COMPULSORY TILLAGE.

I beg to move:—

"That in the opinion of this Dáil it is essential that an Order should be made enforcing that a stated minimum of the arable land on each agricultural holding shall be tilled."

I have brought forward this Motion because I think it is necessary that there should be compulsory tillage in Ireland to give much needed employment to landless agricultural labourers. Now there are at least 10,000 and possibly more agricultural workers in Ireland at the present time unemployed and these people will continue unemployed unless something is done by this Dáil to relieve their wants. We think that the best thing to do in the present circumstances, seeing that the land of Ireland is owned by private individuals and that these private individuals are not willing to do what is necessary themselves, we of this Dáil should compel them to do it. We had a precedent in 1917 when the British Government passed the Corn Production Act, one of the terms of which insisted that a certain percentage of the arable land in this country should be tilled. As a result of that quite a number of farmers tilled considerably more than had been in the Schedule. They did that in the interests of the British ruling classes and the capitalist classes who were engaged in the European War and who were trying to bring that war to a conclusion beneficial to the capitalists of Great Britain. We think they ought to be equally willing to till a certain portion of their land to keep a certain portion of landless labourers in Ireland from dying from starvation. In 1920 and 1921, as a result of the going out of operation of the Corn Law 370,000 acres went out of tillage, and as a consequence 10,000 labourers have been disemployed. We heard last week in some of the Debates that unemployment was responsible in a good many cases for irregularism in Ireland. That was put forward by Mr. Figgis and others and they urged that there should be some measures taken to relieve unemployment. We think that ought to be taken into consideration by the Members of this Dáil, and that they should agree to the Motion before the Dáil at the present time. We know very well there will be many farmers in this Dáil and throughout the country who will object to it. All farmers are not tarred with the same brush, but unfortunately they would object to anything coming from Liberty Hall. Some years ago, some members of the Farmers' Union said there were not enough of lamp-posts in Ireland to hang the agitators from Liberty Hall. At the same time other Members of this Dáil, who are not farmers, will, I am sure, consider the Motion without prejudice, even if it did come from Liberty Hall. I beg to bring it before the Dáil, and I trust they will give it the consideration it deserves.

I second the Motion and in doing so I think there is little for me to add to the remarks of my colleague. I wish to point out that as a result of the enforcement of the Act dealing with compulsory tillage in 1917 a great portion of the farmers of Ireland, not alone agreed to till 20 per cent. as scheduled, but as a matter of fact added five or ten per cent. more than they were asked. If they did that for a British and alien Government I think, as they pledged themselves in the recent elections to support the Government established in the country, that now they have a practical opportunity of showing whether they are equal to the occasion or not. I may say also in connection with tillage that there are in Ireland to-day a number of farmers who have gone back again to the old state of 1917. As soon as conditions got somewhat troublesome in the country they forgot their responsibility, and now tillage is much shorter even than it was before the enforcement of the 1917 Act. I would ask the Dáil to take the line advocated by my colleague, rise to the occasion, and pass this Motion so that for the future, at any rate, as much attention as possible is given to this question. It is a matter which deeply affects the lives of many workers. Many of the workers in the past year, and this year also, had to leave the country and go and work in other countries. As a matter of fact during the past few months I have seen many of them, and I believe that the time has come to devise some system to divide up the ranches of Ireland, so that as much as possible could be done in the way of tillage. Of course against that the farmers may point out that they are willing to till as much as they possibly can, provided they were guaranteed a certain price. That is a matter I am sure the farmers will not lose sight of. It is a matter that this organisation, if it acts as an organisation, will not lose sight of. It is a question of acting promptly and effectively and perhaps a way may be found so that we may be able to meet some of the wishes of the farmers, so that by joint action this tillage question could be adequately dealt with in a way that would be for the betterment of the workers and the farmers concerned. I do not wish to prolong the matter, but have great pleasure in seconding the Motion of my colleague, and I hope it will be carried, if not unanimously, at least by a big majority.

Mr. J.J. BURKE:

I hope before any action is taken in this matter that the Dáil will very carefully consider, and also the Government, all the aspects. I take it this is a measure aiming at the relief of unemployment and distress in general throughout the country. Some such measure is undoubtedly highly desirable and necessary at the present moment. But before we undertake a measure of this kind we should be very cautious about hasty action which might land us in the same position as the British found themselves after they adopted measures for the relief of the famine in this country, in the 40s of the last century. These measures granted temporary relief to a small section of the people for a time, but the cost of that relief was the permanent ruin of the great majority of the Irish people. Now we all know that the farming industry, particularly the cattle trade, is the rock on which our economic structure rests — the whole economic structure of the 26 counties which we control at the present time rests. The farming industry is the one sound and staple thing in the present welter of commercial uncertainty and insecurity. The stability of the farming industry does not rest so much on the profits of that industry as upon the fact that the farmers as a class are perhaps willing to put up with a cheaper standard of living than any other section of the community, and it also arises out of the fact that the farmers have the ability when they find their profits decreasing or disappearing to reduce expenses to the minimum. Now to deprive them of that ability to reduce expenses by compelling them to incur expenses in the employment of extra labour, the purchase of machinery, artificial manures and all these other outlays, you will deprive them of this advantage and strike a deadly blow at the financial stability of the key industry of this country. We must face the fact that from the farmers' point of view, at the present time agriculture or the farming industry is not a paying business. In purely agricultural holdings it was a very exceptional thing last year, in holdings where labour was employed at Union wages, it was a very exceptional case, where farmers were able to pay rent and all other current charges and expenses out of the gross profits, and I believe the same would apply to the present year. With regard to grazing farms, I believe it to be no exaggeration to say, taking last year and this year together, that on the average farmers lost about £10 per acre. I know it will be argued that the farmers had a big reserve after the war, and people will say they had several years of profiteering. As a general rule any profits the farmers made in these years were invested in land purchased at a very extravagant price and under such onerous conditions that it will take them years before they can put it on a paying basis. We must also remember that the climatic conditions in this country are anything but favourable to tillage, and it is only under very exceptional circumstances, such as we had when the great war was in operation, that farmers were able to compete with men working land under such ideal conditions as are to be found in the wheat growing regions of the United States and Canada. Then we must also remember that while there was a good deal of fine tillage soil in Ireland, there is also a great deal of land unsuitable to tillage. And it is just as unreasonable to ask a farmer whose land is unsuitable for tillage to till that land as it would be to ask a farmer whose land is unsuitable for grazing to graze that land. On the whole, this proposal to ask men to till land unsuitable for tillage can have no other result except to change what might be a credit balance for his neighbour into a debit balance. And as regards his neighbour, who may have land suitable for tillage, the only effect would be to take away from him the good market that he had got. Of course, I realise the necessity for employment at the present time, and if the Government has any policy favouring agriculture, I think that policy should take the line of supporting that particular department of the farming industry instead of militating against another department. I think it should rather tend towards making agriculture profitable than towards making grazing unprofitable and the only way you can achieve such a result at the present time is by guaranteeing that farmers will be paid for any outlay they make upon tillage. At the present time no man can make an outlay upon his farm with any security that he will be repaid.

I delayed in rising, as I thought someone on the Labour Benches might like to get up at this stage and prove the justice of their claim. Deputy Nagle and Deputy Gaffney referred to war conditions, and the extra tillage under these conditions. We have war conditions in Ireland to-day, but I do not think our war conditions are such that the people in Ireland have not enough to eat, or that they would not eat such food as we produce. Now, extra tillage, to my mind, and to the mind of every sane man, must mean extra cropping. It surely means that, and cannot mean extra fallow. If it means extra cropping, it means that some of the crops that can be produced from extra tillage would be needed in the country and would have a market in the country. What particular crop or particular article of tillage does this country, or the population of this country, demand at the moment? There is not a very wide gamut in tillage. It is confined, perhaps, to half a dozen crops. Labour has made a statement and a claim, but they have not told us what particular crop of tillage would meet their case. Have they made a case either for oats, wheat, barley or potatoes. What does the nation demand? Surely they will not content themselves with making a case for fallow, so as to make a case for labour at the expense of one portion of the community for the benefit of another. This demand for extra tillage means to take away something from certain people in this country (Labour cries, "The grazier") for the benefit of others. No, not the grazier. It means to take away liberty of the individual and to control liberty by this Parliament at the instance of a certain section — whether they come from Liberty Hall or not. During the war, foodstuffs were not coming in from outside, and consequently we had the market to ourselves more or less. If such foods were produced to-day they would not be eaten. Take the crops grown — take oats, for instance. Does anybody say we do not produce enough oats in the country for our own use? If we produced more of it we would have to sell it at a price which would not pay for half the crop. Anyone who knows the prices received last year knows they would not pay, and the people of this country will not eat it as food. If you put oat-porridge—stir-about we used to call it in the old days — before our people, they will not eat it. What about wheat? Does anybody want our flour? Where is it taken in? Take an average of a number of years past and it will be found that our flour has not been the home food. Let anybody who knows anything about it get up and make a case to the contrary, and I will reply to it. I make this bald statement that the produce of Irish wheat is not in demand in this country. They prefer to get foreign flour which is whiter far. Take barley — and here I come to a subject that appeals to more people — it may be said we could produce more barley. So we could, if we had the market. As a matter of fact, we could produce much more barley in Ireland, but you want a certain colour of barley, and if you have not a certain skin, the buyers will not purchase it. They know that in Wexford and in my county, though it might not be known in Liberty Hall. We are not able to export that barley at a price that would compensate us. We have Californian and Chilian barleys and others coming into this country, and they are bought up by the big consumers, and they are put into big stores, and these people will only give the Irish grower whatever price they like. I will pass from barley — though perhaps gentlemen on the other side may have something to say to it. Potatoes are the next item. Well, now, we produce much more potatoes in this country than we need. Does the nation demand more potatoes, and, if so, will they find us a market for them? And if they do not find a market, will they compensate us for them? It is no use telling us that one section of the community must do what they don't want to do, merely for the purpose of finding employment for another section.

It is not to find employment that these gentlemen want at all; they just want tillage, corn crops, and what do they want them for — to make it up to a harvest industry, and make it a key industry, and tell the farmer that he must pay certain wages, and if he does not do so, as has been advocated by some of the gentlemen on the Labour Benches, they put a match to the stuff if he does not pay up.

A Labour Deputy:

That is wrong.

It is not wrong. The views given to you are real views.

On a point of order, is Mr. Gorey giving his own views here or speaking to the Resolution?

I am not giving my own views, but the views of Mr. Nagle and others of his colleagues. Everybody knows the country is getting worse for agriculturists. Every agriculturist worth his salt in the country knows that. Then why this demand for additional tillage? Farming must be founded on the wisdom of generations and centuries, and not on the contention of men who know nothing about it or do not care anything about it, but use it as a leverage to start a way to higher wages. Now this body want to get a lever whereby they will put another section of the community up against the wall, and take away their liberty, and force them to do what they are not prepared to do, and then to force them by applying a match to their stock if necessary. There are men here from Wexford, from Waterford, from Cork, and Kildare, and several other counties, who have seen the fires of last fall blazing; some of the Ministers in office last fall will remember the reports that were sent in from practically every direction appealing for protection for our grain haggarts, our cattle and our produce, and restore some semblance of order in some of these counties. What are the facts of unemployment throughout the different counties? I have heard 10,000 claimed by Deputy Nagle. I could show the Deputy where there is no unemployment whatever; it is in a county, and a big county, though not as big as Cork. Fortunately for the labour community down there, and the farming community, we have no active Transport Union at all, with the result that they have no unemployment — none whatever.

And the labourers have no wages.

Deputy Corish knows the condition of things in Wexford. And he knows there is unemployment there, he knows that the Transport Union is very highly organised there, and they have fires down there occasionally and he knows very well that where there are insecurity, unrest and outrages there must be unemployment. If he were honest enough he would tell you that, but he would be a damn fool if he did so. In Kildare, Waterford, Cork and other counties where the Transport Union is strong, it has always left its mark in unemployment. In all the other counties where the Transport Union is unknown, on the other hand, we have no unemployment. Now, I hear people keen on the subject of relieving unemployment. I know it is intensely felt on the Labour Benches, that that ought to be remedied, but there is a higher ideal in the mind of Labour than employment — that is very high wages, and much higher wages, and when the two ideals clash unemployment will have to go down to the ideal of higher wages. Unemployment has not mattered to Labour where high wages were confirmed. They made no effort to help unemployment where it interfered with the high standard of wages, wages which industries and business cannot afford. They have closed up institutions up and down the country. They have industries stopped following this high ideal of the higher wage, an ideal which the business cannot afford. I see the Chairman has his eye on me just now, and he is looking at the clock.

I was just wondering whether the Deputy was not straying a little from the subject.

We have had fires, machinery-breaking, cattle-driving, and, of course, that is not serious at all. We are used to it. We have had fires in Wexford and the other neighbouring counties.

On a point of order, are we discussing the robberies and burnings, or are we dealing with the motion put down by Deputy Nagle?

We are dealing with Deputy Nagle's Motion, but there is a question of unemployment owing to lack of tillage involved in it. I think the Deputy should confine him self to that.

I would not be surprised if some of them wanted to legalise the seizure of creameries, the seizure of farmers' milk, night raids and shootings, I would not be surprised if they put that on the Table in a Motion, because these things occurred in their particular areas. If the farming community are at any time forced to adopt measures against its will, naturally this State will have to step out and subsidise them for doing a thing that they did not intend to do, or know they could not do as a paying proposition. Gentlemen may talk very glibly about millions, and subsidising the Postal Branch of the Civil Service to the extent of 1½ millions, and subsidising this Compulsory Tillage Scheme to the extent of two or three millions. We are beginning to talk in millions now, where we would talk in pounds years ago. Where is all this coming to an end? Where is all this going to lead to? Do you think you are on the right road to relieve unemployment by measures of this description? As one member of the community, speaking for a considerable section of the community, I know that you are not. I can quite understand unemployment is another paying concern at Liberty Hall, and anything that does not pay there will not, I think, have very much life there. But while the farming community is strong enough, and loyal enough, and willing enough to fight for its rights, either in this Dáil or outside of it, those things will not be. I say here, and I take full responsibility for the utterance, these things that have been suggested will not be. I was very pleased to hear the few points of Deputy Johnson the other evening, when he said that any individual, or any section of individuals, or any body of individuals, have a perfect right to rebel — have a perfect right to paralyse the services, even though these services be State services. When his Motion of to-morrow takes effect, if it ever does take effect, we will still have that right. It will be only the State, in different terms, but it will still be the State, and any section of the community, or any individual of the community, will have the right to stand up and paralyse it. I do not know that I believe him, but I know I was very pleased to hear him say so. Now one thing our people will stand up against is to take away their liberty — their liberty of choice and their freedom. We farmers, and the sons of farmers who are bred to the business, know enough about our own business. We think we are the best judges of our own business. If we are not, all our lives have been a failure, and all our experiences, during our lives, have been in vain. You are asked in this Dáil to take away our liberty and to force us to do a thing that our common sense tells us is wrong. And this is going to be called a free country, I suppose, where the people have a free choice. There is no free choice in this suggestion; not a word about it. It is coercion and slavery, and nothing else, and this suggestion is made by men some of whom never soiled their hands. They never had as much clay on their hands as I had. Some of them, such as Deputy Gaffney, took very good care to quit the country——

I did not quit the country. I stood by the country and fought for the country when others fought for the enemy.

I would like you to amplify that remark.

We must have order. It would be better if Deputies did not refer to other Deputies in that manner. There must be order.

I cannot call Deputy Gaffney a liar, can I, Mr. Chairman?

Certainly not.

If Deputies would speak to the Motion it would be much better.

I will not call him a liar, then.

You could not.

Yes, I could. I ask this Dáil not to accede to the proposition. I ask them to vote against it. I ask them to vote against it for several reasons: first, because it is distinctly against our ideals of liberty; secondly, because it is not a paying proposition; thirdly, because it is ridiculous; and fourthly, because there are other ways out. The Minister for Defence here the other evening gave an outline of another road upon which to travel to relieve unemployment. I put this particular road before Deputy Johnson and Deputy O'Brien and some more of their friends, about six months ago, and before some of the. Ministers of that time, and it did not seem to find much favour with them. I knew then, as I know now, that unemployment would be relieved, and instantly relieved, if we had the money. It could be relieved by employment on the roads, on drainage, on reclamation, and on reafforestation. These are legal roads to travel on, sure roads to travel on. You encroach on nobody's liberty. They ought to be State measures; they must be State measures, if they are ever going to operate, and they are measures that will give more relief than the measures that have been suggested. We know all our main systems of drainage are fairly good, that the main rivers and sub-rivers are all right. There are thousands of acres up and down Ireland, thousands of acres in my own county, that would greatly benefit, vastly benefit, and their value would be increased 100 and 200 per cent. if drainage took place on them. We have in roads another opportunity for labour. Then we have reclamation. We know the amount of wild land in the country. Some of us have never seen wild land, but there are thousands of acres of wild, unreclaimed land — land reclaimed in the forties and fifties, in the times of the famine, that have since gone wild. There are any amount of fields for improvement in that direction. You would be doing good work, remunerative work, provided they gave us anything like a fair return for the wages that would be paid them. But from what I see in different parts of the country, and even in the City of Dublin, it is nothing but "go slow and take it easy," one holding up a crowbar, while another hits it with a hammer; one stroke every ten minutes. Why, you would want a microscope to watch their movements. I watched them for five and ten minutes and I couldn't see a move. They are all the time turning round to see if the boss is coming. If we are going to have salvation in this country, we must put our shoulders to the wheel and work. There is no use in talking about work, when all the time you have "ca' canny and go slow." If labour changed their attitude and their custom, and got over this "go slow" business — if they can do that, they will have got on the right road. They will have inspired confidence, and I know they will not appeal to this Dáil or to the people in vain, if they show they are in earnest and mean work.

I think every member in this Dáil will agree it is a pleasure — a very real pleasure — in these times to listen to a speech from Deputy Gorey that would cause all the laughter that has been caused here to-day. I think as Deputy Gorey went on, going away as he did from the resolution to things far from its terms, one would imagine that we were at a Committee meeting of a Coursing Club rather than in a Parliament of the Nation. Now Deputy Gorey has caused rather a storm in a teacup about nothing at all. This resolution merely asks you to state that in the opinion of this Dáil it is essential that an Order should be made enforcing a stated minimum. The minimum is not laid down in the resolution, and you are asked to do nothing more or less than commit yourself in principle to a scheme such as is proposed by Deputy Nagle. Now it appeared to me from the speech, or statement, or whatever you like to call it, of Deputy Gorey, that he was prepared to allow this Dáil to make laws in connection with everything in this country, to vote money for drainage, reclamation, and everything else. He says "do everything so long as you don't touch my farm." That is simply and solely the effect of his statement. Of course, he has on the brain, as I believe some of the other farmer deputies have on the brain, the question of Liberty Hall. Liberty Hall seems to be the only thing that disturbs the farmer deputies in this Dáil.

Not a bit.

It appears to disturb you. I look at this matter from a different point of view from most members in this Dáil. I can see the real independence of this country can never be secured — properly secured — unless through the economic independence of the country; unless we develop the agricultural resources of the country to such an extent that we can become as independent of Britain and as independent of every other country in the world-we are never going to put up the real fight that will give us the full political freedom that every member of this Dáil looks forward to. Therefore, it is for that reason and for that reason alone that I rise to support the proposition of Deputy Nagle. It will of course affect the unemployment question and I think it is up to Deputy Gorey and the other farmer Deputies here to see that unemployment is relieved, and so relieve them of taxation in another direction, if it can be relieved by the passing of such a Resolution in this Dáil. Statements have been made here about farmers losing ten pounds per acre last year. That may be true, but I think that all these things concerning the farmers' interests should be looked after by the Farmers' Association. The Farmers' Association should be able to look after them if they are minding the business for which they are formed. We look upon matters of that kind in the same light as that in which we expect the interests of the workers to be looked after by Trade Unions, who have to look after the interests of labourers in this country. Deputy Gorey says that we should not pass a Motion of this kind simply because Ireland would not be able to consume any of the extra products brought about by the passing of a resolution such as this. I think it is the intention of this Dáil and whatever Parliament continues to function and to make laws in this country in the future that Ireland should be given an opportunity of putting her exports and products and the produce of her labour on every market in the world, where we will get the best prices that can be secured for them in that market, and I hope it will by helping to produce more than what is produced in Ireland at the present time, and put that on whatever market in the world that would give Ireland the best price for her products. He says that this Dáil should concentrate itself more or less on making agriculture profitable. I think there is nothing in the terms of this resolution which will prevent the Dáil from doing that. But perhaps it can be done at another time. He also indicates that matters of this kind are simply and solely matters that concern the farmer Deputies and he does not wish that other sections of this Dáil or of the people of this country should make laws imposing conditions unless they are agreed to by the Farmers' Association and the Deputies that represent the Farmers' Association in this Dáil. I think so far as the other Deputies are concerned that they will not agree with him in that. I support this Resolution and in supporting the Resolution I ask the Dáil to commit itself to the principle. There is nothing stated as to what minimum is necessary or required in the terms of the Resolution. I hope then the Dáil will look at it from that point and support the Resolution.

As a Farmers' Deputy or representative of the Farmers' Party, I wish to place before the Dáil a few items in connection with our industry and in doing so I do not wish this spirit of acerbity to express itself as it has been expressed in the last couple of speeches. We do not want to come here to fight but to work in co-operation with one another so that by the united efforts of labour and ourselves we may make this country a proper country to live in. Now you bring forward your Resolution to ask us to do something which we, as the best judges of our own business, know ought not to be done or ought to be done only as circumstances may occur. We are experts in our own line. There is nobody here who can tell us anything about agriculture. If we do not know our job we are not fit to be farmers. And we have the experience of experts brought here from England and Scotland and our own expert knowledge and experience gained abroad to guide us in the way we should conduct our affairs, and it is fruitless and absurd of anyone here to stand up and tell us you must do this or that. I have the honour of representing Kildare and Wicklow. In Wicklow you have great diversity of soil, and a very energetic class of people. We have tried every means possible in the whole gamut to try to make our business a paying proposition. And to show you how much we rely on self-help, we often sent men to the North of Ireland, and brought down experts from Belfast district to give us instruction. And we started an industry in Avoca for the purpose of growing flax, and two years ago we were able to grow 280 acres of flax and to start our own scutch mills in Wicklow. That will show you whether we were alive to the possibilities of our position or not. The fates were against us. There is a tariff wall set up against flax; in America to-day you cannot sell flax. And we are in this position that we have the mill, we have the stream—we dammed the stream —we have the flax and we can do nothing with it. That is the position we are in. Now to-day wheat is selling in London and in English markets at 17s. 6d. per 280 lbs. I sold 80 barrels of oats yesterday at 16s. per barrel. It would cost me 1s. 6d. per barrel to bring it up. That would mean 14s. 6d. per barrel or 1s. per stone. I am losing £30, together with the loss of my land and labour and rent and all that. And then there is the rent and taxes as well. People come here and put an absurd proposition before us to increase tillage. There is no use in talking in that strain. Leave us to ourselves; we will do the best we can. We are a restraining influence here. Under Providence we will bring this country right yet. We are the Conservative element in the country. And we hope and expect with the new conditions that arise this country will yet prosper through the united efforts of our friends the labourers and ourselves. Now I will not go into this question of Land Nationalisation. But I believe myself this special Motion is the thin end of the wedge. I believe myself, and farmers believe, that this increase of tillage move is the thin end of the wedge for the institution known as Land Nationalisation in this country.

I will not go into that question, I will leave it to somebody else later on. Now what is to be done? I know pretty well there is a good deal of unemployment about the country. We have to pay Trade Union wages; we produce an article and when we produce it, it sells for less than the cost of producing it. That is caused by circumstances over which we have no control. Legislation in the past has always been in favour of commerce and industry, as opposed to the development of the land. All legislation passed by the British House of Parliament has been in that direction, and that has been going on for centuries, with the result that the land has been neglected and it has left us in such a position that, although we work twelve, thirteen or fourteen hours a day, still we are not able to oppose the influx of goods that are landed at our doors in Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland, which by right we should not be asked to compete with. If you could relieve the burdens on the land, if you remove the weight of local taxation which comes on us, if you could remove from us the upkeep of the hospitals — for we constitute seven-eighths of the ratepayers of the country — you might ease the situation on us somewhat; if you could remove from us all these things you would give us an opportunity of producing more cheaply. That is another reason why these should be State charges, and if you could increase the area of afforestation, especially in Wicklow, where there is ample land, very cheap land and land suited and of no value for anything else only for growing trees; if you would finance something in that direction you could remove this unemployment and enable the workers to live in their own country and be satisfied with their lot, which is as hard as our own.

I was very glad to hear the speech of the last Deputy. Certainly he displayed a little more sanity than Deputy Gorey who, in his desire to follow up his attack on the Transport Union, created an atmosphere in this Dáil which I think is not a desirable one. If the lines on which he conducted the discussion were allowed to prevail I do not think that this would long be an Assembly of the Nation. I do not look upon this as a Party question at all. I recognise that agriculture is the staple industry of this country, and if it is to be saved something in the direction proposed by Deputy Nagle will have to be done. I am not surprised at the farmer Deputies being opposed to this Motion in its present form. If I were a farmer Member I would not accept it in its present form. I believe what ought to be done is that the Government should be asked to set up a Commission that would go into the whole question of the agricultural industry. Being the staple industry of the country it warrants such a Commission being set up. I would suggest to Deputy Nagle that he accept my suggestion. Perhaps we could have unanimity in this Dáil if it were accepted. I believe it is absolutely necessary because we are having less tillage every day. If this Nation is to be put on its feet the agricultural industry should be looked after. I do not want to follow the lines of Deputy Gorey and to have acrimonious debate. I suggest that Deputy Nagle should act on my suggestion. I believe it should have, if it will not have, the unanimous approval of this Dáil.

Mr. Chairman, as a representative of the farmers' class, I have a few remarks to make on the proposal of Deputy Nagle. I cannot agree with the proposal in its present form, because it would entail a desperate hardship on the community which I have the honour to represent. I do not believe that any community — industrial, agricultural or otherwise — is out to sustain or suffer a loss. If an industry cannot be worked on economic lines I believe, as was said some time ago by my friends on the Labour Benches, it should be scrapped no matter what interest it is. Unless some aid comes to the agricultural industry no individual farmer can increase his area of tillage. I know it well, and to my cost, because every acre of oats produced in the County Wexford will stand to lose the producer at least £2, not to talk of his time and supervision. Therefore I say to increase agriculture in the present conditions would be absurd, and it is a thing that the farmers or their Union could not tolerate. I do not at all quarrel with the Members on the other side. I have no reason to. And I do not begrudge them their Union or any Association connected with them. They have all their Unions and I hold that every section should have its Union. Deputy Nagle, in introducing this matter, said that in 1917 there was a Corn Production Act and that when that Act dropped we dropped tillage. He did not give you the chief reasons for tillage being dropped in the country. Under the Corn Production Act we had a minimum price. We were sure of getting a certain price for our products, but that is no longer in force. The price to-day is exactly half the price that prevailed at that time, and yet we are producing under as expensive a regime as then existed. While we got double the price in those days we have got very little relief as regards the cost of labour at present. Therefore I say on an economic basis this Motion, in its present form, could not be tolerated by our section because it would add to their present losses, and I do not think anyone is in the position to sustain those losses. None of the farming community in County Wexford, at least, is.

There are a few remarks of Deputy Gorey's that I would like to answer. He is the only individual in the Dáil who made a particular attack on the Workers' Organisation.

I made no attack.

Probably it would be necessary for me also to show my ignorance by making a slight attack on the Union which he represents.

If I may appeal to you, that is precisely what you ought not to do.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will do nothing of the kind. We must remember this. We hear a great deal of talk about the refusal to put a compulsory tillage scheme into operation, but there was nothing said against the Acts being applied in 1916 and 1917 by a foreign Government. At that time, perhaps, we had no great advocates of organisations in our country such as we have to-day. I may say, as far as I am concerned, I am quite in sympathy with the farmers of Ireland. I know that they have suffered a rather serious loss in the past two or three years. I know that they are not getting a sufficient market for their produce. I know also they are not even trying to get a market because they have no produce to send to the market, as they do not till. If you put this compulsory scheme into operation or agree with the Motion, as it was originally put, I think you will be doing a service to your country. I find down in my own constituency that farmers of four or five hundred acres of land are coming into town and buying the potatoes the small farmers sow, and raising the prices on the unfortunate work-people. Those farmers employ no one except a herd and a dog. They do not even pay the licence for the dog, let alone pay an employé. That, of course, is not applicable to all farmers, only to a few ranchers. Those ranchers we in the Labour Movement intend to deal with, later on. I know this compulsory tillage scheme will hamper a lot of our members, as some of our members are very small farmers. Men who have only three or four acres of land are in the same position as a labourer. I would not be inclined to enforce a big percentage of tillage. Surely any man would be able to till 15 or 20 per cent. I know the position will be the same with this Government as it was with the British Government. They will be able to flabbergast the Inspector by telling him the land is not fit to till; that it is bog land, "scrubbery," or something like that. I was very pleased to hear our friend Deputy Gorey say that there is no unemployment in the two counties he represents.

Kilkenny, I said.

If there was no unemployment, he said, it was because there was no Transport Union there. It is nothing of the kind. I was very happy to hear Deputy Doyle express his opinion with regard to organisation, because I hold myself that every class of people have a perfect right to organise and join in any organisation which will safeguard themselves or their property. I quite agree it is right that farmers should organise, and that is why I fail to see why Deputy Gorey should make such a great farce of the meeting to-day by explaining that because there was no Transport Union in his constituency there was no unemployment there. I would like to tell this Dáil that I have the honour of being a member of a Committee down in my own part of the country. This Committee has the expenditure of a large sum of money per year, and it consumes a large quantity of flour. At a meeting there were two tenders for flour, one for foreign and one for Irish. At this particular meeting the farmers' representatives objected to Irish flour. There is another Deputy in the Dáil also who had the honour of being a member of the same Committee, and he can bear me out. The Irish flour was declared to be at least 7 per cent. better flour than any foreign flour coming into the land. Why have we not wheat growing? I know very well that it is impossible for the farmer to sow if he cannot get a market. He cannot let his produce go bad. This country of ours was able to support over nine million people. To-day we have something like 4,337,000, and I say if it is a thing that this Dáil are thinking seriously about the industrial welfare of our Nation, the first act they should accomplish is to put into force a compulsory Tillage Scheme, and make everyone in Ireland till at least 15 per cent., in order to relieve this Government of the strain and the public bodies such as the County Councils of the strain at present imposed on them. If you have no agricultural industry you have no Nation. I hold Ireland was originally made by God to be an agricultural country, and as such it should be organised.

I would like to say a word or two on this matter. Most of my late years have been spent in an attempt to acquire land for the landless people. I have taken a fairly active part in that movement, and I would appeal to the Deputies on the Labour benches to let the farmers alone at the present time. I would ask them rather to direct their attention to the graziers. Those are the people that are the drones; those are the people that are depopulating the Nation; those are the people who are leaving the food scarce in the land; those are the people who are not giving employment and are responsible for the going about starving of large numbers of working people at the present time. There are hundreds of thousands of acres of land throughout this country where no employment is given. It is held on the eleven months or English system by wealthy capitalists. They are not farmers. The farmers, particularly the small farmers, are the best class in the Nation. It was their sons who fought the recent war; it was their sons who brought the liberty which we are now enjoying. It is their sons deserve the lands which are left untilled at the present time. I would appeal to this Government to bring in a Land Act to deal with this matter of the breaking up of the ranches and the planting of small farmers' sons on economic holdings. To my mind that would relieve unemployment and keep the people at home. It would also secure for the Nation in the future food sufficient for its wants. I do not like coercion. I hate it, and fought against it all my life. I will not stand here, though I am not a farmer, and allow farmers to be coerced into anything that is not a profitable industry. I will raise my voice against any section of the nation being coerced. I do not think we should go to England to copy their methods during the late war and to pass an Act in the infancy of this Parliament to compel the best, the most patriotic, and most industrious class of this country to do a thing that they would find it impossible to continue to do.

I listened with the greatest delight to the speech of Deputy McGuinness because it does bring us back to the terms of the resolution and despite some of the speeches that have been made on the terms of the resolution asking the Dáil to-day to do for all holdings what Deputy McGuinness asks should be done for the ranchers. Now we are very conscious of the failure even of labourers who have got land and only graze it. They, too, are graziers, and even their holdings ought to be tilled to some degree. We are not dealing solely in this matter with the effect on unemployment. We were dealing, when we proposed this resolution, with the effect on the national security, and on the physical and moral well-being of the country, and in reference to public health. We believe it is necessary in this country that the land should be tilled to a definite degree — some holdings to a greater degree than others; and that it should be made a general rule that in the holding of land a definite proportion should be compulsorily tilled. Now what is the alternative Deputy Gorey told us. This country was not favourable for tillage. Therefore it must be utilised for grass.

Not necessarily.

This country is not favourable for tillage, we are told. We are also told that it is not adapted for various industries. Therefore, the conclusion must be that the people must get out of the country. We must not interfere with the rights of the owner of the land to-day. If he likes to graze that land rather than to till it, he must be allowed to graze it, and it pays better to send cattle to England than to grow crops and food for Ireland. We must not interfere with the right of the landholder to do as he likes with the land he has been entrusted with. That policy, perhaps, is not intended. Perhaps it is not quite understood in all its implications as laid down by Mr. Gorey. It is explained that there is no market, that you may grow crops but that you cannot sell them; and this brings us immediately to a very important and fundamental question. We hold that the land is held for the purpose of producing food to feed the people, and if it is found from experience that the system of distribution and the method of exchange allow the farmer, merchant, and manufacturer to do things only because it pays, and that that method leads to hunger and unemployment and the consequences of unemployment, then that method must be changed. It should be the business of this Dáil to think out a solution of that problem. We believe it has been suggested here to-day, and it received a cordial friendliness, that a Union should be formed between the worker on the land and the holder of the land, and between the wage-earner on the land and the worker in the town. If the Government will assist in an enquiry in that direction, then we will welcome it; to see how far these three classes of workers can be united in the best interests of this country. We believe the future of this country must be based on the worker, whether he is owner or not. If you are prepared, if the merchants are prepared, to recognise this co-operation as the basis of social life in Ireland, it will work out for a better state of affairs in this country. We are told there is no market and that there is more food produced in Ireland than is needed; yet some of the people are crying for food. We are told there is more food produced in the country than the country wants.

What I said is that we are growing food that is not wanted.

The business of the men who are entrusted with the cultivation of the land is the growing of things that people need. I would submit for the consideration of the farmers that to increase their markets they might encourage this labour movement. With higher wages, which would be spent on a greater variety of food rather than a greater quantity of food, you will find your market very greatly increased. I will go a long way with you in agreeing to some kind of restriction on the imports of food, while Irish produce is remaining on our hands. Let us devote our attention to the purpose of supplying Irish people with sufficient food and give a guarantee of sufficient food. Then we can organise direct labour for the purpose of producing these other commodities that are generally required. Now it will be said that this is academic. I do not want it to be thought that there must be inevitably an eternal conflict between the farmer and the labourer, between the worker on the land and the worker in the towns. We know that in recent years there has been growing up in Eastern Europe, and to some extent in Western countries, a conflict between the rural producer and the urban consumer. I, and all those who think with me, would like to avoid that conflict in Ireland. We do not want to see that conflict, because it would be damaging to the best interests of the country, and for the best interests of the working class as well as the farming class. We only desire to see some means found whereby workers who own land or hold land in trust and the workers in towns are bound together in co-operation for the best interests of the country. If a proposition is made by Deputy Corish that this matter might be relegated to a serious enquiry, I think I would advise my colleague to withdraw the motion if the Government is prepared to assist that enquiry, and there is approval for it from the farming benches.

We cannot accept any suggestion.

As far as we are concerned, we are prepared to assist such an enquiry. I have not very much to say on this matter. Compulsory Tillage was introduced in 1917, but it is another matter, a totally different matter to introduce it now. It was introduced then under the threat of a famine. I do not think there is any such threat just at present, and as far as I am concerned I do not think you are going to have a satisfactory increase in tillage in this country, until tillage begins to pay. One of the farming Deputies who just spoke gave his own experience and told you how much it cost to produce, I think it was oats, and he told you he was selling it at a loss. Well now, farmers have got to live like everyone else, and people cannot go on running their business at a loss. I am well aware that there are ranches and estates in this country that are not being farmed economically, everybody knows that. Everybody knows there are abuses, but you will not remedy these abuses by compelling the owners of these estates to till them. There is another way of dealing with that. Land Purchase must be completed, and if you complete Land Purchase you will do more to increase tillage than by passing any resolution or law embodying a resolution. You cannot increase tillage, as every farmer knows, by merely passing an Act of Parliament. Increased tillage means more buildings, more machinery, and above all more farmyard manure. You cannot get these on the spur of the moment. Increased tillage must be of gradual, slow growth if it is to come to stay. Otherwise you cannot do it efficiently by suddenly introducing or passing an Act of Parliament. You cannot do anything efficiently in that way. You only rob the farmer and do not enrich the labourer or the country. That benefits nobody. There is no doubt whatever that farmers have been hit more severely this year than any other practically since the war ended. If upon the top of that you ask them to increase their tillage (and undertake projects that cannot pay you are asking something which in my opinion is inequitable, and which I certainly will not recommend the Dáil to ask them to do. There is a real problem, that is the problem of completing Land Purchase. That problem must, will have to be solved at the first opportunity, and there is no use in drawing a red herring across the track. There is no use in spoiling the pitch by fanciful schemes of tillage which lead nowhere, and which will not do the landlords or the farmers any good. I share Deputy Johnson's hope that there will be some way found of getting the worker who holds the land as well as the worker who works the land to co-operate, and as far as the Government is concerned they themselves think that if any Commission would throw any new light on this particular subject, or be helpful in any way, we will not stand in the way; we will give any assistance we can.

I should like to support the suggestion, if it was meant to be serious, that an Inquiry should be held into the whole question of the land and of tillage, but I do not want that to be a shelving Inquiry. I remember very well a good many months ago, I think it was the beginning of the year; in fact in January, that a deputation interviewed the last Executive, including the present Minister of Agriculture, and his story then was that that was not the time to do things, that it was not the season. Now he seems to have changed his attitude just a little.

The Deputy may remember that on that occasion, as well as pointing out what the other objections were; I pointed out that the month of February was a little too late.

Now the Minister, and I may not be interpreting him correctly, but it seems to me, if he is in favour of this Commission, he wants it to go on until some time when it will be either too late or too early. If in this Dáil there was anything like agreement between the Ministerial side, this side, and the farmers' side, that such an Inquiry should be made, that it should be a real serious inquiry, and set about its work at once, that it would really act and do the big thing for the people of Ireland, the people of Ireland themselves should in the long run gain. But we find we might describe him as the leader of the Farmers' Party in this Assembly objecting. He will accept no suggestion. He is repudiated by at least one, but he will accept no suggestion.

What I say is — on any question of this kind we should be given some time to think about it.

That is rather a modification of the opinion expressed a few minutes ago. If he is prepared, and the Ministry are prepared, to go into the whole question, we are prepared to do so. It is not enough for the Minister of Agriculture to say this cannot be done, and that results will follow. We want to say, and we have been told, that the Minister of Agriculture actually had up his sleeve plans and schemes for land purchase, and for dealing with the general question of unemployment. We will not ask him to put these schemes into effect to-day or to-morrow, but if he has them, or if the Government has any constructive scheme for dealing with this very urgent and vital question, very well. Agriculture ought to remain the great National industry, and we do not want to see Ireland another Lancashire, and we do not want to see Dublin and other places dotted over with smoke stacks, and the rich land of the country being turned over to bullocks I do not know what explanation the Minister of Agriculture can give for the dispersal of the Irish people — it was 8 millions 50 or 60 years ago, and it is now down to about 4 millions—except English interference and English created famines.

We are in danger of an Irish created famine, and every acre of Irish land that goes over to the bullock, and you have only to go an hour's journey from Dublin to see hundreds and thousands of acres of the best land in Ireland, even within 30 miles of Dublin, and, as far as the eye can see, there is not a single human being except a herd. That is the state of affairs that should be remedied, and we welcome that inquiry if the Government sets it up in a business-like way. We do not want it to be like previous conferences that Deputy Gorey and others were present at. When we put some constructive proposals before it they were shelved. We welcome the inquiry, but it must be a real, a genuine inquiry, and must go into the matter thoroughly. It means going into the matter thoroughly, and if the Government has got a scheme, then as was suggested from this Bench, let the Government or the farmers produce their scheme.

If there is to be a general inquiry into what can be done in Ireland — not an inquiry as to compulsory tillage, because I am against that, but if it is an inquiry as to what can be done for the improvement of agriculture—I am in favour of it.

As the suggestion came from me, may I say I recognise as much as anybody that the farmers have had a bad time during the past year, and that prices received for produce should be gone into as well as other things; and it is as much in the interest of the farmers as of the workers that this should be done.

What is the exact position with regard to this motion and the suggested Commission of Inquiry? If the Commission of Inquiry is agreed to, the motion could be withdrawn.

Could we set up machinery now to constitute the Commission of Inquiry?

The Terms of Reference would take a little time. We cannot settle them now. Suppose we deferred that until we have some time to consult amongst ourselves.

Does the Minister say that the Ministry will consult amongst themselves?

Yes; and with Deputy Corish and others interested. We have yet to settle the Terms of Reference and see if we can agree. We might be able to do that before to-morrow evening; we could talk about it, at any rate.

The motion is withdrawn, I take it, on the understanding that the Minister for Agriculture will consult with Deputies representing different parts of the Dáil and with Deputy Corish to arrange Terms of Reference for an inquiry such as has been suggested this afternoon, and then these terms could be put before the Dáil, say, on Thursday.

It may take longer than that.

Will the Commission deal with the position of Agriculture in the country?

That is what will be discussed. Terms of Reference will be put before the Dáil, and the Dáil will have the opportunity of declaring its will.

Will you submit the names?

Come together, get the names, and submit them.

The motion was, by leave, withdrawn.

Before the motion for the adjournment is taken I ask the Deputies to read in connection with questions, Standing Orders No. 16, adopted for this week, and they will see that in that connection questions received to-day, even after 11 o'clock, will be down for Thursday. The Committee on Standing Orders will meet to-morrow (Wednesday) morning, at 11.30, and I want to remind Deputies that amendments to the Standing Orders are to reach me before to-morrow morning, and I may say none have yet been received. There is another matter. The new Standing Orders adopted by the Dáil said that the Dáil should meet at 2.30 and adjourn at 7 o'clock. Several Deputies from various parts of the Dáil suggested to me that it is not possible to get a punctual meeting at 2.30, and so the Dáil, acting without motion, agreed to meet at 3 o'clock and then go on until 7.30.

Would I be in order, and would I be in time, to put in an amendment to the Standing Orders that the Dáil at its rising on Friday evenings do not re-assemble until each following Tuesday?

Hand that in by to-morrow.

Do I understand you to say that amendments for the Standing Orders must be in before to-morrow at 11.30?

These were the terms of the Resolution adopted yesterday — that amendments for discussion by the Committee on Standing Orders should reach them to-morrow morning.

I would like to make this clear — as long as the amendments reach this building before the Committee meets, they will be in time, I take it.

It would be for the convenience of the Committee if they were in now, because the Clerk would have them circulated to-morrow.