Central Fund Bill, 1931.—Second Stage.

Question proposed: That the Bill be read a second time. (Minister for Finance).

Yesterday, when the Minister for Finance was replying, he said that the debate had an air of unreality, that we were bringing up questions of economy, were really not facing up to the situation and that we were dealing with this question solely as a matter of political spite. I, for one, find it difficult to understand the attitude of the Ministry. Every question we raise here in the public interest is attributed to political spite. If all our arguments are to be received as if they were motived by political spite, then I think our presence here is of very little use. The Ministry are too far removed altogether from the common level to take advice or to listen to criticism. That charge was levelled at them, not from our benches, but from the Labour benches, yesterday, and I think anybody with experience of this House must admit that that is the situation.

We took the Estimates and pointed out that the increase in them was far beyond that which appeared on paper. We pointed out that as they appeared on paper the increase was something like £138,000, compared with the Estimates introduced a year ago, but that in fact the increase represented very much more than that on account of the increased purchasing power of money and the increase in the amount of produce that must be sold by the producer in order to meet the burden of taxation. The Minister in his reply, did not see fit to deal with a single one of these points, or to state, although money is more valuable now than it was a year ago and these Estimates do represent a serious increase, how it was that that burden was necessary, and what steps he proposed to take in order that it might be met with less hardship upon our people.

To show what the real increase was I took the fall in wholesale prices. I pointed out that it was 19.6 per cent. in January, 1931, as compared with January, 1930. That means that the Estimates represent a burden on that basis of £4,460,000 more than last year. So that the increase in these Estimates, as gauged by the increased value of money, would represent an extra burden upon our people of over £4,000,000. That is what these Estimates mean, and it is not fair to pretend, therefore, that because the figures remain static the effect upon the community is the same as it was before. It means, roughly, that where a farmer had to provide £5 by the sale of his produce he has now to provide £6. That is what it works out at— roughly 5 to 6. Therefore, this is an increase of nearly 20 per cent. If one went more accurately into the calculation, it would represent more.

That is the burden that is placed upon the agricultural community and the industrial community generally at the present time, when even the Minister for Agriculture admits that there is depression and that all that can be said about it is that we are not worse off than other people are. There is depression. We expect the Ministry to go out and face the task properly. The only idea, apparently, that Ministers have in mind in facing this task is to reduce services. I say that, as far as we are concerned, as long as services go to relieve a section of the community that through no fault of its own is in a difficult position, we are not going to look too closely at such increases—provided again that they do go directly for the purpose for which they are intended and that there is no loss on the way.

Under these circumstances, and when there seems to be in the Dáil generally fair agreement upon the need of these social services, the first direction which anybody who wanted to cut down expenses would look is in the direction of unnecessary expenses such as on the Army and on the police. Let us take the Army position first. That was dismissed, very lightly, by the Minister for Finance yesterday, when he said "Oh, well, we had to have some sort of an army." Now, for international purposes and from the point of view of national defence against outside attack, I think there is a general feeling that the Army here, in its present constitution, cannot put up very much defence, particularly when the direction from which we would naturally expect attack is the direction from which, in the past, attack came upon this country. As a safeguard against that position, we find that our Army is equipped in such a way that it would have to get its military supplies from the power which might be expected to attack us. Is there any defence then if that is the situation for spending money on that army, from the international point of view?

Reference was made yesterday in the debate—the Minister for Finance in his reply did not see fit to deal with this matter either—to the fact that officers who were in responsible positions in the Army and were acquainted with the administration of it, made a definite public charge that £14,000,000 of the taxpayers' money had been squandered within the last seven or eight years. If that is the position how could I calmly go into the lobby and vote away a third part of this huge sum that is required for Governmental services. One of the principal items in the Estimates represents a charge of £1,600,000—taking the Army and Army pensions together. How could I go into the lobby and calmly vote that sum of money for an army which is not able to do what it is supposed to do as far as outside defence is concerned?

As far as the present constitution of the Army is concerned, and from the point of view of outside defence, I regard it as of negligible value. What other purpose are we to have the Army for? Let me put myself in the position of the Ministers on the other side and say that they should use it in order to maintain the State; in other words, that they should use it as an additional police force. Therefore, the position is that, from the point of view of internal protection, our police force costs £3,200,000, taking the Army as a reserve police, costing £1,600,000, and the police proper—the Gárda Síochána—a similar amount. Can we afford that sum of £3,200,000 simply for police purposes? I say that we cannot, and that it is not necessary. The Minister for Finance, in his Budget speech last year, said "we can talk about the village constable when the character of our people has become such that when they hear of a man making poteen in the parish everyone in the parish will run immediately to the police and tell the story." If the Minister for Finance is waiting for a condition of affairs like that to arise—I doubt if it arises in any community— then he will have a perpetual excuse for taxing the people to the extent of £1,600,000 a year for the police proper. Every Deputy in this House, speaking from experience in his own village or district, can put this question to himself: whether the number of Guards in his particular area is required for police purpose? I have asked the members of our Party to state frankly their answer to that question. We have representatives in our Party from all parts of the country, and not from a single one of them have I got an answer that the number of Guards in the barracks that each member knows best is at all necessary.

In many cases the number is not enough.

It is a very easy thing for anyone on the opposite side to say that there is not nearly enough of them in many cases. I asked the members of our Party about this matter, and the unanimous view was that there was no area where the Guards could not be cut down in numbers without endangering the guardianship of the law, so to speak, which they are supposed to exercise. The Minister for Finance told us that they have duties other than those usually performed by the police. Suppose we examine those duties. We find that they have to gather certain agricultural statistics. I asked how long that was likely to take, and, to put it at its highest, it would represent about a month's work for one Guard in each barrack. How much time is occupied taking the school attendance records? I cannot see how that would take very much time, as occasional visits would be sufficient. When you take all, and when you compare the number of Guards with the number of police that were here when the police were an Imperial force, anybody who is looking for economy can say very definitely that there is room for large economy in the Gárda Síochána.

I think the figures I gave yesterday are the figures to be aimed at, namely, that if the Army was retained as a reserve police force, one million would be sufficient to spend upon it, and similarly one million ought to be a fair figure for the Gárda Síochána. I point to these two forces as the two on which most immediate savings could be made. I come now to the larger salaries. Is there not room for a reduction in these? It is not enough to tell us that they only amount to £100,000 or £80,000 or a couple of hundred thousand pounds. The point is that we cannot afford to put these tens of thousands of pounds aside with contempt. They represent substantial savings, and these savings can be made. When Deputy Good raised the question yesterday as to whether our whole system of administration is modelled largely on that of another country that is very differently situated from ours, I had a great deal of sympathy with him. That has been largely my outlook from the beginning. I think we should have a very different standard here from the standard of an industrial country like England. Our situation is not the same at all. We have needs of our own that they have not got at all. We ought to provide for these needs in a particular way and not follow the standard of salaries set abroad. I know that it is very difficult to compare the salaries in one country with those of another, but if you attempt to compare them, you will be struck at once with the magnitude of the salaries paid in this country as compared with those paid on the Continent for similar service. As far as I can make out, our standards are from 25 to 50 per cent. higher than those. We cannot afford that. I hold there is no need to pay these high salaries. When you take the census of production here, and when you examine the output of the individual worker in industry, you find, according to the 1926 Census, that the output per worker is represented by £101, and that the remuneration for a worker is £88. That is from agriculture, and includes the charge for farm produce consumed by the families of the producers at what I might call city prices. If you take the output from other industries, it is represented by £225, while the average remuneration for a person is £133. It is out of that taxation has to be provided. That is the standard we ought to have in mind when we are dealing with the question of taxation and the question of remuneration in State services.

Compare that with the standard that is set up by paying £10,000 yearly, and £15,000 for the upkeep of his establishment, to the Governor-General. I dealt with that question yesterday. I asked—even though we grant what the Minister for Finance said, that in any State we might have here, in a Republic for example, it might be advisable to have a president independent of or removed from immediate participation in party politics—is there any Deputy here who would propose at the present time—if such an office were being instituted, and if this official was to be elected by this House instead of being nominated—that the personal salary should be £10,000 yearly? To provide such a salary sets at the top a wrong standard. We cannot afford in this country to have a salary like that at the top. It is not merely that the amount represents £25,000. It is the standard it sets up. I believe we ought to aim at having officers of the State getting only the amount that is necessary to meet their ordinary expenses and enable them, like other citizens, to live in comfort. There may be certain State functions and so on, the expenses of which might have to be met. These can be met, and should be met, separately, but, as far as personal salaries go, they should be dealt with on their merits. I believe we ought to cut these, at the present, to a minimum. Is there any Deputy who would propose at the present time to give £10,000 to the head of the State, even if we here represented the whole island, instead of twenty-six counties? I do not believe that there is. If there is any such thing as liberty here —we are told there is—why should it not be within our power to cut that sum down to a reasonable figure? Why, in addition to £10,000 personal salary, should this State be compelled to provide another £15,000, so that we have something very close on £26,000 during an average year to provide for that particular office? That particular officer, leaving the political side out of the matter altogether, has not hard work to do. The President of the United States is the Chief Executive Officer and in his own way does the work that a Prime Minister would do. An officer in this particular position ought not to be provided for on the grand imperial scale—to quote a phrase that has been used—which we provide.

Now, I come to the question of Ministers' salaries. In the past, I held the view that it was the duty of those who undertook responsibility here, those who came and took upon themselves the responsibility of governing, to set a good example from the very top. The Minister for Agriculture told us that circumstances demanded economy at the bottom, in the middle and at the top. Very well, let economy be shown at the top. I am not trying to estimate what is the value of a Minister. I do not think that, under present circumstances, the matter should be approached in that way. I am not going to ask how much a Minister would get if he were engaged in industry or anything else, but I take it that, for some time at least, those who will undertake the responsibility of carrying out the administration here will be people who will approach it not from the point of view of what they get out of it, or that their services are sufficiently rewarded from a money point of view, but rather from the point of view of serving the public. In fact, I believe that there ought to be no other aspect of the situation taken into account by anyone who is entering into the public service, either as Deputy or otherwise. The attitude of Deputies in particular towards public service should be that they are entering that service with a view to seeing what public good they can do, and, if there are attractions in it, the attractions should be for anybody who has ideas for the public good, and who likes to have an opportunity of putting them into effect.

So far as a money reward is concerned, is it wrong to expect that people who enter the public service from that point of view should be given what would be sufficient to enable them to live in a reasonable standard of comfort and to meet such obligations as they would have to meet as private citizens? That would be from the point of view of a money reward. If there are offices which involve expenditure of a kind over and above that in which Deputies would be involved as private citizens with similar salaries to those which they would get, then there is a question for consideration whether such obligations are real and whether they should not be provided for. My view, at any rate, is that Ministers ought to take into account the general state of the country, the rewards which people in industry—the average workers—can get and to set down a definite sum, very much smaller than that which is being paid at present, as the salary that they would take.

More than once I have said that it was my opinion that a salary of £1,000 a year ought to be quite sufficient for any Minister. As I said yesterday, that is a colossal sum for the people who have to pay. The farmers who have to meet that charge regard persons with £1,000 a year in some such way as many who would be on that standard would regard a person who has £1,000,000.

I do not want to say that any false values should be taken into account, but I say that £1,000 a year ought to be sufficient for a Minister. That would represent a certain saving and the value of it would be that there could be a definite grading down. Unfortunately, people take—more than they should—the salary as indicating in some way or other the importance of the post. I am very sorry that that sort of thing should obtain generally, but certainly there ought to be some effort in the Ministry to let it be shown that that at any rate is not their view. When the Ministers themselves had a salary of £1,000, then they would be in a position to say to other servants of the State: "We cannot afford to pay here such sums as £1,500, £1,600 and £2,000 a year." There could then be a definite grading down of the higher salaries in the Civil Service until you would come down to those of £500 a year, at any rate. I believe that saving in that direction could be effected, and they would not mean any real hardship to anyone, particularly if the scaling down were done over a period of years. That is the right way of doing it, and not the way which Ministers try to do it. When savings are to be effected, they start on the lower grades.

The Minister for Finance, however, has closed his ears to suggestions of economy in this direction. He brushes them all aside by saying that the expenses under all these heads are unavoidable. I believe that they are not unavoidable. I believe that of the expenditure of £1,600,000 on the Army a sum of £600,000 is avoidable. I believe that a similar sum in regard to the Civic Guards is avoidable. I believe that there is avoidable a sum that might run anywhere into a couple of hundred thousand pounds in scaling down the largest salaries. Certainly half that sum is avoidable. I pointed out that, so far as this House is concerned, a large portion of the expenditure would be avoidable if we cut down the membership. I am certain that if we cut the number down to 100 Deputies we would get sufficient points of view to represent the country as a whole. The Seanad expenditure also from our point of view, is avoidable. Supposing it was held on the other side that some such House was necessary, why maintain its membership at 60, when 20 or 30 ought to be sufficient? That would show goodwill—the cutting down of expenses which are avoidable. That would show the taxpayer, who has to meet these costs, that those who are responsible for the administration are anxious that every pound that goes into the Treasury is spent in an economical way.

We are told that we will not get good men unless we pay these salaries. Again, I doubt that. They tell us that if we do not pay these high salaries some of the chief officials in the Civil Service will go elsewhere, probably into business. I wish that business was able to absorb them. I wish that we had business so prosperous that it would take a lot of these men away, because I believe they can be replaced. There are attractions in the Civil Service—looking upon it as a sheltered occupation—which will always bring in good men. I believe that with a maximum, say, of £1,000 a year, we will be able to get the best brains in the country. There may be a little difficulty for a year or two, but there is no doubt whatever that in the Civil Service itself there is sufficient material to replace the men at the top if they were taken into industry. As I say, my regret is that industry is not in a sufficiently prosperous condition to absorb them. There was more material, until recently at any rate, going out in the emigrant ship than would supply all the posts available.

The Minister is not merely unwilling to face economies in the Departments of State; he is not merely unwilling to cut down salaries, but he is actually forcing his own standards on the local boards. We have instance after instance where—I take it that it is the policy of the Executive—local bodies are compelled to pay salaries beyond those which they themselves think necessary in order to get the right type of official. They are compelled to pay salaries beyond those which are reasonable. We are threatened with an extension of the managerial system. In this managerial system, the salaries are going to be dictated from the top also. We find again throughout the country that whereas in the past prosecutions have been carried on by State Solicitors, they are not to be sufficient now. The State Solicitors must in future be assisted by junior counsel. That attitude of mind is one which makes the local taxpayers, who have got to foot the bill, unwilling to meet even the expenses which we believe are necessary for essential services. In order to hide the fact that there is a certain amount of extravagance at the top, and to make it appear that there is a lesser burden of taxation, when there is an Agricultural Bill or a Vocational Education Bill brought along, the taxation is shifted, while there is at the same time a definite unwillingness on the part of the Executive to give local bodies the power they want.

What the Minister wants apparently is to be able to shift on to local bodies the burden of payment whilst he and the other Ministers have got central control. It was pointed out here that they want to decentralise expenses so that they will avoid responsibility for them and they want to centralise control and have it for themselves. We think the time has come when that should stop. The Minister appointed a number of Civil Servants on a Committee. He tells us that the advice of the Committee was acted upon. I have here the list of the men who were supposed to effect these economies— a task, which we were told, was a whole-time job for Deputies. The moment Deputies were suggested for this Committee, it was said that it was such a big job that there were very few who were fit for it, but that even if we had the men who were fit for it, every one of them would have to approach it as a whole-time job. Now, one of the gentlemen who was appointed to that Committee is Secretary to the Ministry of Finance. Until quite recently, he was on the Tariff Commission. He was also on the Committee that inquired into expenditure. Now, there are only twenty-four hours in the day and if this work was going to be reasonably performed no man who had three or four jobs on hand should be put in charge of it. I do not say that Deputies would be the best possible Committee, but the value of a Committee of Deputies would be this: that we at least have to accept our share of responsibility when votes like this are passed, even though they are against our will. A certain amount of responsibility is ours and we would like to be in a position in which we could examine these things in detail or have an opportunity of trying it even though it only convinced us that we had made a mistake and that our point of view could not be upheld. When dealing with Estimates—it is a difficulty in every Parliament, I admit—we are forced to approach the task from the point of view of people who have no immediate contact and who can have no immediate contact with the Departments and can therefore form no idea of how the Departments are run, whether economically or not. We are met on that by the statement of the Minister for Finance: "Of course, that is only a foolish idea, it would be no use."

Deputy Good made a suggestion that we should get experts from outside—efficiency experts, I suppose he would call them. I know that in many businesses they have brought in men who were experts. I have not a great opinion of them. I believe that men can keep in closer touch with their own business than outsiders. I do not say that to hear the opinions of such men might not be useful. It might be useful to hear them even though you might put their opinions aside afterwards. Such expense might be worth considering but the Minister did not even consider it. I am not in favour of that but I would like to hear the Minister, instead of putting things aside as prompted by political spite, deal with these things on a rational basis. Here we were yesterday talking about a large sum of money and there had to be a succession of speeches from this side, if we were not going to have the same situation that occurred on the coachbuilding tariff. When the question of the tariff came up, a reasoned case was made by Deputy Lemass but not a single member on the other side was prepared to answer it. Is that going to be the attitude of the Ministry in this case, the same attitude as yesterday? As pointed out by Deputy MacEntee, we had the Minister for Agriculture and several other Ministers present here during portion of the time the debate was in progress. The Minister for Agriculture has talked a lot on the economy question, but we had not a single word from him yesterday and the Minister for Finance calmly sits down, lets us talk and then at the end puts everything aside with the statement that it is prompted by political spite.

I took yesterday a rather narrow field in dealing with the Vote. I took the narrowest view I could on the motion before the House. I did not digress to any question of general public policy. I did not say I was opposing the Vote because of the general attitude of Ministers on a number of things in which we were interested and on which we would like to see a very different attitude taken up by them. I think at least that when we did narrow ourselves down to the question of economy, we should have been met by the Minister for Finance on that basis but he did not do so. There is nothing left for us to do to-day but to vote against giving the Ministry any money whatever. That is the only way we have of expressing our protest against the way in which we have been met on the question of economy and against the attitude of the Government on affairs in general. We are told that the agricultural community is about 72 per cent. or so of the whole nation. If we assume that they pay roughly the same amount of taxation, let everyone remember that the farmers' prices have only gone up something less than 25 points in the hundred over the pre-war years whereas taxation as shown by these figures has gone up threefold.

Make all the allowance you like, and you will find the burden of taxation on the farmer at present is about three times what it was in the pre-war years, whereas the prices of his own produce have only gone up by a quarter. Under these circumstances, is it right for us to pass these Estimates in the way in which we are being compelled by the Government to pass them? No case whatever has been put up for them. We have endeavoured to show where certain reductions can be made, and we think that when Ministers go out in public and talk about economy at the bottom and at the top, all they want to do is to get the farmer to practise economy and to tighten his belt. They do not want the people at the top to do so at all.

I was very much surprised that the leader of the Farmers' Party did not think fit to participate in the debate which took place here yesterday on the subject of economy, as no doubt he remembers that the party of which he is a member made economy its gospel on each occasion on which they went before the people to seek its votes. They talked economy up and down the country. They asked the votes of the people on the grounds that, if they were elected, they would come into this Dáil for the express purpose of examining, with the utmost care, every proposal of expenditure submitted by the Executive Council. Their slogan in the elections, as Deputies will remember, was "Abolish the bonus; the farmers have none." Time after time members of that party criticised, not merely the Executive Council, not merely the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, but criticised the Fianna Fáil Party, because they thought its views on economy were not sufficiently drastic to merit the support of the farming community.

As a result of the campaign, as a result of that slogan and these speeches, a number of members of the Farmers' Party came into the Dáil, and since they came into the Dáil they have not opened their mouths once in the interests of economy, and have not dared to vote against any proposal for expenditure submitted by the Minister for Finance, no matter how monstrous or extravagant it was. They have meekly accepted everything that was offered to them, and obeyed the orders of Cumann na nGaedheal Whips, irrespective of what the Cumann na nGaedheal Party was attempting to do. Of course, the leader of the Farmers' Party was made chairman of an economy committee, the activities of which have been shrouded in secrecy and the results of which have been apparently nil, because, instead of showing a decrease in expenditure, the Estimates for the supply services of this year have actually been increased.

Might I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, the Chairman of that Committee, and leader of the Farmers' Party, that if they do nothing else they could perform a useful national service by defining the term "economy." It is necessary that it should be defined. The Minister for Finance does not understand it. He made a speech here yesterday in which he made it clear that he confuses the word "economy" with lower expenditure. He criticised the Fianna Fáil Party because on one day they asked for economy and on another day pressed for increased social services. It seemed to him that the two things were inconsistent. I suggest to Deputy Heffernan, who has been a member of the Economy Committee for three years, that the least he could do would be to supply the Minister for Finance with a definition of "economy," so that he will not be making a fool of himself in the Dáil; that when he speaks on this matter the next time, he will at least understand the difference between producing economy and reducing expenditure. We could reduce expenditure easily; we could abolish unemployment insurance, national health insurance, and old age pensions. We could refuse to vote money for relief schemes, and we could cut down expenditure on services to one-half of what it is, but that is not what we are proposing. We are asking the Dáil to take steps to ensure that the money expended is so expended as to ensure the results which the Dáil desires. We are pointing to waste and want it cut out so that the money wasted will be available for increased social services. We do not think that increased social services and reduced expenditure are incompatible.

Deputy de Valera indicated three ways in which by elimination, of course, economy could be secured, taxation reduced or increased social services made possible. I take it that the job of Deputy Heffernan's Committee is to eliminate waste. Why have they not done that? What is the reason of their failure? Did they come up against vested interests or were the Departments too strong for them? We will be very interested to see the report of that Committee if and when it appears. I do not think it is likely to appear this side of the election, and a general election, according to the Minister for Finance, is not far off now. A very large amount of money still due for the repayment of Dáil Eireann Loan is going to be expended during the next few months. For years we have been pressing for repayment of that money. For years the Minister has been telling us that there were administrative difficulties in the way, but a general election is looming on the horizon and it is going to be shovelled out.

I suggest to Deputy Heffernan that one thing his committee should stand against as sheer waste is political bribery. The Minister for Finance, Deputy Heffernan and every other member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party knows that quite a large part of the money which will be spent under the Bill we are now discussing is for the purpose of political bribery, and that is waste, because the bribery is going to be of no avail. Even if they doubled the amount they spend on members of their own party around the country, they could not avert disaster and, even if it were possible, we do not want them to do that, and the country does not want them to do that. That is one service that could be eliminated. I was down in Connemara recently and I was amazed at the open and flagrant way in which money, available under the Relief Vote was being used, under the instructions of Deputy Mongan, for the remuneration of Deputy Mongan's supporters and political agents. Of course, it is quite easy for people to get elected to the Dáil when they are able to manage affairs as Deputy Mongan manages them. In order to get elected, you must get the votes of people on the register. When the Deputy himself and his cousin compile the register it is easy to be elected. It should not be necessary for him to get all these funds in order to put in as gangers, and put in in other jobs, under the Land Commission, people who act as his personation agents on the polling day, and work should not be refused to anyone who could not produce a Cumann na nGaedheal membership card. That is happening in the west of Ireland, and I suggest that that money should be saved, and that Deputy Heffernan should turn his attention to this matter if he is interested in anything.

Year after year we are coming here to consider Estimates for Government services, in respect of which the most remarkable thing is consistent in creases in the number of civil servants. If you leave aside altogether the money that may be saved by reducing the salaries of such of these civil servants as are overpaid in relation to the work they are doing, we can find plenty of scope for economy in putting out of the service those who do not work, or those for whom there is no work to do. I took the trouble to count the number of civil servants that are provided for this year as against previous years. The number shows a 4 per cent. increase. Is it necessary that this horde of officials should be maintained in order to carry out the services of this State? We have 62,000 families in this country maintained out of State funds, one family out of every ten. Is there any country in Europe, outside Russia, in which the proportions are as high? I suggest to Deputy Heffernan and to the Minister for Finance, that that figure would suggest there is plenty of scope for economy, plenty of room to get money to finance additional social services which are urgently needed.

When the Minister for Finance was defending the expenditure on the Army this confusion between the term "economy" and reducing expenditure was quite obvious. We were not pressing that the Army should be reduced in efficiency. We want it increased in efficiency, but we do say that a large part of the money expended on it now is being expended without any benefit to the State, and we are supported in that view by people who certainly have no affiliations with our Party, people like Deputy Seán McKeon and like the officers of the late National Defence Association, who signed the document that was published in the Press. We can hear on good authority about tanks that were bought that were no good, about rifles for the Army that were rejected by the British Army, about aeroplane engines that were purchased for aeroplanes that were obsolete and could not be secured. We know that we could reduce the expenditure of £1,600,000 on the Army to £1,000,000, while we could make a much more effective instrument of national defence than that which we now have. Do Deputies on the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches read the report of the Public Accounts Committee? I think they should do so. It would open their eyes to a great number of things that they seem to be ignorant of at the present time. I wonder did Deputy Heffernan's Committee ever consider the report of the Public Accounts Committee? If they did we would have much more evidence of their activity in the elimination of waste than we have had up to the present. What Deputy de Valera said in relation to the Army applies also to the Civic Guard. We do not want to reduce the efficiency of the police force. We want to increase its efficiency, but we believe that increased efficiency can be secured with a reduction in expenditure. On last Tuesday night, I was in the town of Belturbet in County Cavan. There are six policemen in that town of four or five hundred people. I cannot for the life of me see what these six policemen have to do there. The same conditions exist in a number of other towns throughout the country. I grant you that the police in Belturbet appear to be very anxious to do something. I went to a hotel for the purpose of getting a cup of tea and they came in to make sure that I did not put anything else into it.

Did they hear your proGovernment speech there?

Did I make a proGovernment speech there?

Certainly, a very beautiful one.

Which one? The fact is, however, that we are maintaining in idleness a number of able-bodied young men throughout the country who could be doing much more useful work, and if the money that is being expended now in maintaining them in idleness were utilised to put them into work it would be of much greater value to the country. In the town of Cavan there are three sergeants, sixteen constables and a superintendent. Is there any necessity for three sergeants in the town of Cavan or for a superintendent to look after the three sergeants or three sergeants to look after sixteen constables? Is there any country in Europe, outside of Northern Ireland, in which the cost of police per head of the population is as high as it is in the Free State? I grant you that it is higher in Northern Ireland. If Deputies will take the trouble to compare the cost of police here with the cost of police in England, France or Germany they will be amazed at the excessive amount which we are paying, and the opportunities for economy that are afforded. We must remember that side by side with this relative and absolute increase in the cost of Government services the ability of the people to meet that cost is diminishing. I recognise, and I said it at the meeting in Belturbet to which Deputy Davin referred, that progress has been made in some directions. There are some industries protected by tariffs which are thriving. We are glad to hear it. I was very pleased to hear Deputy Sheehy telling us about the prosperity that surrounds the town of Skibbereen. I was glad to hear that everybody is so prosperous there. He even said that if you went down and told them that they need not pay their land annuities they would be so indignant that they would stone you out. I was in Skibbereen. I did not tell them not to pay their land annuities but I told them that the money they were paying was being transferred to England and they did not stone me out of it. They greeted me with acclamation. Nobody offered me a stone. I think Deputy Sheehy offered me a dinner but certainly I did not meet any of the hostility that Deputy Sheehy seemed to think I should have met.

Mr. Sheehy

You did not even pay me the courtesy of a visit.

The fact, however, which I want to impress on the members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party who may have been deluded at the prosperity talk of President Cosgrave, is that the net result of the administration of this Government has been a decrease in the production of wealth and in our productive capacity. That fact is capable of statistical proof. If Deputies will examine the figures relating to agriculture they will see that there has been a consistent decline, not merely in the area under tillage, but in our production of cattle. Between 1922 and this year the area under tillage in the Twenty-Six Counties decreased by 214,000 acres. One could understand that decline if it was offset by increased production in some other direction. But when, side by side, we find the cattle population decreased by 239,000 head, then we are forced to the conclusion that what has happened has been a definite diminution of our wealth-producing capacity. And, mind you, the greater part of that decline took place in the last twelve months. Between 1929 and 1930 the area under tillage decreased by 63,000 acres, and the cattle population fell by 99,000 head.

Deputies who have read the report of the Local Government Committee noticed, I am sure, the remarkable increase in the number of people in receipt of outdoor relief. I am sure that even Deputy Heffernan will admit that an increase in the number of people in receipt of outdoor relief is not indicative of prosperity. In the year 1925-26 the number of people in receipt of outdoor relief was 16.7 per thousand. In the following year it was 18 per thousand; in 1927-28 it was 19.1 per thousand; in 1928-29, the last year for which figures have been published, it was 19.9 per thousand. If two per cent. of the people of this State have to be maintained out of public charity, does it not indicate that the prosperity about which we hear so much at Cumann na nGaedheal meetings, and to which President Cosgrave referred at the opening meeting of the Dáil last November, is largely illusory? It is, of course, not a pleasant thing for anyone to have to argue here that the economic conditions in the country are as bad as they are, but some effort must be made to offset the misleading statements which were made by responsible Ministers who should know better. The Minister for Industry and Commerce went down to Limerick a couple of days ago and told the people that there were 20,000 people unemployed. He knew he was speaking an untruth. He told Deputy Hogan yesterday that the registered unemployed were 26,000. He knows as well as we know that the registered unemployed are only about half the total number of people without work in the country.

The Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies think they can solve the problem of unemployment by pretending it does not exist. That appears to be the only idea that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has in his mind. If we are going to solve the problem of unemployment, if we are going to remove the causes of the depression in agriculture, if we are going to give Irish industry a chance, we must reduce the burden of taxation; we must have what the Minister for Agriculture talked about, economy at the top, in the middle, and at the bottom. The Minister for Agriculture is very eloquent when he is telling the farmers to tighten their belts, but he never tries to tighten his own. If we look at the Estimates for his Department, we will find that the total amount he is going to spend on salaries for officials and the total number of officials who are going to spend the salaries have been increased. The same applies to practically every Department. It certainly applies to the Department of the Minister for Finance.

We have recently been reading in the Press the speeches made at the annual meeting of the Great Southern Railways. We notice the decline in traffic carried over that company's system which is directly attributable to decreased commercial activity. We have the decline in bank clearances, which are generally recognised as the measure of commercial activity. We have the decline in bank deposits and bank advances. We have, of course, increased our investments in Gilt-edged Securities. The National Loan is doing well; Savings Certificates are in demand. But the money which is going into these Gilt-edged Securities should not be going into them; it would be seeking outlets in industry if there was any confidence that under the regime of this Government industry was going to get a chance. It is not going to get a chance. Whatever weakness affected the Executive Council some years ago, and induced them to impose certain tariffs, they have long since recovered from. A case was made here, and before the Tariff Commission, for the imposition of a protective duty on coach bodies which, as I said then, was much stronger than any case that could be made for a tariff on boots or butter. Yet that case was rejected. The members of the Executive Council sat dumb and stupid-looking on the Front Bench and dared not answer a single one of the arguments advanced on its behalf. Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies gave a silent vote for the extinction of that industry which was capable of providing employment for three or four thousand people. They dare not justify their vote. They did not speak about it here, and they have not spoken about it outside the House Whatever influence was exercised on them, whatever subscriptions to their Party funds came from the people who are making a good profit out of the importation of foreign motor-cars, whatever other strings were pulled, they voted in silence for the extinction of that and other industries. No doubt they will do the same again, until the people awaken from their apathy and at a general election send them into oblivion.

It does not matter whether or not it is possible for Deputies on these Benches to show exactly the direction in which economies can be effected. These economies must nevertheless be made. There is a limited amount which we can afford to pay for government and within that limit we must get the best service we can. Deputies on these Benches have had no experience in office. They have not got the same detailed information concerning the working of the various Departments which Ministers have, but we do know the conditions which exist in the country better than they do, and we do know how the burden of taxation is pressing on the people. Ministers from one end of the day to the other and from one week to another never see anything around them except £1,000 per year men. They look at every question from the point of view of the man with £1,000 per year. They never look at it from the point of view of the agricultural worker with 20s. a week. His outlook does not concern them; his troubles are no worry for them. If you ask the Minister for Finance or any of the Deputies opposite how it is possible for a man to maintain himself and his family on 20s. a week, they will say that they do not know, but that somehow or another he appeared to be doing it.

The cost of Government has got to come down and it has got to come down without in any way reducing the social services now available. It has got to come down with, if anything, an increase in these services. We cannot hope to make it possible to provide services on a larger scale until in some way the wealth-producing capacity of the country is increased. In order to give the country a start the load of taxation must be taken off its back. That is the case we are making to the Dáil; that is the reason why we are proposing to vote against this Bill. That is the case which Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies are going to vote against. I hope they will feel easy in their consciences while they are doing so.

We are opposing this Bill because we think that there has been no effort made by the Government to economise. We understood from statements made by Ministers and Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies in the country during the past few years that some time or other an effort would be made to economise. Unfortunately we find now from the estimates for the coming year that no effort at economy has yet been made by the Government. The mistake which the Government made is that they have built up a Government machine here regardless of the capacity of the country to pay. No matter whether the country is advancing or going back, no matter how much the people have to tighten their belts, the Minister for Finance thinks that machine must be kept going at full pressure all the time. The capacity of the people to pay is never considered. If it were considered, there are economies that could be effected.

In the setting up of this expensive machine, unodelled after the fashion of the British Government machine, no consideration has been given to the condition of the country. We believe that the Minister should consider the condition of the country and the capacity of the people to pay and model his machine accordingly. Then there would be no great fault to find with the machine. Surely the argument that he advanced yesterday, when suggestions were made from this side of the House as to how economies could be effected, that we were only bluffing, that we were only talking politics, is not an argument that should be advanced by any responsible Minister or Deputy? If we are only talking politics, let him "call our bluff" and prove it by facts and figures. But as to this cheap talk or jibing by the Minister, that we are only talking politics, it is too late in the day to get away with that kind of stuff. Since we came in here a few years ago every effective argument advanced from this side of the House has been met with the very same reply, that we were simply going on these lines because we opposed the Government. That argument was advanced the first month we came in here. It is the only argument still advanced by the Minister for Finance. Surely it is too late in the day to allow the Minister to get away with that kind of stuff. They went to London and they went to Geneva and they should have learned a little there. If they cannot meet Deputies in this House in argument they should send for some of those experts recommended by Deputy Good and avail of arguments they might supply, but they should not treat suggestions by the Labour Party and by the Fianna Fáil Party simply by saying that they are advanced as party politics. The only people that really practise party politics, as an argument in this House, is the Government Party. It is party politics the whole time with them, but unfortunately the country has to pay for their party politics and political dodges. If Australia or New Zealand did anything that was against the policy of protection or would prove that protection was bad for the people or show that any other arguments Fianna Fáil used here were bad we would soon have that argument dished up and Australia and New Zealand quoted as arguments against us. When we find the Governments of Australia and New Zealand in the past few months facing up to these questions of economy and making several drastic cuts in salaries and Government expenditure we are told nothing about it by the Party opposite.

We find from ten to fifteen per cent. cuts in salaries of over £400 a year in Australia, and the same in New Zealand. We find the Governor-General of Australia making a voluntary offer to reduce his salary on account of the depression in Australia. But we never find these arguments dished up to us here by the Government because they would hit themselves, and because they would prove there was something in our arguments about economy. We want to do something about this, but the present Government want to do nothing. If the position were the other way and showed that Fianna Fáil arguments were wrong, we would very soon have Australia quoted for us here. As Deputy Lemass pointed out, we have the reports of the Public Accounts Committee, but, perhaps, we had better not go into it at the present time. But we find there many cases where money was not justifiably spent, where thousands of pounds could have been saved if the Government were in earnest on the question of economy. It is proof to me that they are not at all in earnest, and that they never consider this question of economy when preparing their estimates each year. All they are concerned with is that their Department should get all that they demand. The heads of these Departments, in whose hands the Government is, know that their feathers will not be ruffled, that they will get everything they demand out of the taxpayer's pocket.

A different policy is adopted when you come to the question of local matters. It is suggested to the local councils by the Minister for Local Government that the recipients of outdoor relief should do so many hours per day or week before they get the few shillings of relief to stave off starvation. Why should not the Government that makes that suggestion to local bodies look to their own services, and at least in the interests of economy make some of those gentlemen who draw Army doles, work a few hours per day and do something for the country, in return for the pensions they receive? It is quite all right to make the recipients of outdoor relief work, to make men who would do an honest day's work for wages if they got it, work for the few shillings that they receive in outdoor relief.

Why should the Government not tackle their own services and make those men who receive army pensions do something for the money they receive? Surely any member of the Government Party will admit that at the time these pensions were given the Government were taking a narrow view of things and that they were forced into a certain position? It is realised now that the amount paid is excessive and is not justified at all and surely in the interests of economy the Government should have all these cases reconsidered. They would in that way save a considerable amount of money. Let us take one item on the estimates. Whenever we suggest economy I do not want the Minister to say that we are only talking politics. I shall go into some figures and I hope if the Minister does not do it he will get some member of the Party opposite to deal with these figures if we are to get any reply.

For the coming year we have on the estimates an item of £152,000 for new Gárda barracks in the Free State. There is no doubt that that is excessive. New barracks have been built in many places where they were not needed at all. I do not suggest that the Gárda should be housed under bad conditions but I suggest that when you look at the housing conditions in the country and think of the slums in the cities and in the Gaeltacht that the amount of £152,000 for new Gárda barracks, is, if not altogether wrong, very excessive. Side by side with that £152,000 for new Gárda barracks you have £80,000 for housing in the Gaeltacht. If it was the other way about there might be some reason in it, but for the whole housing question for the coming year we have £80,000 while for barracks, although the Gárda are living under fairly good comfortable conditions, we have a vote of £152,000 for new barracks. If I take Mayo, we have for Ballyglass a vote of £1,300 for a new Gárda barracks there.

[An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.]

There is no reason in the world why we should have any Gárda there at all.

Surely that is a detail to be discussed on the general estimate.

Very well. I am going into details only in order to pin the Minister down to something.

Would you ask the Gárda to sleep under canvas?

I would not ask them to sleep there at all. The only real trouble they ever have there is when the Minister for Justice comes along. It is near the home of the Minister, and they seem to be there simply to protect him. That is why the Gárda are in that locality. The people of the district are perfectly decent, peaceful people and there is no reason for the expenditure of over £1,300 on a Gárda barracks there.

That is again a point that could be raised upon the estimates.

If £1,300 is to be spent it could be spent to much more advantage in that locality. You have the same thing in Bangor Erris, the same thing in Claremorris where £3,000 or £4,000 is provided for barracks. These are items in which economy could be effected. The Government say you cannot reduce the force. That was said when the Gárda were removed from Geesala. There was a great outcry from the Government's supporters when they went away. They said there would be disturbance and robbery if they were removed. Well, they have been removed for years and there has not been one case of disturbance or robbery, and peace, perfect peace reigns there. There are many other areas like Geesala and if the Guards were removed you would have perfectly peaceful conditions existing afterwards. We are pleading for economy because we think that the country is in a condition which cannot afford these high-calls Government services. If we plead on the one hand for extended social services, we plead, on the other hand, that by reducing overhead charges and Government luxuries you can extend your social services. Surely that would be worth considering by the Government? They are voting £9,000 for the upkeep of the Viceregal Lodge, a sum practically equal to the whole amount paid for the upkeep of the national schools of the country. Surely there is a case for economy there?

When we make suggestions of this kind I think the Minister for Finance should not try to get rid of them by saying that we are simply bluffing. Members of his own Party have made statements throughout the country to the effect that economy could be practised if the Government were made get down to the work. Now is the time for members of the Government Party to make the Minister carry out some of these economies. If the matter is not tackled now it cannot be tackled this year because the estimates will then be passed. That is the reason we are anxious now to force the hands of the Government on this question. If the mentality that is to guide the Government Party on a question of this kind is to be judged by the statements made by certain Government Deputies in the country, there is not much room for hope. There are Deputies who visit country constituencies and who speak with their little, narrow Dublin outlook; there are Deputies like Deputy J.J. Byrne who, on the occasion of a visit to Roscommon, said that the farmer is a man whom even God could not please. If this question is to be approached from that point of view, then our appeals in the interest of the farmers or the labourers will not get much heed from the Government Party.

The Minister for Finance is the one man more than any other who knows that in most Government Departments there is a great amount of overlapping. He has had complaints from civil servants from time to time about overlapping. To my knowledge, on several occasions complaints have been made about overlapping in Departments. Why not, in the interests of economy, get rid of that overlapping? In the Department of Agriculture there is a great amount of overlapping. There are inspectors for areas and for counties, and there are even inspectors under them. I believe overlapping applies to other Departments as well. This question has never been properly tackled, and the reason the Ministers have not tackled it is that they are too much in the hands of officials. They have allowed the heads of Departments, all along, to dictate Bills and clauses in Bills, even to dictate Government policy. The Ministers are, therefore, in a weak position, and that is one reason why they have not tackled this question of economy.

We will vote against this measure because there is no other remedy open to us; we will vote against it simply as a protest. The Government has made no effort, with all their years of experience, to bring about much-needed economies. They have not responded to the criticisms of their own Party or of this Party. They have always tried to show that any criticisms from our side is only a matter of politics and bluff, that simply because one is against the Government, one must criticise. Ministers have not proved to us that our arguments are wrong. They have hesitated to put our suggestions into operation, and it is because of their attitude on this question that we are forced to vote against this measure.

Leaving politics out of the question altogether, we must regard the Minister for Finance as the nation's housekeeper, and the question is whether or not he is housekeeping on too lavish a scale. I rather think that we have set up, in this country, a standard of national expenditure that we cannot afford to live up to. I imagine that when the Minister is preparing his Estimates he sends for the executive heads of the spending Departments, and he asks them how much they must have and what is the lowest they could do with, impressing upon them, at the same time, that there should be economy. I suggest that there is another way. The Minister should send for the heads of Departments and tell them exactly how much they can have; he should impress upon them that they must cut their clothes according to their cloth. In other places they do that, and I believe it has a good effect. Possibly the Minister might consider that suggestion.

I want to ask the Minister for Finance for the information he was unable to give me yesterday evening. I want to know if it is intended to introduce a Bill dealing with the revaluation of loans to fishermen and, if so, when it will be introduced. For the last four or five years this Bill has been promised. On the 13th June, 1928, the Minister for Fisheries, replying to a question, said:

It is hoped that the Bill will be introduced before the Summer Recess. It is now in the hands of the Parliamentary Draftsman.

In the Annual Report of the Department of Fisheries, dated June, 1927, it is stated:—

The position of these large loans, and the accumulation of heavy arrears has become one of the most serious problems confronting the Department of Fisheries, which is consulting with the Department of Finance in order to find a way out. It is evident that the position of hopeless indebtedness under which many of our fishermen are labouring does not create a condition favourable to the rapid development of the industry.

In this year's Estimates the Vote for the Department of Fisheries shows a very big increase due, to a large extent, to a new development in connection with the Fisheries' Association. It is held by very many authorities, and I think by some of the civil servants connected with the Fisheries' Department, that the key to fisheries development is in the liquidation of loans contracted at a time when money was of very much less value and when there was much greater prosperity in the fishing industry. If the key to the success of this new enterprise is in the revaluation of these loans, so enabling the fishermen to realise what position they are in, I think we are entitled to a statement from the Minister as to whether it has been decided to drop that Bill or whether it will be introduced this year. I know that in the chief fishing port in the country, Arklow, it will be quite useless to talk to the fishermen about joining a new organisation or about taking any interest in the new effort unless the matter of liquidating loans is first dealt with.

The House ought to insist on some definite statement on this question. From statements he made from time to time, I know the Minister for Finance has no belief whatever in the future of the fisheries. I suggest that attitude is at the back of the delay in connection with this Bill. I suggest there is division in the Ministry as to whether any effort made to improve the fishing industry would not be a waste of money. If that be the case, and if it is true that the attitude of one Minister is responsible for keeping back a measure which would be the first step towards enabling such an important industry to prosper, then indeed it is a very serious matter and I suggest that the Dáil should insist upon a clear statement.

I could not tell the Deputy when the Bill will be introduced. I know the Bill is being proceeded with. If the Deputy would address a question to the Minister for Fisheries he will get an answer more precise than I am able to give him at the moment. To-day's debate, especially in so far as it has been contributed to by the leader of the Opposition, and by Deputy Lemass, confirms me in the view that I took yesterday, that the Fianna Fáil call for economy is entirely unreal, something very nearly in the nature of humbug. Deputy Lemass began by talking about some confusion as to whether it was economy that was wanted or less expenditure. The Deputy appeared to be thoroughly confused. At some points he said he simply wanted to cut out waste, so that more money might be available for increased social services. At another time he said the cost of Government should go down. The Deputy appeared to be entirely confused. The main thread, as far as I could gather it, in both Deputy de Valera's speech and the speech of Deputy Lemass, was that they were not prepared to face any cutting of services.

Leaving out the couple of items in connection with which I stated I believed the motive was principally political spite—that is the Army and the Police—there is no disposition to face the question of reducing the services. As I said before, the whole secret of economy in the way of the reduction of expenditure lies there. There is a great deal of talk about high salaries. I say that the highest paid civil servants are not over-paid. They are not over-paid compared with the amount that people in professions outside and in various other occupations outside, with nothing like the same responsibility, can earn. There are no people in any employment who are more heavily burdened and who have a greater volume of work or more difficult or responsible work to do than the people who are at the head of the various Departments of the State. It would be no economy simply to look for cheap people in these Departments. Waste can in no way more easily arise than through lack of ability at the top. It would be possible in many Departments to save a few thousand pounds a year by getting a different sort of people at the head, and by cutting salaries there, and yet lose many times that sum by lack of grip in the direction of the Department.

There is no use in suggesting that we can run Departments of State solely on the basis of public spirit. There is no use in thinking that we can give a mere subsistence wage and that we can depend on public spirit to supply the zeal that is required. You must have public spirit in your civil servants; I do not think that you will get the conscientiousness and the energy that is required without it. On the other hand, if you have a man with wide experience, great capacity, conscious of that capacity, and with the knowledge that that capacity is appreciated outside, and if you pay such a man very much less than his contemporaries of equal ability who became solicitors or doctors are earning outside, the result will be bad for the State. If you increase that disparity, you are going to weaken the efficiency of these people. You are going to do that if you lessen the opportunities for promotion. In that case you are not going to have capable and ambitious young men going into the Civil Service to the same extent, and you are not going to have the same zeal and industry displayed as has been the case, and as is the case at the present time.

There are many civil servants who work in a way of which the Deputies on the opposite side have not the slightest idea. I know an official who during a period of pressure—he was not asked to do it, but he did it entirely voluntarily—not only worked for hours after the usual closing time, but worked in the office every Sunday afternoon for months on end. He spent whole Sunday afternoons in the office at work. You have numbers of people who are prepared to put every ounce of energy they possess into this official work. If there is going to be a niggardly attitude adopted with regard to prospects of promotion, you are going to check and discourage that sort of attitude. If a man of ability and a man of education does not feel that he can make a career in the Civil Service somehow comparable to the career that his contemporaries, his brothers, perhaps, can make outside, then you are going to do something that is very bad for the service.

I do not argue that people in the Civil Service should get as high remuneration as people outside, because, as can be said and as everybody knows, there are compensations in the Civil Service that are not available outside. Consequently, I have never argued that civil servants should be paid at rates as high as the remuneration available to people outside. But there must be some relation between them. I know that a great many people outside, supporters of the leader of the Opposition, are in perfect agreement with me, that the idea of limiting the Civil Service salary to £1,000 is utterly fatuous. I have heard people who are supporters of the leader of the Opposition laughing at the idea, and expressing the opinion that it was foolish in the last degree. They simply regarded it as electioneering eyewash. This idea that you can cut down salaries paid to the higher officials, and take away from a man the ordinary incentives that prevail outside, without impairing in any way his efficiency, is simply and completely false. It is an indication, to my mind, that the Deputy and those who agree with him have not given the matter the attention it deserves.

Is there any consideration for the man who has to pay?

I am considering the man who is paying. I am considering the question of getting the best value for the man who is paying, and preventing the money that must be paid from being wasted, or partially wasted, through lack of efficient direction at the top. I dare say that one could get somebody who would undertake the running of an occan liner for less than the wages paid to a stoker. But it might be extremely costly to do that. It would be much cheaper to engage men of sufficient skill to run the ship. If you cut down efficiency at the top you cut down efficiency in the whole machine, and you cause waste right down to the bottom. It is because I think we have got to pay the rates of salary necessary to secure efficiency that I say that the rule-of-thumb cuts that the Deputy suggests would represent an increased burden on the man who has to pay.

The Deputy talked about the salaries of Ministers and the Governor-General. Here, again, I think we are up against something that is very like humbug. The Deputy said that the Governor-General should be satisfied with a small personal salary, and there might be a State fund which should be kept separate for such things as State functions. It is not any relief to the taxpayer if a matter appears under two sub-heads instead of under one. I know that in the old Dáil period there were representatives of the Dáil who had a nominal salary of, I think, £500 a year, and everything, I think, down to their shirts, was paid for out of public funds.

Who were those? Will the Minister tell us who they were?

I will hand the information to the Deputy if he likes.

It is not true.

It is perfectly true. All sorts of things were paid for out of public funds. Certainly clothing was paid for out of public funds. The nominal salary was £500 a year, but the entire sum was five times that amount.

The idea of paying a small salary and then having all sorts of things added on to it is, to my mind, the greatest possible humbug. It is the sort of thing that used to exist under the county councils. You had a relatively small salary paid to the secretary when he was appointed. New Acts of Parliament were passed, as a result of which some new duties were imposed on him for which he was paid extra. He had salary after salary and allowance after allowance until, in the end, the amount he received was far greater than any of the salaries we are discussing to-day.

We come again to the question of Ministers' salaries. We have had people who refused to enter the Government because they were not prepared to face the financial sacrifices that were involved. It was not that their earnings at the time they were given the offer were greater than a Ministerial salary, but that the taking up of Ministerial office meant neglect of business, the cutting off of connections and, generally, the creation of a state of affairs where their earnings, during their future life, would be reduced as a result of the four or five years, or whatever the period might be, that they might spend as members of the Government. We have had to lose the services of people because of that. If you are going to cut the salaries of Ministers to a figure lower than what they are, I believe the result will be that you will have to depend on very rich people for Ministers and they are not available in this country. That might be possible in a country where you have great numbers of very rich people who live either on their investments or on the proceeds of inherited property and to whom the Ministerial salary is of no consequence, people who sacrifice nothing by giving up their time for some period of years as Ministers. If you had not people in that position, then apart from one or two people who might be available for any Ministry, you are going to get people to whom the Ministerial salary would offer a great attraction, people who generally speaking would not do very well at any other occupation.

I do not think that would be a good position, or that it is desirable that we should look forward to the position that men of the ordinary professional type should not be available in practice for Ministerial office. Except after a time of great public commotion or some great public stress, you are not going to get people to enter public life as a whole-time business, altogether regardless of the financial consequences to themselves. You are not going to get competent people in ordinary times to give the best years of their lives, and to throw away all sorts of prospects, for a post out of which they are bound, sooner or later, to be thrown without any gratitude. I am satisfied myself that the idea of cutting down Ministers' salaries, as the Deputy has suggested, is an idea which proceeds, if it is sincerely held, from lack of consideration. If the idea has been put forward after serious consideration, then I feel that it is mere cross-roads stuff and is put forward with a complete lack of sincerity.

The Deputy talked about forcing standards on local authorities. I think it is a very good thing that, when a post is to be filled by a local authority, proper steps should be taken to fix what is a reasonable salary for the post. We all know that one of the things that were very often done in the old days in connection with the filling of local posts was that an absurdly low salary was fixed so as to keep off candidates. The favourite who was in the know, took the post at a salary which he would not ordinarily have accepted at all. Then, when his friends had got him safely into the position they rallied round him and the salary was raised. Everyone knows that if there was not control of salaries, even with the system of Local Appointments Commissioners, that sort of thing would be likely to happen again. The post would be advertised at an absurdly low salary. Decent candidates would hold off. The person with the local influence would come forward. Having got the post, the question of salary would be made all right for him.

The Minister seems to be quite familiar with the procedure.

The Deputy knows all about it, too. The Deputy also complained that the Opposition had not had the opportunity of examining things in detail in the same way as Ministers. That is just in the nature of things. Those who happen to have the confidence of the majority of the representatives of the people get into a position where they can know the details better than those who have not that particular confidence. The Deputy said that I had made a statement that, if a Committee were set up consisting of Deputies which would go into the question of economies, it would be a whole-time job. I do not think I said it would be a whole-time job, but it would be a job that would take up an enormous amount of the time of Deputies, and for a very considerable period. Then the Deputy proceeded to say that certain civil servants had other work to do, but most of that other work in the particular case he mentioned is work that is exactly parallel to the work of the Committee. The work of the Committee is only a variation of that particular civil servant's work. From day to day, he is examining into questions of expenditure and endeavouring to find means of effecting economy. When he went in as member of the Committee, he was simply continuing to do that work in consultation with others rather than in his own office. A civil servant is, at any rate, constantly gaining knowledge, and over the years has gained knowledge which Deputies, taking up that job, would have to acquire before their views on the matters that would have to be decided would be of any value at all. I do not think I need say more on that matter.

We have certain services at present. We conduct them as efficiently as we can. We are constantly reviewing and examining the machine with a view to making it more efficient and more economical. Economy cannot be secured by a sort of rule of thumb, by saying that a certain salary is the maximum salary that ought to be paid. I know myself many people who would go if such a rule were enforced and who could not be replaced. If, after some years, some of those who were lower down in the service became competent, they also, in turn, would seek opportunities outside.

In one particular service, the Revenue service, for a period we were greatly handicapped by the continual resignation of officials. We had a shortage of inspectors of taxes, and in nearly every case where these people went out they got salaries ranging from 50 per cent. to 100 per cent. over what they were getting. There are many people who could go and do better outside, and whose going would be no economy and no relief to the taxpayers. It would be only shaking efficiency and causing increased burdens. There is no use talking about people who go away on the emigrant ships. That has no relevancy. None of the people who go away on the emigrant ships would be of any use as the head of a Department. They go away on the emigrant ships, largely because they are unskilled, and perhaps because they have had only an elementary education, and had no opportunities of acquiring skill or training. To throw that sort of argument out is another indication that the matter has not been threshed out. If we want to effect economies in the broad sense, if we want to reduce expenditure and taxation, then we have got to face up to that along the lines of doing without some services we have, or by reducing the extent of these services. So far as my experience goes, the clamour in all parts of the House is largely for an increase of services. There have been many debates in which Deputy after Deputy demanded new services or some extension of present services, or some relaxation of a rule which was instituted for the saving of money.

I need not again go into the question of the police. That has been discussed previously on the Gárda Síochána Estimate, and it can be again discussed on the Estimate this year. I regard the suggestion of the Deputy, that you could cut off £600,000, as too ridiculous to argue about. If the Deputy said that £5,000, £10,000, or even £100,000 could be saved, it would indicate, at any rate, that he was trying to look at the realities of the situation, and was not obsessed by the magic of the words "one million." The Army is to cost one million. The police is to cost one million. The maximum salary is to be £1,000. Everything is to be in round figures. If the Deputy was not obsessed with this particular mathematical fancy, we might examine his suggestion more seriously.

With regard to the Army, questions of national defence are very difficult to discuss in public. I do not think they are anywhere fully discussed in public. You cannot, without doing harm, indicate the forces which might be required to guard against any dangers it might be necessary to guard against. I say that the suggestion that the Army is useless for the purposes of defence against any external aggression is not correct. It is not a question of being able to defeat the Army of a great Power at all. Whatever might have happened in ancient times, no small country can now defeat the Army of a great Power. The Belgian Army was not able to defeat the Army of a great Power, and the armies of many other countries, which have been effective from the national point of view, have not been able to defeat the armies of great Powers. The Army here is undergoing a radical change in organisation and in type. It began as a standing Army, an ordinary enlisted Army of full-time soldiers with a considerable period of service. It has been changed into an Army in which there are militia and territorial elements. It is bound to be a considerable time before that process is completed. The amount that a force of that type, which will be regarded as suitable for the requirements of this country, can be maintained for no one can definitely say. The only thing that can be done now is to carry on as economically as possible, to carry out the changes to the new type of organisation as rapidly as possible, having regard to the existing circumstances. That is being done. There is no more reason for taking an arbitrary figure of one million than there is for taking an arbitrary figure of £200,000. There are people in this House, and certainly in the country, who would regard the figure £200,000 as extravagant. If we are to have an Army at all, except a mere group of reserve police, it is obvious that the figure £200,000 is ridiculously small. There is absolutely no reason for fixing the figure at one million. We have a body of troops at present which is not too great for the situation. I do not think we have yet reached the position in this country where we can do without regular troops. I admit that a change is going on, that the likelihood of anyone trying to throw down any sort of armed challenge to the State is decreasing, but I believe that if to-morrow we found ourselves without regular troops and with only some sort of volunteer organisation, there would be grave danger that we would have again arising the chaotic conditions of 1922. Deputies opposite would do well to remember that the conditions they created at that time cost so much that the interest on the capital sum would keep the Army going in perpetuity.

[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 70; Níl, 55.

  • Aird, William P.
  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Cole, John James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEóin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Murphy, Joseph Xavier.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • White, John.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clancy, Patrick.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Colohan, Hugh.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mullins, Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Tubridy, John.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle; Níl, Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Question declared carried.

I should like to have the Committee Stage taken now.

We have no objection.

The Dáil went into Committee.
Bill passed through Committee without amendment.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Bill reported without amendment.
Question—"That the Bill be received for final consideration"—put and agreed to.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

A discussion on the financial business of this State has assumed very much the character of a serial story or a serial film—it has to be taken in instalments. That is so because the motto of the President and the Executive Council, so far as Deputies are concerned, is "Safety First." The Minister for Industry and Commerce will, I believe, go down to posterity as the originator of that salutary, if not commendable, policy. He has indicated that whenever a serious discussion affecting the welfare of the people is concerned the first consideration of the Government Party is that of the hermit crab, to protect its rear. The reasons with which they support their policy in this House, the arguments with which they endeavour to bolster it up, are not such as will bear a reply, and, therefore, as I said, whenever any important question is under discussion the first concern of the Government is to bring the discussion to an end as speedily as possible by refusing to put up speakers on their benches to urge the Government point of view.

There are one or two exceptions. We know the saying about those who walk where angels fear to tread. Occasionally the Minister for Agriculture will intervene in the midst of a debate, but he is only permitted to be on the Government Benches when a minor matter like a toffee factory is under consideration. But in cases where a Vote on Account, the Central Fund Bill, questions of finance which go to the root of good government, are before the Dáil, the Minister for Agriculture, like Deputy Heffernan, the Chairman of the Economy Committee, is either muzzled or dumb of malice aforethought. We are permitted to hear the Minister for Finance repeat the speech which he always makes upon these occasions. To-day, as yesterday, he said that the call of the Fianna Fáil Party for economies was dictated purely by political consideration. I think that he intended that to be a reflection upon the character of this Party.

If politics are the science of good government undoubtedly, in demanding that economies in administration should be sought for and carried out, we on these benches are influenced by the political consideration of making the lot of the common people of the country a little easier and somewhat better and when we talk about trying to effect economies in a Department like that of the Governor-General, in the Dáil, in the Seanad, in the Prisons and in the Gárda Síochána, we have this feeling undoubtedly at the back of our minds, that these are Departments in which economies can be most easily carried out, that these are the Departments where there could be a certain amount of cheese-paring without its reacting in any way to the detriment of the community as a whole. If we were going to economise these obviously are the Departments where we should first economise. These are the drones in the hive. No one, surely, will try to argue in this House that the Governor-General or his establishment is at all a reproductive one. No one, I think, can contend in any seriousness that if the Governor-General's residence were closed and if we were able to save £26,000 a year for the country the country as a whole would be the loser.

There would be £26,000, which is at present spent in maintaining a luxury to which the common people of the country are wholly averse, available for employment in productive industry in this country. These things, the Gárda Síochána, the Prisons, the Dáil, the Seanad, the salaries of the Executive Council and the rest of the Departments in which Deputy de Valera indicated economies might be sought, are in the nature of overhead charges upon the general administration. If the cost of them can be reduced without loss of efficiency, surely it should be reduced and surely it is no mean political consideration which would urge any Party who were imbued with a spirit of responsibility to the people who sent them here, to ask that economies in these Departments should be sought and should if possible be secured?

Where else are economies to be made? On the Old Age Pensions Vote? Well, we know that the first significant economy which the Cumann na nGaedheal Government made was on that particular Vote, and I do not think it met with the approval of the people. I do not think that to-day that would meet with the approval of any section in the House, even of the Minister's own Party. Primary and Secondary education, on the Land Commission, under that heading of the Estimate which is devoted to the improvement of estates, on Unemployment Insurance? It is true that the Government have succeeded recently in making a certain reduction in the grant for unemployment insurance, but that economy was opposed by the members on these benches, and the members on the Labour Benches. This Party, as a whole, will be very slow and very reluctant to reduce the beneficial expenditure on the services which I have indicated, and which are generally classified as social services.

Yet, the point I want to bring out is that if we do not make economies in regard to the first group, we shall be compelled, whether we like it or not, ultimately to make economies in regard to the second group. We shall be compelled to reduce our present expenditure on the social services, because we cannot go on borrowing indefinitely, and we cannot borrow at all and avoid an adverse reaction on our social expenditure. Every year since the Cumann na nGaedheal Government has come into office, we have failed to balance our Budget. Every year there has been a deficit which was met by borrowing. During the coming year, for which the Minister proposes to budget upon the basis which he has submitted to the House, there will probably be a total expenditure of £26,521,000. To meet that, the probable revenue will be £24,172,000, leaving us with a deficit at the end of the year of £2,349,000, a deficit which has got to be met, and which, up to the present, the Minister has met annually by borrowing. The consequence of his borrowing has been that our annual charge for the public debt has gone up year by year until at present it is more than last year's deficit. At present, it is roughly £2,150,000. That means that when we raise in taxation £24,000,000, as we have done roughly every year since 1927-28, whereas before we had, say, £23,000,000 available for expenditure other than the charges on the public debt, this year and in the years to come, even if we do not increase that debt by further borrowing, we are only going to have available for the ordinary expenses of Government something like £22,000,000.

If we continue, as the Minister has done, the policy which the Minister inaugurated when he first took responsibility for the finances of this country, of refusing to balance his Budget, ultimately and inevitably, since we have to meet our commitments to people from whom we have borrowed the money unless we are going to become defaulters, we shall have to reduce expenditure upon the social services. The Minister for Finance has stated that there are no possible avenues of economy. Is there any person in this Dáil who believes the Minister when he says that? Are not all of us familiar with the conditions that prevail in the Civil Service in every department of the administration? Do not we all know that each department has a dual staff, the trained administrators from the old régime, the people who carry the real burden of the administration, and the placemen—the creatures of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government? The first people do the real administrative work and carry on the public services. Most of the second group are there as passengers to do the political work, the publicity and general propaganda work of the Government. Does any one, for the moment, believe that if there were a thorough combout of the Departments of the State, we would not find that there were very many redundant officials who could be got rid of, who are at present doing nothing to earn their salaries?

I would have very little fault to find with the Government if every officer were giving a fair return for the salary paid to him. I would stand for generous salaries if I were certain we were getting a fair return. But any person who has gone into a single Government Department, unless he was prepared to doubt his eyes, must know that there is wholesale overstaffing in these Departments, and overstaffing leads to inefficiency. "Too many cooks spoil the broth," is an old saying and is a true one, and it undoubtedly applies to Government Departments as well as it applies to ordinary business organisations. Therefore, every one of us must be conscious of the fact that the Minister for Finance who gets up and declares that economies are impossible is making that statement, not because he believes it to be true, but because he is unwilling to set on foot that searching investigation into the Departments which would result in the economies which we are working for and which the people require.

I listened to the Minister making another point in his speech in reply to Deputy de Valera, how at one time his Department was faced with a shortage of officials of a particular type, and how inconvenienced it was by the resignation of income tax inspectors. He told us how these people went out and how immediately they were employed by other concerns at salaries which ranged from 50 per cent. to 100 per cent. more than they had been receiving. That is a typical instance of the half truths with which the Dáil and the country are being continually deceived by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. He did not tell the Dáil the reason for this general resignation of these particular officers. He did not tell them that the reason was that at that particular time the banks of the country were starting income tax departments and were very anxious to get trained men, familiar with income tax procedure, and income tax law, and that because there was a shortage of this particular class they were prepared to offer to them inducements which would lead them to leave the civil service. There was at that particular time an abnormal demand for men of this type, and due to abnormal demand that these particular salaries were offered when the shortage arose. You may be sure that what he said, with reference to that particular side of his Department, would not apply as a whole to the civil service.

The Minister, in criticising Deputy de Valera, said, "if he cited a figure of £10,000 or £100,000 as a possible economy, we might have listened to him." We know the Minister for Finance and the Government Party too well to believe that for a moment. We know that no matter what figure Deputy de Valera suggested as the measure of the possible economy that might be secured, Deputy de Valera would receive the same answer from the Government Benches. He would be told that these figures were ridiculous, that they had been given without any advertence whatever to the real position. One of the Departments in which Deputy Lemass indicated there might be economies was the Army, and again we are told that it was because we were actuated by political bias that we suggested the Army as a possible field for economy.

Before I go on to that, I would like to remind the House also of the criticism which the Minister for Finance advanced upon Deputy Lemass's speech. Deputy Lemass said that the cost of Government has got to come down and then he said, I think, that that statement did not necessarily imply that the expenditure upon the social services had got to be decreased. The Minister putting those two statements in juxtaposition said it confirmed him in the belief that a lot of the Fianna Fáil talk in regard to economy is humbug. But what is the real cost of Government? When Deputy Lemass said the cost of Government had got to come down, I take it that what he meant and what was quite obvious from his speech, was that the real cost of Government had to come down, because, remember, all Government expenditure is not waste. A large part of it is reproductive and to the extent that it is reproductive the real cost of Government is reduced. When I say and when Deputy Lemass and Deputy de Valera say that the Army is a possible field for economy, our criticism in that regard is not possibly so much on account of the amount of money that would be voted for the maintenance of an Army but that in the present circumstances and at the present time whatever amount of money you vote for the maintenance of an Army in this country, whether it be £1,400,000, as it is proposed to spend under these Estimates or whether it be a million, that £1,400,000 or that million will be wasted. We have on record the opinion of those who are competent to judge in this connection. We know Deputy Seán McEoin's opinion of the expenditure of £14,000,000 which has taken place in the Army during the past five or six years. What Deputy Seán MacEoin stated in the memorandum which was issued on behalf of the defunct National Defence Association is confirmed by every candid serving officer in the Army that you will meet. There is no real air force in the Army; there is no gunnery, there are no technical services of any kind whatsoever, at least in anything but name, and that £1,400,000 which is being spent on the Army is being spent merely upon labels with nothing behind them, spent on green uniforms and yellow braid. It is because it is being spent in that way and without any return, either immediate or prospective, to the people of this country that we are opposed—at least I am—to it, so far as the maintenance of the Army for the purpose of national defence is concerned.

I do recognise, to a certain extent, the force of what the Minister has said, that if we are to be secure not only in the present position, but in the political position which I hope under another Government and in more favourable circumstances we shall attain to, if we are to be secure in our independence, we must have an efficient Army. If we could do it and if the circumstances of the time were propitious, now would be the time to lay the foundation of such an Army. The £1,400,000 which is being spent on the Army at the present moment is certainly not going to provide a real basis of national defence in this country.

If I did not think it too much of a digression, I might stress the conflict of opinion which has arisen and is quite patent between the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Agriculture in regard to the Army. The Minister for Finance cherishes the Army. We have the opinion of the Minister for Agriculture, I think, uttered in this House, upon record. I think he said the army is not worth a damn. When you have such a serious difference of opinion in the Executive as to the Army, then I think the humblest private member of this House might become sceptical as to the return which the country as a whole is going to reap from the expenditure of this £1,400,000.

I commented at the outset upon the strange silence of the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Heffernan, during this debate. In yesterday's discussion upon the Vote on Account and on the Second Stage of the Central Fund Bill, Deputy Heffernan was silent. He is the Chairman of the Economy Committee. It surely is his particular duty to recommend these Estimates to the House if he agrees with them. But the Deputy is muzzled. Is it a fact that he believes that serious economies could be made and that because that is his belief he prefers to be silent in this debate? Deputy Lemass said that the principal function of this Economy Committee would be to eliminate waste and he urged Deputy Heffernan to set a good example by eliminating waste. That is rather hard on Deputy Heffernan—to ask him to emulate the spirit of the ancient Japanese heroes and to immolate or eliminate himself in the cause of economy, because I understand that he is one of the veritable passengers upon the Government Benches. I suggest that if the Deputy were prepared to take the heroic step to which Deputy Lemass urges him— if he were prepared to eliminate waste and in doing so to eliminate himself, and in that spirit of self-immolation to inbue the Government with a similar spirit—it would react very much to the benefit of the country as a whole.

If we had on the Government Benches at the present moment, as I said yesterday, a Government which was not so blinded by prejudice, which had not so doped itself by auto-suggestion as President Cosgrave seems to have done, if, instead of believing that we are living in an era of prosperity, they felt we were part of the ordinary economic system of the world, and were going through hard times, as admittedly the greater part of the world is, and that, therefore, in view of these hard times it was incumbent upon them to take special steps to reduce the burden upon the people—if we had a Government imbued with that spirit in power, then there would be some hope for this country. There would even be some prospect that within a short period the rosy picture with which the Government put the Treaty before us might come to be realised, and for the common people of Ireland there might dawn an era of frugal prosperity and comfort, such as has been denied us through the generations.

We voted against the Vote on Account yesterday and against the Second Reading of this Bill to-day, and will again vote against it on this Stage, if it goes to a vote, because we are not in agreement with the general financial policy of the Government. We have made that clear on many occasions. I just rise to make it equally clear that we do not subscribe to everything that has been said by the Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party, especially in his speech to-day, even though we, like him, are prepared to oppose this Bill. I want to say, too, that while we may be in agreement with many of the things said from the Fianna Fáil Benches in regard to economies in particular directions, we do not believe that the social services which we should like to see maintained and increased can be financed entirely, or to any great extent, by any economies, even the most rigid, that can be carried out. Personally, from my own experience and consideration of these things, I have no great faith that these economies can be very effective or that a very great sum can be gained by them. I think they are more apparent than real, and that when there is a real examination in most cases it will be found that no very great sum can be gained. Perhaps I say that because Deputy MacEntee spoke in a very general way of Departments carrying dual staffs and a great deal of passengers. I wish he was more explicit on that. The House would be glad to have more explicit and definite information, and not a mere general statement of that kind.

I happen to have particular knowledge of one Department, and I am in a position to say that I know of no passenger in that Department. That is the Department of Education, with which I have a good deal of contact from time to time. I do not profess to know a great deal about any other Department, but I feel satisfied that in that Department in any case there are no passengers, especially among the higher officials. I rose especially to express my disagreement with what I took to be the general tone of Deputy de Valera's speech, and some implications which were contained in it—very definite to my mind—that we should have a lower standard than they have, for instance, in the neighbouring country across the Channel. I took down what he said—that we should have a very different standard from an industrial country like England. That seems to me to mean that he was not referring alone to the higher civil servants, that it was a very general statement, and I want to enter a protest against it. I do believe that those who fought for such a measure of liberty as we have here, those who made sacrifices in order to establish a home Government here, would not have done so if they thought that one of the consequences of their action would be the lowering of the standard that they had enjoyed when they were under the British Government, or connected with the British Government. I do not think that we should look to Continental countries for a standard. I believe it is possible not only to maintain but increase our standard of living. I believe that we should not look so much in the direction indicated from the Fianna Fáil Benches as towards increasing the number of potential taxpayers in the country— increasing their capacity to pay taxes. That can be done if we turn our attention to creating new wealth and increasing production. The Government have failed to do that. They have failed to take any positive, definite steps in that direction. They have left it to the enterprise of individuals, or rather have pinned their faith in the enterprise of individual capitalists in this country, and these people have failed them. They have not shown that enterprise, that energy, that patriotism, if I may say so, that one would expect.

The Government themselves have taken no definite or positive steps in that direction. I maintain that it is in that direction we should look if we are to maintain the standard that we have and to increase it. I certainly do not agree with the Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party in the statement which has been made, not for the first time, that we should have a different standard, by which I understand a lower standard——

Mr. O'Connell

—by which I understand, and if I am wrong let the Deputy correct me, that we are to have a lower standard of living in this country than is capable of being maintained in an industrial country like England. I prefer to take a completely different view. I believe that it is possible to have a higher standard of living here even than across the Channel. I believe if we set about it in the right way that it is possible of being attained and maintained here. That was my main purpose in rising— just to enter that protest against a policy which may appear to be attractive, but which I think is one that all who have the interests of the community at heart ought to protest against.

I find it very difficult to think that Deputy O'Connell really misunderstood me. I want to see the highest standard of living that can be possibly attained in this country, but not for one particular class. I want to see it evened round somewhat. The whole burden of my speech was that there was apparently one special privileged class who were getting from the taxpayers a sum more than sufficient to reward them for their services to the community, while other classes of the community had to starve.

Mr. O'Connell

There was no distinction made in the speech.

It is quite obvious that I dealt with the bigger salaries from beginning to end.

Mr. O'Connell

It was not obvious to me.

If the Deputy had been listening I am quite certain he would have understood.

Mr. O'Connell

I was listening very carefully.

In any speech I have made at any time I never indicated a wish to lower the standard of the people who already have a standard which is too low for them to live upon in reasonable comfort. Whenever we speak from these benches about salaries we always have in mind the slums of Dublin, the people who have no houses to live in them, the people who have to be supported out of the rates, the people who have to be supported by charity. Why is that? It is because there is an uneven distribution of the wealth of the country, that we ought to attempt to rectify as far as we can. I believe we can do it. I have always said that in this country we can get an average standard of living higher than in other countries, because there are favourable factors in our case that do not operate in other countries. What I was referring to was the grand imperial scale in which people at the top are being remunerated. I do not think we ought to pay these salaries or adopt these standards. I indicated a scaling down to £500 in the Civil Service. I stopped at £500. The Minister for Finance would say it was the round figure that attracted me.

I mentioned one million pounds in the case of the Army because it was roughly two-thirds. And having in mind local stations, and relying on the information given me by many members of our Party, I said you could reduce the number of them by one-third roughly without impairing efficiency. I adopted the same principle roughly that Deputy Murphy suggested when he said one day that a way in which it might be possible to save unnecessary expenditure would be to go to a certain Department with a special sum and say, "That is all that is available for you, and you must do the best you can within it." Is it not obvious to everybody that you could go on and get improvement and improvement if you are prepared to spend more and more money? It is obvious that you can get more services from any Department and get more things done with more money, but you must ask yourself is the extra amount that is going to be done, going to pay for the extra money expended on it. If you increase the speed of a liner, if the extra speed is going to cost too much, you decide to give it up. In the same way in the Civil Service, the people who are at the top are supposed to be so invaluable that they could not be dispensed with. We are paying too much in the standard we have set at the top. Deputy O'Connell cannot have it both ways.

I never tried to.

Very well. If you are to increase the standard of the lower paid officials, if you are going to provide housing for people with no houses at present, if you are to deal with the slum problem and to provide work for those out of work at the present time, you will have to ask the taxpayers to provide the money? Is he going to do that willingly when he sees money apparently squandered at the top? What is the average wages paid in industry? The average person in industry is paid something like £133. That is the average sum available from industry. Something like £88— I forget the exact figure—is the amount the average person is able to get out of agriculture. How are these people with that wage to be asked to contribute for housing schemes, for old age pensions and other social services of that kind if they see at the top the Governor-General getting £10,000 a year for his personal salary and £15,000 on the side of expenses? The Minister for Finance told us that a few years ago we tried to do it this way: We gave certain officials £500 and had to buy their clothes. A good many suits of clothes could be bought with the remaining £500. As a matter of fact he was inaccurate, because what happened in that case was that the people were being sent abroad under special conditions and circumstances and special provision had to be made for them. But it was a mere bagatelle. Is it not very much better if there is to be entertainment of foreign visitors that there should be a fund for that only, to be used in special circumstances into which there would be inquiry if it were abused than there should be provision made for it in the personal salaries of individuals? There ought to be a levelling up and a levelling down to meet it. You cannot lift the whole scale up. It is impossible to do that in present conditions. Everything depends on our power of production. We have never in any proposition we have put up tried to interfere with the power of production. What we have been saying is that there is only one cure and that is to produce more. When we saw the foreign markets likely to be against us and not giving opportunity for further expansion in that direction we asked the people to look at home, and see whether they could not get increased production by dealing with the home market. We are told that does not matter either if prices are not increased. The very fact that a man's production is increased is clearly a profit to him, even though the prices do not increase.

The Minister for Agriculture tells us there is no use unless the price goes up. That is not so. If a farmer can sell more produce and he has a certain percentage of profits, his overhead charges will remain roughly the same, and it will be an advantage to him to have a bigger turnover. Let there be no misunderstanding about our policy. I do not think—except Deputy O'Connell wants merely to score off a statement of mine which he regards as not complete——

Mr. O'Connell

No. I am glad to have that declaration from the Deputy.

We have been so long dealing with the questions that arise in this House in connection with various propositions, that our attitude on social questions ought to be well known. When in Dáil Eireann the democratic programme was passed, I, for one, subscribed to it. I adhere to it, because I believe it is the right programme. It is because I believe in it that I want to see the right headline set at the top. We are told that it is a hair-shirt policy. If some of us did put on a hair shirt when other unfortunate people have to wear something very much worse, it would be no harm at all. I believe that if we have a large section of the community in a condition bordering on starvation, unable to get employment—we have one-fourth of the people in the city of Dublin living in slums, it behoves some of the people at the top to put a little bit of pressure upon themselves, and exercise a certain amount of economy as far as their outlay is concerned.

There are other directions, too. Take the case of the roads. We want to have the finest roads in Europe. Who will pay for them? Who will use them? If we are going to have the finest roads in Europe people who are using them must pay the greater portion of the cost. The farmer, who has to pay for them, is not able to use them very often. I have seen farmers struggling to get their horses along to market and cattle falling all over these roads. That is the sort of standard I would reduce. I do not see why we should look for the finest roads and the grandest motor cars as long as there is a section of our people unable to get a breakfast in the morning or a bed at night. If Deputy O'Connell has any objection to that, let him say so. We have been long enough in this House to make it clear to Deputy O'Connell or anybody else that when we talk about the reduction of the standard we do not say we must all diminish the standard. There are some people who cannot do it. They have no standard at present. It cannot be diminished. In order to help these people to get a living and to get the ordinary taxpayer who has to provide help for them in these times willingly to bear the burden we will have to insist upon people at the top doing with less. There is no room for luxury in the present conditions.

As far as we are concerned in this, our whole attitude is that an example needs badly to be set at the top. It is not the mere saving of £80,000 or £100,000 that matters. It is not for political spite that I speak about the Army because the Army happened to be opposed to us, or the Civic Guards, because they happen to be recruited largely from our political opponents. It is not from that angle that I am approaching these questions. The Minister for Finance, though he pretends it is, knows well it is not. We do not propose, and we never suggested, that if we were elected as a Government we would interfere or that we would penalise them. It would be the worst possible national policy to do so. The people who would come after us would think that they had an equal right to upset what was done by us. Anyone looking ahead who had any regard for the interests of the country would not dream of adopting such a policy. It is not right to say of us that when talking about the reduction of these services the motive is political spite. My attitude is this: There are certain extravagances at the top, and if we were beginning anew, and did not have this heritage, we would never dream of indulging in them. It is time for us to call a halt and cut them out. I did not intend to intervene, but as Deputy O'Connell clearly misunderstood what I said, I felt it necessary to expand what I had said already.

There were statements made here to-night by the Minister for Finance that several officials who are being paid very high salaries are indispensable. That is apparently the whole cry. We are to judge the standard of salaries in this country not by what the country is able to pay, but by what an official imagines he is worth. That is bad for the country, but that appears to be the standard by which the Government judges. Judging by that standard, I am amazed that some of the Ministers on the Front Bench did not increase their salaries to £10,000 a year long ago. Is there one single member of the farming community to-day who can truthfully say that he is making £1,000 a year out of his farm? Still these are the people who have to pay those salaries. It is out of their sweat the salaries come. We have not heard any suggestion at all from the Minister for Finance about cutting the salaries of highly-paid officials. He pooh-poohed the idea that the highest salary should be £1,000 a year. I think £1,000 a year is a very high mark at which to fix the salaries. Does the man who is managing a small shop get the same salary as the manager of a large establishment? Then why should we set the same line in the matter of salaries here as is paid in England?

I examined the salaries on these Estimates. I have gone through them from cover to cover and I find that a sum of £326,000 is being paid here as cost-of-living bonus on salaries of over £400 a year. Perhaps the President would tell us that a poor fellow with £400 a year with his wife and family is liable to die of starvation on that sum. What do we find on the other side? We have a maximum wage set by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health for employment on road service. The Minister knows very well that even with that wage he has not sufficient jobs to go round. The enormous maximum wage of £1 9s. a week is fixed by the Minister as the wage that should be paid to a man who has a wife and family to support. Even at that wage he has not enough employment to go round for he lays down another proviso in this matter and that is that the first preference in this work must be given to men of the National Army. That shows that there are too many men unemployed looking for work at 29s. a week to support themselves and their families. The Minister knowing that that is the position of affairs and having full knowledge of the state of the country, says: "Oh, a poor fellow with £1,500 a year must get £4 a week more as a bonus for fear his children should go hungry." That is the policy which the Cumann na nGaedheal Party are asked to defend here by their votes in the Lobby. That is a fair statement of the case. Then we have the Minister for Finance to-day telling us about the good work that was being done by the Local Appointments Commission and he gave us the example of the county councils long ago. He told us that they put men into positions at low salaries and then made up these salaries in other ways. I have had a little experience during the last five years on the local boards and I find that the Minister for Local Government and Public Health has increased the salaries of practically every individual in Cork by anything from 150 to 300 per cent. in these five years. It might be said that in the county surveyor's position, for instance, a great deal of engineering skill is required. But there is not very much engineering skill necessary to make a road suitable for the farmers and their horses and carts. If special engineers are required to lay down tar macadam roads for Government officials with their motor cars then let the Government officials pay for these roads. The farmers should not be asked to pay for them. The farmers are paying much beyond what they should be expected to pay.

We had a lecture from Deputy Hennessy last night on the Commissioner system in Kerry. What was the result of the Commissioner system? He told us there was a saving in the estimate for that county this year of £20,000. I happen to be one of the members who came in after the Commissioner in Cork. The Commissioner apparently was a superman, for he figured here afterwards in a special Act of Parliament which made him City Manager. In one year, after we followed the Commissioner, we were able to save £18,000 and this reduction was continued in the four years following. At the same time we increased the home assistance. We took over other boards to which Commissioners were sent down by the Department. One of these Commissioners mysteriously disappeared. He was not even able to manage his own house and his own family affairs, not to speak of managing the county's affairs. There might be some good in the Commissioner system if we could get the right men. Those Commissioners are not supermen.

I might tell Deputy Hennessy that my experience is that every official, no matter in what position he is placed, is always prepared to look after the interests of other officials as against the interests of the ratepayers, particularly when he has not to pay any of the rates himself. That is what the Deputies here ignore and do not realise. I am anxious to see the lower salaried officials treated fairly, but I am equally anxious to see that a saving can be made, and that can be done with very little effort. I know that Deputy Heffernan's Economy Committee has been somewhere in the moon for the last five years. They have not brought in a report yet. If I had hold of their business for a week I would bring in a report that would show economies which would startle the Dáil. I do not know that my report would be accepted. I do know that the President and his supporters here would not accept it, because these officials are paid these salaries for services rendered. What really happened here is that when this State was set up there were many hangers-on looking for jobs, and there were only a certain number of jobs to go round. These salaries were fixed. It was in that way that we had the shoe-boy appointed at £15 a week. We had positions which would be worth £5 a week, and men were appointed to them at £700 or £800 a year. They were appointed for political services, or, perhaps, for services about which the less said the better. That is what happened in these cases.

Any economies that were effected in the last five years were effected in the lower grades. Take the position of the Civic Guards, for instance. The Government actually took the shoes off their feet, but not a shilling was taken off any man above the rank of sergeant. The salaries of the gentlemen higher up were not reduced, but the poor fellows at the foot of the ladder lost their shoes. That is the sort of economy that is being practised here. The Government has actually endeavoured to create a special class in this country that I might refer to as white slaves. What is the man who has a wife and family to support on £1 9s. 0d. a week but a white slave? There are unfortunate individuals attending board of assistance meetings every fortnight looking for eight shillings a week in order to support themselves and their families. We are asked here to give an extra £4 a week to a man with a salary of £1,500 so that his children may not go hungry.

The Minister for Finance referred to the Governor-General, and told us that he was entitled to £15,000 in addition to the £10,000 we already give him. He should have special privileges besides, such as £252 for a piano. The £25,000 given to the Governor-General is contributed by unfortunate farmers whose families have to work as unpaid labourers in order to carry on. They are obliged to contribute to all the nonsense here, and it is time that ended. It is unfair and unjust to the people that certain of their elected representatives should come here and, like dumb driven cows, trot into the Lobby to vote for a policy of this description. If their constituents were aware of their actions they would be torn limb from limb, or hounded out of the country.

I have shown the Minister for Finance how money could be saved. It took me only one night to go through the Estimates and to find that a sum of £326,000 is paid as cost-of-living bonus on salaries over £400. The Minister should trim the salaries of those gentlemen. If they were paid in accordance with their value to the State, some of them might be valueless and others would be so able that the country could scarcely afford to pay them. If we work along that line we will be nearer the mark. The farming community cannot bear the burden placed upon them. It is scarcely worth while speaking to Deputies here. I have seen them voting for the most nonsensical things just because the whip of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party is cracked over their heads. On other occasions if Deputy Good calls the tune the Cumann na nGaedheal Party have to answer. It is time we knew where we stand in regard to salaries and the position that exists in this State to-day should not be tolerated any longer.

It is not, as the Minister says, merely out of Party spite that we make an attack of this sort upon the Government. What we say is really based upon the inspirations of the national movement. In other countries you find people willing to work and at the same time not desirous of accumulating large fortunes. They are willing to work because they love their country and they love the glory they get out of serving the people. Within recent times two of the greatest men in France died— General Foch and Monsieur Clemenceau. Did they die rich men? No, although they had long periods of office. They fought for and saved the freedom of France; they saved the people of France and yet they died comparatively poor men. It is because we are overwhelmed by the spirit of English plutocracy that we seem to think men must be paid the very highest salaries. Unfortunately the present Government established itself in power upon certain ideas which were largely the ideas of what could be got out of the situation, and it is because of that they cannot now get away from these traditions.

I thought that the President or the Minister for Finance might, in the course of the debate, recollect their earlier enthusiasms—might get back some of the old feeling which belonged to the movement when we were all together and were not thinking of money. At that time there was not certain pressure coming from selfish interests. I thought, perhaps, even upon grounds of political expediency a compromise might have been made with us and that some gesture would come from the other side. I thought that at least from the point of view of vote-catching a gesture on their part, would be advisable. But no. They possibly may make promises when it comes to the time of a General Election, but at this stage they make no gesture. In other countries, like Germany and some of the Colonies, you have Ministers making generous gestures and accepting lower salaries. There is no budge from the Ministers here, no attempt on their part to make sacrifices. They might have based a sacrifice upon the temporary needs of the people, and declared that for some years to come they would be willing to take a salary of £1,000 a year. In spite of what the Minister for Finance has said, let me point out that a salary of £1,000 a year was agreed to by members of the Fianna Fáil Party as being, under the present circumstances, the most suitable maximum salary for Ministers and for the higher salaried officials. The Government is not willing to take up an attitude like that, although they might do it if it were merely until such time as they had recovered the area which is outside our taxable area at the moment, namely, the Six Counties. The loss of revenue from that area tells terribly against the rest of Ireland. They might have taken up that attitude and said they would hold to it until we got back the annuities and police pensions that we are paying over to England for the sake of the blue eyes of the English people. They might have done it on many grounds, such, for instance, as the decrease in the purchasing power of the people and the amount of money flowing out of the country for which there is no return. They have not done that. It would have been a great advantage from the point of view of the Irish people if they had taken up a generous attitude in this matter and reverted to the former spirit of the Republican movement in Ireland. There is one thing which is now pretty clear to my mind, and it is that when this Government comes to an end we shall never see it in power in those benches again.

I would like to know if the President could tell us anything as to what the housing policy of the Government is to be for this year. We have been told that we are to have a new Housing Bill immediately after Easter. I take it that measure will not deal with the question of loans. There is a pretty decent sum set apart in the Local Loans Vote for this year. I think, however, that since the value of money has been reduced considerably since the annuities which local authorities have to pay the Government were fixed, the President should consider giving money at a lower rate than it is at present. About two years ago the Government agreed to advance money from the Local Loans Fund for housing. The annuity fixed then was £6 13s. 4d. per cent. Money at that time was 7 per cent. It is now 4 per cent. In view of that reduction in the bank rate there ought to be a reduction in the charge made to local authorities on money advanced for housing, some relation between that charge and the prevailing rate of interest to enable local authorities to build houses at a rent that the workers in the various urban centres would be in a position to pay.

I would like to know from the President if the Government contemplate doing anything in that direction. The President knows as much about the difficulties in the way of local authorities in regard to this question as anyone in the country. The position at the moment is this. If a house costs £300, there is a Government subsidy of £60. The rent is calculated on £240. It works out at about 10/- a week, taking into account depreciation at the rate of one per cent., rates at about 15/- in the £, interest, insurance and commission on rent collection. If the Government were prepared to reduce the annuities in the same proportion as the bank rate has been reduced since the annuities were fixed originally, houses of this description could be built and let at about 5/- per week. That certainly would be getting near the mark, so far as house rent is concerned. I do not know what the Government propose to do in their new Housing Bill, but this is a matter that deserves serious consideration. We may be told that, at the time the Government agreed to release money for housing from the Local Loans Fund, nobody else was prepared to do that, and that at the moment certain insurance companies in this country are advancing money for housing at the rate of 4¾ per cent. That is true, but the money is advanced over a period of 50 years.

I think the President will agree that in the case of housing loans, if the term fixed for repayment is too long, it is not good either for the people who are going to inhabit the houses or for the local authorities. It is not desirable in the case of local authorities that they should, so to speak, have loans hanging over their heads for a long period. I think that a period of 30 years would be reasonable, and that it should be fixed by the Government. The period of 35 years in the case of the Local Loans Fund is, I think, sufficiently long. I hope the President contemplates doing something in connection with this housing problem. He must know that it is one of the most serious problems the country is confronted with, and that it deserves far more consideration than the Government are giving to it. I would also like to know what progress has been made in the negotiations with the British Government with regard to the taking over of the Irish Lights service. A great deal of anxiety prevails amongst the employees in that service. There is a feeling abroad that the Government here should conclude the negotiations as soon as possible.

The question of wages and salaries has been raised by a number of Deputies. I am not going to go into the question of the salaries paid to civil servants. I should think that if a man has a responsible position he should be paid a salary in keeping with his responsibility. I would like, however, to deal with the wages paid under what is known as grant work. In part of the County Wexford the Forestry Department are carrying out work on which they are paying a wage of 29/-a week. In another part of the county the rate of wages on similar work is only 22/- a week. That is something the Government should not stand over. I raised this matter with the Minister for Finance and was told the reason the 22/- a week was paid was that the men engaged were working on what was known as grant work. That is to say, a grant has been given for that particular work, and a stipulation was made by the Department of Finance that the wage should be 22/- a week. I do not know how the Government are going to reconcile that position. It is all very well for Ministers to come forward and say that a civil servant is entitled to £1,400 or £1,500 a year with bonus— that the man receiving that salary may have certain responsibilities. I think the President will agree with me that the unfortunate man who has to work for 22/- a week has a responsibility to his wife and children which he certainly will not be able to discharge on that wage. No man could possibly keep a wife and family on such a wage —certainly not in the way that God intended. I think it is a very wrong and unwise policy for the Government to pursue—to stipulate that anyone should be paid a wage as low as 22/-a week. The Government should be ashamed to stand over such a policy.

I intend to vote against the motion before the House on the grounds already indicated by some members of the Party. At the same time I do not want to be taken as sharing the views expressed by some Deputies on the Fianna Fáil Benches, particularly in reference to some of the chief officers of the State and the salaries they receive. As Deputy Corish has said, any officer of the State—civil servant or Minister— who has to shoulder a certain amount of responsibility, is deserving of as high a salary as the State can afford to pay. I agree that unless the service is made attractive, young men of ability will not evince any desire to join it. In this country, no more than in any other, you will not find people altruistic enough to work for small salaries or wages. I do not altogether share the altruism of Deputy de Valera when he suggests that there are to be found in this State many self-sacrificing men of ability who are prepared to devote their whole time to the service of the State at salaries of less than £500.

I did not say that. I said £1,000 and under.

Would Deputy de Valera suggest the way in which that should be applied to the various professions? For instance, how many doctors are prepared to look after their patients for the love of practising medicine, and are prepared to accept reduced fees for their services? How many K.C.s, of whom we have a sufficiency in the Dáil, are prepared to say that they love their country and their clients so well that they are prepared to take half fees?

There is a way for dealing with that. Is there not?

If we are to have in the Civil Service and in the Ministry —and I do not at all agree with their policy—competent and capable men, and if this State is to stand up at all in world affairs we will have to make these posts attractive. I say, as an ordinary, commonsense person that the greatest attraction you can offer the majority of men, at any rate—except some of the altruists to whom I have referred—is a decent salary. Comments have been made about the Civic Guard barracks, and about the personnel of the Civic Guard in so far as that relates to the reduction of the force. Again, I want to bring a little commonsense to bear on that phase of the discussion. Assuming for a moment that the Dáil is foolish enough to reduce the force by a considerable number, what will the position be? I have no doubt at all that you will have many more attacks on Civic Guard barracks, and on the Civic Guards themselves. I know that, where certain barracks were closed or were about to be closed, a good deal of disturbance of mind was felt in the localities, and a good deal of anxiety was manifested, because of certain happenings in the country. These happenings can be seen every day in the Press. You have them in public utterances, and in cases in the courts, indicating that the present number of Guards is absolutely essential if we are to preserve stability and law and order in this State. I hope that we will not have to continue to keep a very large number of Guards and that the personnel may, at some future date, be reduced, but as citizens, apart altogether from our representative capacity, we have to shoulder the full responsibility for everything we say and do in this State. You cannot have it both ways. I suggest that one cannot go out on the hillsides and to the cross-roads and threaten to upset by force or violence the order established by the ballot boxes, and in the next breath say that you are prepared to rely on the commonsense of the people to express through the ballot boxes a change in the form of government. Until such time as we are assured—and I believe many of the Fianna Fáil Party are with me in this—that we are going to continue stable government, and no longer have threats of violence, and threats against the Government as an institution, so long will we have to continue the expenditure we at present have on institutions such as the Gárda Síochána and the National Army.

[An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.]

I do not want to labour the point, but I want to indicate quite clearly that I will vote against this motion for the reasons already given from these benches. At the same time, I want to make it very clear that I do not subscribe to some of the ideas expressed by some members of the official Opposition with regard to the institutions of State which I have mentioned. I also feel that if the Fianna Fáil Party came into power in this country, which they may some day, they will find it very difficult to get capable and efficient officers of State and civil servants to carry on the work without holding out some attraction similar to that which is held out now. Deputy de Valera will find it pretty expensive to live if he is one day appointed President. If I am here then—and with God's help I will not, because I want to get out as soon as I can—I will not stand up to criticise what salary Deputy de Valera is to enjoy. I say that, in order to carry out the responsibilities of the office and in order to make it attractive for men of ability, the Deputy, and those who may occupy the position, would certainly be entitled to reasonable remuneration. By reasonable remuneration, I mean that it would be a whole-time office, and that the holder could not be a professor in the University drawing a salary there, and also drawing a salary as President of the State. I want to show my disagreement with some of the comments that were passed, while at the same time I intend to vote against the motion.

The President to conclude.

Is the Minister who moved the motion not to conclude?

I am not going to say that I was disappointed at the debate. Deputies would say that I had said that before. There were three or four speeches made by members of the Fianna Fáil Party that I think even they themselves in their candid moments would admit were reeking with politics. Deputy de Valera seized the opportunity of making a second speech, as if he were addressing a meeting before an election. That appears to be characteristic of most of the other speeches made by Deputies on the opposite side. Deputy MacEntee mentioned five services, the Governor-General, the Dáil, the Seanad, the Gárda, and the Prisons, and said that there was a possibility of a reduction in the cost of these services. Deputy de Valera mentioned several times that a commencement should be made at the top, and that was re-echoed by two other members of his Party, one of whom almost drove every Deputy from the benches opposite, and most Deputies, I might say, from other parts of the House. These five services were singled out. The Governor-General under the Treaty is to be paid the same salary as the Governor-General of Australia, £10,000, and provided with an establishment. It is open to the Oireachtas to break that arrangement if it likes. It was one of the understandings arising out of the Treaty.

What about all the difficult and delicate negotiations? Might that not form one of them?

The Deputy has had some experience of difficult and delicate negotiations, and he did not cover himself with very great honour. Do not be dragging these bitter things out, because I do not wish to say them.

You know they are not true.

The Deputy did not carry them out, and he did not succeed in his negotiations. I regret it very much, more than the Deputy. The Dáil has 153 members. How many patriotic members of the Party opposite are prepared to go out and say: "We are getting too much. We can do with less"? Will the Deputy, who is very loud in his denunciation of the Government and of officers at the top, and who has disappeared now, go down to his constituents and say: "£365 a year, £30 a month, far exceeds my expenses, and I will hand some of it back"? Not at all. The Seanad consists of 60 members, and the remuneration there is the same as here. A member of the Party opposite, when it came to a question of considering a reduction of that remuneration, would not have it, would not subscribe to it, and I believe that he is one of the hierarchy of the Fianna Fáil Party. A Seanad of 60 members is not too great an establishment for this country. It might be reduced, but I say that we should get away from the idea that we are a small, miserable, poor, crawling people, and that we cannot afford what other countries are paying.

Then get your Housing Bill quickly.

We were building houses when the Deputy was looking through glass to see what was on the other side. We did not blow up any houses, and I regret that I cannot say that about Deputies opposite.

That is a historical inaccuracy.

A Deputy

Only look at the papers of the time.

I think that we had better leave that to the historians.

At any rate, Deputies opposite did not build any houses when we were building them. In regard to the Gárda Síochána Vote. Deputy de Valera said that he would take £600,000 off it. We have been considering the question of the strength of the Gárda for some years past. We have reduced the numbers, and also the stations, and it so happens that whenever it is proposed to close a station we find supporters of the Fianna Fáil Party coming along to make representations against that reduction. We have the names, we have the addresses.

Pay no attention to them.

We have the statements of the people. The Deputy, behind closed doors, consults his Party and says: "Cannot the Gárda be reduced in strength?" I can imagine even Deputy Geoghegan saying: "Certainly, sir, we have too many." Nobody will believe that. We will accept it for what it is worth, but that is not the way that business is done. Then take the prisons. Are we to feed the prisoners on poorer material? Are we to close the prisons? Are we to release all prisoners? These are four or five of the principal services marked out for reduction by the Party opposite. Deputy MacEntee, who concerned himself with a long rhetorical speech, dealt with other services, and said that on those there could be no reductions—Old Age Pensions, Primary Education, Land Commission, and Unemployment Insurance. He said that he criticised, along with the Labour Party, the policy of the Government in reducing benefits. We reduced no benefits. We reduced overhead charges on industry by that action. The Deputy went on to say that if we did not economise on the first lot, which Deputy de Valera admitted later would amount to about £100,000, excluding the Gárda—and I do not think that anyone outside the Party opposite would think of a reduction of £600,000 in that Estimate——

As a matter of historical accuracy, is the President aware that in an estimate submitted to the First Dáil by Michael Collins it was stated that the 32 Counties could be policed for £500,000?

I am sure that was quite true. That was in 1919?

That was at a time when the conception of citizenship was much more widespread in this country than subsequently—when there was respect for ordered conditions. We can have political differences and still have respect for ordered conditions, and if that kind of spirit were as well subscribed to by the Party opposite now as it was at that time it is quite possible that there would be considerable reductions.

We do not make poteen.

I would not advise the Deputy to make it or drink it. Deputy MacEntee went on to say that for years we have not balanced our Budget. I am not taking the statement of the Deputy as being what we might call anex cathedra pronouncement on behalf of the Party opposite. even though I understand that he is regarded in the minds of some people as a future Minister for Finance. That is a dangerous statement. If people were to believe what is said on the benches opposite and, if they were to believe statements such as that, it would damage the credit of this country. I wonder is that desirable. Does Deputy MacEntee consider that it is desirable? The Budget has been balanced every time I think from the time there was separation of current and non-current expenditure, and the accounts of the State will show on examination a very healthy condition. I am sure that if the more sensible members of the Party opposite reminded these young enthusiasts that such statements as that should not be made, they would be doing a good work. Deputy de Valera said one very sensible thing—that we must have more production. If there is one thing of which we have too much it is newspapers. There are quite enough newspapers.

That is because they all support your Party.

And the Deputy is for establishing another newspaper. The question of staffs in offices is another matter with which Deputy MacEntee concerned himself, and he said that going into these offices one could see quite a number of people who were unnecessary there. That is a very general statement. I wonder does he believe it? I wonder was it exaggeration? If he believes it, I would be very glad if he would give exact information about it, because I do not know of this situation. I would like Deputies to look at the Order Paper for the last three or four weeks here. Let them make up the cost of the answers to those questions, estimate how many members of the staff are required to prepare the answers to the questions that are put there and consider the extent to which the business of the Departments is delayed by having to answer these questions. Deputies are full of economy as long as it is to be at the expense of somebody else, but when it is a question concerning themselves, when they want information and so on, it is another matter.

I, for one, would be quite willing to meet anyone in regard to limitation of expenses in that direction.

Very good. There was also a question about Ministers' salaries. I think it was rather an ungracious statement on the part of Deputy Little that Ministers came in largely with the idea of what they could get out of the situation. Ministers did not fix the salaries which they are paid. There was a Committee of the Dáil to do that and no Minister was on it, nor was any Minister called in. All Parties in the Dáil in 1922 were represented on the Committee which fixed those salaries. One would gather from some of the statements made here that it is possible for Ministers to save money out of their salaries. I would like to correct that impression. That is not so. I do not know of any Minister who has been able to save money. Speaking for myself, I would say that if it were not for other means, I would not have been able to carry out, even in the modest way in which I have carried out, the duties of my office.

What does it mean exactly to fix £1,000 a year as the maximum salary in this State? £1,000 a year as top salary in this State will not, in my view, nor in the view of any business or professional people with whom I have come in contact, attract the best ability in the State. There is a higher price for men's talents and men's genius elsewhere if it is not to be got here, and that is not the type of material that I would like to see exported from this country. Under the Treaty, those officials who have salaries in excess of £1,000, with the exception of those promoted since we came into office, have certain rights. If you insist on reducing their salaries, they can ask for the terms which they have been guaranteed. I think Deputies will find that with the compensation which they would have to be paid, and with the extra sum that would have to be paid to those who would replace them, the experiment would be an expensive one. I wonder if Deputies opposite thought of that.

Deputy Corish put a question in regard to housing. That matter is under consideration. The question of the Irish Lights has not been settled. I do not know anything as regards the wages which he said were paid in Wexford, but I understand it is the policy of the Departments concerned, in connection with works done under the Relief Vote Grant, that the wages to be paid should be those paid to agricultural labourers in the district.

More than that, often, unfortunately.

Deputy MacEntee said that he stood for generous salaries. I do not know what is meant by "generous salaries." I do not know whether or not the interpretation of that statement is that when the members of the Party opposite come into office, if they do, and pay themselves salaries of £1,000 a year, that will be a generous conception of the value of their services.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 70; Níl, 54.

  • Aird, William P.
  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Cole, John James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • MacEóin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • White, John.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clancy, Patrick.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Colohan, Hugh.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Mullins, Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Tubridy, John.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers—Tá: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle; Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Question declared carried.
Bill certified by the Ceann Comhairle as a Money Bill.