IN COMMITTEE ON FINANCE. - VOTE ON ACCOUNT.

I move:—

Go ndeontar i geuntas suim nách mó ná £8,081,717 chun no le haghaidh íoctha na muirearacha a thioc fidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1928, i gcóir seirbhísí áirithe puiblí, eadhon:—

That a sum not exceeding £8,081,717 be granted on account for or towards defraying the charges that will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1928, for certain public services, namely:—

£

£

1

Teaghlachas an tSeanascail

2,200

1

Governor-General's Establishment

2,200

2

An t-Oireachtas

38,700

2

Oireachtas

38,700

3

Roinn Uachtarán na hArd-Chomhairle

4,000

3

Department of the President of the Executive Council

4,000

4

An Stát-Chiste agus Iniúchoireacht

6,000

4

Exchequer and Audit

6,000

5

Oifig an Aire Airgid

21,000

5

Office of the Minister for Finance

21,000

6

An Roinn Ioncuim

226,000

6

Revenue Department

226,000

7

Pinsin tSean-Aoise

869,000

7

Old Age Pensions

869,000

8.

Iasachtaí Aitiúla

378,000

8

Local Loans

378,000

9

Coimisiúin Shealadacha

4,500

9

Temporary Commissions

4,500

10

Oifig na nOibreacha Puiblí

41,000

10

Public Works Office

41,000

11

Oibreacha agus Foirgintí Puiblí

290,000

11

Public Works and Buildings

290,000

12

Saotharlann Stáit

2,284

12

State Laboratory

2,284

13

Coimisiún na Stát-Sheirbhíse

3,700

13

Civil Service Commission

3,700

14

Cúiteamh i gCailliúna Maoine

326,500

14

Property Losses Compensation

326,500

15

Cúiteamh i nDíobhála Pearsanta

1,700

15

Personal Injuries Compensation

1,700

16

Aois-Liúntaisí agus Liúntaisí Fágála

596,000

16

Superannuation and Retired Allowances

596,000

17

Rátaí ar Mhaoin an Rialtais

27,800

17

Rates on Government Property

27,800

18

An tSeirbhís Shicréideach

3,300

18

Secret Service

3,300

19

Coimisiún na nDleacht

550

19

Tariff Commission

550

20

Costaisí fén Representation of the People Act, fén Acht Timpeal Toghachán, agus fé Acht na gCoistí Dharéag (Leasú)

9,000

20

Expenses under the Representation of the People Act, the Electoral Act, and the Juries (Amendment) Act

9,000

21

Costaisí Ilghnéitheacha

3,477

21

Miscellaneous Expenses

3,477

22

Oifig an tSoláthair

50,000

22

Stationery Office

50,000

23

Measadóireacht agus Suibhéireacht Teorann

11,925

23

Valuation and Boundary Survey

11,925

24

Suirbhéireacht an Ordonáis

16,367

24

Ordnance Survey

16,367

25

Deontas Breise Talmhaíochta

300,000

25

Supplementary Agricultural Grant

300,000

26

Muirearacha Dlí

28,000

26

Law Charges

28,000

27

Longlann Inis Sionnach

5,600

27

Haulbowline Dockyard

5,600

28

Príomh-scoileanna agus Coláistí

76,500

28

Universities and Colleges

76,500

29

Congnamh Airgid do Bhiatas Siúicre

Nil

29

Beet Sugar Subsidy

Nil

30

Oifig an tSaor-Chíosa

1,392

30

Quit Rent Office

1,392

31

Oifig an Aire Dlí agus Cirt

10,000

31

Office of the Minister for Justice

10,000

32

Gárda Síochána

560,000

32

Gárda Síochána

560,000

33

Bórd Generálta an bPríosún

43,500

33

General Prisons Board

43,500

34

Cúirt Dúithche

5,300

34

District Court

5,300

35

Cúirt Uachtarach agus Ard-Chúirt an Bhreithiúnais

23,000

35

Supreme Court and High Court of Justice

23,000

36

Oifig Chlárathachta na Talmhan agus Oifig Chlárahachta na nDintiúirí

17,000

36

Land Registry and Registry of Deeds

17,000

37

Oifigigh Chúirte Cuarda

23,600

37

Circuit Court Officers

23,600

38

Oifig na nAnnálacha Puiblí

1,997

38

Public Record Office

1,997

39

Tabhartaisí agus Tiomanta Déirciúla

1,000

39

Charitable Donations and Bequests

1,000

40

Oifig an Aire Rialtais agus Sláinte Puiblí

162,250

40

Office of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health

162,250

41

Oifig an Ard-Chlárathóra

4,588

41

General Register Office

4,588

42

Gealtlann Dúndroma

6,500

42

Dundrum Asylum

6,500

43

An Coimisiún Arachais Sláinte Náisiúnta

114,907

43

National Health Insurance Commission

114,907

44

Oispidéil agus Déarcaisí

15,000

44

Hospitals and Charities

15,000

45

Oifig an Aire Oideachais

61,000

45

Office of the Minister for Education

61,000

46

Bun-Oideachas

1,290,000

46

Primary Education

1,290,000

47

Meadhon-Oideachas

90,000

47

Secondary Education

90,000

48

Ceárd-Oideachas

50,000

48

Technical Instruction

50,000

49

Eolaíocht agus Ealadhantacht

13,500

49

Science and Art

13,500

50

Scoileanna Ceartúcháin agus Saothair

38,000

50

Reformatory and Industrial Schools

38,000

51

An Gailerí Náisiúnta

1,494

51

National Gallery

1,494

52

Oifig an Aire Tailte agus Talmhaíochta

156,000

52

Office of the Minister for Lands and Agriculture

156,000

53

An Ciste Foraoiseachta

53

Forestry Fund (Grant in

(Deontas i gCabhair)

18,000

Aid)

18,000

54

Coimisiún na Talmhan

200,000

54

Land Commission

200,000

55

Roimh-íocanna le Cumainn Chreidiúna Thalmhaíochta

28,000

55

Advances to Agricultural Credit Societies

28,000

56

Oifig an Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála

41,000

56

Office of the Minister for Industry and Commerce

41,000

57

Bóithre Iarainn

28,000

57

Railways

28,000

58

An Bínse Bóthair Iarainn

2,600

58

Railway Tribunal

2,600

59

Muir-Sheirbhísí

3,500

59

Marine Service

3,500

60

Arachas Díomhaointis

78,000

60

Unemployment Insurance

78,000

61

Oifig an Aire Iascaigh

17,000

61

Office of the Minister for Fisheries

17,000

62

Oifig an Phuist

810,000

62

Post Office

810,000

63

Fóirleatha Nea-shrangach

7,260

63

Wireless Broadcasting

7,260

64

An t-Arm

725,000

64

Army

725,000

65

Arm-Phinsin

72,000

65

Army Pensions

72,000

66

Oifig an Aire Gnóthaí Coigríche

14,906

66

Office of the Minister for External Affairs

14,906

67

Cumann na Náisiún

3,320

67

League of Nations

3,320

68

Luach saothair chun costais Bhainistí Stoc Rialtais is le Saorstát Eireann

Nil

68

Remuneration for cost of management of Government Stocks of Saorstát Eireann

Nil

An t-Iomlán

£8,081,717

Total

£8,081,717

Deputies will remember that the Vote on Account was not introduced until a later date in previous years. As a matter of fact, I think every year heretofore I have been obliged to go to the Seanad on 31st March with the Central Fund Bill and ask them to pass it that day, without giving them any reasonable opportunity of discussing it. We hope this year to be able to give such time to the Seanad for the discussion of the Central Fund Bill— the Estimates, of course, will not come before them—that they will have no reasonable ground for complaint. We have issued this year the volume of Estimates a fortnight earlier than they were issued last year, so that there has been a fair interval between the issue of the Estimates and the presentation of the Vote on Account. The sum asked for in the Vote on Account is, as a rule, one-third of the total Estimates. The intention is that sufficient money should be granted to carry on the various services of the State until the end of July. By our Standing Orders, all the financial legislation consequent on the Estimates must be completed before 1st August. It is intended this year that the Estimates shall not be discussed until after the general election. There will, however, be enough time after the reassembly of the Oireachtas for the new Dáil either to sit three or four weeks and take the Estimates or, if it thinks it better, to pass a further Vote on Account and adjourn the detailed consideration of the Estimates until it has had time to look around it. In any case, we are asking for the usual provision by the way of Vote on Account.

As I have said, the amount asked for is, as a rule, one-third of each vote, but in certain cases a greater or a lesser sum is asked for. In some cases nothing is asked for, because the expenditure on the vote will not take place in the first four months of the financial year. For instance, we are not asking for any sum on account in the case of the sugar beet subsidy or payments to banks in respect of management of Government stock and loans. In certain other cases, as, for instance, in the case of hospitals and charities we are asking for practically the entire sum, because it has been the habit always to pay practically the entire vote in the first few months of the financial year. In the case of the Agricultural Grant, we are asking for a good deal more than one-third, because it is expected that half of the sum will have to be paid before 1st July. There are variations in some votes, but they are matters for which some such explanation is available in each case.

It is customary in Great Britain, whose financial system we have adopted, for parties to use the occasion of the Vote on Account for the discussion of a number of important matters of policy. It is not possible on a Vote of Account to have a detailed discussion of any estimate, but it is possible to raise the policy of any department or of a group of departments or any matter of general policy. I think, therefore, that it is better I should formally introduce the Vote on Account and allow Deputies to bring before the House such matters as they may think most urgent and most worthy of consideration at the present time. In view of the fact that the Estimates will not be discussed until after the General Election, we were anxious to give as much time as we could to the Vote on Account, so that urgent questions which might trouble Deputies might be brought before the Dáil.

On a point of order, might I draw the attention of the Minister to certain wording in the motion, which I hope is due to a clerical error? In number 53 of the Vote on Account the amount to be voted to the Forestry Fund is described as a "grant in aid." I notice that in the White Paper which has been circulated and also in the Estimates, page 211, this important item is not mentioned as a grant in aid. I have, I fear, frequently bored the House by urging the uniformity of public accounts, and I am glad to see that in the Estimates the "grants in aid" in respect of this fund and other funds have been abolished. This vote has been placed on a regular footing and I hope, therefore, that the wording of No. 53 in this motion is due to a clerical error and that it should not have been written down as a grant in aid. It is a technical matter, but it is one which affects the public accounts, and I hope the Minister will say that the wording is inaccurate.

I will look into the point.

That point will be settled before the motion is actually put.

The Minister has mentioned that no Vote on Account is asked for in respect of the sugar beet subsidy. Does that preclude a Deputy from mentioning the matter in the course of the discussion?

I think it does. If there is no mention in the motion of a vote for beet sugar, the question does not arise.

Can it be discussed as a matter of policy on number 3—Department of the President of the Executive Council?

I would be prepared to waive any technical objection if what the Deputy wants to raise is a matter of policy. But questions of detail would properly arise on the Estimates and they will arise when the Estimates are being considered, as they must be considered.

After the General Election?

I move:—

"To reduce the sum by £500."

I put down this amendment as a protest against the policy of the Government on the question of national expenditure. I am not approaching this question in any partisan spirit, nor do I intend to go into any detailed examination of the financial position at this stage. But I want an answer from the House as to whether or not the Dáil approves of the policy of the Government in the matter of national expenditure, and whether the Dáil does not think that the Government are demanding too large a sum for keeping the machinery of Government going. I also want the opinion of the Dáil as to whether the machinery of Government in this State should not be run, and must not be run, at a lower figure than the Government demands, taking into account the circumstances and conditions of the times.

I recognise that the position of the Government in this matter is undoubtedly difficult. It is their responsibility to govern and to obtain the money requisite for that purpose. The Government is maintained for the benefit of the citizens. But it strikes me, whatever the Government may think about the money that is necessary for this purpose, that their policy should be regulated in such a way as to take into account that conditions in the country are not good. Whether the Government like it or not, because of these conditions the amount that they are demanding must be reduced, for the reason that the people cannot afford to pay it.

Last year our expenditure on national services amounted to something over twenty-five millions, and the expenditure on local services was approximately seven millions—something about thirty-two millions and a half altogether. That is an extraordinary when we take into account that the total value of our exports last year was approximately £40,000,000. When we consider that we have to add to the national and local taxation £3,000,000 for land purchase annuities and other sums, we must wonder how it is possible for the people to survive. I cannot imagine a man being able to carry on unless the product of his labour commands such a figure as will enable him to maintain himself and have something left over, and the conditions in this country are such, and the taxpayers' plight is so serious, that we have to make up our minds that we cannot afford to spend the amount of money demanded by the Government. We are up against the proposition: Can this country not be governed for a smaller sum, and can we not have essential services maintained at a lower cost than is demanded? I recognise that we can have very efficient government indeed, that we can add to the number of services and spend more money, but the services are for the benefit of the people. I can be very well served personally provided I can afford to spend the money.

Last year at this period there was a great outcry, both in the Press and in the country, against the figure at which national taxation stood. If that outcry was overdone to some extent, there was a great deal of justification for it. Conditions have not improved very much since then, if at all, economically. The demand that the Government is making this year is very little less than last year. The Estimates reveal that if there is a reduction the greater portion of it is under one head—compensation. There is comparative silence in the country at present on the Government policy with regard to national expenditure. The Government would be very foolish to think that because less is being said now than twelve months ago the capacity of the taxpayers to pay is better than it was then. The position has not improved. While Government policy is being evolved along the line that we must expect an annual expenditure of about £25,000,000, I submit that that figure is more than the country can bear and can continue to pay. I have no doubt that the mind of the country on this matter is definitely made up and that Government policy does not reflect it.

It has repeatedly been said that we do not point out where savings could be effected. During the debates on the Estimates last year we indicated how expenditure might be reduced. On one of those votes we find a reduction this year, but on others we find an increase. The major point that stands out, on which the Dáil will have to give a decision and on which the country must give a decision later, is whether or not there must be collected from the taxpayers and spent annually a sum of about £25,000,000. Does the Government consider that national policy must be developed along a line which demands the collection and spending of such a sum, or does the Government think that our affairs can be managed tolerably efficiently—because that is as much as you can get from the best of governments at the best of times—at a smaller sum than is being asked for? Can they manage in future at a smaller cost than the State is being asked to pay at present? Our feeling is that the cost must be reduced, because of conditions in the country. If Ministers were as closely in touch with conditions as some Deputies who go down the country every week, they would understand that there has been very little improvement in economic conditions in the past twelve months.

I am not one of those who have a pessimistic outlook, and I have no regard for people who say that everything is going to the bad and that there is no hope for the country. I do not accept that view at all. I have more faith in the people than to accept that doctrine. But I am putting forward my point of view, because I think we should try to face up to the conditions as we see them, and because I think we should try to face up to the conditions should be prepared to help those who will work to make them better.

We have no use for the man who tells us that there is no hope and that we should clear out of the country. While such a man is doing a national disservice, and perhaps doing a good deal to weaken the fibre of our people, instead of making them face their difficulties and overcome them, we will not be acting justly if we do not face up to the fact that conditions are not good. Even though the President tells our people, and people in other countries, that everything is going on very well here and that we have rounded the corner, and while, to some extent, it might be true to speak of the country in those terms, there are a great number of people in the country who I fear will not round the corner but fall by the wayside. When we meet those people and are taken to account, as we are sometimes, for the conduct of affairs in the legislature, we have to admit that the capacity of those people to meet Government expenditure is not improving.

The Government will be compelled to recognise the fact that a reduction in taxation is essential and must come. The Government sometimes urge, with some justification, that a reduction in taxation alone is not sufficient. I admit that a reduction in taxation is not sufficient and will not achieve all things. But when we remember that the money spent on national services must come from the people, we must admit that if we take less and leave more with them—even a couple of million pounds—the people will be somewhat better off and will have more hope. As far as I can see, our local authorities are making a supreme effort to reduce local taxation—an effort that is being applauded locally. But it seems to me that the Government, which should give the lead, should make a better effort than they are making. Why are they not making that effort? Do they argue that there is no room for a reduction and that come what may the services cannot be maintained for less? Is that their attitude? The President, and I think the Minister for Finance, publicly confessed that taxation was too high and would have to come down. If the point is made that services cannot be maintained for less, the Government must face up to the question: Are the services giving value for the money? They will have to recognise the fact that a poverty-stricken people cannot afford to have as good and as efficient services as people who are better off, because they cannot pay for them. The sum that the Government are asking this year is very little less than last year, and our hopes are dashed because there is not that reduction in the Estimates that there should be. Even if we take the point of view of the President and the Minister for Finance as to the conditions, we have to say that we do not approve of the Government policy.

It has been repeatedly urged on the Government that an examination of the financial position and of the administration was essential to satisfy the country that to run the machinery of the Government the sums that were demanded were necessary. If the Government's answer to me to-day is that the services cannot be run for less and that the country must face up to the position of having to contribute yearly approximately £25,000,000 for the machinery of government, I say that there must be an examination of that position by others. When its turn comes, no doubt, the country will pass judgment upon it. Some people might make demands for reductions that would be unreasonable, perhaps, from the point of view of the efficiency of the service, and unreasonable on account of the amount that would be saved by the reduction, but if the Government still stand by their view that there is no room for a reduction we must urge once more that they should appoint some committee, after consultation with the House, which will, if necessary, devote a period of twelve months to examining administration and policy and recommend where and how changes may be brought about which, while leaving the Governmental machine efficient, will, at the same time, cost the taxpayers a sum commensurate with their ability to pay.

I should like to reinforce Deputy Baxter's arguments with somewhat more detail than he presented. Let us consider first of all what is the effect of the procedure that the Government propose to adopt in dealing with the Estimates this year. Practically this is the only discussion that this Dáil will have on the Estimates. I am not one of those who decry the value of discussion on the Estimates. I rather gather from Deputy Baxter—I do not think he intended the suggestion—that there has not been much economy. There has been economy in the past, and a great deal of that economy has been due to discussion on the Estimates. Let us take, for instance, one of the features in the Army Vote. Last year Deputy Sir James Craig raised the question of the number of medical officers and the amount paid to medical officers. This year it has been found possible to reduce the number of medical officers by ten, at a saving of £6,000 a year. Then, again, the Farmers' Party raised the question on the amount spent last year on medicines for horses. This year this amount has been reduced from £1,450 to £320.

And it is still too high.

It is, possibly, still too high, and this is the only opportunity we have of discussing it. I have in the past raised the question of the extra pay to tradesmen in the Army. The numbers have been reduced from 2,750 to 2,158 within two years, and that has caused a saving of £30,000 a year to the taxpayer. These are some of the effects of the discussion on the Estimates. I moved a number of amendments last year. I see that in almost every case where I moved an amendment the expenditure has come down this year.

Do you think that that has anything to do with your amendments?

Not necessarily, but will the Minister say that the saving on army tradesmen has nothing to do with them? I am of opinion that although the Minister for Defence hardened his heart the Minister for Finance hardened his head. If the Minister for Finance says that discussion on the Estimates never makes for economy he is denying the opinions of his colleagues because we were always told, when we asked for a committee to be appointed to go into these matters, that when the Estimates were being considered was the time when you got a chance to enforce economy. The fact that amendments are moved to the Estimates is a very powerful factor, not only in securing economy in the departments, but in enabling the Minister for Finance to resist the demands of departments, and if the Estimates went through easily and without discussion the Minister for Finance would not be in as strong a position to oppose the demands of departments as he is to-day. This year there will be no discussion on the Estimates——

The Deputy is unduly pessimistic on that matter.

This year there will be a perfunctory discussion. There will be a discussion conducted in a new Dáil with many inexperienced Deputies. I am not always an optimist. No doubt other Deputies have assured themselves of an unopposed return. I have not. But there will be certainly some inexperienced Deputies, and, almost certainly, some inexperienced Ministers, possibly a whole crowd of inexperienced Ministers. The discussion will be conducted in the dog days, when everybody is worn out after the election campaign, and it will be condensed into three or four weeks, so that it is bound to be an unsatisfactory and perfunctory discussion. I want to bring forward one aspect of the case which I should prefer to deal with on each separate Estimate, but I will deal with it in general. That is, the increase in cost and in personnel in Government departments which is shown in almost every case under sub-head A of the Estimates. Let me say at once that I am not complaining that excessive salaries are being paid. I do not think that civil servants as a whole are over-paid, and I am quite confident that if you want to get good men you will have to pay them as much as they would be paid in commercial life, and that the responsibility of the secretary of a department is at least as great as that of the secretary of a railway company or the chief officer of a bank. I am not complaining of the salaries. If the Minister defends the salaries I will stand by it, but I am complaining of the numbers and the total cost.

I have had a survey made extending over the four years that this Dáil has been in existence, giving a comparison of the figures in the Estimates for 1923-4 and those in the present Estimates.

I had it made specially in relation to sub-head A, though in some cases salaries also come in under sub-head B, as in Education, and where that has happened I have brought them in as well. I find that some Departments have made substantial reductions on the sums they were spending in 1923-4. These figures deal with salaries only. The Stationery Office has reduced its expenditure from £28,000 to £24,024, a reduction of very nearly one-seventh. That is a very satisfactory reduction. The Department of Local Government has done even better. It has reduced its expenditure on staff from £102,000 to £85,000, and I have not heard any complaints that the work in the Department of Local Government is carried out with less efficiency than in the case of other Government departments. These are the two good boys. Now we come to the bad boys. To begin with, the cost of the Revenue Commissioners' staff has gone up very considerably, from £490,000 to £610,400. Of course the Minister will tell me, with perfect truth, that that is part of the price we must pay for protective tariffs, because the Revenue Commissioners have more work to do, and that is perfectly true.

To collect a diminishing revenue.

The cost of the staff of the Office of Works has gone up from £76,131 to £108,374, an increase of more than 25 per cent., and whereas it employed 193 persons four years ago it now employs 314 persons. That is the kind of process that ought to be changed. It is possible in every instance I give that a case can be made for these increases, as could undoubtedly be done in the case of the Revenue Commissioners, but I think it would need more investigation than we have been able to give it. The next case is that of the Department of Industry and Commerce, including unemployment insurance. Apparently the cost of the office of the Minister has decreased in this period, but I then discovered that the staffs dealing with unemployment insurance and unemployment exchanges were all included under other heads but in the earlier Estimate they were added to the cost of the Minister's Office, which was, I think, a fair thing to do. In 1923 it cost £180,000, and this year it is costing £225,496. The Office of the Minister for Education, including inspection, cost £99,846. This year it costs £152,500.

That is in relation to primary education. I have left secondary education out of consideration altogether because it was shown separately in the earlier Estimates. That is an increase of over 50 per cent., and yet the Department of Education does not appear to be performing very much greater functions than it did four years ago. The cost of the Land Commission has gone up from £159,839 to £264,088. There, of course, the Land Act of 1923 is, no doubt, largely responsible, and Deputy Redmond may be interested to hear that the cost of the Legal Branch of the Land Commission has gone up from £5,142 to £8,750. Most interesting of all is the Department of Lands and Agriculture. In 1923 the staff of that Ministry cost £149,708. That is deducting £10,000 for technical instruction, which has now been transferred to the Department of Education. It appeared at first that this particular sub-head A was only £112,000, but when I came to look at the Estimate in detail I found that all sorts of salaries that appeared under sub-head A in 1923 had been peppered down in the Estimates—E.1— Technical and Advisory Work in Agriculture, £7,033; E.2—Veterinary Research Work, £2,161; F.1 — Agricultural Schools and Farms, £13,821, though you can write off the Albert Agricultural College, because it has been transferred to the National University; F.3— Veterinary College, £4,849; G.1—Improvement of Flax Growing, £2,166; G.2 — Improvement of Milk Production, £4,148; I.—Special Schemes in Congested Districts, £15,445, which I am not sure should be included; M.1—Miscellaneous Works, £3,326; and N.1— Diseases of Animals Act, £7,906. These are all for salaries. All these things come to £173,357, as against £149,000 in 1923. Even if you take off the £15,000 for special schemes in the Congested Districts it is still £10,000 above what it was in 1923, and I have not included in these figures the cost of the Acts which have recently been passed, the Dairy Produce Act, the Live Stock Act, and the Agricultural Produce Act, but simply the functions that the Minister was exercising in 1923 and is exercising to-day, and which are costing £10,000 more to-day.

Leaving these details, which I fear have been rather wearisome to the Dáil, I suggest that the fact that we cannot examine in detail what may be called the overhead charges of the Government Department makes it likely that the discussion in future is likely to be perfunctory. A different situation exists from that in a normal year, so that the case for the appointment of a committee of inquiry, either a committee of the Dáil or an outside committee, is much stronger now, and it is essential that such committee should examine the figures and find out the reasons for the increase. There may, of course, be sound reasons for it. In view of the fact that a general election is impending, and in view of other circumstances, it is impossible for us to exercise our proper functions, so that there is a far stronger case now for the appointment of such committee even than there has been heretofore. I urge the committee to accept Deputy Baxter's suggestion.

I propose to vote for the amendment in so far as its object is a protest against the financial policy of the Government generally. My object in voting for it is entirely different from that mentioned by Deputy Baxter. In looking over the Estimates we find that there is a general net reduction of £2,280,000. In the first place, it is interesting to see how that reduction is made up. Take three items which may be regarded, more or less, as abnormal expenditure, namely, £1,190,000 for Property Losses Compensation, £300,000 for the Army, and £212,000 for Army Pensions, the latter, of course, being accounted for by the fact that last year we had to pay arrears. If you take these three items they bring the reduction to £1,704,000. Practically all the balance, with the exception of a few hundred pounds, is made up of a reduction in services which are calculated specially to give employment. We have, for instance, no Estimates this year for relief schemes. There was an Estimates last year of £50,000, but that was only the balance of a grant made the year before. In the Estimates for the Local Government Department there is a reduction in housing schemes and building grants of £80,000. Local Loans are reduced by £266,000—the portion which is used for Government grants for drainage purposes and grants to municipal authorities for carrying out works of improvement. In the Land Commission there is a reduction of £26,000 on the improvement of estates. In the Fisheries Department there is a reduction of £9,700 under the heading of fishery development and rural industries, although there is an increase in other branches of that department. Under the heading Public Works and Buildings, there is a decrease of £148,000. The total under these headings shows a decrease of £580,000.

It seems that the policy of the Government, as indicated by these decreases, is that when they set out to effect economies they effect them in those services which are calculated to give employment, and which, in my opinion, would be the most useful way in which money could be spent. That is only a continuation of the policy which was adopted last year, namely, that where there are economies in the normal expenditure they are effected in services best calculated to give general employment to the people. When this national Government was first set on its feet, so far back as 1919, it was declared to the world that it was the right of the citizen to demand of the nation an opportunity to work for an adequate reward. If an outsider examined the economic conditions of the State at present I do not think that he could fail to be struck by the fact that the greatest economic evil from which the country is suffering is shown by the emigration tables. A country from which its citizens are flying at the rate of 25,000 or 30,000 a year cannot be prosperous and, no matter what we hear about turning the corner, about improvements created by agricultural schemes and by the Dairy Produce and other Acts, while that stream goes on there can be nobody who will say that the country is prosperous or is in anything but a bad condition.

My principal criticism of the financial policy of the Government is that, so far as one can see, no effective steps have been, or are proposed to be, taken whereby that tide of emigration could be stemmed. So long as it goes on, let us not pretend that there is any real improvement in the conditions of the country. It is unnecessary to say that it is only the cream of the people who are emigrating. The energetic, the enterprising, the active and the healthy people are anxious to get away and, as a result, we are gradually building up here a C.3 nation. Worst of all, it is from those counties which are the cradle of our Gaelic race that the tide is heaviest, namely, the western seaboard counties. A year or two ago the Government set up a special Commission which at great expense examined the economic conditions of the western seaboard and, so far as I can see from these Estimates or from any statement made by the Government, no steps have been taken to give effect to any of the recommendations of that Commission. The principal recommendations, made after very careful investigation by that Commission, dealt almost entirely with the economic conditions of the people. The question of saving the Irish language was involved, but, I think, there can be no doubt in the mind of anybody interested in the question of saving the Irish language that it is mainly, if not entirely, an economic question. You may spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on the language movement and on scholarships and so forth, but if you do not take steps to better the economic conditions of the people in those areas there is no hope for the survival of the language.

A strange thing about the position in the West is that, apparently, it has now been discovered that under the British regime more care was taken for dealing with the special conditions which exist in the West than are being taken by our own Government. The general opinion of the people in the western area is confirmed in the report of the Commission when it is stated that the withdrawal of the Congested Districts Board and placing in the hands of ordinary Government Departments matters previously dealt with by the Board has been a serious drawback in many ways to the districts concerned. That opinion was fairly generally held before the Commission confirmed it in their report. The western areas may be regarded as the slum areas of the agricultural districts, and it is only special measures which do not fit in to the ordinary machinery of government of the country that can effectively deal with the special conditions existing in those areas.

As I say, it is from those areas that you have emigration. It is in those areas that employment is most needed, and the Government, in cutting down these services which were calculated to give employment—such as the improvement of estates under the Land Commission Vote, drainage schemes and other schemes which were provided for like those for fishery development and rural industries—have only added still more to the difficulties under which those areas suffer, and they have swelled the tide of emigration which must ensue as a result. We hear it stated that the credit of this country is good. It is good. There is no doubt of that, but, when I hear that, it reminds me of a man who has thousands of pounds in the bank while his children are starving. If the credit of the country is good, that credit should be used for the benefit of the people of the whole of the country, and the credit and resources of the country ought to be made available so that all the people can be guaranteed useful employment within their own land. Schemes of reclamation, of drainage, of afforestation, and other schemes of national development of that kind, ought to be instituted by the Government on a very much larger scale than has yet been attempted. It is only in that way, by using the credit and resources of the country, that we can ever hope to make the country prosperous. If people are leaving the country at the rate at which they have been leaving it, if 140,000 people are to go away within the next few years, what are we coming to, what state of prosperity do we expect to reach?

I do not agree at all with the general clamour "reduce expenditure" and "reduce taxation." What I am more concerned about is, how the money that is collected is spent and to what purpose it is spent. If new services are created and if old services are enlarged, that can only be done by the expenditure of money. If the money is expended to provide employment and enable the people to remain and live in the country, then it will be usefully employed. There is a clamour and a call for the reduction of taxation. In the minds of most people who call for it, in so far as it is defined at all, that means a reduction, say, in income tax. I cannot see that that is going to benefit the people in the country who are in the worst position. It may be argued, although it has never been proved to my satisfaction, that such a reduction would react favourably on the whole country. I certainly cannot see that any considerable reduction in income tax is going to improve, for instance, the position of the small agriculturist. If this amendment involved a substantial reduction, as was the proposal last year, I certainly would not support it, but the amount mentioned is small, insignificant and negligible, and in so far as it is a protest against the financial policy of the Government generally, I am prepared to vote for it.

I rise to support the amendment for the reason that it gives me an opportunity of entering my protest against the failure of the Government to make anything like adequate provision for the unemployed. It will be noted in the general reductions mentioned in this Vote on Account that these will eventually cause additional unemployment. The housing grants are reduced. That will mean that less houses will be built next year. There is nothing at all provided for relief schemes, and I also note with regret that the amount for unemployment insurance is also reduced. That being the case, it means, I suppose, that the Government must have something in their minds regarding alterations in the Unemployment Insurance Act for next year that will not be to the advantage of the unemployed. Speaking for Dublin only, there are, as we are all aware, many thousands registered for employment in the city. There is no means, however, of finding employment for them. They are told that they are not entitled to unemployment benefit unless they have at least twelve stamps on their insurance cards. There is a general complaint that an effort has been made, so far as relief work is concerned for these people, to see that they will never get the twelve stamps on their cards, and thus save the Unemployment Insurance Fund in the future. Many Deputies, as well as myself, must have had the experience of coming in contact with numbers of stalwart, able-bodied young men, most of them with families, clamouring for employment. They tell you that they cannot get work and that they are not getting unemployment benefit. Most of them came out of the Army without their cards being stamped. They cannot get unemployment benefit until their cards are stamped, and even then they only get a miserable pittance of one day's pay for every stamp on the card.

The House will note that the Unemployment Insurance Estimate is reduced for next year. That, I think, is very regrettable. I think the Minister ought to see his way to give some word of encouragement to the unemployed, and take this opportunity to indicate what his intentions are for the coming year. It will also be noted that further unemployment will be caused by the fact that the Estimate for Public Works and Buildings is considerably reduced. That means that those who are engaged on Government work, such as alterations, buildings, etc., will be put on the unemployed list when these works are completed. What puzzles me is, what is to become of these three or four hundred men when they are put on the unemployed list if no provision is made now in the Unemployment Insurance Fund to meet their cases. From the Estimate before us no provided sion whatever has been made for them. The Estimate is reduced this year. There was a resonable sum provided for relief grants last year, but there is no such provision being made this year. I support Deputy Baxter's amendment for the reason that it enables me to enter my protest against the failure of the Government to handle in anything like a reasonable form the conditions that prevail in Dublin to-day regarding the problem of unemployment.

We often hear Deputy Baxter as a critic in this House. Listening to him to-day, and remembering his criticism on former occasions, we must ask ourselves what has brought about the great change. Formerly we were told that the country was heading for disaster and that we had a dark future in front of us. Those who painted the picture in those colours always found that Deputy Baxter had a darker colour to add than anybody else, but to-day he is not in the role of the sad pessimist; he is full of hope. Accordingly his position was extremely difficult, and it needed a man with the courage of Deputy Baxter to put down a motion at all. That also accounted for the fact that he said nothing about details. He spoke about taxation, but he kept off the items. We all know the reason why. There are some very large items and the Deputy knows that they cannot be reduced. He did not ask to have any of them reduced. Taking some of the larger items, Deputy Baxter did not ask, for instance, that the Old Age Pensions Estimate should be reduced. He knows that it could not be reduced any further, and he knows that it accounts for a considerable share of the millions he spoke of. He did not suggest that the cost of education should be reduced—another very large item. The Government is asking for the sum of £600,000 to increase the Agricultural Grant, but the Deputy did not suggest for a moment that a penny of that should not be given.

Take your chance of reducing that any time you like.

Wait until a Farmers' Government comes in.

That will be a good while.

The Deputy said that the farmers had to pay taxes plus annuities, and he found a grievance in that. But when they had a pay taxes plus rent, they had to pay a great deal more, because the annuities are from 30 to 40 per cent. less than what the rents used to be. The Deputy did not give the Government credit for the great reduction in the Army and in other Departments. He omitted to mention the fact that in one Department alone, the Post Office, there has been a reduction of from four to six hundred thousand pounds during the last few years.

What is the total reduction in that department?

It is a very large item.

Look at the estimate and see.

It has been made at the expense of the rural community.

We are talking of reductions, and I am pointing to reductions that have been effected. The Deputy did not question the Government's financial policy during the last few years, because if he had done so he would have found himself in that matter up against general opinion in this State and outside it. That opinion is that the Government have shown remarkable courage in its policy generally. Take the case of the Shannon scheme. It is admitted in commercial and engineering circles, not alone in Ireland but outside of it, that it is one of the boldest schemes introduced by any Government in Europe or elsewhere. The Deputy did not suggest either that the £2,000,000 to be given to finance the sugar beet scheme should be reduced.

£3,000,000.

You cannot discuss that scheme under this.

Deputy Sears is quite in order. The Standing Orders apply all round, even to the members of the majority party.

That is a scheme that the country has approved of. Then we have the case of the co-operative creameries, on which money is to be expended. The Deputy put down his motion and spoke to it in a half-hearted way. I call it half-hearted, because he did not speak to it in the energetic or full-hearted way in which he supported other motions in which he fully believed. The whole policy of the Government is built on those fine schemes on the one hand and on economy on the other hand. I come from a county and province that I think has been a little neglected. I hope that the Government that has been so generous in dealing with other provinces will not forget the poorest province of all. We read about the Shannon scheme, about the sugar beet scheme, about the Barrow drainage scheme, and about the scheme for co-operative creameries. We approve of all these schemes and say they are good; they are great national schemes, and we vote for them, and what we say to ourselves is: "When will the turn of the poorest province of all come?"

After the elections?

What to do with the congested districts is undoubtedly a big problem. Undoubtedly the Government proceeded on the right lines when it appointed a Commission. It appointed the Gaeltacht Commission, and that Commission has made a report. The report may be divided into two parts, one dealing with the language side of the question, and the other with the economic side. I wish to speak about the economic side. Most of the people in this Dáil have only a slight knowledge of the poor situation in which the bulk of the people in Connaught are at the present moment. If farming is depressed in other provinces we know that the farms in the other provinces are larger, and contain much better land. It would take three or four farms in the West to make one farm in the East, in the matter of size. When you take into consideration the fact that the land is inferior, you have an idea of the terrible struggle those poor people have. The work of dividing the ranches is going on, but there is not enough land for the people there. I hope the Government will tell us what policy they have for the other people. The land, when divided, will satisfy a certain proportion of the small-holders, let us say one-third of them. What is going to happen to the two-thirds? Many of them will be worse, because they will see the other people have got something, that they have a chance of rearing their families in decency, but that there is nothing for them. I say that is a very serious situation.

I understand that the Government are considering, at the present moment, the findings of the Gaeltacht Commission, and I would urge them to go very fully into the matter and realise the seriousness and gravity of the whole position in the West of Ireland. I know one parish in the West from which 1,400 people go every year to Scotland or England to earn a living, and they come back to the parish again. That is a very hard lot on the part of those people. Generally they are in a bad way. The small towns are in a bad way. Many people in the towns of Mayo, this year, would have a difficulty in avoiding bankruptcy but for the generosity of their relatives in America. Fifty thousand pounds came to Mayo from the exiled children of the people this Christmas, and that saved the little shops. The people in Mayo are greatly indebted to these generous people in America, but it is a poor way to live. The Gaeltacht Commission has suggested one remedy for the evil of the West. The Government, I hope, will either adopt that way or suggest a way of their own. There are idle people in the towns and villages. Work should be found for them. We have a great market in Ireland. I dare say there are several hundred factories in England that are kept going by the demand for their goods in Ireland. It should not be without the wit of statesmanship to have that work done in Ireland, to have such factories as are now busy in England making goods for the Irish market in our towns and to have the wages provided by these factories circulated in the country. It should not be an impossible task to make that change. Other countries have done it, and their example might be followed in this country. On the whole, I think the Government have done well, and I must vote against Deputy Baxter's amendment.

A Vote on Account gives the Dáil an opportunity of examining how far the policy of the Government is in accord with the needs of the people of the country, and how far the resources of the country have to be stretched to meet the expenditure. Deputy Sear's principal fault with Deputy Baxter was that he did not enumerate, sufficiently, where savings might be made, that he did not say the savings might be made here or savings might be made there. My support of Deputy Baxter's motion is not because of the expenditure, but because of the method of expenditure— how the money is going to be employed —and I think I cannot do better than start at the head of the White Paper that is supplied to us, and point out to Deputy Sears that there is a proposition there for the expenditure of an amount on account of £2,200 for the Governor-General's establishment. One might be prepared to reconcile such expenditure with his conscience if that was the total estimate, but when one finds that public money will be voted for that institution under the Office of Public Works and Buildings, rates on Government property, Stationery Office, etc., one must come to the conclusion that really this establishment is a very expensive one, and when I look down the list and find that there is no vote for the relief of unemployment I am forced to the conclusion that the dignity of the office seems to be more important to the Government than the dignity of the people from whom the dignity of that office springs. We are not asking to maintain any reflected dignity in the 50,000 unemployed who are to-day in the State, or their dependents. We are asking that the Government would make some allowance to preserve the lives of the people which may be— dignity notwithstanding—of greater importance to the State and perhaps of greater importance to humanity. And might I suggest to the Government that there is a dignity in self-sacrifice and that even the office of the Governor-General might receive a certain amount of increased dignity by practising self-sacrifice at the top.

We are also asked to vote £725,000, on account, for the dignity of an Army. Possibly that expenditure could also be defended if we were sure what the Army is going to be employed on, if we could assure ourselves that this Army is going to be employed, as every other National Army is, for the defence of the country. That is probably the sentiment in the Army, but we must pass away from the sentiment in the Army to the policy, as expressed by the Government. Individual soldiers when joining the Army made a declaration such as this:

"I further solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to our country and faithfully serve and defend her against all her enemies."

No doubt, the ordinary soldier understood that that was all he was to be employed for; that that was the end of his obligations and the end of his engagement. But a member of the Executive Council, and a Minister responsible for the administration of foreign policy, tells us in a statement made in this Dáil:

"We need not blink the fact that it is quite possible, in the event of a general attack on these islands—it is perfectly obvious—our Army must co-operate with the British Army."

I have tried to reconcile the declaration that the ordinary soldier makes on joining the Army with that statement of policy on the part of the Minister responsible to the Dáil and responsible to the country for his statement, and I have failed to reconcile the two. We are not likely to be attacked, we are told, in this island because of any desire on the part of any foreign power to take possession of this island. We are only likely to be attacked because this island may prove a jumping-off ground to attack a neighbouring island. Well, sir, we are asked to vote £725,000, on account, to make ourselves a frontline trench to defend the shores of another country, because this is actually what it amounts to.

We were told by another Minister, a member of the Executive Council, a Minister who has been described in this House as the steward of the finances of the country, that if we did not maintain an Army in this country it would be garrisoned by an English army; we would find ourselves in the vortex of war if England was attacked. I remember when this country was garrisoned by 100,000 British soldiers, when England was in the throes of war, and was attacked from the air and from the sea and not a cup or a saucer was broken in this island by any enemies of England. Therefore, the argument that if we do not maintain an Army here other people will maintain an Army for us is scarcely one that can be sustained. We were told by the Minister for Justice that wars are not governed by the application of two-foot rules, but I have a hazy idea that most wars are due to the machinations of the "Square and Compass," and that, probably, a good part of the arrangements made before such wars are also arranged by the same machinations. In order to make this country the cockpit of wars waged against England we are asked to spend £725,000 of the taxpayers' money. We want to have this country, or its towns and cities sacked, the country devastated for the sake of saying to the world that it is inconceivable that we should ever find ourselves except on the side of England. In this Vote on Account also we are endeavouring to make ourselves responsible for such ornamental addenda as the League of Nations.

If we were in a position to afford it, possibly there would be a defence for it, but I cannot recollect one instance in which this country got any advantage by being a member of the League of Nations. I cannot imagine any advantage that will accrue to this country except that it will, perhaps, afford members of the Government an opportunity of trying their pidgin French wherever these meetings are held on the Continent.

In the matter of agriculture, it is just as well that we should try to find out what is the policy of the Minister for Lands and Agriculture relative to this extreme depression existing in the agricultural districts. I come from a purely agricultural area. Others and I have endeavoured to put before the Minister the necessity of making suitable provision for the relief of distress in Co. Clare. Yet when my colleague yesterday asked for time to make clear to the House the position in that area, he did not get sufficient opportunity. I will give the Dáil an example of the distress prevailing amongst the agricultural community in the country. I will quote only one instance, but that will show the necessity for the taking of immediate action by the Minister. I find no statement in the Estimates touching on such relief on the part of the Minister. I will mention the case of a woman whose stock were swept away—ten milch cows, eleven other head of stock, and two horses—and no later than a couple of days ago I was told no provision could be made for the relief of distress in that case. We can afford to spend money on an ornamental Army, an ornamental League of Nations, and an ornamental Governor-General's establishment. The country seems to be based on ornaments, and the sooner we get rid of the ornamental trappings and the sooner the country gets down to facts, probably the better.

What are the miscellaneous expenses that are mentioned here? I wonder are we going to have another thousand pounds for the Abbey Theatre? I wonder if the "mist that does be on the bogs and on the hills" has left those places and developed amongst the members of the Executive Council to such an extent that they are going to subsidise a theatre for propagating a kind of speech never heard before on sea or land? I suggest to the Minister for Finance that if that item is included amongst miscellaneous expenses, it is an item he might, with some benefit to the country, drop.

Is that Deputy Johnson's opinion?

I am not responsible for anybody's opinions except my own, and I will express my opinions no matter who agrees or disagrees with them. There are many other items in this that I would like to go into more fully. At the outset I said I was opposing the motion not because of the expenditure, but because of the methods by which it is proposed to expend the money. The Government will probably be able to account for the expenditure.

Deputy Sears suggested such things as the starting of factories. I was forcibly struck with the idea that, in the Defence Forces Bill, there is an opportunity given to the Army authorities to set up a factory for the manufacture of equipment and the manufacture of clothing. The Minister for Defence is here, and I am sure he will be able to tell us how much clothing that factory that he has power to establish could turn out. I am sure he could tell us how far it would advance in the manufacture of equipment and clothing. These are matters that might be attended to with some success. When we come to deal with the Estimates in detail probably we will have time to go into them at greater length and discuss the idiosyncrasies of the Department of Finance.

I am sure Deputies on these Benches, as well as the members of the Farmers' Party and others who have spoken, recognise the absolute necessity for a reduction of taxation in the Free State. I would appreciate Deputy Baxter's amendment much more if he and the others who have spoken gave a little sound advice, both in this House and through the country, to the people who were the cause of all the trouble. Very many millions have to be spent at the present time, not on unemployment, but to protect the country against its own people. I did not hear any advice given on that subject. If any agreement could be arrived at on that matter the millions that are being spent on the Army and the Gárda Síochána could be spent on unemployment.

I am in complete agreement as to the necessity for the reduction of taxation, but I am satisfied that the Government are doing their best in that matter. At the same time, I hope that the Minister, when introducing his Budget, will put as large a sum as possible to capital expenditure, and I hope he may be able to reduce the income tax along with other taxation.

Deputy O'Connell stated that he did not see why income tax should be reduced. Anybody who understands what income tax is, is perfectly aware that it prevents industries being started in the country and, therefore, creates unemployment. I believe that all the Deputies on these Benches are as anxious for a reduction of taxation as any other Deputies here. The Government have, under the most difficult circumstances, and without any help, made much headway. The attack made by Deputies on the Farmers' Benches and by other Deputies is unfair when they leave out the real cause of the trouble.

What was the cause?

We would like to know what the cause was.

Were it not for that the country would have saved millions. We have two armies in a country where there should only be one.

Are we responsible for that?

Well, you have not advised them.

Will they accept our advice?

You did not try; you did not give them the chance.

We never sowed seeds.

I have nothing further to say beyond that I am in complete agreement that it is a matter of necessity to reduce taxation. I am satisfied the Government intend to do it. They have even reduced the Estimates by £2,000,000. I hope the Minister will follow my advice, and I trust that we will have a reduction in both income tax and taxation.

I welcome a resolution of this kind, because it gives us in this House an opportunity of seeing ourselves as other people see us. There were many things Deputy Baxter said that I am not in agreement with; but there was one thing he referred to that I am in agreement with. He stated that this State of ours—this Government of ours, if you like to be more particular —was modelled on too expensive lines. That is a matter on which I have expressed opinions on more than one occasion. The Government, as we find it to-day, is set up for the purpose of governing some four millions of people. That Government is organised on, and follows the lines of, a Government that is functioning to-day and governing some forty-four millions of people. I have never been able to understand why it is essential we should follow the lines of the British Government in forming our own Government. We are, as I say, only in the relation of four to forty-four millions. Let me illustrate the point I have in view by a practical reference. Some of you have had the privilege of going over the much-discussed scheme known as the Shannon scheme. I had the privilege of being over it some months ago. What struck me about that scheme was the wonderful mechanical equipment.

That was interesting to me, as one having some knowledge of the operations that were being carried on there. In addition to that huge mechanical equipment one saw electrical equipment of the most up-to-date kind spread all over the area. That is all absolutely essential for the economical carrying out of a work of that magnitude.

Now, let us take a very much smaller work; let us take, if you like, the illustration of the sugar beet factory. Most of you have been over that factory. It bears much the same relation in figures to the Shannon scheme as this country bears from the point of population to Great Britain. As you go over the sugar beet factory you do not see that huge mechanical equipment, that huge electrical equipment, so noticeable on the Shannon scheme. The equipment for that particular work was in due proportion to the magnitude of the work. If those contractors had decided to lay down mechanical equipment in Carlow of the character we saw on the Shannon scheme, of course we would all naturally say that it was a very undesirable expenditure. That is exactly what I have in mind when I say that our Government is set up on too expensive a scale.

We have a huge number of departments, ministries, secretaries, and staffs. I am not very experienced in the art of government, but I am satisfied from the knowledge I have of it that there is room for considerable economies in the reformation and re-organisation of our methods. In saying that, I would like to add that our Government is in no way responsible for the form of government which we find ourselves working under to-day. It was a form of government carried on by Great Britain. It was handed over to our Government and to our State. I should like to see an inquiry into our whole system and method of government. Deputies will say that that is impossible, that you cannot get it done. But I am not satisfied that it is an impossible task. I am not satisfied that it is a thing which should not be taken in hands. Even if we fail, we will have made an effort to effect that economy in government that the people of the State are calling for. Until that step is taken by our Government, and until thorough inquiry is made into the methods and the departments of government by a committee in whom our people will have confidence, you will have this question cropping up year after year when these Estimates come forward for consideration.

When we talk of lightening the burden of taxation, we talk upon a subject on which all Parties in this House are, I think, in agreement. I am sure that if we were to know the minds of the members of the Government Party they would be just as enthusiastic as regards reduction of the burden of taxation as we on the other Benches are. When we come to discuss the particular taxes in respect of which it is desirable to lighten the burden, we will, of course, differ. But I agree with Deputy Shaw that it is eminently desirable, when we talk of reductions, to consider the question of income tax. I do not know any tax, amongst the many taxes in our State, that has the same ramifications that income tax has. I do not know any tax the lightening of which would do more to throw that enthusiasm into industry which is so necessary to-day. If we could get that enthusiasm into industry, we could do a great deal towards solving the problem of unemployment which it seems hopeless to deal with otherwise. Those of us who are engaged in industry know the difficulty that exists, in view of the past history of the country, in getting capital to flow into industry. What will do more to encourage that capital to flow into this country than the reduction of income tax to a markedly lower level than obtains in the sister island? Therefore, I say that, considering its ramifications, the lightening of that tax will do more to solve the many problems we are faced with to-day than any other reduction that one could suggest.

As we are on this question of reduction of taxation, I should like to direct attention to one other tax which I should like to see removed—that is the Corporation Profits Tax. I know of no tax that is more inequitable than that particular tax. It is one of the relics we have of the war taxes. It only existed for a short time in the sister island and each Chancellor of the Exchequer, when his attention was drawn to the incidence of the tax, agreed, without a moment's hesitation, that it was one of the first taxes that should be removed. That tax, I am sorry to say, still remains, in part, in this country. It is true the burden of it has been lightened by raising the level, but that does not make the tax one bit more acceptable or one whit more justifiable. I hope that this year our Minister will see his way to wipe out that inequitable tax. We might also help our citizens to a considerable extent by removing the anomalies that exist in the allowances given in respect of income tax. Those who have gone into those figures, as I have, know that there are certain anomalies that ought to be inquired into and adjusted. They would not amount, in the gross total, to a great deal, but the relief that would be given would be widespread.

Deputy Sears referred to-day to the land policy of the Government, and the desirability of its extension in the West of Ireland. I have discussed this question of land policy with several well-known people in the West of Ireland. Their view is that the conditions we find in the West to-day have been largely accentuated by our land policy. The taking of the land from the landlords—and by landlords we knew some of the best old families who were associated for generations with this country—has led to these people leaving the country and to the land being divided amongst a number of tenants. These tenants have neither the knowledge nor the capital to work the land, with the result that, in many cases, they are clamouring for the return of the people who gave them employment and assistance in the past.

Would the Deputy tell us where he got that information?

What county does the Deputy refer to?

Is the Deputy aware that the whole cause of the trouble is that the people have not got land? They are clamouring for land and not for landlords.

I expected some such interruption and I brought with me a letter which I received a little while ago from a well-known landowner in the Midlands. He writes as follows:—

"In March, 1925, the Land Commission took over from me about 700 acres, 100 of which is bog, which I previously farmed myself. This meant that I parted with 10 of my permanent staff. The Commissioners divided the land into lots containing from 6 to 20 acres apiece. Eight of my former employees were offered portions. Some of them have begged for re-employment, stating they could not live on the land. I was there on Friday and found that three of them have sold their interest in the lots. Another is trying to sell his. Some of them will get along all right, I think. The land is almost all in grass, and I am informed that a considerable portion of the stock on it belongs to shopkeepers in the neighbouring town. A number of newly erected dividing fences have collapsed."

He winds up with these remarkable words:

"I fail to see how this sort of division of land is going to benefit the country."

I only desire to add that we should hasten slowly with any policy which drives people with capital, who have been associated with this country for so many years, from those homes they have so long inhabited.

I very seldom agree either with Deputy Good or with Deputy Shaw, so, on this occasion, I enjoy the rare pleasure of finding myself at one with those two Deputies with regard to their expression of desire for a more economic Government. I could wish, however, that Deputy Good had expressed that view, and voted according to it, in December, 1925. We hear about the overlapping of services and the costly duplication of public offices, but we have, in a little island with a population of 4,000,000, two Governments, two judiciaries, two sets duplicating everything. The machinery by which that duality could eventually have been removed was sacrificed by the Executive Council, with the approval, recorded by his vote, of Deputy Good.

Deputy Shaw complains about the income tax; so does Deputy Good. Deputy Shaw's remedy is to secure stability in the country. I believe he is right. "We require to get capital to flow in"—I think those are the words of Deputy Good—and capital, as has been said so often, is notoriously a shy bird. Capital will not flow into any country where the conditions are not conditions of stability. Deputy Shaw knows as well as I do that from the hour at which the "cease fire" order was given we could have all the makings of stable government without dread of armed insurrection later if the representatives elected by the constituencies were provided with the opportunity of coming here to serve the constituencies that returned them. Deputy Shaw, as a member for a constituency in the West, must be well aware of the feeling of his own constituency. I was there quite recently and had an opportunity of informing myself of what the people think.

Yes, with forty of an audience.

Has Deputy Shaw any other interruption to make before I go on? We had an Imperial Conference recently at which it was declared that the Irish Free State is a co-equal member of the British Commonwealth, and so anxious were those statesmen of Empire to convince the public of that fact that it was quite feasible for our Minister for External Affairs to secure from them the declaration that that formula which was imposed under the Constitution is no longer requisite, if for no other reason than that it is the direct negation of co-equality. The sister country, as Deputy Good facetiously calls Great Britain, imposes upon this legislature, and entrance to it of elected representatives of the people, subscription to a formula. Unless the elected representative of a constituency subscribe that formula he will not be allowed to serve his electors in this House. That could have been removed quite easily by proper representations from the Ministers who were representing this country at the Imperial Conference. Anyone who knows anything about the state of feeling in the country must be well aware that so long as a large percentage of Deputies are refused admission to this House because of a formula which is out of date——

Is this in order?

I submit, sir, that I am perfectly in order. This is an act of omission on the part of the Minister for External Affairs, and Deputy Shaw distinctly introduced the question of stabilisation of peace and its influence upon the possibility of reducing expenditure. There is the same rule for members on this side of the House as there is for those of the Government Party. I know very well that the President does not like me to continue on this line. It makes him uncomfortable — it stirs his guilty conscience.

I can quite understand your difficulty in ruling a member of your own Party out of order, but I ask for a ruling on the subject.

I really must protest against the expression that has been used by the President to you in the Chair. The President has put to you a point of order about a Deputy in this House, and he has referred to him as "a member of your Party." I say that is casting a reflection on the Chair unworthy of any Deputy, and especially the leader of the House.

He should withdraw.

As regards the point of order, discussions on motions of this kind are pretty wide, but the question of the constitution of the House is regulated by an Act of the Dáil, and it would require an Act of the Oireachtas to change it.

I think, as a matter of good taste, the President should withdraw the remark he has made. The Leas-Cheann Comhairle was put in the Chair by the President's Party, and has sat in the Chair with the confidence of the majority of the House, and that remark should not be made.

Might I remind the Deputy that it was made a rule last year that no matter which required legislation could be discussed on the Estimates. We are discussing a Vote on Account — the Estimates, in other words. I asked was the Deputy in order.

You did not ask that.

I beg your pardon. I am speaking to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I put it to him, was it in order?

You asked was a member of his Party in order.

I asked first was it in order.

Do you deny the words you used?

I think we can allow the matter to rest there.

I think it is not fair to the Chair, apart from your being in the Chair. I think the disrespect offered by the President to the Chair should be withdrawn.

The Leas-Cheann Comhairle can say himself whether I raised it as a point of order in the first instance.

You said: "I can understand your difficulty in ruling out a member of your own Party."

As regards my position here, the very fact of Deputy Magennis and myself being politically associated would make me all the more anxious to rule him out of order if I thought it right. I have tried, as far as I can, to be fair and impartial to all members. There is no man perfect—any man is liable to make a mistake, but I have done my best. We want good-will amongst all the Parties in the House, and I think I can say that this House has conducted its business in an excellent way—far ahead of many Houses of Parliament that were established long before this Assembly.

I come to the Vote for the President of the Executive Council, to let the other incident pass as a further addition to the examples of the President's manners. I promised that I would raise the question of the President's disregard of the treatment of a citizen of the Free State in connection with his business across the Border. When I asked a question as to what steps, if any, the President had taken in the matter, following his usual procedure and insolence, he suggested that I had no authority from the citizen in question.

resumed the Chair.

On a point of explanation. Yesterday, or the day before, the Deputy asked me a question and I asked him was he authorised to ask that question. He has now suggested quite a different meaning to what actually was the case.

The implication in asking that question was——

How do we come to be discussing a detail like this on a Vote on Account? In what way does a particular question of this kind arise now?

I understood that the policy of the particular Department for which the vote is taken is subject to review on this occasion. If it is not, I submit to your ruling and subside.

I think the policy of a particular Department, as illustrated by a particular instance, is hardly under review. What is under review is general Government financial policy and matters of general import, not matters which might be raised in detail on consideration of the Estimates. That was emphasised at the very beginning. The obvious objection to the raising of specific matters dealing with each vote is that there are over 60 votes and over 100 Deputies, and that it would be impossible to allow the same latitude to each Deputy. Manifestly, therefore, some rule must be enforced which would allow to every Deputy the same fair play. I did not hear the beginning of Deputy Magennis's statement on this particular matter, but I think that to raise a grievance—if I may call it so, without worrying about a particular word— arising out of an answer to a question, obviously opens up quite a number of details which could not possibly be gone into.

The question I was about to raise, and it would be well to have your ruling on it, is what I call a dereliction of duty on the part of the President in refusing to move, at the instance of a citizen of the Free State, to have his property protected from destruction and loss. If I am not at liberty to deal with that, of course I shall pass on. Do I understand you, sir, to rule in that way?

How can the Deputy deal with that as a matter of policy?

What I respectfully submit is that the conduct of the President of the Executive Council in leaving a citizen without the defence that a citizen is entitled to look for from his own Government when he is being victimised by another Government, is a fair matter for criticism on a vote for the President's Department.

I think it is a matter which could be raised in the House; an occasion for raising it could be found; but I think this is not the occasion, because it is a particular matter and a great number of similar matters could be raised. If the Deputy wants to raise a question on a particular matter an occasion could be found, but I think this occasion is not the right one.

I was conscious that the strictly proper occasion would be on the Estimates, but inasmuch as the Estimates are postponed, it seemed to me that this provided an opportunity. However, I will pass away from that.

If the Chair were to agree that the fact that the Estimates are not being discussed, and are not likely to be discussed, by this House should enable Deputies to raise questions now on matters that would properly arise on the Estimates, we would, of course, enter into an Estimates' discussion. Deputy Magennis will realise that fully himself. I think, apart from the Estimates, an opportunity could be found for this.

Is it not a fact that Deputy Magennis could raise this matter on Vote 3 for the Department of the President of the Executive Council?

I am afraid that is the matter we have decided.

I was very much interested in the speech of Deputy Sears. I should have thought that from him, if not from a Minister of the Executive Council, we would have had an authoritative exposition of Government policy. Strangely enough, he appears to be as ignorant as to what is the Government policy as I am. I hope the Government will tell us what policy they have for our people. I am sorry Deputy Sears is not here. In another connection, that of the Gaeltacht Commission's Report, he hopes the Government will find a solution that way—the way recommended by the Report—or some other way. That does not display very much confidence in the ability of the Government to find a solution for pressing national problems. So that his failure to make an act of faith in the practical wisdom of his own leaders is on a par with his ignorance of what exactly they intend by way of policy.

He commended two things in connection with the Government's expenditure, the Shannon scheme and the sugar beet subsidy. He apparently forgets that commendation of the Shannon scheme is essential, and, as regards the subsidy for sugar beet, he does not seem to be aware of the recent disclosures. It may be within the recollection of the House that when the proposal to establish the sugar industry in the Free State was before the Dáil it was strongly insisted, as against my proposition to have two factories set up by means of a subsidy, that the country could afford only one, and that, it alleged repeatedly, was by way of experiment. And yet, within a few months of these declarations, the subsidy was increased. What I, in common with those who were pressing this aspect of the beet industry upon the Government, feared in the case of the setting up of only one factory was that it might be on too small a scale to give the new project a chance of that success which we knew was bound to come to a factory of the proper dimensions. Now, the original factory is on a large scale. The subsidy is on a large scale. What is the result? It excludes the competition that would be possible if another factory had been set up in another district. Does the President wish to interrupt me?

On a point of order. I notice that we are not asked to vote any money for the beet sugar subsidy, and, therefore, I wish to know if it is in order to discuss it at this stage?

General policy.

That point was raised. Strictly speaking, it is not in order, but, as was decided at the opening of the discussion, in so far as it is a question of policy it can be discussed.

Deputy Sears went into it, and that is why I took notice of it. Deputy Esmonde is correct to this extent, that the vote for the purpose is nil. We have a vote for the Tariff Commission. Another of the topics upon which Deputy Sears was cheerful was unemployment and the lack of hope for people in the west. That I interpreted to be as distant and as timid a reference as the Chairman of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party dared make to the policy of the Executive Council. The Tariff Commission, constituted of civil servants, has been set up. Would it be in order to discuss it? I am afraid it would not.

I think that Deputy Sears' timidity was due to the fact that he felt that tariffs would be more suitable for the Budget speech and that he thought an expression of opinion might come from the Chair to that effect. The question of the imposition of tariffs generally will arise on the Budget and on more than one occasion in connection with the Budget.

There are only two other topics to which I wish to refer. I would have had something to say about the National Gallery but I leave that for later. Then there is the Office of the Minister for Fisheries, £17,000. Since the last time that we had an opportunity of discussing that department, which is so necessary for the development of the State, a step has been taken to create another central market. But the speeding-up process is very slow, and as yet we have no prospects of a subsidy or grant-in-aid for transport purposes, to facilitate the distribution of the fishermen's catches. I think that it would be useful to awaken the Minister for Finance to the needs of his colleague, and I utilise this opportunity to do so. The Office of the Minister for External Affairs presents so many points of attack, that I think I had better leave it for the Budget also.

I support this motion, but in doing so I want it to be clearly understood that I am not asking for a reduction in expenditure that would lead towards a further reduction in the purchasing power of the community. I take the view that in many of the departments of the State too much money is made available for the administration side, and too little for the development side. There is no more glaring instance of that than in the case of the Department of Fisheries. I want it to be clearly understood that I do not stand for the abolition of that department, but if it is to serve the purpose for which it was established the Government will have to give more money for the development of that national service. We had two remarkable speeches made this evening—one by Deputy Shaw, who accused the members of all parties except his own of not having done enough in his own little way to cool the temperatures of the people who are outside, and who, in his opinion, have been responsible for imposing a good deal of taxation on the State which it should not in normal circumstances be called upon to bear. Speaking for myself, I do not think that I have any mission in that direction. We had, on the other hand, Deputy Good proclaiming his hostility to the operation of the Land Act on the ground that it was driving people out of the country who would remain and render service to its citizens if the Act was not put into operation and their land taken from them. I hold the view—and this is in answer to Deputy Shaw and Deputy Good—that there is enough room in this small country for every Irishman who has a proper Irish outlook, and who can, in his own little way, help his own country if he wants to do so. I say that to the public representatives who are outside this House, and they should regard this country and its future as greater than themselves as individuals.

We heard from Deputy O'Connell particulars of reductions in the amounts for development works in different votes. It is true that we have a few votes in which increases are provided. For instance, the Old Age Pensions Vote had been increased from £2,597,300 to £2,627,300. I take that as meaning that the Minister will announce in his Budget statement that he is restoring the shilling and that he will apologise to the public for having cut the shilling off the aged poor.

It means that there will be fifty-three pay days next year instead of fifty-two, which is the usual number.

We will wait and see.

That has exploded that.

We are now supposed to have received information for which we might otherwise have to wait until April 20th. I agree with Deputy Baxter that the taxation imposed should have some bearing on the capacity of the people to pay. I believe that the country is not in that rosy and ideal condition of which Deputy Sears speaks, and I am forced to take that view by a study of the statistics that are available. This is an agricultural country, and I thought it was the aim and the intention of the Government, when it passed the Land Act of 1923, to make provision for a greater number of Irish citizens to live in this country, rather than to continue the policy of sending out the bullocks as well as the young men. From the statistics with regard to agriculture I find that from 1922 to 1926 there has been a reduction of 218,000 acres of land under tillage. If tillage farming is paying why should the people go out of tillage and allow the land to go into grass? If you had that 218,000 acres under tillage instead of under grass, how many more citizens would it provide employment for? I believe that in the ordinary course with that acreage under tillage it would provide all round the year employment for about 10,000 people. That may be an exaggerated estimate. It is merely a rough one.

A fortnight ago I saw the Government programme of legislation which was submitted by the President to Deputy Johnson, and I was delighted to see under it that provision was made for the introduction of a Bill for the drainage of the River Barrow. I took that as an indication to start the real work ment's intention to start the real work of drainage this year. But when I received the Estimates I found that only a small additional sum is provided for this year's work, for preliminary work similar to that in progress for the last five or six months. Last year £20,000 was provided for preliminary work, and this year there is a sum of £75,000 for the continuation of the same work. That is a clear indication, if we had no other, that the Government does not really intend to start that work this year. I had hoped when I heard the Minister asking for leave to introduce the Bill yesterday evening that we would have had it in our hands to-day, and that I would now be in a better position to know what the Government's intentions really are in this direction.

I will hold my own view as to what the Government means by introducing that Bill but not making provision for carrying out the work for which it will provide.

Wait until you see the Bill.

Now as to arterial drainage, last year there was a sum of £15,000 provided for in connection with work under the Act of 1925. Notwithstanding the fact that the Act was passed two years ago and that there has been almost 400 schemes submitted by the county councils in connection with work to be carried out under that Act, the Government only make provision for £50,000 for such work during the coming financial year. In one of the counties of my constituency seven schemes were submitted, but in only one case has the preliminary inspection work been carried out, and it is doubtful whether the actual work in connection with that scheme will ever be undertaken. When the Bill was before the House I took the view that it was one of the most important measures that could be submitted, and that it would lead to the employment of a greater number of men in rural Ireland than any other Government measure. I do not see what can be done with the limited sum of £50,000 provided for in the Estimate. I think I raised the question some time ago with the Minister for Finance as to why a greater number of engineers was not being employed on arterial drainage work, and the Minister expressed the view that there was not a sufficient number of qualified engineers in this country to enable them to undertake the work with any greater effect than they were doing. Studying the Estimates and looking at the salaries provided for the payment of engineers, one is amazed to find that qualified engineers are asked to work for £200 a year. I am not surprised that the Minister cannot find men for such work when he is only prepared to pay qualified engineers a miserable pittance of £200 a year. I hope he will reconsider the position from that point of view and see the advisability of paying engineers a salary which will induce the proper type of men to come along and do valuable work of that kind.

On the question of the beet subsidy, I raise this question as a matter of policy, and my complaint against the Government is that they have recently been responsible for the extension of an agreement which went beyond the authority which the Dáil gave them under the Beet Subsidy Act of 1925. When that Bill was going through the House I was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of the Government on the matter, and we were led to believe that the figure which the Government intended to pay as a subsidy would not exceed £2,000,000. We find, however, in an answer of the Minister to a question by Deputy Johnson on the 15th February that the subsidy will probably amount to £2,800,000. I protest against the Government's policy on that matter. I believe that the Government, instead of putting a premium on the Carlow factory, should have aimed at establishing another factory elsewhere. I have read the agreement, which has been laid on the Table of the Dáil, between the Government and Lippens & Co. It is definitely stated that the Government would not agree to the establishment of another factory within a certain radius of the Carlow factory. I can, of course, quite understand that. The Minister, in his answer to Deputy Johnson's question, justifying the unreliable estimate upon which the original agreement was based, said:—

"The concession with regard to the first three years of the period was made because there were at the time of the agreement no reliable data with reference to the production of sugar beet in the Saorstát on a commercial scale, and no one could state with any certainty how many acres of sugar beet would require to be under cultivation in order to produce 10,000 tons of sugar. The company, consequently, did not know with certainty at that time what acreage to aim at in making their contract with beet growers."

I was one of twelve individuals who, at the request of some of my constituents, went to Brussels in connection with the site for the factory and those acting on behalf of the Athy site, like those who acted in the interests of Carlow, had to make a careful case, giving figures including the guaranteed acreage. Those who acted on behalf of Athy handed to the company guarantees to the extent of 5,698 acres. The Carlow people handed in guarantees of the extent of 8,000 acres. Now it has turned out that there is something over 9,000 acres under cultivation in the country. I can produce copies of the case which was compiled by solicitors and other people to prove my statement. It is not correct for the Minister to say that the company did not know what acreage to aim at. The information as to acreage was at the disposal of Messrs. Lippens in August and the agreement was not signed until October. The acreage was guaranteed, and the written guarantees of individual farmers were handed over to the firm. I raise the question because in one of the counties of my constituency the people supply to the Carlow factory 18.9 per cent. of the beet grown throughout the whole of the Saorstát.

I have received several individual communications on behalf of prospective beet-growers who are anxious to be allowed to grow beet this year. I understand that the policy of the company is to allow a certain increased percentage to those who grew beet last year. I agree that that is a good policy, but I can say with confidence that if there was another factory—say, in Thurles, Tullamore, Buttevant, or elsewhere — there would be a sufficient acreage guaranteed for the establishment of that factory.

I protest against the policy of the Government in increasing without authority the subsidy to be given to the Carlow factory. Looking up the record. I find that the authorised capital of the Irish Sugar Manufacturing Company is £400,000, and, I regret to say, that less than £10,000 of that capital is owned or controlled by Irishmen. These figures have been given to our Party by the Minister's department. If the factory had been established at Athy, the amount of Irish share capital guaranteed would be £16,543. I make that point to show that the Government are over-generous in their dealings with foreign capitalists, even though those dealings may mean business done in the interests of Irishmen. Contrast with that the Government's policy in regard to old age pensions, and when we come to consider their policy in regard to the ultimate financial settlement with the British, we find that they committed themselves to agreements by which they will collect Land Commission annuities to the extent of £3,000,000, free of all cost of collection. One would imagine that the taxpayers of this country are so prosperous that we can afford to collect taxes for outsiders, and make our own taxpayers pay the cost of collection.

Deputy Hogan referred to the Army and to the necessity for abolishing the Estimate asked for it. I take the view, and I think it is the view of a great many other Deputies, that the meaning of the statement recently made by the Minister for External Affairs is that the Irish Army of the future is really going to be a mere regiment of the British Army. It means, in effect, that the Irish Army will be almost a menace to the country rather than a means of protecting it. We were told that if any country was foolish enough to declare war and attack Great Britain, the expectation is that the Irish Army will assist the British. With regard to the general conditions of the country, it has been claimed by Deputy Sears that the country is much more prosperous now than it was in the last three or four years, and he claimed that that happy condition, which I challenge, is due to the Government's policy. The recent Census figures show that there is a rush of population from the country to the towns and to foreign countries. If the country is as prosperous as Deputy Sears says, why is it that there is such a rush from the country? It is the young men who are going because they see no hope for themselves in the future. If the conditions were such as Deputy Sears pictures, I do not think that you would have so many applications to the Office of the American Consul as there are at present.

Many Deputies have received letters from young Irishmen asking them to make an appointment at the American Consulate at an earlier date than that arranged, so as to enable them to get out of the country as quickly as they can. That, I think, is clear proof that the country is not in the prosperous condition to which Deputy Sears referred. I recognise that the policy of the Minister for Lands and Agriculture is helping, and will further help to improve the position of the average farmer, but I think it is rather calculated to create wealth for the grass farmer than for the tillage farmer. Whatever policy, at any rate, is put forward, so long as it will help to create a ready cash return for the farmer, I think that is the only way in which we can aim at putting the people on the land in a more prosperous position than they are in at present. I would like to hear from the Minister for Finance as to why he is not able to make better provision for carrying out work under the Arterial Drainage Act. As I said, it is, perhaps, the only scheme that could create really useful employment for our rural population. I hope he will reconsider the position and see his way to provide a larger sum for giving employment and carrying out the very useful work that remains to be done under the Act of 1925.

Personally, I rather welcome these discussions because I think it is an excellent idea that from time to time we should review the situation as regards public expenditure. I am in complete agreement with Deputy Baxter when he says that expenditure is too high. It has to be remembered, however, that the Government is only giving effect to a policy which the country wants. It would be quite easy to make very appreciable reductions in expenditure by an alteration in policy, and it is only by an alteration of that kind that any considerable savings in Government expenditure can be arrived at. Even at the risk of repeating myself, because I think I gave expression to this thought before in the House, I wish to say that it is a very remarkable thing that practically 90 per cent. of the correspondence which all Deputies receive and certainly 75 per cent. of the interviews that I have with my constituents, have reference to this question of the expenditure of public money. In every case almost it is not a question of complaining that the Government is spending too much money, but the invariable complaint is that the Government is not spending half enough. Almost every speech that I listened to here this evening referred at sometime or another, either by implication or directly, to the fact that the Government are not spending enough money. Even Deputy Davin in the course of his speech protested against the extravagance of the Government.

On a point of explanation. I think if the Deputy had been listening to me he would have known that what I said was that the Government was spending too much money on the administrative side, and too little on the development side. I urged that more money should be spent on development works.

Mr. EGAN

Well at any rate the Deputy has had to admit that he is calling out for the expenditure of more money. Deputies cannot have it both ways—abusing the Government on the one hand for spending too much money, and at the same time calling out for the expenditure of more money. It is an extraordinary fact that right throughout the country that sort of thing is going on, and of course the Government has to make some response to the wishes expressed by constituents. You have public bodies frequently sending resolutions asking Deputies to intercede with the Government for the purpose of getting them grants for roads, drainage, housing and every conceivable thing. I challenge any Deputy to tell me that 75 per cent. of his mail bag does not consist of requests for the expenditure of more money. Since I have had the pleasure of becoming a member of the House I have never received a letter from a constituent offering me anything, and if I am fortunate enough not to succumb to the wiles of Deputy Davin at the next General Election and come back here for another five years, I do not believe that in that period either I am ever likely to get a letter from a constituent offering me anything, but rather urging the expenditure of more money.

We have to face facts in this matter. Even Deputy Baxter, when he was calling out for economy, could not get through his speech without showing that he wanted money in one direction or another. Deputy Sears in the course of his speech referred to the saving effected by the Government during the last couple of years in the case of the Post Office Department. Deputy Baxter at once interjected with the remark, "Oh, yes, but that is at the expense of the rural community." All this comes back to my contention that I hope will never leave me as long as I am in politics, that when we talk of economy we mean economy somewhere else, but that when it comes down to our own immediate selves we do not put into effect our nice abstract theories of economy which we express so freely in general. Deputy Cooper was rather modest this evening. He referred to the fact that this was only going to be a perfunctory discussion, but he went into figures very minutely and contributed, to my mind, a most useful speech.

I did not say that this was going to be a perfunctory discussion. I did say that the discussion in the coming Dáil will be a perfunctory discussion, and therefore that we ought to go into details now.

Mr. EGAN

The Deputy is a brave man to anticipate the kind of discussions they are going to have in the coming Dáil. Not being gifted myself with prophetic vision, I hesitate to do that. Deputy Hogan referred to the fact that very little money was being given to deal with unemployment and distress, but if the Deputy looks at the headings to the various Estimates he will see that most of the expenditure will give employment in one way or another. It cannot be said, for instance, that the huge expenditure on the Army will not have some effect on unemployment. Obviously, the extremely large number of men in the Army would be on the Labour Exchange registers if they were not in the Army. I do not propose to go into a discussion as to the possible uses for an army, but I am quite convinced that we do require an army in this country. He would be a very brave man even now who would say that we are so absolutely sure of settled conditions we can completely do away with the Army. After all, any country that claims to have any kind of national entity must preserve an army. Compared with some years ago, there have been very considerable reductions indeed in Army expenditure. At one time the figure was £10,000,000. It is now in the neighbourhood of £2,000,000. Surely that is a very appreciable reduction.

It is extremely difficult to have a satisfactory and general discussion on a matter of this sort. It is difficult to indicate economies in general terms, but surely it must be realised that the Department of Finance have a staff constantly at work supervising expenditure. There has been a considerable total diminution in these Estimates. Even if you allow for the large amount accounted for by property losses, there is still a considerable saving in the Estimates, and after all Rome was not built in a day. The Budgets for some years past have been on the downward grade, and the probability is that in time we will arrive at a rate of expenditure more in keeping with our income and what we can afford.

Deputy Baxter, at the beginning of his speech, emphasised very strongly that our expenses were too high; that the Government was costing more than the country could afford, and that the country was in a bad way. I agree with him in that. At times, however, when I look around, I wonder and ask myself is the country in such an extraordinarily bad way? It is not so long since two dances were held down in my district. One was a farmers' dance. There was a visible expenditure at these two dances of over £1,000, leaving out the invisible expenditure such as the cost of ladies' frocks, motor-cars and other incidental expenses. I have frequently stated before, and I think it cannot be too often referred to, that although there is a great deal of talk about the cost of living in this country, the standard of living is one of the matters that require urgent and constant attention. That aspect of the matter is constantly brought before my notice, especially when I go on the Continent, as I occasionally do. The standard of living on the Continent is distinctly lower than what it is here. People who come over here, Belgians and others, are absolutely amazed at the things which Irish people in the same station of life consider that they can afford, and not only that, but that they have a right to. A friend of mine in Belgium whom I meet occasionally is a man with a salary that in our money would be equivalent to about £1,200. I asked him if he had a motorcar. He said, "Oh, no, I cannot afford to keep one:" but in this country if there is a dance you will find hundreds of people—people with salaries of a few hundred pounds a year—running their motor-cars to the dance. I do not for a moment wish to object to people having legitimate amusement, but undoubtedly there is an extraordinary amount of money spent on pleasure in this country which the country at the moment cannot afford. I think that Deputies and people in responsible positions should urge that point of view as often as they can, because it is really a very serious matter. I think, taking the Estimates on the whole, that there cannot be any serious fault found with them. As I have said, they are getting progressively lower, and the probability is that in time, perhaps, when there is an accumulation of genius in the House after the General Election, still greater economies will be arrived at.

Sitting suspended at 6.20 and resumed at 7 p.m.,

I beg to support the amendment that has been moved by Deputy Baxter. With the speech with which Deputy Egan concluded I find myself in part in very great agreement. It was a very moderate speech, and while I can subscribe to many of the general principles and broad maxims that he enunciated, I find myself unable to agree with his conclusion that the Government has deserved well of the country. For some reason or other nothing has been said from the Ministerial Bench beyond the brief opening remark of the Minister for Finance, which conveyed pretty little. I would have imagined that the Minister for Finance would have made it the occasion for a broad enunciation of his policy. He welcomed criticism, but he gave no policy to the country. It is a curious fact that he has not had that support from his Ministerial colleagues that one would expect. He ought to have had it in view of the fact that he is asking us for a vote of upwards of eight millions. Evidently the Ministerial birds are shy. I mean to throw a fly to quicken them to a reply.

The question of this huge vote naturally sub-divides itself into two sections. There is first and foremost the question of policy. What policy shall we, in our position, adopt? What services do we deem legitimate for the people of this country? What do we discard as superfluous? What do we regard as our capacity? On the other side, there is the question of administration and economy in the internal workings of the departments. The question of policy is one broadly for the Dáil. As regards the question of internal administration, responsibility is primarily fixed in the Ministers. The question before the House has taken a wide discussion. We have not been strictly limited to the mere Vote on Account. The whole financial position of the country has come under review. I want to point out that while the Government are asking for a sum of eight millions as a Vote on Account, it does not really represent, and certainly cannot represent by the 31st March, what their actual demands on the country for a four months' supply will be.

In addition to this Vote on Account, you have the Central Fund Services. These again are sub-divided. You have part of the normal recurrent expenditure, such, for instance, as Services of Debt, Judicial Salaries, Compensation Grants, and Expenses of Returning Officers. You have also, in addition to the Central Fund capital expenditure, such as the Shannon Scheme and by the Agreement that was signed in London—I do not suppose it is falling a burden this year on the Exchequer—you have to pay over a quarter of a million annually for a period of 60 years to Great Britain. That is recurrent expenditure. Last year the estimate of the charges on the Central Fund for what one could regard as recurrent expenditure amounted to three millions odd. There is no reference whatever in this to the huge capital sums that have to be found for such purposes as the Shannon Scheme. We are told by Ministers up and down the country that we have a very small national debt. I want to point out to the Government that their small national debt of twenty millions or so is costing this country in interest and sinking fund about a million a year. The Minister for Finance told us last year in introducing his Budget that he would have to get borrowings; he estimated a sum of six millions. It is true that by short term bills he supplemented his resources. But that is only diverting, I submit, the evil day. These temporary borrowings must be consolidated sooner or later in a loan. The amount of the loan and the success of the loan, of course, are in the lap of the gods, though I hope it will be a successful one whenever it is issued.

The total estimate for public services put up to us this year amounts to a net sum of twenty-three and a half millions. You can add to that the sum I have given, and I see no reason to suppose that the Central Fund demands will be on a smaller scale than they were last year. That brings you to twenty-six and a half millions. Super-imposed on that you have to find sums necessary for the Shannon Scheme and works involving a capital expenditure which, justly and rightly so, are not charged as ordinary recurrent expenditure. It is no exaggeration to say that anything up to 30 millions must be found by this State this year to meet its liabilities, even if the high scale of taxation on last year's estimate is to continue. The tax revenue in the current year is estimated at about 20½ millions and the non-taxed revenue at something over 3 millions—I will say 3¼ millions. That is over 23 millions. That means, I submit, a huge borrowing.

What is the trouble with these Estimates? The few spokesmen who have got up on the Government side were inclined to regard this as reduced expenditure. They have reduced expenditure merely in the abnormal services. Minor reductions of expenditure occurred in what you might call the ordinary recurrent services. I submit if we were taxed far and away beyond our capacity twelve months ago or two years ago that with greater precision the argument can be sustained to-day that we are now grossly overtaxed. The Minister for Finance in speaking on the London Agreement in December 1925 told us that the resources of Ireland stood in proportion to those of Great Britain as 1.5 per cent. or in the ratio of 1 to 66. In other words we do not realise the poverty of this country. There is a school of thought that has kept up the idea of war expenditure and that has ignored the poverty and the resources of this country and this factor that whereas there is a great and rapid accumulation of wealth in industry, agriculture even when prosperous, gives only a slow and poor return on the capital, the skill and the time invested. Yet the Minister for Finance must be judged on his own logic and he must be condemned on his own figures. The proportion is 1 to 66. If you take the sum that has to be found this year at thirty millions it means that out of an expenditure compared with the British standard you have to get the least common multiple; you have to raise that to a common denominator. It would mean our expenditure on the British scale is upwards of two thousand millions. The British scale actually is eight to nine hundred millions. That means that we are paying at least twice as much as Great Britain, having regard to our capacity to pay. There are other tests to put it to. The capacity of wealth production. It has been ascertained that the annual income of Great Britain amounts to four thousand millions. If we were to take the 1 to 66 proportion it would leave us an income of from sixty to seventy millions and you have to meet on their own showing a sum of twenty-six and a half millions plus the local services which I put at five millions; that would be from thirty-one to thirty-two millions. In other words it means that half the national income has to be put up to maintain the machinery of Government. I submit that that is not as it ought to be; that it is a serious reflection which would call for very earnest consideration of the Government, of the House and of the country. When you find that the position has been aggravated by the Government it is time that your condemnation was uttered. Mind you I never take the mob appeal "reduce expenditure." There must be discretion, for there is wisdom in the question of expenditure. Expenditure of a public utility order certainly is desirable. Here again there is a rational principle as to how far you can go and what your means will allow you.

My claim is that in this country we have deliberately entered into huge commitments. I am not saying that at some time they may not be productive, and give a return on the capital sunk; but in our present distress we are going beyond our resources, and, far from establishing our credit, they will detract largely from it. Take the Shannon scheme, for instance. A sum of upwards of five millions will be spent on the Shannon scheme. I am not attacking the Shannon scheme, but I think, and I even mentioned this two years ago, that it is something beyond our resources. Even the exponents of the scheme never told us there was a prospect of an immediate return on the capital sunk. They mentioned that they expected to reap a dividend about 1932.

These huge commitments are straining, and have strained, our credit. Of course we cannot withdraw from anything we have entered into; rightly or wrongly we have done it, and the Dáil cannot withdraw. I offer this as friendly criticism to the Government, that huge capital schemes ought not to be embarked upon at the present juncture unless there is a prospect of a quick return on the capital invested, otherwise they should be left severely alone.

We are told that these schemes give employment. I am whole-heartedly in favour of giving rational employment, but this is a practical question of ways and means, and of whether, with a certain sum at our disposal, we cannot by diverting it extract greater good, greater relief of unemployment, a quicker return of capital, and an all-round return to prosperity. These are vital considerations for the country and the Government.

We may say the national income may be anywhere up to one hundred millions. That is naturally divided between visible and invisible exports. All the goods produced in the country and exported from it, by building up credits abroad, create sound assets. Any sums sent into the country, as Deputy Sears pointed out, such as gifts from America or returns from capital invested abroad, are also invisible exports. That may seem a contradiction, but you must not think in the mere physical sense of bringing money into and sending money out of the country. The export of an article, because it creates a credit abroad, represents an asset, and stands to our advantage. We have also to take into consideration the payments out of this country, either out of returns on money sunk here by people or payments which the Government under certain heads have committed us to.

I have taken, and do take, great exception to the policy of the Government on land purchase annuities. Under the Government of Ireland Act, 1920, it was specifically provided that all sums accruing in respect of land purchase annuities chargeable on land situated in Southern or Northern Ireland could be collected by the Governments functioning in those areas, respectively, and credited to their Exchequers. The same applied to local loans. In return for that those two Governments in Northern and Southern Ireland were supposed to make an Imperial contribution. The British Government accepted liability to meet the interest and sinking fund on the stock issued under the Land Purchase Acts and that is the system that is prevailing in Northern Ireland to-day. The Governments say they have gained by the transfer, but I question that.

What bearing has this on the Vote on Account?

I submit it is relevant, inasmuch as it concerns the financial position of the country at large and affects the import and export of capital. I submit I am at liberty to draw attention to this matter. In order to avoid confusion I am giving the genesis, the early history, of the matter. Under the Government of Ireland Act, 1920—

We are not discussing that now.

I am endeavouring to show its bearings on the sum we are asked to vote to-day. It will take me some time to get to it. I could not logically base my criticisms on the demand before us without adverting to this. The Imperial expenditure fell under several heads. There was the question of the public debt, the question of defence and then the civil list, dealing with consular or diplomatic services.

The Government have proclaimed repeatedly in this country what a good bargain they made. They tell us they gave away three millions and got back ten millions. It was true for a period. It was the ninepence for fourpence again that Mr. Lloyd George once bamboozled the country with. In the 1920 Act there was a provision by which a board was set up for regulating and adjusting the revenue as between the two countries. The sum of ten millions that I have mentioned proved to be a fluctuating figure and it endured only for a short time.

Take the case of Northern Ireland to-day. On their own estimate they are paying over a sum of £1,700,000. They are retaining their land purchase annuities and local loans. They have a cheaper postal system than we have here. Can there be any question that financially they are better off than we? Can it be questioned that under the provisions enshrined in the Act of 1920 they are more favourably placed and are in a much better position than that which our Government, by their deliberate act, have placed us in to-day?

What is our position? We are handling over land purchase annuities to the extent of three millions and local loans to the extent of six hundred thousand pounds. It all amounts to a round figure of about three and a half millions; that is making the case very moderate. As against that, consider the case of the Northern Government which has its Post Office, on the one hand——

On a point of order, I must interrupt the Deputy. One knows a debate on this subject can be very wide, but the Deputy is a very long distance from anything that arises on the Vote on Account and he must remember that we want this Central Fund Bill completed before the 31st March.

Will the Minister say the charge he is making for the Army is out of it and that it is not part of defence? The analogy I make is perfectly correct and perfectly legitimate. The Government by repudiation, to our disadvantage, of the terms of the 1920 Act have imposed on us— and this is my criticism of them— charges which we should never have borne and which the British admitted we might not bear, but which our Government, through their supineness, let us in for.

We have to maintain an army, and the amount in the Estimates this year is two and a quarter millions. Since 1921 we have paid very considerable sums of money indeed on the Army; in a couple of years alone we spent the greater part of twenty millions. Even under the Act of 1920 we could not have paid more, and possibly we might have paid less. We find repeated statements made by the Government during the passage of the Army Pensions Act that we were involved to a certain degree in Imperial defence.

If there is any question that needs clear thinking, or more hard-headed thinking, it is this question of Imperial relations and the strategic unity of what are known as the British Isles. I do not take the point of view that it is undesirable. I quite agree that while we may certainly retain an open hand we will not support militarism in the abstract. It may happen that if threatened by a powerful enemy Great Britain and Ireland may be obliged to undertake an offensive in their own interests. That is a possibility of the future, and we ought not to ignore it. But we ought to have got aquid pro quo for the sums we are paying for having taken over our share, our undue share, of Imperial defence from the British. We did not get that because our own Government gave the show away.

You have an anomalous position in this country to-day. You are handing over the land purchase annuities and local loans, amounting to three and a half millions, and you are maintaining still, for the part of the common defence under certain conditions of the British Isles, a defence force costing upwards of two and a quarter millions.

On a point of order, if the Deputy were a little more accurate and not be putting an extra quarter or half a million into every statement he makes, it would be much better. Apparently half or three-quarters of a million mean nothing to the Deputy.

I did not say three-quarters of a million; I said two and a quarter millions.

Upwards of two and a quarter millions the Deputy said.

Does the Minister state he will never require a supplementary vote within the next twelve months?

I am talking about the Estimates that are now before the House. If I could ramble as much as the Deputy I could discuss several matters.

I am sure you could. The Minister is hardly correct. His gross estimate for the Army is £2,262,000, which I submit is above the sum of £2¼ millions by £12,000.

The Deputy is wrong again. If he reads the Estimates, he will find that the cost is not £2,200,000.

£2,262,000 is the gross charge. There are certain appropriations-in-aid, but appropriations-in-aid are public money as well as the sums voted. There is a sum of £79,000 by way of appropriations-in-aid, so that the net cost is £2,183,000.

That is far from a quarter of a million.

The Minister has not the ghost of a chance——

The Deputy must address the Chair.

I am addressing the Chair, and I say, through you, sir, to the Minister that he cannot queer the issue. The real charge is the gross charge. The sums coming in as appropriations-in-aid are public money, though we do not vote them directly. They represent State money which would otherwise go into the Exchequer for the relief of taxation. Members of the Government went to several places and stated that the land purchase annuities were not part of the public debt of Great Britain. I should like to have a disclaimer from them in this House. I wonder whether or not they are prepared to assert before us that the money for stock created by the British Government, the control of which is vested in the National Debt Commissioners and the interest and sinking fund of which are in part borne by moneys voted by Parliament, does not legitimately form part of the public debt. I might agree with them if they said it does not form part of the National Debt, because the term "National Debt" is a technical term. But over and above the National Debt, you have, as part of the public debt of Great Britain, the guarantees that they give and the Savings Bank deposits for which they assume liability. So far as the depositors are concerned, the Government is liable to them for the funds invested with them. I do not know what the defence of the Government can be on this question of the land purchase annuities, but when I hear the reply I may return at a later stage and discuss the question more fully. If they deny that the Land Stock issued under the Acts from 1891 to 1909 is part of the public debt, I will take up that challenge, inside this House or outside it, and I will send the fiction they are attempting to bulldose the country with simply sky-high. Then what has the Government policy meant to us with regard to the White Paper? Paragraph 10 reads:—

"The Irish Free State Government agrees to make no claim in respect of any of the assets of the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom, including receipts on account of Reparations and Inter-Allied debts."

It appears to me that the Government in these financial negotiations were in such a position that the British Government could say to them—"Heads we win; tails you lose." They lost, as they deserved to lose. They lost every time, because they did not take the elementary precaution of making a good case.

I propose to deal only in detail with one of these Estimates—the Estimate of the Revenue Department. This year we find that the administrative charges—the salaries, wages and allowances—in the Revenue Department are increased by the sum of £2,620. There are reductions under other heads, but there is only a net decrease on the whole Estimate of £6,980. When you come to staff, in some departments the staff is more numerous than last year. In the Secretariat there are 20 persons provided for more than last year. In the office of the Special Commissioners for Income Tax, there are four more persons provided for. In Solicitors' Office and the Accountant-General's Office, the numbers are the same as last year. The same remark applies in the case of the Estate Duty Office, the Stamping Branch and the Office Keeper's Staff. In the office of the Chief Inspector of Customs and Excise there is a decrease of 36 persons. On the other hand, in the office of the Chief Inspector of Taxes, there is provision for eight persons more than last year. As I interjected during Major Cooper's speech, the Government seems obstinately resolved on maintaining the present high expenditure, which means that you have as many men, if not more, at practically the same cost, trying to collect a diminished revenue. That is not as it should be. Last year, they obstinately refused to appoint a Geddes Committee to inquire into expenditure. Yet what do you find now? You find, particularly in the Revenue Department, that the general public are handicapped by absurd red tape, forms and restrictions. Take, for instance, the case of the farmer's return for income tax on his land. There are questions on that return which it would require an expert to answer. The procedure is so involved that we are actually creating a cult and a bureaucracy in this State, and you must be initiated into the charmed circle before you can unravel the mysteries and codes with which they have entrenched themselves. And we have to pay! I submit that, so far from indulging in the policy of extravagance which the Department of Finance seems to be obstinately bent upon, what we require is a simplification of the accounts of the State, and particularly a simplification of the procedure in the collecting branches of the Revenue Department.

The Government were inclined to take credit to themselves because the expenditure of some departments had been reduced. Is that anything to boast about? Is it not what we normally ought to expect, or do they propose that the present inflated expenditure should continue for all time, without regard to the earning power of the nation? The actual cash return from industry, as far as exports go, is declining. The adverse trade balance is increasing somewhat. Owing to the diminished volume of the return from produce, there is a greater difficulty in meeting the demand for revenue, although the amount is the same, nominally. I submit there is not a rosy prospect before this country. I do not want to be unduly pessimistic, but I believe we ought to straighten up to facts. We have not done so. We have continued on the old system. Look at the charge for non-effective votes on these Estimates. It is simply colossal. Superannuation and retiring allowances amount, alone, approximately to £1,800,000. That is eight or nine per cent. of your revenue. I submit that the burden, having regard to diminished production, must inevitably lead to a decline in the standard of living. It is impossible to continue at this rate. I could go into every one of those Estimates in great detail, but I refrain from doing so to-night.

The Deputy would not be in order in doing that at this stage.

I could take up the different items that call for comment, criticism and condemnation. The case on the whole has been well established against this Government, that they have ignored this basic fact, that their expenditure must be based on the capacity of the people to pay and that that, in turn, must be based on their capacity to earn.

I am supporting this amendment, but for a reason different from that which animated the mover of it, and different from that which inspired the support of the Deputy who has just sat down. I should like to refer to some rather amazing omissions from this Vote on Account. The outstanding omission is that to make any provision for the relief of unemployment. The Minister, I think, owes us some explanation as to the reason for this extraordinary omission. This country has not grown suddenly prosperous within the last four or five months, and there is certainly some very grave reason for this ill-considered omission. I heard it suggested, within the last three or four months, that the failure of the Government to make any immediate provision for unemployment was due to the desire that it should be known in the country that they were not anxious to purchase support by money given in this way. That is a very laudable attitude for the Government to take up, but whether we are to have a General Election this year or next year, it should not be necessary to stress the immediate need for making provision of this kind time after time.

I would re-echo the sentiment expressed here this evening, that it would be well if the members of the Government would go down to the country more frequently than they do, and ascertain the exact position there. The position in the country is that unemployment insurance benefit is a thing of the past. It is a memory. No provision whatever is being made for the people who are being sent from the doors of the unemployment insurance office. The only alternative left to these people is to get on the home-assistance list. The funds for home assistance in many parts of the country have been heavily strained. The local authorities who administer home assistance — and in many cases administer it very grudgingly — have found themselves without funds to carry on this service. The representative of the Minister for Local Government who controls local affairs in Cork, and who has faced this subject courageously and honourably, has had within the last three or four months to appeal to the Department for sanction for an overdraft to carry on the service. We have the unfortunate spectacle in this country of people being forced to the pauper level, being deliberately degraded by the neglect of the Government to provide money to employ the energies of people who are ready to work, and who do not want to be pauperised or degraded. It has been said that it is impossible to raise a huge sum of money like this at a time like this.

It has been said that money could not be obtained on favourable terms at present in view of the imminence of a General Election. The view we have always taken is that the Government could, if it grasped the fact that it has to deal with a national emergency, easily raise the money for the purpose of saving the whole fabric of the State. The Government could to-morrow raise money in order to double and treble the Army if there was danger of an armed outbreak on a big scale, and if they thought the future or the stability of the State was threatened. But there is at present a much more insidious danger in existence. The whole manpower of the State is being gradually undermined by the cancer that is eating into the hearts of the people arising from the scourge of unemployment, and the Government sits absolutely inactive, utterly oblivious of the needs of the situation.

I also want to draw attention in connection with the Department of Local Government to another extremely urgent phase of the situation, and that is the absolute breakdown of the poor law system, the absolute chaos and confusion that exists in that service. The period of the struggle for political independence was a very unfavourable time to undertake the very important and arduous work of re-shaping the whole poor law system. It was undertaken under very great difficulties, and it certainly opened up a field for reform that was overdue. But it has resulted in absolute and downright failure. It is time that the Government should recognise that this whole service has completely failed and that drastic reform is needed. The change was advocated on the ground that it would take the ugly corners off the previously existing system. The workhouse was a hateful institution at its best, and a number of enthusiastic optimists were out to change the whole position. I give them credit for the very best intentions, but I submit that owing to the difficulties of the time they failed in their effort. I am one of those who hold that the change has failed to effect any economy, that the bill for superannuation and other expenses that it piled up has created an added burden for the ratepayers, and that the poor are worse off under it than under the old system. Right through the whole of that alleged reform you have running the centralisation that we have come to regard as a permanent feature of the Department of Local Government.

There are absolutely cast-iron regulations so far as hospital accommodation is concerned. All the time there is evinced the desire to close down rural hospitals. If there was any one favourable feature in the old system it was that the hospital accommodation, such as it was, was within easy reach of the people. The whole hospital system was changed and the policy is being pursued of having the hospitals at centres which are far away from many people who require hospital accommodation. The whole issue will be raised in every conceivable way that it can be raised and an effort will be made to arouse public opinion on the need for recasting the whole system.

Within the last few weeks we have had another example of the ill-considered decisions come to in connection with the centralisation of public services. In pursuance of a decision come to, the Local Government Department rearranged dispensary districts in the country by drawing a straight line across the map and allotting new districts to medical officers. The net result of that has been that eight or nine hundred extra people are to be taken into the dispensary district of a doctor in a mountainy district which is very difficult to cover. The matter is not definitely decided yet, but I should like to stress the point that very many decisions of this kind seem to be taken without any real consideration of local needs. The decision of this Department to close down rural hospitals and centralise rural patients in the bigger towns is one of the most unpopular and impracticable decisions that could be taken. In connection with this whole question there should be greater consideration of local needs and demands. I do not know what the decision of the Poor Law Commission will be on this question, and in case I am not strictly in order in referring to it I shall not pursue it.

I am not in agreement with some of the views expressed by the mover of the amendment. I am quite willing to admit that he made his case in a very reasonable way, but I do not know whether we have any real case for wailing constantly about expenditure in this country. Deputy Baxter made his case in a reasonable way, though it is a reflex to some extent of the case that representatives of the agricultural industry on local authorities are constantly making. I do not know whether we are going to sit eternally in sackcloth and ashes bewailing our extravagance and bankruptcy and having no hopes for the future.

Examples of the absolutely futile view that is taken by some persons on this question of national expenditure are to be found in many places in the country. A prominent representative of the interests represented by Deputy Baxter, a gentleman who is an aspirant for membership of this House, for instance stated within the last seven or eight months that if agricultural instruction was abolished a considerable sum of money could be saved and the grass would still continue to grow. I do not suggest that is the view of Deputy Baxter. His views as expressed here have been of an entirely different kind and he is progressive to a very considerable extent. But I am suggesting to him that the attitude that is reflected in the local authorities of carping and cavilling at public expenditure to any extent whatever is an absolutely unfair attitude so far as future development is concerned.

The Government are apparently determined to make no provision for the welfare of the majority of the people. It is on their attitude on such matters that they are going to be judged, and I suggest that the verdict of the people will be against them. I have complained that no provision has been made for giving employment to people. I also want to make the complaint that where employment is available decent wages are not paid, and decent conditions provided for. The Department of Local Government in allotting money for road work prescribed that a certain wage was to be paid. We have been accustomed to that for a considerable time, and I am not complaining of their action in that particular matter. But within the last five or six months, in various parts of the country, contracts have been given to big firms for the carrying out of schemes of road-making on a big scale. In Cork a number of contracts for important works were given to contractors who were ready to pay the current rate of wages in the county, and were anxious to base their tenders on that scale of wages. When permission was sought from the Department of Local Government for that, the answer was that the rate of wages was to be 29s. per week. That was not a case of the possibility of money being extravagantly paid out. Presumably the contractors would be able to pay the current rate of wages in the county and still make a substantial profit, but the Local Government Department were unwilling to go outside the cast-iron regulations that surrounded the grant made available for local authorities, and absolutely pinned the contractors down to the lowest minimum they could pay.

The Shannon scheme and the Beet Sugar Factory have been referred to. Both these projects received very definite support from the Labour representatives in this House. Nobody on this side of the House is anxious to minimise the importance of these projects, but I do not know that the Government can stand for a very long time on those two projects alone. Very much more can be done, and should be done. I am not going to accept the view of Deputy Connor Hogan, and I do not think that any Deputy who has any hope for the future of the country will accept his view, that we ought not to embark on any scheme except we can foresee a very big profit and a very quick profit. That does not represent the view of anybody who has any interest in the future of the country. I referred to the failure of the Government, and I think the speech made by Deputy Sears was perhaps as eloquent a condemnation of the Government as we could have heard in connection with this whole matter.

Deputy Sears made a very strong case for further action in the part of the county that he represents and is familiar with. He was naturally slow to indict the Government, but I think he has really made the case that has been made so often from the Labour benches here. We are committed to a very heavy yearly expenditure in connection with the unfortunate agreement that was made in England last year. There is no use in quarrelling with that position now, but I think it is unfair when it is stated that money is not available and cannot be got on favourable terms for the people of this country, that some arrangement could not be made whereby the repayment of that money could not be prolonged. Considering the fact that the Government to which it is being paid is not embarrassed, is a rich and powerful country, a rearrangement might be made with a view to some of that money being available for the urgent work that faces us with regard to the development of the country.

I suggest that the failure of the Government to provide any schemes for the social welfare of the people has been absolutely tragic, and that will, perhaps, be one of the outstanding issues on which the people will pronounce when they get the opportunity this year. I suggest that a great deal might be done in the matter of extending local loans. Local loans at present are restricted to the ambit of sewerage and waterwork schemes, and the local authorities are clamouring for an extension of these loans with a view to providing housing schemes. So far as I know, the work of the Forestry Department has been of a very limited character. In the county I come from, only one plantation has been developed, and I do not think that the Rip Van Winkle attitude that pervades their operations should be allowed to continue indefinitely. I do not think it is too late to do something big and generous in this connection. I suggest that the Government have a big duty, that they are not responsible to one section of the people but to all the people, and that they are indicted, and must remain indicted, as long as 40,000 or 50,000 people are out of work and as long as unemployment and poverty and hunger are stark in the land. That is my indictment of the Government. I feel that while they have many things to their credit, their failure in the directions I have pointed out overshadows anything they may claim credit for. It is on that that they will be judged, and I believe that there will be a verdict of guilty for their neglect to do anything for the people in the time that has been allotted to them.

I do not find myself in a position to support this amendment, because I feel that the Government have made a distinct effort at reductions in many departments. There is no doubt, however, if one were to go into a detailed criticism of departments that many would be found in which further reductions might be made. There is a faint hope that I may be here to criticise the details of the work of different departments, but I can say if the time comes I shall not fear to offer just as severe criticism as any other Deputy. I have to call attention to one or two points that struck me while listening to the discussion. In this country we have seventeen and a half million pounds spent annually in alcoholic drink; we have in addition at least three-quarters of a million spent on indoor sports, not including dances, and we have several millions spent on outdoor sports, including race meetings. I think there is no question that if we added the seventeen and a half millions spent on alcoholic drink to the four of five millions spent on amusements and sports we would at least have a sum of money equal to the amount that we are asked to vote for the government of the country. I have no wish to deny the people any comfort they get from the use of alcoholic drink, nor have I in the slightest degree any wish to curtail the amusements of the people. Some people may say that people are drinking to hide their misery and poverty, and perhaps they are going to amusements in order to keep themselves from committing suicide through being in a hopeless condition. But are we in the hopeless condition, through poverty, that has been represented here, when we are able to spend almost as much on alcoholic drink, amusements and sport as is required for the entire government of the country? I think that that is a point that ought to be taken into consideration. I would appeal to the Minister on one point that has been alluded to in particular by Deputy Good: If the Minister were able to reduce the income tax I think he would do more good than he could do in any other direction. He would start industries and bring money into the country to finance them if he could see his way to reduce the income tax. I did not care for one remark that was made by, I think, Deputy Shaw, who said we would have more money to pay the dole. We do not want to pay doles.

On a point of explanation. I did not make any such statement.

I am quite willing to withdraw then. I thought that the Deputy said we wanted more money to pay for unemployment. My view is that we want more employment for the people, and if what I suggest were done we would be able to have more employment and to pay the people for the work that they would do. I emphasise what Deputy Good has said, and I do not think anything more useful to the country at present could be done than for the Minister to reduce the income tax in order to encourage industries.

In connection with Vote 7 — Old Age Pensions — I think the Minister should see that more attention is paid to affidavits sent in as evidence of age. I do not think that the pensions officers are favourable enough or are as anxious to help the old age pensioner as they should be. I mention this because I know of one case where two affidavits were sent in, one by a man whom I know all my life to be a man of the highest character, and a lifelong resident in the locality. But the pensions officer appealed against an award in this case. I think that these officers should not be so rigid, that they should be more sympathetic towards the applicants. In connection with Vote 11 — Public Works and Buildings — I see from the Estimates that the Department intends to proceed with the work on the River Barrow. I am very pleased to know that.

The preliminary work.

There is a sum of £75,000 in the vote. I hope no further effort will be made to reduce wages there, and that a considerably larger number of men will be employed, in order to relieve unemployment in South Kildare and up to where the Barrow rises. I think the Minister should see to it that the Arterial Drainage Act of 1925 is put into operation, because it is a dead letter. I do not believe that any scheme has been carried out in any part of the country yet. Several schemes have been sent forward to the Office of Public Works from my county but they were all turned down. The reason for that is, I think, that the inspectors who were sent out did not get in touch with the land-holders whose lands are affected. They walk along the river and walk away again without consulting anybody, and they say: "Oh, the lands would not be able to bear the cost." I think that that should be remedied. There are people who know their own business, and they ought to be consulted by the inspectors, unless we are to become a bureaucracy pure and simple, which is what we are coming to.

In connection with the Land Commission Vote, as far as County Kildare is concerned I do not think the Land Commission have done anything at all to help the people. They are too slow. For three or four months I have been putting questions about different estates, and the replies I got have been that the Land Commission are making inquiries. That is not the way to deal with the situation. They should get going and divide some of these ranches at once. We have tracts of land under grass, some of which are badly stocked and some of which cannot be let at present, and the Land Commission will not take these lands and divide them. In North Kildare local congests are passed over altogether in favour of Western migrants.

I am not against Western migrants being given holdings in Kildare, but I say that they should wait their turn until all the congests in Kildare are settled. On the Cloncurry estate there are men getting 200 and 300 acres of land, while men who have been born and reared in the district are not even consulted by the inspectors of the Land Commission. We want to have the claims of these congests favourably considered.

With reference to unemployment benefit, when a man, through some altercation with his employer, leaves his work, or possibly is discharged, he applies for benefit at the local exchange, and without the semblance of any inquiry he is disqualified for six weeks. The Unemployment Department does not take any steps to inquire into the circumstances of the case. It may have been only a little tiff between himself and the employer, but he is disqualified for six weeks, and will not receive any benefit, although his card is stamped to date. That is penalising the contributor. I think the Department should make inquiries at once, and if the facts of the case are in favour of the contributor he should receive benefit immediately. As to the Army, I am not a militarist or in favour of a large army, but I certainly believe that the Minister should not make any reduction as far as the Curragh Command is concerned, and I desire to draw his attention particularly to the civilian workers in all departments there. We do not want him, in his zeal for economy, or because of advocacy of economy from the Farmers' benches, to discharge a number of the civilian workers at the Curragh. I hope that he will be amenable in that respect.

As to relief schemes, I notice they are conspicuous by their absence. I am not surprised at that. We have put forward appeals dealing with the unemployment problem for the last four years, but they have been turned down. We have been given doles now and again. I am not surprised at that when you have some Commissioners of the Local Government advising our young people to emigrate. I cannot understand why servants of the National Government give such advice to the people. For years and years we heard the cry raised against the British Government that our people were forced to emigrate because of bad laws. Surely it should be different now. The Celt is going with a vengeance. He is going as quickly now as in the old days. If the Ministry have inspired their officials to give such advice to the people they should withdraw it. There is too much "to Hell or Connaught" of Cromwell's time about it.

As regards big contracts given away in connection with national road schemes, these contracts are given to big contractors, and they give very little employment to the local workers on account of the peculiar method of construction. In our county we could get considerably more road surfacing done for something like one shilling or two shillings a yard less with just as good a surface, but we are bound down by the attitude of the Chief Engineer of the Road Board. If this particular method of road surfacing is to be carried on I would suggest to the Road Board that there should be closer supervision of the work done to ensure that the contractor carries out his work in accordance with the strict letter of his specification. Our county surveyor gets 20/- worth of work done for every £1 spent and we do not want faulty construction, which may turn up in a few years, causing further expense, foisted on us by big contractors.

Most of the Deputies who have spoken on this vote have commenced their speeches by stating that they would support the amendment moved by Deputy Baxter to reduce the vote by £500, but they proceeded immediately to abuse the Minister for not making provision for other services. Deputy Davin, for instance, complained that there was not adequate provisions made by the Board of Works for drainage schemes. Deputy Murphy complained about the inadequacy of the provision for unemployment schemes, and other Deputies made other complaints. I am going to oppose the amendment and, consistent with that attitude, I am going to take the Minister to task for reducing the Land Commission Estimate. I see from this vote that the Land Commission Estimate has been reduced by £72,000. I hope that that does not indicate any slowing down in the acquisition of land. The main item is a reduction of about £50,000 in the improvement of estates. In view of the new Land Bill, which is now before the Dail, I thought the Minister for Agriculture would have insisted on adequate provision being made for improvement works on estates which are being acquired by the Land Commission, particularly in view of the fact that he proposes to take power under the new Bill to carry out improvement work on all estates that have been acquired under the various Land Acts from 1881.

Deputy Good, I think, stated that the driving away of landlords is responsible for the depressed agricultural conditions in the West, and in support of that statement he read extracts from a letter which he received from a landlord in the Midlands. Most of the landlords in the West were absentees. The estates which the Land Commission are dividing are estates which were acquired by departments of the British Government, namely, the Congested Districts Board and the Estates Commissioners. These estates are being divided in western counties and, consequently, Deputy Good cannot blame the present Government if some of these landlords prefer to live in England rather than in their native country. I think our policy with regard to land division needs to be supplemented in certain important details. At present, farmers find it difficult to carry on business for want of sufficient capital. If the ordinary farmer finds it difficult to carry on under present conditions, what must be the position of the small uneconomic holders who, during the last three or four years, received an additional parcel of land varying from five to ten acres? During the present period of depression he will naturally find that his limited capital will be spent in a short time.

In this regard I think we should follow the example of other countries, especially that of Germany, where, when large estates are being divided, it is customary for the Government to insist on the establishment of societies corresponding somewhat to our credit societies, with the result that it is possible for new allottees to secure sufficient money until they are firmly established on the soil. In addition to that, they are invariably assisted by expert advice, corresponding in some degree to that of our Department of Agriculture. It is a serious problem for us, as it is no doubt true, as Deputy Good said, that a number of men who were placed on holdings during the last few years have been unable to make good owing to high rents and depressed conditions. That is a serious matter for the State and the Land Commission. If those conditions continue for another year or two, quite a number of other men will be obliged to relinquish their holdings. I think that the Minister for Agriculture should consider the advisability of altering his policy in certain respects in regard to the division of estates, and should consider the advisability of providing some system of financing those new tenants who have been placed on holdings which are now being divided.

Deputy Murphy proceeded to criticise the Estimates of the Local Government Department because of the failure of amalgamation schemes in certain counties. I listened to him very closely, and I do not think that his criticism was justified, or, at least, the arguments he advanced were not ones that appealed to me, at all events. I have had experience of amalgamation schemes in two or three counties, and I am satisfied that fundamentally they were quite sound. There were certain imperfections, no doubt. It was inevitable. In the years 1921 and 1922, when the schemes were first introduced, it was not possible to formulate perfect and watertight schemes. It may be necessary, as I say, to amend and improve these schemes in certain details, but I maintain that, fundamentally, they are sound. Amalgamation has, no doubt, tended towards cleanliness and purity in administration, and has done away with a number of abuses and scandals in connection with contracts and other matters that were so common in the days of district councils and boards of guardians. I would not favour any policy that would have the effect of interfering in any way with amalgamation schemes.

Deputy Davin raised a very interesting point about drainage schemes and the necessity for the Minister for Finance to see that some of these schemes should be put into hands as soon as possible. There is no doubt that there are great complaints all over the country owing to the delay in carrying out the preliminary work of inspection and so forth. Whilst the Minister stated on several occasions that these delays were primarily due to a shortage of staff and causes of that kind, I think it is time that some definite steps were taken to put some of the schemes into operation.

As I understand, from the remarks of the mover of this amendment, it was his intention by his action to express general dissatisfaction, both on the ground of amount and of the method of expenditure, with the sum which has been estimated for the coming year. I think it is well, at the outset, again to remind the House of the extraordinary position in which the Government has placed it in regard to these Estimates. This is the one and only occasion that we shall have of discussing the whole of the Estimates for the coming year. We are not, in fact, strictly entitled actually to discuss the full Estimate on this motion. It will be for the new Dáil to take up the proposals of the present Government and with their inexperience, as there must be considerable inexperience in a new House, to set to work to carry into effect the proposals of the Government in this House. I think that the proposition is untenable from the point of view of proper Parliamentary Government and should not have been proposed, but what we are asked to do now is to pass a Vote on Account, that vote amounting to over £8,000,000, and it has been suggested that a general discussion might take place on the general financial and economic policy of the Government. The first thing I have to say is, in looking at this list of items of expenditure, that of the sixty-eight items, which we are asked to vote sums to maintain, no less than twenty-seven are actually increases upon the expenditure of last year.

The apparent decrease in the sum total of the Estimates for the coming year of something over two millions in no way presents a true picture, because not only, as has been pointed out, is the decrease largely due to the not carrying on of previous abnormal expenditure in the shape of compensation for personal and property losses, but above and beyond the sum of £23,500,000 odd which is the Estimate for the public services for the coming year, there has to be added a sum of at least three million pounds which will be required for the Central Fund, and also such sums as will be necessary to carry on the Shannon scheme. Therefore, if one haphazardly were to glance at this White Paper and think that the expenditure for the coming year on which we are asked to vote eight millions now was going to amount to £23,500,000 he would be very far from accurate. In fact the expenditure most likely to be reached will be at least twenty-seven and possibly twenty-eight millions.

In examining this whole question of public expenditure, based on Government policy, one must have regard to the present condition of affairs. What are the two great glaring features of the financial and economic situation in the Free State to-day? First, we have an adverse trade balance, a trade balance which visibly represents eighteen millions, and which the Government themselves have never shown by their calculations on the introduction of invisible exports and imports that it would be very much, or indeed at all, varied. The second factor that we must take into consideration is the fall of deposits in our banks. In dwelling on these two points, I want it to be clearly understood that I am in no way pessimistic about the future financial position of our country, if the country is treated in a proper and same manner by those who are responsible for its financial and economic conduct. But there is no getting away from our present position, and what we have got to do is to see how, if possible, that position can be remedied. These two items, the balance of trade on the one hand and the level of bank deposits on the other, are two generally accepted standards of the economic welfare of any country.

Quite recently, Mr. Reginald McKenna, at one time Chancellor of the Exchequer in Great Britain and now the head of one of the greatest banking firms perhaps in the world— a gentleman who is generally recognised as a great financial and economic expert—gave expression to grave apprehensions about the financial situation in Britain. The reason that he gave for those apprehensions was on account of the fall in the deposits in the banks. He took a period of four and a half years, from the autumn of 1922, and showed that there had been a fall in British bank deposits of about six per cent. during that period. He also contrasted that position with the state of affairs in the United States, and pointed out that, instead of there being a fall in deposits during that time, there was a rise in bank deposits to the extent of 33? per cent.

Mr. McKenna was very much perturbed about the financial system in England because there had been a fall in deposits of six per cent. But England is a great and a wealthy country. I say that we should be gravely perturbed at the situation as it exists here, because the fall in our bank deposits during that period of four and a half years has been no less than twenty per cent. That factor, coupled with the progressive elimination of liquid assets, or, in other words, ready money at the disposal of the principal banks in the country, presents a grave aspect of our present financial situation. These liquid assets have been reduced from one hundred and ten millions to seventy-eight millions in those four and a half years, so that it really comes to this, that what with the adverse balance amounting to eighteen millions or thereabouts—if anyone could calculate what the result would be, taking invisible exports and imports, it certainly would be a considerable amount—and the fall in the bank deposits, coupled with the elimination of these liquid assets at the disposal of the banks, it all goes to show that at this moment we here are actually living at a loss, and that we are, in fact, drawing upon our capital and living upon our savings. That being the position, has the Government got any policy whereby they intend to alter that? I can find nothing either in the Estimates they produce or in the statements they enunciate to show that they have seriously at any time considered the situation. The state of affairs being what it is, how can we go on under the existing burden of taxation? Is there anyone who can suggest that the burden of taxation at the moment is not certainly as much and probably more than we can possibly bear. Is the state of affairs that I have alluded to not largely due to the burden of taxation, and also to the methods and incidence of taxation?

Now it has been stated by several speakers from the Government benches —I am glad that the back benchers are at last coming to the front in the Dáil — that it is inconsistent for a Deputy to move a reduction of the amount and also ask for other expenditure. I see no inconsistency in that. My complaint is, first, as regards the amount; and secondly, as regards the method of expenditure. There are some items here upon which I would not be prepared to spend so much, while there are others on which I would be prepared to expend a great deal more. I certainly would be strongly in favour of a considerable reduction in the Army Estimate, but along with that I would be in favour of an increase, instead of a reduction, in unemployment insurance and in other methods of productive employment such as have been alluded to to-night from the Labour benches. It may seem redundant and really useless at this stage in the life of this Dáil and also of this Government to repeat proposals that I have made upon every Estimate and Budget introduced since I became a member of the House. I once more call attention to two items upon which I consider public money should not be expended, especially in the present circumstances. I have asked for the abolition of two of the existing Ministries. I have suggested, time and again, that the Ministry of Fisheries should be abolished and amalgamated with another Ministry, preferably that of Agriculture. I have pointed out that in countries like Great Britain, Australia and elsewhere, there is no separate Ministry of Fisheries, and great as the subject of Fisheries is here, and much as we desire—certainly much as I desire—to encourage the fisheries, I say that the money spent upon a separate Ministry would be far better spent upon the equipment of the fishermen themselves through another existing Ministry. In regard to the Ministry of External Affairs, I have suggested before, and do so again, that the President should be ipso facto the Minister for External Affairs. Is it suggested for one moment that our present Minister for External Affairs is overburdened with work, and is it suggested for a moment that the President could not equally discharge the duties which are discharged by the present Minister?

As far as I know, the real object and aims of the Minister for External Affairs should be to look after, not the political affairs of the State abroad, but the commercial and trade affairs, that we should endeavour through our Ministry of External Affairs to foster, encourage and promote our trade instead of spending our time discussing clauses in proposals by the League of Nations. I have also suggested and I do again, that there should be a reduction in the Army Vote. We had a debate here upon the Army only a short time ago. It was admitted upon all sides and there can be no question of it, that our Army, as such, is absolutely useless against external aggression.

May I ask the Deputy who admitted that?

I will refer the Minister to the debate.

Tell us who admitted it, please?

I certainly took that to be with the general consent of the House.

I do not know where the Deputy got the general consent or how he got this into his mind.

Does the Minister now say that our Army would be in any way useful if we were attacked by another Power?

Certainly it would, and it will prove itself when it is attacked.

Does the Minister suggest that if Japan were to wage war against us or if France were to wage war against us, perhaps by way of attacking our next door neighbour, England, that our Army would be in any way able to repel the invading forces both of the navies of these countries and their aeroplanes?

It would depend on the size of the invading forces.

Is it really suggested that any military force would be of any service against modern armaments in an endeavour to take this island?

I do suggest that the military forces that we are capable of putting up in this country would be able to defend the interests of this country against any force that may come against it. I know that there are a certain number of people in the country who are angling for one thing and one thing only, and that is to get the British Army back again to protect them.

Of course my answer to that is, if the British Army came back, the British Army would not be able to defend this land, that no military force would be able to withstand the external aggression of a a naval force and an aeroplane force. Therefore, with some slight knowledge of military affairs, which I do not attribute to the Minister for Defence, I will pit my opinion against his that any military force would be useless in this country against external aggression. Let us assume, therefore, for the sake of argument that I am right.

You are wrong.

I said for the sake of argument. The Minister for Defence, with his great military experience, says I am wrong. I do not know where he had his military experience, but he seems to know a great deal about it. I would suggest, therefore, that the only purpose for which our Army is at all suitable or is at present required is against internal aggression, and that, therefore, in fact the Army is a police force. If that army is a police force I say it should not be——

The Minister is suggesting that I said it should not be armed. I have not said that. I am suggesting that it should not be equipped to the same extent as this force is, nor should it necessarily be of the same numbers. We are asked to vote a sum of nearly 2½ millions.

May I ask the Deputy where he got two and a half millions? This is like the speeches that are made all over the country. Such balderdash I never heard of.

If the Minister is quarrelling over a quarter, I will say a quarter. We are asked to vote a sum of nearly two and a quarter millions. I will leave out the quarter and say we are asked to vote a sum of two millions——

It is better to be accurate.

—for the upkeep and equipment of a force which is in reality a police force. I say that a proper police force could be kept and could be equipped and could serve the same purpose for far less expenditure and, though it may be right for us to have something in the shape of an ornamental force at the same time to pretend, for one moment, that this force could in any way repel external invasion and also that it is necessary as a police force I say is asking the country to swallow something which they have already said they do not believe.

It is for ornament!

I have not suggested it is for ornament.

You have.

I said it might be necessary to have an ornamental army. If the Minister would keep his ears open and his mouth shut he would know a good deal more of what I am saying.

It is very hard.

So much for these three items of expenditure, which again I call attention to and which again I desire to say I consider to be unnecessary. We have also an item here under the heading "Miscellaneous Expenses." I see that that has increased slightly since last year. I would like to know something about what that means. I think we are entitled to be informed, at any rate, whether that means paying for aeroplanes for Ministers for the coming elections or whether it means paying for something which is essential to the conduct of the State. I desire, therefore, to make a general complaint in conjunction with the mover of this amendment, first as to the amount that is proposed to be expended. I say that the country is not in a position to expend that sum. Secondly, I say that it is not necessary that such a sum should be spent, and thirdly I say if that sum is spent and is considered necessary that it could be spent in far better and more useful ways.

I do not agree with the items selected for economy by Deputy Redmond. He has spoken of the Army. I think our Army as it stands is the only thing we have as an insurance against rebellion. It is the only guarantee we have that the majority will rule in this country. He admits that it has some uses for internal purposes. It has uses for them and not merely as a police force. I do not believe in a police force for doing the duties of an army. I do not believe in a militia for doing the duties of an army. A militia man is a handyman soldier and for that very reason he is very undesirable and might prove a very costly experiment in this country. I would like to know what would Holland or Belgium or other small nations do if it were suggested to them to abolish their armies.

What about Denmark?

Denmark unfortunately for itself at one time of its history had not an army strong enough to defend its rights. I would like to know, as I have just said, what would be thought of a Dutchman, with the Imperial tendencies of Deputy Redmond, standing up and saying that there was no necessity for an army in Holland, and the same way in Belgium? There are a few more items that have been selected for economy, and I do not see where the economy could be exercised. Deputy Redmond desires to abolish the Ministry of Fisheries and to attach its duties to the Minister for Lands and Agriculture. We all know that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture has more than he can do. It is true that he might save the salary of one Minister, but that would be at the cost of efficiency, and there is a very great necessity for a Ministry of Fisheries in this country.

And for more money for it.

And for more money for the Department of Fisheries. I believe this is a Ministry, when it is in proper working order, that will justify its existence, and to simply suggest that it should be attached to a Ministry that is already overloaded with its legitimate duties is a bad economic policy. He also said that we should abolish the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and asked the President of the State to discharge the duties of the Ministry. I do not agree with him that the Ministry could discharge these duties. I do not know very much in their entireties of the duties to be discharged by the President, but I think they are quite sufficient to take up all his time without asking him to discharge the duties of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

If I repeat the remarks of any Deputy I hope I will be excused. I was not in a position to hear the speeches of other Deputies, having to attend a county council meeting. I want to say a few words on this Vote on Account. I cannot understand the attitude of the Government in taking the whole vote together. It has been the practice, since the Dáil was established, to take the vote item by item, but I believe this is a quicker way to a General Election. I must say that I do not agree with Deputy Baxter's amendment, because if he was serious in putting forward an amendment he would move to reduce the total amount of £23,502,631, which is the total amount of the Estimate, by a larger sum than £500. I will take item 7, Old Age Pensions. I want to point out the amount of money the ratepayers in the twenty-six counties have to meet owing to the reduction of 1/- in the pension.

The Deputy cannot go into that. That is outside the question, because it is a matter of legislation already passed. The Deputy could not go into it now. It is a question of Government policy we are now discussing as apart from legislation.

I presume I am in order in discussing the Department of Local Government and Public Health.

Criticise the Government, certainly.

In discussing that I think I will be able to bring in a fair and decent criticism of the Government as a whole. The Department of Local Government has, through its administration, more or less destroyed the functions of public bodies.

For the office for the Minister for Industry and Commerce a sum of £124,000 is put forward, but for the relief of unemployment—unemployment insurance—the sum put forward is £233,526. If the Government were serious on the question of unemployment they would have presented a bigger Estimate. There are other items in this vote that could be reduced with a view to increasing the amount for the unemployed. If the Government cannot find employment, then it is up to them to maintain the unemployed in some form of decency. When the unemployed go to the Labour Exchanges they are told to come back again. That carries on for six or seven weeks, and the result is that those people are left absolutely starving.

There are huge staffs here in offices. In the Local Government Department alone the amount asked is £486,793. Surely, they could save something in that Department. Each Department of the Government is overcrowded with officials, and if the Government want to reduce taxation they certainly could reduce this Estimate by at least two millions more. They can do that.

Twenty-one millions should be quite enough to run twenty-six counties— practically a million for each county. It takes £200,000 more to run the office of the Minister for Local Government than it takes to support the 80,000 unemployed in the Saorstát. There is something wrong there. The majority of the 80,000 are married, and have families. They are living in destitute conditions; they have bad houses, they are almost naked, and are almost driven desperate for want of work. Here we are giving £200,000 more for the working of one Department than we are allowing for the upkeep of 80,000 people. That Department could reduce its Estimate very considerably. There is a decrease of £75,096 over last year's Estimate. Well, that is not bad, but I think a little more could be done, and what could be saved there could be added to the amount for the relief of the unemployed or it could be invested in industry so as to give employment.

The unemployed do not want money for nothing. They are prepared to work, and give a good return for the wages they receive. In the constituency I represent the county council, some five or six weeks ago, dismissed 500 men. These men were working on alternate fortnights—250 working one fortnight, and the remaining 250 the next fortnight. The money available for their employment ran out five or six weeks ago. We do not find the Government coming to our aid with the huge grants we are told they are giving.

If the Government wish to relieve the people, the first step they should take is to economise in the Department of each Minister. I do not see why there should be so many secretaries to each Minister. I do not see why one man should have £1,200, another man £1,000, another £800, and so on down to the man who actually does the work for £2 17s. 6d. The men or women engaged in the offices are the persons who do the spade work; they are the workers. The others are supposed to work their brains, and they say that is very hard work, and they must get for their labour as much as three dozen of the ordinary workers are paid.

The amount for the Department of Industry and Commerce is £124,000. That Department is certainly necessary. I think the Minister in that case is trying to do his best. I have no criticism whatever to offer to him. This much I do say, that on every occasion I wrote to him about a case I always got the utmost satisfaction, much more satisfaction than from any other Minister.

Did he ever commit a venial sin?

No. I heard a good deal said about the Army this evening. I heard Deputy Redmond say that the Army was too big. We have an Estimate of £2,183,767 for the Army. Assuming the Government said: "We will demobilise every man in the Army," will Deputy Redmond, or any other Deputy here, find employment for those men who will be thrown out of the Army? What happened in 1923 when 24,000 men were demobilised? The Dáil had to vote a Supplementary Estimate of about £400,000 to be distributed through the different Labour Exchanges amongst the ex-servicemen. Was it economy to put those men standing against street corners? They could not find employment.

It is far better economy to keep them in the Army until such time as the country is made perfectly safe, and until such time as the Government is in a position to have the wheels of industry revolving in every district, when they will be able to give employment to the demobilised men. It would not be right for the Government to demobilise a lot of men, throw them on the streets, to add to the ranks of the unemployed. At the moment the only occupation those men can get is to take up a hammer and a pair of goggles and sit on a heap of stones, breaking them at 3s. 6d. for the yard. Surely that is no treatment for an officer, N.C.O., or private.

All they pay is 2s. 3d. a yard.

We pay 3s. 6d. The Army Estimate in 1922-23 was about ten millions. It has gone down to a little less than two and a quarter millions. That means a reduction over a period of four years of something like seven and three-quarter millions. There are some people in the State who think there should be no Army at all. Then you would have no protection whatever. I am not in love with an army, but I want to see that before the soldiers are demobilised employment will be available for them—decent, respectable employment, something like what the men were used to prior to joining the Army. I ask the Minister whether the uniforms worn by the officers and men are woven and made in the Free State? I am informed that the officers' uniforms are not woven in the Free State. Furthermore, I should like to know if the uppers of the boots are made in the Saorstát? I am informed that the uppers are imported. I do not agree that there should be any further reduction in the Army Estimate. People who wish to gain popularity in the Saorstát naturally criticise the Army Estimate. It would be a most popular thing for me to stand up and oppose the Army Estimate. But I am quite satisfied with the Army Estimate for the coming year.

The Minister for Fisheries has received a fair amount of criticism since I came here this afternoon. But it is said that it is impossible to drown a fish and I am sure the Minister for Fisheries will remain unaffected by the criticism. I desire, however, to say a few words about the £2 licence for eel fishing with a line—

That arises under an Act. Moreover, there has not been a word said against the Minister for Fisheries this evening.

I was just beginning to say it.

There is no use in beginning now.

The Minister for Fisheries should attend to the case of the Galway fishermen. There are hundreds of fishermen in Galway idle. The Minister had something like six low cruisers safeguarding the coast against French poachers. But the Government bought only one boat for the fishermen. If they provided more boats for the fishermen, it would mean more employment for the men and women who engage in this industry —in fishing, cleaning and curing. The Minister for Fisheries should see a little more after his Department, if he is returned at the next election, than he is doing at the present time.

I do not wish to offer much criticism of the Land Commission, because it is doing fairly good work. But I think more land could be divided than has been divided for the last three years. There are thousands of acres in the hands of the Land Commission, and if they gave this land to people who would work it, they would be contributing to the relief of unemployment. The people in the country are being forced into the towns to seek employment, and their presence there is leading to a reduction in the wages of the town workers. If these men were occupied on the land, there would be more employment in the towns, and these people would have no desire to leave the country.

I should like to know if anything could be done to reduce the staffs in the different offices. I do not understand why there should be such large staffs in the Public Works Department, the Finance Department, and the Revenue Department. The Revenue Department is to cost £692,000 and the Department of Finance £62,358. Surely something could be done for economy there. I do not say it would be safe for the Government to dismiss a large number of their staff, because the question of superannuation would arise, but the services of a number of the old officials could be dispensed with. I do not know whether it has been the practice of this Government to give superannuation to every dismissed person. When application is made for compensation for the worker, we are told it cannot be allowed. Yet the superannuation and retired allowances of officials amount to £1,786,435. I would like to know if this is the 75 per cent. of the pensions payable by the British Government that we have to meet. Surely there is something wrong in giving out that huge amount of money to men who do nothing? We were told the other day, on the Liquor Bill, that compensation could not be given to assistants, but we pay one and a half million pounds in superannuation to British subjects. I would like to know if that is the total amount of superannuation, and if it includes pensions payable to ex-R.I.C. and ex-British soldiers. Every step we are going in this country, we are going to ruination. We have a total estimate this year of 23½ million pounds, and the greater portion of that is payable to officials in over-staffed offices and, in superannuation, to officials whom England should have pensioned.

All we can give to the working classes is a promise of the good time that is coming. The workers are the backbone of the country who produce the wealth. Without the workers there would not be any capitalists. We will not even give a helping hand to those people who have saved the property of the country. They are offered about two hundred thousand pounds less than it takes to run the Department of Local Government. There is something wrong there. Are the Government serious when in their election speeches they tell us what they are going to do and paint beautiful pictures of what will happen if they are returned? They promise the unemployed that industries will be established in every town and village, and say that if they are not returned the country will be ruined. What have they done since they were returned? How many industries have they started? They are giving a subsidy of £198,000 to the Beet Factory. Notwithstanding that, the sugar manufactured there cannot be sold at a profit equal to that on the sugar which is imported. The Shannon scheme was to have wonderful results. It is supposed to be finished in three years and to cost £5,000,000. Judging by the way it is progressing it will not be finished in 30 years.

I want the Government to do something more for the unemployed by starting industries, than is provided for in this vote. I want them to start a peat factory. In my constituency, and the constituency adjoining, there are thousands and thousands of acres of turbary land, from which a good return could be had if such a factory were started. Thousands of men could be employed at that work, and the men would be sure of constant employment. When these men would be assured of constant employment they would do their best to make the industry pay. It is no use for the Government to come forward with a sum of £233,526 for unemployment insurance by way of relief to the unemployed. That money is not productive. The workers do not want money for nothing; they want to earn it. It would be much better if the Government invested that money in some industry and gave employment from which some return would be got. I have not much appreciation for the unemployment benefit scheme. It would be much better to do away with it and find work for the unemployed. The majority of the workers have no liking for going to the Labour Exchanges like beggars to receive what is called the dole. They want work, but the Government is not trying to find employment for them. The great majority of the people in the Saorstát are workers, whether with the pen, the tool or the spade, and they should have some guarantee of constant employment.

I wish to refer to one matter mentioned by a Deputy on the Independent Benches and by Deputy O'Connell, namely, income tax. Deputy O'Connell said he did not see why it should be reduced. I am of the opinion that if it were abolished altogether it would go a long way towards doing away with unemployment. I know of a mill in my own constituency which was closed down because of the huge assessment for income tax. The firm was manufacturing fertilisers. The owner was assessed for something like £350 in income tax, with the result that he was not able to pay and had to close down the mill, thus throwing thirty-six men out of employment. Water capable of developing 700 or 800 h.p. is now running idle while we are importing fertilisers to make up for the deficiency. That is an instance which convinces me that the abolition of income tax would go a long way to remove unemployment. Another advantage which would come from the abolition of income tax is that we could borrow money much cheaper—at least one per cent. cheaper.

The question of income tax would more properly arise on the Budget.

I am raising this matter on the Vote for the Revenue Department which amounts to £692,000. The total revenue collected in income tax is only about £5,000,000. That sum includes internal and external income tax, arrears, etc., and it costs something like 3s. in the £ to collect.

I should like to point out to the Deputy that the major portion of the expenditure of the Revenue Department is not for the collection of income tax but for the collection of Customs duties.

The amounts for the collection of Customs duties must be small. We will say that the collection of income tax costs £600,000, leaving £92,000 for the Customs Department. I do not think it is worth spending £600,000 for the collection of about £2,000,000, which is about the amount received from internal income tax. The balance is received from foreign investments. If we did away with internal income tax it would be a great help to industry. It would induce people to take their money out of foreign investments and invest it in this country. It would create a greater civic spirit, as a great many people living here have their money invested outside the country and have no interest in this country except to live in it.

The abolition of internal income tax would also make unnecessary the spending of about £2,000,000 on relief work. According to its population there is more money placed on deposit in this country than in any other country in Europe, while the amount invested in foreign securities is about twice that of any other country. It would be a great advantage to the country to have that money taken out of these foreign investments and put to proper use here.

As I say, if income tax were done away with we could borrow much cheaper. We are paying 5¼ per cent. interest on the National Loan. The subscribers to that loan are liable for income tax amounting to something over one per cent., which brings the return they get for their money down to about four per cent. If we were able to borrow money at 4¼ per cent. without income tax, it would mean that the Board of Works could lend money to farmers and others at a much cheaper rate of interest for building, drainage and other purposes. The banks also could lend money at more than one per cent. less if there were no income tax. I know an individual who went to borrow money recently from a bank for which he was being charged 6½ per cent. When he said that the rate of interest was too high, the manager pointed out to him that the bank could receive 5¼ per cent. on its money if invested in the National Loan, which was one of the best investments in the State. A reduction in the rate of interest charged by the banks would not only help the rich man but the poor man, because a large percentage of the people have to borrow money. It would create a better security, because the lower the rate of interest the better the security will be. The suggestion I am making if carried out, would also reduce the cost of living a good deal, and thus bring down the bonuses paid to State and other officials. It seems inconsistent that because of the existence of income tax the cost of living is kept up, and as a result we have to give very large bonuses to officials, who again have to pay income tax on these bonuses.

I have said that it costs the State about £600,000 to collect income tax. But what does it cost the individual to try to bring down the amount for which he is assessed in what he has to pay to experts, solicitors and others, apart from all the annoyance and inconvenience he is caused in filling up the income tax papers? It takes an expert to fill them up. No farmer is able to do so, but if he does not he is over-assessed. To be sending income tax forms to people who are really more entitled to home help than to be called on to pay income tax seems ridiculous. I think that £2,000,000 a year in relief works and grants is too much entirely for the State. We go back to the policy that was applied long ago to the farmer in another way. The industrious man who makes a profit or makes a prosperous business is taxed. That is no encouragement for the industrious man, and it is more likely to drive him to luxuries or something else. I agree with what Deputy Egan said about joy riding, dancing and amusements. These things are overdone. There is no use in people saying that the country is poverty-stricken and down and out when such a high rate of living prevails. It would be better to tax luxuries more and bring people back to a state of industry than to be taxing the industrious man.

Deputy Redmond referred to the abolition of the Army. I do not agree with that, and I am sorry to think that Deputy Redmond's opinion has changed so much from that which his Party held thirteen or fourteen years ago when England was at war with Germany. At that time they said that the Volunteers were able to protect the shores of Ireland against Germany, and that offer was made, although the Volunteers were very green at that time, and although they are now trained and fully equipped, Deputy Redmond says they are not able to protect our shores. Not alone were they able to protect our shores, but they drove out the English, notwithstanding that many people here did not give them any assistance.

I suppose I am in the position of most other Deputies. It is rather difficult to deal with these Estimates in globo. I thought, in view of the procedure adopted last year and the year before, that this year we would again have plenty of time to consider each Estimate in detail, but I realise that we have not the time at our disposal. I would like to refer to one or two items, the first of which is Vote 54, not exactly in connection with the amount, but with regard to the policy of the Land Commission. In County Roscommon, which I represent, the Land Commission has taken over a good deal of land, but, unfortunately, it is situated in areas that are far removed from the uneconomic holders, and the result is lands are being offered to allottees who refuse to accept them, even if houses are built on them, because of the existing depression. At the same time there are large tracts undealt with on estates adjoining uneconomic holders, who are crying out for land. It would be a very much better policy, to my mind, if the Commission would pay more attention to tracts of land adjoining congested areas.

I also wish to refer to Vote 65. I notice, under Army Pensions, that a very great reduction is shown in the Estimates from that of last year. There is a reduction of practically half, and I cannot quite understand why it should be so large, except that most of it is under the Military Service Pensions Act, in connection with which there is a reduction of practically £200,000. From that I would infer that last year the Minister expected the amount that would be paid in military service pensions would be very much greater than it has turned out to be, and I think that that is due to the overstrict manner in which applicants have been dealt with by the Board of Assessors. I have had a great many complaints from my own constituency with regard to the manner in which applicants under that Act have been dealt with. In a great many cases it is difficult for them to produce the necessary evidence to satisfy the Board—which is confined to the terms of the Act, I suppose—because of the fact that some of the men who could prove cases are really opposed to the applicants, and would rather prevent them getting what they are entitled to than see them get it. I do not know how the Estimate has been reduced so much except it is because of that fact, and I would appeal to the Minister to see, if possible, that a number of appeals still pending will be dealt with, I do not say generously, but if there is a doubt in some cases, and the cases are fairly good, that they ought to be given the benefit of the doubt. With regard to the question of the abolition of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and of the Army, evidently Deputy Redmond would be happy if there was no Minister for External Affairs and no Army.

I do not like to interrupt the Deputy, but I think it is just as well that I should make one point clear, that I never suggested the abolition of the Army. I suggested a reduction of the Army, and the abolition of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Of the Minister or of the Ministry?

The Ministry, not the Minister. I never mentioned the Minister.

I thought from Deputy Redmond's argument that he meant the complete abolition of the Army, because he seemed to argue that an army is no use at all in this country. I accept his explanation. I think what he said is due to his outlook. Really I think that the Army and the Ministry of External Affairs are the best emblems we have of the status which we have attained, and I would certainly be very sorry to see the State deprived of these emblems. I do not think there is any necessity for arguing that. Most Deputies have a national outlook, and I think that any person with a national outlook would not desire the abolition of either of these, or even of the Ministry of Fisheries. It was suggested that that could be amalgamated with the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture. I think most Deputies who have experience of country areas know that the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture might, with advantage, be divided into two Ministries —a Ministry of Agriculture and a Ministry of Lands. A Minister who would be dealing with agriculture would certainly have quite enough to do to look after the interests of agriculture, whereas, in the situation in which we find ourselves at present, a man dealing with land certainly has enough to do to see that the land is properly divided, and to look after other matters in connection with that side of it.

Therefore I do not think that the suggestion to which I refer is a reasonable one, and I do not think that this Dáil, or any future one, is likely to approve of it. Apart from that, there is a huge field for development as far as fisheries are concerned, and Deputies who come from counties adjoining the sea hope that developments will take place in the fishing industry, and that further facilities will be given to the Minister to carry on his work. A great deal of the fault that is found with him is due to the fact that he has not sufficient funds to carry on work that he would like to carry on, and I do not think it likely that the House would desire the abolition of that Ministry.

The extraordinary procedure suggested by the Government in connection with the Estimates has placed a handicap on the Dáil which I do not think the Dáil deserves. In other years, on a Vote of this kind we were allowed to go into a detailed discussion, and I do think that this year, above all others, detailed discussion should be allowed.

Detailed discussion was allowed only on the Estimates, but this is a Vote on Account.

I quite understand that, but in view of the fact that we are not to have the Estimates until after the General Election, and that then some of us may not be here to discuss them in detail, I do think that the Government might at least have permitted a detailed discussion on the Vote on Account. A great deal has been said about high taxation, and a great deal has been said about the anomalous position taken up by members of my Party in supporting the amendment put forward by Deputy Baxter for a reduction of the Vote. So far as that is concerned it is because of the situation created by the Government that we find ourselves in the position of supporting the amendment and, at the same time, suggesting that there should be more expenditure in different directions. There is a reduction in the Estimates of something like £2,285,000. Most of that is made up of a reduction in abnormal Estimates, and the peculiar thing about it is that the reductions in other directions are made up from Estimates which for two or three years past have gone towards the relief of unemployment, gone towards the relief of people who want relief most. For instance, last year, as has been pointed out, a Relief Grant of £50,000 was voted. At that time we protested that that was altogether too small. The year before that the Relief Grant was £350,000, and I think it was proved then that even that was too small. I think the Government are very optimistic if they think that the time has arrived when they can remove Relief Grants altogether from the Estimates. I certainly think that they are very much out of touch with the state of affairs that prevails all over the country, because so far as some of us are who are in touch with country constituencies and who visit them every week are concerned, we find that the situation is as bad now, from the point of view of unemployment, as it was two or three years ago.

In that connection let me say that to my mind the Government, and especially the Department of Industry and Commerce, is not paying that strict attention to industries that one would expect from a native Government. Industries are decaying day after day under the very nose of the Government. I could cite two or three instances of industries in my constituency, the position of which has been brought before the Government time after time, but very little has been done. For instance, I have referred here time after time to the question of the Drinagh cement works, and my colleague, Deputy Doyle, has done the same thing. We have written, brought deputations here, and raised it in the House, and absolutely nothing has been done by the Minister nor, so far as we can see, has the Department any intention of taking action in order to move the English syndicate that owns that place to do something with it.

Some time ago a gentleman made an offer to buy the works. The company who own it, namely, the Associated Portland Cement Company of London, told him that they were prepared to let him have it at a certain price but stipulated that it should not be opened as a cement works. I think, when a stipulation of that kind is made, it is time for the Government to intervene. The matter has been brought to the notice of the Ministry but nothing has so far been done. I think it is the duty of a National Government to prevent that happening. Here we have an English syndicate coming in, apparently, to shut up this particular industry in order to secure a monopoly in this country for the sale of cement. I hope that the Ministry will do something in the matter as the closing of the works means the disemployment of over 100 men.

As to local loans, there is a reduction in the amount asked for of £266,000. I remember distinctly last year asking the President whether it was his intention in last year's Estimate to cater for the question of housing under the heading of "Local Loans." He told me that he did not intend last year to advance money out of that fund to help local authorities to erect houses, but that during the coming year, that is this year, it was the intention of the Government to advance money out of it to local authorities for that purpose. Instead of that, however, we find a reduction of more than a quarter of a million in this vote. I think that the President and the Government will agree that the demand for houses is greater than ever it was before and, unless something is done by advancing money at better terms than the banks are doing, housing will become a dead letter and the situation will go from bad to worse. I think the Government ought seriously consider the establishment of a fund to enable them to advance money to local authorities for longer terms of years and at lower rates of interest than the banks are prepared to do.

Deputy Redmond and others suggested the abolition of the Ministry of Fisheries. I do not agree with that. The Ministry of Fisheries are not making themselves as effective as I would wish but, at the same time, there is much to be done and I think, in view of the undeveloped state of the fishing industry, it is necessary, at present at any rate, that we should have a Minister and a Ministry of Fisheries with nothing else to do except to look after the fisheries of the country. This time last year several Deputies, including myself, asked that there should be another couple of cruisers placed at the disposal of the Ministry. I notice that that has not yet been done. Poaching is going on all round our shores to the great disadvantage of our fishermen, and unless more cruisers are placed at the disposal of the Ministry our fisheries will not be developed in the manner that we would like to have them.

There is a reduction in one of the sub-heads of the Ministry's Vote, namely, that for fishery development and the development of rural industries. To my mind, that is the only sub-head which should not be reduced so far as the Ministry is concerned, because the Minister wants all the money he can get in order to do something to develop rural industries, especially those on the western seaboard. I do not hold with the view that the Army should be either reduced or abolished at present. It is all very well for people to criticise the Army and say that it cannot do this or it cannot do that, but it is only right to remind people that were it not for the Army and the sacrifices which they made, we would not be here to-day. We should not forget that fact. This would be a wrong time to demobilise or reduce the Army, as I do not believe that we have yet acquired that sense of security which one would like to see, and I think that things would be infinitely worse were it not for the fact that we have a standing army. Another point is this. If you demobilise the Army, what are you going to do with the demobilised men? You are going to swell the ranks of the unemployed and throw more men on the scrap heap, thus making things worse. We may not be able to defend our shores against the modern equipment of various armies on the Continent, but perhaps we would give a good account of ourselves and, perhaps, by the help we would give, a greater nation than ourselves might come to our assistance.

People talk about the cost of the Army. Two or three years ago it cost ten million, and I think the Minister and the Government are to be congratulated that in such a short time they reduced the vote from ten to two millions. It is because the Army is there that we have such a comparative feeling of security in the country. I hope the Ministry will, before the General Election—perhaps it would be all the better for themselves—do something to show their earnestness to help the unemployed. They appear to be out of touch with the situation so far as the unemployed are concerned, and people in the country think that the Ministry have a callous mind so far as that question is concerned. Some Deputies referred to the matter of income tax. I am not going to say whether it should be reduced or increased. People say that if the income tax were reduced by sixpence or a shilling we would have more employment. I have been listening to that for a long time, and I have not noticed any increase of employment since the tax was reduced two years ago.

As regards the collection of income tax. I desire to say that in many parts of my constituency income tax collectors are acting very inconsiderately. In one case with which I am acquainted there was a debt of £18, and the person who owed it was in negotiation with the Revenue Commissioners. He had negotiated very successfully, inasmuch as the first demand was for £25, but after negotiating for a period of three weeks, it was reduced to £18. The man was not satisfied then, but although he was still in communication with the Revenue Commissioners, the local income tax collector made a raid upon his house and seized some of his furniture. Although the demand was for £18 furniture was seized to the value of about £45, including a piano worth £30, and some other articles.

That, in my opinion, is not fair. This particular income-tax collector, in order to realise a debt of £18, does not mind about seizing furniture to the value of £45. I would ask the Department concerned to issue directions to collectors not to act so indiscriminately. In conclusion, I again appeal to the Ministry to reconsider the position in regard to advancing money for building houses.

While listening to this debate I felt the greatest and most sincere sympathy with the Editor of the "Irish Independent" who cannot possibly do justice to all the splendid speeches delivered here to-day. I have listened attentively to many speeches from all parts of the House, but I cannot say that they dealt strictly with the motion of the Minister for Finance. We have had speeches of a very controversial and political character. We have had speeches which may be described as election speeches by members of many Parties, and in that respect we are in a very fortunate position as we can listen to election addresses from all parties at the same meeting, a privilege which is not enjoyed by people outside this House. As a typical example of an election speech, I would refer to the speech of Deputy Hogan, the Labour Deputy from Clare. He criticised the Government policy and the financial proposals of the Minister for Finance and I must say that his speech, in my opinion, was the worst speech which has ever been made here by any member of the Labour Party, a Party for which I have the greatest respect. I consider it to be a most incoherent and irresponsible speech.

Is the Deputy in order in the speech he is making? Has it reference to the Vote before the House?

The Deputy, I think, is in order by way of introduction.

You have taken the words out of my mouth. Deputy Hogan supported the motion which is before the House, in the first place, as far as I remember, with regard to the Army expenditure. We are asked to vote in this motion a sum of £725,000 for an Army which, in the opinion of Deputy Hogan, is to be used in the interests of British imperialism, and that is one of the reasons why he is in favour of Deputy Baxter's motion.

In the course of the debate many other Deputies protested against this particular item in the Minister's motion, and they have displayed a peculiar lack of appreciation of the whole national position. Statements which have been made here during the present Session and during the last few years—I admit we have had to drag them out of Ministers—have made it perfectly clear to the average mind what the object of the National Army is, and why we are asked to vote money for its upkeep. It is not necessary now to go into a long debate on the question of the Army. We have had a debate on that already on the Defence Forces (Temporary Provisions) Bill, and we have debated it in previous years, either on the Estimates or on the Defence Forces Bill, or, again, in private motion, such as that proposed by the late Deputy Figgis.

As a result of all these discussions it has been made perfectly clear by Ministers that the Army in this country, for which we are asked to-day to vote money, is designed for two purposes— in the first place, to keep order at home, and, in the second place, to prevent any other country having the right to garrison and defend the territory of the Irish Free State. According to the modern state of the world, every country is defended militarily, and, if we do not garrison this country, another country has a right to see that this country is defended. Deputy Hogan has expressed disapproval of the Vote for the Army, and the logical consequence of his disapproval is that the defence of this country, and the protection of this country, should be handed over inevitably to the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

It is the inevitable result of Article 7 of the Treaty. If Deputy Hogan is anxious to have the Treaty broken it is a difficult question, but it is the inevitable result of Article 7. If the Army is to be disbanded, as has been proposed by Deputies to-night, and if the protection and garrisoning of this country are to handed over to the armed forces of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, then our position in the British Commonwealth of Nations will be definitely reduced from that of a co-equal partner to that of a dependent and protective State. That is a policy that would not, I think, be advocated by the whole Labour Party, but it has been advocated by Deputy Hogan in his criticism of the Government and in his support of the amendment. His second reason, so far as I remember, for objecting to the expenditure which we are asked to sanction is objection to the League of Nations. I am sorry, and I am sure all Deputies are sorry, that the leader of the Irish Labour Party, through illness, has not been able to attend this debate.

I would have been interested to hear the comments of Deputy Johnson with regard to Deputy Hogan's proposal that the Irish Free State retire from the League of Nations and cease to pay the sum required in this vote. Just as Deputy Hogan has proposed that we should hand over the defence of this country to Great Britain, so he proposes that we should retire from all contact with other members of the League of Nations and that we should in future conduct all our relations with external Powers through the medium of the British Government, because that would be the natural channel whereby we would have an opportunity of coming into contact with other countries, with the exception, of course, of the United States.

Progress ordered to be reported.

The Dáil went out of Committee.
Progress reported.
Committee to sit again on Friday, 11th March.

Before we adjourn I desire to say that I used words this evening to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle while in the Chair which could be construed as a reflection on his conduct as the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I wish to withdraw these words unreservedly. No Deputy has a greater idea of the respect due to the Chair from every member of the House than I have.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until Friday, 11th March, at 12 o'clock.