I should like to congratulate the Deputy who has just spoken on the sensible way in which he is looking at this problem. We have heard a good deal about the Second Dáil. I suppose the Deputies here do not know much about what happened at the First Dáil. I think it is right, if there has been an improvement, that Deputies ought to know something about it. I was told once by a Deputy in the first Dáil that I was the most immoral man in Dublin. It seems, in regard to the case made here, that my lapses from morality are very small. There is no moral sanction, Deputy Duffy says, for the proposal that we are putting up. There is. There is a very high moral sanction. We cannot ask the State to take on a liability which the State cannot discharge. The liability we are asked to take on in this case for consequential losses, is a liability which is beyond the resources of the State to meet. Looking at this question of consequential losses, we must bear in mind that there are consequential losses that the State could not possibly hope to be able to meet, even if it were so inclined. Take the case of the struggle for the last five or six years. How many young lives have been lost? How many careers have been destroyed? How many of the people who have taken part in that struggle have practically blasted their hopes in this life? Their future, everything they could have done for themselves, has been destroyed by reason of the extraordinary strain that struggle brought upon them. Are they not as much entitled to get compensation for that as people who have lost their businesses, or people who have lost employment? If there has been anything gained, surely it is because of the efforts of those people? Those efforts were not entirely confined to men. There are women also who have lost in the fighting. We cannot possibly compensate those people. Recently in the Dublin Press a letter appeared in which it was stated by the writer that he noted that persons who have put in claims for compensation will not derive all the comfort that they expected from this Bill for compensation that we have introduced. That is very largely the view-point of those who have suffered. They see an opportunity of getting comfort and they are utterly in different to the strain that this is going to put on the State in order to give them that comfort. Take the most conservative estimate that I have heard mentioned in connection with the damage. It will be within the recollection of Deputies that the late Commander-in-Chief estimated it at something like forty millions. If it were forty millions the proportion of the City of Dublin, if it were to be the liability of local authorities, would be in the neighbourhood of four millions. Mark what a liability of four millions would mean if added to the present liabilities of the Municipality. I expect the indebtedness is now somewhere in the neighbourhood of two millions. That would mean that the present indebtedness would be trebled, and that the citizens would now owe six millions instead of two millions. It is very easy to estimate what the annual outgoings on the interest of that sum would amount to on the ratepayers of the City of Dublin; the interest alone on this money would be 4s. 2d in the £. Is there any member that anybody knows of on, say, the Dublin Corporation, who will stand up and say:—"This liability of 4s. 2d. in the £ is a moral, a legitimate, a legal and an equitable liability of the City of Dublin, and I propose that the citizens should have 4s. 2d. in the £ assessed on their rates to discharge this liability?" You know that it is not the case. Very few people have as much experience as I of having to increase rates. I moved an increase in the Dublin Corporation of 5s. in the £ on one occasion. That was during the war period when there were war profits, when business could afford it; but now, when everybody knows that business cannot possibly afford such a distribution of finance, I think it will be admitted that there is no person in this country who would stand up in any Local Authority, and move to place upon their rates the sum of 4s. 2d. in the £ to pay the interest on this money. The only previous case which might possibly have any analogy to the present was that which occurred in 1916, and the liability which had to be borne at that time was one-tenth of the amount that we have to bear, and the back which had to bear that burden had forty times the strength of the back which has to bear this burden. And I say that the proposals outlined here are more generous than those which were entertained at that time, and passed and accepted, and so far as I know there was no very great grumbling about them. There are cases in connection with consequential losses that would never come before any court or tribunal. I know myself three doctors in the City of Dublin, each one of whom would have a claim for consequential loss, but they would never think of presenting such a claim, and if we are to tax them to pay consequential losses for others I would like to know where the morality or equity of the thing is. One of these men was on the list to have his house destroyed by Mr. de Valera's dupes, and a few years ago I asked that man to see and attend Mr. de Valera when he had a temperature of 101. We are told that we are repudiating legitimate liability. I have explained at some length that any legal liability that there is is a legal liability of each Local Authority. If the members of the Dáil who want to pay consequential losses wish that local liability to remain, well, they can so arrange it. The State cannot bear it. We are told by one editor of a Dublin newspaper that we are flouting public opinion. The editor in his chair says that he is public opinion, and we dare not flout him. Now, it is some months ago since I heard first that we were to have this political offensive on the Finance Minister. It has come somewhat sooner than was anticipated, and I rather welcome it. We were told that the people would remember this attitude at the election. I hope they will, and that the editor will take it up and contest one of the seats with us, and that he will tell the people the plain truth there—that he wants to tax them twice as heavily as we want to tax them. The real question at issue here is to borrow this money. Who is going to pay for it? Not one single suggestion has been made by those who stated we were flouting public opinion as to how we are to raise that money. If we leave the burden on the local authorities, that editor will be the very first to say you cannot place that burden there; it is too heavy; and the reason it is too heavy is that if it is placed there it will have to be paid. I cannot agree, sir, with the amendment. In my opinion the amendment, although innocently, would restore the consequential loss claim and the consequential loss liability. In my view the amendment would not be wise. There have been losses, I know, on the part of those who have been knocked out of employment, but I think that the Deputy moving this will admit that these losses have been in the vast majority of cases remedied to some extent by alternative employment. In the cases I have seen that have been presented to us—the claims for compensation for consequential loss—the amount claimed would, I think, represent almost the entire wealth of some of the families from the time of Adam down to the present day. I am positively certain that at no time was such wealth in this country as one would be led to believe if you were to consult these claims. Now, it must be remembered that consequential loss does not mean what Deputy Gavan Duffy indicated—that is, for example, if they came and burned my house, and Deputy Gavan Duffy's house is beside it, and that his house takes fire, that is not a consequential loss. Consequential loss would be if my house were burned, and I took another house and went to the expense of paying rent for it. If I had business, and was making one hundred a year, I could claim one hundred a year while I was out of business. That loss would be consequential. If it be not clear, we will consider the point of making it perfectly plain in the section that what the Deputy has in mind is not the case, but I cannot say that there is any fear of such a thing happening. Now, I have only to say that this Bill is a very heavy liability. We are undertaking in connection with the cost of this Bill as much as the country can bear. If it is proposed to extend the scope of it and rope in other liabilities, well, then, very heavy additional imposts on the taxation on the country must be imposed. I think we have certainly reached the peak as far as taxes are concerned, and that the country cannot bear any more. We have endeavoured to distribute the compensation as fairly and as equitably as the circumstances of the case permit. Nobody will, I expect, be in as good a position, if he had suffered, as he was before the damage was inflicted, and it certainly is not the intention to place anybody in a better position. The State itself will not be in as good a position; and it ought to be remembered, too, that there are lessons to be learned from the present financial position on the Continent. Twelve or fourteen months ago we had a good handicap in the race of nations—with those of them that are on the Continent. To-day we start with just as big a handicap as any one of them, and a good deal of hard work, of heavy expense, and of heavy taxation remains to be borne before we start again at the scratch. I believe the handicap is sufficient, and I believe that the nation cannot bear any more; and if it be proposed to increase that amount, I myself certainly, on my own part and also on behalf of the Ministry, say that we cannot accept responsibility for that.
Amendment put. The Dáil divided: Tá, 10; Níl, 40.
Riobárd Ó Deaghaidh.Tomás Mac Eoin.Liam Ó Briain.Tomás Ó Conaill.Aodh Ó Cúlacháin.
Liam Ó Daimhín.Seán Ó Laidhin.Cathal Ó Seanáin.Domhnall Ó Muirgheasa.Domhnall Ó Ceallacháin.
Liam T. Mac Cosgair.Donchadh Ó Guaire.Seán Ó Duinnín.Mícheál Ó hAonghusa.Domhnall Ó Mocháin.Séamus Breathnach.Pádraig Mac Ualghairg.Peadar Mac a' Bháird.Darghal Figes.Seoirse Ghabháin Uí Dhubhthaigh.Deasmhumhain Mac Gearailt.Seán Ó Ruanaidh.Mícheál de Duram.Domhnall Mac Carthaigh.Éarnan Altún.Sir Séamus Craig.Gearóid Mac Giobúin.Liam Thrift.Liam Mag Aonghusa.Pádraig Ó hÓgáin.
Seosamh Ó Faoileacháin.Seoirse Mac Niocaill.Fionán Ó Loingsigh.Séamus Ó Cruadhlaoich.Risteárd Mac Liam.Caoimhghin Ó hUigín.Próinsias Bulfin.Padraig Mac Artáin.Séamus Ó Dóláin.Aindriú Ó Laimhín.Proinsias Mag Aonghusa.Éamon Ó Dúgáin.Peadar Ó hAodha.Séamus Ó Murchadha.Liam Mac Sioghaird.Tomás Ó Domhnall.Éarnan de Blaghd.Uinseann de Faoite.Domhnall Ó Broin.Mícheál Ó Dubhghaill.