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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 12 Jun 1929

Vol. 30 No. 10

Public Business. - Finance Bill, 1929—Second Stage.

I move the Second Reading of the Finance Bill, 1929, This Bill proposes to give legislative effect to the matters that have already been dealt with by the Dáil by way of resolutions in Committee on Finance and on Report. In addition to the matters that have been dealt with by resolution, there are one or two other matters of importance in the Bill. In the first place, there are two sections which confer certain exemptions on debentures and debenture stock and certificates of charge issued by the Agricultural Credit Corporation. It is felt these exemptions are necessary in order to make it possible for the Agricultural Credit Corporation to carry out its financial operations with reasonable ease. Then there are sections which carry out a small change in regard to the making of assessments. They are rather in the way of changes for administrative convenience. The sections are 3, 4 and 6. At present, with certain exceptions, and those exceptions still remain, assessments are made by the district inspectors of taxes. They then have to be signed and allowed by the special commissioners. The process of signing and allowing by the special commissioners is an empty formula—I am sorry; I meant an empty formality.

Force of habit.

The process of signing and allowing caused a good deal of trouble and it is entirely useless because it is impossible for the special commissioners to examine the assessments in any way and they have no option but simply to sign on the back of the books the statement that all the assessments contained are signed and allowed by the special commissioners. The fact that that formality has to be carried out causes a certain amount of administrative inconvenience. It also causes inconvenience in certain other directions. It is necessary to make a slight change in connection with the granting of allowances and deductions. Personal allowances and all that sort of thing are supposed now to be made by the special commissioners and they are made by the special commissioners in the signing and allowing of assessments. It is necessary to have Section 6 going with Sections 3 and 4. The formality of signing and allowing by the special commissioners is really the carrying over of an English practice. In England there are local unpaid income tax commissioners who carry out the functions carried out here by officials. There are seven local commissioners in an area and it is a very easy matter to have assessments signed and allowed by them. Here we have only two special commissioners doing not only commissioners' work but also the work of the local commissioners of England. It is not an easy matter to make arrangements for signing and allowing. If you had a number of commissioners, each dealing with a certain number of assessments, they might then actually look at the assessments before signing and allowing. Here it is quite an impossible thing.

There is one other change proposed and it is also for greater administrative convenience. It is in Section 5 (5). It provides that the hearing of an appeal against an assessment may take place before one special commissioner. At present appeals are heard before two special commissioners. The effect of that is that in certain districts the hearing of appeals has to be begun before the inspector has time to conduct correspondence with the taxpayer which might enable them to arrive at agreement. On the other hand, in some of the districts in which appeals are heard, the hearing is so delayed that it is impossible to get out the duplicates to the collector of taxes in reasonable time.

It is proposed that in future instead of having one circuit in the country there will be two circuits and that will enable the hearing of appeals to be begun later and it will give a greater opportunity to inspectors of taxes, not merely to complete assessments, but also to correspond with the taxpayers on matters of dispute before appeals begin. It will also enable appeal sittings to be ended at an earlier date and it will prevent delay in the work of collection at the proper time. There are certain matters which are determined by the special commissioners other than the hearing of appeals against assessments. There are applications for relief. These will continue to be heard by two special commissioners. In these cases there is no appeal from the special commissioners. In such cases it is proposed to let matters stand as at present. In the case of appeals against assessments there is a further appeal from the special commissioners to the Circuit Judge and there is a further appeal on a matter of law to the High Court. The provision for the hearing of all appeals by the two special commissioners was merely an application to Ireland of the legislation which was framed for British conditions.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.

The decision of the commissioners in England is final on the question of an assessment and therefore it is a very proper thing there should be the precaution of having two special commissioners for the hearing of appeals. In this country in the case of appeals against assessments with which we are dealing there is an appeal from the decision of the Commissioners, so that it is felt that a considerable administrative advantage will result from the change and that the taxpayer will not be prejudiced. There is in sub-section (7) of Section 5 one change to make it clear that the special commissioners may allow an extension of the statutory time for giving notice of appeal in cases of sickness, absence or other reasonable cause. It has been the practice of the special commissioners to allow an extension of time but the section under which they work is so obscurely worded that there is some doubt as to whether they were right in doing so. Then there are a considerable number of sections, from eight to twenty, the effect of which and almost the only effect of which is to change the various bases of assessment for which a person may claim.

The sections from the point of view from which they are drafted are very complicated. That is unavoidable because the income tax code which we are administering is a very complicated code. It is impossible to make changes in that code by any form of simple drafting amendment. I might say here that we have from the commencement of the Saorstát been convinced that it would be desirable to have a code of our own which might be very much simpler in many respects. But the preparation of a new Income Tax Act is one which has not been possible for staff reasons so far to undertake. It is estimated that the preparation of a comprehensive Income Tax Act of our own would require the services of three or four senior officials for anything from a year to eighteen months. We have not yet found it advisable to contemplate sparing the services of senior officials from the day to day work of tax collection for such a purpose.

The various sections, 8 to 20, which I have mentioned contain a number of provisions for such matters as the discontinuance of trades, changes in partnership, special provision for what is happening in the first year of a new business and special provision for what is happening in the final years of a business that is being wound up, also for what is happening in the cases of changes in partnerships, a complete change or a change where one partner goes out and another partner takes his place.

Then there are provisions with regard to losses. Where a loss is sustained in a business at present the operation of the three years' average principle tends to the relief of the taxpayer. It is proposed that the loss under the new system should be carried forward for a period of six years. If there is a loss in a particular year, say this year, that is carried forward to 1935 and set against any net profits that may remain in the next year following the loss and against the year following that and so on for a period of six years. If any part of the loss has not been wiped off at the end of the six years there is no further relief with regard to it. That on the whole is more advantageous to the taxpayer than the present arrangement for a three years' average. There are arrangements for the computation of the profits over broken periods where the accounts are made up for a longer period than a year.

Then the next section of the Act deals with Customs and Excise matters. They have been the subject of resolutions already in the Dáil. Section 24 corrects a typographical error which was made in last year's Finance Bill. Section 25 deals with the increase of duties on certain mechanically-propelled vehicles. Section 26 deals with the duty on game dealers' licences.

Section 27 is a change for the benefit of the wholesale spirit dealers. At present wholesale spirit dealers cannot sell a lesser quantity of spirits than two gallons of any particular denomination. With the decreased demand for spirits that has become irksome. The position has arisen by which traders are less frequently able to receive orders for two gallons of a particular denomination. For instance, if a wholesale dealer were sending out gin, brandy or whiskey there should be two gallons of each denomination. Now a trader may sell a quantity of spirits consisting of two gallons made up in any proportion of the various drinks. Section 28 enables wine to be bottled in bond. It appears that a certain class of wine can be satisfactorily bottled in bond. To that extent there will be some advantage to wine dealers who have suffered in recent years as a result of the decline in consumption.

Section 29 is inserted because of the great increase of automatic machines for the sale of tobacco in boarding-houses and even in private houses where there may be people other than members of the family living. It has been found difficult so far to enforce payment of licence duty on these machines, for the sale of tobacco especially, and it is impossible to exercise the ordinary revenue supervision in regard to the goods sold. It is the duty of the Revenue Commissioners to see where anything purporting to be tobacco is being sold that it does not contain any adulterant which might reduce the consumption of the tobacco and also result in a loss to the Revenue. For instance, there might be an excess of moisture.

Sections 30 and 31 deal with a doubt which has lately risen in regard to the powers of the officers of the Revenue Commissioners actually to remove certain documents which they are entitled to inspect. In certain cases, in fact in most cases, it would be impossible to detect frauds or to conduct prosecutions if there were no powers to remove documents. That is particularly so in the case of betting transactions. If documents were asked for and partly examined, and then the officer found that he had to leave for the night, it may be taken for granted that any parts of the documents which were of an incriminating nature would not be found on the next day.

For the purpose of Customs prosecutions it is also necessary that the Revenue Commissioners should be able to retain documents which they are entitled to examine, retain them subject to certain safeguards which enable the person to whom the documents belong to inspect them or to obtain copies. Recent prosecutions have been successfully carried out in connection with Customs frauds which could not have been instituted at all unless there was power to remove the documents. As a matter of fact, documents in Customs cases have always been removed, but quite recently, while the matter was not actually raised in court, certain doubts have been thrown on the state of the law in the matter and it is thought necessary to make it perfectly clear. Section 33 continues the exemption of railway and other public utility companies from the Corporation Profits Tax. Section 34 makes provision for the accumulation of a fund to meet interest accruing in respect of Savings Certificates. Section 35 proposes to restore what was in practice the position up to last year. Solicitors who were on the register or who were apprentices before the 1st October, 1921, were entitled to practise in the Courts, both of the Saorstát and of Northern Ireland, and they were so permitted to practise until last year on the payment of one stamp duty. As the result of legal opinion given during the year, it was necessary for the Revenue Commissioners to insist that stamped certificates should be issued in the Saorstát as well as in Northern Ireland in the case of solicitors from Northern Ireland practising here. The result of that was that solicitors from the Saorstát practising in Northern Ireland also became liable to double stamp duty. It is proposed to restore by legislation what was, as I have said, the position and practice before last year.

Are there reciprocal arrangements in those cases?

This will be subject to reciprocal arrangement. Section 36 corrects a verbal error in the last Finance Act passed a month or so ago, where the words "debenture or" were left out before the words "debenture stock." I think these are all the matters of any consequence that are dealt with in the Bill.

Before addressing myself more closely to the Bill which the Minister has introduced, I should like for a few minutes to refer to the debate on the General Finance Resolution, Resolution No. 5, which took place on the 25th April last. In the course of that debate and arising out of the Minister's financial statement, I had occasion to refer to the fact that the yield from stamp duties, which in 1925-26 had been £506,888, had fallen in 1927-28 to £480,901, and last year to £474,000. I pointed out to the Minister that stamp duties were generally accepted as economic barometers indicating the general tendency and state of trade, that when the yield from them, other things being equal, was high, trade was good; and when the yield was correspondingly low, trade was bad. I directed the attention of the Minister to the fact that stamp duties were giving a diminishing return, and I tried to impress on him the grave significance of these symptoms of economic distress. The Minister, in dealing with that particular aspect of my speech, said, in column 998, Volume 29, of the Official Debates: "Then in certain dealings in stocks there might be a fall in revenue as a result of prices, which would not indicate any likelihood of a decline in revenue generally." I should like to consider last year's returns from stamp duties in the light of that statement. I think it is quite in order to do so on a Bill which proposes to continue these stamp duties in operation. I agree with the Minister that one of the elements in stamp duty returns which varies most widely is the amount collected in respect of dealings in stocks, shares and debentures. On looking up the Revenue Commissioners' Report, I find in that that in 1924-25, out of a total of £483,000, the amount received in respect of such dealings was £91,098. In the following year, the return was increased to £506,000 and the amount received in respect of dealings in stocks and shares increased to £108,783. In 1926-27, when the returns from stamp duties diminished, the amount received in respect of dealings in stocks and shares fell to £91,046.

I have not the classification of the net receipts for later years and I am not in a position to say how much was received in 1927-28 and 1928-29, respectively, under the same heads. We may presume that in these years the returns under these heads followed the trend of general returns and were less in 1928-29 than in 1925-26. In the light of the Minister's statement I would like him to consider what has been occurring on the Stock Markets since 1925-26. They have been increasingly active. Values have been continuously inflating and up to a short time ago, when it became clear that there was going to be a change of Government in England, prices were continually rising. All the financial journals informed us that as far as Great Britain, and possibly this country, is concerned we have passed through a minor boom on the Stock Exchange. As proof of that I would like to state the index number of the market value of securities as computed for and published in the "Bankers' Magazine." It is based on 365 securities which had a normal value of 66,834 million pounds in 1920 for which year the index is taken as 100. According to this table the index number of market value for securities giving a fixed yield of interest, such as Government and municipal stocks, debenture and preference shares, was 110.7 in 1925 and for securities giving a variable yield, ordinary industrial shares and stock, the index number was 127.6. In 1926 the index figure for securities with a fixed yield was 109.65 and in the case of securities giving a variable yield, 136.1. In 1927 the index number for securities giving a fixed yield was 110.65 and for securities with a variable yield was 144.2. In 1928 the figure for securities with a fixed yield was 112.33 and for those giving a variable yield 155.64. It is quite clear from those figures and the statement I have made that the whole trend of security values since 1925 has been an upward one and the market during that period has been growing busier and busier. If the Minister's contention that the return from stamp duties may be influenced by the course of the Stock Market be valid, and I am prepared to accept it as such, how should the stamp duties have re-acted to market conditions since 1925? The stamp duties are, in general, on an ad valorem basis.

Accordingly, since the value of securities in general appreciated by 11 per cent. since 1925 and industrial securities in particular have appreciated by over 22 per cent. in that period, the amount paid in respect of each conveyance or transfer of stock in 1928 should have been higher than in 1925. Similarly, since the volume of business done in 1928, as represented by the number of transactions, was greater than in 1925, the increased duties should have been payable on an increased number of documents. Therefore, unless some other circumstances intervened, the return from stamp duties ought to have been much greater in 1928 than in 1925, but, as the members of the House can see by referring to the published return, so far from there being a greater return from stamp duties, the return has been very much less than in 1925. As to why it is less, I am not in a position to do more than hazard a guess. But I think the explanation possibly may be that as more and more securities came to be realised, under the inducement of the rising market, the cash, including both capital and profits thus secured, was not re-invested, but was used to discharge pressing liabilities abroad. Hence, it did not enter the investment market again in this country, and therefore it did not, as by its recurring re-entrance after each transaction it would have done, contribute to the full extent of its potentiality to the stamp duties.

In this connection, I may refer to a discussion which took place in the Press on the question recently as to the manner in which the yearly adverse balance of trade was adjusted. In the course of that discussion I think it was admitted by both parties to it that we had at the present moment, after making every adjustment for invisible exports and imports, an adverse trade balance of something over 4½ millions. It was suggested that this adverse trade balance had been adjusted by the realisation of our foreign investments. Now, a study of the returns from the stamp duties certainly confirms that, and I think in no way justifies the optimism of the Minister for Finance as to present conditions or the prospects of trade in this country. If the contention be true that the balance of trade is against us, this country is only succeeding in paying its way by realising its investments abroad. Unless the capital set free by such realisation is re-invested at home a diminution in the national income and a decrease in the purchasing power of the nation abroad must inevitably follow. Accordingly, a careful study of the analyses of estates subject to estate duty does not warrant the belief that there has been any considerable increase since 1925 in the capital invested in Irish enterprises.

I think the experience of those who in the same period have made issues of stocks or shares in such enterprises would confirm that view. Even as regards those stocks which have been issued under Government auspices, where every attraction both as to yield and the security of the investment, was offered to the investor I do not think that a single one could be described as being a successful issue. We may assume therefore that if any investments abroad have been realised the proceeds have not been re-invested in this country and the question remains then: have they been re-invested abroad? If they were re-invested abroad the purchasing power abroad of our community should remain undiminished and our total trade maintain itself at its former level, but the facts as disclosed by the figures recently issued by the Director of Statistics do not support that view. They show on the other hand a very marked shrinkage in our total trade since 1924. In 1924, the total trade, import and export, of this country, amounted to £120,475,000. In 1925, it was £107,331,000, and in 1927 it was £105,676,000. In 1928 it was £106,157,000. It is quite clear from that that our trade is not expanding. It has contracted since 1924. It is true, of course, and has on occasions been advanced in justification for continuing the present Government, that the visible adverse trade balance has grown less. I am convinced that it has grown less, not so much because we are selling more than we were before as because we are unable to buy as much as we were before. The fact that we have been realising our investments abroad has meant that the interest which those investments produced and which was added to the national income has been lost. Our income has been decreasing and consequently our purchasing power has diminished in the same ratio. I hold that one of the principal reasons why we are not able to purchase so much is that out of every 20/- produced or earned in this country, the domestic tax-gatherer takes 5/-, and possibly 6/-. In addition, out of the balance we collect and pay away another shilling to the outsider. That is the situation that has got to be faced by every Deputy in the House, no matter on what side he sits. It must be faced frankly and it should be faced irrespective of party. It must be faced, because it cannot be allowed to continue if the country is to prosper.

The adverse trade balance must be redressed, not by reducing the people's power, if free, to purchase abroad, but by restricting their opportunities to do so. There must be, I am certain, an intensification of the present tariff policy. At the present moment we have coming into the country most luxurious motor cars. They can hardly be held to be a necessity for trade or commerce. We have coming in expensive dress materials. I do not think any person will contend that they are essential to life. We have expensive prints, gold and silverware, diamonds of all sorts, and all sorts of fripperies, the expenditure on which is the merest waste. I certainly feel that opportunity should be taken, in the present financial condition of the country, to restrict expenditure on articles of this kind. At the present time there is a definite limit on luxury expenditure in another country, Italy, where the head of the State was faced with a state of affairs very similar to that which we are experiencing now. I think that if the Minister for Finance was at all awake to the interest of the present situation he would not allow the opportunity offered of the introduction of this Finance Bill to go without taking advantage, as I said, to restrict the wasteful expenditure upon luxury articles of that kind. As well as that, we have got to do more if we are at all to recover our former economic position. Not only must we reduce the opportunity of people to purchase abroad, but at the same time the power of the people to purchase, whether at home or abroad, must be permitted to increase by reducing the general burden of taxation so that they may be able to save more and, by their savings, repair the wastage of past years. I feel that one of the failures of the present Administration has been that there has been no attempt to secure economic administration. It is an extraordinary condition of affairs that in a country such as ours, dependent entirely upon agriculture, the cost of maintaining, on an average, one member of the Civic Guard, or one member of the Army, is four times the average wage paid to an agricultural labourer in this country. So that one Civic Guard, if we could dispense with his services, would enable four agricultural labourers to maintain the same standard of living as they have to subsist on to-day. Yet the Civic Guards toil not, neither do they spin; neither they nor the Army are producers of wealth. They are consumers of wealth, and they get, that is the anomaly, four times as much to maintain them as the primary, fundamental producer in this country receives as his ordinary yearly wage.

Again, we have the case of other officers who can be very well dispensed with. I wish to guard myself now against misunderstanding or misquotation, but I make the argument that the Governor-General at present receives £32,000 which is enough to maintain on the present standard 640 families in rural Ireland. I do not wish to be taken as at all justifying the fact that these families have to live on this standard. I am taking things as they are and instituting a comparison between things as they are. Yet that functionary receives as much for the upkeep of his office as 640 rural families have to live on. So far as I can see he serves no useful purpose and discharges no function in this State. Some people up to recently were under the impression that he existed as a personage——

The Deputy is wandering a long way from this Bill.

The Deputy can discuss all that on the Estimate when it comes on.

I think I am perfectly relevant. I am discussing money which is going to be spent and I think I am entitled to indicate at least some of the money which might be saved.

The Deputy is reading a great deal into this Bill.

I was going to say that he existed as a personage at which some people might sing "God Save the King."

The Deputy has been told he is irrelevant.

I think I am under as grave a misapprehension as the people were who wished to sing "God Save the King." I leave the Governor-General to his friends in Trinity College.

They are not here.

I had just now compared the amount spent on a certain personage with the amount of money large families in rural Ireland had to maintain themselves. I was arguing that there should be some attempt made to reduce expenditure and therefore to reduce the amount of money to be provided by the measures which are incorporated in this Bill, but I wish to make one point quite clear. That is, I do not feel that these economies should be secured at the cost of reducing further the standard of living amongst the general mass of our people. I would like to emphasise that because I believe any further deterioration in the condition under which the workers and small farmers of the country generally have to live, will inevitably result in an increase in the rate of emigration and the loss of wealth in the form of warm and virile flesh and blood in which we can least afford to lose it. In all our policies we have to remember that far-off lands with their golden opportunities call continuously to the young, strong, and adventurous amongst our people and that for our own salvation as a people we must do everything we can to help them to resist that call.

It may be said when I am talking on these lines, and arguing that there should be a reduction in expenditure and at the same time stating that the social services must be maintained at at least their present standard, that I am stating a problem which is going to be a very difficult one to face. It is a vital problem for this nation. We have to maintain our population, and we cannot do it until at least we make life as attractive in Ireland as it is elsewhere, and we have got at the same time, to enable our people to repair the economic wastage of the past years. If we are going to do that, particularly if we are going to secure an economy, there must be a drastic reduction in expenditure upon everything that is not absolutely justifiable.

I have referred to the Army and the Civic Guard. I feel economies may be made in these two services. I feel we can do with less mercenary soldiers and a considerably lesser number of Civic Guards. We will find that does not mean, say, that we are going to disemploy them. I hope in the improved conditions that we will find other offices or employment for them, but they must be reduced; and as well as that, I believe from things I have heard, and from what has come under my own personal notice, that if a resolute attempt was made to deal with expenditure in Government offices and with the wastage that goes on, that at least another million might be saved. The unfortunate thing is that the Government do not seem to take that view. They tell us that everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds, and that we have the best of all possible worlds and must be content. Mr. Blythe, with a golden whip costing the people£20,000,000, is driving our young men and women into exile, and he is not disposed at all to listen to those who are asking for a drastic reduction in the expenditure in Government Departments.

Again, the Minister for Agriculture stands, as usual, for the policy of the open port. That policy is written boldly into this Bill. The flood of foreign manufactures is to pour into this country unimpeded and uncontrolled to drive our workers out of Ireland to find their livelihood in lands across the sea. I know of one particular instance— it has happened during the past months—where the leading factory in one of the oldest established industries in Ireland has closed down. Those engaged in that industry have been petitioning for a tariff to protect themselves for the last two years, I think eighteen months, at any rate, and so far the Tariff Commission has been unable to give a decision upon the case. In the meantime, as I have said, the largest, the best equipped, the foremost and the most enterprising works with the most enterprising management in that particular industry have had to close down, and most of the men who found a living and were able to rear their families in an Irish country town have transferred to England.

You have practically every single old-established industry faced with foreign competition. They have not been able to maintain themselves. They have a right, I think, to ask that the Government of the Free State should come to their assistance, as the Government of any other country would come to their assistance if their lot was so happy as to be cast in another country. There is another point that I would like to refer to, because I think it has something to do with this Bill; that is, the extraordinary position disclosed by the Minister in his reply to a question relating to the repatriation of the British coinage from this country. The Minister, in his Budget speech, informed the Dáil that in framing the proposals which are now incorporated in this Bill he has taken into account the amount which, under a recent agreement, he was to receive this year from the British Government in respect of the British coins repatriated from this country. According to a reliable estimate, the total face value of the British coins now in circulation in this country and put into circulation here by the British authorities is not less than £1,500,000. As I have said, the coins were put into circulation here by the British authorities. I do not think they were issued by the Currency Commission and I do not think they were issued by a Department or agency of our Executive Council. Yet the British Government has absolutely refused to redeem those coins at their face value. Every single penny piece or shilling that came into this country came in exchange for some article of value exported from this country and the British authorities refused to honour the bond which was implied when the head of their King was stamped upon that coin, that when it was presented particularly by a citizen of another State it would be duly honoured by them at its face value.

When the British Chancellor of the Exchequer was guilty of that act of international dishonesty and dishonour the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Justice did not cry "repudiation" or charge Mr. Churchill with embezzlement, and I am certain the Minister for Agriculture did not cite the Seventh Commandment to reprove him. Mr. Churchill's decision was taken mutely and meekly by the Government and the Government Party without even one "cuss" word from Deputy Gorey. What is the extraordinary position which we now find? We find that Mr. Churchill has not even kept his word in respect of this latter bargain. Under the agreement he was to have redeemed coins to the face value of £250,000 by April last. Now, however, we find that the face value of the coins redeemed to date is only £77,000. The British repudiate what is clearly their liability. When a comparatively small sum of money is involved the British Minister of that Crown and King which, we are told, must be sacrosanct here, without scruple, repudiates and dishonours that Crown and King. And yet, as I have said, it has all been taken mutely and meekly by the Minister for Finance. When we were young we often heard of the bird that could be caught by putting a little salt on its tail. I believe that particular bird is very rare and is seldom to be found. I, at any rate, have never seen it, but I think we have in charge of the finances of the State something even rarer, a Minister who is always captured by a little sugar on the tongue of a British politician. A few soft words from Mr. Winston Churchill, a few soft words from Mr. Lloyd George, and they agree to the boundary settlement; they agree to the settlement over the British coinage, and while they quite calmly and mutely acquiesce in a case in which a British Minister repudiates what is clearly a liability of the British State they continue to pay away out of this country each year over £3,000,000 which, legally, at any rate, we contend is not justly due.

And when, in the interests of the nation, a party arise and, basing their arguments upon the legal documents in the case, ask that that money shall be retained here, the Minister for Finance, who is mute before Mr. Winston Churchill, and the Minister for Agriculture, who is also silent, charge us with being embezzlers and cites to us the Seventh Commandment. They tell us we are compelled to pay this money by the law of God. As long as the finances of this country remain in charge of a Government so spiritless as the Government which now sits upon the Front Bench opposite, so long as it is in charge of a Minister who is content to take the easy course—come day go day and God send Sunday—there is going to be no hope and no future for this State. It does not matter what temporary or passing victories they may secure by means of a partisan Press. Ultimately the people of this country will be reduced to such a pitch of desperation that they will rise in their anger and clear the whole of them out.

The Minister for Finance has an enormous amount of control over what is, perhaps, the most important question in this country, and that is the question of industry. We find on the question of land and the produce of land that it is at times impossible to get anything more than the cost of production, and at times that that itself is even impossible. I believe that there is one thing necessary in this country as a preliminary step in order to relieve that position, and it is the creation of industry, for, as I said on previous occasions, the powers that existed in this country previously were wise for themselves. The Chancellors of Exchequers in those days knew that their country was an industrial country, that it lived on industry. They cared little for the produce of land, and they found, being an industrial country, that their true policy should be, as far as this country was concerned, to deprive it of all its industries and, therefore, create consumers for their industries. They were perfectly wise.

We find on going back in history that any little industry we had they allowed to survive, provided that it had, to a certain extent, an effect on our industrial future or on our industrial education. The potato was first introduced into this country along with the tobacco plant. One would have imagined that the British Government would then have destroyed, through taxation, the potato crop, just as they destroyed the tobacco industry. But no, they were wise there again. They decided that there was, to a certain extent, an industrial future in tobacco growing. Therefore, having an industrial future in it, they destroyed it and allowed potato growing. It is curious to note that in those days the one portion of Ireland that remained industrial had for its main food corn and corn products—that was the North of Ireland. Southern Ireland existed wholesale on potatoes mixed with buttermilk. There is a certain atmosphere round the cultivation of the potato crop that is not industrial. We find that once the potato is dug the only process of manufacture it goes through is boiling or frying. We find that corn has to go through a certain manufacturing process, such as milling and other re-handling, and thus gives employment and creates a good deal of industry. You will find that people reared on the potato are generally people of great exclusiveness and, perhaps, with little initiative. In times of depression there is no necessity or no reason why they should mix with their fellowmen. The soil produces as much food as they require and they do not need more and there they remain. That has been the position in this country in the past.

As I said, you found the British Government, when free trade was introduced, making a determined effort to develop their industries— to see that their industries should give as much employment as possible. They killed their agricultural industry in England in those days, but you find that they have been intelligent enough, and quick enough to repent, and now they are taxing the industrial branch in order to recompense, to a certain extent, the agricultural element. Here they do not seem to have made any effort to do that, because we find that at the present time there is 60 per cent. more arable land in this country than in Denmark, and that we actually use or plough one-third less. We have, since the Union, been turned into a live-stock production country. That was again, to a large extent, caused through the action of successive Chancellors of the Exchequer, because we find that in live-stock rearing there is not at all the expenditure or the utilisation of capital that there would be in this country if we were an agricultural country. There are no houses necessary for live-stock, or barns or machinery of any description, with the result that it is more or less on a parallel with the potato crop. There is practically no cost of production, no expenditure on stock.

It is true that unsettled times and conditions have had their effect on those industries as well. For instance, potatoes could be hidden in the ground and soldiers, yeomen and robbers of different descriptions would find it difficult to find them. Live-stock could have been driven away, while corn could, with great difficulty, have been removed. There may have been other reasons. At any rate, we find that the Irish Parliament, about the time of Foster's corn laws, were inclined to change the position, and they believed that an agricultural future would be more suitable for this country. In order to bring that about certain proposals were made for the transmission of corn to the coast towns. Wheat in the raw state was allowed something like 6d. per ton per mile as an assistance to freightage; oats something like 3d., and flour 1/-. We find that the numerous mills, now derelict and ruined, which excite so much curiosity in the passerby, were erected in those days. That is another proof of how an industry can be helped and assisted by a sympathetic Minister for Agriculture.

We find later on Foster's corn laws introduced which had a most extraordinary effect on the agricultural position in Ireland. You found that corn production became an economic industry. You found that outside the consideration of protection even, they could have produced that wheat and corn at a most profitable price. But, in order to make it more profitable, you had the Foster corn laws introduced which left that industry in a strong position. If men in those days could have made these attempts I do not see any reason why the Minister for Finance to-day could not make some attempt—and no attempt has been made—to give encouragement to an industry that would give a large amount of employment, that is an intensive industry, that could educate farmers to a high pitch and that would employ their own sons and daughters. It is an industry with a tradition, and it is an industry on which we have spent a good deal of money. The industry to which I refer is the tobacco industry. We had, some time ago, a Commission set up to enquire into the question of tobacco-growing here. The report of that Commission got very little sympathy when it reached the Dáil. In fact, as far as I can find out, the Minister for Finance did not think it necessary to debate the point in the Dáil or ask Deputies to come to any decision on the point. He came to a decision himself, and evidently the decision was that it was impossible to grow tobacco in Ireland.

The matter was debated at a later date in the Dáil and, I think, voted upon.

Mr. O'Reilly

At any rate, the Committee recommended that "the duty on Irish tobacco be reduced from 6/8 (or five-sixths of the full excise duty) to 5/- (or five-eighths) as compared with 8/2 Customs duty payable on foreign leaf. The Committee are satisfied that such reduction would secure a market which at present does not exist for homegrown tobacco, at an average price of about 1/6 per lb., and would make it possible for Irish manufacturers to provide the consumer with a cheap blend, which, if composed of 50 per cent. Irish, could eventually be sold at a reduction of 1d. per oz. on present retail prices, or, if only 25 per cent. Irish were used, at a reduction of ½d."

That was the report of a Commission set up by this House. Whether that Commission was set up by the House with the intention of giving effect to its conclusion, or whether it was set up simply to sidetrack the question, I do not know. But certainly the question was sidetracked. Statements were made broadly, as well as I remember, by the Minister for Finance that the subsidy would be too much and more than the taxpayer could bear. But as far as that point is concerned it may be left to a future date to discuss. In any case there was very little consideration given to an industry which has had such a past, and which showed that it had such a future. We read about the position of the tobacco industry at the time of its suppression about 1830.

Can the Deputy state if the report of the Commission was brought before the Dáil and discussed by the House?

Because if a decision was come to by the House the Deputy would not be in order in raising it now.

Mr. O'Reilly

As far as I know a decision was come to by the House.

Then the Deputy would not be in order in raising it in this fashion.

Mr. O'Reilly

I am not to debate the decision of the House about the Committee, but I am in a position to raise the question of tobacco growing as an agricultural industry!

The point is that the matter was brought before the House, as I understand the Deputy, and a decision was come to on the question of the tobacco industry by the House and therefore it cannot now be raised or debated on this Bill. The Deputy will have to come at it in a more direct way. I am not suggesting that he cannot raise it and speak upon it on another occasion, but he cannot do so in the fashion that he is now doing it.

In the Finance Bill would it not be possible for the Minister to make other provision for the growing of tobacco, and upon that assumption would not the Deputy be in order?

That is so, if a decision was not come to by the House already.

This being a new Bill, the Minister could have introduced into it another provision which the House could then accept.

I am afraid the Deputy's point does not alter the decision.

Mr. O'Reilly

I am allowed to discuss agriculture and the general position of agriculture in this country?

Mr. O'Reilly

The present position of land tenure in Ireland is a peculiar one. Since the 1923 Land Act we have to a certain extent appointed a number of managers of small farms of land of different sizes. They are practically managers with a few little advantages. If there is any surplus profit they may pocket it, and they are allowed to will the land. I dare say that much was left because if they were not allowed to will the land they would be entitled to pensions. But there are certain things that farmers can produce on land which they are not allowed to produce. There are certain restrictions—import duties and different fiscal arrangements that prevent them from producing these commodities, economically and in order to prevent them producing this particular commodity they are told (1) that these commodities only belong by right to tropical countries; (2) that it would rob the taxpayer, and (3) that it is a complete impossibility. Now this agricultural industry to which I refer, that is, the growing of tobacco leaf, has had a wonderful past. It is only practically a hundred years ago since this particular industry was in being, and tobacco was grown the same as we grow turnips.

The Deputy is getting off the rails again.

Mr. O'Reilly

At any rate, I submit it is unfair for a farmer not to be allowed to grow what he thought was profitable on his land considering that the Government have such power over him and his land. They have actually more power to collect his rent than previous landlords had, and still he has no liberty when a particular form of industry could be followed which would bring him benefit, but perhaps might compel the Minister for Finance to think a little more and to change the incidence of taxation. That is only one out of many industries that are affected in this way. I am aware that difficulties exist and that these difficulties were not perhaps put there by members of the present Government, that they were inherited, but I believe that these difficulties could be wiped away. I believe they do not belong and should not be attached to any Government that exists in this country. I do not believe that any industry that we could hope to cultivate successfully should be prevented because of any such thing as taxation. We find according to the present system of taxation, especially as far as tobacco is concerned, that in the West of Ireland, in the Gaeltacht about which we have heard so much sympathetic talk in this Dáil, the individual is the heaviest taxed man in this country, that he pays more taxes than big industrialists in Dublin, and that he has so much less wherewith to pay. Tobacco is no longer a luxury to him; it is a necessity. He has little to eat and to amuse him, and I think it would be only just and fair that the State should consider his position. If he smokes ordinary common or Kentucky tobacco it is not at all sound or healthy for him, and it will cost him about £5 a year, while his income is generally about £6 a year. Take the position of the agricultural labourer; he is engaged on production, and he is the heaviest taxed man who pays that tax except the farmer. I shall be told that that amount of money has to be collected. But it is not beyond the wit of the Revenue Department, who have a great deal of wit and a great deal of brains and are very clever men— they have wonderful nets through which they allow nothing to escape; they pick everything up—it ought not to be beyond the wit of those men to devise some system whereby the incidence of that taxation will not bear so heavily upon these men.

As long as we have a system that makes the poor poorer than they are, we are going to remain a poor nation. It is the number of poor we have to carry that tells. I believe they should get some consideration, and I believe the Minister for Finance should have considered their position. It is unfair to consider tobacco a luxury any longer; it has become a necessity and the use of it has become universal, especially since our sisters and wives and other people have taken to using the weed. The taxation that arises from that has greatly increased and it is a most unfair tax on production. Some consideration should be given to it from the point of view of its altered position. It was once a luxury, but to-day it is a necessity.

I take it the question of whether the Minister will scrap A or B, or what he will do eventually, has to be left to the dim and distant future when he will envisage the perfect Bill and I take it that we will have the simplified code of income tax procedure, which has been spoken about, a few days after the Greek Kalends. The machine which we have in use at present would be well worthy of a futurist Heath Robinson. It certainly bears no relation to the actual necessities of the country. It is one of the very bad inheritances which we have got, and the sooner the Minister or his successor succeeds in finding time and opportunity to authorise some of that very accomplished staff—with which Deputy O'Reilly has been making friends in the interest of his next year's income tax assessment—to undertake the simplification of the income tax code, the better. I take it there is no use at the present moment in putting forward statistics and examples as to the lowness of the yield, the enormous number of assessments, and the difficulty and expense both to the Revenue Commissioners and the commercial community involved in some of those very unremunerative schedules.

I only hope the Minister will find the opportunity to do something towards simplification. For instance, he could take off some of the C.I.D. —I am speaking metaphorically— some of the third degree men, his ancient order of torturers, who are now having such good fun with the thumb-screws and all the rest of it in the country but who, unfortunately in my opinion, are doing a great deal more damage to the commercial position than they are doing benefit to themselves, and put them to this useful work. Perhaps he would be able to find the men who could do that. I will say, at any rate, that the torturers are very brainy men and I would very much prefer they would apply their brains and energy to something of a more useful character. There is one matter which I think the Minister might well have taken up and that is the lack of allowance which is given where industrialists use modernised methods and plant. For instance, if I turn from one type of gas heating to another type of gas heating, or if I turn from one gas engine to another type of gas engine, I get some allowance for the difference in the value of the plant. If I turn over from gas to electricity no allowance of the sort is made.

The remark in reference to gas is not altogether inappropriate.

I do not want to interrupt the Deputy's conversation in any way. I take it the Deputy is, for the moment, temporarily finished. I think when the Government has entered upon a scheme which the Minister puts down among his assets as worth £5,200,000—it is called the Shannon scheme—it is eminently desirable that everybody should be encouraged to use the power generated by that scheme when it comes. When the whole of the revenue which is going to be got from that scheme is to meet actual pre-existing commitments of the State, under that scheme, there is even a case for making an exception to the existing rules and actively encouraging those who will prefer electricity as distinct from some other form of power or some other form of heating or lighting. Personally, I do not like making special provision for special cases, but the Shannon scheme, as its liability will remain upon this country, is a very special case and I think the Government might very well consider before this Bill is completed whether a provision of this kind should not be made. I think in such circumstances an allowance should be made under the income tax rules for people who alter their plants along the lines I have suggested.

I have not yet had time to go into some of these provisions in detail. I would want to go into them carefully before I could understand them. Quite frankly, the number of the people in the House who read this measure, particularly from Section 8 to Section 20, and whose individual opinions on the matter would be of any great value is, I am sure, very few. These are questions which we will have to take up carefully and in detail with our advisers, and see whether the actual results of these provisions are going to be as good as their immediate object claims to be. As I read them, they are mostly means of getting more money for the Minister for Finance. A couple of them seemed to me to be ones which contain a certain amount of human recognition of the fact that that unfortunate beast of burden, the taxpayer, should get some consideration even from the Minister for Finance. We will deal with this in more detail in Committee Stage. We will hope to go into it more fully. I take it that Section 23, when it is discussed as an individual section, will raise a very considerable amount of controversy as to whether that is the particular way which the Minister for Finance should have adopted, and whether even now some variation in that particular method might not with advantage be adopted.

There is Section 25, which deals with duties upon mechanically-propelled vehicles. As one of those who has something to do with those vehicles I have no hesitation whatever in saying that the vehicles which are particularly meant in this case, like every other vehicle that uses the public road, must be prepared, first, without any question of taxation arising, to replace the whole of the damage they do to the road. I personally do not object in any way to the taxation of this particular type of vehicle. What I am concerned with all the time is that no logical basis, no basis in a logical and scientific way, for this taxation has been exposed to the House as being in the possession of the Minister. The defence may be that naturally the getting of that logical basis is a matter of time, and that it is difficult, but that in the meantime something must be done. There is a good deal to be said for that. You must have an empiric method before you can get a scientific method. But I would suggest a co-operation between the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Local Government, and have them get down to a scientific method of taxation.

I think the atmosphere of mind of the Minister, and possibly the mind of the House, is that they do intend to get a certain revenue from this type of vehicle. The question is whether, in getting that revenue, they will not consider those from whom they get it and see whether they cannot get the total revenue in a way which will produce less friction. At the present moment the position is that this taxation is levied as yearly taxation. The actual load upon the vehicles, as we know, varies very considerably from year to year, and a very considerable number of them are only temporarily in commission; and we know that, in addition to that, in relation to the individual vehicle that load is not a steady load at all. It ought be taken off; if it is not, it is left over, to the danger of the community and to the increase of the cost of transport. These vehicles should be definitely taken off the road every year for a definite period for overhauling. The suggestion made by those interested in this matter is—I am not speaking now for them, I am saying that that is a suggestion they put forward— that they should be allowed to pay that taxation in periods either monthly or tri-monthly at pro rata yearly rates in order to encourage the taking off of those cars for a reasonable period for overhaul. Personally, I think there is a lot to be said for that.

The Minister may say, "I want that total revenue, but I am not very particular how I get it. But I am prepared to consider your particular point of view so long as I do not get less revenue." It may be necessary for the Minister if he reduces the period of the licence so that the car will be off the road, to add pro rata to the actual cost of the licence. Personally, I think he ought to meet that question definitely, on the point of view of reducing the period for which the licence can be got. I think whatever the charge for the period is for which they ought to be able to get the licence, the charge should be made out at a pro rata rate.

I have gone into the question to a certain extent, with certain suggestions that have been given to me and it does look at the moment that the effect of this particular method of fixing the charge for these particular vehicles will be to take the buses off the roads which are unprofitable but which are profitable to the community. I mean there are a lot of isolated districts with bad roads through which buses are passing where, possibly, they are damaging the roads, and the tendency seems to be that those portions of the country which are now only served by buses will, as a result of this, suffer through this particular taxation.

What I would suggest to the Minister is this, that in contact with the trade representatives or those who do know, there should be made a map of this country showing the routes which are likely to be affected to the extent of being interfered with by that taxation. I think the Minister may find that there is a social value question as distinct from a taxation value question involved in that particular issue. I cannot quite gather exactly whether there is any new gain to these Corporations here which are marked for a continuance of Corporation Profits Tax. I take it the status quo is continued for a time.

I am taking up now a couple of points which have been brought to me for consideration and for putting forward before the House. There are certain powers which the Revenue Commissioners have under these Acts of continuing certain penalties. I mean, as far as I understand it, there is a Revenue Commissioner's power which enables him to get a man arrested, put him into prison and leave him there pretty well until he wakes up and says he must come out. There seems to be technically at any rate, the power of perpetual imprisonment in the Revenue Commissioners. I saw a case made the other day in one of our own Government Courts in which a judge protested against having to give an order, with the implication which belonged to that order, for imprisonment under these circumstances at the behest of the Revenue Commissioners.

I certainly think that if that is one of the survivals of the old income tax procedure it is a survival whose abolition need not wait until the whole income tax procedure is remodelled.

I think it was Deputy O'Reilly who on a previous occasion put forward the doctrine that the best use of taxation which the Minister could make was to leave it in the pockets of those who produced it. I am very largely of that opinion, for a good deal of the taxation which is now taken out of the pockets of the taxpayers would be very much better left there. I think we could safely and wisely try to carry on with less enforcement services and things of that kind in relation to our industries. I think it would be a great deal better to do so. There was an idea some years ago, and I heard it very publicly and clearly expressed by a Minister, that the only people in this country who could use money properly in industry were the Government. He said that they were going to do everything. Personally, I do not hold with that view. I think the Government themselves are beginning to realise that there are very real limitations to their powers.

A great many things which Governments can do usefully with money and power in relation to trade are merely the necessary and essential backing up of people who are doing the thing themselves. I think that the Government might, to a large extent, leave a good many things in which they now interfere without knowledge to the people themselves. The total taxation of this country, in my opinion, is too high, and I am not putting that on any low ground of little economy. If we take the Government contention—and that must be their contention—that the existing industries of this country can continue to produce the amount of money now extracted without damage, then we can look at any money which is saved from preventable expenditure on the carrying out of existing services as money which is available for the provision of money for productive purposes. If the House will realise that one million of money saved is capable of letting loose at present forty millions at two and a half per cent., they will see what argument there is for working towards that particular object. If we spend all the money which we are now spending upon enforcement services of one kind or another, then we will not have the power of borrowing and of providing money for matters of that kind.

I think that twenty millions of money let loose on agriculture and industry would be infinitely more valuable from an employment point of view than any million of money which to-day is spent by the Government in its ordinary administration. It is not in any sense of hostility to the Civic Guards or Army men that I advocate saving along those lines. I believe that every Civic Guard and every soldier has brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, friends and relatives, all over the country and it is not an isolated, distinct and segregated unit. The money which is now being wastefully spent on two services of that kind would if used for the purpose of developing industries be infinitely more beneficial to the men themselves in the Guards and in the Army than the present expenditure. The present position undoubtedly is that you cannot demobilise either the Army or the Guards because you have nothing to demobilise either the Army or the start to develop some industrial and agricultural pool into which we could demobilise them the better.

At present we are in a vicious circle. You are going to demobilise the Shannon men very shortly. I suppose there are five thousand of these men now and they are beginning to be scattered, but nothing has been done so far as I can see, to provide a pool into which even these men can be demobilised. Nothing can, or will, be done to my mind so long as existing production and industry are taxed up to the very last penny at which industry can maintain itself. So long as that is the system of taxation I do not think that you can do anything by which you could demobilise the Shannon men or the Army men or the surplus men in Government Departments. It is simply a question of eating your own tail. Taxation under this budget is too high. The method of expenditure of money is extravagant. That is my summing up of the Bill and of the mentality of those who framed it and who will administer it.

I think that we should realise that we are a poor country which cannot afford a whole lot of the luxury trappings of government, as distinct from the essentials of government. If the Government would change their outlook upon public order—I mean their professed outlook—and would try and introduce a feeling of kindliness and good-feeling, they could cut down by hundreds of thousands of pounds, without any difficulty, their enforcement services. I cannot see why they should not cut down these services, including the whole of the Army, the whole of the Civic Guard, and the whole of the Ministry of Justice Vote. It is a question of the way of looking at things. Until they want peace in this country and try to get it, the country will have to pay a heavy cost of insurance against disturbed conditions, for which, I am afraid, the Ministry have a good deal to blame themselves in creating.

I would ask the Minister to consider the very serious position of the Irish distilling industry. The figures disclosed in the latest available returns go to show that there was imported into the Saorstát from January to March. 1928, approximately 19,000 proof gallons of spirit. On the basis of that figure it gives 76 proof gallons of whiskey imported by the end of the year. This spirit is 30 degrees under proof as measured by Sykes' hydrometer, a most correct and valuable instrument for measuring the specific gravity of this liquid. The statutory minimum strength, I understand, without declaration for home consumption, is 25 under proof. The great bulk of foreign spirit which is entering into competition with our own native distillation is submitted to a process which reduces its strength by means of an admixture of patent still. The Irish spirit, as we know, if reduced under proof to anything below twenty-five would assume a rather cloudy appearance, which would render it not so easily saleable as the imported article. These imports, as the Minister must be aware, come mainly from Scotland, and Scottish whiskey, coming in here practically protected by our system, is sold very much to the detriment of the Irish article.

I do not see any provision in the Bill that would enable the Irish distiller to compete, even on equal terms, with his Scotch competitors. There is, of course, involved in the whole question the matter of employment in the industry. The distilling industry gave very valuable and decent employment in this country for many years, and I suggest, owing to the laxity of the Department in not realising its full responsibility in this matter to the Irish people in general and to the distillers and those engaged in the industry in particular, it has allowed a state of affairs to exist which is to the detriment of our own people.

There is another phase of this question to which I would like to direct the Minister's attention. I find that in the Second Schedule of the Bill there are modifications of income tax in respect of profits or gains arising in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, but I would suggest that it should be a matter of consideration for the Executive or the Finance Department, to see how far we would be able to attract Irish capital back into our own country, that is, capital invested abroad. We do know that a good deal of securities are held by Irishmen in other countries, and some method should be devised to attract that capital back to our own country. At one time there was a little temerity or nervousness on the part of certain people to invest their money in Irish securities, and it was said that there was a want of stability. There was no indication from any Party in the State that we would have things so well stabilised as to induce a keen and hard-headed business man to keep his money at home or for that matter to attract foreign capital into the Saorstát. Happily since the advent of the Fianna Fáil Party to this Chamber these fears have been dispelled. For that reason I think that we should do something by way of inducement, and I would suggest that relief from tax should be given to Irish industrialists or capitalists who invest in Irish industry.

Whilst the Second Schedule provides for modifications in income tax in respect of profits or gains arising in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, we have nothing in the Bill that would suggest an inducement to Irish capitalists to invest their money at home. This is a matter that I think the Minister for Finance and the Executive Council should take into very serious consideration. There is a very good opening in this country in many avenues of industry and commerce for capital, be that capital Irish or foreign, and it would be a gesture, I feel sure, that would meet with the appreciation of every citizen in the State if, included in the next Finance Bill, we had a provision to that effect. There are a few matters upon which I intended to touch, but they have already been covered by other speakers. Therefore, I will content myself by making a further appeal to the Minister to do something by way of putting Irish distillers on an equal footing with their foreign competitors. I also feel sure that when he understands the whole position and appreciates it, he will be able to do something for this industry, which has been very badly hit during the past few years. Those of us who admit to sampling the distillations and brews of other countries know that you cannot beat the Irish product, pure potstill whiskey, in flavour, strength, or other attributes. It stands very high amongst those who indulge in spirits. It is a national industry, and it is an industry which I hope we will never lose. I do not want to see this industry penalised to the extent that it will be put out of existence, and I suggest that the Minister should take this matter into very serious consideration.

There is one matter in particular to which I would like to draw attention. I suppose there is very little use in following Deputy Anthony on the matters which we have already raised on more than one occasion, namely, the question of seeing that, if we are going to drink whiskey in Ireland, it shall be Irish whiskey; and secondly, seeing that by preferential rates, or other inducements, capital at present being used to develop other countries, should be used to develop our own industries. There is a third point, which I do not think was dealt with just now, but it has been dealt with on more than one occasion, namely, the advisability of giving greater relief to a man with a small income and a family. I gave on the last occasion some figures to indicate the difference that exists between the amount of tax paid by such a person here and in Great Britain. A man with an income of £400 and having three children, has to pay a tax of £3 7s. 6d. in this country, whereas in Great Britain he pays nothing at all. In the case of a man having a salary of £500 and three children, he has to pay £10 2s. 6d. in this country and only £3 3s. 4d. in Great Britain. As I said, there seems to be very little use in pressing these matters on the Minister for Finance.

The matter to which I wished to draw the Minister's attention especially is the position of the coachbuilding industry. Most members of the House know, I am sure, that that is a very ancient industry and that it was well-established before the advent of the motor car. The coming of the motor car changed matters, and whilst some of the bigger firms tried to adapt themselves, a number of other firms could not do so. There is an immediate necessity for stopping the huge import of motor bodies, particularly in the case of buses. The import is not at the moment as heavy as during the rush period, but we have four or five well-established firms that are in imminent danger from the competition across the water.

The makers of the chassis naturally tried to get the bodies made in conjunction with them across the water. We have no chassis made here. Consequently the competition is so intense that unless action is taken by the Ministry, and the proper tax put on, which will prevent unfair competition, we are going to lose our coachbuilding industry. One of the five principal firms, I am told, will have to close down within a week or so if action is not taken. I understand an application was made as long as two years ago to the Tariff Commission. In that time all the facts of the situation should certainly be able to be put in this connection, and we should have had a report long before this. The present tax is purely nominal under the circumstances. In our opinion it is necessary, if this industry is to be saved, to put on what, in fact, would be a prohibitive tax. I am sorry the Minister is not here to tell us what is the attitude of the Ministry in respect to it. There is, I suppose, about £5,000,000 a year being drained out of this country in connection with motoring. That money should be saved for the country, and where we have had men of enterprise to equip their firms so as to meet the demand for the motor buses in particular I think we are not doing our duty by these people when we allow foreigners to come in and put them in a position in which they will have to give up business. At present I understand some of the other firms have got only occasional orders. The men are skilled men, and if they are let off work for a period they have to leave the country and find employment elsewhere. Each time a new order is put on hands there is the question of trying to reassemble the workers. As I say, we regard it as a very pressing matter, and I hope the Minister for Finance, when replying, will assure us that he is going to take immediate action upon it.

I do not think it is necessary to deal with the matter at any great length. In Australia they have built up, as a result of putting on a prohibitive tariff, one of the greatest coachbuilding works in the world, and I am informed that in many cases some of the chief workers were Irish. It seems strange that we should allow an industry like that to die out. It is not merely a question of the buses alone, and of bodies for the motors alone. There is also the question of the general coachbuilding industry. Horse-drawn vehicles have been dumped in here from other countries to such an extent that coachbuilders throughout the country, apart altogether from the five principal firms I am speaking of now, are being driven out of work. It is a matter which requires the urgent attention of the Executive and I hope that the Minister for Finance when replying will tell us that he intends to take immediate action upon it.

There are two or three matters I would like to draw the attention of the Ministry to. I tried before to raise the matter in connection with bookmakers, and I was advised I could raise it in this particular Bill. I do not believe that the taxpayers generally in this country are anxious to have the situation, at present existing, in connection with the collection of tax. As far as I can make out under the Betting Act of 1926 there are two classes of bookmakers, one who enjoys the credit of the State and is entitled to pay duty on his bets on a credit basis and whose books are examined and checked. There is also a smaller class of bookmaker who does not enjoy that credit with the result that he has to proceed to the Customs house and buy a sheet for which he pays 2/6d. That enables him to place on the sheet particulars of bets the duty on which would amount to 2/6d. In some cases the amount of bets recorded on a particular sheet will exceed the nominal amount of the sheet and the custom has grown up in dealing with that particular situation to permit the bookmaker to pay the difference as between 2/6d. and the actual amount of the duty on the bets recorded on that sheet.

The difficulty arises after you leave that point. Bookmakers are supposed to return those sheets within fourteen days after they get them. I do not know the difficulties of these particular gentlemen, but in several cases bookmakers do not return their sheets within the prescribed time, and when the Revenue Commissioners go after them they discover that they owe £20, £30, and as high as £50 on duty over and above the 2/6d. on each sheet. The regulations, which are controlled by the Revenue Commissioners, enable the Revenue Commissioners to take those men to court, and the penalties inflicted are absolutely out of proportion altogether with the crimes committed. The justices in the courts have no option, but must inflict the penalties prescribed.

I have particulars of one case before me. I have a question down to which I will not get an answer until next week, asking how many bookmakers are in prison and how many are on the run, body warrants having been issued against them. Here is the case of a man who fell into arrears amounting to something near £50. He was brought before a District Justice and fined £500 which was subsequently mitigated to £125. He wrote to the Revenue Commissioners what I considered under the circumstances a fairly reasonable letter stating: "As you are probably aware I have been summoned before the District Court for over-holding of a tax paid sheet and fined £125. In addition, I owe your Commissioners a fairly large sum for Betting Duty (£55). The fact is that at the present time I am absolutely unable to meet this liability, and I respectfully request that you place the matter before the Commissioners with a view to having the penalty mitigated and to allow me some time to pay the amount they may fix by instalments.

"I have a very large family, most of them helpless—seven of them range from four to fifteen years of age. I have no intention of defrauding your Commissioners and I am firmly resolved to clear the matter up if they consent to make conditions possible for me. Should they do so a relation of mine has given me £15 to pay a first instalment."

The answer he got back from the Revenue Commissioners states: "I am directed by the Revenue Commissioners to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 14th instant and to state, in reply, that they are not prepared to consent to any further mitigation of the penalty, amounting to £125, imposed on you on the 5th idem at the District Court, Dublin, for contravention of the Betting Duty Regulations, 1926." This man could not pay that money. He offered to pay it by instalments, but his offer was not accepted. At the present time he is in Mountjoy Jail. He is the father of 20 children, and is in Mountjoy because he cannot meet the demands of the Revenue Commissioners.

He ought to get the Victoria Cross.

He should get some recognition from the State for having increased the population to the extent he did. The fact remains that because he overholds he is treated in this manner and it is made impossible for him to meet this obligation. He is thrown into gaol and his wife and children are at the mercy of neighbours and friends. At the same time the taxpayer is paying for his upkeep. I do not believe the Revenue Commissioners will ever get anything from him, and how long they are going to keep him is another question. He may be kept three months. He is a man of 65 years of age. There are other men in a similar position and there are men, as I said, who have left the country altogether because they could not meet their obligations in that way and body warrants were issued against them. I do not believe that the citizens of the State would approve of this kind of administration by the Revenue Commissioners, and I would ask that the Minister would instruct the Revenue Commissioners to be a little bit more reasonable.

I have particulars of another case here which was reported in the Press headed "Bookmakers Fined." I quote it to show the ridiculous position when it comes to a comparison between the fine and the penalty. I will not mention the man's name. He was fined £500, mitigated to £125, for having neglected to pay duty in respect of a bet of 2s. 6d. Mr. Cussen said that he accepted the defendant's explanation that the matter was a genuine mistake and he would recommend that the fine be further mitigated to £5. He can only recommend. Here is the case where a man omitted to pay duty on 2s. 6d. The amount that would come to the State in respect of that particular bet would be less than a halfpenny. Yet the Revenue Commissioners bring the man to court at big expense and he is fined £500, mitigated to £125. What the further recommendation has come to I do not know, but certainly it would appear to be a rather stringent attitude to adopt towards people.

As I said before, I am not in a position to go into the matter as I would like to because I had hoped that this particular debate would not start until next week, and I hoped by that time to have the information I asked for. If the Minister would look into the matter and see how many men he has in jail in similar circumstances and come to some terms to collect the debt by instalments I would be very glad.

Another matter to which I would like to refer is this: I understand that under the 1926 Agreement between the Ministry and England it was agreed that firms registered in England and operating in the Saorstát would be permitted to pay their income tax to the English Revenue Authorities. As a quid pro quo it was agreed that persons domiciled in England but having residences in the Irish Free State would pay income tax in the Irish Free State, provided they remained for a single period of 24 hours in any particular year in Free State territory. That particular rule was applied only to very big taxpayers. I only refer to it because I do not believe it is a fair position to have the Ministry in. I can easily visualise people who might have a very big income tax contribution saying: "Very well; we cannot come to terms." or if something happens which they do not like saying: "We are not going to come over to Ireland for 24 hours in any particular year, so that you cannot collect income tax off us." I would like to know if I understand that matter correctly, and if it is as I stated I would like to know if the Minister could see any way of altering it, because it is unfair to the Ministry. These people can say "If it does not suit us we will not come to your country and you cannot collect income tax off us."

Some time ago the late Deputy Holt asked the Minister if he could see his way to bring into force a recommendation that existed some time ago in connection with old motor cars. It was suggested at one time that cars of a certain age—five, six, ten or whatever it was—would not bear the same tax as was imposed on new cars of the same horse power. I understand that there are numbers of these cars all over the country which could be brought into use. It would save the purchase of new cars if they could be put on the road. Perhaps the Minister would look into that also and see if he could bring that regulation into being. I know it was mooted at one time.

There is another matter that I would like to draw the attention of the Minister to. I understand it is having the attention of the Attorney-General at the present time. The Customs and Excise authorities, in collecting the tax on dutiable goods coming in at the port, seem to have rules that suit themselves and that are not equitable as far as the traders are concerned. When a tariff was recently put on cloth a certain cloth was exempt up to 1/6 per square yard. Anything over that was dutiable. Certain traders in Dublin had cloth arriving about the time that that law was made, and because an entry had been made for those goods on the day the duty was introduced those goods became liable to duty. A short time afterwards the Minister altered the Act. He allowed cloth of a higher value in free. The same traders thought when they made an entry on or after that date the second lot of goods would be allowed in free in view of the first ruling. But they found that the Customs and Excise authorities were going to have it both ways. I understand that this matter is having attention. If not, I hope it will.

Another thing that I would like to refer to is this. In connection with the old Dáil Loan subscriptions certain people have sent in receipts for their original subscriptions.

The Deputy can raise that matter on the Estimate.

I can put it this way.

The Deputy should put it on the Estimate rather than on this Bill.

The methods of the Ministry of Finance seem to be very peculiar, because unless according to their registers and records something is accessible and noted it has no standing. The fact of a man having a receipt does not seem to concern them. That seems to be rather a pity, because it affects usually people who are not so well off and to whom a small amount of money is quite a big thing.

I am particularly anxious that the Minister should look into the situation that confronts the whole bookmaking confraternity. We do not know how long this situation will last or what difference will be made by the recommendations of the Committee that recently inquired into the matter, but I think the Revenue Commissioners should not have the power to dictate to the court the penalties to be imposed on people for overholding the tax, and they should not have power to keep people in custody for any time it pleases them. I think it is going to take us back to the time we read of in the "Tatler" and "Spectator" when gentlemen were kept in Newgate Prison until their friends came to their aid. It seems rather peculiar that such a thing should be tolerated at the present time. I know from what I heard from citizens of Dublin anyway that they certainly do not believe that is the proper way to go about things. I hope the Minister will look into the matter and make it possible for the Revenue Commissioners to accept instalments from these people, and, at the same time, prevent men from getting into default by being more stringent in the giving of sheets to them.

The question raised by Deputy Briscoe in connection with these bookmakers who are in Mountjoy at present has been dealt with at length by the Betting Committee, and I feel sure that the difficulties will be removed by the new Bill. I am in complete agreement with what Deputy Briscoe has said on the matter. I shall tell a story which will illustrate the position better than any statement I could make. Recently, in the Dublin police courts a bookmaker was brought up for some offence and fined £500, mitigated to £125. At the conclusion of the case the bookmaker and his friends adjourned to the nearest licensed premises and the bookmaker asked his friends what they would have. One of them said he would have a glass of whiskey. The bookmaker replied: "Oh, no, not with me; I could not afford to treat you to anything so expensive." Then the friend replied: "Very well, mitigate it to a glass of stout." That illustration shows how absurd it is to fine persons £500 who have not £2 in the world. I understand that there is a large number of these people in Mountjoy at present, and so far as I know they will remain there until the new Bill is introduced. I agree with Deputy Briscoe that something ought to be done to endeavour to meet these cases, because it does look absurd to keep persons in prison when they have no possibility of paying the fine.

There is a matter on which I should like the Minister to give some information, and that is with regard to the tariffs which have been in existence for some years and which, apparently, are not fulfilling their purpose—that is, they are not keeping out imports as was intended. Is it the attitude of the Government that these tariffs shall be allowed to remain as they are; that they are satisfied to get revenue from them, and that they have no regard for the employment that is being lost through the apparent failure of these tariffs? Is it their attitude that those concerned in an industry, if they want any increase in the tariff, must prepare another case for the Tariff Commission and go through all the trouble involved in an application before anything is done to meet the position? According to the last Finance Accounts, it appears that £86,298 was raised from the tariff on confectionery in 1927-28. That is a huge sum, and obviously means that about £600,000 worth of confectionery is imported every year.

Even the Minister for Agriculture could hardly hold that if that confectionery were, excluded from the country the cost of living to the farmer would go up tremendously and that it would be merely another burthen on his back. We should consider the terrific loss of employment involved in that sum of £600,000. So far as one can learn, the very best confectionery can be produced here. If we cannot produce it, then we can very easily arrange to produce it. There can be no excuse that I can think of in a country where unemployment is so rife, particularly amongst women, for allowing that huge import to go on unchecked. I should like if the Minister would give us not a Party statement—I do not ask it as a Party question or anything like that—but a little of the Executive Council's philosophy on this question of tariffs. Are they satisfied simply to say: "We have now given the tariff; we will let the industry go its way; in time, perhaps, imports will reduce; meantime, if it does mean loss of employment to the country, it means cash to the revenue, and one thing balances another; it is at least a convenience to the Government, even if it means hunger for the people?" Is that the Government's philosophy on the question or what excuse can they make as a Government, looking on at the terrific unemployment and the drain of emigration, for allowing in over £600,000 worth of a luxury article, an article that is produced in this country, and could very well be produced in this country to the last chocolate? Even if it led to an increase in prices, I do not think anybody would have a big grievance if the price of sweet cakes or such article was raised. In view however of the competition that prevails and the fact that the industry is distributed all over the country, there could not possibly be an increase in price. It is almost certain that if there were a total exclusion of confectionery it would not mean a shilling in the year in the outlay of any family.

The same thing applies to the other industries that are tariffed. In the case of furniture, £44,296 was raised in the last year for which the Finance Accounts are available. That means that something over £300,000 worth of furniture was imported. At a time when people who have been trained in the wood-working business in this country, whose homes are in the country, and whose desire is to remain in the country, are emigrating, as numbers of them have emigrated in the last month, is it fair that we should take up the attitude I have described as regards confectionery also with regard to furniture? A little better case could possibly be made than in the matter of confectionery, but certainly no substantial or convincing case could be made that if we raised the tariff on furniture, or even excluded furniture entirely, a single family in the country will be affected injuriously. The poor, as we all know, never buy furniture—they more often sell their little bits of furniture. The amount spent by the lower-middle classes on furniture in the year is so small that even if there were a slight increase in price, or an increase in the price of certain articles, which is quite unlikely to take place, it could not be called a national misfortune. That is going on, however. You have work which means employment to numbers of people being given away day after day and week after week in a country where unemployment prevails to a shocking extent, and where unemployment is being felt not merely by the direct victims, but by every trader, and great numbers of professional and other people who never thought that they would be so directly interested in it as they find themselves at present. If I wanted to take up the time of the Dáil by going through the list of other articles that are tariffed a similar case could be made. For instance, £35,517 has been collected from the import of matches, while I think the matches made here are quite good enough for anybody, and it cannot be held that they are very much dearer than those imported. Quite a substantial amount of blankets was imported, although I understand the tariff on blankets has been on the whole successful. £3,600 has been raised from the import on bedsteads, which means that there is still a substantial number of bedsteads coming into the country.

As I said, we would like to know what the mind of the Minister is on that whole subject. Is it to be a case of passive observance of the result of the tariff and not worrying about the further problem that remains because of the comparative failure of the tariff, or, at least, because of its lack of complete success. There is another question on which I hope the Minister will enlighten us when he comes to reply, and that is the question of the investment of Post Office moneys abroad. In a reply to a question of mine a few weeks ago the Minister said that practically two million pounds of Post Office and trustee savings bank money was invested in British security. Of course there is the amount of five millions which was deposited in the British savings bank, I think, dating from pre-Treaty times. I put the same question to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Post Office and he was not able to give me much information. We should like to know whether there has been any further or more vigorous effort made with regard to getting the owners of that five million pounds to transfer their money to the Saorstát Savings Bank. It is a very big sum. It is an unfortunate thing for this country that such a large investment of money, which brings in so little return, should remain invested abroad at the present time. What is more serious, however, is the Government's position with regard to the two million of money deposited in the Saorstát Savings Bank invested in British Government securities. It seems a curious thing that under the present statutes the Government is not at liberty to invest in so strong a security as Dublin municipal stock, and that they have actually to invest that money in British Government securities. Surely if the Saorstát is a safe thing at all the city of Dublin, which might now be called the Saorstát, ought to be a safe Government security. There is something needing a lot of explanation in this. Within the last twelve months the city of Dublin issued a loan, and had to go outside the country to ensure success for it, yet at the same time the Government is investing money for which it is responsible in British Government stocks.

I think, in view, to say the least of it, of the unsatisfactory position that there is through the coinage transfer, we should be careful about leaving any money which belongs to the people in British Government stock, especially now that a very dangerous Socialist Government has taken possession in England. Anyhow, I hope the Minister will be able to say that something definite is going to be done upon that point. I think it is no secret that certain issues in which the Government were very much interested in recent months have not been a great success. It would be important to know whether the Government are going to make any effort to transfer that money that I refer to, so that certain services of great importance and of great value to the people in this country will have the advantage of it.

I personally am a bit disappointed that the Minister for Finance in his Budget statement and in his Finance Bill did not do anything with regard to pensions drawn from the Saorstát Government enjoyed by people who are not living within the Saorstát. I believe that was a very wrong thing to have allowed, and I think it will always be a big grievance if nothing is being done to remedy it, especially seeing that there are precedents all over the world for imposing conditions on pensioners. Many countries make provision, I believe, with regard to State pensions that those enjoying them shall live within the country. Assuredly if there is any country that should have made such provision it is this country. I do not think the Saorstát is so wealthy and so prosperous that it could afford to see people drawing big pensions like £3,000 or £4,000 a year not spending any of them in the country, and without contributing one farthing to the rates and taxes of the country and not recognising any duty whatever to the country itself. It is a thing some of us thought the Minister would find a way of dealing with. I hope the Minister for Finance will not have to say now that it is too late, and that no new conditions can be made with regard to pensions, and that those who enjoy them will be at liberty to live where they like in the future as in the past.

resumed the Chair.

In view of the extraordinary conditions under which a lot of these pensions were obtained, I certainly think that the Government might have endeavoured to establish such provisions as would enable them, at least, to get out of the pension what the pensioner ordinarily spends upon his living.

I suppose there would be very little use asking the Minister for some statement as to whether the Government had any intention of dealing immediately with unemployment or taking any further steps to mitigate the terrible state of things that prevails in so many towns at the present time. It is a deplorable thing to have to realise that in every town of any size in the country you have a number of people living there the miserable existence which unemployed people have to live, that there is no hope for them in private enterprise, as far as we can judge, and that the Government neither directly nor indirectly appear to have any intention of helping their lot. Anyone who travels any distance from Dublin must be familiar with the spectacle of numbers of men living perfectly useless lives, and becoming rapidly unfit for work and no value to the State, but living generally at the public expense— drawing home help or something of that kind.

Everyone who travels any distance from Dublin must be familiar with that spectacle. Is it the attitude of the Government that they disclaim responsibility for it and that they can only help it in so far as their ordinary measures for the encouragement of agriculture and industry will help it? Is it their belief that the present agricultural policy is going to have any effect whatever on the unemployment problem, or even that one per cent. of the unemployed are bound to be absorbed within our lifetime by the success of the present agricultural policy? I hardly believe it is. Similarly, I can hardly believe that it is their belief or their hope that their present industrial policy is going to create such a situation that those people will be absorbed into employment within our lifetime.

Their industrial policy may be a good policy taking a long view of things, but I am not going to argue that now. They may believe that it is a very good policy from the point of view of the nation as it will be in twenty, thirty, or forty years' time. But I can hardly believe that the Government can expect that anything that they are doing for industry at present is going to absorb the unemployed in the country towns during their lifetime or ours. Then, is it their attitude that it is better to persevere in that long view and sacrifice those people? I would not say that it is a heartless attitude but I would say that it is a deplorable attitude unless they come to the conclusion, after the most careful thought, that there is nothing they can do for these people.

I have met young men in country towns, 24 to 25 years of age, who have told me that they have never yet done a day's work. They told me they were eager to get work but there was no work for them. I believe that is a fairly general state of things in several places. It will be a big shock to some of us if we have to accept the dictum that all that can be done for these people is being done, and that neither in the way of public works nor by any special stimulation of industrial enterprise can anything be done for them. If we realise the claims these people have upon us it is very hard to approve of a Bill which continues the taxation or rather which continues the system of finance which means that over £600,000 worth of confectionery, a protected industry, can come into the country every year. In face of facts like that, in face of the fact that you have that much luxury imported and which is not necessary and which could, if manufactured here, give very big employment in this country; in face of these facts, it is very hard for the Government to say, "We are doing the best we can for unemployment, but we are not prepared to take any special measure to help it."

I know that the Economic Committee has not yet finished its work, but judging from the failure to agree on a certain fundamental problem which has been shown by the Committee it does not look as if an immediate remedy for unemployment will be found through the activities of the Economic Committee. I would appeal to the Minister to say what is the present thinking of the Government on that subject? It is a terribly important matter for great numbers of people. It is important not merely for the people themselves but for those who have been hoping that they would be able to continue their businesses through the gradual absorption of the unemployed into employment. I have been told by several traders—not by one but by several—that the only thing that was enabling them to hold out against bad times was the expectation that the big number of unemployed in their towns would at some time or other get work, and that that employment would be reflected in their spending powers, and that consequently they themselves would be able to continue their businesses. Even from that point of view the problem is worth considering. While we all know the country is changing, and while we all know that the physical appearance of the country so far as the distribution of its population is concerned, may not be the same in the future as in the past, still I think that the transition stage should not be allowed to weigh unnecessarily heavily on a certain number of people. In regard to what Deputy de Valera has said about the coachbuilding industry, I put this to the Minister: that in that case, too, it cannot be held that the producers of the country are going to be seriously affected if a tax which ordinarily would amount to a prohibitive tax were imposed. I hold that this is a tax which would not affect the cost of living of any single family in the country. For that reason there can be no excuse for allowing businesses of that kind to disappear if the Government intends to preserve industry in the country at all.

I have spoken so much upon this subject that I shall not take up the time of the House now upon it, but I do say this to the Minister—that if action is not taken in the immediate future, I think there can be a very big charge laid at the feet of the Government in connection with that industry, an industry that cannot be accused of being like the flour industry, badly placed or badly equipped—that in connection with that industry that might have a great future and that certainly has its roots in the past—they did not show the sympathy that they ought to have shown and that the Government did not take the steps which a Government that was desirous of the industrial prosperity of the country could well have taken.

On the Finance Bill more than on any other Bill which can be introduced into this House, one should be able to find what the policy is on which the Government is working. It is clear, taking results as we find them to-day, that the policy of the Government at the present moment is more hostile towards the vitality of the Irish nation than the policy of the Grattan Parliament which at least developed industry in Ireland. It was to destroy the Grattan Parliament that Wolfe Tone died. He fought and died to destroy the Grattan Parliament. Yet next week we will find the Ministers on the Government Benches going to honour Wolfe Tone. Well, the Grattan Parliament did develop industry in this country. During the past few years a number of industries have actually gone out of existence. We have statistics of the numbers that have gone out. The wastage that is going on in this country goes on under the influence of the Government policy, consciously or unconsciously. Looking at it objectively as it will be looked at in twenty years' time by the historians, that will be the verdict that will be passed on it. Historians will be able to mark down so many emigrants, so many unemployed, and so much decay in the purchasing power of the people of the country. They will find that that position is the result of the economic policy which is maintained by the Government who are doing so little to change it fundamentally. Decay goes on in different ways. It goes on owing to the wastage of Government money and the spending of money upon work which is not economic and which does not give value for the money that is spent on it.

Our efforts in seeking a reduction of expenditure are not aimed at any one section of the community. We are not out with a tomahawk against the civil servants or against the permanent officials. We want to do merely what the man employing someone on a farm would like to do, or what Henry Ford in his firm would like to do—to get full value from the employee for the period during which he works. The object of our criticism is to see that we get full value for the public money which is expended. If the money is spent in a wasteful way, it is a real loss to the community. There is also a great loss suffered by the nation through the money which pours out of the country and for which we get absolutely no return. It goes out under two big headings. One is the unfavourable trade balance and the money which is sent out by the Government, annuities and so on, to the value of £5,000,000. Under the second heading we have going out of the country, apart altogether from invisible exports, about £13,000,000. That is the way in which the resources of the nation are really being exhausted. The "Irish Times" pointed out in a leading article some years ago that it would take ten years to exhaust our capital invested abroad. The London "Financial Times" had at the time figures showing the amount of Irish capital invested outside Ireland. They put the figure at somewhere between £180,000,000 and £200,000,000. The "Irish Times" took that figure and the unfavourable trade balance at the time—about £18,000,000 a year—and they pointed out that it would take ten years to exhaust our capital invested abroad. As Deputy MacEntee has pointed out, that process is continuing, and you will see evidence of it in the revenue.

There is then the matter of invisible imports and exports which I mentioned before. When calculating these things, it is estimated that the amount of money paid back into this country on foreign investments is an asset. At the same time, consideration is not taken of the loss of capital invested out of this country. Another invisible asset is the sending back of money by emigrants in America. No calculation is made to counterbalance that on the other side of the balance sheet by taking into consideration the value of the person gone out of the country. It is extremely difficult to calculate these things at all because, as regards the money you have kept and invested in the country, one cannot easily, by means of statistics, arrive at a conclusion as to what it might mean. The whole question of the dividends coming in and the money coming from America should, I think, be ignored altogether, because there is not sufficient data to get the counterbalancing figure on the other side of the sheet. There are various remedies which might be adopted by a Government with a different outlook. The outlook, however, would have to be radically altered. We would require a mental revolution on the part of the present Government in order to get the country in a position when it would begin to develop towards prosperity. You would have to do such things as putting a tax on capital invested outside the country. A certain individual who has made a great success of business and has a considerable amount of money invested—he invests it abroad because there is not much in which he would care to invest it at home—mentioned to me that if there were a tax on investments abroad the people so investing would quickly find industries in this country. The very fact that there is a demand for capital to be invested in industries in this country will create the industries. I wish the Government would take this matter in hands. It is something for us to score off the Government, no doubt, but it would be far greater encouragement for us if we saw the Government doing something to stop the terrible waste that is going on—the waste in regard to unemployment and emigration. I think everybody, altogether apart from politics, would be glad to see the Government taking up the fundamental Irish attitude in economics with a view to saving the nation.

The question of tariffs has already been dealt with. The Minister for Finance should look to an increase in the prosperity of the country for an increase of revenue. He should not be endeavouring to do two things at the one time with tariffs. Nobody does well by endeavouring to do too many things at the one time. He should try to encourage industries and the growing prosperity of the country will benefit the revenues of the State. As to the question of exploiting Irish capital in Ireland, there are plenty of examples. If there was no example the Ministry should have sufficient originality to develop a scheme to keep Irish capital in Ireland in such a way as would benefit the Irish nation. With regard to the development of industries, I would recommend the Ministry to study the history of Germany over the last century. They built up their industries very rapidly; they created co-operation between the Government, the bankers and the industrialists. They hammered out a policy which, in the course of fifty to seventy years, resulted in the creation of vast industries, and Germany became one of the greatest powers of Europe. As regards giving credit to farmers, in the case of Denmark there are experts able to get an exact appreciation of where the money can be lent and the best way of granting loans. As regards our present policy, whether it is due to a lack of initiative, or whether there are influences paralysing the arm of the Government it is impossible for us exactly to say; but there certainly is required a complete change in that attitude if the nation is to be saved.

There are two other points I would like to put forward. One has reference to the question of body warrants and the powers of the Revenue Commissioners to put people in jail for unlimited periods, whether under the Betting Acts or the Revenue Acts, whether in respect of income tax or other revenue due. It is not purely a matter of the Betting Act. When giving evidence before the Commission, Mr. Cussen, District Justice, referred to the matter, and it would be well to quote his words, as they give pretty accurate information about the position. He says:—

It is, in my opinion, founded on what I have observed in our courts, a very grave reflection on our legal system that in default of payment by a defendant who obviously cannot pay we should be obliged to sign a warrant committing a person, man or woman, regardless of age over sixteen, to prison, not for a definite period, but during the will of the Revenue Commissioners, that is, if they so will, for life. I can, if the Committee desire, give instances of specific cases. So far back as 1879, 42 and 43 Vic., the law in this respect was altered, and this drastic power of keeping citizens in jail at the wish of the Revenue authorities for non-payment was abolished as regards England, but not as regards Ireland. The Act provides that where the penalty exceeds £50 imprisonment may exceed three months, but shall not exceed six months.

I suggest that the Minister should bring in an amendment to this Bill making the law in Ireland the same as in England, namely, that where the penalty is over £50 imprisonment should not exceed six months, so that the courts could not put a man in jail to be kept there at the will of the Revenue Authorities. It works out as a sort of blackmail, because what happens is that when a man is put into jail his friends and relatives have to collect the money and pay it. It should not be the duty of the Revenue Authorities to blackmail a man's friends and relatives to pay money in order that he may be set at liberty. It is contrary to all precedent in regard to the freedom of the citizen. There is another matter which I want to bring to the attention of the Minister for Finance. I had not an opportunity of doing so before, but I shall do so later. It is in reference to the motor industry. When discussing the Financial Resolutions, I suggested that a drawback be given in the case of a man who would undertake to get in the parts and to build motor cars. The Minister said that he would consider the matter if I put up a concrete proposition. I had a conversation with a man recently, and I have notes from him showing the number of men he employs and showing how he was able to build and sell a few cars. The case he makes is that he is trying to start in a small way, just as many successful firms have done, that is, by getting the parts and building motor cars and eventually getting to the position of being able to make the parts. One really learns a business by starting in a small way and gradually developing.

In the last few days we saw comments in the newspapers about technical instruction. Much of the lack of skilled labour in Ireland is due to the fact that industries do not exist to give the people practical knowledge. If you have firms which at present are little more than garages, and if they would undertake to build cars and get the parts imported, it would be better to assist them, not by means of a drawback —that would be acceptable if nothing else were done—but they could undertake to build the cars with the parts imported on licence and the Government would have some way of knowing how many cars had been built, so that no leakage could take place by way of selling the parts. They have very little capital and cannot afford to wait for money to come in on a drawback, perhaps, nine months after the cars were built. It should be done by way of licence, and the Government could keep a check on the firm. I hope that the Minister will consider the matter favourably and give these firms an opportunity of building up an industry. Belgium, for instance, can make cars not only for the home but for the foreign market. There is no reason why we should not be able to build up an industry in motor cars. The best we can expect at present is to begin in a small way and to give an opportunity to those with initiative to make cars themselves and let them go into the open market—sink or swim.

A very important item in regard to the development of Irish capital would be the establishment of a Central Bank. The Government, apparently, have finally decided not to have a Central Bank, a bank which would give an opportunity to really national enterprise and which would have an opportunity of asserting an Irish policy as against an English one. We are dominated by the policy of the Bank of England in reference to credit. We have to go outside to look for credit for all sorts of purposes whereas we should get all the money we require at home. It is amazing to think what happens to Irish money. One man told me that in London he came across a case in which an Irish country bank could buy a bill for £150,000 for a cargo of coffee coming from a South American port to Southampton. That Irish money, farmers' money, I suppose, went to exploit a transaction which had no relation to Irish industry. It might seem to be absurd if it were exceptional but it is typical of the way in which Irish money is invested. The Government should devote its full energy to changing radically the whole banking and economic policy into one which will be Irish and national.

I do not propose to follow Deputy Little into the regions of high political finance in which he has been travelling because I fear that I would not be able to bear the atmospheric pressure of such a high altitude. I am going rather to deal with one or two apparently small points which are raised by this Finance Bill. Before I come to the matter to which I wish to direct attention I wish to say that I am at one with Deputy O'Reilly in desiring that further consideration be given to the question of Irish tobacco. I am not satisfied that it ever really received the full and fair consideration which it deserves. I do not desire to go further into the matter but just to indicate my feelings.

I agree with Deputy Little in one remark which he made in the early part of his speech in which he drew attention to the extraordinary powers which are taken by the Revenue Commissioners as against income taxpayers. That brings me to the main thing I want to say. I feel myself that the scales are most unduly weighted in favour of the Revenue Commissioners against the taxpayer in this country. They are unduly weighted very largely for this reason —the Minister himself has referred to it—the extraordinary complexity and obscurity of our income tax code. The foundation of the income tax laws so far as we are concerned—we need not go further back—was the Income Tax Act of 1918. Within the last few months I was looking at a judgment given by a well-known English judge, Lord Wrenbury. Lord Wrenbury took occasion to refer to the fact that he had been a member of the Committee which was charged with the preparation of that Act and, in words that were sufficiently scathing for the proceedings of the British legislature, Lord Wrenbury pointed out that the income tax law as it existed prior to the Act was in so chaotic a condition that it was impossible for any ordinary person to know what the legislature intended. If I remember, he said that if it was within the province of the judge to condemn that system no words that he could use would be sufficiently strong to condemn the ineptitude of the various Parliaments which dealt with this income tax law, He further said: "That is not our function. We in the Committee were unable to put plain things in plain language. Our only duty was to consolidate the law as we found it. We were unable to change anything or to make any recommendations for a change."

So that for all practical purposes we have got, as a foundation for our income tax code, the Income Tax Act of 1918. That has been added to, and altered to some extent, by subsequent Finance Acts, both of the British Parliament and of the Oireachtas. I am afraid that we cannot say that what has been done since has made the law any clearer, and I am afraid we cannot say that what we are doing now is going to make the matter any clearer. I was speaking this morning to a Counsel who is particularly skilled, as I do not at all pretend to be, in this matter of income tax, and he gave it as his opinion that no layman, and certainly not half a dozen members of the Irish Bar, were capable of telling anyone what the law was in relation to income tax. Just to show how far we have got, I invite the attention of the House to the wording of Section 8, as a little exercise in seeing what things really mean:

(1) Save as is otherwise provided by this section, income tax in respect of the property in the lands, tenements, hereditaments or heritages mentioned in the first column of Part I of the First Schedule to this Act shall be chargeable under the Case of Schedule D mentioned in the second column of the said Part I of the said First Schedule, and the Rules applicable to such case as amended by this Act shall apply accordingly, but subject to the provisions contained in the third column of the said Part I of the said First Schedule.

I offer that as an admirable example of clear drafting. Mark you, this is not a matter for lawyers. It is a matter which concerns every subject in the country. If you want another example, I suggest that members should turn to the Second Schedule, sub-section (3), in which we find this:

(3) The rule substituted by subparagraph (3) of paragraph 1 of Part II of the First Schedule to the Finance Act, 1926, for Rule 2 of the rules applicable to Case V of Schedule D of the Income Tax Act, 1918, shall be a rule of Case III of Schedule D of the Income Tax Act, 1918, and shall be read and construed as if for the words "the year of assessment" where they firstly appear therein there were substituted the words "the year preceding the year of assessment," and as if the words "as amended by Section 5 of the Finance Act, 1923 (No. 21 of 1923)" were omitted therefrom.

I do not want to flog a dead horse, but the Minister has himself acknowledged that the income tax code is one of the greatest complexity and obscurity. I want to impress upon him with all the earnestness I can that before we come to another Finance Bill a real, earnest and determined effort should be made to do what he suggested himself, namely, to go into the income tax code and to make it such that it would be possible for ordinary people to understand it. The Minister said that in order to get that done it would be necessary to detail three or four of the most competent Civil Servants and to keep them from a year to eighteen months at that particular work. I say to the Minister, and I believe the Dáil will agree with me, that they could not be engaged at any better work, that it would be a thousand times worth while that these men should be detailed for that purpose if the result of their labours were to give us something which both laymen and lawyers could understand, because at the present moment neither can understand the income tax laws. It is not, let me point out, a question of nice points of law. It is a matter which affects the interest and the property of an enormous number of people in this country of all kinds, both rich and poor.

A great many income tax payers are very poor people, and do not let it be supposed that this obscurity is a question which does not really matter. It does matter immensely, because I suggest its very obscurity and difficulty—I made this point on one of the resolutions upon which this Bill is founded—lead to a great deal of money going into the Exchequer to which the Exchequer is not entitled. Again and again the obscurities of the law are such as to tell most unfairly against the taxpayer, and in favour of the Revenue authorities. Let me just take one point by way of illustration. I could give hundreds of others. Let me take the period within which the Revenue Commissioners, on the one hand, and the taxpayer, on the other, are able to make claims one against the other. You will find that there are various Finance and Income Tax Acts and various periods laid down within which, on the one hand, an appeal or claims for repayment can be made and, on the other hand, within which the Revenue authorities can pursue the taxpayer for further sums of money. So far as the Revenue authorities are concerned—I hope I shall be corrected if I am wrong—I understand the position is that they can go back, where no fraud is alleged, for, I think, seven years.

But they have only got to allege, not to prove, fraud in order to go back any length of time they like. I was told only yesterday by a person in a position to know that he had recently before him a case in which the Revenue authorities—and fraud in this case means that a man has not made a completely accurate return— had gone back demanding accounts 30 years' old. What is the case of the taxpayer? It is this: he is very limited in the number of years in which he can claim. I will give three instances. The other day there was mentioned to me by a member of the Dáil the case of two old ladies whose total income amounted to £141 a year. It was derived, I understand, from certain cottage property. Members of the Dáil will at once see that they were exempt under our law from all payment of income tax. For a great many years, as I understand, they had not made any return, and had not been asked to make any. I expect everyone knew that they were exempt from all income tax. Then I do not know whether it was the new broom or a particularly efficient inspector, acting on his own initiative or at the instance of the Revenue Commissioners, but an assessment was made on this cottage property going back for seven years, though the total of their income was such that they were not liable to income tax at all. Foolishly, no doubt badly advised, they allowed the time for appeal to go past. Then they were faced by this from the Revenue Commissioners: "You have not made your appeal; the assessment is final, you pay; we know you do not owe it, but you pay." I understand, as an act of grace, ultimtely that was remitted. None the less the claim was made, the claim which, if it were made by any ordinary commercial person, would be regarded as purely dishonest.

Now I take another case. A friend of mine had a dispute with the Revenue Commissioners as to the amount of tax payable in respect of certain lands. The dispute related to a series of years. After a good deal of correspondence he ultimately saw an inspector and he said: "I will tell you what I will do; I admit I owe you some money. I will give you a cheque for £150 on account. You keep the whole of this open and we will settle it up later. As you are pressing me there is the money." Acting, I understand, on superior instructions, the money was placed, not to account but to clear off, at the figure of the Revenue Commissioners themselves, the account for one year. I make the same comment on that proceeding.

Is the Deputy criticising administration rather than speaking on the Bill?

I was merely giving an illustration of the manner in which the complexity of the law which I have suggested this Revenue Act is a very admirable example of tells against the taxpayer and in favour of the revenue.

The Deputy seems to be rather adverting to the wickedness of the Revenue Commissioners than the complexity of the law.

With great respect, I gave these illustrations as showing how the taxpayer suffers. I suggest if our law was such that it could be easily understood by the taxpayer these difficulties would not occur. That is my point. I will give one other illustration very shortly. This is a case of which I have personal knowledge but which affects very large numbers of people in this country. That is the manner in which the farmers' assumed profits are dealt with under Schedule B. The House knows that the farmer has a choice. He is assessed normally on Schedule B on the assumed property, on his valuation. He has a choice of rendering an account of the actual amount of receipts and expenditure of his farm. If he shows he has made no profit, then, of course, Schedule B must be discharged. Supposing he has not only made no profit but has made a loss, then he is really entitled under Section 34 of the Finance Act of 1918 to have that set off against other revenue subject to income tax. What happens there very often is this. He sends in his farm accounts. He shows a loss. That is treated, if it is accepted, as proof of the accuracy of his figures, as demonstrating that he does not owe anything under Schedule B, but then after waiting a considerable time to get the whole thing settled if the loss is admitted he is told: "You ought to have given specific notice under Section 34 that you desire your loss to be taken into account, otherwise you cannot do it." If he is late, then he is told: "You have no remedy." There are hundreds of people in this country who do not even know, such is the complexity of the law, that they have a right to make the appeal much less know, as I do not know, in what form that particular notice under Section 34 should be given. I have gone into it further than perhaps I should have done, but I suggest very earnestly to the Minister that this matter ought to be very much more carefully gone into and that we ought to have a thorough recasting of the whole of our law with regard to income tax. There is one special matter which I would like to mention; it is only a small thing in relation to Section 5.

Section 5 reads: "A person aggrieved by any assessment to income tax made upon him by the inspector of taxes or such other officer as the Revenue Commissioners shall appoint in that behalf shall be entitled to appeal to the special commissioners on giving, within twenty-one days after the notice of assessment or of the notice under Section 3 of this Act that assessments have been made (as the case may be) notice in writing to the inspector of taxes——" I heard recently of a case in which the assessment was not received by the taxpayer until after the twenty-one days had passed. I do not know how that occurred, whether it was an error in sending out the notice or whether it was an error of the post. At any rate, the notice was not received until after twenty-one days had passed. As far as I can see, if that stands there is no remedy, and I make a suggestion to the Minister, for Committee Stage, that the twenty-one days ought really to run not from the date of the assessment, but from the date of receipt of notice or of publication in the "Gazette." I think that is a small point that would be worth considering.

There is one other point I think I might mention—a personal matter of some delicacy. Section 5, sub-section 5, reads: "Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any Act, an appeal against an assessment which is heard after the passing of this Act may be heard and determined by one special commissioner." In principle, I do not see any objection to that, but there is one matter which I do not very much like to mention, but which I think ought to be spoken of here. I understand at present there are two special commissioners in this country. One of these two special commissioners is an official of the Department of Finance. I am informed that the salary which he receives as special commissioner is considerably greater than the salary which he formerly received and which he will receive again if he returns to the Department of Finance. It is very important, obviously, that the public should have confidence in that tribunal. They would be a little diffident to have that confidence if it was known that one of the two special commissioners before whom hitherto appeals had been heard and who may under this section hear an appeal alone, is a man who, whatever his personal character or courage, if he does not give satisfaction to those who appointed him is liable to be returned to his office at a considerably lower salary that he at present has. I suggest, as this man has been doing the work for a considerable time, that, in order to give confidence, his position ought to be made permanent and that there ought not to be any kind of reasonable suspicion that it is to his interests to decide for the Revenue authorities rather than the taxpayers in any cases brought before him.

I desire to direct the attention of the House to Section 25, sub-section 1, of this Bill. This sub-section stipulates for increased duties on certain mechanically propelled vehicles. It reads as follows:—

"The excise duties chargeable under Section 13 of the Finance Act, 1920, on the mechanically propelled vehicles mentioned in the Fifth Schedule to this Act shall, as on and from the 1st day of July, 1929, be charged, levied, and paid at the rates specified in the said Fifth Schedule in lieu of the rates specified in paragraph 3 of the Third Schedule to the Finance Act, 1926."

As far as the Sixth Schedule to the Bill is concerned, it stipulates that buses with a seating capacity for more than six and not more than 14 persons shall pay annually a tax of £70; buses with a seating capacity for more than 14 but not more than 20 persons shall pay annually £100; buses with a seating capacity for more than 20 but not more than 26 persons shall pay annually £130; buses with a seating capacity for more than 26 but not more than 32 persons, £160, and buses with a seating capacity for 33 or more persons have to pay £5 per annum for every such person. That Fifth Schedule, taken in conjunction with Section 25, sub-section 1, means that bus owners in the Saorstát will be called upon to pay a higher rate of taxation than owners of buses registered within the Six Counties. I would like to direct the attention of the House to the question of buses which are owned and registered within the Six Counties but which ply for hire and use and abuse the roads within the Saorstát. Some of these Six-county buses travel into Donegal. They run parallel with the railway lines. They use and abuse the roads, and at the same time they pay no taxation as far as the Saorstát is concerned. The tax which they pay goes to the British Exchequer and the income tax on their profits also goes to the British Exchequer. They give no employment to persons resident within the Saorstát. Seeing that they are running almost parallel with the railway lines in Donegal, the County Donegal Railway and the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway, naturally they operate detrimentally to these companies, including the shareholders and employees. As far as one particular railway company in County Donegal is concerned— namely, the County Donegal Railway Company, last year it paid into the Saorstát Exchequer a sum of £1,350. In addition to that they paid in local rates £1,200, and out of that £1,200 I think I would be safe in saying 40 per cent. would go towards the upkeep of the roads within the County Donegal. In addition to that, they have to pay for the upkeep of their permanent way and they give a considerable amount of employment to people resident within the county. So far as east, south and west Donegal are concerned, you have two bus companies registered in and controlled from the Six Counties operating against this particular railway company.

The bus companies I refer to are Messrs. Roberts of Derry and Messrs. Catherwood, whose headquarters are in Belfast. This firm in Derry runs five buses between Derry and Bally-bofey, and the Catherwood company run two buses each way daily between Derry and Sligo. As far as these buses are concerned they are using the roads within the Saorstát and they are paying no taxation. This Bill proposes to increase the taxation on buses, owned, controlled and registered in the Saorstát, but no stipulation is made as far as buses are concerned which cross the border, which operate detrimentally against railways in the Saorstát and help to throw railway employees out of employment. Although they use the roads they are getting off scot free, whereas the owners of the buses in the Free State are being called upon to pay additional taxation. I would suggest, as far as these buses are concerned which pay registration fees and income tax to the British Exchequer, that a mileage tax should be placed on them and that they should be made to contribute their quota towards the upkeep of the roads within the Saorstát.

Donegal is not the only county which is detrimentally affected by the buses coming from the six counties. This firm of Catherwood of Belfast run buses from Belfast to Dublin. There is another six county firm— the International Bus Company— which runs buses from Belfast to Dublin. They use the roads within the Saorstát. They ply for passengers and they operate detrimentally to the railway company. They throw railway employees out of work and at the same time they are not contributing any money either in taxation or income tax towards the Saorstát Exchequer. Incidentally, I might mention that one of these bus companies which I referred to— Catherwood of Belfast—which plies between Belfast and Dublin, has a contract from the Post Office here to carry mails from Dublin to Swords, and is paid by the postal authorities for doing that, although that company does not contribute its quota towards the upkeep of the roads or any income tax or any other taxation. The Minister should take these matters into consideration.

It may be said that if we put a tax upon buses coming from the Six Counties into Donegal the Six-County Government would retaliate. I do not think there is anything in that argument, because the merchants in Derry are only too glad to see buses coming in from the Saorstát, as it brings them trade which would otherwise go to Donegal. Another argument against retaliation is that the mileage between Donegal and County Derry is a mere bagatelle. I suggest to the Minister that as far as these bus companies are concerned coming from the Six Counties into Donegal they are operating against the Donegal Railway and the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway. The Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway gets from the Free State Exchequer a certain amount of money each year. The company is not paying its way, and one of the reasons is that the Catherwood buses run almost parallel, and in many cases parallel, with the railway from Derry to Dunfanaghy. They use the roads to which the railway company has to contribute its quota. These facts should be taken into consideration by the Minister, who is now asking bus owners within the Saorstát to pay an increased rate of taxation, and according to this Bill he is going to allow the Six-County bus owners to use and abuse the roads and operate detrimentally against the railways in the Free State without contributing one iota towards the upkeep of the roads or to the Saorstát Exchequer.

I should like to refer to a couple of points in connection with the raising of revenue. A very important item in connection with the whole seaboard, particularly as regards Donegal, is the fishing industry. In view of the fact that we import thousands of pounds' worth of fish per year my impression is that the Minister is not giving the consideration that he should to raising revenue by putting a tariff on imported fish. The Minister may say that it is impossible to supply the local demand for fish from the local tidal waters, but that is a fallacy. At present both the North and South of this country are being supplied with fish from Aberdeen, Liverpool and Grimsby, but particularly Aberdeen. These supplies are got from the Iceland banks, the North Sea and the Farroe Islands. In some cases the fish before arriving in Aberdeen have been caught for three days and iced. It takes twenty-four hours for the fish to come from Aberdeen to any part of Ireland, and it is a scientific fact that fish deteriorates far more rapidly in water from melted ice than if left in its ordinary state without being iced. Consequently, if the fish lie on slabs in Dublin or elsewhere there is a great danger to the community which would not be present if the fish were supplied from the seaboard of Ireland.

The Minister might say again that the fish could not be supplied from our seaboard. That is not correct, because the fish principally used, apart from herring and mackerel, is white fish, that is, cod, plaice, sole, pollock, and skate which is used for making white or red fillets. All these different kinds of fish can be caught on our seaboard either by trawling or hand-line fishing. The Minister may ask why they do not get them on the seaboard. They do not get them because foreign trawlers and drifters are allowed to poach on ground that they should not be allowed on, with the result that the Irish fisherman cannot get the same supply of fish, either by drifting or hand-line fishing, from which, in former years, they were able to supply the whole of the country. Within the last four or five years it has been the common practice for foreign trawlers and drifters to come to prohibited ground on the seaboard of the Free State and poach there with the registration mark covered by strips of canvas. That has been reported by the Civic Guards and the local fishery inspectors but nothing has been done. If the Civic Guards or the fishery inspectors were empowered to take action against these drifters and trawlers, it would be possible not alone to collect the fines already imposed, but absolutely to prohibit the action of foreign trawlers and drifters in Irish waters.

Surely this is not the occasion on which to raise that particular question?

If I am not allowed to point out how the Minister can raise revenue I certainly will stop, but I am making a constructive criticism in pointing out how it can be done.

The Deputy begins by saying that there ought to be a tax on imported fish, and then proceeds to discuss the question of trawlers and drifters and how to catch fish and so on. The Deputy must not do that on this Bill.

Can you point out how it is I must not do it?

I admire the Deputy's ingenuity, but it is a thing he must not do, and the Ceann Comhairle does not need to point out anything but that he must not do it.

I was making a constructive criticism and pointing out that certain revenue could be collected that is not at present being collected. Of course if they do not want constructive criticism, it is not up to me to give it to them. I am not responsible for the policy of the Executive Council. If I cannot go any further into that matter, and cannot show the Minister for Fisheries, or the Executive Council as a whole, their duty, then I am going on to something else. The Minister for Finance is looking for finance. I would like to ask him why the fines imposed on foreign trawlers have not been collected. Last year I put a question to the Minister for Fisheries as to why he did not collect these fines?

If the Minister for Fisheries collects them the Minister for Finance must not be asked about them.

Would it not be part of the revenue?

I do not really know.

Well, then, it is not for me to tell you if you do not know. I shall go on to something else. An additional tariff might be imposed on woollens. The Minister has collected a certain revenue up to the present. There are two things in connection with tariffs that we ought to bear in mind. One is that a tariff may produce revenue; secondly, that it may be instrumental in starting, or in helping, an industry which has already been started. A tariff was imposed on woollens in this country, and it brought in a certain amount per year in revenue, but does it fulfil the second condition—that is, to help that particular industry. To my mind it does not help it as it should help it, and the Minister will have to pull up his socks and consider this tax again before it is going to help at all. To my mind, and to the mind of other Deputies in Donegal, that is the position.

Deputy Law asked a question to-day, and so did I, with regard to the woollen industry in Donegal. Deputy Law has probably come to the conclusion that I have come to, that this particular tariff imposed upon woollens by the Minister is not helping the woollen industry to the extent it should help in Donegal.

Twelve months, ago there was an inspector sent down, and we were told by the Minister that this man knew his job so well that all we had to do was to sit back and watch his smoke. Everything in the garden would be lovely if he was appointed. But the curious thing is that in the very centre where this man was appointed, in Ardra in the County Donegal, there is an industrial homespun committee, and I have documents from that committee which prove conclusively that that man is either hoplessly incompetent or else his hands have been tied by a hopelessly incompetent Minister.

When the Minister's Estimate comes on the Deputy can discuss that inspector.

Very good. Certain things were to have been done by the Minister which were not done. I would like the Minister for Finance —I know it is a forlorn hope already; I have had several passages at arms with him—when he comes to consider this particular Bill in more detail than he has done up to the present evidently, to ask the Minister for Fisheries, in confidence, what he has been doing to help the woollen industry, and what the tariff already imposed has done to help the woollen industry in Donegal. We are all waiting to hear that. I have not heard anything for the last twelve months, and the Minister might well have been a stripe of macaroni for all the good that has been done for the industry there.

Will the Minister, please, in reply, tell us if he thinks that the tariff imposed upon woollens has succeeded in helping our people in Donegal, and if not, why not? He might also deal with the question of fisheries, and say why all these fines have not been collected which would go to swell the Exchequer.

I would like much to know from the Minister for Finance why the Revenue Commissioners compel boards of health to pay income tax in respect of labourers' cottages? If, as I advocated to-day, we made a present of these labourers' cottages to the labourers themselves the Revenue Commissioners would hardly follow them for income tax. Take the case of my own particular county. The receipts for rents for the year were £5,000, the sum of £7,000 was paid in interest and sinking fund, and £4,000 was paid for repairs, which means a loss of £6,000 to the Council. Yet the board of health has to pay income tax on these cottages.

There is another matter. I do not think the system of the estate duty and legacy duty is right. I had occasion to ask a question about a particular individual who succeeded his brother. The net value of the estate in question in cattle and land, not ready cash, was £3,000. Yet he was mulcted in £130 under the heads of estate duty, legacy duty and succession duty, which put the man in debt to the bank. I notice in this Finance Bill, Part 1, Section 2:—"Debentures, debenture stock, certificates of charge issued by the Agricultural Credit Corporation shall be deemed to be securities issued under the authority of the Minister for Finance within the meaning of Section 2 of the Finance Act, 1924, and shall apply accordingly."

It strikes me that there should be other securities and certificates of charge available for the Agricultural Credit Corporation. Is it not possible to confer upon the Agricultural Credit Corporation the favour conferred upon the Banks when they were given the power of fiduciary issue. The Government conferred that favour upon them at one-and-a-half per cent and they allowed the Agricultural Credit Corporation to borrow money from the Banks at five per cent. I do not think that that is very good economy. Again they gave power of fiduciary issue to Banks that are sectarian in their outlook and have, as a first condition of employment, that the employee must belong to a certain religion. Did the Minister stipulate, when giving the fiduciary issue to these banks, that that state of things should cease? I see under Section 34 of this Bill you have Saving Certificates—Interest Charge Equalisation Fund. Would it not be a better arrangement for the State to have the Agricultural Credit Corporation issue bonds to the citizens, say, at 4 per cent., with a State guarantee, and use the money for the purposes of the Corporation rather than the system you have of saving certificates?

I do not think it is very good for the State where you pay back the saving certificates at periods of five or seven years. In fact, you do not pay them back; you renew them. This method that I suggest would be a much more profitable way to the State. The State would be only a third party. With regard to motor taxation and the taxation of buses, I drew the attention of the Minister to that before. I pointed out to him that there was a number of heavy vans started in the country and plying in the country within the last six months or so. These vans are conveying every form of goods. They are injurious to the roads and to the Post Office. The point about those buses and those vans conveying merchandise is this, that they employ the cheapest form of labour, youths of sixteen years of age. That is not for the good of the State. There are a lot of other matters on which I would like to speak, but other Deputies have already dealt with them. I will, therefore, conclude.

Before the Minister concludes, I would like to support the effort that has been made by Deputy Moore and others to induce the Minister for Finance to give us an indication of the Government's policy in regard to industrial matters in general. Our criticism of this Bill is based not so much upon what it contains as upon what it does not contain. By this Bill it is proposed to give legislative effect to the proposals which were contained in the Minister's Budget statement. As already mentioned, that statement left us completely in the dark as to the lines upon which the Government intends to work in order to ensure that there will take place in this country an industrial revival, which is the only hope of ending emigration and unemployment.

During the discussion last week, the Minister for Industry and Commerce informed us that Ireland was gradually becoming an industrial country. He did not, however, give us any data to support his contention, nor did he in any way indicate how the Government proposes to act in order to ensure that Ireland should become what he asserted it was becoming. As far as we have been able to ascertain, and there is probably available for us just as accurate information as is available for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, not merely is it not true that Ireland is gradually becoming an industrial country, but the few remaining industries that have survived the blight of the Cumann na nGaedheal rule are now, one by one, disappearing. I see nothing in the national situation which works against that statement. They are disappearing, not because of anything in the national situation which makes it impossible for them to survive, but because of the deliberately dilatory policy of the Government and the incompetence of the Government and what I call the laziness of the Department of Industry and Commerce.

We at no time have received from the Government a clear indication of what their policy with respect to industry is. They have not attempted to inform us as to how they visualise the future of industry in this country. If we judge their industrial policy by the Acts they have introduced, we must come to the conclusion that it is practically negligible. The main Acts upon which the Government appears to rely in order to ensure that industry will get a chance are the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act and the Tariff Commission Act. Both these Acts have proved to be damp squibs for the Government. We have discussed the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act before, and as most Deputies who have studied the returns available in the Library will know, the operations of that Act have practically ceased. The Tariff Commission appears to have broken down completely.

When the Tariff Commission was established in 1926 a number of applications from various industrial groups was submitted. Four of these have been considered and reported upon. The remaining applications, and they are the majority, have not yet been reported on and there is no indication that the Tariff Commission is likely to report upon any of them for a considerable time to come. I would like to know from the Minister if the Government are contemplating any change in the Tariff Commission machinery. I think some change in that machinery or some alteration in Government policy is essential. We know that in the case of a number of industries that made application for protection in 1926 the situation has completely changed since that date. It took the Government so long to get the cumbrous machinery of the Tariff Commission working and to get through all the red tape holding it up, that the position of those firms has completely changed in the meantime.

Reference has been made here by Deputy de Valera and Deputy Moore to the coachbuilding industry. The Minister is aware that that industry made application for a protective tariff in 1926. Subsequent to that period there has been a very large importation of motor buses. We asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce would he consider the imposition of a temporary duty on motor buses in order at least to delay their entry into the country until the Tariff Commission had time to report on this application. The Minister would not consider it. Since then this country has been flooded with buses, and as a result of all that we are now in the position that the best equipped firm for the construction of buses in this country has announced that it intends to close down this week. I have been informed by the President of the Coachbuilders' Association that the most important of the coachbuilding factories in this country cannot see themselves surviving for more than four or six weeks more. The orders for buses have now practically ceased. Such of them as have been able to survive are faced with the fact that they must close down within a few weeks. One of these factories has been working temporarily making buses for the Great Northern Railway and when the order for these buses is finished that factory will go the way of the others.

All of this has been due to the fact that the method on which the Government has been working is the wrong method. Constantly they have been loading the dice against Irish industry. If they were concerned to give Irish industry a chance they would give that industry the benefit of the doubt, and when this application was made to the Tariff Commission in 1926 they would have done what we pointed out when these buses were being imported into the country and when there was a temporary boom in that particular industry— they would have taken steps to stop that importation, and they would have put on a temporary tariff. The Government know that if they found no substantial case had been made for the putting on of a tariff on this industry they could remove it. The Minister himself is aware that there was practically no opposition to the application for a tariff upon motor buses or upon horse-drawn vehicles. The only serious opposition was in respect of private cars. Yet we have the fact that three years after the application has been made the duty is still unimposed. If that duty is imposed, and it is not likely to be for the next twelvemonths, it will be found by that time, that the coach-building industry is not nearly as capable of dealing with the situation as it was when that application was made. I have referred to the fact that the best equipped and the largest factory in the State has announced that it intends to close down this week. The others will go also. It is quite possible that by the time the cumbrous machine of the Tariff Commission has completed its job there will be no factory in the country to take advantage of the no doubt favourable recommendation which the Commission must bring in.

The facts in connection with the coachbuilding industry are on a par with the facts in connection with other industries here. The Government have been going on their way serenely without giving to this matter any deep consideration but merely hoping that something will turn up that will solve their difficulties and relieve them of the difficulty of arriving at a decision. That is not good enough. It is as a result of that that we have Ireland in the position in which she is to-day. Deputies can ascertain from the figures published in the Trade Journal that it is the country in Europe that suffers the highest net loss of population every year through emigration. It is the only country in the world inhabited by white people with a continuously declining population. The fact that we are in that unhappy position and are likely to continue so is a direct consequence of the indifference with which the Government has treated this problem of reviving our Irish industry.

Our principal export trade at present is in human beings. It is certainly the most profitable trade we have. The figures given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce with respect to our invisible exports show, I think, as one of the biggest items, the amount received every year in remittances from emigrants in America to their relatives here. In the meantime, while our boys and girls are going abroad to seek there the livelihood they cannot get here, foreign goods that could and should be manufactured in this country are pouring in to the detriment of the few remaining industries that exist. This process is going on while our Ministers go round the country preaching the doctrine of non-doctrinaire free trade. Their attitude to Irish industrialists is very like the attitude of the individual who tries to drive a donkey by holding a carrot before its nose. They are holding out to industrialists the hope that they will get the protection they require if they stick at it. Meanwhile, they are doing nothing to make sure that the industrialists will be there when the spirit moves the Government to introduce some method of protection. It would be much better for the industrialists and the country as a whole if the Government were to declare itself definitely free trade or protectionist. At any rate, if Irish industrialists knew where they stood, they would be able to prepare for the worst or the best as the case may be.

This policy which is euphemistically called "selective protection" is easily the worst possible, because it leaves everyone in a state of uncertainty, and it has probably done more to prevent industrial revival than all the other activities of the Government put together. I would like the Minister for Finance to deal with that. He cannot introduce Finance Bills year after year to take taxes from our people if, on the other hand, the Government are doing nothing to make it possible for the people to pay the taxes. The taxable capacity of the people is rapidly declining. There is a noticeable decline in the ability of the people to pay. The wealth of the nation is declining and unless steps are taken soon we will be faced with a very serious position. We have probably a larger proportion of unemployed than most other countries in the world. What that exact proportion is we cannot say, because the statistics ascertained by the census of 1926 in that connection have not yet been published. There is a very large number of unemployed in the country as we all know, and because of their existence there is a situation here that will require drastic handling. We cannot be following this safe and sure method of the Government because it has proved neither to be safe nor sure. We have to realise that we are facing a national emergency. The volume of unemployment alone constitutes in itself a national emergency. If there was a great catastrophe in this country, if damage were caused by flood or by an earthquake, and if 70,000 or 80,000 people were left without work we would have no difficulty in getting an unanimous vote here for the purpose of taking steps to deal with the situation. As it is we have 70,000 to 80,000 people out of work, not in consequence of any great catastrophe but in consequence of the inaction and ineptitude of the Government. That is the situation that exists and that situation must be dealt with. I hope the Minister for Finance will, for the first time since we came here, give us some indication that the Government have a policy to deal with this matter, that he will tell us what that policy is, and how far they hope to deal with the existing situation.

Deputy MacEntee took up some time in dealing with the revenue derived from stamp duties. His object was to prove by reference to those figures that the country was rapidly approaching bankruptcy. Those figures, as I said before, do not give any cause for pessimism. The returns are fairly steady. I am not sure whether I gave all these figures before, but there was one year in which there was a rather larger revenue than in other years. The fluctuations were what we might expect in almost any tax. Where you have a country like this—in fact, in almost any country —there will be year to year fluctuations in all sorts of taxes. There are no very exceptional features in the yield from stamp duties. In the year ending March, 1924, the yield was £493,000; in the year ending March, 1925, £483,000; in the year ending March, 1926, £506,000, which was a great deal higher than the previous year; in March, 1927, £464,000. showing a very sharp drop; in March, 1928, £480,000 and in March, 1929, £481,000. If I had all the figures before me and if I were to analyse the various items, it would be found there were fluctuations there, too. One figure in which there has been a fluctuation is the yield from stamps on conveyances and leases. For the year ending March, 1925, the amount was £110,000; March, 1926, £100,000; and March, 1927, £87,000. There is nothing at all in the figures to justify the sort of alarmist statements that the Deputy attempted to base an argument on. I think the Deputy might, from his unjustified prognostication of disaster in the last financial year, have learned that it is unwise to base very definite conclusions either on small fluctuations or on the figures for a few months or even for a year. Many abnormal causes exist which could result in a fall or an increase of a fairly substantial character. You could not base any conclusion as to the general economic trend on such matters. It is necessary to take all the taxes and to take a couple of years at least before you can get any idea that is worth having as to the trend of things economically.

The Deputy uttered a statement which I think his leader must regard as heresy. It seems to me, at any rate, to be quite contrary to the policy which has been facetiously referred to as that of the hair shirt.

Deputy MacEntee said that it was necessary that life should be as attractive here as in other countries. I cannot see how that particular theory can be reconciled with the other theory that we should try to be entirely different from other people, and that we should have peculiar standards of life and peculiar economic habits. Deputy Flinn, I think, later on made a statement that was also contrary to another aspect of Fianna Fáil's policy, so far as I have been able to gather it. He indicated that it was a mistaken idea to think that Governments could handle any matter, at least, any matter relating to industry, trade or business, better than private individuals. He suggested that Ministers were at last learning that the more they left business alone the better it was. I did not take down his exact words, but his idea was to that effect. The Fianna Fáil policy, so far as I have been able to gather, is for increasing State intervention at every stage. Deputies want better social services on the one hand and, on the other, they want to reduce taxation, they want to build a wall around the country, they want life to be as attractive here as in other countries, they want to set up new boards and new monopolies, and to have less State interference in business than we have been having in the past. It seems to me to be a case of thinking that nobody will examine their policy very seriously, and that those who are attracted by a particular item in it will pay no attention to the other items, and that most contradictory ideals and policies may be advanced simultaneously by different members of the Party.

With reference to the repatriation of British coinage, Deputy MacEntee rehearsed a number of arguments in favour of the view that the British were bound to take back the British coinage in circulation here. I think that I know and have used all the arguments that can be put forward in support of that view. There is, however, the position that in the case of South Africa and Australia the British have not taken back the coinage at once, but have taken it back over a period of years. When you have a precedent established it is very difficult to find arguments which are not only sufficient to support the general claim but also to have the precedent set aside. With regard to Deputy MacEntee's statement that the British Chancellor of the Exchequer has not even kept his word, and that less coinage has been taken back than was to be taken back before the 30th of April, the fault does not lie with the British Exchequer. The position is that, owing to the attention that was being given to the issue of Consolidated Bank Notes, and to the fact that the staff of the Currency Commission were occupied with that particular matter, it was not possible to count or deal with a greater amount of British coinage than was dealt with. It will be dealt with, and I suppose that more coinage has been sent back even since I answered the Deputy's question.

I do not think that I need answer the taunt of the Deputy about the want of spirit on the part of the Government. I could easily retort by saying that the want of spirit is on the other side. I would have a great deal more justification for that statement than the Deputy has for his. He knows perfectly well, at any rate, that this Government took up the burden of dealing with the affairs of the State when he and his Party were sulking outside. However, perhaps it is useless to go into that matter, but the talk about lack of spirit on the part of the Government is ridiculous nonsense. The Government at least has not the record of defeat which the Deputy's Party has. With regard to Deputy Flinn's point about allowances being made in case a man was discarding, say, a gas plant, for an electrical device, it is quite probable, so far as I know, that under the law as it stands the gas plant would be regarded as obsolete and the substitution of an electrically-driven or an electrically-heated plant would be regarded as replacement of obsolete plant and the allowance which Deputy Flinn suggests would be made.

With regard to the question of the continuation of exemption from Corporation Profits Tax, Deputy Flinn asked whether it was not simply preserving the status quo. I indicated that it was. I might modify that statement slightly. He asked if there was any extension of exemption. There is no extension of exemption, but there is a slight restriction of it. For instance, the railway company will be exempt so far as its profits arising out of the working of the railway are concerned, but it will not be exempt so far as its profits, say, out of bus traffic are concerned, because it is not subject to the same restriction there as in the case of the railroad. Similarly the exemption from Corporation Profits Tax will be confined to profits arising out of public service proper, but if a company is carrying on another business which is entirely apart from the nature of public service, it will not be exempt from the Corporation Profits Tax as regards the profits on that enterprise. It was never intended that public utility companies should be exempt from profits not arising out of public utility services. A recent interpretation of the law in Great Britain has extended the exemption to business carried on by any one of those companies. In extending for another period the exemption from the Corporation Profits Tax, we are confining it to profits particularly made out of public utility services.

What about profits arising from invested reserves to provide for, say, the obsolescence of plant?

I think they would be exempt. Deputy Flinn again raised the question raised by Deputy Lemass, I think, on the last occasion as to allowing bus owners to pay the road tax by monthly instalments at a pro rata rate. I explained to Deputy Lemass that if we were to allow monthly payments at a flat rate we could not confine it to bus owners, and the result of changing the system would be that the Road Fund would lose more than it would gain by the increase in the bus tax. For that reason it is impossible to agree to the suggestion made by Deputy Flinn to-night and by Deputy Lemass on the last occasion.

Deputy Flinn and Deputy Little referred to the imprisonment of bookmakers and others, principally bookmakers, who may have been convicted of fraud on the revenue and had not paid the fine. It is necessary that there should be power to imprison in these cases. If we take smuggling, for instance, somebody who had no property could be found to carry on the smuggling, and no fine could be got from him. All that would happen, if he were caught, would be that the goods would be seized. In the vast majority of cases that would not be a sufficient deterrent. If we have regard to bookmakers, it is necessary that there should be power to imprison. In many cases it would be very easy to render impossible the enforcement of the Act if there were no imprisonment. I think that Deputies and members of the Committee were somewhat misled by the picturesque phrase used by one of the witnesses before the Committee in which he suggested that people might be put in prison for life. People have not actually been kept in prison for long terms. On the average the imprisonment would last about a month. There have been some cases in which people were imprisoned for three months. As far as I have been able to gather—I will have more careful search made—there was only one case in which the imprisonment lasted six months or over. The terms of imprisonment have not been really long. I would have no objection to limiting the terms of imprisonment as suggested by Deputy Little.

Deputy Little, I think, made the specific suggestion that the period during which people might be kept in prison should be limited in certain cases to three months and in certain other cases to six months. That is only a theoretical point. These people are actually kept a shorter time in prison than they would be if there were no discretion in the Revenue Commissioners. In many cases, imprisonment is avoided where it would follow if imprisonment for a period were the automatic alternative to a fine. That provision is operated so that persons who, there is good reason to believe, have means, are made to pay, but, on the other hand there is no imprisonment or the term of imprisonment is very short in the case of a person with no means. Such a person is released by order of the Revenue Commissioners at an early date. Very little was said as to the actual fine imposed, a minimum fine of £500, which the justice can mitigate to one-fourth, £125. That would seem in some cases to be fairly high, but in other cases it is too low. We have to remember that a fine which would be very big in the case of a person engaged in an ordinary business is small in the case of a bookmaker.

If you take an ordinary business and direct, say a grocer, to post up certain notices and impose a fine of £5 if he does not do it, that is a fairly heavy fine, but even the smallest bookmaker would think very little of a £5 fine. As a matter of fact, in the case of a fine of £100, in many instances they would toss you for doubles or quits. When you are dealing with bookmakers, having regard to the particular business in which they are engaged, it is necessary to have fines higher than would be reasonable in other cases. When we go into the Report of the Committee, and are drafting a new Betting Bill, it may be possible to devise safeguards. Certainly, we have been gaining experience in administering the Betting Tax and it may be possible to devise safeguards which will make it reasonable to lower the amount of the fine. But I think we must remember, in dealing particularly with bookmakers, that one will not find the same standards of honesty amongst them as one would find in any other trade. I think it will be found that there are very few bookmakers whose word can be depended upon for anything.

That is an extraordinary and an astounding statement for the Minister to make. I do not hold any brief for bookmakers nor am I a betting man but I think that in the profession of bookmaking there are many decent men. I think they predominate. I say that is an astounding statement for the Minister to make.

I think one has to watch them fairly carefully in their dealings, particularly in their dealings with the Revenue. I do not want to blacken the character of bookmakers. Bookmakers have, of course, to be very careful, if they are to remain in business, in meeting their obligations to their clients but they are not so careful in dealing with the Revenue. After all, the great majority of the bookmakers were carrying on their business illegally before the Betting Act was passed. A certain small number of big bookmakers were carrying on a legal business and carrying on no business but a legal business. They, however, are really a minority of the bookmakers. The great majority were carrying on business illegally. All of us know shops in which there were a couple of boxes of bird seed and two or three oranges in the windows. After the Act was passed, the oranges and the bird seed were removed and the name appeared "so-and-so turf accountant." People who carried on their business illegally for years like that are not likely to come very soon to have a very strict regard for the law. I think it is really fair to say that there are very few bookmakers indeed if we leave out a certain number who do an unusual type of business, the bigger type of business, with a particular type of record behind them, whose returns could be depended upon to anything like the extent that the returns of any person in another line of business with another sort of training and record behind him could be depended on.

Deputy Anthony, I believe, said something about the selling of Scotch whiskey at a lower strength than Irish whiskey. Of course, it is a matter really for the trade themselves, for the distillers and the retailers. The same law applies to Scotch as to Irish whiskey. The custom is to sell Scotch whiskey at 30 under proof and Irish whiskey at 25 under proof.

Giving the Scotchman the advantage.

It is a matter for the trade, for the distillers here to weigh up. If they decide that on the whole it is better for them to compete with the Scotch whiskey by selling at the same strength as Scotch whiskey, there is nothing to prevent that.

Sell an inferior article.

I do not want to discuss that, because I am not competent to discuss it.

Surely the Minister must be aware that there is a difference between potstill and patent-still. He knows that much. The advantage is all with the manufacturer outside the Free State who can mix the patent-still whiskey with the potstill to the disadvantage of the Irish distiller.

I have just now been assured that Irish whiskey is much superior.

I think it would pay the Minister if he took two or three glasses of Paddy Flaherty before he made his statement to-night.

Really, I do not see that we could very well legislate to say that no whiskey could be sold at any strength other than 25 under proof. I do not know whether that is what the Deputy contends. That was, I remember, discussed before, but I think it found very little favour, and if we are not to make a regulation of that sort then I think the position must be that Irish whiskey must sell on its merits. If people are prepared to buy Scotch whiskey, I do not think we can prevent them, for instance, by a tariff, for this reason that the people who are in the best position to judge as to the prospects of Irish whiskey are of opinion that a special tariff on Scotch whiskey would not be advantageous. The Irish market is small relatively to the output capacity of the distillers. If there is to be any return of prosperity to the distilling trade, it can come only through the recovery of export markets, and one of the export markets where there should be the best prospect of recovery is the market in Great Britain. It is not believed that the recovery of that market in Great Britain would be facilitated by the imposition of a discriminatory tariff against Scotch whiskey here, so that I do not see that there is anything that can be done in the matter at all.

The Minister must know that it is an encouragement to the Irish publican to sell Scotch whiskey in preference to Irish when there is a difference of five degrees.

There is no doubt that there is a temptation to the publican to sell it, but I do not know whether the Deputy would suggest that a law should be made that no whiskey, no matter how labelled, was to be sold at any strength weaker than 25 under proof. There are a great many people who certainly would not favour that. There is this also to be remembered that the consumption of Scotch whiskey in the Saorstát is relatively small. I have not the figures before me, but it is very small compared with the total consumption of whiskey here. I do not think it is anything like one-fourth. I rather think it is more like one-fifth or one-sixth.

I would like to give some information to the Minister in that regard. The quantity imported for the January-March period, 1928, was approximately nineteen thousand proof gallons. If you multiply that by four you will get the importation for the year of foreign spirit into this country.

The consumption is shown by the Revenue returns, and the proportion of Scotch whiskey to the total is about one-sixth, so that the help given to the distillers, even if you cut Scotch whiskey completely out, would not be very great, and would in no way serve to bring about a return of prosperity. If there is going to be a return of prosperity it is to be gained by the capture of the outside market. I have consulted several times with people who should know this business, and the general view they take is that nothing should be done that would cause any prejudice against Irish whiskey outside.

Deputy de Valera and other Deputies, I think Deputy Lemass amongst them, have spoken about the motor bodies. I am not in a position to say when the Tariff Commission will report on the coach-building application for a tariff; but I know that it has been represented to the Tariff Commission that as soon as possible they should make that report. I do not agree with the two or three Deputies who have assumed, as is usual with the Fianna Fáil Party, that tariffs should be imposed without examination, and practically without any consideration of the consequences to other industries and the public at large. One Deputy suggested that we should have imposed a tariff on motor bodies and thereafter inquired whether it was necessary or not, and knock it off if we found there was no justification for it. Other Deputies have spoken about the fact that goods are coming in that should be made here. Even in the case of industries on which tariffs are imposed, goods are still coming in. We do not agree with the point of view that has been suggested by those people. It is quite possible to get a considerable amount of employment in particular industries if we have no regard to any other facts; but Deputies should certainly, however keen they are on having tariffs increased, recognise that increased cost of living has its effect on industry too. If the Deputies do not believe that increased cost of living matters, then there is no point at all in arguments about the necessity for reducing the burden of taxation, so far as it may be possible.

In so far as decreased taxation will have an effect on the economic life of the country directly, it will have that effect in a decrease in the cost of living, and if a decrease in the cost of living may be expected to do any good to industry, an increase in the cost of living may be expected to do some damage. It may be expected to do damage, particularly in this country, in the agricultural industry which can get no direct benefit from the tariff; it may get ultimate benefits, and it may get certain benefits of an indirect kind, but it must bear its share of the burden. We are told when a tariff is to be imposed that, so far as it may be judged, we should only impose a tariff which would suffice to enable that industry to grow and establish itself. But we do not believe that it should be enabled to grow without effort. There are cases in which, by imposing 100 per cent. tax on a particular article, we cannot insure that that article would be made, so far as it was required, entirely in the country, but it might be made at a price very much higher than it ought to be made, and at a price very much higher than the people of the country would be expected to be able to buy it at. Take the extreme case of a tariff of 100 per cent., as put on, for instance, men's ready-made clothing. Probably no ready-made clothing at all would be imported. On the other hand, any sort of factory, run by any sort of manager, equipped in nearly any sort of way, would be able to make a living until at any rate there was an increase in competition. Everybody knows where you have a small area easily organised the chances are that the manufacturers who can make plenty of money and who have time to go around organising their business instead of having their noses stuck to the grind-stone will probably be able to make a ring that will charge the public as much as they can charge them without an outcry, and, on the other hand, have means of fighting and disposing of anybody who tries to break into the ring. The whole argument against the tariff is the fact that the tariff is liable to abuse, and when a tariff is excessively high, it leads to inefficient and costly manufacturing plant, and for the mismanagement of it the public have to pay day by day, probably as long as the tariff lasts.

The Minister is dealing with the case of a new industry. We are dealing with a particular case. Why does he not deal with the particular case mentioned, the coach-building industry, which is established, and which is dying because of the inactivity of the Government.

I was only stating a general principle. I do not know the facts of the coach-building industry. I do not know, for instance, whether it is efficiently managed or not.

You ought to know after five years' inquiry.

I am not a member of the Tariff Commission. When the report of the Tariff Commission is issued, I will have an opportunity of seeing it.

If the industry is dead at that time——

Industries sometimes faint, but they do not die so readily as that. If a factory has to close, that happens very frequently even in cases where nobody would expect a tariff or agree to give a tariff. It frequently happens that industries have their bad times, and it happens occasionally that an industry is shut down. If an industry has not been too long shut down, it is quite possible to have the works re-opened and have the business carried on again. I do not think it could be argued that because a factory either shuts or threatens to shut that its application for a tariff should not be considered, and considered in as thorough a way as if there was no danger of that. If we once admitted the view that an industry had only to close and a tariff must be granted, then we would find that quite a lot of people would so manoeuvre their particular factories that they would close, because in many cases enormous benefit is likely to come to the owner of a factory if he gets a tariff. As I put it in a case the other day, if you have an industry that makes nothing, and if you put it in a position by a tariff to get a clear profit of a thousand pounds a year, you are presenting the owner of that industry with £20,000. People would endure the loss that may be caused by having to shut down for two or three months if they could ensure that by doing that they would immediately get a tariff without further consideration. I am not suggesting for a moment that that is happening in this case, but we cannot admit as a principle that because an industry is closed down the ordinary procedure of the Tariff Commission may be dispensed with and the examination curtailed in some way. You do encourage people if you prejudice the case in favour of a tariff to shut down in order to get a tariff. As I have said, there are great advantages to be got by the owners of individual industries from the imposition of tariffs.

While it is regrettable that any industry should close down, causing temporary unemployment, I do think that the general public and other industries are entitled to consideration. That is really the whole difference, as far as I can see, between the point of view that members on this side take and members on the other side take. We de not admit that any industry and every industry is worth keeping in being at any price. We think there may be industries which we would have to charge the general people too much to keep in being, having regard to the employment they give and to their importance to the country. These would be industries which we would agree should be allowed to disappear. It is an entirely wrong economic theory—I used to hear it from certain individuals very frequently—that it was a terrible thing if any industry died. Industries will always be dying; even in the most prosperous countries industries will be dying and new industries will be rising up to take their place. We have had a good many new industries rising up. I do not know whether the Deputy is arguing that during the last three or four years since we imposed tariffs more factories have closed than have opened. I do not think he could argue that. I do not know the number of factories at all, because you could count nearly anything a factory. There is a tendency in the world to-day to concentration. In every country, that leads to the closing of small plants of all sorts. I dare say you could take it that a lot of countries enjoyed great industrial expansion, and if you only counted the factories and did not pay attention to employment you could prove that there was a great closing down of industries. What probably happened was that a number of small shops employing two, three or four thousand men had gone down, and that big shops had opened up with very much greater employment than had been given by the small ones that had been closed.

I think the only test you can talk about as to whether we are proceeding towards industrialisation or not is the number of people employed in the manufacturing industry. In my opinion there has been very substantial progress. I think, moreover, that it is not fair or reasonable to judge the effect of a particular tariff from the results obtained over two or three years. We know it ourselves that, in many cases, you may expect nothing for a couple of years. In 1924, I think, there was a tariff imposed on soap. It was only last year that there was any great increase in the production of soap here. Manufacturers, perhaps, may have thought that it was temporary, and there may have been a variety of other reasons. But, in any case, there was only a relatively minor result until about four years or so had elapsed. The same sort of considerations apply to other tariffs. Sometimes manufacturers may decide, and may make a special effort, to compete for a period in spite of a tariff. Sometimes, even, if they are intending to set up factories here they hesitate about where they will place them. Labour conditions and the difficulties of getting employment and that kind of thing often cause delays.

The Government does not contemplate any change in the procedure of the Tariff Commission. We do not think that the delays that have taken place have been unreasonable. We know, from some experience, that the investigation of tariff applications is an exceedingly difficult matter. At first, in a great many cases, there is not all the candour that might, I think, be expected from applicants, and even when the facts have been fully ascertained so far as they concern the applicants the reactions of a tariff on other industries are exceedingly difficult to gauge. We are satisfied that there has been no unreasonable delay so far as the Tariff Commission is concerned. We are satisfied that the procedure and the work of the Tariff Commission will enable us to go as fast as we ought to go in putting tariffs on all classes of goods that they ought to be put on, and that, as a matter of fact, greater results will be obtained if the thing is done over a period of years than if it were done suddenly. To some extent, an increase in the cost of living which might arise from tariffs will be minimised, and in some cases industries will have become established, and where there was going to be competition amongst them sufficient to bring down the tariff, the competition will have begun to manifest itself before some other tariffs, which are ultimately going to be imposed, have actually been put on.

There is also just, perhaps, some limit to the skill that is available in the country for the management of industries. The difficulties of obtaining capital are such that if a great number of tariffs, if all that ever was going to be done in the way of tariffs was done at once, industries might be very seriously handicapped in respect of their difficulties in capitalising themselves. If, on the other hand, the tariffs that have been imposed have the effect that they are likely to have, that is, to make people less reluctant to invest in Irish industries, then the difficulty of other industries will be less, and it is quite possible that the control will be to a greater extent in the hands of our own citizens than if we went over-fast in the matter of tariffs.

Deputy Moore asked why Savings Bank certificates are not invested in certain home stocks instead of, to a substantial extent, in British stocks. One of the factors that has to be borne in mind in connection with savings certificates is that they must be liquid. The real point about having them in British securities is that if money was required, and if, for any reason, there was a run on the Post Office saving certificates and you had substantial withdrawals at a time, say when the Exchequer balance was very low, British securities could be realised to any extent that we hold them without causing any disturbance of the market. If we held home securities of any kind, and had to make big realisations within a day or two, the result would be that substantial loss would be sustained. I do not know that there is any great likelihood of a run on the Savings Bank; but, at any rate, it is prudent to take steps that would ensure substantial sums of cash being readily available in case there was any sort of a run. As time passes, I think the likelihood of that will decrease.

I suppose there is no guarantee either that there would not be a run on the particular security in Great Britain in which the money is invested?

That is a matter that we have to watch, but I do not think that is likely. If it seemed that any security held in respect of the proceeds of the Post Office Savings Bank was likely to depreciate, or to prove unsaleable, it would be our duty to get out of that security and find some others.

Supposing the British treated it as they did the coinage?

I do not think they did anything in respect of the coinage that would lead us to fear that they would take special steps against us.

What about a dishonoured cheque?

I do not know what dishonoured cheque the Deputy is talking about. Perhaps there was some dishonoured cheque somewhere that I did not hear about. I hope it was not any of the bets in connection with the Sligo-Leitrim election.

As long as you are winning in Ireland, it does not matter how often you lose in England.

Deputy Little talked again about a central bank and about the Bank of England dominating us. It seems to me that, while there would be advantages in the existence of a central bank, it would not have anything like the advantages that Deputy Little imagines it would have. It would not give us the sort of immunity from influences of the monetary movement in the outside world which he thinks it would. Deputy Law referred to tobacco. The question of tobacco has often been discussed in this House. I would like to say that if ever there was a dud proposition it is the growing of tobacco here. The amount of subsidy that would be required permanently to establish it here would be out of all reason. I do not know whether this calculation is correct, but somebody suggested it to me, and even if it is not correct it is not wildly wrong. Somebody suggested to me that if you were to take everyone who was employed in connection with the tobacco industry and pay him 30/- a week, and told them to do nothing, it would cost us no more than the subsidy on tobacco.

Does not the same thing apply to beet?

No. The beet subsidy is high, but comparing it with the suggested tobacco subsidy, it is trifling.

People eat the sugar, but would the Deputy smoke the tobacco?

The President was representing Carlow.

It is not suggested that a subsidy on the scale which is at present being paid should be paid permanently. Tobacco had a very high subsidy for a considerable number of years, and the only suggestion made in regard to it was that there should be a substantial increase in the subsidy to help the tobacco industry. I think if Deputies would only read the debates that took place two or three years ago they would find in them evidence to convince them that there is nothing in the tobacco industry to justify a great increase in the subsidy. When the matter came before the Dáil on a non-Party vote there was an overwhelming majority against increasing the subsidy that was suggested. Perhaps the Party opposite might support all the proposals in connection with tobacco, but it seems to me to be in line with the rest of their policy. You could get employment out of the growth of tobacco all right. The suggested tobacco subsidy worked out at about £40 an acre. That might only have got a small amount of tobacco, and if you paid £100 an acre plenty of tobacco could be grown, but the game is not worth the candle by any means.

Deputy Law mentioned a few other points. There is no doubt that the obscurity and complexity of the income-tax law is, as he said, extraordinary. It is most desirable that a simplified code adapted to the conditions here should be devised as soon as possible. I do not know that even that code could be as plain as Deputy Law would hope. I think the income tax law at its best is bound to be somewhat complex, and no matter how simplified in the beginning we would find every year that the Dáil would insist on taking away from its simplicity. It would insist on exceptions and new exemptions, and that sort of thing. Different classes of income must in equity and to prevent hardships on taxpayers be treated in different ways. There must from the beginning be certain elements of complexity in income-tax law. It cannot be like the customs code, which says that on a particular article the duty payable is 15 per cent., and if any odd remissions are given they are really on trivial quantities—for instance, when people bring in personal luggage, and so forth. The customs code can be relatively simple, for even if it consists of a great number of articles it is quite simple in respect of each particular class of goods. If one only thinks of the tax on profits on business one would see that allowances must be made, and renewals in a variety of matters would come in, even the question of losses and carrying forward losses, and partnership determinations, and the commencement of business. All that means that a code even of the simplest would not be very easy for a layman to understand. No doubt, it could be made easy for lawyers to understand, which I think the present code is not.

Deputy Law talked about the right of the Revenue to go back for thirty years. I think he was misinformed in regard to the position. The Revenue goes back for six years, but in certain cases instead of exacting penalties and proceeding for the penalties a person has incurred by fraud, in recent years the Revenue decides to accept a mitigated penalty provided all tax due is paid. In that case the person presents his accounts and satisfies the Revenue that a particular sum is all the tax he has failed to pay, and he pays that with a mitigated penalty. He is under no obligation to pay any tax beyond a six years' period. But if, in the case of fraud a person refuses to pay the tax out of which he has defrauded the Revenue, then he must be satisfied with the Revenue going into court and proceeding for penalties. The other case Deputy Law referred to I can hardly deal with without having more particulars, and the opportunity of seeing what the other side of the case might be. I know from an examination of a great number of complaints that have been brought to me that very often—in fact in almost all cases—there is another side of which the Deputy to whom the complaint has been made never hears. With regard to a case in which notice of assessment was not received after the period for lodging an appeal had elapsed, that would certainly be sufficient reason for extending the period for hearing the appeal, and that person's appeal would not fall to the ground. I do not think it would be desirable to make the time run from the date of receiving the assessment, because that might involve considerable matters of dispute and give a great deal of ground for disputation.

Deputy Law mentioned a particular matter about one of the Special Commissioners. I have no knowledge of that matter. I do not know whether Deputy Law was present when I pointed out that no case from which there is not an appeal to the Circuit Judge will be heard by one Special Commissioner. Where there are certain classes of cases from which there is not an appeal to the Special Commissioners, these classes of cases are not appeals against assessments, and in those classes of cases the application will continue to be heard by two Special Commissioners. Deputy Cassidy talked about buses which are owned and registered in the Six Counties. There is reciprocity in the matter of recognition of the road tax receipts between the Saorstát and Northern Ireland. At present it is not proposed to disturb that. Of the buses that are running across the Border very nearly one-half are Saorstát owned and registered, and until we see some reason arising out of the results in the changes it is not proposed in any way to interfere with the present position, in which we recognise the payment of road tax in Northern Ireland as being sufficient for us; Northern Ireland, on the other hand, recognising the payment of road tax here as sufficient. I do not think the question of railways comes into it, because competition with the railways exists whether the bus is Saorstát owned or Northern Ireland owned.

In any case, as I have said, I do not think that at present anything can be done. The whole matter would be automatically met if, later on, we come to the conclusion that a mileage tax either on the scale originally suggested, or on some other scale, could and should be imposed.

I do not know what amount Boards of Health pay in respect of income-tax on labourers' cottages, but I should imagine that it is not very considerable. I have no information at the moment in regard to it.

To come back to the question put by Deputies in regard to Government policy about industrial development, I may say that the policy of the Government is the policy that they have heretofore pursued. They are not going to say, as some Deputies might say: "Put taxes on everything that could be produced here," or adopt any sort of policy of that kind. Every step that seems reasonable will be taken as opportunity arises. A great many steps have been taken in the past. A great proportion of the industries suitable for tariff protection has been protected. The Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act has been tried. It is not a very successful method of stimulating industry here. It is not very successful, because applications of a character that ought to be granted have not been made in any considerable number. A substitute for that method of providing finance for industry is being sought for, and the whole problem is the subject of examination. I need not recount the other steps taken, such as the Shannon Electricity scheme, the Sugar Beet scheme, etc. Quite a number of efforts of various kinds have been made to bring about the industrialisation of the country. Undoubtedly, as I have said before, as a result of the work of the Tariff Commission other tariffs will be imposed. I cannot say on what particular articles they will be imposed; but other tariffs will be imposed. The utmost use that can, in our opinion, be beneficially made from the point of view of the whole community will be made of the tariff instrument. The question of assisting agriculture cannot altogether be divorced from the question of industry. Any increase in agricultural prosperity does make it easier to get industrial development. It makes an improvement in the home market in the case of industries already established and having their home market here, whether they are protected or not, and probably makes capital more readily available. At any rate, even apart from the market amongst rural dwellers, it improves the market amongst urban dwellers for existing industries. The policy of the Government is to go on as they have been doing, making use of the means available for stimulating and assisting the growth of industry, and to do that in all cases after as good an examination as they find it possible to carry out, and to avoid, as far as they reasonably can, the adoption of theoretic programmes, which will not give the result sought for, and probably do a very considerable amount of damage while the country is finding out the fallacies that underlie them.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 67; Níl, 56.

  • Aird, William P.
  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cole, John James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearoid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Shaw, Patrick W.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • White, John.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.


  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Cooney, Eamon.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • French, Seán.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Kerlin, Frank.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
  • O'Kelly, Seán T.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Tubridy, John.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers:— Tá: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle. Níl: Deputies Cassidy and Killilea.
Question declared carried.
Committee Stage ordered for Thursday, 20th June.