Private Deputies' Business. - Saorstát Milling Industry.

I move:—

"That the Dáil is of opinion that steps should be taken by the Executive Council to frame a scheme of national control which will provide adequate safeguards for the Saorstát milling industry and for the consuming public."

I want to say, by way of preface, that this motion was not put down in any insular or Party spirit and I hope that it will be discussed free from Party affiliations or antagonisms and in a manner befitting the seriousness and importance of the economic issues at stake. I also wish to dissociate myself from anything in the nature of stunt propaganda, and I want to say, in addition, that since the original meeting held in Cork when we discussed the milling position in the Saorstát created by recent developments, I have not attended any public meeting held in the country, because I believe whilst it is necessary on occasion to help to form opinion and to do one's best in the national interests I consider that this motion and everything appertaining to the industry should first of all be discussed and decided here. I want to make that perfectly clear to everybody in this House, no matter to what Party he owes his affiliations. I am not going to take up the attitude of some publicists and others who ask for subvention or State intervention in a great many industries. Neither am I going to approach the subject by suggesting that the Government were either indifferent or apathetic. I have indicated my attitude towards that class of propaganda.

I believe that the Government are actuated by none but the highest and best motives in their attitude towards this industry. I also believe that they are just as much concerned as I am, as this Party is, and as any Deputy is, about the welfare of the community. Having said that, I hope that no Deputy will charge me, or those associated with me, with any kind of attempt to make any Party propaganda out of the misfortunes of our country. At the same time we must admit that Governments, like all human institutions, are only fallible. I believe and hope that as a result of this debate there will be a better understanding and appreciation of the flour-milling position in the Saorstát than apparently exists at present. I want also to say that I am not opposed to the financing of Irish enterprise by foreign capital when Irish capitalists have neither the enterprise nor the pluck to finance Irish concerns. I prefer foreign capital to no capital at all. I prefer to see employment created by good and careful business management, no matter where the capital comes from, than to see bad trade and consequent unemployment brought about by bad business methods and bad trade organisation.

It must be known to every Deputy who takes an interest in the economic position of our country, having particular reference to the matter with which I am now dealing in my motion, that an association, known as the Millers' Mutual Association, has been recently formed in Britain. The big millers there gave twenty-four hours' notice to the small millers, and now 95 per cent. of English millers are in this mutual association and their industry is rationalised. Under rationalisation output is fixed. There is a quota mentioned to which every individual mill or miller subscribes and the output is named and fairly well defined. There is no question whatever that price is not regulated. Under the scheme of rationalisation that obtains to-day in Britain price is not regulated. It must also be known to most Deputies that the position of the milling industry in Britain is that it can in four and a half days manufacture all the flour necessary for consumption in Britain and that the output for the remaining one and a half days is used for dumping into this country.

It is hardly necessary for me to describe the process known as dumping, and to say what it spells for the economic conditions in this country. I am aware also that in order to tackle this process of dumping it is necessary to tackle a very serious problem, and one that would require very careful handling. I do not think that I would serve any useful purpose at the moment by dilating at any great length on the process of dumping, though I have given it some thought. The Free State has been kept open for many years as a dumping ground for the over-production of flour in Britain. There is still, as I pointed out, over-production of flour in Britain, and that over-production is dumped here for the consumption of Irish people to the detriment of our home milling industry. Recent happenings in the Irish milling industry have resulted in the taking over by an outside or foreign combine of one of the most important flour-milling institutions in this country, namely, that of Messrs. Bannatyne, representing about thirty per cent. of the flour trade of the Saorstát. Thirty per cent. of a basic industry of this State has suddenly passed into the hands of a foreign combine, and there are well-founded rumours at the moment that another very important British firm is throwing longing eyes at this part of the world with a view to annexing or appropriating another Irish milling interest.

I do not know that there is any statute to prevent any owner, once he has acquired property in this country, to get rid or dispose of it as he so desires. He may, for instance, proceed to dismantle property he has purchased. There is a variety of ways in which he can dispose of that property to his own advantage and to the disadvantage of the people of the country. No control, as indicated by the Minister for Finance in a recent statement, such, he said, as would be necessary in time of war, would be of any use, because then, of course, the mills would have disappeared and, if they had not disappeared, the raw material would be in the hands of foreigners. The Minister for Industry and Commerce stated quite recently that it should be clearly understood that no agreement arrived at privately within the industry could in any way diminish either the rights or duties of the Government to take such measures for safeguarding the public interest as future developments might warrant. I want to suggest that these developments have arrived and are undoubtedly present. I hope that as a result of the discussion that will ensue on this motion the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and any other Minister who has any responsibility in the matter, will be stirred into some kind of activity that will result at least in a stop being put to further ramifications of this basic industry on the part of outside capitalists or financiers. Attempts have been made by many people outside, and by some Deputies, to confuse the whole issue and to draw a red herring across the track of this very important matter. For instance, it has been suggested that it is a question of tariffs. Tariffs have no relation whatever to the present crisis that has arisen.

It is my own opinion, an opinion, perhaps, that is shared by very many members of all Parties in the House, that if we had a tariff on flour it would have been still more attractive for this combine or these combines to come in here and extend their activities in this country. It is my own conviction, at any rate, and I think that conviction is shared by very many, that the proposition would be still more attractive. I have certain doubts which I am not going to express here, as to the bona fides and the genuineness of some— and I say some advisedly—Irish millers in looking for a tariff at the time they did. Attempts have also been made to obscure this issue by the opponents of State control, State control in any form or of any kind. That is a position or an attitude of mind that I could very well understand in a reactionary Government, in something that would correspond to the old Tory Party in England, but which is an attitude I cannot reconcile with the present Cumann na nGaedheal Government.

They are the worst in Europe.

I want to be allowed to develop my argument without interference from anybody. I want to say that it seems rather out of place, to say the least of it, for any member of the Government Party to suggest, that whilst there is contained in this motion a suggestion of State control, that because of that inherent fault in their view, this motion should not be passed. Let us see what was the attitude of the Minister for Agriculture dealing with a subject that is most akin to the one we are now discussing. The Minister for Agriculture, speaking on the Creamery Act in the Dáil on 10th July, 1928, said:

"There are some foreign concerns which are very much concerned with the competition they have to meet from the creameries we have purchased. They would be delighted to come in and start factories here for the production of milk products. They have very big amounts of money behind them and they would be glad to come in here in the hope of wiping out the co-operative system and taking over part of the industry from the farmers again. We are determined to stop that."

"We are determined to stop that!" These are the words of the Minister, not the words of an ordinary Labour Deputy in this Dáil. Continuing, he said: "They"—that is to say, those foreign concerns which were so much concerned with the competition which they had to meet from the creameries which the Government had purchased—"are nibbling at it at the moment, but under Section 13 no factory dealing with milk products can be set up without the consent of the Department." Here we have a form of State control. Here we have it clearly indicated by the Government that under Section 13 no factory dealing with milk products can be set up without the consent of the Department. Let me suggest for one moment that instead of milk products you insert the word "flour." It would then read: "Under section so and so, no factory dealing with flour or flour products can be set up without the consent of the Department." You would then subscribe to more than three-fourths of what is contained in my motion.

I think I have indicated fairly clearly my attitude in relation to what would have occurred if the flour tariff had been put on. At least, I do not think it would have made a very great difference. It might have hastened the process and the evolution of the finances in relation to milling which we are now considering. I have shown, I think, that if the process is to go on that these financiers could buy up and having bought up, could dismantle every mill in the Free State and compel us to pay the highest possible price or any price they wish to fix for their imported flour. Let us consider for a moment what are the operations of these combines across Channel. This problem is not our problem solely or only. There is even at the present moment a good deal of conflict of economic opinion and thought in Great Britain as to the operations of these trusts and combines. I think it is hardly necessary to mention the name of the firm concerned in this case; it is well known, and, for the sake of Parliamentary practice and procedure, I do not intend to mention the name, as far as I possibly can, at any rate.

I have here a cutting from the "Yorkshire Post" which dealt with the operations of one of these big combines across Channel and the very damaging effect which they had on the city of York. Let us call the firm Messrs. X. The cutting is as follows:—

"The decision of Messrs. X. to close their Hungate mills would be a serious blow to York, where for many years flour-milling has been the second most important industry in the city, employing about 1,000 men. It will not only mean a considerable addition to the ranks of the unemployed, but will deprive the city of a considerable revenue in rates, as the mills are among the most extensive business premises in the city. They include a large grain silo erected some years ago which at the time was reported to have a capacity of six months' food supply for York. It will also mean a big loss in revenue to the Ouse navigation authorities."

This is one of the effects of the acquisition by this big combine of an improved flour mill in the city of York. When one takes into consideration—although some people will not agree with me—that there must be some little patriotism left in Englishmen, though a group of financiers will make their patriotism subservient to their greed for still more money and still more exploitation of the people, can we as Irishmen expect that this group will treat us in anything but the same manner? Can we even hope that if they once get a hold of something beyond the 30 per cent., possibly 60 per cent., and more than likely 100 per cent. of our milling industry, they are going to have any qualms of conscience about closing down the whole of them? I have no delusions on the matter—none whatever. I mentioned the Creameries Act. In that case we know that the Government ousted foreign capital. They took over the business of Lovell and Christmas and Cleeves—Cleeves were of course cut out. Here we had no question of discouraging foreign capital. I may not possibly express the view of 40 per cent. of this Dáil, but in my view the flour industry is of more concern to this country than the butter industry— far more important as a national asset. The people could live without butter, but they could not live without bread. The Minister for Finance speaking in the Dáil, on 7th March last, said:

"It would be quite possible to devise a system of taxation which would make it unprofitable for any foreign corporation to acquire or establish industries here. It would be possible, after a transition interval, to oblige companies, if they were to continue to have the privilege of incorporation in this country, to have 51 per cent. of their shareholders resident and domiciled here."

Here we have a half promise, if you like, that something can be done, that it is possible within our Constitution. We will not come into conflict with any constitutional law or right. But we have that right to demand of any foreign corporation, company, or combine operating here, that 51 per cent. of their shareholders shall be resident or domiciled in this country. I want to know from the Minister is he prepared to avail of the rights which this House has conferred upon him and which, I believe, the Irish people expect that he will exercise.

There was an analogy which the Minister for Finance made that was rather an unhappy one. In the course of his statement on the same day, I think, he said that if they were to take stringent steps to discourage the employment of foreign capital they would shut the door on any possibility of another such concern as Ford's being established here. He did not think we ought to do that. I really feel that I am one of the very few who have a little regard for the Minister for Finance and his ability. But I am really surprised that the Minister should attempt to draw any such analogy between a firm such as Ford's and little industries. I do not want to belittle these little industries, but small industries, such as cigarette factories, sweet factories, and tobacco factories, give employment to a number of young people for a certain period, but when they reach 18 or 20 years of age they are thrown on the unemployed market. The idea of comparing firms such as these with an enterprise like Fords, which gives employment to between 5,000 and 7,000 persons at good wages, and which circulated at least one million of money in this country during the last year or so——

In Cork.

It is beyond your mentality. We all know Deputy Gorey.

Let us keep to the mills now, if we can.

The idea of the Minister for Finance making such a comparison is certainly beyond me. I have suggested that a basic industry like the flour industry should be treated in the same way as the creamery industry was treated, and I also want to suggest very seriously to Deputies in every Party that we should carefully distinguish between the entrance of a foreign firm to set up an entirely new industry and an invasion to smash an existing industry. It is certainly, I think, conceded on all hands that this is an age of trusts and combines, and that the day of the small miller is gone. But I think it is up, primarily to the Government, but also to us, as the representatives of the people, to choose between allowing the flour milling industry to be controlled by and from Liverpool, or by the Government of the Free State. That is the issue before us at present, and, notwithstanding the fact that there has been a lot of wild talk in the country, and that possibly some of the Government Party may think an attempt was being made to stampede them, or certain of their members, into doing things, because of a certain agitation, the Government should be big enough and great enough to seize this opportunity and do the right thing towards this basic industry of ours.

Let us examine the position in so far as it relates to the number of mills working in this country. There are in the Free State to-day, as far as my information goes, 43 milling plants, of which 14 are silent; two were burned. These are the figures which I got and I believe they are nearly correct—I do not want any small point to be made, for instance, that there are only 13 silent when I said 14. I am giving the figures which I got from authoritative sources, and they leave 27 plants working, some at half time, some at quarter time and so on. But I do know that a great number—what the exact number is I cannot at the moment say—are not working to their full capacity and have not worked to their full capacity for many years.

The mills working to-day produce roughly one million sacks of flour. I understand that to meet the requirements of the Irish people we would have to produce two million sacks of flour. In other words, the position to-day is: we are producing 50 per cent. of our consumption and we have to rely upon Britain for the other 50 per cent. If our mills were enabled to work at full capacity, I am not going to suggest at this moment that they could produce all the flour that would be consumed in this country, but they are capable of being developed and, even under existing circumstances, if they get a chance, they are prepared to produce 75 per cent. of the requirements of the people of this country, leaving 25 per cent. of the flour to be imported.

In asking that the Executive Council should frame a scheme of national control which would provide adequate safeguards for the Irish milling industry and for the consuming public, I want to say that this is not an original idea. It is not new by any means, for a scheme of this character, perhaps with some variation, is in operation in Spain, Portugal and Switzerland. Some system approximating to what I have indicated may be also in existence in other countries but I have not heard of it. I have given this matter some little thought and I have gone to some trouble, by way of research, during the last week or so, but that is the only information that I can glean in relation to precedent anywhere as regards the class or kind of control exercised in other countries.

I have here some proposals which I understand have been handed to the Department of Industry and Commerce recently. It is my opinion —an opinion which I know is shared by very many members of all parties in the Dáil—that these suggestions would form the basis of a scheme of national control which should engage the attention of the Executive Council. I want also to say that these proposals are not cast iron; they require revision. They have been submitted in the very best interests of the State and the industry, and they form the genesis or basis of a good, sound and progressive economic policy, peculiarly adapted and suited to the requirements of our country. The proposals are as follows:—

"A permanent Flour Commission would be established whose members would have an independence something akin to the Currency Commission. Inasmuch as the members of the Commission will have very drastic powers and highly technical work, it is thought its personnel requires careful consideration. Its objects are so specialised and its task, especially at the commencement, so difficult that we think it must have pretty extensive judicial powers. The difficulty is to combine expert technical knowledge with the functions of the judiciary. We (that is, the different merchants and flour millers) are of opinion that the best method is to have a Chairman of the type of Judge O'Brien, Chairman of the Railway Tribunal, who will have the exclusive and final decision on such matters as fixing of prices, the determination of import licences, and the admission to the Register of Importers. The Chairman's tenure of office should be secure and his salary fixed by legislation. As to the other nonsalaried members——

this should appeal to people with the economy axe——

of the Commission we suggest a representative of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and three representatives of the Irish flour millers who would represent the three milling districts of Dublin, Cork and Limerick.

"Every effective flour mill now existing in the Irish Free State, even though silent at present, will be registered and licensed by the Commission, with full particulars of its equipment, power, capacity and ownership."

That is amplified somewhat—I know this will make a very great appeal to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who makes a regular fetish of effectiveness and efficiency—

"By effective mill we mean a mill capable of economically producing flour by a certain date. Its owner will have to provide the capital necessary for re-starting or re-equipping the mill if such is required; he will have to pay the necessary entrance fee and deposit; he will have to accept a quota and carry out his producing obligation before the first revision of quotas, and he will have to sell his flour at an economic price. In these circumstances, there can be no question whatever of galvanising a moribund mill into life or of subsidising the owner of a really uneconomic mill. On the contrary, any such mill will by this means be given a final quietus."

So much for efficiency. The next paragraph states—

"Except under the licence of the Commission, the capacity of a flour mill may not be increased nor may any new mill be established."

That is a safeguard for those who want to see more efficiency in the mills. It will conserve, at least as far as possible, a fair or equitable arrangement by which each area will get a share of the flour production.

"The Commission will assign a production quota to each mill, and may periodically revise such quotas."

I understand that is done in other countries.

"Infringement of the quota by excess or deficit may be controlled by suitable sanctions and forfeits. We think that the periods for reconsidering and revising quotas will, at the beginning, be short, say monthly. This will provide more secure data; it will also quickly secure the elimination of any mill which is not really effective or economic."

I think that ought to satisfy anybody who worships that fetish, efficiency.

"No legally valid transfer of ownership, or shares or quota-right in a flour mill may be effected without the approval of and registration by the Commission. This approval may not be withheld when the effective control and the majority of the shares are in the hands of Irish citizens, resident in the Irish Free State."

It appears the Minister must have raised some objection some time ago to the terms of that condition, but so far as Irish millers are concerned, I understand they are prepared to substitute something in the following terms—

"No transfer of ownership, shares or quota-right in a flour mill will be legally valid until such transfer is registered by the Commission. In the case of a proposed transfer to non-nationals, or to a corporation whose effective control and the majority of whose shares are not in the hands of Irish resident citizens, it will be the duty of the Commission to make a valuation and to afford Irish nationals a preferential right of purchase."

Dealing with imports and prices, the statement says:

"The Commission will determine and license the importation of flour into the Irish Free State. If the Commission is of opinion that the price of home-milled flour in the Irish Free State is appreciably higher than the economic price of flour of a similar quality in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, it may, after due notice to the home millers, license an increase in the amount of imported flour."

It is proposed to amend that somewhat and to substitute the following:—

"The Commission will prepare and keep a register of flour importers; in doing so it will, as far as possible, recognise the existing importers and will give special facilities to firms or individuals who import flour as raw material for manufacturing products for re-export. No one except a registered importer may import wheat flour and a registered importer may do so only under licence and under specified conditions as to quantity, category of flour, place of entry, and period of time. Importation of flour would be licensed in so far as the supplies of home milled flour are inadequate to the country's needs."

I would like to stress this suggestion to Deputies who may have any lingering doubts in their minds as to what is meant by it.

"Importation of flour would be licensed in so far as the supplies of home milled flour are inadequate to the country's needs. In all matters relating to registration of importers and licences to import the duly attested decision of the Chairman will be exclusive and final."

I think, having regard to the suggested Tribunal or Commission, that that particular suggestion should have a good deal of weight with the Government Party, and indeed with members of every Party in the House.

"The Commission may fix a maximum price for any category or categories of flour in any area or areas. In case any millers in the opinion of the Commission are charging for any category of flour a price exceeding this maximum price, or exceeding the economic price of flour of a similar quality in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, having regard to the national economic gain of having the flour manufactured in the Free State, the Commission may reduce these millers' quotas or may license, generally or locally, an increase in the imports of flour. In the matters dealt with in this article the decision of the Chairman is to be authoritative and final. The Commission may regulate the imports of wheat by designating merchants or brokers in specified ports to act as importers for the millers. Very important powers are assigned to the Chairman in his judicial capacity, to be exercised only after discussion in the Commission, and, if necessary, the hearing of the interested parties. We do this in order to allay any suspicion that the millers themselves are anxious to secure a free hand or to exercise such rights independently of the community. Moreover, the decisions are of such a nature that they could not possibly be fixed by legislative enactment. They can be reached only by executive decision after technical and expert consideration. It would make the scheme quite unworkable if we were to give to a large and ill-defined class of persons the legal right to be registered as importers and to have an assigned percentage quota. One of the objects of the scheme is to encourage the Irish millers to increase their capacity and thus lessen the required imports without, however, interfering in any way with a firm such as that of Messrs, Jacob. It would not be easy, at least at present, to arrive at a legal definition of what in any area is the fair economic price of flour of a given specification, but we think, especially after a short period of working of the plan and when the mills have secured full output and when the weekly returns have accumulated, the Commission could arrive at a fair working decision on this point. If the mills are given the home market and their full output, there is no reason why any miller's price should exceed the corresponding price in Great Britain. And if any miller should attempt to charge more, we desire that the Commission should have power, by price-fixing, quota-restriction or allowance of increased imports to deal with him."

There are other suggestions:

"The Commission may make obligatory on millers the utilisation of home-grown wheat in proportion to the quota of their mills."

I appreciate that that opens up a very wide field and would possibly give rise to very long discussion. It might eventually mean the bringing in of matter which I, personally, do not want to introduce at this juncture. I believe the time will come when we shall have to face up to this whole question of wheat production, but I do not want to bring it in at the moment. We cannot afford, just at the present time, to be in the position of the man and his wife who started to dispute when the house was burning. The first duty of that man or woman was to run for the fire brigade. That is the reason I do not want, at the moment, to stress this question of home-grown wheat.

"If flour milling is carried on in conjunction with other activities, such as maize milling or baking as a single company or firm, the regulations concerning ownership and transfer will apply to the conjoint enterprise, but the flour milling business may be formed into a separate company which will then be registered and licensed apart from other enterprises."

In that connection, it is stated that the cost is not likely to cause any appreciable increase in the price of flour.

"The Commission may make with the millers arrangements for securing an adequate reserve of wheat and flour in the country."

I think that is a suggestion which will meet with the acceptance of every member of Dáil Eireann.

"The Commission will have such powers of investigation, inspection and control as are necessary for the carrying out of its functions. The expenses of the Commission will be borne, partly or wholly, by the millers in proportion to their quota."

In opening my statement, I stressed the seriousness of the position. I indicated, I think, in very clear, lucid and understandable language that, as far as I was and as far as I am concerned, I approached this question with a sincere desire to do something practical and constructive for the industry. I regard the whole situation very seriously. I regard the question as one of urgent national importance. I would ask Ministers and Deputies of all sides to treat this matter as a big national issue and not to drag it down to the level of partisan politics. I deprecate very much any attempt on the part of any Deputy or any party to drag a matter of this kind into the polluted channels of party politics. I think the matter is too serious for that, fraught, as it is, with such consequences for our country. The flour-milling industry, so far as we in Cork are concerned, is not a great industry. From the point of view of the employment it gives, it is not a great industry. In the whole City of Cork, there are not more than a couple of hundred persons engaged in the industry. I want everybody here to understand that there are other districts in which milling is a far more important industry, from the point of view of capital invested and persons employed, than it is in Cork City. I mention that fact for two reasons. I mention it primarily in order to clear the air with regard to insinuations inside and outside this House—that some persons intend to make a party question of this problem and to reap party advantage. Is there anybody so bereft of common sense, not to talk about patríotism at all—let us leave that out of the picture at the moment, because I see very little of it at present——

In your surroundings.

Except on the Fianna Fáil Benches, where it is so green.

"The polluted channels of party politics."

This matter should not be regarded as a party question at all. It is far too serious for that. The number of persons involved in the City of Cork in connection with this matter would not give any politician his quota. I feel in this position very frequently in this House— I regret very much to have to say it —that there are Deputies here who are prepared—I do not like to have these things going on the record but at the same time——

Would it not be better to discuss the milling industry now?

Apologia pro vita sua.

I ask every party in this House to keep party politics out of this question. Let us discuss this matter as a great national issue demanding careful, scientific and, perhaps, sympathetic treatment.

I second the motion.

I do not think I could better emphasise the non-party character—if I may use the term—of this question than by supporting the motion of Deputy Anthony.

I do not accept, as the definition of non-party, the suggestion that party matters can be described adequately and correctly by all parties in this House as "the polluted channels of party politics." If I found myself belonging to a Party and acting with a party that was "polluted," I should not belong to such a Party. As I understand the position, we do differ upon things which we regard as fundamental. I think the position ought to be that while we differ upon things we must, in the things in which we can, co-operate, and we shall. That is the meaning, and the only meaning, which I attach to the word "non-party" in relation to this measure.

This is a big and a serious question. It is a State question, a consumers' question, and a millers' question. The State, in my opinion, is bound to regard the position in that order; first, from the point of view of the State, then from the point of view of the consumer, and then only of the miller. What we have to do is to find some means of reorganising our industry in the face of attack, so that it will be built up into the position of being able completely to mill all the wheat which is used in this country, by an industry internally owned and controlled, and whose efficiency will be expressed in the economic price at which it provides bread and flour to the whole population of the Irish Free State. What is very hopeful in this matter is that the Irish millers have come frankly to recognise that, in applying to the State to come into control of them to this extent, they are asking the State for a benefit, and they are frankly recognising that the first duty of the State, in conferring upon them that benefit, is to see that benefit shall inure first to the State itself, next to the consumers, and then only to the millers as such.

That is a very big advance, in the sense that the milling industry has frankly and openly recognised both its responsibilities and its duty to the State, to the consumer, and, above all, to itself in that matter.

Now, they recognise that, by saying to the Flour Commission which is set up that it shall have as its first duty the safeguarding of the State, and then the safeguarding of the interests of the ordinary consumer in the State. The chairman, whose tenure of office should be made secure, and who should be immune from outside influence as far as possible, shall be charged directly with the duty of safeguarding the interests of the consumer and the State, and shall be given such necessary overriding power as will enable him effectively to discharge that function. The representative of the Minister for Industry and Commerce will similarly be in the position of a man representing the interests of the consumer and of the State, while no doubt he will also take a broad view in relation to the interests of the millers. The miller members on that commission will be there for the purpose of enabling the chairman and the Minister for Industry and Commerce and his representative to have that accurate, immediate, and continuous knowledge of the conditions of the industry and of its necessities as will enable them to deal with problems as and when they arise. The powers which are given to the chairman—the quota alteration in case a mill does not play the game, does not do its work, and in other ways in the licensing of imports, either as a whole or segregated imports through particular ports into particular areas, and to deal with wrongful differences of price—do seem to give the necessary safeguards.

We think that it would be possible to set as a standard price in Ireland something approximating to the British price. The desire is to set it at the British economic price, if possible. That would be the port price. On that would be based the price in other places in Ireland. It would normally be based upon the port price, plus the cost of transport to a particular place, as the maximum. It is hoped, if and as the port prices will be regulated by the average of the variations of the prices of wheat, that so, too, the internal price in the country will be based upon the average variation of the prices of wheat, plus the cost of getting the wheat in the manufactured form into the hands of the consumer. The quota has to be based upon the actual capacity of the mills to produce an economic flour. In other words, if you have a particular mill at the present moment which has been allowed, through slackness of trade and so on, to go out of condition, or which has not modern equipment in the way of conveyers and all the rest of it, or the most modern machinery in the way of milling, it would be up to a mill which demands a certain quota and gets it to say that it would put its mill into such a position that it will mill that quota of flour at an economic rate defined upon some such terms as I have previously mentioned.

We are anxious that there should be internal ownership of the industry, that is to say, that nationals of this country shall control the whole Irish milling industry. So long as that principle is conceded, the machinery by which it can be put into operation is a matter which is open for discussion. A difficulty has been suggested, that some particular man who had a mill in Ireland under some national scheme of this kind, in case he wanted to fall out, might find no Irish buyer. We think that will not be likely. We think that perfectly adequate safeguards for him and for the community can be got together in the valuation of his mill, and the offering of that possibly to the reorganised industry as a unit.

At the present moment there are not many of what you might call considerable importers of flour in Ireland. You could practically count all of them on the fingers of one hand. The number is not entirely confined to the importers of British flour, which is very fortunate in this particular case, because it may be necessary that the Commission, if it was faced by the fact that in the case of the mills here the flour which is coming from England itself was being controlled in price for one reason or another, should have an alternative source, such as American flour, and so on, to bring in to break up that combination. We are satisfied from what we know of the actual people—I could name them, and they are very few—that by operating through the existing importers to the extent to which we have to import flour perfectly simple administrative machinery can be put up both to deal with imports and to deal with any variation, limitation or extension of that import for particular purposes at particular times.

The amount of Irish wheat produced at the present moment is quite negligible. I do not suppose there is 1½ per cent. available for milling purposes. There is no actual problem there either technical or financial at the moment. There is no technical problem at all in relation to the using of Irish flour. It is a question of putting in the right machinery, and it could be dealt with. The amount available is so small that it does not represent a material problem. When the amount of Irish wheat is so increased as to represent a problem the machinery for dealing with it is easily constructed. The whole cost of dealing with this machinery, the whole cost of this Commission, is to be paid entirely out of the Irish milling industry itself and none of it will fall upon the State. Turning now to the fact that we have foreign millers in here, and leaving aside the question of whether or not they should be allowed to remain here, there is at least this point on which I think there could be universal agreement. Of the total amount of flour used in Ireland 50 per cent. is imported. We suggest that as a minimum any foreign miller coming in and taking possession of or building an Irish mill shall mill flour out of the imported and not out of the home produced quota. In other words, the one tolerable condition in which they shall be allowed to operate mills in this country is that by so doing they shall decrease the amount of imported flour and increase the amount of home-produced flour by the amount of plant which they do in fact operate.

One of the difficulties we have at present in Ireland is due to the fact that Irish milling as a whole is not great, and in the second place it is not so united and organised that it is possible to buy wheat economically. People have been buying wheat for the past couple of years on a falling market. I want to envisage what has been happening in Ireland throughout the whole of that falling curve when people were buying cargoes which may have to last six weeks. You will see that whatever point upon the curve they take, 12,000 tons or whatever it is, for distribution in a particular area the price must be held over the whole period of the gap between cargoes. That price must be held above the price which people with shorter period facilities for cargoes would have to pay. Since Messrs. Rank have come in—and I want to say bluntly and brutally, that I do not blame Messrs. Rank or anybody else taking advantage of any facility or law we allow to exist in the country for their benefit—that position has been aggravated. They have already begun to buy on port charters in Cork and Limerick. They will buy wheat upon two port charters for Cork and Limerick, unless, in fact, they decide to shut down the Cork mills, Messrs. Furlong's, which they have bought. The effect of that will be to increase the periodic time between the buying of cargoes, and to a further extent to tend to increase the price of Irish wheat as delivered to the mill. The effect of Messrs. Rank coming in is to raise the price of the wheat which is used in all other mills, due to the fact that his quota of consumption is taken out of the cargo. We are anxious under this scheme of national control that there shall be as wide as possible co-operation in the buying of wheat.

At the present moment it is impossible practically to buy wheat in cargoes for a good deal of the bakers' bread. We are using four or five different classes of wheat, perhaps, in making flour. Where the total consumption and production is so small, and where it is broken up into different sources of supply—I mean different points of import and so on—it has been necessary to buy simply and solely parcels of wheat, as they are called, which come into Liverpool and other places at different times. These parcels come into those countries practically as ballast in ships. They can be sold very cheaply over there, and they have to be bought here at an extra price, plus the cost of discharge and re-carriage. That is one of the fundamental difficulties—to buy wheat for Irish mills as cheaply as for the very big mills with big consumption in England. That is a difficulty which would be mitigated in the degree in which we get co-operation under national control in the buying of all our wheat supplies through one source. At present to a certain extent that is done. The southern mills, for instance, practically buy their wheat co-operatively, that is, brokers buy for the lot and distribute the stuff to the different mills. Our intention is that under this scheme we shall extend that. If under a scheme of this kind in which different mills had their quota we could get out of a certain amount of bad competition which exists between millers, and even though there were a very great increase in the price of wheat, and there ought not to be any, we should at the same time be able to get as palatable bread and of as good a quality at a lower price than we get at present.

What is not generally realised is that the best patent flours which we are so proud of consuming here are really offals. They are really things which at the price which is demanded for them could not be sold in the country of origin. London, Birkenhead, and its neighbourhood cannot consume at the price at which they are offered their patent flours. We are the fools who will insist upon eating a particular quality and appearance of flour which the very much richer countries will not eat. When the mills are under a system of national control in which they can deal with the bakers as a unit, then it will be possible to provide for the people of this country a flour made probably of a lesser number of wheats which will be altogether better for them, quite as palatable and, on an average, very much better than is consumed in London or Paris. In addition to that, as we reduce the number of wheats which we include in our particular flours, we reduce the problem of importing flour economically. That is to say, we get ourselves into an area in which we can import larger cargoes more frequently and at more economic prices.

I come back now to what, in my opinion, would be the driving force of this movement. It is, in my opinion, of the highest degree of importance that this particular industry should be internally owned and internally controlled. As long as that industry to any degree is in the possession of the foreigner the position is that of an enemy inside your walls. Whatever tariff arrangement you make, or whatever other arrangement you make, as long as he is inside your walls you will find it very difficult indeed to maintain your position or to maintain the national point of view. If the foreigner controls your mills here, it does not matter twopence halfpenny what tariffs you put on. He can still get over them. He can still control completely the price at which you are dealing. And he can subtly and slyly buy and come into control invisibly of an industry which is apparently in your possession.

There are firms in the City of Dublin at present who have been bought out under tariffs, whose Irish directors do not own one single share of the large number of shares which are in their names. If we will face the fact that the attack upon this industry has only commenced, and that that attack can be met now without any great difficulty, but will have to be met at a later period over a much larger area in which it is much more strongly entrenched, then I think we might come to an agreement to go ahead now. I am in a position to say to this House without any hesitation whatever that Bannatyne's, Russell's and Furlong's can be bought out by Irish nationals with Irish capital and for the purpose of forming part of a nationally controlled Irish industry to-morrow, if the Government are prepared to put their support behind that movement, if they are prepared to call together the Irish millers and to say that "subject to your entering into a system of national control, in which there shall be absolutely cast-iron and water-tight safeguards for the benefit of the consumer, we will stand behind you in whatever is necessary to get that industry reconstituted as an internally-owned and internally-controlled Irish industry," I believe that can be done to-morrow.

At the present moment the Irish millers are between the devil and the deep sea. They have their hands in the lion's mouth, and as in Limerick the other day, as you saw, they do not dare talk out before that lion. They are afraid of falling between two stools. It is true that it was the Irish millers who first approached the English mutual millers and asked them to be allowed to come in. But that was because they saw their position of weakness in the face of an organisation which was prepared, as they believed it was prepared, to use its power to crush them. To my knowledge within the last few weeks efforts have been made to see whether or not the position could be saved. But they cannot hang on too long, and unless it is intimated to them with some clearness that the alternative of internal national control by an internally-owned Irish industry is at their disposal, then, as far as I can see for a considerable proportion of them at once, the only alternative is to submit to control from outside. I personally have no doubt that if the significant portion which will immediately fall into that group is allowed now to fall into that group, in process of time, as and when the opportunity arises, the rest will fall also. For a time it will be necessary for Messrs. Rank to run Limerick. It may be necessary for Messrs. Rank to run Limerick intensively. It may be necessary for them to use it as the spearhead of the lance which they will send wide through the industry in Ireland. That is what it is for, and what it is being paid for, but when its work is done, when the overheads have been charged up to England, when the price of that flour has been sufficient to widen the area of demand from Rank's and Russell's and Furlong's mills, as they will still be called, or Bannatyne's, as they will still be called, they will have broken down gradually the opposition and strength of the competing Irish millers, and it will be simply at their discretion whether or not they manufacture. I know and I believe the Government is quite sincere in saying that they think they can force, over a period of years, these mills to keep on producing on any basis they choose. Personally, I do not think they can. If the control and ownership go out of the hands of those over whom the Government themselves have control, then I think they will find the actual machinery in this matter will be very difficult.

I do not think I have spoken any word to-night, and certainly I have not tried in any portion of this agitation to say one word in any way which would reflect any personal political bias or belief in this matter. I regard this as one of the questions in which to the extent to which we can co-operate, we shall. I am anxious to see how far we can go forward in this matter together; how long we can keep together, and how effectively we can keep together now in order to see that all the flour in this country is milled by Irish mills internally owned and internally controlled. It is in the spirit of co-operation, in the spirit of those anxious to work together for the common good that these proposals have been put forward in the first case, and it is in that spirit they have been advocated here to-night.

I am opposed to this motion for several reasons. I believe it is an unnecessary motion and if the danger which is put up here were an actual danger I believe it could be dealt with in a very much more effective fashion. The motion is one which is taking up time that this House can ill afford to spare. The motion is unnecessary because I think it must be clear to the meanest intelligence that were this danger an absolute fact it would be seen and guarded against by the Government. The Government would have the information, and would certainly have the intelligence and the patriotism to grapple with such a danger. I am not satisfied with the pious aspirations expressed towards making this a non-party motion. I was not satisfied in Cork, after I had spoken, when a member of the Opposition Party here, in a rather clumsy fashion, unsheathed his claws and tried to drive some of us into a false position. Not even the indignant remonstrances of his more intelligent associates, when they brought him to heel, could convince me of any sincerity behind this motion. I am satisfied that the Government will take the necessary steps, when and if such a danger arises, as will guard the national existence of this country effectively. I will vote against the motion.

I would like to know why did Deputy Barry Egan vote for this motion in the face of a meeting at which it was openly discussed. That is the fact. This motion exactly was put to a meeting in Cork at which Deputy Egan was present. As far as I know, no pressure of any sort or kind was brought to bear on Deputy Egan. He expressed his opinion very openly, but he has apparently changed that opinion in the meantime. I do not want to press Deputy Egan in any way, but I want to know why on one occasion he was in favour of this motion and now he is not.

I have not changed my mind in any way. I am not convinced that this is the way to deal with the matter.

Did not Deputy Egan vote for precisely the same resolution in Cork and in my presence?

It seems to me that the most important thing in connection with the future of the milling industry is that the mills should operate here and that employment should be given here. If the mills actually continue to operate here, to make flour here and to give employment here, the question of who owns the mills, while not by any means negligible, is very definitely of secondary importance. I said on a previous occasion here that wholesale control of our manufacturing industries by people not citizens of our country and living outside the country, would be a bad thing, but that on the other hand, control of some of our industries by such people is no serious matter, is probably no harm at all. It is really a question of balance. If all our industries are to be controlled from outside it means that the industrial initiative in the country will be lost, certain prospects of growth will disappear and a variety of economic ill-results will follow. On the other hand, the coming in of certain foreign firms here may be a stimulus and it will, at any rate, in many cases lead to speedier development, more immediate development, and perhaps development that would not come at all without the coming in of foreign firms.

On the general principle, I think that we should not take drastic action simply because some of our industries may be owned by outside firms. I think if there were prospects of all industries coming under foreign control, some policy to prevent that taking place would be necessary. I do not see that it is any more necessary or any more important, in the case of the flour-milling industry, that every factory or every mill should be owned by a Saorstát citizen than it is in the case of any other industry. There are industries which it would be very much more important to take steps to ensure that they were owned by Saorstát citizens than the flour-milling industry. I think that there is no prospect now, and there is never going to be any likelihood, that flour-milling in this country will grow in such a way as to provide a large export trade. Consequently, we are not in any danger, if mills here are branch mills of a foreign firm, of losing prospects of industrial development that we would have if there were independent mills which might develop a large export market. In fact, I cannot see, I do not want to see, and I would not like to see, all our flour mills owned from outside.

Just to get down to the fundamentals of this case, I do not see that even if all our flour mills were owned by outside firms that that would necessarily be in the nature of a national calamity. I do not see that it would really affect the ordinary citizen. I do not see that it would have any other effect than the damping down of initiative that does come from having no native at the head of an industry of a particular type, I do not see that the passing of the mills into foreign control involves any danger that would not exist or could not arise with the mills owned by Saorstát citizens. At present, with Irish mills not up to providing the flour for the whole country, with the necessity for importing flour in existence, it must be clear that the prices charged to the consumer will depend really on English prices if we are to consider only imports from England.

So long as there is some margin of the citizen's requirements that has to be made up by importation, then the price of all the flour sold in the country is going to be regulated by the price of the imported flour. If the Irish mills are only able to produce 70 per cent., 80 per cent., or even 90 per cent. of the flour required by the country, and if 10, 20 or 50 per cent. has to be imported, then if the people outside by agreement or of necessity put up their prices, we may take it that the prices charged by the Irish mills will be put up in a corresponding way. Certainly, so long as the Irish mills do not produce or cannot produce all the flour required by the country, if there is a monopoly or a ring or a cartel outside the country, that cartel, monopoly or ring is in fact going to fix the prices charged by the Irish millers, because the Irish mills will simply and naturally and quite properly charge the price they can get. I think that is an economic fact. Some people sometimes are reluctant to recognise the other side of it. When we realise that the price of agricultural produce here depends on the price that can be obtained for the exportable surplus that has to be got rid of, there is no reason for thinking that the attitude of the Saorstát monopoly towards the consumer is going to be different from the attitude of an external monopoly. I think it is perfectly certain that if the scheme that is recommended here were adopted and implemented by law the price to the consumer here would go up.

There are all sorts of arrangements suggested for keeping the price down, but anybody knows that any of those checks that are suggested will operate slowly and with difficulty, that the atmosphere will be obscured, that it will be difficult for the judge or any person who may have charge of price-fixing or may have responsibility for admitting imports or altering quotas to prevent over-charging, to ascertain what is the price that is actually being charged in Great Britain for a particular grade of flour, and if he has to decide not only what the price charged in Great Britain for a particular grade of flour, but whether or not that is the economic price—and the phrase the economic price is used—he will be very slow in coming to his decision. It will be quite possible for the Irish millers, even if the other authority takes steps, to overcharge for a considerable period before these safeguards can come into operation. I feel perfectly certain when we have a monopoly, when we have the principle established behind the whole scheme of having all the Irish mills working and the flour all produced at home, that we are going to have, taking it over a period of years, a very definite increase in the price that will be charged to the consumer, and we are going to have this price thrust on the consumer to guard against a danger which we do not know exists, and which, if the danger is real, is a very much less danger than is represented, and which even if it should materialise, in fact and action, is not necessarily going to be of any great consequence to the country.

I think that before the Irish millers put it up to the Government that the industry should be regulated they ought to make a very big attempt to co-operate to rationalise the industry. That is, so far as they can do it, they ought to develop a scheme for producing their wheat, which is being talked about, carry it as far as they can possibly do it and try to organise their industry in such a way that wasteful competition will be eliminated, that in fact, instead of rationalisation being carried out by a State Board, rationalisation should be carried out on a voluntary basis by the mills, and that no State action should be taken because simply a clamour is raised; that State action ought to follow the undoubted and indisputable appearance of danger and that it ought to be directed towards avoiding that danger, turning that danger aside at the least possible cost to the consumer. I believe that any proposal such as this is not justified by anything that we can see in the situation at the moment. I do believe that the situation could be dealt with in other and more effective ways. I believe, if we were driven to it, it would be better to have a low system of tariffs accompanied by some system of discriminatory taxation based on location or form of ownership. I believe that would be far better than this attempt to regulate everything right through and create a monopoly.

Apparently we can take from the speech of the Minister that the proposal for the national control of the flour-milling industry which has been under discussion between the Government and representatives of the flour-milling industry has been definitely rejected by the Government. The Minister, in fact, indicated that in his opinion foreign control of the flour-milling industry is not to be regarded as a calamity at all. In fact, he seems to have definitely adopted the view previously enunciated in this House by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who is not here at present, that foreign control of the flour-milling industry is, in fact, desirable because of the fact that English millers are so much more efficient than any Irish miller could possibly be. The Minister told us that the most important thing is that the mills should operate here and that the question of who owns the mills is of only secondary importance.

That argument is undoubtedly very plausible—in fact, it cannot be contradicted—but it does indicate that the Minister is looking at this whole question from the wrong end of the telescope. He believes that the only important question is that mills should exist in this country at the moment. We can leave, he tells us, the future to look after itself, believing we have in our possession power to deal with any contingency that may arise. I want to submit to the House that the question of who owns the mills, although of only secondary importance to the question of having mills in existence at all, is of sufficient importance to justify serious attention being given to it by Deputies on the Government Benches, much more serious attention than appears to have been given to it heretofore.

The Minister told us that the Irish millers, if they want rationalisation, should rationalise themselves. I am not at all sure that rationalisation is such a good thing as the Minister for Industry and Commerce and certain other people who have been speaking on this matter believe. We know that the effect of rationalisation in other countries has been to increase unemployment and not to decrease prices. This craze for rationalisation appears to be unjustified by results, but there is a case to be made for improving the conditions under which Irish mills operate. I do not think that the Minister could have been serious when he urged that Irish millers should rationalise themselves. It is not possible for Irish millers, in view of the deficiency in milling capacity, and in view of the competition that they are faced with from a highly organised combine in England, to frame any scheme of rationalisation that would justify itself by results. The case for national control rests on the fact that it is not possible for Irish mills under existing conditions to rationalise themselves. It is because Irish millers could not do that that they went to the British Millers' Mutual Organisation and asked them to be let into their rationalisation scheme.

It is most undesirable that the flour-milling industry of this country should pass out of the hands of Irish citizens. It would, I think, be a calamity, despite what the Minister says, that the flour-milling industry should pass entirely into foreign control. I think it will be generally recognised that the existence of an international cartel controlling, not merely production of flour in the country, but the importation of flour, could defeat any proposal advanced in this Dáil for the regulation of this industry. If we are going to permit that position to be created it means that we are definitely surrendering the power of the Dáil to interfere in this industry, the very existence of which is vital for the lives of our people. The existence of that international cartel controlling our flour-milling industries will mean that the price of bread to the people here will not be dictated by any laws of supply and demand, but by the greed for profit which animates the directors of the cartel, at any particular moment, and nothing that the Minister can do or that can possibly be devised, other than the confiscation of the mills in the country, will suffice to interfere with that programme of internationalisation that has been permitted to develop. I cannot see that the Minister has, in fact, any power to deal with this situation if it develops along the lines in which it appears to be developing at the moment other than the method of confiscation. It is very undesirable that the Government should allow a position to be created in which it would have to take such drastic action, for we should recognise that this industry is a key industry. We should recognise that its existence in the country is something which the Government should be anxious to promote, and at this stage, at any rate, indicate our dissatisfaction with any proposal to permit it to pass out of the control of our own citizens. It may not be necessary that every mill in the Free State should be owned by a Free State citizen, but it is desirable that effective control over the milling policy should be determined by Irishmen and not by outsiders.

Deputy Anthony made a long speech, but he pointedly refused to deal with one matter that I consider of vital importance in this whole controversy, and that is the relationship that must exist between the flour-milling industry and wheat growing in the country. I am convinced, no matter what the Minister for Agriculture may say or may believe, that it will ultimately be forced on the Government in power, whether that Government is formed from the Cumann na nGaedheal, the Fianna Fáil, or any other party——

On a point of explanation, the reason I did not want to link up wheat production with this present motion is because I believe that we could go on for hours discussing that. We had a very long discussion on the findings of the Economic Committee in that connection, and I did not want to drag that in, though I do recognise, and I think I stated that I did recognise, the importance of wheat production in relation to flour.

I understand Deputy Anthony's position, but I maintain that the Government, no matter who composes it, will ultimately be forced into line with the other countries in Europe in relation to this question of the promotion of wheat growing. When they do devise some means of encouraging wheat manufacture within the country they will find it very desirable to have the flour-milling industry controlled by persons with some interests in the country other than the profits they can make out of it. This whole question of the establishment and maintenance of an efficient flour-milling industry here is linked up with the question of the development of wheat-growing. I have been reading in the Press recently of proposals of that sort in England —the introduction of legislation to compel English millers to mix a certain percentage of English-grown wheat with the foreign wheat milled by them. We know that there is a peculiar attitude in the minds of the present Executive in relation to this matter. The Minister for Agriculture went over to Canada and saw the methods adopted for the growing of wheat in that country. He came back and told us it was impossible to compete with Canada. In fact there is more wheat grown in Europe, outside Russia, than in Canada, the Argentine and the United States put together. The Government of the Free State will be forced ultimately into line with the other Governments in Europe in relation to this matter of wheat growing, and then I think they will bitterly regret that the present Government permitted a position to be created in which a good part of the flour-milling industry will have gone into the hands of people who will not be prepared to facilitate them in anything which will not mean additional profits to themselves. The Minister said that so long as the milling capacity here is deficient the price of flour will be fixed by the combine in Britain. That may be partially true. I believe it is only partially true. I believe it is possible for the Government to take action which would prevent any undue rise of price here, no matter what the conditions existing in England were. It has been said this evening by Deputy Anthony, and it was said here on an earlier occasion by the Minister for Finance, that the present position of the flour-milling industry has no relation to the question as to whether a tariff on flour should or should not be imposed. That also is only partially true. Undoubtedly, if a tariff had been imposed when we asked for it, we would have had a position somewhat similar to the present created earlier. It would be different from the present in one important particular. The existing flour-milling industry would be sufficiently well equipped and managed to maintain their position against any English controlled mills that might be established. They would be able to maintain their position in consequence of the increased market trade available for them.

We have the Irish millers going into the Millers' Mutual Association and asking to be let into their rationalisation scheme because they are unable to continue in the situation created for them by the refusal of a tariff. The best method of protecting the flour-milling industry is not by the imposition of a tariff but by the adoption of some such system of national control as outlined by Professor O'Rahilly or as submitted to the Minister for Industry and Commerce by the representatives of the milling industry. If such a scheme were adopted—and I have no particular views concerning its details—it would provide not merely that we would keep the industry here under the control of Irish nationals but also that we would provide a market for Irish mills producing flour efficiently to the full extent of their capacity. That is what we desire to do, and if that is done there cannot possibly be any undue rise in price, such as the Minister appears to foreshadow.

If the present conditions are allowed to continue, or if the other position I mentioned arises, the complete internationalisation of the industry, a rise in the price will come inevitably and there will be no power other than the drastic action I have indicated in the hands of the Minister to prevent it. We should nip that development in the bud. It would be a mistake for the Dáil to allow this position to develop merely because of the assurance of the Minister that in his opinion he can deal with it when it becomes more serious. I do not believe it. I believe that he is acting on a false assumption. He is over-estimating the power of a National Government to deal with a highly financed combine if it sets itself out to defeat the wishes of that Government. It has been proved in European countries that international cartels can defeat the intentions of Governments when they impose tariffs by price-fixing on both sides of a national border. It will also be proved to be true in relation to the flour industry here, and the only effective way in which the situation can be dealt with is by national control.

The Minister knows, I think, that it is futile to turn to the millers and say, "rationalise yourselves." He knows that they cannot do it, as they are not strong enough. The deficiency in milling capacity makes it almost impossible, unless the State comes in and gives them assistance and a status which only the State can give. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has, I know, much more pronounced views on this matter than the Minister for Finance. He appears to foreshadow a situation in which, the English millers having come in and the Irish mills having been sold, it will be possible to impose a tariff. He appears to think that the only reason why a tariff should not be imposed was because there was not a sufficient number of efficient mills in the country and that only efficient millers would exist here after the process of selling out had developed to an extent greater than it has developed. He appears to think that it would be a good thing if more Irish millers sold out than those that have done so. In fact he said, if the Irish millers go out of business at the instance of the Millers' Mutual Association, "Good luck to them."

That is a wrong attitude for the Minister for Industry and Commerce to take towards an industry which all the Governments in Europe are trying to promote. The existence of an efficient flour-milling industry means the existence of wheat and other supplies, ensuring the people's food for a considerable period in the event of a national calamity, such as a general strike in the country of supply, or a blockade or war. I know that when somebody talks about the necessity of having an efficient flour-milling industry to deal with a war emergency the Minister for Industry and Commerce or the Minister for Agriculture is inclined to laugh. Both of them seem to think that as we are protected by the British Navy there can be no danger to us in consequence of a war. The last food situation which we had to face arose out of the general strike in England in 1926, and the Minister knows that when that strike took place there was considerable danger of a bread famine in this country in consequence of the deficient supplies of wheat and flour. That may arise again. The existence of the flour-milling industry will mean large stocks on hand but its disappearance, or its control by foreigners, will mean a large reduction of those stocks.

If a foreign combine gets the grip here which it is aiming to get, it will result in the disappearance of that industry, except in so far as it suits the profit-making interests of that combine to continue it. On the day on which they see that their profits will be increased by the shutting down of Irish mills, they will shut them down. In relation to this matter the Minister for Industry and Commerce does not take into account the position of the workers employed in the existing mills. He appears to view with calmness the possibility of them becoming unemployed. My objection to the process of rationalisation is that it will increase unemployment. I do not think that a period of economic stress, such as that now existing in the country, is a period in which any big rationalisation scheme that is likely to increase unemployment should be embarked upon. I think that those who urge rationalisation in England and other European countries are concerned more with their own personal interests than with the welfare of their country. The result of those schemes has tended towards a movement for increasing price, and I believe that the rationalisation of the milling industry here will have identical results. The only possibility of getting good results from rationalisation is if it is controlled and directed by the central authority, namely, the Government. I therefore urge the advisability of adopting this motion. It does not ask too much; in fact it asks too little. It will do no harm. It is merely a direction to the Government that it should provide a scheme of national control which will furnish adequate safeguards for the industry and for the safety of the public.

What would you do?

I would leave out the words "prepare a scheme," and say that they should put a scheme into operation. If the motion is passed I take it that the Government will accede to the wishes of the Dáil and prepare a scheme for submission to it. If the House thinks that it is feasible, it will be adopted, but if not, it will be rejected. I think that the Government is unwise in opposing the motion, and should allow the question to be adequately considered. It cannot be adequately considered in the time available to-night. I would not like to think that it will be finally disposed of by taking a vote prior to 10.30 p.m. I think that the Government should continue to give the matter their examination, and that the Dáil should persist in demanding continuous attention of the problem from the Government, no matter whether the motion is passed or rejected.

I had some belief that Deputy Anthony in moving the resolution would have adverted to one thing and given us a clear line on a Labour matter. One of the difficulties under which Irish milling suffers in this country is the refusal of certain Labour elements to allow up-to-date machinery to be used at the ports. If the Deputy is concerned about the flour-milling industry, he knows the protection which milling has in the country by way of freight paid on flour as between Liverpool and this country is reduced to some extent by the obstructionist tactics of certain Labour operatives with regard to machinery for unloading grain in use in all the ports that compete and the ports where grain is landed to compete with flour brought into this country. That is a point on which the Deputy might give us some enlightenment before the debate ends. What are the circumstances under which this motion is brought before the House? Two things are spoken of. First, that a certain English miller has come into this country and has acquired possession of a certain group of mills previously owned by Irishmen. I said previously that that did not happen through anything arising from the state of trade in this country or from the state of the flour-milling business, but for reasons that were peculiar and private to the individual concerned. Deputy Anthony, at any rate, in his speech sets aside for this night's discussion all talk of foreign capital. With that he is not very much concerned to-night. What he is concerned about is to have the production of flour in this country maintained at least in the same volume as at the moment.

And increased if possible.

And increased if possible. The advent of an outside miller in this country in certain Irish mills, if he continues to produce in this country and if he increases production in these mills, is not a bad thing from Deputy Anthony's point of view. It is not a bad thing from my point of view, but it is one of the features of the case. The second feature is that there is a rationalisation scheme going on in England under the ægis of the Millers' Mutual Association, and an approach was made either by that Association to the Irish millers or by the Irish millers to that Association with a view to having Ireland included in the rationalisation scheme. The fear is expressed that if that scheme operates, the amount of flour manufactured in this country may decrease and may eventually be reduced to almost nothing.

How far has the scheme got at the moment? How far has the association attempted between the Mutual Millers on the one hand and the Irish millers on the other progressed? Has a pool been formed? Has the money been put down? Have the terms and the conditions on which the Irish millers have been let into that Association been drafted? Are they known? Have the Irish millers, if they entered into any agreement, asked that in the event of an Irish miller being assigned a certain quota and going out of production, that his quota should be first offered for production amongst the remaining Irish millers? Has that condition been agreed to if it was put up, and if it was not put up, why was it not put up? Does anybody know anything about the scheme, and if nobody knows about the scheme why is there all this apprehension about imminent danger?

As far as I understood the situation when I was last advised of it, there was a reluctance on the part of the English Association to allow the Irish Association in unless they were able to bring almost the whole of the Irish millers. If we have Irish millers of a patriotic type, Irish millers believing that Irish milling can be efficiently conducted in this country by keeping out of the scheme, they can wreck the scheme. Are they going to wreck it? Are they going to avert the danger which they believe to be imminent or are they going to drag it on themselves? These are questions which have to be answered. Supposing a scheme has not been perfected yet, what is all the pother about? What has happened? An English miller has acquired possession of a group of Irish mills, an efficient English miller, one of the best of them. Is he likely to produce flour in this country at an economic rate? Is he likely, having come into this country, to destroy all the capital he has sunk in this venture and to clear out? Is he likely to do that when it is very definitely known that that individual, previous to his securing possession of Bannatyne's mills, was anxious to come in here to build a mill of his own and to embark on a new capital venture either at Foynes or at Dublin? Is that the type of individual who is likely to close down the mills once he has secured them?

What happened at York?

Let us take this country and leave York alone. Why should that happen? Is there any likelihood of it happening? When there is evidence that it is likely there is a new situation. There is no evidence of that at the moment. If one could segregate this milling business from everything else to-night, could consider it in vacuo, if it had no reaction on credit or on the business of the country generally, one might easily take certain steps and proceed to certain drastic measures but when it has these reactions it is a serious thing to seize control of an industry and to do what the scheme which Deputy Anthony put forward really asks us to do. There should be some evidence of danger; there should be some nearer prospect of danger than any evidence we have had so far before we are asked to take this step. If we are asked to take this step I doubt if it is the proper step to secure what the Deputy requires. I want to ask the Deputy, if he has considered this scheme, what is at the base of it? Is it that there should be preserved in this country flour-milling irrespective of what the product is going to cost or is it that it should be preserved in this country only if good conditions are established in the industry? The phrase used here is "economic prices" in regard to flour. What does it mean, relevant factors being taken into consideration and having regard to the national economic gain of having flour manufactured in the Free State?

Let us take the Tariff Commission Report, not in its details but in the big thing that emerged from the Report. What did come from that? The Tariff Commission, having examined the thing up and down, having analysed all the figures put before them and taken evidence from those best qualified to give evidence, and taking all the factors urged upon their consideration came to the conclusion, that even if all Irish mills were enabled to work to full capacity, the resultant product from these mills would have to be sold here at a price higher than flour imported into the country under fair conditions could be sold at. I stress "under fair conditions" because it was said in the debate that resulted from the Tariff Commission Report, and said later in the Report of the Economic Committee, that if there were evidence of dumping shown and that if dumping were to continue for any period, there would be no answer to that. The Tariff Commission found that even if the Irish mills, even as they are at the moment were worked to full capacity, we would not be able to produce flour at the same rate at which flour could be manufactured in England and sold here notwithstanding the freight on flour.

I deliberately refrained from referring to anything that occurred at the Tariff Commission for very obvious reasons. I could have spoken for half an hour longer on the question not of what was revealed, but rather on the question of what was not revealed at the Commission. I could have referred to the itinerary of the Tariff Commission and to the mills they did not visit, but I did not do so. I carefully refrained from that because I did not want to take up the time of the House.

The Minister has frequently stated in the House that the Commission stated that flour could not be produced at what they call an economic price in the country. I believe the Irish millers have contradicted that statement and have given certain guarantees to counteract it.

Is that a point of order?

That is one point.

Am I not to be allowed to speak?

I want to ask the Minister what he means——

I will not answer any questions until the end of my speech.

Will you publish the evidence Mr. Rank gave to the Tariff Commission?

I have no evidence that Messrs. Rank gave to the Tariff Commission. I have seen nothing but the Report of the Commission, and I am speaking of it. It is a relevant document. It, at any rate, holds the field until evidence is given that would change the minds of those who have read the Tariff Commission Report, and believe that their findings, founded on the facts presented to them, are correct. There is the situation, at any rate. as presented in 1928.

It has nothing to do with this motion.

It has quite a lot. That is the position as presented with regard to the mills in 1928. Has there been any change since in the mills? If not, I am going to take this resolution, and all that is founded upon it, in relation to the Tariff Commission Report. We are asked to set up a Commission to be composed of a judge, a representative of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and three representatives of the flour millers. These people are to register mills—mills "capable of economically producing flour by a certain date." Everything turns on the word "economically." What does it mean?

Ask the Tariff Commission.

Or the English subscribers to the Party funds.

They will have to sell flour at an economic price. Again the word comes in. There is no question of subsidising or galvanising into life a really uneconomic mill. The word "economic" is the important word in all this connection. There is then to be a regulation of imports. There are to be certain changes made with regard to a phrase put up previously—with regard to ownership, to get over a minor difficulty. There we come to the kernel of the whole suggestion, that the Commission is to "fix a maximum price for any category or categories of flour in any area or areas." In case the Commission, consisting of three millers' representatives, a representative of my Department, and a judge, thinks that the millers are "charging for any category of flour a price exceeding this maximum price, or exceeding the economic price of flour of a similar quality in Great Britain or Northern Ireland, having regard to the national economic gain of having the flour manufactured in the Free State" then the quotas may be reduced.

On a point of explanation. I amplified and rather qualified that statement by saying that these are not cast-iron or sterotyped but were open to variation and amendment by the Minister himself.

I am not going to found myself upon the phrase at all. As to the economic price of flour one must know what is in the mind of the people who produce this scheme. Is it flour which can be sold here at the price which English flour at present is selling? If so why not say that? I do not see why Irish mills should not get to that position. We asked, in the Economic Committee, certain witnesses what were the factors operating against the Irish miller which necessitated higher cost of production on this side than on the other and we were given certain things. We asked were there any benefits, any points in favour of the Irish flour miller manufacturing here from wheat imported, and we were told there were. We tried to get a balance between these two things. As far as I am concerned, I made up my mind that the advantage was definitely to the Irish millers, manufacturing in this country, even from imported wheat. Certain of that advantage was offset by the small point to which I referred—the peculiar labour conditions here. But on the whole, the mills manufacturing here under the best conditions have an advantage over flour manufactured on the other side and brought to this country for sale. If this scheme means that we should assist, and we should keep alive mills which can and which will eventually manufacture in this country at a price comparable with that at which imported flour can be sold, then, it is a good scheme. But it is not, if the words "economic price," mean a price, plus certain conditions; if that means the price at which mills, running in Ireland under present conditions can manufacture—the average of them, the best of them, or the worst of them. It is not clear what that means.

Before Irish millers, or before any group or representatives in this country, put up a scheme on behalf of Irish millers, they should let us know what have Irish millers done for themselves in this crisis that seems to be upon them. One thing we are told is that some of them have been flying to the Millers' Mutual Association—some of them have not. I asked, when speaking on the Tariff Commission Report in May, 1928, whether the applicants on reading the report were simply going to say "That finishes the question; we do nothing more." I said if they did so their fate was clear before them, they would be wiped out. I said I hoped that that would not be the attitude taken up. I spoke of certain details in the report, and I said that:

"If the type of the mill, its size, location and plant is the thing that is hampering this application, there is a means provided whereby these people can get State assistance to locate themselves elsewhere, to get better plant, to get their mills made of a more economic size under the Trade Loans Guarantee Act."

I asked that the millers would come forward with some scheme utilising the State assistance offered to them to put themselves in such a position that anyone reporting upon them would have to say that, with the advantage they have on the freight on imported flour, they could produce and manufacture here for sale as cheaply as any imported flour could be sold. I repeat that again. I said that there has been in this country an examination of the industry and that there have been revealed certain defects. It is up to these people whose defects have been revealed to see if they can be remedied, and they will get State assistance—State assistance is open to them with regard to the remedy. I said previously that I thought there had been a friendly criticism of them in the report and it was in their interests that they should themselves put their own house in order before they came looking for assistance. What do we get since? Has there been any movement on the part of the millers to rectify the position revealed in 1928? Nothing; merely a resolution of this sort tabled and no clear explanation as to what it means. Does Deputy Anthony envisage eventually that the mills are going to produce and sell here as cheaply as imported flour can be brought in?

Let that be stated.

I have stated it.

It is not in the scheme. I do not know if the Deputy made it clear in his speech. How are we going to bring that state of things about? Does the Deputy mean that it can be brought about at once?

He does not mean that merely by setting up a Commission, in one month or two months, we will get the situation he envisages.

If the Government were in earnest it could be done.

The Deputy does not see that happening within a month.

Where is the evidence of willingness on the part of the Irish millers to adopt a scheme, the test of the success of the scheme being that within some limited period of time they are going to sell flour as cheaply here as it can be imported under fair conditions? I do not count dumping flour in this at all.

They will dump all the same.

If evidence of dumping can be given to satisfy anybody, that is another situation, and will be met. There have been all sorts of promises given with regard to that. Leaving dumping out——

What evidence does the Minister require?

I submit that the Minister cannot leave dumping out. The fact is that English millers are producing in four-and-a-half days what the British public are able to consume, and the remaining one-and-a-half days are devoted to producing flour for dumping in this country, and selling it under the cost of production. The Minister knows that as well as I do.

The Tariff Commission was set up to examine, amongst other things, the question of dumping. They called for evidence of it, and their finding was given, "No clear and definite examples however of such undercutting have been placed before the Commission." They stated their view "That the bigger capital and production of these mills and their greater efficiency enabled them to quote lower terms without resorting to dumping." It is this lower price without resorting to dumping that must be our standard. Is it a fair standard? I think it is. Deputy Lemass asked what evidence would I require. I can answer that more in a negative than a positive way. There was evidence which purported to show dumping given before a Committee on which Deputy Lemass served, that did not appeal to the majority of the members, as proving dumping. I have evidence given from time to time that shows flour sold in small lots over long periods in the year—with long intervals between sales, not regular selling, a sale here and a sale there, that is not dumping. If there is dumping there must be evidence of it.

May I put the question in another way? Has the Minister clear and definite proof that dumping is not taking place?

I go rather the other way. There is no evidence of dumping taking place. There have been many attempts to show that dumping is taking place but they have all failed. If the Deputy believes that there is dumping evidence ought to be procurable with regard to that.

Not easily.

Is the setting up of the Millers' Mutual Association not sufficient to show that they were dumping somewhere—that they were committing suicide by selling at an uneconomic price? The fact that the Millers' Mutual Association was set up is sufficient proof in itself that there was dumping.

Not at all. One might as well say that because there was a rationalisation scheme carried out in connection with the mineral water industry here, we are dumping mineral waters into England. One must get evidence of flour being dumped in this country. As to all this talk about four-and-a-half days and one-and-a-half days, and overproduction, and all that, scattered here, we have to see signs of that. When signs are evident——

You have it in your Department.

We have not it in our Department.

The Department has it.

We have what was put forward as evidence from time to time, but which on examination did not stand the test. If there is dumping, that is a different question. That is another matter which can be dealt with. I ask what is the test to be put on the scheme? Is it the test of meeting lower terms to which the Commission referred in 1928 in their report—the lower terms that these mills can give by reason of capital, production and efficiency? All that is operating against the freight that has to be paid on flour as between Liverpool and this country—a protection which already exists for the Irish manufacturers at home. Let us get evidence that the millers in this country mean business, that they are going to carry through a rationalisation scheme on their own with Government assistance. Let us get some sort of evidence that there is a reasonable prospect ahead for such a move, that in the end there is going to be a good production of flour here, that there is going to be a weeding out of mills, either by purchase or crushing out, which clog production. Let us get evidence of a better concentration in bigger units under better control and we will help all that. Then a scheme can be hammered out.

There is no reason at present to embark on a scheme like that, the basis of which is to sell at an economic price—an undefined term—because an English miller of proved efficiency has come in, for reasons not connected with the milling industry in this country, and taken over a certain group of Irish mills. Leaving out the question of foreign capital in this country we regard that as a good move. It is likely to increase efficiency here, and it is quite possible that starting from that move there may be a rationalisation scheme put through in this country.

There are certain points in regard to Irish wheat, and I would prefer if Deputy Anthony left out that question altogether, because it would simplify the problem. That scheme has in it Irish wheat. I believe that scheme has in it Irish wheat only as what I might call a vote catching item. To my mind, when it is clearly understood, it is going to have a boomerang effect and will lose votes, because undoubtedly it means that the costs of including a certain amount of Irish wheat will have to be borne eventually by the consumers of bread. We can discuss this without wheat being brought in, and it would be far better to do that. If we have a wheat scheme mixed up with this we will never get to the end of the discussion.

I did not introduce the question at all.

It is in the scheme, and rightly so, according to Deputy Lemass, and in fact if it were not in it it probably would not get Deputy Lemass's support.

I knew the Minister would take advantage of that.

Deputy Flinn's scheme.

I shall leave it out of my calculation, if the Deputy likes.

I suggest that the Minister should deal with the motion.

I am going to leave it out from this on.

I have not mentioned wheat.

It was mentioned.

It is not in the motion.

I can finish on this point. I am going to ask the House to vote against the scheme as put up, first of all because of the circumstances in which it is put up in what is called a crisis. There is no crisis.

I hope so.

If there is a crisis I want to have it pointed out where does it arise. Is it because Messrs. Rank have come into the country and that there is a fear that their coming bodes no good for us, that they are going to close down mills? If that is the case I do not believe in that case, and will not move on it. If it is because there is a scheme being promoted as between the Irish millers in this country and the Millers' Mutual Association in England, then I am going to watch that carefully.

You are a good judge.

I am going, if any scheme of this sort is to be brought into operation, to take very drastic action against the Irish millers who inaugurate any such scheme.

I am with you there.

We are in agreement on certain points.

I told you my suspicion.

There is no crisis at all arising out of the advent of Messrs. Rank or a projected scheme as between certain millers here and on the other side. If there is, as I said, we can deal with it when the situation arises, and we will have freer hands to deal with it if we do not interfere when the arrangements are being promoted. I suggest to the Deputy that instead of persevering with that he should get the millers around him, as I have had them around me, from time to time.

I refuse contact with them.

I think they should be got together. Here is an industry which should be kept alive and can be kept alive but it must be kept alive on a proper sound footing.

That is your job.

It is so much my job that regarding this as not putting the industry on a sound footing I refuse to accept this scheme. I think a good scheme can be hammered out. It is going to require initiative from the millers. It will certainly require their help and a very definite facing up to the difficulties and to the prospects. They must face up to this: that we demand of them, and we can demand of them with justice, that they must aim at producing flour here and selling it as cheaply as it is at present imported under fair conditions. Let us get any evidence that there is of a scheme—a rationalisation scheme, any scheme at all of control, or anything else that will bring about that condition—and we will give it assistance. I do not know what form that assistance would take; it would depend on the scheme that was put up. But in the present circumstances this scheme does not stand consideration, it does not clearly tell us what we are aiming at, and it does not clearly define what are the circumstances in which anyone has thought fit to move that a scheme of that kind would be brought forward.

Was there any agreement that there should be a division on this motion to-night?

I do not know.

I understand that it was to be concluded to-night——

No closure!

—otherwise I do not know when it is going to be finished.

There was no arrangement to finish it to-night. No such arrangement was even suggested, as far as I know.

That is not so. I propose after Easter to take all the time until the financial business is finished.

If I remember, the President went further and wanted the whole Order Paper cleared of Private Deputies' Business.

Certainly.

Where there is a will there is a way.

If the President had not wasted the time of the House it would not be necessary.

I think I was invited to do it.

We hope to repeat the invitation.

Is it proposed to finish to-night?

Apparently it is not proposed to finish to-night. We cannot finish it except by agreement, and it is not proposed to finish. The debate cannot be resumed at the very earliest until after the Recess.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce has gone back to the Tariff Commission report to get an argument to go on, but he has not produced the evidence upon which the Tariff Commission reported when they stated that flour could not be produced by the Irish flour millers at an economic rate. He made great capital out of the fact that the Irish flour millers, in the proposal which they have put before him, have used the very same phrase which he has used over and over again in attempting to place the Irish flour-milling industry in the most unfavourable position generally and to prejudice its claims for protection. He now complains of that very same phrase, "at an economic rate," because the Irish flour millers have simply taken his own phrase, which he and his Tariff Commission have used repeatedly in alleging that flour could not be produced in this country at a price equivalent to what it is being sold at in Great Britain. They have taken that very same phrase, they have put it down in their proposals, and the Minister is not satisfied with it. If the phrase "at an economic rate" was good enough for the Tariff Commission to damn the application for a tariff on flour, then surely it ought to be good economics, at least as a basis for discussion as to the price which will eventually be fixed for Irish flour, if some scheme as is proposed is carried out.

But the Irish flour millers have not tied down the Minister or the country to the basis of an economic rate. They have not gone on phrases; they have suggested that a Judge should definitely be appointed and that this Judge should have the sole authority to decide what is the economic rate. They have stated that they are prepared to give any guarantees that the country wants in regard to price, and I think they have specifically stated that one of these guarantees was that the maximum price in the Free State would not be any more than the current English price. There may be a difficulty in deciding what is the current English price. That would be a question for the Judge to decide if this Commission is set up, and in deciding it he will have an informed public opinion behind him. Can there be any question upon which public opinion is more likely to assert itself, and more likely to be fully conversant with all the facts of the situation, than on the question whether the price of flour is going up or down? Both the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Industry and Commerce tried to make out that the flour millers have insidiously laid some kind of trap by which, in spite of the guarantee to the public that a Judge will be appointed, who will specifically state what the price will be and, furthermore, that the price in any case will not be above the current English price, the Irish flour millers can fool the public and can actually overcharge for a considerable time. If that is so I wonder what public opinion of this country will be doing.

Furthermore, the books of the flour millers would be available. They have been made available already to the Tariff Commission in secret. We have not that evidence, any more than we have Mr. Rank's evidence, or the other evidence, which made this splendid Tariff Commission, which never even went to the trouble of walking into the mills that they afterwards condemned as badly managed, ill-equipped, inefficient and the rest of it, come to their conclusions. These gentlemen's ipse dixit is going to be taken now, and the Minister is going to refer back to it as a final solution of this problem. That is too good a thing. At least we would have expected from the Minister that he would have taken this question seriously. To say that these proposals are unworkable is not enough: they are, at any rate, proposals.

We know it could be said that the Irish flour millers could not come together in an organised body, any more than any other industry. When rationalisation started in Germany and in England there was no united and completely homogeneous demand for it. We have the Minister for Agriculture telling us that when he rationalised the dairying industry, if he got 70 or 75 per cent. of the Irish farmers behind him he would coerce the other 25 or 30 per cent. into doing what is necessary for the good of the country. If that is good economics and good national policy in regard to the dairying industry, it ought to be good enough for this industry. But it is not good enough for the Minister. We do not know whether the application of the English Mutual Organisation or the selling of a group of Irish mills to Messrs. Rank were not occasioned by depression and bad trading conditions here, in spite of what the Minister said. We have the Minister's word that it was not so. We would like to have the evidence on which he based his conclusion. But even if it is because a certain body of the Irish flour millers are not patriotic and have gone to the English organisation, that is no reason why the Minister should put the onus on the remainder of the industry and say: "You can take it or leave it. I am not going to take any steps in this matter. I leave it to yourselves, either to join the English rationalisation scheme and participate in the benefits of it, to whatever extent you can do so, or else to remain out and let the English rationalisation scheme kill you afterwards with its competition and its dumping."

I move the adjournment of the debate.

The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on 11th April.