre of land is about £10. If you take the total number of acres and multiply it by £10, it might be all right for the man with 60, 70 or 100 acres. If, after paying all his expenses, he has £10 an acre for himself he might think that was all right and be satisfied, but it is not so easy for the small farmer with, say, ten acres. He must be helped in some way or another, but I got no suggestions from the other side of the House as to how he could be helped. I heard a lot of wild and spurious figures, misapplied figures which were given to try to create the impression that the Government were not [340] doing anything to help the man with ten acres.

Let us see what we can do for him. First of all, he cannot live on ten acres. There is no doubt about that. We must help him, and the first thing that strikes us is to give him a bit of land. The Land Commission are doing their best for the uneconomic holders and the only thing stopping them is the availability of land. About 40 years ago, there was plenty of land to be got. Big estates were available to be taken over. When they were taken over small farmers got a holding, and their small farms were added to another man's small farm. Now those big estates are not available. There are very few of them left. The Land Commission can get some smaller estates but 100 acres do not go very far. However, the Land Commission are doing their best to help the small farmers.

The next way in which we can help them is by encouraging them to get a better income from their ten acres by more intensive farming, such as fruit growing. We do that so far as we can but it is a slow job. We are doing what we can to push fruit growing and we are helping the Sugar Company to start a potato factory and fruit factories to help the small farmer as best we can. If he had a few acres of fruit, he might get £120 or £140 an acre for it, and he has the other seven or eight acres for other purposes and he is all right. But again we cannot cover all the small farmers in a scheme like that.

The next way to help him is to get him a bit of employment. It must be admitted that we have pushed forestry as far as we can. I was Minister in charge of forestry about 30 years ago. When I took over, we were taking 2,000 acres a year and our target was 4,000. We reached that target in a few years. Forestry was taken from me and given to someone else. Now the target is 25,000 acres and there is a lot of private planting, too. The result will be that in future years we shall be exporting timber because we shall not want it all. So we are doing our best in that regard.

[341] We are attacked by some Senators on the other side of the House for our attempt to encourage manufacurers to go into what are called the undeveloped districts. The reason we are encouraging them to go to those districts is to help the congested farmers by providing jobs for them. Again, that can help only a limited number of small farmers.

So a certain number are helped by the Land Commission, a certain number by more intensive culture, a certain number by forestry, turf cutting and other Bord na Móna activities, and a certain number by industry, but even after that, a big number of small farmers are left. I heard no suggestion from the other side of the House as to how we should help them. We are doing the best we can to push the schemes we have in mind; we are doing all we can. A few other schemes were brought in in our time such as the glasshouses scheme which helped a few dozen or a few score of farmers. The Minister for the Gaeltacht brought in Sceim na Muc. A sow can bring in perhaps £100 a year in progeny, slips, if she is well managed and the farmer is lucky. All these things help but there will be many who may not be reached for some time.

Senator Fitzpatrick said that I said in the Dáil when I was winding up that it was markets we wanted. I believe the farmers are hardworking, intelligent, and that they know their job. When I was Minister for Agriculture, I spent holidays in at least five or six European countries. I always went to the rural areas. I came across farmers in Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and, of course, England and I found them the same as farmers everywhere. I usually had someone with me who could talk their language, and I found they were prepared to put their elbows on the gate and talk for the whole afternoon, if you would talk with them. They were competent men rather like our own, but I think farmers have a leisurely way of getting things done. Even though they have a leisurely way, they are hardworking and they know their job. I have no fear about the farmers being able to face the Common Market. [342] Senator Fitzpatrick expressed some doubts about that but I believe they will make the grade.

I have told the House what we are doing to try to help small farmers. We are doing what we can in that direction and we are prepared to increase that help, but can any Senator help us with any further suggestion? If he can, he should do so rather than go round the country trying to make the farming community jealous of their industrial neighbours by saying: “You are badly treated and the Government should do something for you.” There is no use in trying to make the farmers discontented, disheartened and jealous of their neighbours by telling them they are not well treated.

Mr. Fitzpatrick: Information on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick  I had hoped that the Minister would deal with marketing.

Dr. Ryan: Information on James Ryan  Zoom on James Ryan  In regard to marketing, suppose we could fix a price for bacon and tell the farmers that no matter how many pigs they produced, we would dispose of them at that price, there would be a big increase in pig production. The same would apply to practically anything you could name. Even at present prices you would have that increase. Maybe not in eggs but, at present prices, generally you would have that increase.

I have been criticised again both in the Dáil and here—at least, the Government have been criticised; I suppose that, perhaps, I am away from the criticism here—that I provided the money in 1957 for marketing and only £27,000 was used. It was a slow process, indeed, the whole job, but marketing boards have been set up in both milk products and bacon and the producers have their say there now and there is money provided for that. In fact, money can be got from that famous £250,000 to investigate foreign markets. I hope they will be successful in their quest for foreign markets but it is not an easy matter. There are very few countries in Europe now that are not practically self-sufficient in agriculture themselves. They might want an odd thing but not very much. It would be a different matter if we [343] were all thrown in together in one unit, as we would be in the Common Market. Then I think there would be a market for a fair number of commodities and, I hope, an increasing market too. The Minister for Agriculture, naturally, would be able to deal with this question of markets better than I am. I am not sure how far they have got in the Milk Marketing Board, Board Bainne, or in the Bacon Marketing Board but I hope they will make some headway and dispose of those commodities.

A good many Senators thought that if we had more commercial attachés we might do better. We have been considering that but we feel — the Department of Finance I am talking about; not the Government — that many of our Ministers abroad could do that job as well as their own. After all, it is not a very onerous job. Any intelligent man could learn what there is to be learned about it. Partly in that way and partly by appointing commercial attachés—a few have been appointed—we are trying to find out what markets there are to be got in these foreign countries generally. I do not know if we can do any more at the moment.

The Common Market looks a good proposition for agriculture. The policy on agriculture is not yet agreed. They did agree on a certain policy but now, I think, they have not altogether agreed on the interpretation of that policy. So that we have not exactly got a full outline of what the policy is. I am sure we will get it soon. The principles laid down behind that agricultural policy appear to be sound and I am sure we would succeed there.

Let us go on to industry. There was a good deal of discussion here on the question of the eighth round increase of wages. Let us deal with that and the question of productivity. A Senator said he thought the word “productivity” was rather overdone, if you like. Of course, it is a way of expressing a certain idea. If wages keep pace, as it were, with productivity, then no harm can be done at all to anybody. That is the whole idea in talking about productivity, increased [344] output, and so on. It is wrong for any Labour Senator to say that either the Taoiseach or myself or any member of the Fianna Fáil Party has ever objected to an increase in wages. That is silly talk. Is it not our object, and the object not alone of ourselves but of every Party, to give a better standard of living to everybody? If we are to achieve that object, naturally, we will welcome better wages being paid where they can be paid without doing any harm to anybody.

There is no doubt, as the Taoiseach pointed out, that the rounds of wage increases which came before this last round were all properly timed and, therefore, did no harm to anybody because the profit was there to absorb the wages. The eighth round appears to have been rather premature and the evidence of that is that there is a tendency towards an increase in prices, which would be the symptom always if an increase in wages were given prematurely. I should not say wages alone —any loosening up of money, an increase of wages, salaries, dividends—it does not matter; it is all the same—the loosening up of money of any kind, if it is not matched by increased productivity, does lead to a certain amount of danger in the economic sphere.

As I say, it is very difficult to know but suppose it has happened that this round came too soon, that it was premature, then there is more money there than can be absorbed. That is the point. Part of it can go to savings—not much of our money goes to savings as a rule. If not, it will go to higher prices and there is a tendency to higher prices. It may not develop any more. If there is no increase in output, then the money will be spent on imports and if more money is being spent on increased imports and if that is combined with increasing costs, exports may go down, and that is the terrible danger. You will reach a position then when you will have lower exports and higher imports. The balance of trade goes wrong and the banks find difficulty in their transactions. There is restriction of credit followed by unemployment and the whole thing is worse than if the increase had never been given.

That is the full story of the worst [345] picture you could draw of the matter. I do not think it will happen in this case because I think it is quite possible for productivity to come up to the increased wages. It is probably not far behind it. It is quite possible for it to come up and I think there is a desire on both the employers' side and the employees' side to see that is done and I am sure it will work out all right in that case.

I do not think I need say any more about it at the moment as it is getting late but I am just giving my version of what might happen if the round of wages came before the productivity was there to meet it.

The unemployment that would come after the restriction of credit will, I think, be avoided. I do not think we are going to reach that stage. I think that will be avoided. Senator Murphy said that the employers and the employees are inclined to discuss this matter. It is certain that neither side can lose by discussing the matter and if there is an attempt made to keep the advancing increase in national income in line with advancing wages—or put it vice versa if you like—then no harm can be done.

Above all, an increase in prices should be avoided because we have the experience that once prices increase they never go down again; you never get them down again. Higher prices, as Senators know, mean a higher cost of living, which makes workers discontented again and makes it awkward for a Minister for Finance because everybody he is dealing with must get an increase in pay and he, therefore, puts on taxation. That, again, adds to the spiral. So, the whole thing is a vicious circle, as it were.

I have only a word or two to say about the Dublin Corporation scholarships. I find that Senator Stanford raised that matter on a previous occasion and the Minister for Education pointed out, which is true, that he has no control over local authorities in the conditions they attach to their scholarships. However, I will bring this matter again to the attention of the Minister to see if he can do anything by persuasion, as he said. Perhaps, he can do [346] something by persuasion. I will bring it to his attention again to see if he can. It is open to the Senator also, if he has a friend in the Dublin Corporation, to ask him to see if he can do anything about it, which may be the best way to approach it.

One other point that I want to mention is that Senator George O'Brien said that he thought our taxation was now going out of line with national income. No; not up to the present time. I cannot speak for the coming year. But, up to the present time, it has remained remarkably in line, indeed. From 1956-57 down to the Estimates for this year—that is the non-capital services, of course—they have only risen from £26.6 million to £26.8 million. That is only .2 per cent. of the national income so our taxation, therefore, may be taken as kept in line.

The last point I want to make about taxation is that there is always, I am afraid, a certain amount of confusion about what we mean by taxation. I may have said—I do not know; I do not think so because I do not think I was interested in the subject when I was in Opposition—that taxation was going too high. But do we mean the level of the tax or do we mean the amount that comes in by way of revenue? It is the level of tax, naturally, that we have in mind because every Senator must see that in a changing world with increasing costs, if a bit more is to be got each year that is a good thing. Let us say I can get 2s. on a glass of whiskey and people drink a little more, that is a net increase in revenue and so long as I have not put another penny on the glass of whiskey we have not got increased taxation.

On that basis, we have lowered taxation in the past five years. In other words, if I had made no change whatever in taxation from the 1957 Budget up the whole way to last year, if income tax was what it was and the tobacco tax the same, I would be getting £5 million more now than I am actually getting. I have actually lowered taxation but the amount coming in is much more than it was. That is the point I want to make. When [347] we talk of increased taxation, what we mean is putting a higher tax on the article, whatever it may be, but we do not mean getting more yield from a particular tax which is already there.

I hope I have dealt with any questions which have been raised. If not, I will be glad to answer any questions if I can.

[348] Question put and agreed to.

Bill put through Committee, reported without recommendation, received for final consideration and ordered to be returned to the Dáil.

The Seanad adjourned at 10.45 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28th, 1962.


Last Updated: 15/09/2010 15:19:38 First Page Previous Page Page of 6 Next Page Last Page