Tuesday, 20 December 1966
Seanad Eireann Debate
Mr. McDonald: On Thursday night last the Minister was just about to define for me the term “working farmer” when we adjourned. Unfortunately, the pros and cons of who or what particular type of farmer is involved  in the present or any strike does not alter the unfortunate lot of so many of our farmers throughout the country at present. Will the Minister deny that agricultural incomes and family farm incomes in particular have dropped considerably over the past year? I should like to know where the non-working farmers are to be found in this country? Many people seem to forget that the farmers are, I suppose, the only section of the community who do not enjoy a 5 day week at present. The farmers have no half holiday in the week. They must work a full 7 day week. They have no sickness benefit, no retirement, no pension schemes and the only holiday the vast majority of them get is, perhaps, a week or two when they get married and go on their honeymoon. These are the people to whom the Government appear to deny a reasonable living wage.
We know that 59 per cent of the farms in the Republic of Ireland are under 25 acres. The families on these farms are expected to survive on a figure of approximately £7 per week and it is tantamount to treason if they protest or insist on the right to bring up their families in some standard of decency. I feel I should take this opportunity of reminding the Minister of the pittances so many of our citizens are compelled to live on. For the five-15 acre holding, this year's income estimate is £232 per annum, or less than £4 10s per week. For farms of between 15 and 30 acres, the income is estimated at £386 per annum, or £7 8s per week and for those of the 30-50 acre holdings, a figure of £565 per annum, or £10 16s per week. Therefore, the average family farm income, on farms from five-50 acres, is £394 per annum, or £7 10s per week. When we bear in mind that the people who are earning those vast incomes must have at least £1,000 investment in land, buildings and property—and up to £10,000 — it is surely a poor return, when we contrast it with other sections of the community. When we break down the figure of family farm income, how many urban people realise that that income represents the return for the work done by not only  the farmer but his wife, children and all the other members of the farm who must join in and give a hand in order to secure that mere pittance?
I should like to compare those figures, which were compiled by the advisory services, with those set out in the tables in the last national farm survey carried out during the years 1955-56 to 1957-58. On page 3, Part I of that Report we find—taking the same categories — the total family farm income of the small farms of between five and 15 acres during the three seasons of that Report, almost ten years ago, was £209 for the year 1957. Comparing that with this year's estimate of £232 per annum, we have an increase of £23 per annum in the family farm income of the smallest farms over the ten-year period. For the 15 to 30 acre group the figure in the national farm survey was £332 and, compared with this year's figure of £386, it is only £54 more. For the 30 to 50 acre group the figure ten years ago was £464, or £101 less than the figure for this year.
I do not for a moment deny that farm incomes have been static over each of those ten years. There was a considerable improvement during the first three or four years after that Report but, this year, family farm incomes have taken a nose-dive. Surely the present Minister for Agriculture and his predecessor must be aware of the grave economic conditions affecting our agricultural economy at the present time. That any Government should attempt to deny that these conditions exist is indeed extraordinary, since the farming community represent such a large sector of the population. The urban people in general seem also to be unaware of the fact that the farmers' share of the ordinary agricultural produce they buy—and, in many cases, pay so dearly for in the shops—is only 15 to 20 per cent of the retail price. Surely that it a poor return for the time and effort which farmers must put into their work. When we consider the poor incomes that have been made available to the farming community over the years, it is no wonder that there is a very rapid  decline in the number of people actively engaged in agriculture.
Looking at the report by Dr. E. A. Attwood of the Rural Economy Division of An Foras Talúntais, we find some very informative tables in regard to the agricultural labour force in general over the period 1951 to 1961. With your permission, Sir, I should like to quote from this report because I feel that if the Department of Agriculture studied these figures and took them into account, they would find that they prove conclusively that there is a very dangerous situation, and that if something is not done as a matter of urgency, it may even be too late to apply remedies. It is stated in the introduction:
The following tables give the absolute and percentage changes in the agricultural labour force and its main constituents over the years 1951-61 for the State, the four provinces and each of the twenty-six counties. They are being circulated to make readily available the precise figure for each county. The data are derived from the Reports of the Population Censuses of Ireland, 1951 and 1961.
Looking at the first table in this report, we see that there has been a very big decline in the number of people remaining on the land. The first table gives the total agricultural labour force of farmers and family workers. Between 1951 and 1961, there was a decline of 10.6 per cent in the number of farmers working on the land. The figure in 1961 was 210,331 as compared with 235,331 in 1951. Perhaps that figure is not too bad.  Perhaps we will be told that these figures are consistent with the figures in other countries where there seems to be a flight from the land, but when we look at the numbers of sons and sons-in-law who left the land during the period, we find them even more distressing. In 1951, there were 132,895 farmers' sons and sons-in-law actively engaged in whole-time farming, and in 1961, ten years later, that figure had dropped to 80,002, or by 38.9 per cent. That is a very drastic figure. We find, too, when we go through this publication, that the number of farms throughout Ireland which have no one to succeed or to carry on farming is quite alarming. We find also a very sharp decrease in the number of girls or farmers' daughters remaining on the farms of Ireland.
The reason why these people are leaving the land—and they are most important to the land—is the income available to them as a direct result of the agricultural policy of the Government. The number of people on the land is declining for the simple reason that the incomes which farmers are able to earn from their holdings are not capable of maintaining them in a reasonable standard of living. In present circumstances, it is unreasonable and impossible to expect the younger generation to work on the land. Therefore, as a matter of urgency, the Government should try to meet the situation by at least listening to the representations made by the various agricultural organisations, be they the ICMSA, the NFA or any other body representing the farming industry. Surely the figures in the Government's statistics are conclusive evidence that these people have a very strong case and putting off the evil day just will not do.
... that the NFA was not satisfied with what the Government had done for farmers. He had the conviction that if another Government was in power they would not be so hard on them. His experience of farmers' parties was that they flourished for  a while but always ended up as Fine Gael.
The people who composed these parties were always the same. The NFA was a body which was certainly anti-Government. He was in favour of having a representative farmers' organisation. It would certainly make things easier for the Minister for Agriculture.
I certainly do not share Senator Dr. Ryan's views on the NFA, or any other body for that matter. Any organised group of workers or of any section of the community which was treated by any Government as the present Government have treated both farmers' organisations this year, would have good reason to be anti-Government. I would hope that the people in the NFA and the ICMSA, in the interests of Irish agriculture and Irish farming, will not be deterred by cheap gibes or allegations that they are anti this or anti that. I hope that in the interests of themselves and their wives and children, and in the interests of Irish agriculture, they will demand and insist on their right to a reasonable standard of living so that the farming industry can continue and flourish.
Senator Ryan also said that on a valuation of £20 a farmer paid only £7 10s in rates. I do not know if there are many counties where the rates are less than 40/- in the £ but taking the figure at 40/- and taking into account rebates of one kind or another, farmers pay at least £10 rates on a valuation of £20. Senator Dr. Ryan's figure, therefore, was too low in that respect. On this question of rates, many people believe that farmers in general, because of grants and so on, pay very little rates or taxes: the public in general are not aware of the unjust way in which farmers are taxed. I have no objection to farmers paying rates on buildings, including dwellings, if the urban population must do so but I appreciate that a man in industrial employment pays rates on his home all right but he gets tax abatements and reliefs in respect of his wife and for each of his children under several headings. A farmer, on the other hand, not only pays rates on buildings but he  pays rates on every acre of land he owns irrespective of whether the land is flooded, or whether it is good land or bad land. He gets no allowance in respect of his wife or his children.
Mr. McDonald: Therefore, in proportion to the amount of money a farmer earns, he pays more than his share of taxation through rates. I put it to the Minister that a man working in industry on an income of £7 a week, though he has no family, does not pay any income tax, whereas a farmer with a wife and as many children as you can enumerate will pay rates on his land though the land may be flooded and useless. In Offaly the land may be flooded throughout the year because of the failure of Bord na Móna to carry out necessary drainage programmes. The entire question of rates is in many cases a myth as far as reliefs to farmers are concerned because when we compare a farmer with an industrial worker the farmer pays more than his fair share. I should like to ask the Minister to define a creditworthy farmer. On many occasions we have heard of the capital loans available to farmers if they are creditworthy in the eyes of some of the banks and in particular of the Agricultural Credit Corporation. In reply to a question by Deputy Allen last week the Minister said there was plenty of money available for creditworthy farmers. Therefore, would the Minister in his reply be good enough to tell us what he terms a creditworthy farmer?
Mr. McDonald: They are interesting definitions but I should like to hear the Minister's version. Looking at the Gilmore Survey on Agricultural Credit in Ireland for 1958, on page 3 there is an estimated balance sheet as of 31st December of that year. The figures will be a little smaller in some cases and a  little higher in others than for the corresponding period this year. We find there that farmers in the Republic of Ireland had assets in land and buildings of £500 million, and livestock, £220 million. The figure for livestock has increased considerably since 1958 in terms of numbers but the value has certainly decreased. The figure for machinery was £40 million and crops £25 million. The 1958 figure in money terms would be more than that for crops in 1966 because the acreage of all crops has dropped considerably and their cash value has not increased sufficiently in the meantime to sustain the overall figure.
In 1958, Gilmore estimated that Irish farmers had money in credits to a total value of £100 million. Then we come to the liabilities: land annuities to the Irish Land Commission totalled £40 million and the liabilities to the commercial banks totalled £22 million; the liabilities to merchants and co-operatives totalled £4 million and there is a similar figure in respect of hire purchase. The figure for loans issued by county councils under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Acts totalled £3 million and the figure in respect of the Agricultural Credit Corporation was £2.5 million. That figure has at least doubled since 1958.
Therefore, total liabilities in 1958 amounted to £75.5 million and total assets were £885 million. The extraordinary thing about those figures is that in their background the Minister and the Department of Finance tell the country that creditworthy farmers have no trouble in getting loans even from the Agricultural Credit Corporation, yet we find that farmers in Ireland with assets totalling £885 million in 1958 and whose liabilities were only £75.5 million are being turned down so often as being uncreditworthy. They find difficulty in getting loans amounting to a paltry £4 million or £5 million on assets exceeding £800 million. If the Minister has considered this worthwhile report, surely he will explain why he has not followed its recommendations.
Agriculture is being starved for want of credit and farmers are being  frustrated when, having read in the papers one day that there is no limit to the credit which creditworthy farmers will get, they find they are turned down as being unworthy of credit when they apply to the Agricultural Credit Corporation. I hope the Minister will tell the House when he is replying how he assesses farmers' creditworthiness. I hope he will also tell us the number of loans advanced to farmers and the number of loans refused since the present economic crisis occurred. One thing I find about all these reports published under Government aegis from time to time is that they hit the headlines before they come out and they are constantly referred to and the public are promised that they will be ready by certain dates. Yet, after they have been published and everybody has digested the figures, very little action is taken on them. That is a very great pity. The farming community, in general, have demonstrated over the years their ability to reach targets and to improve their way of life generally. They certainly take the prize for being able to survive on such miserable incomes. I feel with rising prices and the rising cost of production that they are possibly at the end of their tether at present.
The farming community must have more than lip service from the Government if farmers, as such, are to survive. There is a great disquiet in this country among farmers at present. I know in my own county very many small farmers, despite the fact that their rates are so small, are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the rate collector. It is no wonder then that they should protest at their falling incomes which are completely outside their control. They are constantly advised to produce more and to work harder. If the Minister for Industry and Commerce asked the people in the industrial sector to produce more and work harder they would understand immediately that if they worked overtime and worked longer hours they would be paid overtime rates. They would also know that if they produced more, they would more than likely get bonds. When the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries tells  the Irish farmers to produce more and be efficient and diligent there is no such thing as overtime for them because the law of supply and demand tends to act adversely against farmers. If there is an increase of a dozen eggs in the market or extra stock of any description the price tends to fall.
The Government should get down to tackling as a matter of urgency the very many problems which the agricultural sector of the community have at present. The least the Government can do is to hear the demands of the farmers and to endeavour to resolve the situation by consultation with the agricultural organisations, both the ICMSA and the NFA. It is very necessary that the next increase in the price of milk should be on a two-tier system. There is no use whatever in the Government ignoring those people's just demands. I sincerely hope that the people engaged in fighting a battle for the farmers of Ireland will not be deterred by the glib talk of people who apparently are not really interested in the future of Irish farmers.
There is just one other thing I should like to mention and that is Macra na Tuaithe. We have heard it said for many years that there are too many agricultural organisations in this country. The outstanding agricultural organisation in this country at present is Macra na Feirme. That organisation was founded early in the 1940's. They have done a tremendous amount of voluntary work and have made great efforts to bring the standard of Irish farming to the reasonably high level of efficiency in which it is in today. As a matter of fact, were it not for the efficiency of Irish farmers they would be completely “bust” years ago.
In 1956 Macra na Feirme launched the NFA, an organisation specifically designed to look after the economic end of Irish agriculture. Some years later Macra na Feirme launched Macra na Tuaithe and set it up as the junior arm of that organisation. It would be a pity now if the control of that organisation were taken from the working farmers of this country. After all, nobody understands farmers better than the farmers themselves. Those people  have done a great amount of voluntary work and I am glad to see that the Department of Education have more or less returned the grant to Macra na Tuaithe. I hope the good relations between those organisations will continue through the years ahead.
Professor Stanford: The remarks of the representatives from the universities in this debate have necessarily been handicapped by the delay in the appearance of the report of the Commission on Higher Education. I hope the House will have a full debate when the report appears. There is one thing certain to me, and I am sure most of us will agree on this, that the best interests of our country depend on the best from our two universities.
Meanwhile, on the topic of the cost of university education, let me correct two misunderstandings about Trinity College. I thought some years ago that they were past but I have met them again recently in the Press. One concerns the taxpayers. The taxpayers will pay TCD something like £827,000 this year, a considerable share of the amount spent on university education. Now, it has been said that a good deal of this money is being wasted on educating students from outside our country. Let us glance at the figures for a moment or two. The total number of students in Dublin University, Trinity College, is in round figures, 3,400. Of those approximately, in round figures, 1,100 are from overseas and 762 are from Northern Ireland. If one does a simple arithmetical sum one finds that we, the taxpayers—we are taxpayers as well as legislators—contribute about £250 for each student in Trinity College, Dublin, whether he comes from Malaya, Nigeria, USA, South America or elsewhere.
Some people will say that that is a regrettable loss, a loss which should be stopped. Let us consider it for a moment or two. I am quite certain that each of these students from overseas spends at least £350 a year, probably more, in this country. As I see it, the net profit to the State is £100 per student. For every £250 we spend on one of these students £350 is brought into the country. I am not an expert  on those things but, fortunately, the sums are fairly simple in this case. That looks to me like a return of 40 per cent per annum.
Professor Stanford: Yes, but he is bringing into the country currency from outside to the value of £350. Surely that is what the tourist trade is doing. They are trying to bring in money from outside. The citizens of Dublin are getting something like £350 to £400 per student.
Professor Stanford: Should I, indeed? Let me continue for a little while anyway. As I see it, there is something like £400 per student coming into the city of Dublin. That might be an argument for putting more of the cost of Trinity College on the rates of the city of Dublin since most of the money is spent in this area.
Besides, there is something more than money at stake here. Approximately 800 students come from Northern Ireland to the city of Dublin and this is of inestimable value. They are living in Dublin: they see that we are reasonable people in this part of the country. Some of them do not believe this until they come here. They have to be taught. Trinity College is doing a task of reunification in that way. We spend money on ambassadors and subsidise various bodies who come here  to see how Ireland is developing. Should we grudge this money which is spent in another way?
I should like to emphasise another misunderstanding. More than two-thirds of the students in the college are from Ireland, and the Government very wisely think that we should receive students from the Six Counties on equal terms. Connected with this misunderstanding is something which is almost a slander and I must meet it resolutely. It is the statement that Trinity College encourages a large proportion of students from overseas, that we have a deliberate policy of accepting approximately two-thirds of the students from outside the country. This is entirely untrue. I speak as a member of the University body and I know it is untrue.
Here I welcome the fact that Fine Gael in their recent, admirable statement on their educational policy recognised the state of affairs. They see that it is the result of a situation which is outside the control of the college. The simple fact is that there is an ecclesiastical ban which prevents Catholic students coming to Trinity College. We in the college have no power to alter this. The aim of the college is to have 90 per cent Irish students. We could reasonably have ten per cent of students from abroad partly because it is good for the university and partly because we have a duty to various undeveloped nations to give them an opportunity of coming to Ireland to learn what we can teach them intellectually and by way of civilisation. That would be our desire. Any suggestion outside that the college wishes to increase the number of overseas students is entirely untrue. In fact what we in the college have imposed on us is a policy of religious apartheid—a policy which seriously divides our nation. Such a policy divides our nation. Need I say that if the very able Minister at present with us could persuade the Government to remove that division and that source of loss of money in our country at present by bringing about a cessation of this ecclesiastical ban, the college would heartily welcome it. We would be prepared to answer any reasonable questions in relation to possible  religious dangers that might exist. If the Government could deal with this division, they would be doing a very good thing. It would be ecumenical in the true sense of that word.
In fact the present proportion of Catholics in Trinity College is 20 per cent. A large proportion of these come from Britain where, apparently, there is no objection whatever to Catholic students going to Trinity College. In Ireland there are historical reasons we all know. But surely these historical reasons should have diminished by 1966. We are conscious in Trinity College that the taxpayers are partly paying for us. We know we have a duty. We want to make it clear, however, owing to external disabilities we cannot fully meet the national demand. We are prohibited from doing so.
In relation to secondary education, everyone approves of the proposals put forward by the Government recently. I hope the Government will also take into account the Fine Gael statement. I should like to make two observations here. The first is that the primary need in secondary education is for teachers, not for buildings. I know many of our buildings are out of date. I heard some of them described as positively Dickensian. But it is the supply of high quality teachers that will matter. We many finance buildings but if we do not get the teachers, we are wasting time. I know that in Leinster House there is strong pressure and demand for more and more buildings, demands for pulling down this building and putting up that one. I only wish there was an equally strong lobby for the human factor in education. My appeal is that we should think less in terms of material structures than in terms of teachers.
Perhaps I may speak through the Minister here to the Minister for Education and say that there are two things we must do. We must have proper inducements to persuade young students to turn to teaching in this country, not as a last refuge, but as a well-paid vocation. We should also have more inducements to bring Irish teachers and Irish people generally back from abroad. It is particularly difficult at present for them to come  back. I speak on this with some emphasis because my son who wanted to come back found it too difficult here and he has gone back again to teach in Britain. There are hundreds of parents in the same situation.
Professor Stanford: May I add just one sentence? Many of the people I have met abroad wanted to come back but there simply are not the inducements for their doing so. I should like to comment on what the Minister said in the Dáil some weeks ago in connection with education. I can quote, if you like, Sir.
An Cathaoirleach: The Chair agrees there is agreement through the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and the Minister has promised to come to the House early in the New Year to take motion No. 7. Perhaps Senators will agree on this matter.
Professor Stanford: As the Chair suggests, I shall pass to another point. The rest of my remarks will be based on three exhibits. Here I have two pubcations—there is no need for alarm; they are neither censored nor censorable. The other exhibit is a small collection of Irish postage stamps. Both of these two publications, one Ireland of the Welcomes and the other the publication of the Office of Public Works Oibre, are a credit to our country. They are finely produced. Their illustrations are excellent. The material in them is excellent. I have praised Ireland of the Welcomes in this House before: I am very happy to praise it again. It is one of the admirable things that our tourist board have done. I may say, for the interest of Senators, that in this issue of July-August, 1966, we have a very good article on how  we got our Irish coinage, which is one of the finest coinages, I think, in existence: it goes back to a Commission of which a Member of this House was Chairman, the late Senator W. B. Yeats. Similarly, with Oibre, there are wide-ranging articles including one, I notice with great pleasure, on Georgian ceilings, beautifully illustrated and well expressed. But here we come to a strange contradiction in policy. In their official publications, the Office of Public Works are praising our beautiful Georgian work. I note, too, that the Arts Council, which deserves the highest praise for its work, especially in Kilkenny, has been praising and highly valuing our Georgian architecture. Yet, at this very moment, the Parliamentary Secretary is perhaps making plans for destroying one of the finest areas of Georgian architecutre in our city. We may, within a few months, see St. Stephen's Green multilated under the auspices of these very people who are producing this splendid and admirable production. Is that not a lamentable state of affairs?
Even more lamentable and more destructive to the morale of this country—we need to preserve our morale as well as any other nation—is the fact that on this very matter of the threatened destruction of Georgian houses in St. Stephen's Green, the Parliamentary Secretary apparently thought it significant to say and to say it falsely, that those who value Georgian architecture are mostly people with double-barrelled names. Is it not pitiful, in the year 1966, that that kind of thing should be said, especially when it is blatantly and absolutely untrue? What has happened is that a group of people, many of them with impeccable Irish names, as they rightly pointed out in the public Press, are trying to defend the beauty and elegance of our capital city which has been threatened with obliteration?
What is the reason for this tragedy? Partly sheer commercial greed. It will pay a great many builders, architects and others if houses are pulled down and others are put up. Another source is historical prejudice. I am sorry to say, against people with double-barrelled  names and aliens. Luckily, Cromwell could not be brought into this particular case, as it would be anachronistic.
Another of the causes is confusion in Government policy. I say it is confused policy to praise the beauties of Georgian architecture and Georgian art in an official journal and not to try to protect it, where the Government can, being owners, directly protect it. I shall not emphasise that further. I could say a great deal. I feel very deeply about it. Many people in Ireland do, not from any ex-Ascendancy loyalty because art experts from all over the world, who have no connection with ex-Ascendency people in this country, are prepared to say what I am saying, that many of these are priceless treasures which are being wantonly wasted. Many of our best statues have been blown to bits by vandals—the Gough monument in the Phoenix Park, monuments in St. Stephen's Green, the Nelson Pillar. Our city is being made more commonplace and less historical by the operations of these vandals. Would it not be much worse if Government confusion on policy were to help to this reduction of our fine city to a mere collection of concrete boxes such as one can find in any city from Beiruit to Las Vegas?
My third exhibit is a collection of Irish postage stamps. Here again we have every reason to be proud in many ways of what we produce. There have been some deporable ones: I will give them to anybody who likes to see them —I have got some here. Particularly bad, I regret to say, is the one of Leinster House—a disgracefully drab, badly-designed picture of this Parliament House in honour of the declaration of the Republic, issued, I think, about 1937. It is one of the worst stamps and we have reason to be cross about this. But there has been a very great improvement, and I hear welcome rumours that there will be a further radical improvement in the near future in our Irish stamps. Now I have a special collection of stamps here. All of the persons were members of Trinity College, Dublin, persons commemorated on Irish postage stamps, and in  one case on a Bulgarian postage stamp, oddly enough, because he did himself great honour in the Balkans during the wars there. All these were members of the college to which I have the honour to belong—a sorrowful honour in some ways because again and again we have to endure misunderstandings and slanders. Let me delay the Seanad on this, while I call this honourable roll call—Wolfe Tone, Thomas Moore, John Redmond, William Rowan Hamilton, Douglas Hyde, Robert Emmet and Thomas Davis. Next year, I am happy to say, I shall be able to add another name to this list, the name of Dean Swift, whose tercentenary will be celebrated in 1967. I also have here a stamp to commemorate the Gaelic League whose first president was a graduate of our college. In fact other graduates of Dublin University were early supporters of the Gaelic League. Also I have a stamp here to commemorate the Royal Dublin Society which was founded by some graduates of Dublin University. I am very happy that our stamps are gradually approaching to the pitch of perfection of our coins. I am very happy that the future here will soon be even brighter.
Finally I want to refer, now to one of our most recent stamps, the stamp of Ballintubber Abbey, a beautiful stamp, beautifully designed. As I look at it, I think of these great abbeys right through our country whose names are like poems—Athassel, Dunbrody, Holy Cross, Mellifont—wonderful buildings with wonderful names like a poem now derelict ruins—why?
Professor Stanford: Partly. These are the very factors which are operating to pull down our Georgian buildings today. I ask the Seanad to consider  that perhaps 200 or 300 years from now, historians may say that in the middle of the 20th century, Dublin, once one of the fine capitals of Europe, began pulling down its historic buildings as the abbeys were pulled down in the 16th century. If they ask for the reasons, they will find the same reasons and they will deplore them. It will not be argued then in terms of double-barrelled names or single-barrelled names; it will be argued in terms of people who value our national heritage. I plead with the Government from the sadness of my heart when I look at these ruined abbeys and from a consciousness that I and people like me have to share some of the blame, not quite fairly, for these ruined abbeys—would our leaders today like to have similar blame attached to their great-great-grandchildren 200 years from now? I do not think they would.
There it is. I see a Europe in which the Turks in Istanbul are busily uncovering with the greatest care those marvellous Christian mosaics in the churches which the Mohammedans hate, because they know they are national treasures. I hear of the Russians preserving the splendours of the Tzars and of their hated regime. I know that in Greece the Crusader Castles, memorials of conquerors, are being preserved with scrupulous care, and we as tourists are taken to them and proudly told of their history. And then I see in my own city our own treasures being destroyed. I appeal to the Minister, by that handsome Ballintubber stamp and by the ideals which I think we all share for our country, not to allow that kind of thing to happen any longer.
Mr. McGlinchey: Last week, Senator Garret FitzGerald told us that in his recent visit to Brussels he was surprised to learn that officials there could quote Oireachtas Reports verbatim. I trust that the Senator and the Leader of his Party explained to these officials that the irresponsible statements and speeches made recently by Fine Gael depicting gloom and despondency in this country were insincere and that they were made merely to appeal to the Irish electorate. I trust  the Senator explained to these officials that they should ignore speeches made by the former Leader of Fine Gael and some of his colleagues and that when they speak of this country being bust, they do so merely because they have nothing constructive to say.
I am not concerned with the destructive speeches that Fine Gael have been making which are for home consumption only. The Irish people are too well used to them and pay little attention to them, as the results of the by-elections show. I feel that Fine Gael have a very important part to play in the new Ireland. They must try to satisfy the officials in Brussels that they can prove themselves an efficient and constructive Opposition capable of taking over the reins of Government, should the whim of the electorate decide.
It is very important in any country that there should be a strong Opposition but Fine Gael have a lot to learn before they can establish themselves as such and, if they cannot, possibly they should accept the advice given to them in Dáil Éireann last week by a Fianna Fáil Deputy.
This has been a difficult year for Ireland. However, when the history of 1966 is written, posterity will judge us by the manner in which the situation was handled. Ever mindful of the national interest, Fianna Fáil, in the earlier part of this year, took unpopular action in order to stimulate the economy. Government expenditure was restricted and a serious credit squeeze affected the private sector. Britain's economic difficulties resulted in less money being sent home by Irish people there and, of course, less Irish cattle being bought by the British farmer. We must not get the impression that this is the only country that has suffered in this way. The growth rate of western Europe dropped two per cent last year compared with the year before and it is expected that Britain's growth rate this year will be the lowest of any country in western Europe.
The Irish people have demonstrated on two occasions recently their confidence in the Government. The success  of the recent National Loan indicated clearly the people's belief in the future of this country. One would have imagined that had a by-election occurred in recent months, Fianna Fáil would have been sent to their political limbo. The people of Waterford and Kerry, however, proved conclusively their admiration for the courageous stand which Fianna Fáil took this year and they, no doubt, compared the situation this year with the situation which arose in the winter of 1956 when we had a similar recession. They no doubt, admired the stand that Fianna Fáil took and recalled the failure of the Coalition Government in those days to face up to their responsibilities.
In the spring of 1957, the Coalition Government had an opportunity of introducing something that would alleviate the position but rather than risk becoming unpopular with the electorate, rather than face up to their responsibilities, they resigned. They deserted the ship of State and in a subsequent election, the people gave them the treatment they deserved.
The chief occupation of Fine Gael in recent times has been the formulation of new policies and in order to achieve that, they have that so-called economist, Senator Garret FitzGerald, working overtime.
Mr. McGlinchey: In so describing Senator FitzGerald, I should, of course, have pointed out that I was not expressing my own opinion but merely quoting from the records of this House —column 1420 of the Official Report of 23rd March, 1961. Speaking on that occasion on the Central Fund Bill, Senator O'Quigley had this to say:
Senator Carter derives great consolation, and indeed illumination, from reading what he refers to as a “well-known economist”. The gentleman concerned may be well known but I do not think it is well known that he is not an economist: that he purports to be such. I should  have thought that an economist was somebody like Senator O'Brien or Senator O'Donovan who had a minimum of an M.A. degree or was a Doctor of Economic Science. That is my conception of an economist. I do not consider a man to be an economist who has got only a B.A. degree in history and Spanish.... That is the sum total of Mr. Garret FitzGerald's qualifications... If somebody is put up as being a specialist, I think it is well that we should enlighten the public as Senator Carter has asked us to do and point out that this man is equivalent to a mercenary soldier, as far as economics is concerned—a mercenary intellectual.
It is interesting that, for the last year or so, Fine Gael have presented Senator FitzGerald as their leading economist. He played a prominent part in formulating the “Just Society”. He played, I think, a prominent part in their educational plan and they sent him to Brussels. Buried in the records of this House, however, we find that some of his own colleagues do not hold his qualifications in such high esteem.
Professor Quinlan: On a point of order. Did the Senator ever hear of post-graduate experience or experience even in ordinary life? A course of six years can change the standing of any one of us, including Senator McGlinchey.
Mr. McGlinchey: I do not deny that. Possibly, since 1961, Senator O'Quigley's opinion of Senator FitzGerald has changed. In recent months, however, we have heard stories about the cloak and dagger in Fianna Fáil, the knives and the tomahawks. I foresee——
Mr. McGlinchey: We have the Mafia, too, but I foresee in the not too distant future Senator FitzGerald  becoming a Julius Caesar. I would not describe Senator O'Quigley as a Cassius—he is too well fed for that—but he could prove a very effective Brutus.
About nine years ago I attended a public meeting at home, a meeting which launched the NFA in my county. I was very pleased then that at long last the farmers had a strong organisation to look after their interests. I believed this new body would make agriculture a more rewarding business by encouraging economic production and efficient selling. I believed the purpose in forming the NFA was to encourage farmers to use their initiative and stimulate agricultural productivity.
I submit now that the NFA have failed to grasp the golden opportunity that was presented to them. Their only contribution to Irish agriculture has been to criticise, to moan at and belittle the efforts of the Government to help the Irish farmer. It is high time the rank and file of the NFA realised that their leaders could play a more effective role than they are playing in Irish agriculture and I am convinced that the main reason why the protest marches have taken place was in order to camouflage the inactivity of the leaders of the NFA and to give members the impression that they were acting in their interests. One has only to study the personnel of the NFA leaders in Donegal to realise that their interests are far removed from the interests of the small farmer. A study of the list of participants in the march from Donegal to Dublin reads like a New Year's Honours List. Not since Red Hugh O'Donnell marched to Kinsale to teach the Corkment how to fight did so many soldiers march out of Donegal at the one time.
Mr. McGlinchey: I was a little before their time. I can never understand why so many members of the NFA are prepared to listen to farmers preaching, farmers who are not able to run their own farms. I think of the Secretary of the NFA at home, who never fails to grasp an opportunity  to criticise the Government; for years and years he has been letting the greater part of his farm. I submit the Land Commission have failed in their duty in not taking over that farm years ago and giving it to someone who is prepared to work it.
The Chairman of the NFA in Donegal may be an expert on Papal Encyclicals but any farmer who stands up publicly, as he did in my presence, and claimed that he could only make £3 per acre on potatoes should be compelled, in my opinion, to go to an agricultural college.
While I disagree with the approach of the NFA, I cannot deny that the problems of the small farmers in the west and north-west are very serious indeed. I do not think this Government, or any Government, can possibly find a satisfactory solution to their problems. The decentralisation of agricultural administration may be a little help. The Government should be encouraged by the success of the BTE offices in the various counties. There is a number of pilot schemes in the west and experiments will continue, through trial and error, until some day some form of solution will be found.
I should like to see an experiment along the following lines: a farmers' co-operative with a reasonable State subsidy invested in a model farm somewhere in the west. This would encourage better farming and provide pedigree stock. Possibly officials of the Department of Agriculture could be housed in the area. Above all, a pool of agricultural machinery should be formed for the benefit of small farmers in the district. Small farmers of 30, 35 and 40 acres are crippled by their investment in agricultural machinery, some of which is used for only a few weeks in the year. Some system should be devised whereby small farmers would be discouraged from investing money in tractors and so on.
Mr. McQuillan: I do not want to interrupt the Senator, but is not the blueprint of such a plan available in the aid provided to the small farmers  by the Sugar Company? The Sugar Company lend out machinery.
Mr. McGlinchey: Senator O'Quigley should not test me on this. I knew what was going on in this House on 23rd March, 1961. I should like to say a few words about milk, a subject which has been topical during the last few months. Should Ireland and England enter the European Economic Community in 1970 the dairy farmers will have a golden opportunity and milk will be in great demand. In the last 20 years the British and Six County farmers have been heavily subsidised in regard to milk production. I recall that 15 years ago when the British farmers were receiving 4/-a gallon for milk they were not satisfied. It is generally believed that when these subsidies are withdrawn the bottom will fall out of the dairy industry in Britain and this country, if it is geared for it, should then come into its own as far as the dairy industry is concerned.
In England payment for milk is on a gallonage basis plus premiums for quality and good buyers et cetera, but the minimum requirement is three per cent butter fat content and 8.5 solid set fat. Anyone whose milk is under this is liable to prosecution. In this country the farmer is paid on a butter fat basis, apart from the milk that goes into the creamery butter industry, and the remainder is channelled to  manufacturers. The milk that is bought at 4.5 per cent butter fat has to be standardised with skim or brought back to three per cent for manufacturing purposes. This is an uneconomic way of dealing with it because paying for butter fat means, in the winter time especially, more intensive feeding. Therefore, I should like to see the Department of Agriculture reviewing the payment method for milk in relation to butter fat and comparing it with the system which is in operation in England so that when we do enter the Common Market the farmers may be able to compete, as I feel they will be, very successfully with the British dairy industry. Senator McDonald referred to farmers' income and on a number of occasions recently the NFA have claimed that on average this is £5 per week. I maintain that their method of calculation was completely wrong. I claim that they selected the income for the entire agricultural population and that instead of keeping to the farmer or householder himself they divided the figure by the father, mother and all the children and their average figure then was £5 per head. This does not represent the income of the farmer himself but is a division between his entire family.
Mr. McGlinchey: The new plan for education has been welcomed throughout the country and I should like to say a few words about one aspect of it, the vocational schools. It is the intention of the Minister for Education that the character of the vocational schools should be maintained but I feel that with the new emphasis being placed on secondary education, secondary school authorities will attempt to push out many of the vocational schools. In my own county I have evidence of secondary school authorities discouraging the spread of vocational  schools. It is very important that for the next few years vocational committees should be maintained in each county to protect the interests of these technical schools.
Mr. McAuliffe: I understood that there was an arrangement that education would not be debated on this Bill, that a special motion would be coming up in the New Year when it could be debated. Senator Stanford was asked to refrain from continuing on that line today and I should like everyone to honour that gentleman's agreement.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: The position is that the Chair has suggested that there would be a more fruitful debate on the question of education when the motion is taken in the New Year and when the Minister for Education is present. The Chair has suggested to Senators that they should not refer in detail to education during the course of this debate. It can be no more than a suggestion and the Chair is not in a position to rule out of order Senators who dwell on it.
Mr. McGlinchey: The easiest way out is not to talk about it at all. I was disappointed that the White Paper on Health did not include any reference to a restriction on the use of private beds in county hospitals. I do not know if this situation applies in every county, I know that the problem exists in some county hospitals, but in my county a new county hospital was opened about six years ago and specialists were paid a reasonable salary and four private beds per specialist were thrown in. Private beds in local authority institutions  should be done away with and specialists should be paid a sufficient salary to avoid this, let it be £5,000 or £7,500; if they are working pay them. The position at the moment is that higher income group patients can be told that a local authority institution is under no obligation to have them treated, that the hospital has been provided for the lower income and middle income groups. That is the position on paper but does not apply in practice. I have had evidence on many occasions that middle and lower income group patients suffer simply because they cannot afford to pay, or are not prepared to pay, as private patients. If one of them wishes to have an operation he is told that if he will become a private patient and is prepared to pay the specialist fees he will be admitted immediately and that otherwise he will have to await his turn. I have had evidence on many occasions that people anxious to go to the clinic to see a specialist eventually ended up by going to his private rooms as private patients because they were not prepared to wait. If specialists of this kind wish to treat private patients they should provide their own nursing homes. It is not right that tax and ratepayers should provide rooms in county hospitals and pay nursing staff to look after patients who are paying these specialists from 30 to 50 guineas each.
In conclusion, I should like to say a few words on the small industries plan announced by the Minister for Industry and Commerce last week. Unfortunately, at present it applies only to a number of counties where a certain amount of industry already exists. On many occasions I have advocated greater encouragement for small businessmen in the west and north-west and, I suppose, in any part of rural Ireland. Development associations, and chambers of commerce tend to lay too much emphasis on the attraction of large industries to rural Ireland. While their objective may be desirable it is very difficult to persuade large industrialists to come to counties such as mine. The only alternative for the  workers there is to emigrate. Any businessman who can employ two, three, five or six more people should get financial assistance to do so. Up to now targets have been to get employment for 50, 100 or 150 but particularly on the western seaboard or in the small towns and villages, if efforts were made to entice just a few, progress could be made.
Two years ago the county development teams were formed in different parts of Ireland. These consist of the county manager, the county engineer, the chairman of the county council, the county CEO, county MOH. As Chairman of Donegal County Council I have been a member of the Donegal development team for some time. There is a full-time secretary who is doing excellent work carrying out surveys and researches, etc. But when these surveys are completed and the research work over, that development team, I feel, will be banging its head against a stone wall unless some provision is made and there is some allocation of moneys to these teams so that they can use this to encourage people to go into business that will give employment. There is no reason why the development team could not have a small, experimental fund and have the power to go to business people in their county and say to them: “You are employing three people at present. If we give you a grant of £500 to buy certain machinery you might be able to employ two more. We shall give you that grant and see what happens.” These development teams will fail unless they get some incentive in this direction because the provision of industry in remote parts will be very difficult. The secretary of the development team has a golden opportunity to show the counties in the west that he can do something however small to help employment there.
Mr. McAuliffe: The Taoiseach, in his recent statement, said that our economy has shown an improvement and that our adverse trade balance would be greatly improved at the end of 1966. It is gratifying to know that and I am sure it pleases everybody that  our country is sound economically but it is disturbing to read some statistics and learn that while we exported many more cattle up to August, 1966, their value was £1 million less than in the corresponding period last year. We all know that if people had any luck on their side they had it by getting out of their cattle before August because it was since August that the big fall in the value of cattle took place. I am quite sure that at the end of December the loss, compared with the corresponding period of 1965, will run into at least £2 million even though the number of cattle exported may be higher.
This has been the cause of the agitation by the NFA. My view of the NFA is that it is a well-organised body. They have leaders and branches; they have good contact with each other and I believe a Minister of State should meet that organisation and treat it just as the Minister for Industry and Commerce has to deal with trade unions.
Mr. McAuliffe: ——in the ordinary way at the steps of Leinster House. The Minister left them sitting there for 22 days and failed to meet them. At the time the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries was a very “hot” candidate for Taoiseach. The Fianna Fáil Deputies from the rural areas were the people who one might say “Lynched” him.
Mr. McAuliffe: We also know that he does not believe in demonstrations outside Leinster House but when the  Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries was arriving home from England he had his demonstration at Dublin Airport. No fault was found with the demonstrations that took place there.
I should like to refer to the present unjust income tax code. My idea is that too few people are paying too much and the allowance of £6 5s. per week given to single persons is not a realistic figure when we consider what people have to pay for board and lodging at the present day.
There are organisations calling for complete derating of land. I should like to see that day coming and to, see a new form of taxation that would make everyone pay his fair share. It is ridiculous that men who cycle home from the bog have to pay income tax while people in de luxe model cars never fill in an income tax form. There is no incentive to work hard or to work overtime under the present income tax code.
Mr. McAuliffe: I am not, but I am in favour of having direct taxation applied to everyone who should pay taxation. There are many people who are not paying their fair share of tax and there are many who are overpaying.
Mr. McAuliffe: There are self-employed people who are not paying their fair share of income tax. If these people were paying their fair share, then the ordinary worker would not be crushed to the ground by income tax. He would have a greater incentive to work and to work hard if he did not have to pay so much tax.
 Anyone who has an idea of economics will agree that increases in wages should follow increases in production. We have been told that time and again. The Taoiseach told us that no demands should be made for an increase in wages until the increase in production came. Here in Ireland, what happens? Nothing is done to control the cost of living. Since the tenth round was paid, various items have been increased, for instance, bacon and flour. Although the Government have made an Order that there is to be no increase in the price of bread and flour, the shops are already charging the increase for bread and the millers are refusing to give flour to the shopkeepers.
On my way to Dublin this morning, I went to a shopkeeper and there was a traveller there from one of the big flour companies. He refused to sell flour at the old price. If someone came to Leinster House today with a placard protesting against the increase in the price of bacon or in the price of bread, he would find himself in the Bridewell in a few moments. In spite of the Order that has been made by the Government, the millers have their travellers on the road refusing to sell flour to the shopkeepers unless they pay the increased price. I was a witness to that happening this morning; yet we do not find the millers on their way to prison.
Mr. McAuliffe: There should be only one type of citizen in this country, the citizen who obeys the law, and anybody who disobeys the law should get his trip to Mountjoy. The shopkeepers have jumped in and put up the price of bread. We have a Prices Advisory Body and it is a laughing stock. When they came into being, the first thing they said was: “We must reduce the price of bread by 1d or 2d; we must reduce the pint by 1d.” They sat down for a few days and then said: “No; we made a mistake. Put them up again.” That is the only thing I ever saw the Prices Advisory Body doing since they came into operation.
There has also been the increase in electricity charges. The ESB can pay big dividends; yet they put up our charges. When they came into the rural areas to give us electricity, their canvass was: “The more who take electricity the cheaper it will be,” whereas the opposite has happened. I agree they have done good work through rural electrification, but if it is a company that is paying well, it should not increase the cost to the consumer, thus sparking off an eleventh round of wage increases.
We in the Labour Party were very glad to see the appointment of a Minister for Labour. We hope that in the near future as a result of having a Department of Labour we shall have better industrial relations than we have had during the past year. I hope the new Minister will make management realise that they have their duties as well as their rights, that they should change their tactics and show a sense of responsibility. There are cases in our own county of employers who have refused point blank to meet the officials of the Labour Court. There are other cases in our county where they have refused to implement the recommendations of the Labour Court, and nothing has been done about it. As long as we have employers with that mentality, we shall always have industrial difficulties and strikes. Strikes are bad and no one suffers more from them than the worker. No one wants strikes less than the worker and management has been as much at fault and more at fault than the workers during the past few years.
The Government must take action to try to reduce the causes of industrial unrest. I am sure that every good trade unionist would welcome reforms in our trade union law so that the workers would lose less time, lose less money and would not be forced to take action which is detrimental to themselves and their families. If the Minister is about to introduce a new  code of trade union law, I would advise him strongly to get in touch with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and to draw up his reforms in full agreement with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Federated Union of Employers. If he is reasonable something may be done to obviate much of the industrial unrest we have had in the past.
Our rate of progress in housing has been absolutely deplorable. It is almost impossible for local authorities to get plans through and to secure finance to build houses. The recent housing survey in Westmeath was the subject of a Dáil Question by Deputy Crinion and also of a leading article in the Westmeath Examiner. The Minister's reply was that the survey showed there were in Westmeath 554 dwellings unfit for human habitation. Of these 458 were incapable of being made fit for habitation at a reasonable cost, and 96 were capable of repair. Of that 458, a total of 326 families were regarded as being eligible for rehousing by the local authority. The survey, which was made by officials of Westmeath County Council, was compiled with care. It showed that the weekly income of 69 families living in these houses—and, as the leading article says, one hesitates to use the word “living”—was less than £3. If people with such incomes are to be rehoused, they cannot be charged more than 1/- a week for these houses. The other day we had four new rural houses opened in Tyrrells-pass. The rent for a person with an income of £4 a week is 10/- and for a person with an income of £15 a week 69/-. That is our position in Westmeath, and I am sure it is more or less the same in every other county.
In our county at present there is no money to pay supplementary grants, no money for reconstruction, for new houses, for water and sewerage. Up to a few days ago there was no money for SDA loans. Westmeath County Council committed themselves to the  extent of £4,000 for reconstruction work. They approached the bank for a loan for this amount but were refused. Today someone was given the definition of a creditworthy farmer. If he asks for the definition of a creditworthy council, it is a council that does not need a loan.
No one was surprised that the recent National Loan was fully subscribed. If you looked for another £25 million in the morning at a rate of 7½ per cent, it would be fully subscribed again. The people with money are delighted to get a gilt-edged security at 7½ per cent, but the people looking for SDA loans will not have one penny in such a loan. In a few days' time the rate for SDA loans will definitely exceed eight per cent. When that happens, I can see a closing down of all private house building. The average family could not afford a loan of a couple of thousand pounds at eight per cent. The people who build houses are usually people thinking of getting married or who are newly married. There are difficulties about loan repayments in many counties at present, even though the rate is one per cent cheaper than what it will be next year.
Last year we spent two or three days debating health services and we were assured there would be an improvement in the near future. But the Minister was changed to Education, and he has everyone talking education now. I am afraid it will be a vicious circle. When they get tired talking about education, he will be changed to Local Government and he will bring them all back to housing. There is general disappointment at the lack of progress in improving the Health Act. I hope the new Minister will do something effective. In general, we agree with what is in the White Paper, but we want to see it implemented. There is no attempt to do so at present.
We will be coming into a difficult period after Christmas. With free education for all, the new Budget is bound to bring shocks. I suppose the old sources of revenue—beer, spirits and tobacco—will just go up again. I predict also there will be an increase  in the turnover tax, and this will affect the people seriously. There is also the indirect taxation the Minister spoke about. It is alarming to read of the number of fines being collected for parking offences at present. It is most unjust to impose these fines in the conditions we have in Dublin today. No provision has been made for proper parking. We have St. Stephen's Green, Mountjoy Square and Fitzwilliam Square. If the Government were really serious about creating space for parking, they would bulldoze all of these out of it and provide parking. It is absolutely necessary that parking be provided in the city. There is no use creating it out in the Phoenix Park.
Mr. McAuliffe: They are not allowed to play in Fitzwilliam Square unless the powers that be provide proper parking space. There should not be so many fines on people. You get your ticket on your car, pay your £1 and move off. It is a form of indirect taxation to which I object.
Mr. McAuliffe: With regard to the question of driving tests, people are always failed on the first test. They come to the second test, pay another £1 and get another temporary licence. That is £2. They go along the next time and get their licence but that is an extra £2. I feel that in some cases that I know of anyway, the thing is really going too far. Nearly everybody made some reference to the by-elections.
Mr. McAuliffe: We cannot say that we did very badly. I would agree with that. Your timing was good but your tactics were deplorable. I happened to be in Kerry and I saw people who were afraid to get into the car because they were told they would lose their pensions. I have no doubt about saying that. Those were deplorable tactics. If you win elections through such tactics it is nothing to be proud of.
Mr. McAuliffe: ——but I would be more sorry if I did not disturb him. The coming year does not look too bright for us. Our taxation is certain to go up. We hope that there will be more peace in industry and that there will be more peace, too, as far as the farmers are concerned.
Mr. Cole: First of all, I should like to turn to agriculture. Perhaps, it would be no harm at the start to express my opinion on the more publicised part of the NFA controversy with the Government—the affair in Merrion Street. It has happened. I do not think it should have happened. I shall content myself with saying that. I am  quite prepared to admit that there were considerable faults on both sides. I hope that from all sides, that of the Government, the NFA and any other farmers' organisation, we shall not have any repetition of such an affair. I do not think it does anybody any good. There must be some other way of dealing with such matters.
The tragedy of the whole affair—and I do not think the Government realise it—is that 90 per cent of the farmers realised then and realise now that there is no immediate relief or way of overcoming the recent drop in cattle prices. I do not think nor does any farmer expect that the Government could have overcome the sudden drop in cattle prices in the last three, four or five months. What they want to see are plans for a more steady income in the future. I am sure exaggerated demands were made at that time and are still being made possibly by both sides again. I think something should be done as to long term plans for agriculture in future. Not knowing what you are going to get two or three months ahead for cattle will create very great uncertainty not alone among small farmers but big farmers, too.
A few years ago on this Bill I remember suggesting that a strong case could be made for a two-tier price for pigs—that the first so many pigs a farmer brought to the factory should be registered and that he should get a higher price for them. That was directed towards making some improvement in the lot of the small farmer. At that time, if not later, I think I said that I saw no future at all for the very small farmer of 25 or 20 acres and very little future for farmers with even larger farms, particularly in relation to poorish land unless something like the two-tier price system were put into operation. We will have to ask ourselves if it is nationally economic to have these small farms at all or whether it is simply a socioeconomic exercise to keep them there. In the present position I know that it takes a very comfortable little farm to produce anything like the wages of a roadworker——
Mr. Cole: And that is not much. That does not mean 5½ or 5 days a week. It means seven days. Personally, I think he has a better life but it takes a lot of doing to persuade a small farmer with a very small income that he has a better life than a man in Dublin or elsewhere with £20 or £25 a week. However, we shall have to make up our minds whether we can do this thing and support small farms in some way. Until industry employs the population possibly we must support them and encourage them in some way on the small farms.
When the Final Stages of the Land Bill were going through I remember saying that in our lifetime and in the political lifetime of the Minister for Lands the size of an economic farm had jumped from 30 to 45 acres as it is supposed to be now. I have no doubt before a lot of people here leave the political field it will have gone up to 100 acres. Is there not a terrific amount of waste at present or is it a socioeconomic exercise we should carry on until some time in the future? It is a very big problem and I think the farmers themselves should be taken in on such a survey or examination. There would seem to be, all the time, subsidies to farmers or some subvention to carry them over the present difficulty but it is a difficulty when you see, as I have seen, a small farmer bringing out cattle and getting £10 and £12 less than he got for those same cattle this time last year. It is probably happening to the larger farmer also. He has had to face an increase in wages, divided in two parts, over the past 12 months. I remember often reading that when an increase in wages was given by the British farmer, an offset was given to him: perhaps a fraction more per barrel for wheat or barley, a fractional increase in the fixed price of cattle, or the subsidy on cattle, and various things all down along the line but there was no increase, I could see, to compensate the farmer here in any way for having to pay increased wages. I admit those wages are not too high but there was no corresponding  increase in the farmers' incomes. Hence it is not an encouragement to the farmer to keep his men on the land.
People may say the farmer is always looking for a subsidy or grant for this, that or the other. I would point out that when the British Government put a levy on the industrial produce from this country some 12 months or so ago, the Government here and, I think, the people generally faced up to that fact and met them in no small way. I do not know what was the amount but they did pay up to half the amount of that levy on goods being exported to England. I should like to know—perhaps the Minister could tell us—how much that amounted to. But that was given to industry and, on the whole, when the cost of living has gone up, the Government have fairly and reasonably met the wage-earner by a ninth, tenth or other round wage increase. On the whole, the wage-earner has been met reasonably, considering our economic position, but have the farmers had that reasonable treatment other branches have had?
Mr. Cole: That was just one point I was coming to. I have been in cattle marts myself and I should like an explanation of it because, when the ordinary farmer went to his cattle mart —even though he was only a spectator—from July to December, he could not decide for himself from the the prices at these cattle marts when the subsidy had gone on or when it had come off. If you can show me, even on the Dublin cattle mart, that there was any spectacular rise in prices when the subsidy increased——
On that point, I should like to tell the House of an answer the Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture, Mr. West, gave to a query in the Northern Commons. A speaker there was asking what would be the position of their, I think, three meat exporting factories—I suppose, on the hoof—if those three factories had been in the Republic. Apparently he had the figures and said they would have got a subsidy for the meat they sent out over the past six months, of £141,000, had they been in the Republic, but, he said, up in Northern Ireland that £141,000 has been distributed to the producers of the cattle that went into those factories— those same cattle. That is what the ordinary farmer here cannot follow at all. This subsidy has gone to factories and the farmers feel they have not got the advantage of it. We have had this big increase in the dead meat trade this year—and no doubt very substantial amounts have gone to those plants in subsidies—but the farmer feels it has not come to him. If we had a system whereby anything like that was paid direct to the farmer, as opposed to paying it to someone between the farmer and the market, it would be a much more satisfactory position.
I do not think the country as a whole would object to greater support for the small farmers if that has to be, as they did not object to substantial grants to assist industry in its times of trouble. In that respect, I should like to quote a proverb I heard an Indian use at one time—that the whole body bends to take a thorn from a foot. The whole country would have supported, and would support, assistance to the small farmers in any way possible to make their lot a little easier.
There is another point also—the farmer feels that agricultural produce is not marketed properly when it goes across the water, at least, the meat side of it. I should like to check with the Minister that the subsidy paid—it does not matter where the money came from—on carcase beef going out of the country had no regard for quality at all?
Mr. Haughey: That is not so; it would have to correspond to the exact qualifications of the British guaranteed payments standards. The standard was agreed between our inspectors and the United Kingdom inspectors.
Mr. Cole: If I go to the market in Enniskillen with my beef cattle, they are graded A1, or A plus or A minus, or B plus or B minus. I cannot go into the grades but I know I get a certain price. In other words, it pays me to produce top quality beef, if I can. It is judged on the hoof. It is very important, when our beef is being exported on the hook, to have it carefully graded and stamped, if possible.
Mr. Cole: No; it has to be graded elsewhere on the hoof. Cattle which go out on the hook should be carefully graded and stamped so that the butchers in England will know that if we say it is A1, or whatever it may be, it is first-class. The image of Irish meat in England is bad because we have not succeeded in grading to that extent. I have heard reports at various times that butchers in England were told that certain beef was Irish beef,  and that it was not good. Sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad. People in the cattle trade have told me—and I can only take their word for it—that first-class Irish bullocks and heifers are shipped across to Scotland, are killed there immediately, and sent to Smith-field as prime Scottish beef.
Mr. Cole: We could get a far better price, and get a far better image of our beef put across on the English market with a little more care. Possibly the Government, the exporters and the farmers should look into the whole matter. Possibly the first step should be a Government White Paper or statement on their long-term policy in these matters. After some time had elapsed to allow it to be discussed and examined by the various organisations of farmers and exporters, meetings should be held to explain the long-term view on getting the produce properly marketed and getting a reasonably steady price. If a farmer could know within reason what he would get for a ten cwt. beast at any time of the year, he would be a lot safer and would feel a lot more secure on his land.
It must have been difficult for the previous Minister for Agriculture, and it must be difficult for the present Minister for Agriculture, to have two farming organisations in this country. If the leaders of those organisations cannot get together and produce a generally approved plan of their own, the rank and file of the organisations should see to it that a meeting is held, and present to the Minister and the country one organisation speaking for the farmers. It is a great loss to the farmers that they cannot speak with one mind to the Government or to anyone else.
We have now sent a deputation from the Department to the USA to purchase  some Aberdeen Angus bulls and females. I am sorry that they did not bring some breeders from this country with them as part of that deputation in order to make the breeders an official part of it. The breeders have a fair idea of the type of cattle they want. I know the Department think they have too.
Mr. Cole: I hope they will avail of them. Some of the older men in the Department now admit that they themselves ruined the Aberdeen Angus breed in this country some years ago by insisting on a small thin-boned animal. That was the only type of animal that could get a premium from the Department. That is many years ago now but, in any case, it took many years for them to recover from that policy of the Department. I am sure that will not happen in future.
I should like now to deal with an important point which is completely divorced from agriculture. Over the past few years, grants towards the expenses of delegates to Europe and other places have become very important in our annual expenditure, particularly delegates to the Council of Europe meetings. In future, we hope they will be going to EEC meetings. It is very important that we should play our part in these negotiations, and particularly at meetings of the Consultative Assembly. For several reasons we should be regularly and well represented at these meetings. This is important, first of all, because we would be one of the smallest nations probably, financially and numerically, and as far as the others there are concerned, we are a predominantly agricultural country. We would have transport problems which would not arise in the case of most of the other countries.
There are a great many sides to the work of the Council of Europe and it is growing very fast and growing very detailed. A great many of the matters are purely secretarial ones, carried out by a secretariat staff both  here and in Europe, but there are a great many things which the elected representatives of the people should be in on and take an active part in. I am sure the administrative and advisory work is done by a secretariat, but originating work and proposals for the first time would probably come from the elected representatives of the various member countries.
Within the limits of the Statute, the Assembly will hence in future be much more closely associated in a parliamentary manner with the intergovernmental work of the Council, and the direct knowledge and experience of the needs of the people of Europe, which is characteristic of elected representatives in Parliament, will be drawn upon more fully in dealing with the practical problems which present themselves to man in a European Society.
It will be very difficult to achieve that for a Dáil Member or even a Seanad Member, but particularly for a Member of the Dáil who would be taking on perhaps every year the most troublesome work at meetings in Strasbourg or wherever they may be and—this being the most difficult point —neglecting the small, day-to-day, petty but probably vote-catching details of his constituency. What is the position of such a Dáil Member to be? He has no security there. He may feel: “I must not spend my time too much in Europe; I have a constituency to look after.” He will not know when the next election may be—in a week, a month, a year or five years—and he will be appointed always with the threat that if he looks after his European interests, he may neglect his work at home, may neglect his own  constituency with the risk that he will lose his seat at the next election; and the Party and the Government here will lose a person whom they might consider a very good man.
I wonder is there a case—it is a matter that will have to be examined in the future, if not in the near future for appointing parliamentary delegates to the Council of Europe for a longer term than the life of a Government in this country. They might be appointed for eight years or ten years or whatever it may be and, provided they have the confidence of their own Parties year after year, in some way they might retain their seats in their own Parliament during that time in much the same way as the Ceann Comhairle does now. Some form of tenure of that kind should be studied. It would be a constitutional matter and when we are considering changes in the Constitution, some loophole for some such change in membership of delegates to the European Assembly should be left in the Constitution.
I should like to express support for what Senator Garret FitzGerald said about Members of the Dáil and Ministers from the point of view of payment. I agree they are not sufficiently paid —either Ministers or ordinary Members of the Dáil—for the time they have to spend not alone in the city but in various parts of the country to the neglect of their professions or businesses. I advocated before and do so again that Dáil Members and Ministers should be better remunerated.
Mr. O'Quigley: We are here discussing a Bill which was introduced on the “——day of December, 1966”. Obviously there were some queer circumstances surrounding the birth of this Bill because the date of its introduction does not appear on it. I have never seen it happen before and it highlights for me the failure of the Government to give to this House the proper chance, as has happened repeatedly, to discuss legislation of this kind. We were promised here last spring or early summer that the new changes in the ordering of the financial business of the Dáil would be such as to enable this House to discuss it  at some length without being confined by time or other circumstances.
As in the case of other promises made in respect of legislation, like the Local Elections Bill, the Government have failed to redeem the promises and I protest most vigorously against that failure of the Government. Of course I know quite well that the Minister for Finance has no regard whatever for what this House—I or any other Member of this House— may say. He has displayed that same attitude on several occasions and I shall have something later on to say about the disrespect which Members of the Government have for institutions of this State, for law and order. If the Minister for Finance thinks that conduct of that kind, this sort of jackeen attitude, is all right in the Houses of Parliament, there are very few people, even in his own Party, who admire him for it.
I wish to say something about the administration of Government, which this Appropriation Bill entitles me to say. It is infrequently that we have an opportunity of passing any kind of judgment on the general conduct of Government administration. During the past number of years, the conduct of the Government leaves a great deal to be desired. The conduct of the Government should be beyond reproach: a Government should set the example and the standard so that every Minister of the Government and the Government as a whole should be paragons of all the political virtues which we are entitled to expect.
Mr. O'Quigley: I do not want angels and I do not expect them. I shall not deal with the human failings of Ministers but with the standards of political life which we are entitled to expect and which we have not been getting from Members of the Government. I expect—and I think the people of this country expect to find—Ministers are people of honour, that they are men of integrity, that they are discreet and industrious in the discharge of their duties. If I were to  use those standards in relation to the Government I do not think they are standards to which anybody can take exception and it would be found that one by one the Ministers of this Government failed to meet their obligations. They glory in their failure as the Minister for Finance glories in his conduct in this House and in his attitude towards the Chair.
Mr. O'Quigley: In the Dáil recently on the first occasion he appeared as Minister for Finance and asked the Dáil to pass an Excess Vote the Minister did not even do the Dáil the courtesy of reading what was in the brief prepared for him. He did not even know what the Excess Vote was for.
Mr. O'Quigley: If the Minister wants to talk about standards the records of the Dáil have only to be looked at to see what the Minister's attitude is towards his own House. I do not think the members of the Government or of the Government under the leadership of the last Taoiseach, Deputy Seán Lemass, or of the Government under the leadership of the previous Taoiseach have any proper concept of what a Minister for State ought to be doing.
Mr. O'Quigley: I do not mind for one moment the fact that I was defeated, not by Fianna Fáil but by the members of my own Party in the election of 1961. That, to me, is  democracy and I have no complaint whatsoever about it. The period during which I was not a Member of the Seanad from 1961 to 1965 was of the greatest personal advantage to me in that it enabled me to get ahead with my own professional activities without interruption. I am not the slightest bit concerned to get office for the sake of office.
Mr. O'Quigley: On the contrary; I am not concerned to hold office for the sake of office. I have certain standards from which I shall not depart whether in Government or as a Member of the Dáil in order to get votes to remain in office.
Mr. O'Quigley: That is the Minister's attitude and the attitude of the Minister's Party. We have the former Minister for Local Government who rejoices in describing his supporters in Donegal as the Donegal Mafia. What are they? They are a band of marauding murderers who reside in Sicily.
Mr. O'Quigley: The standard of the previous Minister for Local Government, Deputy Blaney, is to refer to his supporters as the Donegal Mafia. Now, having got rid of those disorderly interruptions, I want to return to the failure of the Government in applying their minds and their energies to the work they are required to do. I do not believe the problems of this country will ever be solved or solved in the way they ought to be by Ministers opening car-washing additions to garages or like the Minister for Local Government the other day being photographed—he was pleased to see himself photographed— looking into an open pit belonging to Roadstone. He also went out to Stillorgan to hand out a prize to somebody. The Minister for Industry and Commerce was doing the same thing last night. How do activities of that  kind do anything to solve any of the many pressing problems? How do they help to prepare us for entry into the European Economic Community? They do nothing for any of those things. Any person engaged in the kind of activity in which Ministers are engaged at present finds that the day he has to leave his desk to open some hotel or something like that the work he will do will not be as good as if he had worked diligently at his desk.
Mr. O'Quigley: If the chief heckler of the Fianna Fáil Party in the Seanad wishes, I shall deal with that. If you want to talk about factories in this country I can point out that when the Industrial Development Authority was established in this House Deputy Lemass, who was then Shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce, said that if he ever got back to Government he would repeal the Act which established that Authority. He also said he would repeal the Industrial Grants Act. This is reported in volume 166, columns 94, 95 and 96 of the Official Report. He said that if he ever got back and became a member of the Government he would repeal that Act too. He said the same about the Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1956 which first gave income tax exemption in relation to industries. He said he would repeal that Act as well. Those are three Acts which foreign economists, about whose standard there is no question, point to as being the Acts responsible for the big thrive in industrial exports from this country.
Mr. O'Quigley: The Industrial Grants Act was passed in 1956 and its effects became apparent in 1957, 1958 and 1959. When those Acts are gone the Government have nothing to put in their place. I do not know of any single piece of legislation which the Government have passed in the last ten years  which would continue what was given in any of those Acts. The three Acts I have mentioned were of great advantage. If the Senator wants to continue looking over his shoulder like Lot's wife I do not mind because I can point out what was achieved in the days of the inter-Party Government. I can point to the fact that we wiped out TB which was a dreaded scourge in the 1940s. We did this when Dr. Browne took office. When people in this country could not get a bed in a hospital in Ireland the Fianna Fáil Government were prepared to fly Constellations across the Atlantic.
Mr. O'Quigley: There is great perturbation and great agitation on the other side. There is great perturbation among the people of this country about the standards of morality that are developing in Government circles. When I speak about this I speak with due deliberation and after great investigation. I have checked and sifted out what I have been told. I place great reliance on the people who told me this but I cannot disclose who they are. I cannot disclose the confidence which was given to me in regard to the matter to which I shall now refer. But the new standard of morality of Government Ministers in this country is that if you want to get the particular grants, or the loan of the quota, you have got to pay for it. What is happening now, a Leas-Chathaoirleach, is a profound scandal which it would be very difficult to expose because the person who gives equally with the person who takes falls guilty, but Fianna Fáil supporters have told me, and I have no reason to doubt it—
Mr. O'Quigley: The Minister for Finance says we will never learn. We will never learn to do that sort of thing. When the inter-Party Government  went out in 1957, somebody said to me: “They are beaten in the election now and hundreds of jobs are left unfilled all over the country.”
Professor Quinlan: I would appeal to the Minister and the House on this matter. There are many Senators on the Minister's side, such as Senator O'Kennedy and Senator Yeats, and a few on this side, including Senator Ó Conalláin and Senator Jessop, who wish to speak, and I do not think it possible to finish tonight.
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