Tuesday, 20 December 1966
Seanad Eireann Debate
Mr. O'Quigley: Before business was suspended, I was referring to the fact that the standards of political morality in Government circles are not what they ought to be. I do say that it is extremely difficult to get anybody to confess to being a party to passing money to Ministers of State and political Parties for the purpose of obtaining a favour.
Mr. O'Quigley: There are, in modern legislation, quite a number of statutes which give powers to Ministers. We have all deplored from time to time the fact that more and more of the powers which ought to reside in the courts, or which are properly to be exercised by persons of an independent standing, are being vested in Ministers of State. The draft framers of the Constitution were alive to the possibilities of the misappropriation of Government funds when, in the Constitution, they provided for the creation of an officer called the Comptroller and Auditor General. The people of this country, in enacting the Constitution and in continuing it in its present form recognise the frailty of human nature. recognise that, in a parliamentary democracy such as ours, there are opportunities for misappropriation of public funds, either wilfully or through neglect. We in this country have recently seen the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General pointing out the misappropriation of public moneys, and that is something which we must all deplore. There are other malpractices in government that may arise for which the Constitution as at present drafted provides no effective defence or remedy and the rules of this House prevent me from dealing with these any further.
Another of the characteristics which I would expect to find in a Government is that they would be fair and equitable in their treatment of all citizens and it is, of course, provided in our Constitution that all citizens as human persons shall be equal before the law, but I find from my own experience, and it is an experience shared by a great number of people in this country that equitable treatment is not meted out by the present Government to all citizens and again it comes down to this, that if you know somebody or if you know somebody who knows somebody, you can get what you want but if you do not, you are left out in the cold and deprived of your statutory and constitutional rights.
The mentality is developing in this country, and we must absolutely deplore it, that you cannot get anything  nowadays, whether from a local authority or the central government authority unless you know somebody. That feeling is widespread and it is a feeling which is engendered in the members of the public and public corporations and private companies by members of the present Government and you have spurious applications and quite unnecessary applications being made to Government Departments and Government Ministers by members of the public for the purpose of obtaining grants to which people are entitled, sent up so as to make the people seeking the grants believe that because they know somebody in the Government Party and because they are friendly with them, they can get it and therefore these people subsequently feel under an obligation to Deputies and Senators and county councillors of the Government Party for getting things which they are entitled in law to obtain.
That is a system which is being fostered by the present Government and it is to be found in all its legislation. The prospect of people feeling that they must kowtow to members of the Government Party in order to get their legal rights is one which appals me, especially when we consider in this year of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1916 revolution that the men who went into the GPO and suffered subsequently up to 1922 fought so that we could all be free in a truly free Ireland. That is not the position at the present time. One has only, at election times, to travel in the aftermath of the Fianna Fáil Party machine to meet quite intelligent people who believe that if they vote against Fianna Fáil they will be able to find out about it and they will lose their pensions, their unemployment relief or will not get the work on the roads. That is as common today as unemployed and social welfare recipients are common in this State of ours and it is not something which the Fianna Fáil Party should be proud of or which the Fianna Fáil Party should try to laugh off in this Chamber.
Mr. Dolan: They do not try to laugh it off. They did not go out with revolvers in their hands looking for votes, as happened when Fine Gael  were in office. I will tell you the place where it happened. They went out with detectives and with revolvers. That is news for you now.
Mr. O'Quigley: I am talking about the rights of citizens of this country, whether they are poor or whether they are rich, or whether they are in the middle income group, to fair treatment and to live as free men without being bound to a political Party. If one wants the written proof of that lack of respect which the Fianna Fáil Government have for the ordinary people, one can find it in many of their pieces of legislation. In the present Criminal Justice Bill, we have one of the latest instances of it. We find that what we deplore in South Africa and in the totalitarian States is in a Bill in this country.
Mr. O'Quigley: That is a very fine point of order but that is not what I am discussing. I am using that Bill for the purpose of giving an instance in written form of the lack of respect of the present Government for the rights of the individual.
Mr. O'Quigley: When there was a Party in this country who would not recognise the State, it was necessary, in face of civil war, to restore law and order and to establish the foundations of the State, and to take measures appropriate to a time of war.
Mr. O'Quigley: I am pointing to the written evidence the Government provide of their lack of respect for the rights of the people. They are now providing in a Bill which they have printed and which cannot be said to be a White Paper, as the Succession Bill was supposed to be, and which has been put through Dáil Éireann, that persons may be imprisoned.
Mr. O'Quigley: I am not discussing the Bill. I am merely mentioning, with respect, the fact that in this Bill, as a manifestation of the lack of respect that the Government have for individual rights, we have objectionable provisions relating to the freedom of the individual. That, to me, is a matter concerned with the administration of justice and the Government's idea of it, and I submit that I am in order.
Mr. O'Quigley: I do not wish to discuss it. I am merely pointing to it as an instance of the Government's lack of respect and I say that that Bill shows the mentality of the Government in that if a person is wanted as a witness in a State prosecution that person can be imprisoned until the trial takes place and that is paralleled only by legislation in South Africa.
Mr. O'Quigley: ——the improper pressures that are exercised upon old age pensioners, people in receipt of widows' and orphans' pensions, Old IRA pensions and the like at times of an election in that, if they do not vote for Fianna Fáil, they are in danger of losing their pensions. That shows the lack of respect for the rights of the individual under the Constitution and his rights under statute.
I want now to turn to another aspect  of the Government's administration. One of the outstanding features of the Government and their immediate predecessors, the Government under the late Taoiseach, Deputy Seán Lemass, and his predecessor, is that they have abandoned the power of government to the civil servants. Effective decisions are being taken not by Ministers but by civil servants. These decisions are not the decisions that would be taken if we had Ministers who were properly applying such intelligence and experience as they have to the problems with which the country is confronted. Notwithstanding all the gadding about, all the inspections of opening pits, all the presentations of prizes and the like, the Ministers of the Government are out of touch with public opinion. They cannot read the signs and I have no intention of interpreting them for them.
They are out of touch with public opinion. One has only to look at the allegedly brilliant Succession Bill brought in by the present Minister for Finance when he was Minister for Justice, with which no one agreed, not even the Members of his own Party, which was finally ditched and another Bill introduced. What is to be said of a Minister who, in 1965, says it is wrong for a man to be enabled by law to leave all his property to his widow? That is what the first Succession Bill said; a man would not be allowed, even if he were possessed of only £900, to leave all his property to his widow. That is what the present Minister for Finance said. Quite clearly, he was either gravely wrong in his judgment or he had never read the Bill properly. He can take his pick.
Recently we had a call by the Fine Gael Party to put an end to foreign speculation in agricultural land. The Party introduced a Private Member's Bill. It was defeated. There was no problem. There was no need to inquire into what was happening. The Land Bill of 1965 was introduced and an amendment was tabled to that Bill. That amendment was thrown out. When the Bill reached Report Stage, provisions were introduced to prevent speculation in land. We had tried to remedy the position on Committee  Stage. We were defeated. Within a matter of months, the Government changed their minds. It is very difficult to know where the Government stand in practically everything. This illustrates my contention that they have abandoned power to the civil servants. In the Finance Bill, 1965, the Government broke faith with everyone who had taken out a Married Woman's Property or status Act policy. They introduced penal provisions without precedent in the history of death duty legislation.
I mentioned earlier some of the characteristics I should like to find in a Government and the political virtues a Government ought to possess. In addition to respect for individuals, there should be respect for minorities. The Government profess respect and, in order to catch votes, they will make the appropriate grants at the appropriate time. When, however, it comes to dealing with the NFA, they point out, as they have pointed out, to farmers all over the country the names of the members. They ask: “Will you look at the names? The Montgomerys, the Chances” and so on. These are the names borne by the Protestant minority. The people are told: “These are the buckos in the NFA.” That shows the real respect the Fianna Fáil Party have, despite their protestations, for the religious minority.
The same thing was evidenced in the disgraceful proceedings in the Mansion House. I was glad to have the first-hand evidence of Senator Sheehy Skeffington on this, whose integrity nobody in this House will dare to challenge.
Mr. O'Quigley: Not once, and the Senator can get Senator McGlinchey to go through the debates and not even Senator McGlinchey will find anything I ever said impugning the integrity of Senator Sheehy Skeffington.
Mr. O'Quigley: Naturally, I may  have disagreed with his views and I shall probably disagree with his views in future on a number of matters; but I have never had any doubt about his integrity. We have now on the records of this House first-hand evidence. I accept that evidence. We have had the Government, through their spokesman, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach, Deputy Carty, saying that we might perhaps have legislation to prevent gatherings of the kind that took place in the Mansion House, to prevent people expressing an opinion contrary to what is contained, according to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach, in the Constitution. If that were the evolution, then one could never have any change in the Constitution and a minority could never grow into a majority because that minority could always be prevented from expressing its views. That is the kind of inequitable treatment the Government hand out to the people. I deplore tactics of that kind. It was most indiscreet, to say the least of it, of Deputy Carty, the Parliamentary Secretary, to make that statement. So far, there has been no repudiation as there was when he condemned the Commission on Higher Education.
The Commission on Higher Education is constituted of a body of independent people who cannot be pushed about. They, of course, made appropriate representations to the Taoiseach, I take it, dealing with their continued existence as a Commission and it became necessary therefore for the Taoiseach to repudiate his Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Carty.
We have had the great promiser, the Minister for Education, making statements about a constituent college of the National University, University College, Galway. That had promptly to be withdrawn by the Minister for Education. We had the same situation in relation to free education. It is difficult to know where the country stands in regard to the latter at the moment.
Mr. O'Quigley: And that is partly responsible for the improvement in our vote in both Waterford and Kerry. If Senator Dolan likes to laugh hollowly at that, I shall not deprive him of the opportunity. I suggest, however, that we must now get away from the feeling that one has to know someone in order to get one's rights. Having identified the atmosphere, I now propose a remedy. It would be an excellent idea if civil servants would take a tour around the country from time to time to study the reactions of the people to the problems with which the people are confronted. It would be a good idea if the Minister for Agriculture, the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Health sent a selected official of the rank of higher executive down to the different counties of Mayo, Galway, Roscommon, Leitrim, Cavan——
Mr. O'Quigley: ——into the different towns, preferably on fair days, advertising that they will be in attendance to explain to the people what the people's rights are. An official of the Department of Local Government would be available to tell people to what grants they are entitled; an official of the Department of Agriculture would be available on such a day to tell people to what grants they are entitled and to tell them what Government policy is in relation to different matters. That would be giving a service to the people and in a certain sense providing an ad hoc decentralisation of central government. At the same time it would give the civil servant who does not have contact with the people some idea of how people think, how they react to the reforms presented to them, how they interpret things, what their fears are and what their ignorance is in regard to Government proposals. That would be an effective way of making the Civil Service more alive to the problems with which they  are trying to deal every day and it would get away from the idea that you must know somebody in order to get what you are entitled to.
I am sure we are all glad the Minister for Finance has taken tentative steps towards improving the image of the Civil Service. The body which he has established might not meet with the approval, because of the type of person that is on it, of all of us but at any rate it is a first step towards examining the kind of problems with which the Civil Service is confronted and the various deficiencies from which our Civil Service suffers. I hope that Commission will report at regular intervals upon different aspects and that the reforms suggested will be carried through with a minimum of delay.
I want to refer to something with which the Minister for Finance is immediately concerned, that is, the revival of Irish. I said before, and I repeat, that the Minister for Finance is not the proper member of the Government to be charged with the responsibility of supervising the programme for the restoration of Irish, such as it is, which the Government have outlined. The Minister for Finance is too busy with financial policy looking after the economy, dealing with economic policy and with the European Economic Community, to have sufficient time to devote to the urgent problem of retrieving Irish from its present position, keeping what little of it there is alive and at the same time, promoting its wider use in the public service and in the country generally. Again, I see in the appointment of the Minister for Finance something that is basic to the whole problem of the revival of Irish, that is, that the Minister for Finance is the only member of the Government, apart from the Taoiseach, who can put the screws on other Departments.
The Minister for Finance has the power of sanction all the time. The Minister for Finance is in control of the Civil Service. The Minister for Education cannot tell the Department of Finance what they are to do and neither can the Minister for the Gaeltacht.  Because of this, they have appointed the Minister for Finance in charge of Irish. This is vital to the whole problem of reviving Irish because here again is the mailed fist that must be used, in the view of the Fianna Fáil Government, if Irish is to progress. That is why the Minister for Finance was selected. Only he can enforce his will. Of course, once the question of compulsion, whether in the public service or elsewhere, arises, then the revival of the language is doomed to failure. After 40 years experience, that should have been brought home to us.
I do not hesitate to say that in 1925 and 1926 it was a Fine Gael Government who inaugurated some of the things which we are now criticising and complaining about, but these things which were then done were the things that were considered best in those times. However, they have failed and the Government fail to realise that. I deplore the fact that the Minister for Finance, busy as he ought to be with so many other things affecting the life of the country, should be charged with the progress of Irish. I have read the report which was published recently; I could have written it myself in advance. It contains the usual platitudes, pious hopes and aspirations of the committees established to deal with this and that.
Until such time as something is done by the Government—I do not think that the Department of Finance is ever likely to engender enthusiasm for Irish or anything else—to create a climate in which an interest in, not to speak of a love of, Irish can take root, the language is doomed to die. That, in my view, is a fundamental fact and proposition and one which the Government ought to realise immediately. I cannot see anything in the report issued recently by the Minister which suggests that the Government are aware of the necessity for creating the climate in which people will firstly begin to take an interest in the language and thereafter develop a love for the language.
In the 1961 general election, we had  the Taoiseach saying that we would never lower our sights as regards the Irish language. We have had Deputy Colley, now Minister for Industry and Commerce, saying that the object was, in a bilingual community such as ours, to replace English with Irish. Of course, when you set impossible tasks such as that before the people, they just will not offer to take the fence at all, let alone take it. Then we had Deputy Lemass, then Taoiseach, during the Presidential election going one step further than Pádraig Pearse. He wanted to have not only a united Ireland but an Ireland that was united and Gaelic-speaking as well. That was going one step further than Pádraig Pearse in this sense that Pearse never knew Ian Paisley. Imagine Paisley and his followers being compelled to speak Irish! Imagine holding that prospect out to Ian Paisley and the Reverend Mr. Wylie. It reduces the whole problem of the language and the whole concept of the revival of the language to an absurdity, a laughable absurdity, in the eyes of many.
Mr. O'Quigley: If that is the level of the Senator's intelligence I have not time to deal with him. There are many things I should like to say about education but I want to urge the Minister for Finance, as we shall not have him here for the education motion, to realise that mentally and physically handicapped children have equal rights with the healthy members of the community to a full education fitted to their capacity. It is not right to have the parents of mentally handicapped children, who have enough to do already looking after their children, going around organising dances, or going on deputations to Ministers to look for a miserable grant which in law and under the Constitution, they are entitled to. As Minister for Finance, he should supply adequate funds to provide suitable education for every mentally handicapped child. It is deplorable that the parents should have to go around organising dances and bazaars in order to get some kind of education for their children.
 Some Senators referred to the problem of health and here again we have quite clearly exposed another of the spurious promises of the Government. The great Deputy O'Malley, when Minister for Education, produced his White Paper on Health. This was a form of “instant O'Malley” beloved of certain political correspondents but there was just a slight postponement of his Bill and now, in the declining days of 1966, no Bill has yet emerged. The reason is that when Deputy O'Malley produced his White Paper, he knew, and it was known to the Government, that there was no possibility of a Bill being introduced because there would not be funds available to finance the promised scheme.
Mr. O'Quigley: In contrast to that scheme, I beg leave to put forword the sensible proposals adumbrated by Fine Gael and Labour for a comprehensive national scheme based on insurance which the present Minister for Health and his predecessor are veering towards, as they have veered towards other things. We costed our scheme and gave sources from which the revenue could be derived.
Mr. O'Quigley: Not buoyancy; buoyancy cannot be used in every case. We said not a word about buoyancy: we are consistent and know what we are about. We said it should be financed by insurance and the former Taoiseach went around and said: “They are now proposing to impose a poll tax.” But it cannot be said that we did not say what we were going to do. If the Government were in touch with public sentiment and knew what was going on, they would know that the population are quite prepared to find the necessary money to finance a proper health scheme by insurance contributions to be paid on the recognised social welfare basis.
One of the tests of an individual is how he treats his relations and the test of a community is how it treats its old people. When I go around the city of Dublin, or through Mayo or Kerry or  Waterford, and see the old people who are living in dirt, in fear, who do not know their rights under the health services and who are afraid to call in the doctor because they do not know what will happen, I feel that we, as a community, judged by the test of how we look after our old people, cannot be proud of ourselves. It is an urgent necessity that we should increase the number of domiciliary aids in the form of district nurses who look after these people because, due to the rate of emigration, some of them have no relation within miles. It is time the lonely old man on a crutch or the lonely old woman with a bad heart who is not sleeping at night because she is afraid she will die, and all people of that kind, got some kind of treatment and that somebody should unfailingly come along to give them some words of encouragement and bring the doctor when necessary.
The way we treat our old people is a sad business and a national disgrace. One has only to consider the number who, in their old age, take their own lives through despair. One sees that every week, and yet nothing is done about it. The health services such as they are, should—everybody will agree —be operated properly within their limitations. It has come to my notice— of course, again, the Minister and his colleagues will laugh it off because they have no care—that there are dispensary doctors—I do not know what they are paid—who have said to people who have widows or orphans cards or who are old age pensioners, that they will not take their cards, that they require money, that the card will not buy breakfast for their children. These social welfare recipients who have the blue cards have had to pay out money, or else have a row with their doctors. To my mind, that is a grave abuse and scandal. I do not ask the Minister to inquire into it; he does not think that kind of thing can happen, but it does happen.
Mr. O'Quigley: Action was taken in Galway but I do not know what happened about the three medical men involved. That is happening at the  present time. One doctor I know can do this with disregard for any inquiry because, of course, he is a strong supporter, a leading supporter, of Fianna Fáil.
Mr. O'Quigley: They should know it. Let me say that the present Minister for Health is to be congratulated upon the reasonable manner in which he conducted his discussion on Telefís Éireann last weekend. I propose that the Minister for Health should direct —and if he cannot do it, he should find ways of doing it—every health authority to write to every person who is the holder of a medical card telling him what his rights are and send a copy of that letter to every dispensary doctor, couched in sufficiently discreet terms not to offend the majority who are doing their duty, but in such a way that it would bring to the notice of these other people that inquiries will be made, and should be made, by a Government alert to the frailties of human nature. That is another disgrace we suffer because of a minority who abuse the power they have, one might say, if not over life and death, certainly over health and life.
There are many other matters with which I should like to deal but I was never one, nor was my Party, to walk out on an agreement already concluded. I want to refer to the administration of the Town Planning Acts. While these were going through the Oireachtas, we knew that they would be a fruitful source of the kind of thing I am not permitted to mention under the rules of the House. Very strange things are happening and there is grave public disquiet about things that have been done to get permissions, to succeed in appeals and so on, if you know the right people. We hear about them every day. I can refer to one extraordinary example which is public knowledge. There is a certain town in Monaghan where the planning authorities were asked to approve of the erection of a broiler house in a residential area and, with due regard for the feelings of the citizens and in the  interests of good town planning, they refused permission. The matter was appealed to the Minister who duly granted permission for the erection of the broiler house in the middle of a residential area. He did not even trouble to get any medical evidence on this undesirable project.
What was the upshot? The residents had to apply to the High Court, because of the dereliction of duty on the part of the Minister, for an injunction to restrain the owner of the property, notwithstanding the permission granted by the Minister, to eliminate offensive noise and odours and effluvia. An injunction was consented to in those terms by the owner of this building. When that sort of thing can happen, one is bound to have a good look at human nature and ask: what went wrong? as the Taoiseach asked about the Budget of 1965. What went wrong in that particular case where a planning permission was of such a character and given with such disregard for the rights of others that the owner of the building afterwards consented to a High Court injunction restraining him from doing the very things which those who objected to planning permission, objected to when it was first sought? I leave it to the imagination of the House, and it will not require great stimulation, to answer the question. What was wrong when that happened?
I observed from the newspapers that the Taoiseach met the National Farmers Association, together with the new Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. I always thought it was regrettable that the Minister for Finance, when he was Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and when he saw these farmers gathering upon Dublin, did not fulfil the promise he had previously given them that he would go to meet them. When the mountain came to Mahomet, Mahomet should have said in advance: “I shall be ready on such-and-such a day to meet you.” That would have avoided all the pain, suffering and unnecessary misery, and all would not have been lost. Any Minister who was concerned about a problem would probably have done that.
 I should like to draw the attention of the Minister for Finance to the Agricultural Credit Corporation, for whose activities I think he is in part responsible. When the credit squeeze came in 1965, there were many people who had committed themselves to buying extra land, farms, on the basis that they had made application to the Agricultural Credit Corporation. These applications had been approved, and in consequence of that, they paid their deposits. It so happened that there was a clause in the agreement that if the loan was not taken up within three months, it should be deemed to be abandoned. When the credit squeeze came, all those who had relied upon the good faith of the Agricultural Credit Corporation found themselves referred to clause 19, or whatever it was that contained this stipulation, and in some cases I believe they forfeited their deposits because the money had not come through.
That was a mean way in which to operate the powers which they had vested in them, and what is more, it was illegal. I had to deal with the Agricultural Credit Corporation on that basis and to point out to them some law of which they were well aware, and the loan was granted in the case about which I made representations. However, it is deplorable that farmers who relied upon the face value of a document should lose or be put in peril of losing hundreds of pounds which they had paid in deposits for the purchase of farms. I would ask the Minister for Finance, now that money seems to be somewhat more readily available, to ask the Corporation to review these cases and see what can be done, if anything can be done at this late stage.
Anybody who spends any time at all thinking about the future must be depressed at the apparent lack of readiness of this country to take on the rigours that membership of the European Economic Community will impose upon us. We had the Minister for External Affairs here last July, and twice he referred to the EEC as the Council of Europe, which showed how familiar he was with  this new concept which is daily becoming a reality for us. Senator O'Reilly disputed that and said he had used “Council of Europe” mistakenly twice. The reports indicate otherwise.
I know of no activity, certainly of a published character, in Government circles to prepare the farmers, the industrialists or the population generally for the kind of problems with which we shall have to deal. It is fairly well accepted now that Britain, subject to the attitude of the French Government, may well be in the EEC by 1970. I think it is now accepted by the Taoiseach, after his visit to Mr. Wilson—and if not, it ought to be—that we should begin our negotiations with the Commission in Brussels in order to present to them the kind of problems with which we are faced before the decision on the British application will be reached which could not be revoked once we begin to make our final bid for membership.
I know of no Government activity to do the kind of things we ought to be doing as a matter of urgency at the present time, save the few reports published by the CIO, and I do not know if they have been acted upon to any great extent except that I have a recollection of complaints by Government Ministers about the failure of industrialists to take up adaptation grants. What we are concerned with here is the livelihood of thousands of our fellow citizens. I cannot see any evidence of concern about what is going to happen to those, but I do know what will be happening in Brussels when we begin negotiations. We shall be going along with the Irish lament that we are not ready, that we are late in the industrial race, that we are only a young nation, and all that kind of thing and looking for and probably only getting five or six years as an interim period in which to have ourselves ready to take on the full obligations of membership.
We have three or four years now in hand and we ought to be making urgent use of that time. I cannot see any evidence of a sense of urgency in any of our Departments of State. I do  not know, for instance, what regulations will apply to the importation of cattle or sheep into a variety of countries. I do know that the Confederation of British Industries has got all the instruments that will apply to its industries and are examining them one by one to see how they will be affected and how they will be able to meet the various instruments that have been made by the Commission. I do not know whether anything of that kind is going on in this country. I should be glad if the Minister, when replying, would deal with that and try to communicate to the population generally the sense of urgency which is involved. One can only deplore the remark made by a certain Minister on Mr. Cosgrave's going abroad to acquaint himself with what is going on in Europe, that it was “playing the Government in exile.” Fancy that from a Fianna Fáil Minister when we had an Irish Ambassador from the Republic of Ireland in France up to 1927 at a time when Mr. de Valera's Party was the Government in exile.
There is a provision in the Treaty of Rome in respect of the principle of equal pay for equal work. I have not heard any Government Minister say how that principle is to be applied here. That is the kind of thing we ought to be dealing with.
There are many other things with which I should like to deal but time does not permit. We have had a busy year on the political front. We had the recent by-elections from which the Government Party derive unmerited and unwarranted comfort. So be it. I do not wish in this season of goodwill to upset their dreams. Then we had the Presidential election. I suppose many of us on this side of the House greatly regret the abuse of power that was displayed during the whole course of the Presidential election campaign by the chief organiser of the Presidential election campaign in arranging all those visits of one kind and another to enable the Fianna Fáil Presidential election candidate to attend and be displayed on television. That was an abuse of power. It was a great mistake,  and a great disservice performed by the Fianna Fáil Party to the office of President, to have thrown an outgoing President into the political arena as was done. The President of this country, once he leaves active politics, should not ever be seen to be, nor should any suggestion ever be made, that he is in any way connected with a political Party.
Mr. O'Quigley: I have often wondered whether we as a House have done sufficient to give to the office of President that degree of political impartiality we should. I am aware that the Constitution provides that the President shall not be amenable to the Oireachtas or any House thereof.
Mr. O'Quigley: No; I am not allowed even under the Constitution to do that. But I think we could give a great build-up to the Presidency in the eyes of the people if some kind of functions could be organised in which a member of the Oireachtas, the President, was seen to associate with members of all political Parties. That, more than anything else, would help to emphasise in the minds of the people the non-political character of the Presidency. So far, it has never been my privilege from 1957 to 1961—from 1961 we have this gap which so rejoices the heart of the Minister for Finance, the dies non of my political life—and from 1965 to the present, it has never been my lot to associate with the President in a way which would emphasise the non-political character of the Presidency. That ought to be done so that the true character of the President as President of the nation would be firmly embedded in the minds of the people.
Mr. O'Kennedy: Since this debate was adjourned on the last occasion, very important events for us have taken place, in the meeting between our Taoiseach and the Prime Minister of Britain. If Senator O'Quigley can confuse  the Taoiseach and Mr. Wilson, I think the Minister for External Affairs will be forgiven for letting his tongue slip in confusion between the Council of Europe and the EEC. It appears quite evident now that there will be in the very foreseeable future a new initiative by Britain towards entry into EEC. Happily for us, it appears from the meeting between the Taoiseach and Mr. Wilson that we will be kept in close communication with the developments in these negotiations as far as they affect us. It has become evident from recent statements by members of the European Commission and by responsible and influential Ministers of the Member States that, not only are they prepared to have Britain as a member of the Community but, even more important, that they look forward to the occasion when Britain will join them in their association.
To this extent I feel we probably reach the essence of the difference between the Government's attitude to negotiations with the EEC and that of the Fine Gael Party, as suggested by Senator FitzGerald in the House and as indicated to the public by the Leader of the Fine Gael Party on his return, in company with Senator FitzGerald, from Brussels. I am not suggesting that the Fine Gael Party are not anxious to keep in close communication with the British negotiations. However, they would apparently suggest—I am not sure whether it is impressions, facts or ideas conveyed it to them—that we might at this time undertake our own negotiations in advance of the British application.
Senator FitzGerald, Deputy Cos-grave or any member of the Oireachtas will no doubt be afforded the opportunity of canvassing the views of and discussing their various views with members of the Commission. It may well be that some members of the Commission will have this viewpoint. On the other hand—Senator FitzGerald has already referred to his experience, and a year ago my impression, as a member of a delegation to the Commission's headquarters, was that the only concern the members of the Commission appeared to have then was  whether or not at that time Britain could fill the void which might be left by the secession of France from the Community. Conscious though they were of the facts that we were an Irish delegation, concerned with informing ourselves of the workings of the Community, my impression was—one gets many impressions at the European Commission—that their major concern was not whether or not Ireland would some time become a member of the Community but whether or not Britain could fill that void.
My personal views and those of other members were canvassed on this important aspect of affairs. They did appreciate at that time that Ireland's entry into the Community could balance the entry of Britain on that occasion. The point I make is this: to come home from a short visit to the Commission's headquarters and give suggestions that may have been proposed by one or other members of the staff as positive and valid suggestions towards our definite entry into EEC is less than reasonable.
In the past year, it has been evident from time to time that there is quite a difference of opinion, to say the least, between the thinking of the members of the Commission's staff and that of the Ministers of the Member States. We must approach our negotiations as being plenary negotiations, Minister to Minister, Prime Minister to Prime Minister and, of course, at the same time, keep ourselves informed of developments in Brussels. One sees in the British reactivation of interest that they are more concerned with the reaction of the various Ministers and Governments than they are on the occasion of their previous application, when one was justly left with the impression that they rather concentrated too much on the reaction of the Commission in Brussels without due regard to what the obvious reaction of Member States might have been on that occasion.
We must approach this in a realistic fashion. Now that we have appointed a full-time Minister to the Commission, we should be in a position to keep ourselves informed of developments  and we should use every opportunity to keep ourselves so informed. At the same time, it would be less than realistic to suggest that any negotiations for entry could be conducted except between the responsible Ministers and Prime Ministers. If Fine Gael are suggesting this as a real line of negotiation, they should indicate how it can best accomplish our early entry into EEC. If not, they should withdraw it as being, as it appears to be, a mere impression.
In order to see the steps which we are taking towards the EEC and how we are gearing ourselves to survive and compete in a European community one just looks to the programme which the Government have themselves been initiating and promoting over the last number of years and not least of all to a programme which was announced only last week, that is the programme for special development of small industries throughout the country. I was rather surprised on reading the survey of the Irish Management Institute that of approximately 3,000 manufacturing industries in Ireland in 1964 only one and a half per cent of them—something over 50—would actually come into the category of large industries by generally accepted definitions, that of the Small Business Administration Group in the United States and I would say equally so, that of the general acceptance of the term “small industry” in the European community. So that, in fact, when we come to gear ourselves for membership of the European community we must do so in the knowledge that 98 per cent of our industries are small industries in the internationally accepted sense of the word.
It is for this reason that I feel that this new scheme which is a regionalised scheme of development is a very good one. As it is announced we will have three pilot areas, one in Sligo-Leitrim-Roscommon, one in Carlow-Kilkenny and one in Clare-Limerick. The very attractive part of this new programme is that for the first time liaison officers and technicians of one sort or another will be available locally, at first hand, at base, to assist with the problems of  small industries in their particular areas and to advise the management and staff of these various industries on the problems which immediately affect them.
One of the matters which, in many ways, handicap development of our industrial activity here is the lack of liaison between industrialists themselves, particularly the smaller ones, and the various promotional government bodies. When one looks at the drive and urgency which gives rise to a small industry in the first place it is an opportunity which a particular individual sees in a particular outlet. He takes that opportunity and he exploits that outlet as best he can and then he finds that the services and the industry which he manages expand and this expansion in its time creates expansion problems. On many occasions he finds that some of those problems are more than he can cope with. He lacks the services at that time of specialised advice which should be immediately available to him in the area, to gear these new developments to the best interests of the industry. In this connection this new regionalised programme will fulfil what I think is a very definite need in our industrial programme here at present because it appears evident even in the matter of applying for loans that many smaller industries here in Ireland either feel a lack of confidence in or a lack of liaison with the members of some of the State-sponsored bodies which have been set up to assist development of these industries.
In relation to the general picture of industries throughout the country I would say that the ones that will feel the greatest draught in a European community or indeed even in an advanced economic society, will not be the smaller ones employing less than 30, craft industries of that sort, but the ones that have experienced the growing pains and are experiencing the ordinary problems of expansion and personnel and general problems of management. It is quite significant that many of those industries which employ approximately 200 to 300 people around the country have failed  to create the impact on our society that one would have expected from them. Many of them have, many have not. This probably arises from the very real and reasonable difficulty which they experience when they get to a certain stage of growth. “Do we go forward, do we stay put or, in fact, do we just die moribund”. It is at this stage of expansion—remember many of our industries are family industries—that we must offer them the incentive, the assistance they so urgently need.
One of the incentives I would recommend to many of those industries is that they would use more fully the resources available to them by way of the professional knowledge and advice of various graduate bodies and professionally qualified men. It occurs to me that many of our boards of directors throughout the country have adopted a rather conservative attitude in relation to the composition of their boards. Many of them have good and what appears to them to be sufficient reasons but I would say that if new life and urgency were injected into those boards by the addition of highly qualified young men, of progressive men in various fields, these industries would not find themselves in such a moribund, doubtful state but they would be propelled by the very urgency which is being created by the promotional activity of the new members of their boards.
The same thing would apply to the principle of profit-sharing with the members of their staff, a principle which, I am glad to say, has been accepted in some instances here and has, in fact, proved to be one of the greatest safeguards against personnel problems in industry.
It was suggested here at one stage that we are faced with an ever-increasing problem of mass exodus from the land. I think the same speaker did agree that this is only another instance of a pattern which, in fact, is evident throughout Europe and, indeed, throughout the world. It appears almost inevitable that this pattern will continue and is not something we should cry about. It is an  economic fact at present. While we must preserve as much as possible the social environment of rural Ireland, in so far as there are certain factors operating at present we must face reality and I would suggest that these new industries should concentrate largely on the type of production which is geared most closely to agriculture. They should concentrate on the type of production which will offer a production base—market gardening, meat-processing and so on. It is in those that we will eventually realise our greatest potential if we are to become members of the wider European community.
I am not suggesting that everything is not being done towards promoting the industrial activity of Ireland. In fact, it is very obvious over the past ten years that everything has been done and a lot has been achieved. I am merely saying, in an objective fashion, that in this new programme which we are pronouncing we should have every consideration to assist not just the small industries but all industries in Ireland which at present in many cases need this assistance.
As usual, in this debate certain ideas are expressed and attitudes come to mind which might be better left unsaid in this House or, indeed, in any House. In the first instance, I might say one is concerned somewhat at the whole general trend recently of lack of support and lack of confidence, particularly in our police force. One heard a little of it again in the House during this debate. One always hears of the isolated incident. I do not question the right of any Member of the House to bring these matters to attention but I should like, once in a while, to hear the members of the Garda Síochána— who are, in fact, the servants of the public, as exemplified by their name— commended for much of the good work they do. Anyone who is closely associated with social work or voluntary activities throughout Ireland will see that many of them are doing an immense amount of good work. I will instance some of it so that we may, in this House, let them see they do enjoy our confidence and respect, and restore that confidence which is due to them  from the public and, particularly, from the Members of Oireachtas Éireann.
Over the weekend, one must have seen announcements in connection with the establishment of boys' clubs for two or three centres, clubs which were established and promoted—and will continue to be promoted—by members of the Garda Síochána. I think there are approximately 300 of these clubs in the country at present and in more than 70 per cent of these cases—I had the figure up to yesterday but it is my impression that in more than 70 per cent of these cases—the clubs are either actively established or promoted by members of the Garda Síochána in their off-duty hours. This is a fact that might be borne in mind by all of us who tend to so readily criticise and be scandalised. We are very easily scandalised—as was exemplified by Senator O'Quigley here this evening—by certain isolated incidents in the conduct of a few members of the Garda.
This voluntary activity of the Garda is another example of the effective work, this very definite social work, work that does more in the country areas of Ireland and, indeed, in the city to combat crime by eradicating the source than we could ever do by any other additional reform we could introduce at a later stage. The same is being done in the case of the juvenile liaison officers who live in very close association with the offenders——
Mr. O'Kennedy: ——and established by the Minister. But I think the whole programme of enlightenment we have seen from the Department in connection with reforms of this sort in recent times should not be lightly left aside. These juvenile liaison officers keep in close touch with the domestic environment of the young wayward ones who have not, as yet, come fully into the grip of active crime. Anyone who has anything to do with them will readily admit they are doing a great service, doing it with a full understanding of human problems and with a great sense of duty and sacrifice. One of the  things which impress me most is to see the sense of sacrifice which those officers have and also to see the extremely keen competition amongst the members of the Force for entry into that particular service, service which, in fact, demands the very highest standards of patience, understanding and integrity, and nobody can suggest that those standards are not being met.
I would further say—in relation to suggestions that our country is being ruled, and ruthlessly so on occasions, by the strong hand of the Garda Síochána—that from my experience and practice in courts over a certain area of this country I have found the members of the Garda Síochána very sympathetic and most anxious, where possible at all, to meet the needs of the family from which the young offender may come. I have found them more than anxious and fair in recommending leniency to the courts in cases where the ones to suffer would be the family who were penalised by the offence of the young offender. On many occasions, they do this even in the case of what are, in fact, serious and, in many cases, dastardly offences—ones which certainly do not recommend themselves to any members of the Garda Síochána. They do that in the interests of the family environment and many young men—when you look at the courts every day—are given the chance to prove their ability to merge properly into society.
Mark you, I am the first to concede that our care of these young wayward ones is not nearly as advanced as we would like it to be. I think the Minister for Justice would agree with me in this. A scheme is under consideration for, possibly, a hostel in the city of Dublin for these young men who, while serving detention for one crime or another, would be allowed to come and go from their work and report back to this hostel—not to the environment of a prison but to the environment, if not of a home, at least that of a boarding school.
In connection with this particular topic one should not ignore the great results of the corrective training unit in Mountjoy. This unit was established  more or less to ease the break which the hardened criminal would have before coming back to adjust himself to modern society. Many of those long-term prisoners in the latter years, or latter months, certainly, before their release are transferred to this unit, and allowed out to employment in Dublin and report back to the unit in the evening. In fact, they really have no other association with the prison except during their sleeping hours. It has been found that this is a very effective way of easing them back into society. Again, the records show that since 1962 or 1963 — whenever this unit was established—and again probably in the time of the enlightened Minister in the House this evening over 80 per cent of those people—and many of them are long-term and hardened criminals who have served some time in this corrective unit — have, up to now, found themselves able to adjust to society. Mark you, I am not saying that in the years to come many of them will be able to continue constantly that way but, at least, it does show the enlightened approach and the happy results which have come from that enlightened approach.
Mr. O'Kennedy: This evening, I think objective Members of this House —if any of us can be objective—will not have been particularly happy to have listened to the Leader of the Fine Gael Party introduce “corruption,”“bribery,” even “political jobbery” and terms of that sort into a debate such as this. All of us appreciate that we would prefer to see many problems, at present handled by Deputies and Members of this House, handled by competent social workers but to suggest it is the prerogative of any one side of this House—as Senator O'Quigley does, with a very definite indication towards this side—to provide for the needs, or what he might suggest, the apparent needs of the people throughout the country; to fool them into the impression that only I can get it for you; to leave them with the impression that unless you vote for me you will not get it; and to leave them with the impression that that is the prerogative  of the Government Party is quite untrue. He probably knows that many of the great poll-pullers of his own Party are, in fact, those who initiated that particular technique.
I do not want to go any further on that particular line but one is entitled to expect more in this House from the Leader of the Fine Gael Party. Were I Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries or Minister for Finance, I doubt if I would have the patience to listen to the various charges levelled at the Government, ranging from the by-elections to concern only for Fianna Fáil supporters. The amusing aspect of this, in my experience—and all public men will tell you the same— is that many people in the area in which I live in North Tipperary suggest that it is only Opposition supporters who are able to get from the Government what only Government supporters should get. If Senator O'Quigley had a little more experience of direct contact with people throughout the country, he would not come here with such naive and, may I say, such slanderous, suggestions as he put before the House this evening.
In relation to these social welfare activities, one can point with some satisfaction, and, indeed, even with hope, to the great work being done by voluntary bodies throughout the country and, may I say, in particular by the Social Welfare Conference in Kilkenny which more or less initiated this programme of voluntary social welfare activities on a professional basis, professional in its skill, if not in its remuneration. This was undertaken by the Irish Sisters of Charity, with the aid of the Bishop of Ossory. As we know, Kilkenny has almost become a complex of social welfare activities. It has engendered in people a sense of social responsibility.
I gather from discussions with members of the Conference that the one thing they feel most lacking in is the trained assistance of the skilled social welfare worker. There is no lack in the volume of assistance: all the community in Kilkenny take their part. I would say this applies to every town, but Kilkenny might be regarded as  the pilot scheme. They find their great lack is the unavailability of trained social workers. In this connection I want to point to a contradiction. Many of our graduates in social science appear to find difficulty in getting gainful employment which would allow them to use their training to the best advantage, while, at the same time, voluntary bodies such as this are most anxious to have the assistance of such trained graduates.
It is my suggestion that the Government should at least keep in mind and consider the possibility of appointing regional social workers throughout the country, workers who will fulfil the various needs and bring to bear on their activities the understanding and sympathy which of its very nature, those concerned with the administration of social welfare from the bureaucratic point of view cannot engender. There could be a great new possibility here in that at present we have so many of these voluntary organisations functioning so effectively. What they need in many cases is direction. Direction can come only from fulltime trained social workers.
I know that the former Minister for Health and the present Minister for Health are very closely in touch with this whole programme of social welfare, particularly as it relates to voluntary social activities. They have given every assistance and offered every inducement—and those concerned would be the first to admit it—to these social welfare conferences. I suggest that they should also now consider the possibility of appointing these fulltime trained personnel to direct the affairs of these conferences.
I know that we are precluded in this debate—perhaps happily because of the time—from discussing education. I would say in relation to this topic to which I have referred that we should engender an atmosphere and a climate in Ireland where it will be accepted that social workers, doctors, nurses, and teachers will be properly rewarded for the very important work they do, and that at least they will earn salaries commensurate with those of beauticians,  hairdressers and people who appear to do work that is better remunerated but scarcely as important. When the debate on education comes, I shall make a strong plea for more adequate remuneration for men and women engaged in such vitally important work.
I am now making the same plea for improved conditions and improved salaries—and again the former Minister for Health set a great headline here—for people such as nurses and doctors and social welfare workers. It appals me when I meet nurses here in Dublin to find that by comparison with young girls or women engaged in other activities, their lives have become such that they are not allowed the same opportunity—and the demands on their time are such that they do not have the same opportunity—for ordinary social activities as beauticians and hostesses and what have you, with greater remuneration. If we are to set a standard for our young people, we must make it clear that we are most concerned with the most important things and the most important jobs, and we should at least raise the level of their salaries and conditions. I know the Minister and the former Minister are aware of this and we should put it as a first priority on our programme.
Mr. O'Kennedy: ——personnel relations in industry. The term would have occurred more readily to my tongue this time last year when it occurred in almost every second line in every newspaper. Apparently we have got over this lack of liaison between management  and employees which was very much in evidence last year. It is only fair to commend both the employers' organisations and the trade union organisations in particular—because, after all, they have to deal with a wider and probably less concentrated area— for the recent improvement in management-employee relations in Ireland. Again, this is evidenced in the advance which the country has been continuing to make in recent times over the past year.
Last year in this debate, we had to face the fact that steps were necessary to maintain the economic balance of this nation. We had to do that in anticipation of many other countries because the pattern was one which occurred from Italy to Sweden, and particularly in the case of our near neighbour Britain. We had it in face of suggestions that the Government were bankrupt and that it was being done too late. If it was too late, clearly it was done effectively. The signs are there that the Government had the foresight to see the indications and were ahead of our great neighbour, England. The difference was that the restrictions we imposed were like a tea party by comparison with what was done in England. I welcome the fact that now again we are continuing the expansion which has been so evident during the past number of years.
Professor Quinlan: At this time of night, it is rather difficult to develop and elaborate as one would like in a major debate of this sort. I regret very much that it has been decided to close the debate tonight and that we could not continue tomorrow morning and so give an opportunity to many of us, who have put long hours of study and thought into this, an opportunity of giving our views and our findings. I had better begin with the setting of the Government's declared policy of joining the EEC and the steps we are taking, or should be taking, to have our country in readiness for entry to that Community.
The first and obvious thing about the EEC is that it is a scientific community. With America, it is the most advanced technological group in the  world, away ahead of all others. Therefore, if we are to succeed in it, we shall do so solely by the way in which we can use science in competition with the others. We shall be in a scientific race and, consequently, we must look to the first line of our attack—the universities and their products. We must, once and for all, disabuse our minds of the idea, all too current, at present, that somehow or other the university is a seat of privilege, that it is a type of ornament which you can afford to spend money on when the country is going along nicely in an expansionist economy but which, when we get into difficulties, must be the first to bear the brunt.
That is totally wrong when considered in the background of our efforts to join the EEC. This idea of privilege in the university is a manifestation of our history. It is the slave mind coming out in our people. That is quite natural after seven centuries of oppression; and it is only 40 years since ordinary Irish people began to have any hope of ever seeing their children go through the university. Consequently, as a defence mechanism, the people took up this slave attitude to the university as being a seat of privilege. Out with that if we are ever to join the EEC. We must begin to realise at once that the university system here must be tailored to the needs of a modern scientific State where the skills of our people are developed to the utmost. It is from this high level that technological inspiration comes. It is this that produces the teachers for all our complex educational establishments.
Therefore, the university must be treated properly as a No. 1 priority. Having said that, I turn the attention of the Seanad, the Government and the Minister for Finance to some figures. If we want comparisons we do not have to look outside our own island. Surely when we speak about joining the EEC and about uniting our country, which will be done, de facto, in any case when we are in the EEC, we must aim at equalisation of standards as between here and Northern Ireland. Without apology, I  bring to the notice of the House, as I have done on several other occasions, the standards in Northern Ireland.
Let us take the most recent Statistical Abstract and examine the figures and reports on Northern Ireland at page 368. The number of students catered for in Northern Ireland is 4,400 and the university there had a total income of almost £2 million— £1,860,000—of which three-quarters came from the Government. Whatever the figure is in the current year, in the previous three years it increased 50 per cent. In the absence of figures to the contrary, we may assume that in the three years since 1963 the increase has not been less than 25 per cent, which means that the income of the university there is £2.25 million for 4,400 students. This in turn means that the average available per student is something more than £500. That is for teaching alone.
We come to the situation in our universities and we were given some revealing figures by my colleague, Senator Stanford, in respect of TCD. He told us that the Government grant at the moment equals £250 per student. I do not think he was right because I think he included some capital expenditure for a new library which, for comparison purposes, should have been excluded. There is also a serious question in respect of the breakdown of TCD students—1,500 from here, 760 from Northern Ireland and 1,100 from outside the country. As far as I know, all students from outside are charged an increased fee of 50 per cent, which is only right and proper.
On these figures, compared with the figure I quoted for Queen's, TCD has about £1.1 million available for current running of 3,300 students which is a figure of only £340 per student compared with Queen's £500, though the facilities at TCD are not nearly as good as at Queen's. Then we come to the poor relation of our system, the National University, and I know the figures there. I can cite my own college and I think the figures are pretty well the same in Galway as in UCD. The total income this year in respect of my  college is £600,000 for 2,700 students— £225 per student. I challenge anyone to disprove those figures. The figure is £500 per student in Queen's—at the other end of Ireland 100 miles from here—£340 in TCD and £225 per student in the National University.
Those figures show the appalling condition in which the National University finds itself today. Even to bring it up to the modest level of endowment available in Trinity would need an increase of more than £100 per student or an increase of £1 million in the total grant to the National University. I do not know how this has been allowed to slide so badly into arrears in that way. Perhaps in the National University we have not been making our case sufficiently insistently: perhaps the three Presidents may have to take their sleeping bags and sleep outside the Department of Education or the Department of Finance until adjustment is brought about. Is there any industry in the Twenty-Six Counties of which we can say that it is producing a product at less than half what it costs to produce the same product in Northern Ireland and, of course, in England and elsewhere? If we could find such an industry, we would indeed be very happy. It does not exist. If anyone visits any of our university colleges, particularly Cork, he can see where we keep on pushing in 200 and 300 extra students every year into halls, which are already overcrowded to the point of being a danger to health and safety. You find students there sitting on the windowsills and also in what is supposed to be a passageway to get out in case of fire or some such hazard. One must see those students to realise those conditions.
As well as that, we have all sorts of night classes and everything else trying to make up the classes. I am proud to be able to say that so far the products of our university compare more than favourably with the products of Queen's University in Belfast or any of the English universities. That is a tribute to the calibre of our students and, I might say, to their dedication to hard work. Those students come from ordinary homes all over the country. They know the sacrifice their  parents, their brothers and sisters, are making to put them through the university. Consequently, our students, as a body, work harder than students anywhere else. Likewise, the same holds for our staff. Of course, they cannot be pushed too far and we are getting very near the point of breakdown.
Our authorities are very alarmed about this matter. I ask the Government and the Minister to come and see for themselves. We welcome visitors at any time. If we want to prepare our first line—I do not know whether it is of defence or attack— in joining the Common Market, please come and help us to reach a situation in which our facilities are moderately in order. We are not asking that the grant should be doubled overnight, because that would involve us in an equally great problem of trying to recruit staff at a rate which could not be done at the present time. If it is the Government's thinking to join the EEC in five years' time, let us have a plan, whereby our university facilities catch up with the facilities available in Queen's University, Belfast. At the same time, we have a right to ask, where we are being required to take increased numbers of students, due to the endeavour to make more secondary education available, and so on, that we get a part of the grant especially tied to the increase in our student body.
I want to ask if there is any factory in this country which last year produced 2,400 of something, and this year produced 2,700, and was not given anything for expenses? Indeed, I should not take one year. Let us go back to 1956 or 1957, at the start of this period. At that time we had 1,000 students. Now we have 2,700 students. Can you imagine what all that means? The only addition made in all that period was that about £20,000 was spent in putting a top on an existing two-storey building.
An Leas-Chathaoirleach: I would ask the Senator not to dwell at too great length on the question of education, as it is extremely probable that all those questions will be discussed early in the new year.
Professor Quinlan: We look forward to seeing that. There are one or two other figures which I ask you to take and think over during the recess. They are in no way connected with “Investment in Education.” They relate to the allocation of money as given in the Book of Estimates. You will find in the Book of Estimates that the amount allocated to veterinary students, under the Department of Agriculture is: Veterinary College, £93,000; UCD, £112,000; and TCD, £61,000, making a total of £266,000. It costs £4,500 to produce a veterinary surgeon. I worked out those figures and it ranges from a cost of £800 to TCD and £4,000 to UCD. This high figure is due to an effort to conform to international standards.
Now, let us look at the dentistry figures. The grant given under Subhead H is £118,000. This figure turned out about 30 graduates. Again, that is about £4,000 per dentist. When you look at all those figures, you find that it costs £850 to produce a doctor in National University and it costs £4,000 to produce a veterinary surgeon. Have our priorities gone topsy-turvy altogether when it costs £4,000 to produce a man to deal with animals and only £850 when it is a man to deal with health, one-sixth the amount? I leave you to think over that figure in the hope that the Minister for Health will give it great consideration.
While on this subject, I cannot refrain from commenting on the recent television programme on health. It was most informative and enlightening. It was a programme which did a great deal to raise the image of the politician in this country and to bring home to the people, the viewers, the very small marginal difference between  the different people on that programme. I might also say that the Minister concerned emerged with great honour and as a man who was prepared to listen and who was not prepared to try to score political points. His image was excellent. He complained about the scarcity of doctors and of dentists and I hope the figures I have given will convey to him the real reason for this. If the Minister in charge of veterinary surgeons can succeed in doing so well to bring that profession up to international standards, then I appeal to the Minister for Health, through the Minister for Finance, to take steps to see that doctors are brought into line.
We had also on that programme something which we should guard against, that is, this type of closed-mind mentality. This is something which was evident on that programme and also since the publication of The Just Society, which has been so much discussed. When a Government present a Bill, they expect criticism. Indeed, they get criticism from both Houses of Parliament. The hope is that the end product will show the effect of these contributions and that it will be all the better for that. Both of the Opposition Parties, Labour and Fine Gael, when they present documents like that, outlining their ideas on education or some other facet of our community, do a valuable service by putting much thinking and long hours of research into preparing those documents. They have not got the resources of a Government when they set out to prepare those documents. It is then all the more reason why the documents should be presented as documents for discussion between all the interests involved. It should be a feather in the cap of any one of those Parties to say that was their policy 12 months ago but that discussions since then had caused it to be changed. That is a sign of progress. The attitude of going back to what was said 10 years ago and trying to suggest that you could not change your  mind since then is a totally nonscientific, moronic attitude and it should be disposed of whenever it shows its ugly head.
I should like to turn very briefly to some of the problems confronting agriculture, and begin by saying that in recent years—over the past 25 to 30 years—we had two Ministers for Agriculture who possessed the enthusiasm, the vigour and the capacity for the hard work that might produce a dramatic change in our agriculture. Both of these men shared the view that all was not well. They felt that the statistics which showed an increase of 1 to 1½ per cent per annum was wrong. There was something wrong with the system. We were not getting from it the production of which it was capable and the production we saw our competitors were capable of getting. Those two men were Deputy Dillon and the Minister here tonight. They both had drive and enthusiasm and they went in to their work with determination to achieve a complete revolution. They were both anxious to co-operate with the farming organisations concerned. They recognised, as was recognised in other progressive agricultural countries, that theirs was the only sound basis for progress but both were beaten, badly beaten by the system.
In neither case were the men concerned able to do what their former counterpart and their present counterpart in the United States, Mr. Freeman, who brought in a forward line with him, did. He selected at least 20 or 30 members or more. He took them from key positions in the country. These were people who were known for their ability and performance in agriculture and most of them had little or no connection with politics. In fact, very often they were not of the same Party as the Minister, or perhaps they did not belong to a Party at all. They shared with the Minister the view of outsiders, that what was done by the previous administration could be improved upon. They were forward-looking and they got results. In other words, they knew how things could be done and they  had a valuable function in being able to discount the pitfalls in a programme. You cannot expect the same team to be forward-looking and backward at the same time. They are not the source from which new dynamic ideas can emerge. That, to my way of thinking, is why we have not got better results from our agriculture.
The present conflict with the National Farmers Association is the same kind of conflict with which other professional organisations have to deal. The educational bodies are not satisfied with consultations they have had with other departments. We can take various other bodies and discussion with them will reveal that the type of consultation that goes on is outmoded.
We must recognise the fact that outside the Civil Service we have many talented and highly successful people in the various organisations. They must be brought in and given an opportunity of making a real contribution to our development. That applies probably more to the Department of Agriculture than to any other Departments at present.
I notice that £200 is provided for the farm apprenticeship scheme. There is an increase of £40 since last year. I think back over ten years, 1955-65, when we spent nights and days arguing, planning and thinking about farm apprenticeship and the great concept that would enable every young man who wanted to work on the land to aspire some day to owning his own farm. This was the carrot that drew him to work on the land. I find that at the end of all our endeavours, the bursts of enthusiasm from Deputy Childers and everyone, the great work of General Costello, Dan Duffy and the late Canon Hayes and others on that scheme, what is passed up as a farm apprenticeship scheme is 20 scholarships at £30 each and the amount spent this year is £200. Surely there was never a greater example than this of the mountain labouring and producing a mouse. This is the end of the great ideals that were developed through genuine enthusiasm and whittled down by Civil Service Departments.  The end result is a sheer waste of time as far as farm apprenticeship schemes are concerned.
Again, we have the question of a great deal of publicity, and so on, about the fact that we have two farming organisations. Will you show me anything that we do not have two of? How many trade unions have we? In fact, we even have two busmen's unions for one section of workers. While it would probably make things easier if we had only one, let us recognise the fact that two is not a mighty number and that we should thank God we have two and not six, as we have in many other fields.
About the brightest feature of the Vote for the Department of Agriculture is the continued expansion of the Agricultural Institute and its research work. I think a great deal of this is due to the dynamism of the Director and his ability to get money for projects that are so badly needed. I wish we had somebody in the university who could work the same magic with the Department of Finance to produce results such as the Director of the Agricultural Institute has produced, and for which the country is the better.
On the question of agriculture and of adaptation for entry into the European Economic Community, we find no provision for the real problem, that is, the education of those at present engaged in agriculture. We had the winter schools but much more needs to be done. Indeed, I think we badly need a crash programme in that respect. We also need a programme that will bring the amenities of the modern age to the farmer. I am not referring now to running water, electricity, and so on, which we have got, but to the right to a little leisure. That leisure is of the type that if the farmer is sick, he does not have to struggle out in the morning to milk the cows, but can call in a relief worker from the co-op. If he wants a night off, he can make arrangements to have a relief worker, or if he wants a week off he can make similar arrangements. If he is so old that he can no longer cope with the dairying job, he can let it on contract to the co-op. In other words, what we need, if we are to face the  EEC with confidence in our agricultural capacity and in its development, is a very rapid and dramatic development of the co-operative movement—the co-operative movement that provides the relief work services, that provides the machinery on contract or sharing with the people in its district and, in general, that makes life tolerable for those working in that area. I think that is the most essential requirement in adapting agriculture for the Common Market.
I had intended to go quite a long way on another adaptation. I can make only a few references to it now. I refer to the adaptation of the Civil Service to meet the challenge of the Common Market. Nobody can be happy at the moment with our system as it is. Granted we have unimpeachable integrity and hard work from the top officials but the system simply defeats itself. We can see that they are quite worried about this system in Britain. On the Continent there is far more flexibility in their civil service than there is in ours. There, they have developed the means of getting the technical contribution. In other words, the fact that a man has a degree in Science or is qualified as a specialist in some line, does not, as it appears to do here, exclude him from posts of policy-making and high administrative posts. I think it all comes back to the closed shop and the restrictive practices that we deplore in many other fields. There is nowhere in this country where the closed shop and restrictive practices are more rampant than in our Civil Service——
Professor Quinlan: ——No, not in the universities, as I shall prove. In the Civil Service, once a young man is recruited at 18, that almost ends the Civil Service recruitment. It is almost the parallel of the religious Orders in Italy where they have come under fire for getting their postulants at 11 years of age and keeping them shut away from the world from that time onwards. In a world where higher education is more and more important and where more and more  people are able to study for a degree, the aim should be to recruit more and more degree holders into the Civil Service. Select at a later age. The only later selection we have at the moment is for Administrative Officers. We shall have to go much higher than that. Why not have open competitions for assistant principals and principal officers? Some of our best men have gone abroad and won their spurs in concerns outside this country. Why not give those people an opportunity to come home and to compete for these top posts in our community?
In answer to Senator Murphy, I might point out that the university would not dream of closing its posts to a selection based on the age of 21, much less 18. Indeed, all the posts are fully open at all levels and invariably in my experience, the best men have got the posts there. I might say that the proof of that is that on our staffs today, we have men who can occupy similar or higher posts under any university system anywhere in the world. In fact, they are constantly being enticed away from us. Of course, we also have our black sheep, but what profession has not? That is the price we pay for freedom. That is the price we pay for allowing the individual to be in a position to work 60 or 70 hours a week, while on the other side, we have to cater for the fellow who will work only 20 hours a week.
I suggest that we should liberalise our whole Civil Service system. I should like to see the present leaders of the Civil Service, men for whom I would have a very high regard, relieved of their responsibilities for six months or a year every five or six years and allowed to go abroad to study for a year, be it becoming part of a research team in America, Britain or elsewhere or going into a university, say, as research workers, visiting professors or what not. The same goes for Ministers, if we could in any way ensure this policy. That is the price we have to pay for originality. In the modern scientific age, it is by originality we expand and make our mark as a nation, not by knowing why things cannot be done, as has been the system.
 If my suggestion ever comes about, we in UCC will be very delighted to welcome many people. I should dearly love to put the distinguished Secretary of the Department of Finance into UCC as a visiting professor of economics for a year. When he would return, even if his sojourn were only 160 miles from the capital, it would have a tremendous revitalising effect. It would be a wonderful experience for anyone to get away from the grind. Indeed, in the university we regard it as absolutely essential.
Professor Quinlan: Yes, certainly, the same as any department anywhere can do with being revitalised. It is only by going abroad and seeing how others do things that we can achieve that. By all means, give the recruits to the Civil Service system coming in as executive officers at the age of 18, the opportunity to earn a degree, if you think they are that good, but then let them go back in full competition with other graduates who have come up in other ways for the posts that are available. It is only by having full competition that we can get out of our present straitjacket.
This brings me to the last item, that is, the recent very severe criticisms of our departments by Lieutenant-General Costello. I am not taking sides, but these criticisms have been made by a person of undoubted standing in our community, a man who over the past 20 years has contributed more to the advance of the country than any other single person. Consequently, when such charges have been made, they should be taken seriously, even if the end result is that they are totally disproved. I ask the Leas-Chathaoirleach to see if he can get a Seanad inquiry into that matter. I suggest that a commission should be set up here of members of the Seanad under the chairmanship of the Leas-Chathaoirleach, to act as a proper commission, take evidence and issue a report. If the Government feel that the statement has been completely wrong, they have nothing to  fear in such a commission. We would do a wonderful service to the country in this Christmas week if, as a result of staying here tonight, we set up such a commission. I formally ask the Leas-Chathaoirleach to see what he can do about that, because, as the House knows, the Leas-Chathaoirleach is chairman of all sub-Committees set up by the Seanad.
We have to break new ground and we have to move on. That brings me to the type of public inquiry we have got, not the one that I am proposing now, but, for instance, the inquiry proceeding at the moment in Limerick. I do not want to say anything about that: it is sub judice. I want the House to realise that the situation is that there is a charge made against a local educational body. That charge may involve the Department of Education. Indeed, the published evidence would seem to suggest that it does. Yet, the chairman is assistant secretary of the Department of Education. Where are all the judges gone or where are all the other people outside those bodies that one could not be put in as independent chairman of that inquiry? Certainly, as it is at present, it is a practice that should be deplored. We should ask the Government not to set up what purports to be a public inquiry, unless they can produce a chairman who is demonstrably neutral in the matter. I am not reflecting on the competence of the individual concerned but I have shown the House that his connection with one of the bodies is much too close.
Finally, I should like to issue a challenge to the Minister, who, incidentally, I have praised, that he faces the biggest task of his career in getting the Civil Service moulded into the dynamic instrument it should be, if we are to succeed in the European Common Market. He can take courage and confidence from the fact that he is assisted by the one civil servant known to everybody as a person of outstanding ability and for his outstanding work, Dr. Whitaker, and it is high time that others of our civil servants should be become better known to the public. We have a team  that can do this job and on their success depends our success in the Common Market, if we get there.
There are one or two other speakers and I think I will conclude, like Senator O'Kennedy, with a few final figures I want the House to think over during the vacation. I have asked the House to think on the university and on its central role. In other words, we live by science and we will live by it increasingly in future. I want the House also to consider that when an educational system expands, be it by way of the secondary school or the vocational school or the university, if we increase our capacity by 300 students, that represents 300 persons taken off the labour market here permanently. It is the same as if we had a factory there that had 300 employees. Indeed, in a sense you can regard those as workers producing a product, because if the system were working producing colour television sets outside, they would be engaged in an industry and those sets would be bought by members of the community and so the industry would be a sound one.
In the case of education, the students and the staff are working together on a common enterprise. That common enterprise is paid for, mainly by the parents of the students, at the rate of about £350 per annum per student. The students are the end product. Still, that end product contains a very large deferred production element because not alone are they producing an article that is being bought by somebody at that time but their contribution in future to the State is greatly increased, due to the training they have got.
Professor Quinlan: When we come to the question of exports, I am pleased and happy to say that our small college, being placed in the country, has far fewer permanent exports than any other university college in the country. We are entitled to expect the Government to take some cognisance of that fact. I ask the Minister, the secretary and all Members here if at any time  they want to see what real overcrowding and real slum conditions in education are, to come down to us and see for themselves and see what must we do so that we can play our proper part in the education of our young men and women to face the challenge of the Common Market.
Mr. Yeats: In view of the amount that has already been said on general Government policy, and the time, and the fact that there are at least two Senators still waiting to speak, I shall not make any effort, as I had intended to, to deal with Government policy generally and, in particular, with the various allegations made by speakers opposite about Government policy. I shall confine myself to making one completely non-political appeal to the Minister. It is an appeal arising out of a very disturbing and annual report issued recently by An Comhairle Ealaíon. In the report Father O'Sullivan, the Director, points out in the introduction that over the past few years the amount spent on music has been steadily increasing and he has come to the view that this increase— it is now about 50 per cent of the total expenditure of the Council—is unduly depressing the amount available for the visual arts, such as architecture, sculpture, painting, design and so on.
Mr. Yeats: Be that as it may, he has come to this conclusion. According to him, it will be necessary in future to reduce the amount spent on music. This is very serious from the point of view of Irish music, and particularly from the point of view of Irish music in the provinces. By far the greater number of grants made by the Arts Council relate to activities outside Dublin. I do not worry so much about Dublin because there are other sources, perhaps, to which Dublin musical organisations may apply for help, if the Arts Council is unable to continue to give them suport. Certainly there is a greater tradition of music in Dublin and, from that point of view, it is easer to get an audience in Dublin. If one takes all the music  over the year in Dublin, only a very small proportion is helped by the Arts Council.
The provinces are a different matter. It is not untrue to say that until recently in the smaller towns and rural areas, Ireland was a musical desert. It is only in recent years that the smaller towns and some of the larger ones, such as Limerick—I will not mention Cork—and Waterford and Wexford have begun to engage in musical activities. The list given here in the report of grants made last year in the 12 months ending 31st March shows the type of activity which has been helped by the Council. There were ten performances of opera in different country towns. This is a very valuable institution. There was grand opera in Waterford. There was help given to the opera society in Kilrush, Clare. There is a very excellent grand opera society in Ballinrobe. That has been very successful in the past few years. It is a town which never before had anything like that. There were concert recitals in secondary schools in Waterford, Cork and Limerick. There was a performance of The Messiah in Limerick and another performance by the Sligo Celtic Singers. There were ten concerts in country towns by the Irish Chamber Orchestra, another excellent institution which has unfortunately died, for reasons into which we need not go now. There was the schools choral festival in Castleblaney and Féile na Scoileanna in Kilkenny. These valuable activities would never have taken place without help from the Arts Council and, if the Arts Council does have to cut down on its grants, many of these activities will cease and there will be no further extension, the sort of extension we would all hope for in music in rural Ireland.
The answer to the problem is, of course, more money. I know the Minister is interested in music. I have no knowledge of the Arts Council, beyond its own report. I do not know if they have applied for more money but I assume that, like everybody else at this time of year, they probably have. The present grant is £40,000. That is  very small compared with the money devoted to cultural activities in other countries and much smaller than the amount available to a similar body in Northern Ireland. It is smaller than the amount in any other small country on the Continent about which I know. Relatively speaking, the amount needed is a drop in the bucket. I know that, if you have enough drops in the bucket, you eventually fill it.
Mr. Yeats: A thousand here and a thousand there soon add up to a million. This is a case in which a relatively small sum of money— £5,000 or £10,000—would make a very great difference, particularly in rural Ireland. Cultural activies in areas outside of the bigger cities are worthy of help, and I hope when the Minister gets, as I assume he will, the annual request from the Arts Council for a larger grant, he will on this occasion find it possible to give something more. Otherwise, I can see a very serious situation arising outside of Dublin where music is concerned and that situation could set back for years the very valuable progress which has been taking place.
Mr. Murphy: As the Labour Party spokesman, and having got in somewhat belatedly, it might, I suppose, be appropriate to remind the Seanad of some of the unpleasant facts in the present situation. We are now in Christmas week and we are, I suppose, fairly well circumstanced. We should not, I think, forget the situation of many of our fellow-citizens. There are about 500,000 among us who are dependent upon social welfare—old age pensioners, widows, orphans, the unemployed, and so on. They are depending upon a rather miserable standard of living, if one can call it living. That is not, however, the whole picture. We have some 40,000 farm workers. In answer to a question in the Dáil recently, it was disclosed that the average wage of an agricultural labourer, after the tenth round, is £9 0s 6d a week. If one adds in their dependants, one possibly gets about  £12. There are thousands of what are commonly referred to as road workers, local authority employees, who have not very much more than the agricultural average of £9 0s 6d a week. There are thousands of what are called lower paid workers, mainly women, many of whom are paid less than £10 per week.
These are rather unpleasant facts of which to remind the House in Christmas week, but they are facts and we, in the Labour Party, remind ourselves always, and everybody else, that we are our brother's keeper. This, again, is not the whole picture. I referred to the number dependent upon social welfare. Of these, 50,000 are unemployed, and it is unfortunately true that the number of unemployed is tending to grow week by week. We see the figures. We have difficulty in following them since their presentation was changed, but that is roughly the situation; it is true that, unfortunately, they are tending to increase. We all know that the overall number in employment has dropped this year and a further drop is expected next year. That is in relation to overall employment, industrial employment and agricultural employment.
We will be told that the flight from the land is not peculiar to Ireland, and this is true, it is common in most western European countries and in America. Here, however, we are failing to provide alternative employment in industry. It is true that in recent years the numbers employed in industry have grown but only in odd years has the growth been sufficient to take up the employment loss in agriculture. In the past six months there has been no growth in industrial employment. This failure to expand employment in industry will have its side effects. No doubt when the Minister comes to prepare his Budget he will find that there is no great buoyancy in revenue.
While taxation is not a subject for debate under this measure it might be no harm if we reminded ourselves that this Minister and the Government are tied to and believe in a policy of indirect taxation rather than direct taxation. In other words, we are now  saying that the people to whom we have been referring, people on the breadline, possibly one out of every four of the population, must have further taxation levied on them rather than on the people with the greater ability to pay. No doubt we will hear more about this and I can promise the Minister that the Labour Party will be fighting him strenuously over the application of this policy. The economic position that we have at the moment is the result of a deflationary policy deliberately introduced to deal with the balance of payments problem. Last year the adverse balance was about £53 million. I am not criticising the introduction of a deflationary policy to deal with the situation, it was necessary, but I am suggesting that the policy adopted was too strong and while we have corrected the balance of payments problem we are in danger, so to speak, of killing the patient. While the adverse balance was £53 million last year the Department of Finance earlier this year envisaged an adverse balance of payments of £28 million this year. The implication was that that would be a satisfactory situation. In fact, it looks now as if it will be less than £20 million. In other words, the steps taken have been too successful. This is not offered as a criticism because every Government has to try to deal with such a situation. It is a matter of judgment as to how far you go and you have largely to guess.
This was a pretty successful guess but now we are stuck in a deflationary situation and the suspicion is that the Government do not know how to get out of that situation. The Labour Party and the trade union movement are worried that the Government do not know how to get out of the situation, that the measures taken have gone further than expected, that at present we have no expansion of our economy and that the situation is in danger of worsening. The economy will not simply stand still and if we do not get it moving again it will go into a decline. I was interested to hear Senator O'Kennedy's speech. It was a very good speech, indeed, but I was rather puzzled  when he was talking about the expansion of the economy because the impression left with us is that it is static at present and that there is every danger that if things cannot be got moving again it will go into a decline. Here I come to a criticism. More and more we are left with the impression that while we have in Government a collection of very able and slick politicians, we have, in fact, a very poor Cabinet. There is no clear indication of where they, as a Cabinet, want to go, except to stay in power, which is understandable. There is no indication that they have been trying to get their priorities right.
Last year we had the situation in which the Minister for Health produced a White Paper and he told us that legislation to implement the policy in the White Paper would be brought in in November but apparently that was burned by the economic blowlamp and we do not know what is happening about this policy. The same Minister, as Minister for Education, has been promising free education and threatening that if it is not implemented next September he is going to resign. The former Minister for Social Welfare said he would like to improve benefits if he could get the money. We never found that Minister very forthcoming in the Seanad but I am prepared to accept from what I know of the situation that he is a man who is prepared to fight to the best of his ability for his particular responsibility and as Minister for Social Welfare he was prepared to do his best to obtain more money and benefits for social welfare recipients.
Out of all this, however, we are not clear where the Government are going or what is their order of priority. We know that we cannot have all these together. We cannot do away with the problems of the people on low incomes who are struggling to exist, and overnight we cannot have all the benefits proposed in relation to health or education, but which is going to get priority? What will the Government do or have they made up their minds? Where are they going or are they simply going to continue to produce White Papers or build bridges when there is an election in the offing? As I  said, we have a collection of very able and very slick politicians but we deserve and need something more than able politicians. We want a Government and a Cabinet who are planning ahead to see how the economy can be kept developing at the fastest possible rate and how the benefits and improvements in the economy will be shared out. There is no indication that the Government have made up their minds or that they will give leadership in regard to sharing the money. Criticism was expressed in the Dáil about the lack of leadership or decision on the part of the Government in regard to an incomes policy. The NIEC produced a report, or a number of them, and after that seems to have drifted away. Nothing seems to happen. The Government, not the NIEC, have the responsibility and many of us are left with no idea or impression that the Cabinet, in fact, are in control of the situation. Perhaps they have been reshuffled too often or have not been able to get down to the job. There is less inclination on their part to try to co-ordinate policy. I think there is no real Cabinet leadership, and this in my criticism, not what has not been done because there is no point in complaining about that. I am not a good politician and do not want to score political points but I am looking at the situation and I see the problems. I want to know what is the Government's order of priority. It is all very well to have White Papers and promises——
Mr. Murphy: —— and to be told that these will be implemented next September and that everything in the garden will be lovely. The people will not be codded by this. The Government are very successful in codding them at by-elections but we must really begin growing up. We expect the Government in power to have policies, an order of priorities, and to tell the people where we are going and say: “Let us get on with the job.” There is too much living from day to day, political opportunism —at which they are very good—but there is very little effort, in my opinion,  to work out the order of priorities.
I want to be brief but there is another matter to which I must refer. Unfortunately, it is another criticism. There is an increasing tendency for Ministers and the Government to disregard the law. This is not a charge that they are involved in illegal activities but that they are doing things which are not provided for in the law as laid down by the Oireachtas. We had a recent case which I raised on the Adjournment here, where the Minister for Transport and Power was doing something which I argued he was not entitled to do under existing legislation. Without entering into further argument as to whether this thing was good or bad—it concerned allowing Northern Ireland lorries to operate for reward in the Republic—I am complaining that when I, as a member of a delegation from Congress, saw the Minister about this and when he told us what he was proposing to do and when I asked for the legislative authority for it, he was unable to refer me to it. I know that in fact some civil servant probably had his holidays cancelled and was sent chasing statutes trying to find provisions in Acts which allowed the Minister to do what he had already decided to do, and he then came up with a mixture from two Acts which, quite frankly, does not meet the situation at all. But he argued that he was entitled to do as he did.
We have a case which the Minister knows about. Again, strangely enough, it involved the Minister for Transport and Power when he was Minister for Lands, in relation to allowing Northern Ireland trawlers to fish in the territorial waters of the Republic. Without entering into the argument, I insist that there was no legislative authority for doing so. The Minister had no authority under an Act of Parliament to do what he did. I had correspondence with the present Minister when he was Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and again he could not point to legislative authority for doing this. He says it was an administrative act. As a democrat and member of a democratic assembly I must argue that it is the Oireachtas which makes the law  and it is for the Minister to apply it and he should not go outside it. If the law needs amendment the Minister should come to the Dáil and Seanad, have an amendment enacted and then apply it.
Increasingly there is the tendency in this Government to go outside the law in such respects. I know other instances—again, I am not pleading that this is outside the law but I think it is unfortunate and I would ask the Minister to try to rectify it—such as the situation in regard to planning. The local authorities consider applications for buildings or development work; they make up their minds and I suggest they are the best judges of the local situation. They turn down an application for what they consider a good reason and an applicant may appeal to the Minister. Invariably, if the Minister grants the appeal and overrules the local authority there is suspicion that this arises because of political pull, pressure or representation. We all recognise that this sort of political representation is bound to be no matter what Government is in power—I am not criticising that—to have an application granted. That is not a good arrangement in the long run because I find that the people responsible for dealing with these situations, the planning authorities, are becoming thoroughly discouraged. In too many instances applications that they turn down for good reasons are granted and they are overruled by a Minister in Dublin, the Minister for Local Government. This will play “old harry” with the idea of planning and development and preserving amenities, as we would all wish. I do not like to see provision for appeal to the Minister. It should be left to the planning authorities. The local authorities are the best judges. A least the people are elected to local authorities and you can make representations and have the position investigated and you can raise a row if a wrong decision is made. I shall conclude on that note. I hope I have not delayed other speakers.
Mr. Malone: I have about two minutes in which to put to the Minister  two requests. One concerns the grant-in-aid to local authorities last year under which they received a 100 per cent grant towards the health services. I request that should continue in the coming year. Local authorities are now preparing their estimates for next year and have not yet received notification, to my knowledge, that they will receive the 100 per cent grant as they did last year.
Secondly, I want to ask the Minister to use his good offices to see that the inequities in the system employed by the ESB, whereby they borrow money from people who want to get connections to new houses and pay them back at no rate of interest within a year, provided they have the money, should be stopped as soon as possible. The ESB are in very good standing with the public who have money to lend and would, I am sure, get sufficient funds to carry out their necessary and desirable work for people building houses or requiring connections.
I should have liked to deal with the rather vexed question of agriculture. The Minister knows as well as I do exactly what is wrong with agriculture. Now that he holds the purse-strings, I would hope that at the very earliest opportunity he would use that office to bring about the true spirit of this week, Christmas week, so that that spirit may be extended throughout the year. If he can take the farmers into his confidence and bring about stability in that industry as, indeed, in all others, he would surely have the spirit of Christmas pervading everywhere, peace on earth and goodwill to all men, which is my wish to the Minister and his colleagues as well.
Mr. Brosnahan: May I intervene for half a minute to make one point in support of something Senator Sheehy Skeffington said earlier in relation to public service pensioners? They have been claiming parity of pensions, as a general principle, in other words, that their pensions should be based on current salary. They are, however, prepared to take something less than that. At the present time they are  basing their scheme on the recommendation of a committee established by a previous Minister for Finance. They are asking that compensation should be given to them for the rise in the cost of living between February, 1964, and August, 1966.
These men and women have made a significant contribution to the prosperity of the country since the time of the Treaty, and I doubt if any generation of people will make a more significant contribution. They have no conciliation and arbitration machinery. They have no power to engage in industrial action. They have to rely mainly upon the public conscience, and the granting of justice all around is the norm which we should all seek as a just society. If we as people in service seek justice, we should also ensure that those who are out of service will get justice.
We would ask the Minister to consider the implementation of the recommendations of the committee set up under the Department of Finance and also the recommendation made by Senator Dr. Ryan when as Minister for Finance he said in this House that he was prepared to consider the keeping of pensions abreast of the cost of living. It is an indictment of our society if we allow so many old people to end their days in disillusionment, embitterment and anger. It behoves us all as people who are members of the Legislature to ensure that justice is done to the people who developed this State and made it as prosperous as it is.
Professor Dooge: There is something familiar about the setting of this debate. Once again we find ourselves with the Dáil adjourned and the Seanad debating one of the Finance Bills. This is something with which, unfortunately, we are only too familiar. On the corresponding day of last year, what we might call the last day of term before the Christmas holidays, this House was also discussing a finance Bill, the Central Fund (Permanent Provisions) Bill. On that occasion the Taoiseach, who was then the Minister for Finance, stated that he was aware the Bill was coming  before the House in such a fashion but he hoped that as a result of the passing of the Bill, the Seanad would never again have to debate important financial Bills on the last day of term.
That worked once. Before we broke up last July, in spite of the fact that there were two Finance Bills, the Seanad was able to dispose of both of them and then devote two full days to a consideration of legislation and the debating of a motion on the EEC. After that one example of living up to what was hoped for from this Central Fund (Permanent Provisions) Bill, those responsible for the arrangement of Government business seem to have fallen back into their old habits.
I do not want to dwell on this matter, but I do want to say it is a pity there should be any limitation on debates as important as the Finance debates are for the Seanad. This is one debate in which we have to traverse all the material that is debated for weeks and months on the Estimates in the Dáil. It is a pity, as I say, there is any limitation on the debate. It is a pity there is even a sense of limitation on the debate of such an important measure.
The Appropriation Bill before us is a Bill which gives this House an opportunity, firstly, of reviewing the administration of the past year, and, secondly, of discussing any new plans which may have been announced by Ministers in introducing their Estimates in the Dáil. It is always a widely ranging debate, as is the nature of all Finance debates, but it is one of the key debates of the year.
Since I came into the Seanad, this was a debate to which I always listened with great pleasure. Indeed I always listened with particular pleasure to the ministerial reply because we were always treated to an excellent performance by the then Minister, Senator Dr. Ryan. It was a pleasure to listen to the manner in which he meticulously answered questions that had never been asked, the way in which he trenchantly rebutted arguments that had never been put forward and, in all, gave a performance of amiable semi-relevancy which  was in the best traditions of parliamentary debate. I have no doubt that when it comes to his turn to reply, the Minister will do his best to live up to that high standard.
If we review the year that has passed, if we look back on the administration of the various Government services during that year and on the performance of the Government as a whole, what do we find? Looking back on 1966, I think we will all agree it was an eventful year in the narrow political sense. However, if we look beyond elections and Party affairs, was it such a significant year from the point of view of Government performance? We end this year with not very much significant legislation. We end the year with not much real administrative reform which is so badly needed, and we end the year with not as much economic progress as we had in previous years.
If we look at the Estimates which are scheduled in this Appropriation Bill and if we as Opposition Senators ask ourselves what do we think of them, what can we conclude? There is, of course, no question of our dividing against this Bill, but the fact that we do not intend to vote against the Bill does not mean we can be taken as approving in any way the administration which this Bill serves to finance.
Of course, there are items in the Book to which we give an unqualified welcome. Foremost among these is Vote 50, which provides £38,600 for the expense of the Department of Labour. This is indeed a welcome development. There is, as a result of the establishment of this Department and of this Ministry, a real chance to move forward in a direction in which we have been deplorably weak. There is at last a real chance to move forward towards a manpower policy which will be worthy of the name. It is particularly welcome to Senators on these benches that, as a result of the setting up of that Ministry, the placement offices are now being taken from the Department of Social Welfare and placed under the Manpower Agency. So often and so vehemently did I and some of my colleagues criticise the Government's  failure to do this earlier that the Cathaoirleach was constrained to point out that I was guilty of repetition in this matter. It is indeed very welcome that such repetition will be no longer necessary.
Even if the Government have remedied their mistake in this regard the Government have now come round to the point of view we advocated so often in the debate on manpower in this House—there does not seem to be even yet a realisation by the Government of the key importance of manpower if we are to have economic progress in the future. Although the Government have now remedied this one mistake, they seem to be making others. We have had from the Minister for Education, in introducing his Estimate in the Dáil, an outline of a policy and a new departure in education. This is something foreshadowed in September and finally introduced within the past month. In spite of the detail in which the Minister has outlined it, one looks in vain in the Minister's statement for his realisation of the importance of manpower in this particular new development. One looks in vain for plans in the Minister's policy for education for the provision of the teachers who alone will make an expansion in our educational policy possible. We apparently have from the Government no proposals in regard to the manning of the new educational system other than the very meagre references in the Second Programme for Economic Expansion.
One could go through the individual Estimates and point out similar inconsistencies and similar examples of the Government taking half a step where one whole firm step was necessary. There is not time to go into these in detail tonight but that does not mean we do not think they exist. There are many similar points. The fact that we tonight will agree to Vote No. 8 of over £8 million for the Office of Public Works does not mean that we, as Opposition Senators, are satisfied that the Board of Works are carrying out their public duty in failing to prevent the desecration of Dublin city at present. The fact that we agree to  the Vote for the Department of Local Government does not mean that we are satisfied that even the present powers of planning control have been properly exercised in regard to this same matter.
If we agree to Vote No. 28 for the Minister for Education, this does not mean we agree with the Government in condemning Deputy Carty for his criticism of the long delays that have resulted in the report of the Commission on Higher Education not yet being in the hands of the Government and of Parliament, while education in this country is being stultified as a result of the long term this Commission is taking to do its job. This Commission was set up to do a job which was needed in this country as in many others. In Britain a committee was set up after ours was set up. Ours was set up in 1960; the Robins Committee was set up in 1961. It reported in 1963, and we are still waiting.
During the past summer I had the advantage of seeing from the inside the Australian university system. It shows a great flowering and a great development which has many lessons for us. This development is taking place as a result of the report of the Murray Committee on Australian Universities. This committee was set up one January and reported, not merely to the Government but to Parliament, in the following November. As a result of the long delays which have occurred in this country, the universities are being told they cannot plan ahead. It is public knowledge that University College, Cork, has been told it cannot plan for more than 1,500 students until the Commission reports. Meanwhile, UCC has to accept the extra 1,000 students which now come to it for education.
I mentioned that if we look back on the past year we see that there has been very little action in moves of administrative and structural reform. It is a truism, which must nevertheless be repeated, that adaptation is the key to survival. It is the key to survival no less in economic and in international affairs as it is biologically. In times of rapid change, rapid adaptation is necessary if we are  to survive. In this country we must have, as an integral part of our economic planning, structural reform of all types. There have been certain moves in this direction, but they have not been nearly enough.
We had during the Estimate debates in the Dáil the interesting sight—or perhaps sound would be more correct —of the Minister for Local Government taking several hours to introduce his Estimate and several hours to reply to the Estimate debate. But throughout all this there was no reference to local government structure, to the autonomy of local government or to the essentials of local government finance. Nevertheless, we see every year some new regional structure introduced into this country. Some years we see more than one. These regional divisions come one after the other. One agency after the other, one Ministry after another, come along, take a map of Ireland and carve it up into regions. All of these have been proposed in regard to tourism, health and many other things without regard to the local government structure.
The continual postponement of the local government elections gave an opportunity for this matter to be dealt with. But now we find that the elections are to be held next June and apparently there is not even a thought of adapting the structure of local government to the new needs. The 1967 local elections will be held on the basis of a framework of local authorities which we inherited from the 19th century and the Minister has nothing to say about all this. Of course, it may be that the Minister is waiting until the Fine Gael Party have completed their policy on local government because it seems there is nothing like the issuing of Fine Gael policy statements in order to provoke the Government into action.
Professor Dooge: There we have the  reaction of Fianna Fáil to the Opposition doing their job in the proper manner. We are told there is never a Fine Gael policy unless there is a by-election. We had Senator Dolan telling us that Fine Gael policies were nothing but rabbits out of hats. We have been told that the Fine Gael policy on education is something that was produced overnight just because there was a by-election. Nothing could be more conclusive proof that those who are talking have not read the policy they are talking about. It may be that the Fine Gael policy on education is open to criticism. It may be that it is open to amendment. It may be that it does not give the correct answer to the many pressing problems of education but no man can read it and really believe that it was produced overnight or within the 14 days in which the by-election was fought. The Fine Gael policy on education took six months, and six months of very hard work, to draw up and the Fine Gael policies which have been produced in this matter, and in particular, this particular rabbit that Senator Dolan was talking about, can compare with the policies produced by the Fianna Fáil Party with the full resources of Government behind them. The Fine Gael policy on education goes into more detail, deals with more aspects of education than does the much heralded statement of the Minister for Education which he made when introducing his Estimate.
Professor Dooge: The position is that in regard to education as in regard to other matters, the Fine Gael Party have been in Opposition with all the limitations and have produced policy statements that can stand comparison with what Fianna Fáil are able to produce in Government and this is a tough thing for it to do.
If we really took the right comparison, we would compare what Fine  Gael are now doing in Opposition with what Fianna Fáil did in Opposition. Let us contrast the policies that Fine Gael can produce with what Fianna Fáil produced when they were in Opposition. All they could produce in Opposition was an announcement made in Clery's Ballroom that they had a policy for 100,000 new jobs, and how well was this costed? How well were the taxes which were going to support this designated? How thorough was this? How much of a white rabbit was this particular announcement? There was some costing; a little bit of simple multiplication that 100,000 new jobs could be produced on a capital expenditure of £100 million. This is what Fianna Fáil could produce in Opposition and they think that Fine Gael are doing no more.
The fact is that they do not read the Fine Gael policy statements before they decry them. We recently had on television a Minister who made a statement that something was not in the Fine Gael policy statement on the Just Society. When it was pointed out to him that he appeared to be quoting from the summary rather than the full document, he made a remark to the effect that, having read the summary, he did not feel like reading the full document. If Ministers and other members of the Fianna Fáil Party wish to contradict, if they wish to argue about our policy, for goodness' sake let them read it. Fine Gael will not be intimidated in this matter. They will not stop the work they have started because of any such sneers or jibes. Fine Gael will continue to produce policy statements and will continue to study the various aspects of Government and produce policy statements based on their considerations. Fine Gael in this matter have got faith in the rising generation of this country who wish for something more than political beliefs based on emotions. We believe in putting forward alternative policies before those who are prepared to read the contrasting policies and make up their minds. It is on this that we are pinning our hopes, perhaps foolishly, but this is what we intend to do.
If we look back on this debate what  do we find? Following the Minister's formal introduction of the debate, the debate was opened by Senator FitzGerald. In his speech he talked of the economic position of this country. He talked of our relations with the EEC and he raised a number of minor points, notably the role of the Civil Service and of senior civil servants in these times of economic development. His speech was replied to on behalf of Fianna Fáil by Senator Dolan supported by interruptions by the Minister. What were the answers to what Senator FitzGerald put forward? Senator FitzGerald stated, and I think this is an uncontested fact, that during 1965 economic growth in this country was about 2½ per cent. He put forward a reasonable estimate that in the year 1966 economic growth in this country would not be much above one half per cent. Senator Dolan's reply was that this story of gloom, as he called it, was easily disproved because the yardstick was the result of the by-elections and as a result of the vote in South Kerry and Waterford Senator Dolan was able to get up here in the House and announce that emigration had now fallen to 12,000 per year despite the fact that all the figures available indicate that emigration is now running at about 30,000 per year. All this on a majority of 700 votes in each constituency. If the Fianna Fáil majority had been 2,000 what could Senator Dolan not have done? By the use of this yardstick, he might, indeed, have been able to reduce emigration to 5,000.
Professor Dooge: The position is that in these by-elections a Fianna Fáil majority of 2,000 in each case was whittled down to 700 but it allows Senator Dolan to contradict the statistics brought forward by Senator FitzGerald. I wish he would be just a  little more quantitative. I wish he would just tell us what sort of a majority it takes to increase the growth rate of the country to one per cent. If we only knew this we could then go out and fight by-elections and know that in this way we might be able to get back towards the target of a four per cent growth rate.
The position is, of course, that Senator FitzGerald was not discussing in this debate the political results of the by-elections. He was discussing the state of the economy. He was discussing the extent to which the Government had realised during the past year the targets which they themselves had put forward in the Second Programme for Economic Expansion, the same targets as every country, democratic or non-democratic, puts before itself in these modern times, the targets of economic growth, of reasonably full employment, of stable prices and a fair measure of balance of payments. These are the targets we face this year, and every year, in this country and it is no answer to the criticism—indeed not criticism but a mere factual recitation of the fact that we are not attaining them—to produce by-election figures.
Anyway what were these by-election results which have caused cock crows to rise from the Fianna Fáil benches throughout the debate on the Appropriation Bill? The position is that in two constituencies in which Fianna Fáil had majorities of 2,000 at the last general election and at the Presidential election, Fianna Fáil now have majorities of 700. Fianna Fáil, in these recent by-elections, did worse than in the last general election when they failed to secure an overall majority in the country. All that Senator Dolan may say about the plain people of Ireland not being deceived by Senator FitzGerald and other Fine Gael speakers will not wipe out those facts or the fact that even the plain people of Cavan, as Senator Dolan knows, did not give Fianna Fáil an overall majority in 1965. The position is that last June the Fianna Fáil Presidential candidate had a majority of 10,000  over the whole country—4,000 I would say in Kerry and Waterford and that has been whittled down to 1,400.
Professor Dooge: Many times in this debate a nice atmosphere existed which, perhaps, is appropriate to Christmas time. There has been a remembrance of things past that has been almost Dickensian. We had this looking back which happens all over the city of Dublin during this week when friends gather and talk to one another about Christmas times. We had it, too, here in the House—this remembrance of things past, so much so that one would almost expect, at the conclusion of the debate, that the Cathaoirleach might lead us in the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” except, perhaps, that the lyric would have to be a bit altered to go something like this:
Professor Dooge: Many pleasant pictures were painted in the course of the debate and I should like to place on record how much I enjoyed the thesis put forward by Senator Dr. Ryan that the NFA of 1966 were none other than the very same persons who comprised the United Irish League in 1918. I had an immediate mental picture of those people who were tremendously active in the United Irish League at that period acting as pacemakers on the march to Dublin. It may be, of course, that the thesis which he put forward was genealogical rather than personal, and perhaps we should interpret it in this way.
Professor Dooge: The second point which Senator FitzGerald discussed, and which came into the debate from time to time, was the question of our relations with the EEC. He mentioned in this regard—it was, perhaps, a commentary, perhaps not—that the copies of the Treaty of Rome were not available in the Sales Office maintained by the Stationery Office, whereupon the Minister indicated that he thought by now everybody knew the Treaty of Rome backwards. Well, it became quite evident in the course of the debate that whatever about knowing the Treaty of Rome backwards, several of the Fianna Fáil Senators certainly knew the Fine Gael attitude to EEC backwards, because that is exactly how they expressed it. Senator Dolan said that Fine Gael wanted to go into the EEC without Britain, and Fine Gael, of course, have never advocated any such policy. What Fine Gael have advocated is that it would be prudent that early discussions should take place between Ireland and officials in Brussels and that we should not necessarily wait until discussions and negotiations with Britain had concluded before we started our own discussion. That is the Fine Gael attitude which has been clearly expressed on many occasions.
In the course of his speech, Senator Dolan said that, of course, on all matters the Fianna Fáil policy was clearly known but the Fianna Fáil policy on this matter has not been clearly known until very recently and I am not so sure that it is quite precisely known even at the moment. There was no indication from Fianna Fáil, until a few days ago, that there was any merit in the Fine Gael proposal that discussions should take place in Brussels, not necessarily full negotiations but discussions of some type, before the British really came to grips with the Commission in their full negotiations.
The members of the Fianna Fáil Party and others, who read the Irish Press, were able to read in Monday's Irish Press that the Government had decided to follow up the Brussels visit, irrespective of the recent British initiative.  This was an indication that Fianna Fáil were now following the Fine Gael attitude but apparently some people who had misunderstood the Fine Gael approach were similarly misunderstanding the statement of the Taoiseach and it was necessary for the Taoiseach to state that there had been loose interpretation of what he had said and that the position would become clearer after Mr. Wilson and Mr. Brown had paid their mid-February visits to the various European capitals. I must say that it is still not tremendously clear precisely what is the Fianna Fáil attitude. They apparently now believe in some discussions prior to British negotiations but it would appear they do not believe in having any discussions until Mr. Wilson and Mr. Brown have been round the European capitals and until the Taoiseach has again discussed the matter with Mr. Wilson.
There were many other points which came up in this debate—many points made from this side of the House which I should like to underline and many points from the far side I should like to rebut. There was just one other point I should like to talk about. That is the one raised by Senator FitzGerald in regard to the role of the Civil Service in relation to policy and the announcement of policy. It must immediately be said that senior civil servants and secretaries of Departments are in a real dilemma in this matter because it is necessary, if we are to progress, that Civil Service Departments should shake off many of their traditional attitudes and procedures. We are thankful to Deputy Lemass for the phrase he used many years ago of Civil Service Departments becoming development corporations. Now there is a real difficulty here for the senior officials of these Departments to convert their traditional Civil Service Departments into development corporations without stepping beyond the bounds of prudence in regard to open public discussion by them of what is result of political decisions. There have been instances recently where these essentially political policy made as a  bounds of prudence have been overstepped. It is, I think, understandable in the circumstances but, nevertheless, it is regrettable and, while we from this side of the House do say it is regrettable, we do understand how such a matter can arise and, indeed, we would be prepared to accept this as perhaps, an initial cost of trying to transform the individual Government Departments. If initial moves in this direction do show some lack of prudence, at least they also show some movement.
We have had during the past year a lack of real planning, a lack of integrated planning, a lack of involvement of subsidiary bodies in planning, that has hampered our economic progress. However, I hope the House will have an opportunity to discuss this matter in further detail when the Government have revised the Second Programme for Economic Expansion. In this respect I should like to ask the Minister the specific question, when he hopes to be able to publish this revised programme.
It is difficult for those of us who are attempting to follow the progress of the Second Programme—indeed, it is difficult for us in Fine Gael who are trying to formulate alternative policies—to be working against the background of a document which is now so badly out of date. It is no harm to point out here in the House many of the divergencies between the Second Programme as carried out and the Second Programme as planned. We pointed out the dangers when the Programme was discussed in this House.
I indicated here in March, 1964, when discussing the Second Programme that I considered the employment targets too optimistic, and that the assumptions in regard to capital inflow were also too optimistic. Above all, the criticism which I made at that time was that there seemed to be too little provision for adjusting the Programme to the deviations that might arise. I argued this at some length on the Central Fund Bill of that year. It would appear from what we have seen, and it appears from a reading of the Progress Reports which  have issued, that the reaction to the deviations of the Programme has been sluggish. There was no built-in control mechanism which would automatically bring the Programme back on target in the event of unforeseen developments occurring. I hope to discuss this matter in greater detail in the future, but it is something which I think should be mentioned in a review of the past year.
There has been a lack of adaptation in many respects. Above all, there has been a lack of structural reform in the public service and also, of course, in the private sector. The Government have shown in the past year an exaggerated idea of their own importance and their own powers. They are deluding themselves into thinking that because the results of the Kerry and Waterford by-elections have given them a majority in the House, that is a clear indication of majority approval for them all over the country for what they have done during the past year.
Minister for Finance (Mr. Haughey): I feel a little guilty at taking up the time of the House at this late hour. For that reason, I may not deal as fully with the debate as I would have done if we were concluding at a more reasonable time.
Let me deal first of all with the complaint which some Senators have made about the lateness of the time at which this Appropriation Bill has come before the House. It has been suggested that it is so late, in fact, that it rules out any realistic consideration of Government expenditure this year. I want to remind the Seanad that this comes about because, in an endeavour to facilitate a fuller discussion of our financial business, we made considerable changes in the statutory arrangements governing financing. Because of the passing of the Central Fund (Permanent Provisions) Act, 1965, we no longer need a Vote on Account and an annual Central Fund Bill.
This permanent Act now provides that up to four-fifths of the amount appropriated for a particular service in the previous year's Appropriation Act is available in the coming year.  Of course, the amount which may be issued under this provision is adjusted as each Estimate is passed by the Dáil. I want to remind the House that these provisions were introduced to take the pressure off this debate and to enable a fuller discussion in the Dáil, certainly, of the various Estimates and indeed of the Finance Bill itself.
When Senators criticise the fact that this Appropriation Bill has come here in the month of December only, it must be remembered that my predecessor when introducing the permanent Act did indicate that the four-fifths was intended to carry us through until about December. So it was certainly visualised that the Appropriation Bill might not be passed before the month of December.
Senator McQuillan made the point that, in his opinion, the Seanad is now really only doing the work of the Public Accounts Committee, without the ability to call the Accounting Officers before it to answer questions. Of course that is not a valid comparison. The Seanad still has all its ability and capacity to discuss policy in detail. The Public Accounts Committee is concerned exclusively with administration. Senators, I suppose, will always feel a little aggrieved over the financial business, but I do not think there is any way out. After all, the Dáil is the House which has the ultimate and real control over the financial business and public expenditure. In this regard we are in the hands of the Dáil. Until the Dáil gives us the Estimates, we cannot get the Appropriation Bill.
We may not get the Appropriation Bill to the Seanad for a variety of reasons. There were two principal reasons this year. One was the extra Budget, and the other was that there was a change of Government which involved lengthy discussions in the Dáil. For those two principal reasons, and others, the debate on the Estimates in the Dáil this year were very protracted and resulted in our getting the Appropriation Bill to the Seanad at this time only. I will certainly undertake to endeavour to bring the  Appropriation Bill here as early as possible. I should like to give Senators the opportunity of discussing it in less straitened circumstances than this year. I cannot do any more than promise to use my best endeavours in that regard.
This debate ranged over a very wide field. Fine Gael and Labour speakers seem to me to have covered themselves in a variety of contradictions in dealing with it. I want to say at the outset that I will ignore what I consider to be Senator O'Quigley's scandalous contribution to the debate. Senator O'Quigley has the temerity to talk about morality and upbraid myself and other Ministers for not treating this House with due deference, while at the same time he attempts to use the Seanad as a platform for what I can only regard as a scandalous purpose.
Senator FitzGerald works hard at conveying our impression of omniscience. His diagnosis is always the correct one, his prescription always the right one. Everybody else is either ignorant or incompetent. I find this rather trying. Indeed, when I went to look at his contribution carefully, I came across some obvious contradictions. On the one hand, the Government were accused of being too deflationary in their approach and on the other hand, accused of excessive expenditure. He indicated that it was not strictly necessary to have exact balancing of the Budget while at the same time he demanded that the Government should borrow less, without apparently adverting to the fact that, if we have a Budget deficit, we must borrow to meet it.
Mr. Haughey: These are some of the discrepancies that appeared in his contribution. He asked some specific questions which I should like to deal with. The first was when he asked about the NIEC Report No. 11 in which the Council dealt with the question of an incomes policy in the context of their review of the situation in  1965. The position is that this report raised many issues which called for either action or further examination by the Government and these matters have all been the subject, for some time, of examination and consideration by the Departments concerned. As a result of that examination and consideration, it has been decided to bring the whole report on the incomes policy back to the Council for further discussion in the light of Departmental comments, and a memorandum incorporating Departmental comments has been circulated to the general purposes committee of the Council.
Senator FitzGerald was also concerned to know about the demographic forecast. The position is that this is in fact done for the Development Division of my Department and the NIEC by the Central Statistics Office. In regard to the revision of the targets in the Second Programme, I can only suggest that he wait until we publish the results of our examination and review. As to Senator Dooge's question on the same matter, I cannot give any specific reply except to say there will not be any unnecessary delay.
Mr. Haughey: I would hope so. In any economy, of course, the balance of payments position is a crucial factor. This is particularly important in our economy where such a high proportion of our national product is related to external trade. About 60 per cent is our figure compared with 35 per cent in the United Kingdom and an average of less than 40 per cent for the EEC countries. In view of this, it is only natural that attention during the past year or so should be specifically focussed on the balance of payments position and the problems which arose as a result of developments in that sector. The sequence of events which took place in 1965 and formed trends for 1966 are fairly well known and can be summarised briefly.
The first development to which I shall advert is the serious deterioration  in our balance of payments position in the first half of 1965. It will be remembered that exports fell substantially below the level of the year before, while imports were continuing to rise, and all the indications were that unless some corrective action were taken, we would end the year with a deficit of £50 million. That, in 1965, compared with a deficit of £30 million odd in 1964 and £22 million in 1963. This serious situation was particularly underlined by the fact that between December, 1964, and July, 1965, there was a fall in our external reserves of £39 million.
The Government, during a period of some months, took a series of measures to bring this situation under control. The measures we took were reinforced by the credit policy of the Central Bank. In the second half of 1965, as those measures began to take effect, the balance of payments and the reserves position improved. However, for the year as a whole we finished with a deficit of £42 million and our external reserves fell by £18 million. This was a considerable improvement on what looked like happening about July of 1965, but it was still a very serious situation with which to finish a year. It meant it was necessary to continue to watch the balance of payments situation during 1966 and to ensure there would be no premature relaxation of control which would operate to disimprove the situation again and allow it to deteriorate.
In fact, as it turned out, the trend of our external payments in 1966 was satisfactory. In the first ten months, merchandise exports rose by 7½ per cent while our merchandise imports fell by £5½ million, or two per cent— a net improvement in our trading position of £19½ million in regard to import excess. When you add to that an improvement in the net receipts from invisible items, it further reduces the balance of payments deficit in 1966 to something below £20 million. I cannot see the validity of the Opposition's criticism of that picture. This shows that the Government handled the situation with delicacy and skill, that in fact  they applied just the right degree of corrective measures and that they were successful in a classic way. The copybook way of solving a balance of payments situation is to increase exports and if possible, decrease imports.
Mr. Haughey: I did not interrupt Senator FitzGerald. When I mentioned this figure of £20 million as a deficit on our balance of payments situation, I should have said it looks like the deficit we will have for the calendar year. It corresponds with £42 million in 1965, £31 million in 1964 and £22 million in 1963. While the contribution which our reduced imports—£5½ million or two per cent—was very useful in bettering our external trading position, undoubtedly the most encouraging feature in the situation was the increase in exports, when one thinks that during 1966 we had to face a situation in which cattle prices fell pretty disastrously in our main market, in which our very lucrative market in the EEC countries was virtually closed to us, in which we still had the levy in the United Kingdom, again our principal market, on industrial products and in which there was a slump in the UK economy to contend with. When you take all those factors into account, a rise of 7½ per cent in our exports is a very remarkable achievement indeed.
There has been some discussion about capital inflow and our external reserves. Here I must confess that I am a little puzzled about what Senator Dooge said at the conclusion of his remarks because the Second Programme, if I remember the figures offhand, envisaged a capital inflow of only £16 million. In fact, even in the worst year so far, we have not fallen far short of that.
Mr. Haughey: As Senators know, in the year 1965 the capital inflow was about £25 million which is considerably in excess of the £16 million which the Second Programme envisaged. I am not arguing the statistics of this. I am just saying that I was a little puzzled when Senator Dooge suggested we were not, in fact, throughout the Programme, reaching the capital inflow that had been envisaged. In this regard I mentioned that 1964 was exceptionally high when we got in about £36 million. Of course, since then the situation has been adversely affected by developments abroad, particularly in the two great capital exporting countries—the United Kingdom and the US. Those countries, for their own reasons, have imposed restrictions of one sort or another. That has had the effect of reducing the capital inflow into this country.
This, as I said, was bound to have a very positive effect on our situation. The voluntary capital inflow during 1966 has, of course, been supplemented by direct Government borrowing abroad which amounted to £22 million. Of that we got £8 million from the International Monetary Fund. Here again the Fine Gael criticism does not seem to me to be valid or acceptable. We were able to maintain Government expenditure at the level we thought was necessary and desirable because we did this. I do not think it is logical for Fine Gael, on the one hand, to criticise the Government for going abroad to borrow capital so that we could keep our capital expenditure at the level we wished, and at the same time, to criticise the Government for  not having a sufficiently large capital expenditure programme. All the criticism from the Opposition in the Dáil, certainly, and to a very considerable extent, in the Seanad, has been that the Government have cut back on their capital expenditure and that they have not been making capital available for all the things some of them desire. At the same time, they criticise the Government for attempting to keep the capital expenditure up to the level of their targets by borrowing abroad.
Mr. Haughey: Maybe Senator FitzGerald is not guilty but we cannot so readily absolve all the members of his Party. I gathered from Senator FitzGerald's remarks that he was criticising us for not reflating as quickly as he would like. If we had not, by means of this borrowing at home and abroad, kept our capital programme up to the level we considered desirable we would not be able to reflate anything like as quickly as we hope to be able to. In fact, not alone have we kept up our capital programme to the targets we had decided on, but during the year we actually added £1,500,000 expenditure to the housing sector.
With regard to the situation of our reserves at present, it is difficult to make an assessment because of the aftermath of the bank strike and so on. However, there are indications that a very substantial recovery did take place in our reserves in 1966. In November, the net external reserves of the Central Bank amounted to £240 million, which represented an increase of £16,500,000 on those at the same time a year ago. Now to come to the Exchequer position. From the point of view of Government financing, there has been a significant improvement in 1966 as compared with 1965. In 1965, the three main influences which affected the economy were the growth in Government current expenditure and capital expenditure, the growth in incomes and increases in credit. Difficulties arose in financing the  Exchequer requirements in both the Current and Capital account. Because we were left with a deficit of £8 million on current account during 1965, the Government found it necessary to take very positive measures to cut back the upsurge taking place in capital expenditure which was rapidly outrunning the normal resources available. As it happens, to finance the public capital programme and the current deficit in 1965, we had to have recourse to the banks for £31,500,000 and to external borrowing for an extra £15 million. However, in the current financial year we hope to do a great deal better than that.
The Budget which was introduced in March was very carefully drawn up and was designed to achieve a balance between current revenue and current expenditure. When it became clear in June that is was necessary to increase farm incomes and also because of developments in the pay factors, we introduced a second Budget. People seem to forget at this stage that the Government, in a positive way, went about increasing farm incomes by £5½ million a year last June. When we introduced a second Budget, it shows more than anything else we were, as a Government, resolutely prepared to face up to the necessity of keeping the public finances in good order. We did not hesitate, when it became necessary to do, to go to the people with a second Budget and to ask them for additional revenue in the form of taxation. As a result of this determination and as a result of this resolute action I think we will finish up this year in balance. It is impossible to say, at this stage, with any degree of certainty, but there is every hope that we will be able to do so. On the capital side, of course, the outstanding success of the National Loan ensures that we will have no difficulty in fulfilling our capital requirements during this financial year either.
I mentioned two other factors which affected the economy in 1965, in addition to the growth in Government expenditure. They were an increase in incomes and an increase in credit. Controls which we initiated in 1965  on Bank credit have been effective and have been useful in controlling the situation from that point of view while at the same time they allowed for increased credit facilities when necessary. Senator Garret FitzGerald in an argument, which I could not quite fully understand, seemed to suggest that there should be an exact relationship between increasing Bank credit and increasing Gross National Product. He seemed to criticise the levels in 1963 and 1964 on that basis. I cannot see why there should be any necessary correlation between GNP and Bank credit.
Take the situation at the present moment. We are proposing to increase Bank credit by about 11 per cent. We cannot possibly speculate on what corresponding increase that increase in credit will bring about in GNP but certainly we would expect that some increase in GNP would follow. There is no reason, I think, why there should be any exact correlation between these two.
The third factor affecting us in 1965 was of course a rise in incomes. While it was more moderate than in 1964, it was still large by reference to the trend in national production. This question of income growth is a development which we must always keep under review. It is vital to us from many points of view, particularly from our competitiveness abroad. That is something we must have particular regard to because, as Senators know, the British Government have taken very severe steps to limit any form of income growth and, in that situation, there is a possibility that, if we had any excess growth in incomes here, we would do our competitiveness in our main exporting market, that is Britain, very serious damage indeed.
Mr. Haughey: Promised, projected, or whatever word you want. We said that provided a moderate increase in  incomes and comparative industrial peace could be expected, then we could expect an increase in GNP. As these conditions were not realised, we did not, and will not, reach the 3¾ per cent projection in growth.
The considerable improvement in the balance of payments position which we have been able to achieve has of course only been achieved at the expense of a temporary reduction in our growth rate. It is one of the facts of life that action to correct adverse balance of payments trends nearly always results in some reduction in growth rate. It is difficult at this stage to estimate what the growth rate for 1966 will be. There is no doubt that industrial production in the first half of 1966 showed very little change in relation to the corresponding period in 1965. Output in manufacturing industry fell by a half per cent but there was a corresponding increase in output of transportable goods industries. In addition to our own slowing down of business activity, there were unfavourable conditions in our external environment and this also had an effect in slowing down production for export markets. The relatively sad history of industrial disputes which we had took its inevitable toll. We have no figures yet for the third quarter of 1966 but a number of indications point to considerable activity during the quarter. The retail trade in the sales index showed a rise of five per cent in value terms over the third quarter of 1965. If we are to take account of price changes, the rise in volume terms was about one and a half per cent compared with a fall of four per cent in the second quarter.
In the two months August and September there was an increase in volume terms of five per cent. There are various trade figures which show that industrial output in the third quarter will show a big improvement on the first half. A recent survey by the Economic Research Institute indicates that businessmen visualised a moderate rise in industrial production in that quarter. The figures which have just come to hand indicate that the economy is beginning to move forward  again. Exports and imports are up by about £5 million each and this clearly indicates a considerable revival in economic activity.
As Senators know, however, the main impetus to economic growth has been in the industrial sector in recent times. The sluggishness in 1966 combined with the static position in agricultural output suggests that the overall increase in the volume of national production will be very small.
Senator FitzGerald, as I mentioned earlier, suggested that we have not done enough, or anything, to reflate the economy. I suggest we have. We have been moving prudently in this regard. As I mentioned already, we increased the public capital expenditure programme by £1¼ million to the housing sector during the year. We took off the hire purchase restrictions. Bank credit increased by November by £37 million in actual terms and the Central Bank has now indicated to the commercial banks that an increase in credit to the amount of £10 million would be in order.
An improvement in our external accounts has made it possible to carefully initiate relaxations on credit measures that had to be taken in 1965. The import levy on certain finished import goods was removed at the end of September this year.
I could go on at some greater length on the general economic situation but I do not want to delay the House unduly. We hope fairly soon to complete our examination of the capital programme for next year and to publish it early in the New Year so that everybody concerned—Government Departments, State bodies and local authorities—will know what the programme is and what their allocations are, and they can make their plans on that basis. In 1967, therefore, having surveyed the whole scene, I think we can look forward, now that the deficit in our external account has been reduced to manageable proportions, to a resumption in the economy of the fairly steady pattern of growth of the years before 1965 and  before we ran into the difficulties of that year.
Our external situation is still not too favourable. The economy of the United Kingdom, our main market, is unlikely to experience more than a marginal rate of growth during the coming year, if indeed there is any growth at all. In that situation, it will be necessary for our manufacturers and others to make particularly vigorous efforts to expand our exports. In particular, special attention will be necessary on the part of both management and employees to keep our goods competitive, both in price and quality. It is not necessary for me, I think, to emphasise that it is on greater exports that we must continue to rely to keep our house in order and to achieve the rate of expansion and development which we require.
To achieve a balanced Budget this year, the Government had to call on the people to bear a fairly heavy burden of taxation. As I have said already, this in itself does not guarantee that we shall not have a deficit. I think the indications are that, if we continue to watch expenditure carefully, we should finish up, at the end of the year, with expenditure and revenue in line. This does not mean that we can afford to relax in the coming year, because all the public services are continuing to cost more. There are many demands for new services, all very desirable. We have undertaken a considerable new additional expenditure burden in regard to education and all of this means that we shall have to continue to keep a very tight rein on expenditure on current account during the coming year.
There has been a fair amount of facile talk about buoyancy of revenue. We can have buoyancy of revenue only if we have an expanding economy. It would be foolish to embark on any new expenditures on the basis that they would be met exclusively by buoyancy of revenue. We hope there will be more buoyancy of revenue as the economy gets moving forward again but this does not mean that we can count on it unduly to solve any  major problems during the coming year.
I had hoped to say a word to the Seanad tonight about a very complex and difficult problem with which we shall be faced and about which we shall have to take a decision very soon: I refer to the question of the decimalisation of our currency. Unfortunately, time does not permit me to deal with this problem at any length now but it is a matter about which we must all think very seriously. The decision of the British Government, as announced last Monday, to go ahead with the change-over and to adopt a £, new penny and new halfpenny system is one that poses very real problems for us. It is a matter to which Senators might perhaps turn their minds during the Christmas Recess. The sooner we get public discussion initiated on it and come to firm conclusions, the better.
There is no need to attempt to disguise the fact that the British decision to adopt the £ basis is not the ideal one from our point of view. I think that, strictly on merits, there would be fairly wide general agreement that a 10/-, cent and half-cent system would be preferable. We have got to have regard to the close proximity of the United Kingdom and the considerable degree of integration that exists between our two financial systems. Undoubtedly, for us to attempt to adopt a 10/- system here while the British were adopting a £ system would pose very real and complicated problems. This is something the Government have under active consideration at the moment and about which decisions will have to be taken very soon. If we decide to adopt a 10/- unit, then we shall be faced with the problem of deciding on a name for our new Irish 10/- unit of currency. I have no doubt that the imagination of the Seanad would be particularly suitable to apply itself to that particular problem.
I did hope to deal at some length with the problem of the role of the Civil Service because I think it is a very important one. I deplore a great deal of what has been happening and  what has been said in this regard in recent times. I am quite clear on what the situation is and on what it should be. The Government and the Ministers of the Government make policy. The role of the civil servant is, to the best of his ability, to advise the Government and Ministers in the formulation of policy and then, when policy has been decided on, faithfully to carry it out. I believe that the earnest wish of our Civil Service is to do exactly that.
I deplore the suggestion that civil servants, senior or otherwise, want to make policy. There may be, somewhere in the vast labyrinth of the Civil Service, some such people, but I have never met them and I have experience now of three Departments. I am firmly convinced of the absolute rectitude of our civil servants in this regard. Their only desire at any level, is to furnish their Ministers and the Government with the best advice they can and then, when policy is decided upon, to carry it out faithfully.
We are very lucky to have a dedicated Civil Service who are always prepared to measure up to the very highest and best traditions of public service. As some Senator mentioned, there will sometimes be areas of difficulty. One particular area of difficulty I know about is the situation where a Minister is scheduled to attend a meeting on some particular subject and deliver an address of some sort. He finds, at the last minute, that, for some reason or another, he just cannot fulfil the engagement. He cannot possibly contemplate letting the matter go by default. As often as not, he will try to get a colleague, a fellow Minister or Parliamentary Secretary, to stand in for him but there will be the time when, through nobody's fault, he will have to ask one of his officers to attend the function on his behalf and deliver the address for him. This does involve difficulties because I think it is very difficult indeed for anybody, listening to a man, to dissociate the individual from what is being said. For that reason, I think we would all agree that this sort of thing should happen only in an emergency and  should be kept to a minimum. Subject to that, I think there should be an intelligent realisation by all concerned that when an official is deputed by a Minister to do a job of this sort, he is simply doing his duty as a good official.
Mr. Garret FitzGerald: On a point of explanation, is the Minister suggesting that that is what happened in the case of the press conference which was given by the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture?
Mr. Haughey: I am coming to that. In the case of the Department of Agriculture, I want to accept full responsibility for what happened on that occasion. I decided that it was necessary, for the record, that the situation in regard to the developments in the Department and, particularly, certain documents, should be made public and I asked some members of the press to come to the Department on a particular evening just to produce these documents to them. In fact, there was no intention to have a press conference as such. I found that unavoidably, at the last moment, I just could not keep the appointment and I asked some of the senior officials to do the job for me, to meet the press, show them the documents and explain in a strictly factual fashion what the developments had been. Unfortunately, I was not at the conference. I do not know what transpired. But that is all that was intended and, as I say, if anything went wrong and if pressmen, being pressmen and anxious to do their job as fully and as comprehensively as possible, may have succeeded in asking questions and deflecting the meeting from a strictly factual presentation—if that happened, then it is entirely my responsibility and I have no hesitation whatever in exonerating the officials concerned from any suggestion that they were in any way guilty of a breach of the highest professional conduct as officials.
Mr. Garret FitzGerald: Would the Minister agree, in the light of what actually happened—one accepts his explanation  entirely—that it may be unwise to allow this kind of delegation when the matter concerned is very controversial?
Mr. Haughey: I fully accept that, yes. In fact, as a result of my experience on that particular occasion, as I say, I would be very reluctant to have a repeat of that experience and because, again, as I say, it is very difficult in that public sort of situation for an official to be completely dissociated from what he is saying and doing and whatever documents he may be making available to the newspapers.
Finally, I want to say, a Chathaoirligh, that I shuddered when I heard Senator Dooge—I do not know whether you would call it confessing or not—that Fine Gael are going to shower us with still further policies.
Mr. Haughey: I suggest to them that they are doing themselves no good at all by this sort of carry-on. They would be far better to get their feet back on the ground, to send all these alleged experts that have come into their Party in recent times packing. They tried to get into Fianna Fáil and we would not have them. They tried to get us to adopt all these hobbyhorses. We had far too much commonsense to have them.
Mr. Haughey: Have nothing to do with them. Get your feet back on the ground. Become a really good constructive Opposition and listen to the ordinary men and women in your Party because you have ordinary men and women in your Party still. If you do that you will get somewhere but if you do not and if you keep on producing these gimmicks and documents for every by-election and every political necessity that crops up, you will have nothing but a succession of South Kerry and Waterford for evermore.
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