I do not propose to go through the sub-heads of the Vote this year in detail as I did on the previous occasion because the changes are indicated by the figures themselves, and the details for which the moneys are voted have either been adequately explained already or where there are changes they are indicated in foot notes. On the details of the items I would draw attention only to one point on page 234 where the estimate under the heading "Census of Population," salaries and allowances for the staff required amounts to £3,858, about the same as last year. I had hoped, and I think I expressed the hope last year, that that particular item would have shown a considerable reduction this year, but, owing to the amount of information requested from time to time from the Statistical Department by committees and individual queries, it has been found quite impossible for that Department to succeed in doing anything like the amount of work put before themselves. They did not and could not hope to keep to their programme for the production of certain materials. It will be understood, with the Census of Population, taken in a particular way and under certain conditions in 1926, and with the Census of Production, which was taken for the first time in this country, that duties have been put upon that Department which it was not easy to measure in advance in any year. We have made up our minds that the staff required last year will be almost to the same extent required in the coming year to complete the Census of Population and everything that arises out of it. I mention the Census of Production because I desired to make the statement I have made in regard to the Statistics Bureau as a whole, namely, that on account of the information required from time to time from Commissions and individual inquiries it has not been able to keep up to the programme outlined. The amount of work this year, even on the Census of Population basis, is very much the same as last year. Outside that, there does not seem to be much that calls for comment as regards detail. I wish to point out that sub-head HH, "Gift to International Labour Office at Geneva," is re-voted as the gift has not yet been given. It may go out this autumn. Certain items have dropped from the Vote in contrast with last year. For instance, the prize offered by the Departmental Committee on Crude Alcohol has been withdrawn. I have indicated already in answer to a question why that was done.
The Committee sat for a long time and a change was made in respect of the money voted to see whether advantage would be taken of it, but we came to the conclusion that no use was being made of the money and therefore it is not being re-voted. Sub-heads H (1) and H (2) show increased expenditure in connection with the International Labour Organisation. That is explained by the fact that this year there is to be a special session held in the autumn. In other words, so far as the Labour Organisation is concerned, this year will see two meetings instead of one. Therefore the Vote itself, and that for travelling expenses, in this respect have to show an increase. Three items have been dropped. So far as the allowance for "Minerals Exploration" is concerned, in any other year it might have been considered advisable to keep up the sum set aside for that purpose, but for the year in which we had it we did not discover that any great use was being made of it. We hope that the necessity there was for it will disappear. In regard to the item "Industrial and Commercial Fairs and Exhibitions," the dropping of that Vote is a commentary on the attitude of manufacturers and industrialists with regard to foreign exhibitions. The only time that industrialists or anybody in this country promise to exhibit— I say this subject to certain reservations—is when the cost of carriage and, in some cases, of the insurance of the articles to be exhibited is borne by the State. We do not consider that that is a proper claim to make.
With regard to the Vote for "Industrial Investigations," it was introduced here to meet a particular emergency. One particular investigation was before us when it was put in. That has since been carried through. It is considered that in future such items as visits by officials of my Department to make investigations into industrial matters abroad can best be borne on the ordinary Vote for travelling expenses. In regard to inducing other people to come to this country, we think that such expense could be provided by coming to the Dáil specially for the money. We will only ask people to come to the country when a case is made for investigation into a matter from which there seems to be a good commercial return or likely business to accrue to the country. On the last occasion when submitting the Estimate, I gave a very detailed account of the different Departments and paid particular attention to the work done in what I call the Trade and Industry Section, and I do not propose to repeat that in detail. I wish to point out that, even though I make no detailed explanation of the activities of the Department in that line, I want to be understood that the activities to which I referred last year continue as before.
That is to say, industrial inspectors and factory inspectors are occupied, not merely in advising as to breaches of the Factories Act or investigating conditions where Trade Boards have been established, but also endeavouring to report to headquarters, whereever they go, as to whether opportunities exist for industrial development, to get in touch with local people who have money or interest in developing industry, and to bring to headquarters such information as would enable us to advise people regarding the ways in which State aid would be got, if required, to get industry going. The same system holds only with much increased activity in regard to frequent consultations with advisory committees, to the number of thirty or forty, in the different groups of industry in order to get their difficulties eased— if Governmental action can ease them —to give them information, to receive inquiries from them and generally to get the whole conditions of industry under review in order to see what action the Government can take that will lead to any increase. I referred on another occasion to the situation which had developed showing that there had been a steady turnover in the old, lopsided situation in which we found ourselves after the Treaty, depending almost entirely on agriculture. That condition of things now shows that the industrial arm is stronger than it was and that its strength is likely to increase in the near future.
That statement of mine was queried, and the point was put to me when I replied that some evidence should be furnished in the returns of the Census of Production, that these figures were useless inasmuch as they neither instituted themselves nor gave any material for instituting a comparison with previous years. I admitted that was so, but I say this: if one takes these figures and compares the figures published with regard to industry and the information previously given in other reports, with regard to agricultural produce produced in the Saorstát in 1926, and if one takes also the number of people engaged in agriculture, using that term in the broadest sense of the word, and in industry, one will get, at any rate, certain illuminating facts. It emerges that the total value of agricultural produce produced in the Saorstát in 1926, either consumed by the farmers and their families or sold by them, amounted to 62 million pounds, and that the materials purchased and used in connection with that output amounted to 8½ millions. The net value, deducting wages, rents, etc., would be 53½ millions. That could be clearly understood with regard to agricultural production, but when one comes to industrial activity and industrial production the term has to be defined a little more. If one took the returns given in the Census of Production reports and simply made an enumeration, a wrong calculation could be made easily because there one would find, at any rate in an implied way, grouped under the heading of industrial activity and industrial production, such things as maintenance of roads, railways and harbours, construction, or anything in the way of new house building, repair of houses, or repair work of any kind. I want to get a figure that will give industrial production in a narrower sense than that.
If one has to take maintenance work, repair work and the building of houses into account the net value of the output under the Census of Production in 1926 would be 31½ millions. That excludes excise duty, but if the production of new transportable goods is taken into account —only this will require a long calculation—from the figures it will be seen that the 31½ millions must be reduced to 20 millions. The deductions really come to this: that one omits gas, electricity, water, excludes excise duties on beer, takes away maintenance work, repair work and building of houses and all the other things that I have spoken of already, and one will then get two figures to put into comparison. The net value of agricultural production in 1926 was 53½ million pounds. In industrial production, in the narrower sense, excluding the things which I have spoken of, the amount will come to about 20 million pounds. Other figures must be taken into consideration such as the number of persons employed. I am not yet speaking at all of comparison.
The Census of Population groups people according to occupation and it will be seen that agriculture gives employment to about nine times as many people as industry. It also shows that the net value of the goods produced from agriculture is less than three times as great as from industry. One concrete figure which I would like to have considered in the course of the debate is this. The amount per person employed in agriculture is about £80 while the amount per person employed in manufacturing industry is about £266. I do not want to quarrel with any statements made here, which will continue to be made and which can be rightly made, that agriculture is the main industry of the country, taking that either from the point of view of numbers employed or the wealth produced, but the figures I have quoted show at any rate the great importance of manufacturing industry as a potential source of wealth in the country. Let me get to my comparison. Industry was carried on under conditions which everybody knows up to 1921, even up to 1923. Since 1923 certain arrangements have been made for fostering industry. They took various forms—tariffs, the Trade Loans Act, moneys put up for certain production, certain big works that were segregated by themselves either to be dealt with specially other than by tariffs or trade loans, such as the sugar beet industry. Certain other matters remain to be dealt with and probably will be dealt with in the same manner. Tariffs have given employment. The increase in employment amounts to something over 12,000 people. The employment given by the operation of the Trade Loans Act, even though only about £400,000 out of the £1,000,000 set aside has been called on, amounts to 2,000 extra people. There are therefore a net 14,000 extra hands in employment.
On that alone, I say the contention can be made that the country has advanced to a certain degree and towards a better balance as between industry and agriculture. That can be fortified by looking at certain other things. The figures in relation to exports and imports, if taken and if properly considered in relation to the increased home consumption that there is for certain tariffed industries and for certain groups of industries helped other than by tariffs, fortify that contention. It will be seen that there is some decrease in imports of manufactured articles if the figures are properly examined. If, however, it will be denied still in face of the 14,000 extra put into employment and the increased activity there is shown in industry—by applications where made, by inquiries made with regard to helping and aiding industry in a variety of ways other than by financial help—if it is stated that, nevertheless, there is no improvement in the situation, will the people who say there is no improvement visible in the situation tell us how improvement is ever going to come about? When previously speaking in the House I took a calculation. The items might be open to argument, but I made my calculation in this way. Taking the imports into the country in a particular year, I calculated that about 50 per cent. of those were not taxable, and I defined what I meant by nontaxable in answer to a question— that they were things that could not be economically produced in this country or could not be easily replaced by other things produced in the country. I calculated that 50 per cent. came under that heading. There can be argumentation afterwards as to the point raised in regard to the articles which I include under the heading of nontaxable at the moment. Of the remainder, when I last made the statement, I said about half had been taxed.
The other half have not. That shifts the balance somewhat definitely away from that 50-50 position even with regard to the taxable imports, by reason of the woollen tariff. Omitting it for the moment, because the effect of it is not much and because there are certain other little things that will come in possibly to change that situation the other way, the statement, on the grounds on which I made it, remains as good now as it did that of taxable imports, in the sense of tariffed imports, 50 per cent. are taxed, giving us increased employment for over 12,000 people. If I am told, in fact, that although that has happened there is no improvement in the country in the sense of making it have a better balance of dependence on agriculture and dependence on manufacturing industry, then how can it be assumed that taxing more articles is going to rectify the balance? The other argument was put up to me, that there have been so many things destroyed in the interval. We can have arguments of that kind. I gave a list in answer to a question here one time as to the number of factories—I think we defined them in some manner, employing upwards of a certain number of hands—that have disappeared. I waited to hear any single one of these cases brought forward as an argument that there was a business which disappeared and which in fact could have been and would have been saved under some other treatment, and I failed to hear any such argument brought forward. On another Vote, when I made a statement similar to that, two cases were put up to me, that of the Dundalk Distillery and what were described as the Cotton Mills in Cork. I do not know whether those interjections meant to convey that these were two outstanding cases in which State action could have prevented the disappearance of two concerns or were things that just occurred to the mind of certain Deputies and were thrown out. But I would like to get somebody who has gone into this matter to indicate some concern he thinks might have been preserved by State action and that it was a dereliction of duty not to have taken State action to preserve it. I would welcome an examination of, say, the spinning and weaving concern near Cork, and also an examination of the Dundalk Distillery, because I am not taking these as examples because they have been interjected in this debate in the haphazard sort of comment made the last day. I say there has been an increase in industrial activity; I say there are certain things that show that, and have led me to the conclusion I mentioned here before. I say further, if the statement is denied that there is a better balance now as between industry and agriculture, then the denial of that statement requires some explanation. It may be on the basis that there has been so much disappearance that the things which have come into being are more or less nullified and that we are more or less in the same position. It may be that there is increased agricultural production, and that consequently though industry is increased there is no better balance. That is a much sounder argument. Nevertheless, I say that—again the figure may be queried but it will only result in changing the percentage— if 50 per cent. of articles are tariffed and a million pounds is only availed to the extent of £400,000, if those two things in themselves have not brought about a better situation, then one would be forced to the conclusion that neither tariffs nor the provision of credit for enterprises still running under private control are worth anything. That is lamentable and is a conclusion I would not like to be driven to.