Public Business. - Relief of Rates on Agricultural Land.

I move:—

That the Dáil is of opinion that, in the present depressed condition of agricultural industry, the Executive Council should this year provide a special Additional Grant of one million pounds for the relief of the local rates on agricultural land, the sum allocated to each county to be in proportion to the average of the total assessments on such land in the county over the current and past two years.

Back as far as 1925, when a Bill was passing through this House providing a supplementary grant, the Minister for Finance indicated that the question of the best manner for the relief of rates was having his attention. That was six years ago. Since that time de-rating was brought into operation in England. When introducing the Budget in 1929, two years ago—the Act had been in operation for a considerable time before that— the Minister said that since the British Act was passed the question of de-rating had occupied the attention of Ministers and Departments. It is no harm to remind the House of the actual words the Minister used. He said that "in consequence of this British Scheme having been adopted the whole problem (of de-rating) has received a good deal of attention from Minister and Departments since the end of last summer. An inter-Departmental Committee was appointed to examine the matter systematically and its report was carefully considered." That was in April, 1929. A short time after that a De-rating Commission was set up and that De-rating Commission has been considering the matter for well over a year and a half. Here we are entering on another year and no provision is going to be made for the relief of the farming community. We all know that this question of de-rating and the manner in which relief is to be applied does need careful examination, but there is a limit to the time which we can give to the examination, and there is a very definite limit to the time that can be given to it when the industry affected is suffering severely and suffering in such a way that if we delay assistance we may very well find that it will be so crippled that the assistance will be given too late and that the steps which will have to be taken to bring it back to a prosperous condition will require a far greater effort on the part of the community than would be required if timely aid were given.

Now this motion of mine is not intended to be a substitute for a considered scheme of de-rating. It is purely a temporary measure introduced to give timely assistance, because we are of opinion that immediate assistance is wanted. It does not indicate, as far as we are concerned, the lines on which we would propose a de-rating scheme if the duty of proposing such a scheme devolved upon us. We have given to this problem independently a great deal of consideration. We understand the difficulties that are involved, and we think it would not be right, when this matter has been examined by a commission, to bring in any schemes of our own just when there is a hope that such a commission might report. We have got no indication from the Ministry that they have any scheme in mind, that this scheme would be available this year, and, as I said, we are introducing this because we feel that immediate assistance is necessary. It is a case of the old Irish proverb, "Gheibheann an capall bás an fhaid atá an féar ag fás." We want to see that the horse does not die whilst the grass is growing. Why is it this assistance is necessary? In the preamble to the motion there is a statement that the agricultural industry is at present depressed. I think we all know that it is.

I have some figures which I propose to give the House to prove that this state of depression is not an imaginary condition, that it is not the result of hypochondria as some Minister on the opposite side said it was, that it is a reality, and that being a reality, and agriculture being our most important industry, it is our duty to come to its aid at once. I will give some of these figures. Let us take the figures for tillage either before, during or immediately after the war, and compare them with the number of acres tilled at the present time. In 1914 the number of acres under tillage was 1,697,706. To-day the figure is 1,458,465. That is, it is 219,241 acres less than it was in 1914. If we were to take the year 1918, when we had 2,382,776 acres tilled, the diminution as represented by the present figure would be very nearly a million acres, 924,311. Since 1923 there has been a diminution of 210,836 acres, and since 1929 there has been a further diminution of 62,998 acres. Now, taking roughly, say an average of £10 an acre as representing the value of tillage crops, that would represent a loss of several million pounds. As compared with 1914, it would represent a loss of over £2,000,000, as compared with 1918, a loss of very nearly nine and a quarter million pounds, and so on. The diminution of 62,998 acres would represent a loss of about £629,000.

That is a loss due to the reduction of tillage. But side by side with the loss due to reduction of tillage, we have a diminution of the pasture stock. Our pasture stock has not gone up. If we take the figures for 1914, we find that there were 4,236,751 head of cattle in 1914; to-day we have 4,038,344. That is a reduction of roughly 200,000 head of cattle. In connection with horses— I will leave the odd figures out. There were 486,000 in 1914, and we have 447,000 to-day. There is a reduction of roughly 40,000 horses. The only thing there is an increase in is in sheep, but a comparatively small increase that does not at all make up for the reduction in cattle. The increase in sheep is only about 300,000, whereas the reduction in cattle alone is about 200,000, so you see the increase in sheep does not at all make up for the loss in cattle. So side by side with this diminution in tillage we have a loss of capital wealth in pasture stock as well. If we try to estimate this as far as pasture stock is concerned, we find again that we have a diminution of national wealth in the agricultural industry of some millions of pounds.

We have been dealing with butter fairly recently, and it is hardly necessary to call the attention of the House to the position in the dairying industry. Butter prices have fallen, the fall in price representing 24.9 per cent. decrease between 1929 and 1930. Comparing the quarter October-December of 1930 with that of 1929, there is a 32 per cent. decrease. If we compare the prices of eggs we find that between 1929 and 1930 there is a 15.7 per cent. decrease, and if we take the quarter October-December for 1930 and compare it with 1929, there is a 14.4 per cent. decrease. The more we examine it the more we are convinced. We find there is a diminution of capital wealth, a diminution of the farmers' income, and we find, side by side with this reduction in the price which the farmer gets for his produce and with the reduction of his capital wealth, that the prices of what he has to buy do not keep step at all.

It hardly needs proof to a House where there are so many farmer Deputies who know the position of the industry, from their own experience, in a way that no figures will really add to their knowledge of it or convince them more about it. But, in order to show each one that his own experience is borne out by the general statistical information, I am giving these figures. I am going to show that the reduction in agricultural prices is far greater than the reduction in the prices of the commodities which the farmer has to buy and, therefore, I think I will prove to you generally that the farmer is more hardly hit than other sections of the community, than even other producing sections of the community. From the index of agricultural prices, we find that for the year 1930 the average index figure was 124.8, taking the pre-war years, 1911 and 1913, as 100. That is, for the year 1930 agricultural prices were not quite one and a quarter times the prices in 1911-1913. If we take into account the fall in prices that has taken place since 1930—that is, the recent fall in prices—we find that the price of agricultural produce is much less than a quarter as much again of what it was in pre-war years. Fat cattle and fat sheep, for instance, the prices of which enter into the calculation of the index number, have both fallen heavily in price since last autumn. I gave you already the fall in the prices of butter and eggs. Fat cattle are 14.8 per cent. and fat sheep 27.5 per cent. cheaper than at the beginning of March, 1930.

Let us compare the general prices with the food prices. For food prices the index figure last January was 154. The general price index was 168. These are the retail prices. The position really is that whilst the farmer has to sell his produce at something like 15 per cent. in advance of the prices which obtained in pre-war years he has to pay something like 68 per cent. more for the goods he buys. Therefore, the position is telling against the farmer. The index number of food prices since 1924 has fallen by 21.4 per cent., whereas the general price index has fallen only by 10.6 per cent., and the unequal rate of fall has obviously been to the detriment of the producer of food as compared with the producer of other commodities.

There is one point to make, that this fall in prices which has occurred has been to the disadvantage of the farmer as compared with the producer of other commodities. A more serious loss has occurred to the farmer and that is due to the disparity between wholesale and retail prices. That disparity is constantly growing. It is growing to the disadvantage of all producers and especially to the disadvantage, as I have shown, of the farmer. The agricultural price index for 1930, I have said, was 24.8 per cent. above the pre-war level. Taking the recent fall it is probably at present about 15 per cent. over 1914, whereas the index of retail prices in general last year, 70.75 per cent., was higher than in 1914. That is the position of the farmer due to this fall in prices. It has been to his disadvantage as compared with the producers of other commodities. Therefore, as he is suffering from this disadvantage, we think it is only fair that the other sections of the community who are in a relatively better position than he is should come to his assistance at this particular time. More than any other section of the community the farmers are at the mercy of their market. The conditions of their industry are such that they cannot withhold their produce from the market or substantially restrict production. They are much more unfavourably situated than other producers in that respect. The traders in farm produce, the transport interests and others through whose hands their produce must pass before it reaches the consumer, are all in a position of much greater economic strength and are able to make the farmer bear practically the entire burden of the fall in prices. The retailers are also in a better position than the farmer is. The consequence is that the burden of the improvement in the standard of living of the other classes of the community and of the increased public expenditure has ultimately to be borne by the farming section of the community. That is the position and, being such, I think it justifies this motion to come to his relief not when some De-rating Commission will have reported in one or two years' time but immediately.

The importance of the agricultural industry is recognised. If anybody doubts it the census of production, showing the relative poduction of wealth in the farming industry and other industries, proves it. According to the census of 1926, the net output of the agricultural industry was 73.7 per cent. of the whole.

The output of the other industries and manufactures covered by the census returns was only 26.3 per cent. so that, roughly speaking, the agricultural industry is in relation of 73.7 to 26.3. As regards employment, the industries covered by the production census of 1926 only accounted for 107,000 workers. The census of occupations accounted for 186,000. The number employed in agriculture was 672,000. From the point of view of output of wealth, number of people employed and so forth, agriculture deserves to be regarded as our principal industry. On its prosperity must the prosperity of the whole community depend. That being so, everybody interested in the prosperity of the country as a whole must take seriously to heart the present position of agriculture and must be, if it is necessary, prepared to take from other sections of the community in order to assist agriculture. Everybody must be satisfied that to do that would be in the general interests of the community.

Speaking a couple of days ago on the Central Fund Bill, I pointed out that whilst the prices the farmer got for his produce were only about 15 per cent. in advance of the prices obtained in 1914, the burden of taxation upon the farmer had increased threefold. The purpose of this motion is to come to the farmer's relief and lighten that burden. Ministers in the Dublin election clearly foreshadowed relief for the farming community. The President, speaking in Dun Laoghaire, on November 22, said:—

The evidence the De-rating Commission had collected would be of the greatest assistance to the Government in order to decide what was the most suitable form the relief now to be provided for the agriculturists should take. We are agreed that the farmer deserves, and must receive, every assistance that, having regard to our resources, can be given to him.

I take it, therefore, that there is no need for me or for any speaker on this side to impress upon the Ministers and the members of Cumann na nGaedheal that the farmer deserves and ought to receive every assistance which can be given to him within our resources. Professor O'Sullivan speaking at Lusk said:—

When the Report of the De-rating Commission was available, he trusted that they would be able to give substantial assistance to the farmers, not through quack remedies but in a way that would be helpful to them and to the community as a whole. We, as a Government, believe that help must go to the agricultural community of this country, but it cannot be given by compelling people to grow wheat or by the application of tariffs. We should like to give it in such a way as to reduce the expenses of the farmer.

I remember seeing—I have not traced it—a leaflet sent out on behalf of the candidate in that election, in which it was stated that the principle of relief to the farmer was accepted and that £1,000,000 or so was to go for that relief. We propose, in this motion, to give relief immediately and the sum suggested is the sum that was mentioned in that leaflet. The Minister for Finance will say, no doubt, that the round million had some attraction for me. If the system proposed were such that I could get the actual figure—which is near a million —I would have chosen it rather than a million. If the Minister is prepared to take it that the figure should be one half the average rates on agricultural land, I would prefer it to the million because it would reduce the amount of calculation. The amount, I think, is slightly more than a million. The million was originated not by me, but by the advocates of this grant on the other side. I think that it is a fair amount. The amount we could afford at present would be roughly sufficient to give relief to the farmer of half the amount he is paying in respect of agricultural rates. That is roughly the intention of the motion—to provide relief for the farmer to the extent of half the rates he is paying on his agricultural land. It will be seen that the proposal is that the sum be allocated to each county in proportion to the average of the total assessments on such land in the county over the current and past two years.

Deputies who remember the origin of the Agricultural Grant of 1898, and who were here when the Supplementary Grant was passed in 1925, are aware of the lines on which that grant was to be allocated. In introducing the Bill of 1925, the Minister said that as he was in a hurry and wanted it to operate that year—he was in the same circumstances then as we find ourselves now—he proposed that instead of going into all these intricate questions as to the burdens of the different classes of farmers and trying to select the particular class of farmers best entitled to relief, the relief should follow, roughly, on the lines of the original Agricultural Grant. The proposition here is that it should roughly follow on the same lines. Waiting as we are for the Report of the De-rating Commission, and immediate relief being necessary, we think the simplest way to give this immediate relief would be to follow on those lines. The only point of difference is this: the old grant having been fixed upon a certain condition back in '97, is now more or less in the form of a flat rate, whereas our proposition is that the rate of relief should be in proportion to the present burdens. It would be about nine-twentieths if the million itself were adhered to, but, roughly, it is half, and the effect of it, if the grant is allocated to the counties in proportion to the average of the total assessments on agricultural land, will roughly be that the farmer will be relieved of half the burden which he has to carry. It is intended to operate universally so that every farmer in every condition—we are not taking these conditions into account because the examination would take too much time—paying rates on his agricultural land will be relieved of the same proportion of the burden. That is to say, the relief will be, roughly, half the burden in every case.

I saw some speeches that were delivered by members of the Labour Party in criticism of this motion. Deputy O'Connell, I think, said that this proposal was to divide the money in proportion to the valuation. It does not propose to divide the money in proportion to the valuation, but to divide it, roughly, in proportion to the services. The whole purpose is to divide the money so that there will be the same fraction of the burden relieved in the case of everybody. It is not to be divided in relation to the valuation; it is in relation, if you like, to the services, or the total rates raised by the valuation. The fundamental idea is that relief is to be of such a kind as will give a proportionate diminution of the burden right through.

The Labour Party has introduced an amendment, the effect of which is that there should be relief, not as would be the case with my motion of roughly half the agricultural rate right through, but that there should be relief of three-fourths of the rates in the case of holdings where the valuation of the land does not exceed £50, "and of one-half of such rate where the valuation of the land exceeds £50, and where the occupier satisfies the Minister for Agriculture that not less than 20 per cent. of the arable land is under tillage and that the sum required to provide this grant shall be raised in such manner as will not place any additional taxation on the small farmers and wage-earners." There is every evidence of speed and haste, notwithstanding that Deputy Davin said very careful consideration was given to this particular amendment. I do not know if the Deputy was correctly reported when he said that this amendment was brought forward by the Labour Party for the purpose of helping the Government out of a difficult position.

Deputy Derrig said that at Borris, Co. Carlow. Does Deputy Derrig deny it?

I thought it was Deputy Davin said it. I could not believe that he said such a thing, and I expected accordingly that we would have a denial of it. It was a newspaper report. Now I see that it is only a report of something that Deputy Derrig was supposed to have said. I do not know what purpose the Labour Party had, but I give them credit for whatever purpose is revealed on the face of the amendment. As far as I can see, the amendment is an attempt to anticipate the findings of the De-rating Commission, and to try to get some scheme of distribution which will assist tillage and the small farmer. If it did that there might be something to be said for the amendment. I do not think we are entitled at this moment to anticipate the findings, in the way of distribution, of the De-rating Commission. If this Commission has taken a year and a half to try to get some permanent scheme let us wait for that permanent scheme. This motion is not intended to secure anything more than immediate relief, and if the Labour Party's amendment means the same thing, to give immediate relief, it falls short of its purpose, because it cannot be applied as simply and as quickly as the motion can.

The Deputy will hear enough of "why." I assure the Deputy that if he had heard many of the criticisms from members of our Party of this amendment from the point of view of its feasibility he would be satisfied. I will give one or two reasons that occur to me. First of all, we have got the £50 valuation. I can imagine the criticism the Minister for Finance would level at the round figure of £50, the magic of that figure, why you had a sudden break at 50, and what about the man with a valuation of £49 and £51. If you had a scheme of this sort, in order not to have these sudden breaks, it must be scaled in some way. Deputy O'Connell would say, of course: "We do not design this as a perfect scheme; we are in a hurry." I reply: "Very well." If that is the attitude of the Labour Party they had better take our motion and try to get it through, because for this division of £50 there is no basis whatever.

Let us deal with another "why." The occupier has to satisfy the Minister for Agriculture "that not less than 20 per cent. of the arable land is under tillage." If Deputy O'Connell had heard the Minister for Agriculture telling us on one occasion that a host of inspectors, and so on, would be necessary in order to examine and to make certain that the 20 per cent. of tillage was actually there he would immediately see that there are insuperable difficulties from the practical point of view in putting this motion into effect. We have got to know that 20 per cent. of the farmers' arable land is under tillage. Of "arable land" probably the definition that Deputy O'Connell would like us to take would be of land that could actually be ploughed.

Mr. O'Connell

No.

Then Deputy O'Connell is in a worse position. Perhaps the Deputy will explain, when he speaks, what exactly he means by "arable land." I will let him give that explanation. To my mind, if you mean by arable land land that can actually be ploughed we would have nice trouble in finding out the 20 per cent. But if you take another possible meaning of arable land, generally accepted when we meet the word in statistics, the Deputy will find he is in another difficulty, because it would be most unfair in many cases to insist on anything like this percentage. We are as anxious as Deputy O'Connell is to encourage tillage, but we do not see any way of doing so by a proposal of this kind. If Deputy O'Connell has any proposal for the encouragement of tillage other than a proposal which is clearly unworkable, and which would mean delay and extra cost of administration, taking away from the farmer some of the advantages we would give him, we will be prepared to meet him on that.

I suggest, however, that to put in this particular amendment here will defeat the main purpose of giving immediate relief to the farmers. I think that I have covered fairly fully the points I intended to make. I have shown that it is high time that this relief should be given. I have shown that the relief is justified, and that even members on the opposite benches are satisfied that it is justified. I have shown that this particular way of giving relief is the most expeditious way in which it can be given. I have pointed out to Deputy O'Connell, who has introduced the amendment, that such amendment is unworkable, and that if he were to press it——

It would put you in a very awkward position.

No; our position is quite clear, but if he really wishes to get immediate relief for the farmer the best way to get it is through our motion. I was reading a short time ago a speech made by Senator Johnson, when the 1925 Act was introduced in which he mentioned the idea that it would be a useful thing if tillage could be helped. He welcomed the idea that some proposal was likely to be introduced for the assistance of tillage, and that some de-rating proposal was likely to come. Labour has had four or five years in which to work out this scheme of de-rating but it waits until this practical scheme of ours is put in here for giving immediate relief on lines that have been tested and known, it waits for this particular moment to bring in what we regard as more or less side tracking of the issue. I would like to think that it would help, but it seems to me that the only effect would be to side-track the main issue. Let us have a clear expression of opinion as to whether the farmer should not, here and now, get relief to the extent of £1,000,000 or whether he should wait for it until the examination undertaken by the De-rating Commission has been completed. If Deputies want it now let them vote for the motion. If they want to anticipate de-rating and to have a full discussion as to the best methods of relief let the Labour Deputies persist in their amendment. I hope that the Labour Deputies will support us in this motion, so that it can be put up clearly to the Government from all benches, other than the Government Benches, to make good their promise. We have introduced this motion neither to put the Government into difficulties nor to get them out of difficulties. We have brought it in because we believe that it is time that the farmers got relief without further delay.

I formally second the motion.

I move:

To delete all words after the word "Grant" in line 3, and insert the following:—

"for the relief of the local rates on agricultural land sufficient to allow for the remission of three-fourths of the rates on agricultural land in the case of holdings where the valuation of the land does not exceed £50, and of one half of such rates where the valuation of the land exceeds £50 and where the occupier satisfies the Minister for Agriculture that not less than twenty per cent. of the arable land is under tillage and that the sum required to provide this grant shall be raised in such manner as will not place any additional taxation on the small farmers and wage-earners."

I think that everyone will agree that the House is at a very great disadvantage indeed in discussing this motion in the absence of such data as would undoubtedly be available had the Commission on De-rating which was appointed some eighteen months ago reported. I quite agree with Deputy de Valera that in the circumstances his motion is justified, inasmuch as there has been an altogether unwarranted delay on the part of the De-rating Commission in bringing in its report. It must be several months since evidence was taken and completed and, although I agree that the question is very complicated, I could not imagine how those who are on that Commission, those who have expert knowledge, could delay their report so long as they have done. Apart from that, there is no guarantee as to the length of time it would take the Government to consider that report when it comes to hand—I am assuming that it has not yet come to hand. If we were to judge by the length of time which it took the Government to consider other questions not so complicated as this, I am afraid that the farmers would have to wait a long time before any measure of relief would be given to them. That is why I say that the motion would be justified, even if it did nothing else beyond extracting from the Government a definite statement as to their plans and intentions for the relief of the farming community this year.

I agree with Deputy de Valera as to the necessity for relief and, as it is common cause on all sides of the House, there is no need for me to elaborate what Deputy de Valera has said. He has gone into the matter in great detail, and I do not propose to follow him, especially as the question of depression and the necessity for relief is admitted on all sides and does not need to be argued. I think that this is a time when it is appropriate that some indication should be given to the farmers as to what is to be the nature and extent of the relief to be afforded to them. This is the time of the year when the farmer is laying his plans, and when he wants to know what his burdens for the year are likely to be. This debate may be a deciding factor as to the amount of land he will till, the amount of manure or seed he will buy, and as to whether he will keep his stock or sell it off before it reaches maturity.

All these things are troubling the farmer at this juncture. Therefore it is essential that we should have a definite declaration from the Government as to whether they intend to give relief this year, and what is the nature and extent of that relief. As I have said, the motion is useful if it did nothing else than to secure such a declaration. As to the necessity for relief and the depression calling for relief, we are in agreement with the Fianna Fáil proposition, but when it comes to the question of the allocation of the particular sum which may be set aside, it is there we part company. Immediately it was reported in the Press that this motion was to be put down, and when the manner in which the proposed grant was to be distributed was indicated, I took occasion to criticise that method in a speech which I made, I think, in Drogheda, and I thought that by doing so I would give a hint to those responsible for the motion as to the necessity for a further examination regarding the basis of distribution of the money. The motion had not appeared on the Order Paper, but instead of taking the hint, as I thought might possibly be the case, a prominent member of the Fianna Fáil Party, Deputy Derrig, rather defended this particular method and said it was fair, and that everyone would be relieved according to the rates he paid, and also that it was an extension of the Agricultural Grant. I think it was on that occasion that the statement was made by Deputy Derrig that we were really helping the Government. That was the statement to which Deputy de Valera referred a few moments ago. I think it was Deputy Derrig who made that statement. I think that Deputy Lemass said something very like that later on.

That it was humbug.

Mr. O'Connell

That it was helping the Government—that was the general idea. These two Deputies have got into the habit of saying that kind of thing about the Labour Party, so that I did not pay as much attention to their remarks as I might otherwise have done. That, however, is not the case—it is not to help the Government. So far as the Fianna Fáil proposition is concerned, we are accepting the general principle of it but we do believe that a measure of relief can be given, and given immediately, which will be distinctly more favourable to the class of farmer who in our opinion is most deserving of relief in the community.

The amendment is simple and requires little explanation. There are three sections in it. The first two deal with the method of allocation and the last portion has reference to the manner in which the sum required is to be raised. For the purposes of allocation we make two broad divisions, those with a valuation of £50 or under, and those with a valuation of over £50. To those with a valuation of £50 or under the amendment proposes to grant immediate relief of three-fourths of their current rates—on agricultural land, of course. We are dealing entirely with rates on agricultural land. To those with a valuation over £50 it proposes to give relief equal to half their current rates on certain conditions. The conditions apply only to those whose valuation is over £50. Let me say at once, as Deputy de Valera himself admitted with regard to his own motion, that it is entirely because of the urgency of the question that this broad and rough-and-ready method of affording relief has been adopted by us. It is not the method we would adopt if we were framing a permanent scheme.

I doubt indeed if the method of pure and simple relief of rates would be the method which the Labour Party would advocate if they were framing a permanent scheme. I do not speak after having made a very exhaustive examination of the question but I do not think that merely to relieve rates irrespective of the effect which that would have on individual farmers is the best way. It is at least possible that a way could be found which would ensure that any relief given would be turned to the purpose of increasing production on the part of the farmer. It is quite possible that a way could be found to ensure, for instance, that the money was spent for the purposes of production. That might be difficult and it might require a very keen examination. I am sure it would. Machinery would have to be devised, and therefore it is out of the question as far as this particular proposal is concerned.

It might be suggested, and it has been suggested repeatedly from these benches and by our speakers so far back as the 1923 election and certainly in the 1927 election, that the time had come when certain expenditure that is now found from the rates should be found entirely from the Central Fund. This has special reference to the upkeep of main and trunk roads. We have argued that these can no longer be regarded as local services and therefore ought not be purely local burdens, as a matter of fact, that no portion of the local rates should go to the upkeep of the main and trunk roads. The same thing would apply to other services, such as the upkeep of mental hospitals. The capitation grant that is given from the Central Fund towards the upkeep of mental hospitals has not been changed since the early years of the century, despite the fact that the cost of maintenance in these hospitals has increased very much indeed. These are directions along which it would be possible to give relief if there was time to examine them. I quite admit that all these things would require time, and therefore we do not suggest them now. We had to fall back on the simple method of relief of rates, but even there we believe it is possible to make a distinction as to the people who will get the greatest relief. We fix the figure at £50. Quite obviously, Deputy de Valera and other critics will ask: "Why £50?" Why any figure? Why a million? We could argue about any figure to the same extent, and let me say quite candidly that if I have any apology to offer it is because I think this figure is too high. If I had my own way, and had regard only for my own particular constituents, the figure would be fixed much less than £50. I agree, however, that the lower down you go the more difficulty you would have in fixing conditions.

By fixing a figure of £50 valuation we do get in 92 per cent. of the occupiers of agricultural land, and that is a figure I want Deputy de Valera to take into consideration. Ninety-two per cent. of the occupiers of agricultural holdings in this country are covered by that figure. There are some within that figure who, I admit, are not deserving of any consideration, but they are a comparatively small number. In any case, by taking that rough-and-ready figure and taking into account all the time the same consideration which Deputy de Valera had in regard to the urgency of the matter and the time, we believe that it is fairer to everybody concerned, fairer to this particular class of farmer than the all-round proposition of Deputy de Valera. Deputy de Valera's motion on his own figures, and as I calculated too, approximately gives relief equal to an extent of one-half of the burden. Our proposition is that those with a valuation of £50 or under should be relieved of three-fourths of the burden.

I just want to say a word on the method of averaging the assessment. I think if Deputy de Valera examines his method he will find a rather remarkable thing, namely, that it will be least fair to the counties that have a progressively rising rate, that is, where the rates are higher this year than last year, and were higher last year than the year before. This method of averaging the relief will be least fair to those whose rates are higher this year. If he examines the figures he will find that is so, and it is the county that has a high rate this year that is specially deserving of relief in view of the depression. It will be said perhaps that if Fianna Fáil with a million pounds can only give relief to the extent of 50 per cent., and if we propose to relieve 92 per cent. of the occupiers of land, to the extent of three-quarters, that at first blush our proposal would cost very much more than a million, and that that perhaps is the reason we do not mention the cost in our proposal. That is not so, because if Deputy de Valera examines the figures he will find this further remarkable fact, that in the case of these 92 per cent. of the occupiers the valuation of the amount of land they hold is only 52 per cent. of the total valuation of agricultural land. The remaining 48 per cent. is held by the remaining 8 per cent. of the occupiers. These are figures I would specially commend to Deputy Corry. He will find that, roughly speaking, the figures are four millions held by the 92 per cent., and roughly 3½ millions held by the 8 per cent. These are very round and rough figures, as Deputy de Valera said. So that almost one-half of the £1,000,000, certainly £400,000 of it, would go to relieve the burden of this 8 per cent. who hold land of £50 valuation and over.

What would the proposal we suggest cost? Everybody will admit that it is difficult to measure that in the absence of the kind of data that would be available if the De-rating Commission had reported. It is not easy to make these calculations, but there is a considerable amount of data available. I will explain if the calculation is questioned, but I calculate that, roughly speaking, this 92 per cent. of people of £50 valuation and under could be relieved of three-fourths of their burden at a cost of £750,000 or £800,000. That is our main concern. We on these benches are not particularly concerned with the 8 per cent. as compared with the 92 per cent. At the same time, we recognise that they have a claim, and we suggest that we put in certain conditions with regard to relieving these. We should remember, and Deputy de Valera should remember it especially when he talked of the difficulty of it, that the number is small—8 per cent. In my own county of Mayo, out of 33,900 rated occupiers there are only about 600, or about 2 per cent. of them, with farms of £50 valuation and over. They are not very many, and the difficulty of applying this particular test is more apparent than real.

Deputy de Valera talked about arable land. Arable land is scheduled since the war years, and I believe that the returns are available. The Minister for Agriculture would be able to tell us whether that is so or not— whether the amount of arable land in the possession of each individual or on each holding is scheduled. In any case, it is a matter for each of these particular people to make his case. Immediate relief can be given to the others. After all, we must remember that these people of £50 valuation and under are the backbone of the country. They are the people we hear so much about—the small farmers, though some of them are not very small farmers. A farm valued at £50 is quite a good farm. So far as the second class is concerned, our estimate of the cost would be about £75,000. I am calculating that by basing it on certain data made available in 1917 as to the number of farms which had 20 per cent. of tillage and over and, making due allowance for the great fall in tillage which has since taken place, I estimate the amount necessary to give the relief which I propose in that case would be £75,000.

Multiplied by ten.

Mr. O'Connell

I am making two divisions. I am suggesting that the amount necessary to give the relief we suggest to those with £50 valuation and under would be £750,000. In the second portion for those with £50 valuation and over and who fulfil the conditions we lay down—i.e., 20 per cent. tillage—it would cost about £75,000. I hope I have made that clear to the President.

I am afraid the Deputy put his foot in it the first time.

Mr. O'Connell

No. I am making two divisions. Deputy de Valera is making one clear cut. We are making two divisions. For those with £50 valuation and under we estimate £750,000, and for those in the other class above that, who would fulfil the conditions as to tilling 20 per cent. of the land, we estimate it will cost about £75,000, or a total of £850,000. In any case, let it be the million. I do not think it would be. I believe it would mean, as a matter of fact, a saving of £120,000 or so to the State. But, even if it were a million, we believe it would be divided more equitably in this particular manner than in the manner suggested by Deputy de Valera.

Who is going to suffer as a result of our proposals? As compared with Deputy de Valera's scheme, undoubtedly those who have farms valued at £50 or over and who till less than 20 per cent. of the land. I do not believe that Deputy Corry will have very great sympathy with that class of person, if I am to judge by what I heard in the last two or three days here. No one would suffer except whatever number of these landholders—these 8 per cent.—who are not tilling 20 per cent. Our main object here, if we are to judge by the many things we have been saying from time to time in this House, is the encouragement of tillage, because it is the encouragement of tillage which gives employment. I will say at once that there is one particular class of man, because I am quite ready to see the weaknesses of this, who may be engaged in dairy farming and have a valuation of over £50. That is one of the difficulties undoubtedly. The number, however, is not very large.

I spoke a moment ago of how these respective proposals would affect the various counties, and I put it to every Deputy to apply both proposals to his own county, where he knows the conditions. I have calculated that Mayo would, under Deputy de Valera's proposal, get about £30,000 for the relief of rates, or a little over that, perhaps. As a matter of fact, owing to peculiar circumstances, if you like, and the fact that the rates in Mayo have been raised very considerably as compared with two years ago, this sum would only relieve rates in Mayo to the extent of about one-third on any particular holding.

In every case it must be half.

Mr. O'Connell

I do not think in every case it would be half. If I understand it, the sum allocated to each county would be in proportion to the average of the total assessment over three years, and I am pointing out that on the average over three years it would be lower.

I follow that.

Mr. O'Connell

Owing to the fact that the rates are higher this year in that particular county it would only get a sum that would relieve the burden to the extent of one-third. But our motion would relieve the burden of 98 per cent. of the landholders in Mayo to the extent of three-fourths. So far as Mayo is concerned, under our proposal they would get at least double what they would get under Deputy de Valera's proposal.

They would get it next year.

Mr. O'Connell

Deputy de Valera's proposal and ours is for one year only. In the county of Meath, which is in what may be called the opposite end of the scale to Mayo, they would get £45,000 as against £30,000 for Mayo. That is, they would get one-and-a-third times times as much as Mayo, while they have already got one-and-a-third times as much as Mayo under the agricultural grant.

But it is the same with yours.

Mr. O'Connell

I need not dwell on what I may call the social values in the difference between these two counties. The population of Mayo is nearly three times the population of Meath; there are almost exactly ten times the number of holders with fifteen acres of land in Mayo as there are in Meath. I need not dwell on these points. Numerous other examples could be given to show that the proposal made by Fianna Fáil works out to the disadvantage of the small farmer and to the advantage of the big farmer. And that is the real issue between Deputy de Valera's motion and ours.

I cannot understand, in view of all I heard repeatedly from the Fianna Fáil Benches, how this one objection to our motion that was mentioned can weigh with many of the Deputies on those benches to the extent that they were prepared to let some 6,000 of those people with big ranches and graziers and all that class of people about whom we hear so much get away with something like £400,000 of this money. Does Deputy Clery from Mayo approve of that, and do Deputies from Donegal, Galway and Clare approve of that? I cannot understand it. As I say, is this objection made to our proposal so weighty that it will weigh with them to that extent that those people who, after all, have a good share of the world's goods must get relief out of the common fund to that extent? So far as we are concerned, at any rate, we are not prepared to admit that principle; because we think there is no real substance in the objection so long as you have 92 per cent. of the farmers, and those the most deserving class of farmers, getting immediate relief as they would under this proposal of ours. I think the trouble and difficulty with the remaining 8 per cent. is not so great that we should allow them to get away with half the spoils as is proposed in the motion here. I think that must be plainly evident to everybody on the Fianna Fáil Benches, and on the Government Benches, too.

I want to refer for a moment to the latter portion of my amendment. There is no reference in Deputy de Valera's motion, and there was no reference in his speech as to where this money is to come from, but I think it is important. And while it is not our business to make definite suggestions or to go into any definite detail as to where the money is to be raised, it is our business to say—and we say quite definitely—that it must not be raised from the very class of people we are anxious to help. In other words we do not believe in what Deputy Nolan, I think, described when the Butter Tariff question was under debate, in feeding the dog with a piece of his own tail. We had a statement, and a very important statement, from the President on the opening day of the Autumn session, and I think it should not be forgotten when looking round for money for this particular proposal. He said, that the aggregate actual income assessed for income tax had increased by four and three-quarter millions during the period between 1923-24 and 1928-29. That was a remarkable statement. And we know that under various guises and for various reasons, the Minister for Finance for the last four or five years has been specially kind to that particular section of the community who are in the fortunate position of having to pay income tax. I do not know that the Minister for Finance himself would be prepared to say that the object he had in mind when he afforded that relief has been achieved. In other words, that the particular section of the community relieved have risen to the occasion to the extent that he expected they would. If it is a question however, of raising this money, we do say at once, that the strongest objection will be taken by members on the Labour Benches to anything in the nature of an indirect tax, or any tax on the necessaries of life, because these are bound to fall, and always do fall, most heavily upon the poorer section of the community. It is not our business to say definitely where this money is to be raised. I have thrown out a hint about the income tax; there are people who would make other suggestions.

The question of the petrol tax has been a favourite suggestion. I say again that while I merely refer to this I do so in order to emphasise what I have stated in our motion: "That the sum required to provide this grant shall be raised in such manner as will not place any additional taxation on the small farmers and wage earners"; in other words, that there shall not be any indirect taxation that would press most heavily upon the poorer section of the community. Deputy de Valera suggested to us that we should abandon this amendment and vote for the motion. I suggest to him that he should accept the amendment. I think from every point of view it is the most sensible thing to do. It is what in any case one would have a right to expect from that particular Party. The line the Fianna Fáil Party has always taken is that when any distinction is to be made, the distinction should be made in favour of the small farmers. The objection which he makes, as I have said, does not hold. So far as the vast majority of the small farmers and the wage earners whom we are anxious to relieve are concerned, our scheme could be applied and applied immediately to 92 per cent. of the rated occupiers. As a matter of fact I think it would be a much simpler method so far as that percentage is concerned than this system of averages which is set out in Deputy de Valera's motion. To tell the truth, I am not absolutely clear as to how it would work out under his motion in the different counties all over the State. I think our method is much simpler. So far as the county council secretaries are concerned they could much more easily deal with the matter by our method than they could under the suggestion in Deputy de Valera's motion. I suggest that the proper thing for Deputy de Valera and the Fianna Fáil Party to do is to accept the amendment. If, however, in the interests of the 6,000 who are going to get away with a big share of the spoils, they are going to join with the Cumann na nGaedheal Party in defeating the amendment, and if they succeed in defeating it, we will vote for the motion as the next best thing, because it contains the principle of relief. But in doing that I want to make it quite clear that we are totally opposed to this method of allocation where by such a small percentage will get away with such a big proportion of the grant that will be made available.

[An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.]

In the course of the Budget statement which I made in 1929 I indicated, as Deputy de Valera has already said, that a Departmental Committee had given some examination to this matter, and I pointed out to the Dáil in some little detail the complexities of the whole business. The question of de-rating became urgent after a de-rating scheme had been adopted in England. When that scheme had been put into operation a great many people here wanted that de-rating scheme adopted in its entirety and in all its details in the Saorstát. It is quite obvious that conditions here are different, that such need as there might then have been for a measure of the kind, arose from entirely different circumstances to the circumstances which dictate de-rating in England. I pointed out that de-rating was a very much bigger proposition here than in Great Britain; that whereas the sum required in Great Britain was 2.8 per cent. of the national revenue, the sum that would be required here was 9.2 per cent. of the national revenue. I pointed out the difficulties that would be met in raising the sum of money that would be required for de-rating along the British Government lines here. The sum that would be required here would be a sum of practically two and a quarter millions. I pointed out how that sum could not be raised by any scheme of taxation that could be devised, or it appeared that could not be raised by any scheme of taxation that might be devised without involving taxation of the necessaries of life. I pointed out that it would be almost impossible to raise that sum by a petrol tax or even to raise a substantial fraction of that sum by petrol tax. The sum required in England was raised by a tax on petrol. Here the maximum that could be got by a tax on petrol would be one-fifth or one-fourth or something around that of the whole cost of de-rating. I indicated that even a petrol tax, coupled with a conceivable or reasonable increase in income tax would not get the amount. I indicated moreover that from another aspect the proposition was a very different thing here to what it was in Great Britain. For, whereas, in Great Britain, agricultural land represented only two and a half per cent. of the total valuation, agricultural land in Scotland 6 per cent. of the valuation, in the North of Ireland 38 per cent. of the valuation, it represented 65 per cent. of the valuation here. I pointed out that, if we were to have de-rating on the English plan here, in the case of a great many of the local authorities 90 per cent. of the revenue would come from the Exchequer. I indicated that in such circumstances it would be impossible to allow local government as we know it to remain in existence.

To give something like 90 per cent. of their revenue to local authorities and allow them to carry on with their existing powers would invite an orgy of extravagance and inefficiency. Consequently I pointed out that the matter was one which was in every way a very much bigger proposition than the proposition that had to be faced in Great Britain, and an amount of consideration that it had not been possible to give to it up to that time, was necessary. Some time after the making of that statement a Commission was set up. The terms of reference of the Commission were:—

To enquire and report to the Minister for Finance as to

(1) The effect on production and employment of local rates at present levied on agricultural land and buildings and industrial and freight transport hereditaments.

(2) The probable economic consequences, including in particular the effect on production, employment, taxation and the cost of living, of affording partial or complete relief from such rates by means of contributions from the Exchequer to local authorities, or, alternatively, by transferring to the Central Government the administration of particular services at present administered by local authorities.

(3) The effect of affording such relief on the existing system of local government including local financial administration, and any modifications of that system which would thereby be rendered desirable.

(4) The basis on which Exchequer Grants are at present distributed to local authorities, and whether, and if so, in what manner that basis could be so modified as to secure increased agricultural and industrial production as a consequence of distributing the grants.

The Commission numbered 18 members, one of whom has since died. The Commission has given a very great deal of study to the problem. Not only have the Commission given a great deal of time to the work, but a great deal of time has been given by Government Departments which were required to supply material of various sorts for the information of the Commission. We are now reaching a point when the report of the Commission will be before us, and at that point we have this resolution set down. I say that the putting down of this resolution can serve no purpose, and can be intended to serve no purpose in connection with the matter, except the purpose of raising an ordinary sort of political debate. Because the time at which an announcement would be made in connection with this matter— the time at which it would be proper to make an announcement in connection with it—would be on the introduction of the Budget.

When, some four or five years ago, a measure of relief to rates was given, that relief was first announced in connection with the Budget when the general scheme of taxation for the year was put before the Dáil. The only time, and the natural time, for the Government to make an announcement in connection with the matter would be on the Budget, when the whole general scheme of taxation is before us. The members of this Commission have given a great deal of study and have devoted a great deal of work to the problem that is before us. They were asked to explore the various methods by which relief can be given to agriculture.

Reference has been made to the speech which the President delivered in Dun Laoghaire in November last. Some parts of it have been quoted. The President on that occasion, said: "The Government accept it that it is essential that an adjustment of conditions shall be secured to relieve the farmer of his most pressing obstacles, to assist him to increase his output, and secure better marketing facilities." Speaking in reference to the De-rating Commission, he said: "They are now engaged in the preparation of their Report. I cannot forecast what their conclusions will be. Whatever they are, the evidence the Commission has collected will be of the greatest assistance to the Government in deciding what is the most suitable form which the relief we intend to provide for the agriculturist shall take. We agree the farmer must receive every assistance that, having regard to our resources, can be given to him. The only question which remains is the form of assistance which will be the greatest value to him, and will at the same time render necessary a minimum imposition of burdens on the rest of the community."

As I indicated when reading the terms of reference of the Commission, they have to consider, first, whether de-rating is the only effective way to afford relief to the agricultural community, whether we might have some alternative to de-rating, or whether we might have some measure of de-rating coupled with other schemes and, secondly, they have to consider, in the event of it being found necessary to have grants from the Exchequer for the relief of rates, how these grants should be given, and whether, instead of giving the grants to the local authorities we should not afford relief of rates by taking over certain services. Everybody knows that in certain respects, at any rate, by taking over certain services, economies might be achieved through the measure of combination that would be thereby effected. It is the business of the Commission to consider all these problems and to put up some report to us.

My view is that it would be impossible to get any Commission of responsible people of this sort ever again to give their full mind to the work that would be put before them if we were, at this stage, before the Commission's report has been received, to pass a resolution of this sort. Whatever the conclusions of the Commission may be, they will be before the Government shortly. Any matters that they put up will be dealt with promptly, and the Government are in a position to deal with them promptly, because, apart altogether from the work of the Commission, this whole matter, as I have already said, has been engaging the attention of Departments and Ministers for a very considerable time past. It was the subject of Departmental consideration, and it was the subject of consideration by a sub-committee of the Cabinet before this Commission was appointed at all. There will be no difficulty, when the views of the Commission are before the Government, in coming to a speedy conclusion as to what should be done.

My view is that anything that is to be done this year should, if possible, be in accordance with whatever permanent measures are to be adopted. If it is possible at all, whatever we are going to do in a permanent way should be done this year. If it is not possible to carry out whatever permanent scheme may be adopted, then we should endeavour to have an instalment of that permanent scheme. If it is not even possible to work out all the details in order to have an instalment of the permanent scheme, we should endeavour to have adopted something, at any rate, that is fully in line with the permanent scheme.

I think it is entirely wrong, in dealing with this problem, that we should follow the lines proposed in Deputy de Valera's resolution; it is entirely wrong to go along the old lines. For all practical purposes this resolution simply means going somewhere near doubling the two existing agricultural grants. Although there is a slight variation in distribution, the whole thing amounts to very little more than that. It would amount to doubling the existing agricultural grants without having taken into consideration at all the question of a reform of local government. There would also be the question of whether any such sum as this should be handed over to the local authorities without taking steps to see that the result is not going to be, in a year or two, the levying of taxation to obtain whatever money may be now handed over, with a consequent increase in rates, bringing them up almost to the amount that they were before this grant would be given. I know there are very many people who are most urgently anxious to have some system of de-rating, either complete or partial, put into operation, who hold that it would be entirely wrong to give big sums to the local authorities which would, perhaps, bring the rates down for a year or two. They hold it would be wrong to do that without examining the system, without seeing whether checks cannot be imposed upon extravagance, or whether some other adjustments in the machinery cannot be made that will ensure that the country is not going to be in a worse position in a couple of years than it is at the present time.

There is no need for a motion of this kind. The Government have stated, and the remarks made by the President have set out clearly and definitely their view, that, in the face of world conditions, and certain local circumstances, the condition of the agriculturist is such that relief is being afforded to him. There is only one question that remains to be settled, and that is the form that the relief should take. Of course the auxiliary problem of the particular method by which the money required for relief should be raised, remains to be solved. There was no motion before the Dáil when the Agricultural Grant was doubled in 1926. There was no motion a few months in advance, requiring that that grant should be doubled. There is no need for any motion now. The whole matter is being dealt with as one which must be faced, and faced immediately.

We do think that it is too complex and too serious a matter to be dealt with in the manner proposed here. As a matter of fact Deputy de Valera said he did not wish to anticipate the findings or the recommendations of the De-rating Commission. His motion is, in fact, an anticipation of it. Although it may be described and intended as a proposal for one year only, everyone knows that the adoption of any particular scheme for one year does mean that that line has to be followed for future years. If there is going to be any different distribution or any different method adopted permanently, it will be very much more difficult to get that adopted than if we do whatever we are going to do now, in line with any permanent scheme that might be adopted. I do not see any reason why, whatever permanent scheme is going to be adopted should not be adopted, either in whole or in part, or in some parallel way this year.

For instance if we were to reform local government it might not be possible to carry out the reform at once. At any rate the whole thing ought to be taken together. Any reforms that are to be carried out ought to be foreshadowed with any proposal for grants or expenditure. The extent to which the whole scheme will go must regulate, to a considerable extent, proposals of reform. If we were going to have de-rating on the British scale, I think something like complete abolition of local government, as we know it, would be necessary. If it was decided that relief should be given to the farmers by a means other than de-rating, if further schemes were found to be practicable, it might not be necessary to touch local government at all. If on the other hand, there was some substantial measure of de-rating, then something not so drastic as practical abolition of local government, but some other changes, might be sufficient to meet the situation.

At any rate, I think it is a matter that must be faced as a whole, and the only business-like way to meet this as a whole and to take our decision on all the matters together. The form of relief, the conditions in regard to reform of local government which may be attached to it, and the methods by which any necessary funds are to be raised, are closely related and the decision on all of them should be taken at the one time as far as possible by the Dáil. It may not be possible to adopt all of them at once, but, at any rate, whatever is the principle of the first proposal put before the Dáil any of the other concurrent proposals should be known to it. I think it is not necessary to go into details of any possible schemes at present. I think they should be dealt with at a later time, and they should be dealt with when not only the Government but the members of the Dáil have before them all the material the absence of which Deputy O'Connell deplored to-day, the material which the De-rating Commission has spent a great deal of time and labour in putting together.

Is the Minister making any promise whatsoever that anything will be done for the relief of farmers further than the present agricultural grant when the Budget comes along?

The proposal I am making is this. I have already stated that relief has been promised to the farmers in the clearest possible terms. The only thing that remains to be decided is the best form in which such relief should be given. I have said that the report of the De-rating Commission is very nearly ready, that it is to be available quite soon, and that the matter will be dealt with immediately, and that the Government is in a position to come to decisions in the matter without delay, because none of the problems connected with this matter are new to departments or the Ministers. When a decision has been come to action will be taken, and the action that the Government propose to take in connection with the matter will be announced as it normally would be announced in the Budget speech when the related proposals in connection with the raising of revenue will be before the House.

Is the Minister making a promise that he will announce further additional relief for agriculture in this year's Budget?

Of course.

To what extent?

I am afraid the Minister was compelled very reluctantly to make the statement that he was going to give relief in this year's Budget, because if he was definite on that and gave us any indication of what that relief was to consist of I do not think we should lose any time on this motion. Seeing that the Minister is allowing the time of the Dáil to be taken up for the whole day on this discussion I think we should press him a little further and see what a division might do later on, and also see if his own Party and members of the allied Party, the Farmers' Party, will not bring some influence to bear on him in order to make his position even more clear before this discussion is over. It is not contested here at all that farmers want relief, and seeing also that Deputy de Valera gave the figures that are available on this subject, it is not necessary to make that case again. We admit from every side of this House, because I think we have not any members of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce here, that the farmers do want relief. The only thing, as the Minister said in concluding, is to decide what form that relief was to take and how to find the money. Those are the two big questions that have been agitating us for some years, and if those two questions are not yet solved by the Government we are not much nearer the solution.

I want to make this point as to the necessity for relief. As an agricultural country we are dependent greatly on the export market for the sale of our produce and we are competing there with many other countries. The question of the export of butter has been before us all very prominently for the last couple of years. We all know that during the twelve months of 1930 on the British market there was a very disastrous fall in the price of butter, with a consequent severe loss to the creameries and the suppliers of milk to the creameries. We know also that during the last few years a greater amount of butter has come in than before to the British market and that our three big competitors there are Denmark, New Zealand and Australia, and that they are getting the British market to a greater extent than we have ever got it.

We learn from the Report of the Tariff Commission on butter that during 1930 Danish butter realised a price of 23/- per cwt. more than Free State butter for the whole year. That means to the farmer supplying milk to the creamery a higher price of 1d. per gallon in Denmark than here. Take the other countries supplying, Australia and New Zealand; they are both exporting butter to the British market under subsidies. If we take even our rival, the North of Ireland, which is sending butter to England, the farmer there has the advantage of being de-rated, so we are at a distinct disadvantage as compared with our competitors in the foreign market. Unless something is done very quickly, as Deputy de Valera pointed out, we may not have the relief brought forth in time and we may find our farmers have gone out of production and will be in a much worse position to capture whatever part of the export market they had a couple of years ago. We find that is borne out by the figures of exports of milch cows from this country. A greater number of milch cows are being exported, and it would appear that some at least of the farmers are going out of the production of butter. Even in our home market we are up against the same competition. We are competing not alone on the British market but in our home market against bacon produced under subsidy. For instance, Polish bacon. If we take the grain business, we find we have been driven out of it completely. We have been driven out of the British market, and even in our home market we are competing against subsidised grain from Russia and Germany. The prices of the various commodities have gone down in the foreign market, and there has been, of course, a natural fall in prices at home, with the result that our farmers have found it impossible to remain in production and many of them have become bankrupt. I know in County Wexford, that I represent, a large number of farms have become derelict. No rates or annuities are paid in respect of them. The result has been that the County of Wexford has had the large sum of £22,000 deducted from the grants that were due owing to defaulting land annuitants. No rates have been paid on these derelict farms. There is nobody living on some of them. The farmers who have remained on their farms are, as a result, paying more in rates, and for a few years back we have seen a gradual rise in the rate struck in most counties. Of course, it is not altogether due to the derelict farms and the fact that certain farmers are going out of business. It is also due to the policy of the Government in putting on certain rates in counties, some of which were not there before and others of which were optional.

On the Vote on Account last week I mentioned certain rates that are being inflicted on counties. While the President was talking in Dun Laoghaire about the intentions of the Government in regard to de-rating and while other Ministers were talking about the intentions in regard to de-rating, Bills were brought before this Dáil which put additional rates on counties. The consequence is that the counties are now paying at least a shilling in the £ more. For instance, the Vocational Education Bill imposes a rate of 1¾d., rising to 4d. Then we have the Local Government (Special Expenses) Bill, which may put on a rate of anything up to 3d. in the £ on agricultural land. We had last week, or the week before, an Agriculture Bill which put a mandatory rate of 2d. in the £ on agricultural land where before the rate was optional. Formerly if the farmers who were on the county councils found they could no longer bear the burden of the rates they could, at least, knock off that 2d. rate for the time being, but now it is mandatory.

I mentioned also the position in regard to the money that was voted for relief before Christmas. Where the Local Government Department sanctions a scheme in a village or small town usually they offer 30 per cent. of the cost. The local people or local councils, being anxious to give employment, accept the 30 per cent. and take on the burden of paying the other 70 per cent. themselves. The rates have gone up as a result of all these things. I think there is a necessity for immediate relief for the farmers, if we want to keep them in production at all. The motion that was put down here was put down in its present form because it was simple and could be applied immediately. It was put down, more or less, on the lines of the present agricultural grant, with the exception that it was based on the rates raised during the last three years instead of being based on the rates raised in the year 1898. We would very much like to include in this motion provisions to deal with tillage, but we do not see that the question of tillage could be dealt with in a satisfactory manner in a motion like this.

As a matter of fact, we have on occasions during the last few years brought in motions here dealing with the encouragement of tillage, and we believe that the methods suggested in these motions would be best to deal with the encouragement of tillage. It is very difficult to differentiate in the rates as between those who till and those who do not till. As a matter of fact, the amendment, as it is put down here, is, in my opinion, in no way sufficient to encourage tillage or to induce a man who is at present tilling to continue tilling. Take the average rate that a man is paying on land at the present time to be 4/-, 5/-, or perhaps 6/- in the £. The relief that he is going to get under this motion, where he has a valuation of over £50, provided he tills, is half that. That is, he is going to get relief on five acres if he tills one. It works out really as a subsidy of 15/- per acre on tillage. That is not sufficient in present circumstances to induce people to till if they are not inclined to till without this inducement. If we look at the price of grain for the year 1930 as compared with pre-war prices, we find that the price of malting barley in 1930 was 10 per cent. less than it was in 1913 and 1914, and the price of oats is exactly the same as it was before the war. How could a farmer who has to employ labourers afford to till, when the cost of living is about 66 per cent. higher than before the war, on an extra 15/- per acre? In the case of oats he would get, for instance, £6 5s. for the produce of an acre before the war, and he would now get £7. How could he afford, on a subsidy of 15/-an acre, to till where the general cost of living has gone up by 66 per cent.? We had figures published in the "Irish Trade Journal" some time ago of agricultural wages as they were before the war and as they are at the present time. We find that agricultural wages have gone up by 100 per cent. from before the war until now. I am prepared to admit that even at the present time they are not high enough, that they should be higher. Nevertheless, the farmer who is selling barley and oats, and who has over £50 valuation, is doing that with agricultural labour which he was getting at 50 per cent. less before the war than he is getting it at to-day. That being so, this inducement of fifteen shillings per acre is not going to make him till.

Mr. O'Connell

That is all you are giving him.

We may be giving him less for all I know. We do not say, however, that we are going to get 20 per cent. of land tilled by this motion. We take it merely as a simple method—a method which can be put into operation immediately. We do not bother putting in a provision regarding tillage, because we think that it would be absolutely ineffective. During the Great War, when farmers had to till their land under regulations, we know that they did not make any attempt to till it properly. If there is an inducement to a large farmer to get a large portion of his land de-rated, he will probably—especially considering the price of grain at the present time— make a pretence at tilling in order to get that de-rating. If he has not been using his own grain or tilling for other reasons, he is not going into proper tillage on account of this amendment. He is going to make pretence of tilling 20 per cent. of his land to get de-rating.

This amendment would mean delay in getting a census of the tillage area. The Government, I am afraid, would insist on knowing what they were to be involved in under this proposal before they would adopt it. Therefore, they would have to get a fair estimate of the number of holders over £50 valuation who have 20 per cent. of their land tilled or would be likely to till 20 per cent. If the Government were willing to take a chance and say that the scheme was going to cost them three-quarters of a million, under Deputy O'Connell's proposal, or up to one million, and that they would put it into effect, there would be some justification for Deputy O'Connell's scheme. We know, however, that the Government is not like that. We know that the Government does not take chances with a quarter of a million, especially when it is for the relief of agriculture. They would not take a chance in this case and that would mean delay. What is more, it would mean dissatisfaction, because there will be always dissatisfaction where there is likely to be a dispute between the land holder and the authority paying the relief as to whether the 20 per cent. is tilled or not, and as to whether the 20 per cent. is really 20 per cent of the arable land or not. There would be a great deal of dissatisfaction. I believe that tillage must be encouraged on the basis of crop yield and not of area. This amendment means area. If there is 20 per cent. of the area under tillage, there is to be relief of rates. That is not a fair basis. If we want to encourage tillage, we should bear in mind that we will have to encourage the man who produces the good crop. The only way in which you can compensate the man who produces the good crop as against the man who produces a poor crop, is to pay on yield and quality of the crop, and not on area. This tillage clause only refers to men with over £50 valuation. In the Dáil yesterday, there was a discussion on a valuation clause in the Land Bill. The Minister for Agriculture then gave it as his opinion —nobody objected to it—that the valuation of good land in this country would be about ten shillings per acre.

Mr. P. Hogan

The average valuation of land.

I thought you said "good land."

Mr. Hogan

Leaving out mountain.

The valuation of the 12,000,000 acres we are dealing with?

Mr. Hogan

Per statute acre.

This amendment means that a man with 100 acres, or under 100 acres, will get the 75 per cent. relief whether he tills or not. The only exception that is made is in the case of the man who has over 100 acres.

Mr. O'Connell

What about your motion?

Our motion does not pretend to make any of these distinctions. I might also say that, as the amendment is drafted, this poor man of over £50 valuation must satisfy the Minister that any relief he may get will not come from any taxation on small farmers or wage earners.

Mr. O'Connell

That applies to the whole lot.

As it reads here, it does not. I am prepared, however, to take Deputy O'Connell's statement. This amendment has been on the paper for several days and, as it reads, this particular provision refers only to men with over £50 valuation.

Mr. O'Connell

There was a comma dropped.

It must have been dropped from the first day the amendment appeared on the paper. However, I accept the Deputy's word. Deputy O'Connell is anxious, naturally, to get this money without taking any of it from the small farmer or wage earner. What is a small farmer? If we are to judge from Deputy O'Connell's amendment, a small farmer is a man under £50 valuation. That is the distinction he made in the first part of his amendment. A large farmer is, consequently, a man of over £50 valuation. We are really going to say that every farmer, whether he tills his land or not, if he is under £50 valuation, must not be asked in any way to contribute to this relief. I believe that it would be impossible to pick out taxation in which he would not be involved in some way. A small number of those men will have motor cars. Therefore, you must rule out petrol. A few of them may possibly be occupiers of fee-simple land. In that case, I believe they are liable to income tax. You must rule out income tax. Where are you to get the money? I believe, as Deputy de Valera said, that this amendment was framed hurriedly, and that if all its implications had been considered, Deputy O'Connell would not have put it in so quickly. If he waited for six or seven years while this Commission was going on, he could have waited six or seven days longer before putting in an amendment to this motion.

Deputy O'Connell said that the farmer can now decide on the amount that he will till. I am afraid it is too late. I think that the farmer who will decide now on the amount of land he will till this year is not the type of farmer who should receive relief even if he did till. The man who would decide on tilling now would not be a tillage farmer at all.

Mr. O'Connell

That had reference to every farmer.

You could not attempt to do tilling in some parts of the country until now.

I know that, as Deputy O'Connell has said, this refers to every farmer, but it is too late now to decide about tilling. I am surprised if Deputy Reynolds is right, that you could even now commence to plough lea land and get your crop sown. They should be sown within the next few weeks.

Mr. Hogan

Do you think that either scheme is going to do anything for tillage?

Deputy O'Connell also said that the Labour Party has been advocating, since the 1923 election, that the central authority should take over main and trunk roads and mental hospitals. That has been advocated by practically every party that I know, in local polities at all events. I do not believe that any Labour speaker advocated that in giving this relief to the county councils for main roads, trunk roads and mental hospitals, you must relieve only the farmer under £50 valuation and differentiate between the men over £50 valuation.

Mr. O'Connell

I certainly did advocate that. I will show it to you in my election address, though I may not have mentioned the £50 figure.

It is the first time I heard it advocated. I heard it advocated by every party that mental hospitals and main and trunk roads should be taken over. I have never yet heard that there should be any differentiation made in the rates that would be thereby relieved. As a matter of fact, I think some county councils that passed resolutions were going to take the rates off as a whole, and not to make any differentiation between agricultural land and other ratings. Deputy O'Connell said that if he had his way the £50 figure would be less, that it was a round figure, but that if he had Mayo in mind it would be lower. I do not object to that. Some rough-and-ready figure has to be taken. The figure £50 appears to me to be very high. I would not regard the farmer of £50 valuation as a small farmer. I think the Labour Party's attitude on this matter is very liberal if they regard a man with 100 acres and with £50 valuation as a small farmer. Deputy O'Connell made a point about the three years which come into our scheme. I think the Deputy will find that exactly the same thing happened in Meath as in Mayo, that the rates have gone up fairly rapidly for the last three years. If we are hitting Mayo we are also hitting Meath.

Mr. O'Connell

The rates are down in Meath.

I am talking of the total rate collected in the County Meath and of the total amount collected in County Mayo. I notice a peculiar thing about Meath, that it looks as if there were a revaluation. The total amounts of rates leviable off agricultural land in County Meath in the years 1928-29-30 were £91,000, £89,000, and £109,000: in Mayo the amounts were £57,000, £50,000, and £79,000. There is the same tendency in both counties. The point made by Deputy O'Connell that his amendment would give greater relief to County Mayo than our motion is not right, in my opinion. I had not time to study the figures. I saw figures with Deputy MacEntee yesterday and I took them as correct, that the total rate leviable on agricultural land in Meath has gone up just as much as it has gone up in Mayo, and that if you are doing an injustice to Mayo under the motion you are also doing an injustice to Meath. If you are doing an injustice to both a strong county and to a weak county, it comes to this, that it is justice all round, because you are doing the same injustice to everybody.

I do not know if Deputy O'Connell is right in the figures he gave of the total cost. Deputy O'Connell admitted that it might be doing an injustice where the valuation of a farm was over £50 where dairy cows were kept. I do not like to have to stand up for people of over £50 valuation, but that shows the necessity of examining the question more fully than the Labour Party has done. It will be found that in Limerick and Tipperary there are a considerable number of farmers over £50 valuation who keep cows and supply milk to the creameries. The number of landholders over £50 valuation was given by Deputy O'Connell as very small, being only 8 per cent. of the whole. While I cannot vouch for the figures, I am told that these 8 per cent. employ 90,000 agricultural labourers. That is a very big number to be employed. If we have large dairy farmers over £50 valuation, and if they are employing this amount of labour, I think they are just as much entitled to relief as tillage farmers, particularly this year, because they have been hit worse than any other type of farmer during the last twelve months. The tillage farmer was badly hit in the past, but for the past twelve months the dairy farmer has been badly hit. Eight per cent. of these landholders employ 90,000 agricultural labourers. According to the figures given by Deputy O'Connell, the small amount that would be required under his amendment shows that there is not much tillage. Therefore there must be a good deal of dairying. We should remember that employment. I do not want to go into any other points which Deputy O'Connell has made. I do not believe that the amendment will in any way increase tillage, because the inducement to do so is not big enough.

Mr. O'Connell

It is not intended to be an inducement.

I accept that. It will not increase tillage. It is not intended to.

Mr. O'Connell

It will mean greater expense to the man who does not till.

You mean it to be a sort of penalty on the man who does not till?

Mr. O'Connell

Yes.

If we in this Party thought that we could encourage those who are in tillage to remain in it and to employ additional labour, either in dairying or other agricultural industry, immediately, we would certainly do so, but we do not believe that it can be done immediately. That is where we differ. The Minister for Finance quoted some figures which he gave in his last Budget statement, and showed the difficulties regarding de-rating here as compared with those in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Obviously there are difficulties, but no difficulties can deter us from finding some relief for agriculture. We have to get over difficulties, because agriculture cannot go on unless we give some relief immediately. The Minister for Finance has stated that they intend to do something in the coming Budget. We all hope they will. He stated that the time to do it was when introducing the Budget. He also stated that the introduction of a motion like this, while a Commission was sitting and preparing its report on the question of de-rating, would prevent any self-respecting Commission from sitting again on that subject. All I can say about that statement is that it is no wonder he left the House after making it. He told us that the Commission was going to report soon, and that if we were going to give relief now it should be done in a permanent way this year. We all agree with that if it could be done in a permanent and satisfactory way, but why did the Government allow the motion to go on if that is the case? They had only to get up and say: "We are going to deal with the matter in the next Budget." They did not do that. The Minister for Finance said: "If it is not possible to do it in a permanent way this year, at least let us give an instalment of it." Again he said: "Even if that is not possible, let us do something in the direction of a permanent way."

There are too many "ifs" about his statement. He stated that he expects the Commission to report almost immediately, and that the Government will be in a position to consider the report without any delay when they get it. By the time, however, that they consider the various "ifs" of the Minister for Finance I do not think that they will be in time for the Budget. The Minister said that there was no need for the motion, and that we should all know that the Government were going to deal with the matter because the President mentioned it in Dun Laoghaire last November. We often found the President and Ministers making similar statements before, but they did not come to very much. They have been mentioning the question of de-rating for the last few years. Whenever there is a bye-election it becomes a very prominent subject. When the bye-election in Dublin last year was over, however, we were told that nothing could be done about de-rating this year. Thus it will be seen that there is necessity for the motion. The Minister for Finance said that only two questions remained to be settled, namely, the form of relief and how to raise the money. The Minister may think that these are rather trivial matters, but to us they are very big ones. The form in which the relief is to be given has, we presume, been engaging the attention of the De-rating Commission for over eighteen months, and I suppose the question of raising the money has been considered, not only by that Commission, but also by the Department of Finance.

If we were in the position here of being able to say that we were only going through a temporary depression in agriculture and that we felt that at the end of 1931 we would have turned the corner—the corner about which we have heard so often—we might have some patience and even some consideration for the De-rating Commission, and give them time to present the best report possible and allow the Executive Council to consider it. There is, however, no time for that, There is no prospect for farming, so far as we can see. The prospects for farming were never worse. Up to last year we thought that things were going to improve, but now we see that they are going the other way and that relief is wanted immediately if we are to keep farmers in production. In the last issue of the "Irish Trade Journal" it was stated that the world's export of butter in the year before the war was 6,931,000 cwts., and in 1929 the amount was 10,232,000 cwts., so that the amount of butter available for export in the world's market had gone up by almost 50 per cent. We are competing also in that market with whatever butter we have to export. There were formerly some good markets, but now there is no free market except Great Britain left for imported butter. Even Germany and Canada, which were the two next best importers of butter after Great Britain, have imposed tariffs against imported butter because they are trying to produce their own requirements and, when that is done, as it probably will be done in two or three years, we will have all the surplus butter in the world dumped into Great Britain.

Are we in a position to compete in that market with our half a million cwts. against the ten million cwts. that will be thrown on the British market within the next few years? The same development is taking place in regard to bacon, grain, and, possibly, mutton and beef. So far, we have practically no competitors in fresh mutton and beef, but we have competitors in frozen mutton and frozen beef. We find year after year that the commodities sent from the Argentine or New Zealand, frozen or chilled, are coming closer as regards price to our fresh beef and mutton. Are we able to stand up against these competitors in the foreign market and get satisfactory prices for our goods? I do not believe that we can unless our farmers are helped to keep in their present production, if not to increase it. The Free State farmer has the smallest output of any farmer in the countries mentioned in the last Census of Agricultural Production. The output of the Free State agricultural worker is £96 a year. In Northern Ireland it is £104, in England £169, in Scotland £184, and in Denmark £196. Those people in England and Scotland have their own home market, and are obviously better equipped to withstand competition than we are because they have a bigger output and are better able to meet their competitors, seeing that they are getting, at least, some money into their hands to help them to do so. We are going to be up against these foreign competitors and we find that even in Great Britain they are tending towards protection. Recently they passed a Marketing Bill with the object of increasing agricultural production in Great Britain in order to hold the home market for home products. We find the Farmers' Union in Scotland calling for protection and safeguarding in certain directions.

The only chance I see, therefore, for our agricultural industries is at least to keep our farmers in the production in which they are engaged at present. If they once recede from what they are producing at present, they are going to lose even the small bit of the export market which they hold, and they are going to lose more of the home market, which is worse. At any time I suppose it is never too late to secure the home market for agricultural produce because we will always be able to recapture the home market for such produce. We have, however, to do more than that. We must be in a position always to pay for the imports which we require in this country. We do want some very necessary imports, and the only thing we have to export as a surplus to pay for these imports is agricultural produce.

There is no use in exporting agricultural produce unless there is a market for it, and unless we hold the market for it, we are going to be nowhere in a few years. Therefore, I say: Do not let the farmer go out of production. Do not delay in giving him the relief he wants. Let members of Cumann na nGaedheal and the Farmers' Party, at least, be quite certain, before going into the Division Lobby to vote against this motion to-night, that the Minister for Finance will definitely introduce in the Budget some measure of relief for agriculture.

This motion, if it has done nothing else has proved to the people who sent us here that in this House there is a consensus of opinion in favour of relief for agriculture. We have that demonstrated from every Party in the House, including the Government Party. That fact was known in the country for the last ten years, becoming more acute year after year. Deputies have quoted here, in the course of their speeches, statements made by various responsible Ministers and others, that relief was necessary for agriculture, from 1923, 1925 and subsequent years. While all sides have been admitting this fact, for those years past, up to the present moment nothing tangible has been done to assist agriculture until this motion was put on the Order Paper.

In comparing the motion and the amendment, I think myself that the Labour Party have not enhanced their reputation by producing this amendment. It is pretty obvious to me, as I think it is obvious to most members of the House, that there is no bulk of agricultural opinion behind the amendment proposed by Deputy O'Connell.

The small farmers.

Deputy O'Connell says the small farmers. I come from a county of small farmers, perhaps the most typical county of small mixed farmers in the Free State. I have in my pocket at the present moment a mandate from 6,200 organised farmers of the County of Cavan, and they have instructed me to vote in favour of this motion. I am going to vote in favour of it. They have also, in discussing this question, for three or four years definitely stated that on this question of de-rating they, as I said, a community of small farmers and I will say the most industrious farmers in Ireland, do not take a selfish view of the question. They have stated, from the very start, that if de-rating of agricultural land is going to be a success in this country, we cannot differentiate between the large farmer and the small farmer.

The small farmer, notwithstanding what Deputy O'Connell says, and there may be something in it—that the small farmer will not get as great benefit out of de-rating as the large farmer—is not going to complicate this issue on the first occasion on which the necessity for the relief for agriculture has been brought prominently before the public. He is not going to complicate the issue by raising the question of the small or large farmer, to throw a spanner, as it were, into the works and leave a difficulty which the Government, if they were in a difficulty in dealing with this question, will seize on and say: "This is too complicated altogether. This question of dealing with the small farmer on a different basis to the large farmer will involve employing more officials. It will create difficulties all over the country, and consequently we will have to give more time to the consideration of the question." It is giving an excuse to the Government.

This is not a de-rating motion.

It is not a de-rating motion, but it is the preliminary to it. If the Labour Party are not in favour of de-rating let them say so now. If it is not a de-rating motion, what was the necessity for Deputy O'Connell to go into all the extraordinary calculations he made as to how much a small farmer under £50 valuation would get? I would call such a farmer a large farmer in my county. What is the necessity at all of de-rating if it is not to relieve agriculture? What I want to point out is that the farmers in my county are in favour of de-rating. They have given me a mandate to vote for this half-loaf policy, and that is all we can call it. It is a half-loaf policy. This half-loaf policy is necessary at this time of the year, when agriculture is in a most depressed condition, and when the farmers find it very difficult to know where they are going to get money to seed their land. They want to know what their obligations are for the future, and if they are certain that the rate collector is only going to take 50 per cent. of the present assessment later on, it will induce them to go in for more tillage with a lighter heart than under present conditions. There will be a better prospect of buying the seeds and manures they have to use this year.

The main burden of the arguments of the Minister for Finance against this motion is that it is inopportune. He does not say it is unnecessary. There is a lot in what he says when he puts forward the case, by inference, that it is unwise to anticipate the Budget statement. I am very glad to have got a declaration from the Government that they recognise that agriculture requires relief and that provision will be made for that in the Budget—at least we hope so. But, in the meantime, if this motion were not discussed in the House, or some motion on similar lines, would we feel confident that there was going to be very considerable relief offered to agriculture in the Budget? Personally, I do not see any indication of that beyond statements which up to this I would say were purely unofficial, statements which possibly might not commit the Government to any particular line when the Budget was produced, and which would leave it open to the Government to say: "We quite recognise that relief for agriculture is necessary, but we have not before us the report of the De-rating Commission, and until we have we do not know on what lines to proceed and the matter will have to be held over until next year."

On this matter of the De-rating Commission, Deputies, no matter from what county they come, will recognise that there is a general feeling, justified or otherwise, that the report is being held back unduly. That is putting the interpretation of the rank and file of the farmers in a very mild way. I do not want to go beyond that. But I think it is obvious that the report should have been produced before this. I have no knowledge of what way the Commission are going to report, whether it is to be for or against de-rating or a kind of half measure. But, if it is not a whole measure, so far as those whom I represent are concerned the relief to agriculture from de-rating will still remain a very vital question until it is completely dealt with.

It may be said, and said truly, that other methods might be adopted for dealing with the present depressed condition of agriculture and that relief might be granted in quite a different form. That is quite true. For my own part, I would much prefer to see the farmers in such a condition that we would not be relieving them from the rates, but that we would be in a position to make the farmers' capacity to pay rates—even higher rates if necessary—much greater than it is. The question of relief from rates is not the beginning and end of the assistance for agriculture by any means. What we want is to put the farmer in such a position that his capacity to pay rates and taxes and all his obligations to the State will increase, and that he will be able to bring up his family and carry on his industry in a much better and more capable and efficient manner and with greater profit to himself than he has been able to do for the last seven or eight years.

I have heard it stated outside by those who do not like de-rating that such things are rather a luxury, that the standard of living in this country is too high, and that until we reduce the standard and get down to a more modest form nothing can be done in this country. My answer to that is that the standard may, with some people, be rather high, but that the standard of 75 per cent. of the people, namely, the farmers, is far too low to maintain any industry in any country in the world. What we want to do is to raise the standard of living of the farmer. Deputy Gorey laughs at that. I am surprised and I am not surprised, because I dare say he will vote against this motion. But when a farmer Deputy laughs at the suggestion that the standard of living of the farmers requires to be raised, then it is nearly time to take stock of the people sent to this House to represent the farmers. Arguments have been put up as to the relief measures that have been given to the farmer in the last seven or eight years. I would not be surprised to hear different Acts mentioned, such as the Dairy Produce Act, the Fresh Meat Act, the Eggs Act, and the Live Stock Breeding Act, as Acts that have been of assistance in raising the standard of living of the farmer or putting him in a better position to pay his way.

I do not want it to be understood that I do not agree with many of these Acts. I do agree with many of them, as many of them were necessary. But, in actual fact, up to the present, a number of these Acts have not assisted the farmer in any way financially. Some of them, in actual fact, up to now may be regarded as penal Acts on the farmer. Take the Dairy Produce Act. I do not mean to say that that was a penal Act by any means, but notwithstanding the fact that it was on the statute book I found myself in the position of having not to vote against a tariff on butter because of the condition of the butter industry. That is a temporary expedient, and it is more or less a reflection on the manner in which our butter industry is being handled, even since the Dairy Produce Act came into force. As I said before in this House, I can visualise in the future the tariff of 4d. per pound on butter being one of the things that will defeat the very object of the Dairy Produce Act—that is, to produce the best butter in the world.

Then we have the Fresh Meat Act, passed, presumably, to assist the farmers. Has it done that? Go around the country and ask any farmer or pig raiser if the Act has been of any benefit to him. Has it put one sixpence in his pocket? Has it not made it very difficult for him to market his stuff, and has it not contributed to some extent to the fact that at Cavan Fair last Tuesday pigs that, six or eight months ago, would be sold at 50/- were going abegging at 14/- and could not get a buyer? These are the conditions in which our farmers are at present. I wonder was anyone in this House at the Dublin cattle market this morning?

What was the condition of the Dublin cattle market this morning? The worst market that was held in Dublin for years. I do not want to say this for the purpose of running down the country. I want to point out the condition in which the farmers are in the spring of the year when they want money to buy seed. You could not sell a beast in the market this morning.

There were very few buyers and I defy anyone to say that it was not the worst market held in Dublin for years. What are the reactions of that in the country down to the very poorest man who raises a calf? Take the Eggs Act. That has not put one penny into the pockets of the farmer. It is perhaps these Acts which put money into the pockets of the people whom Deputy Good, I think, indicated as between the producer and the consumer. The Deputy will find that between the producer and the consumer the Eggs Act and the Fresh Meat Act also come in.

Now as regards rates in the future. There is a certain amount of suspicion in the country—and when dealing with this question it is much better for us to be frank with one another— whether it is justified or otherwise, that certain Acts passed by this House dealing with rating were passed for the purpose of loading the people with separate charges that would not come in under the heading of de-rating. I refer to the Vocational Education Act for one—I am not speaking against these Acts—and to the Local Government (Special Expenses) Act, and to the Tourist Development Act. I have not one word to say against these Acts. They are all permissive Acts if you like; they give permissive rights to the farmers of the country to levy rates on themselves for certain purposes. It may be perfectly true that they need not strike these rates, if they like, but there are people who think that the time is not far distant, having regard to the present trend of legislation, when the people will have no right to strike rates, and when local representatives will be supplanted by managers, and when these permissive Acts will be converted into compulsory Acts, and that in the future the ratepayers will not be able to stand up against these compulsory Acts.

These are points of vital importance to our particular industry. If we are sincere in our belief, and the statements we make, as to the value of agriculture in this country and as to its importance in this State, we must understand, and most of us do understand, that if agriculture goes down we will have nothing to replace it in fifty years' time, because we could not by any possibility convert this country into an industrial country in that period. If there is depression in our agriculture and if there is difficulty in marketing our produce owing to world competition and conditions these conditions are also running through every industrial centre in the world. But if we are sincere in our desire to assist agriculture we must not be satisfied with merely giving it a dole off the rates; we must foster it in a much better way. We must see to the marketing of our produce. We must see that the ships that carry our produce are Irish as far as possible, so that a big amount of every penny that comes into the country goes to the producer and not to the middleman. That is the class of relief that I would like to see given to the farmers and, notwithstanding the jibes of a farmer Deputy here on my right, I still as a farmers' representative hold we are not doing half enough at the present time for agriculture in this country, that this half-loaf policy, at this stage, is better than nothing, but that when we are finished with this motion, and very probably it will be defeated, the question still remains to be dealt with and complete de-rating has to come and a great deal more relief has to be given to agriculture than de-rating can give.

I think I could very well start in this debate by quoting a statement made by the Secretary of the Agricultural Credit Corporation in his evidence before the De-rating Commission. He said that 75 per cent. of the farmers were in need of loans; that relief was required more by the farmer who employed labour than by the farmer working his own family, and that the labour employed had decreased 50 per cent. in the last ten years. I think if any case were required to be made here it was made by the evidence of that official. We have heard the Minister for Finance this afternoon telling us that this is a political move, and we had the leader of the defunct Farmers' Party saying that this was a political move on the part of the Fianna Fáil Party who were looking for the help of the farmers. The Fianna Fáil Party need not look for the help of the Farmers, because the farmers have long given up expecting anything from the Party they sent into this House to represent them and which sold them.

As long ago as last October this motion was being considered by our Party. It was not brought in as a political move at all. It was adjourned pending the report of the De-rating Commission, because we were anxious that the report of the De-rating Commission should be considered in this House in a non-political and non-party spirit. But what happened? We had the statement of the Minister for Finance made on the Budget that after the De-rating Commission reported it would take several months to consider a scheme of de-rating to be brought in here. He pointed out that different implications with regard to local government and everything else were involved in it. Then the next move we had was that the De-rating Commission was marking time to save another million or so for the financial jugglers.

I do not think the Deputy ought to criticise the De-rating Commission.

I am not criticising it, but I am criticising the delay in bringing in their report. That delay looks very suspicious when one considers that the county councils have struck their rates, except those who refused to strike them until the Minister declares what is going to be done for the farmers this year. We heard a lot of soft talk about relief of the farmers. We were told: "Look at all the great things we are going to do for the farmers." I would like some Deputy to get up and to defend the policy of imposing rates upon one business, and one only, for local services. I do not see any reason why the farmers should be taxed for local services and the big importer or exporter or well-paid official should be allowed go free any more than anyone else. I do not see why we should have local contributions made for local services by everybody except those who are extremely well paid.

I do not see why we should have men paid out of the local rates, men drawing a salary of £1,000 a year out of the farmers' pockets, and out of that £1,000 a year contributing to the rates only on a valuation of £20. That is, the valuation of his house. Why should such a man get his £1,000 free while the farmer has to pay heavy rates on his income? If the farmer had an income of £1,000 a year he would be paying rates on a valuation of about £5,000. I can see no reason whatsoever why the one man can go free, and why men making large incomes in every other sort of business should go free, while farmers have to pay. Take the importer of coal in a local town, with a turnover of £5,000 to £10,000 a year. Out of that turnover he would contribute anything from £5 to £10 a year in rates. A farmer with an income of £1,000 would pay rates on a valuation of £5,000. I hope the House will not approach this matter in the light of "we are giving something for nothing to the farmers." If we give him this relief we are only restoring to him a very small bit of what has been taken from him, grabbed unjustly from him, since the Dáil came into operation.

That is the viewpoint from which I approach the matter at any rate. I can see no reason why any of those people in different walks of life should go free without any local taxation whatsoever, and with scarcely any contribution to local services, while the farmer's business is the only business taxed. The view I take is that there should be absolutely a re-casting of contributions for local services. What is the farmer paying for? For billiard table roads over which the officials paid by the farmers are to drive. If the farmer tries to take his cattle to fair or market over these roads he will find that quite a number of them will be injured by falling. If he takes his horse to the local market town he is in danger of the horse breaking its knees, owing to the way the roads are made for the convenience of officials.

These officials are not alone being paid here but they have already been de-rated to the extent of £326,000. That is the grant for de-rating given to officials with salaries over £400 a year. They are drawing in cost-of-living bonus a sum of £326,000 a year. After all, what is that but another form of de-rating these gentlemen? I say therefore, that the less we hear about giving the farmers something for nothing the better. One would have thought on listening to the Minister for Finance replying to Deputy Aiken a while ago that the poor fellow had been knocked down and his pockets picked. That is what he reminded me of when I looked across at him. In giving the farmer this relief that we ask for, we are only giving him what he is very justly entitled to, and it is even only half a loaf.

We hear a lot from time to time in the Dáil about the unity of Ireland. We read a great many statements about the unity of the country. Does anyone mean to tell me that there is a farmer in the North of Ireland who would be fool enough to come into the Free State so as to have the pleasure of paying rates? The farmers in Northern Ireland have paid no agricultural rates for the last two years. If you are ever going to bring in the North you will have to give them as good terms as they are getting from their own Government. I maintain that rates on agricultural land are an absolute bar to the unity of this country. All those opposite who talk about unity should consider that point.

The more we examine this problem the more convinced we become that the Executive Council have no intention whatsoever of doing anything for the farming community. We have had social service after social service clapped down on the farmers. The farmers have to pay for these so-called social services. We have had these matters in the Dáil year after year. There was no suggestion whatsoever that anybody but the farmer would be taxed for these social services. We have had public health services, vocational education, and all these other burdens clapped on the rates, with no intention of relieving the farming community. This thing has been going on until the burden has become so great that the farming community has at last decided it will not bear it any longer. That is the decision come to in County Cork. They have decided that they will not bear this burden any longer.

I want to say a word with regard to the peculiar amendment to this motion that has been set down by the Labour Party. I wonder if that amendment was seriously meant at all? I have looked very carefully through the Official Reports since the Dáil was set up. In the case of none of the agricultural grants that came before the House did the Labour Party take any steps to get these agricultural grants devoted to tillage farmers. During the debates on those grants what do we find? A pious wish expressed by Deputy Johnson on the 24th June, 1925, after the Bill had been brought in by the Minister for Finance giving £599,000 of an extra agricultural grant. I looked to see what was the Labour amendment to that Vote—to find if there was any demand for a 20 per cent. tillage on a minimum valuation of £50. There was nothing of the kind. There was only a pious wish by Senator Johnson of a new allocation some time. His own words were: "I am very pleased to hear from Deputy Wilson that it is the intention of the Government to consider, if not in connection with this year's allocation, at any rate in future years, the relevant values to the State, and therefore the need for a variation in the allocation in regard to the amount of land suitable for tillage which is being tilled." That is the statement made by Senator Johnson.

What is the meaning of that?

A pious wish that in the future allocation of the agricultural grant some consideration would be given to the tillage farmer as against the farmer grazing all his land.

Hear, hear.

In 1926 the Agricultural Grant Vote was again brought in, and the pious wish was not realised. In fact, I might state in the commencement that when the Committee Stage of the Bill was reached, when one would expect to see Labour amendments on these lines, we did not hear a single word from them on the Committee Stage of the Bill. There were no amendments on these lines from Senator Johnson, Deputy O'Connell, or anybody else.

What Bill?

The Local Government (Rates on Agricultural Land) Bill, which was introduced into this House on 24th June, 1925. The agricultural grant was £599,000. On that Bill there was not a single amendment brought in by the Labour Party on the lines of a 20 per cent. tillage. The agricultural grant was continued in 1926. An extra agricultural grant was brought in each year from 1926 until 1930, and voted upon, and not one single member of the Labour Party mentioned a word about tillage.

What should we have done?

Put down a motion as I did. I set out that the agricultural grant should not be paid to any farmer who had not fifteen per cent. of tillage or who was not using his farm for dairying purposes. That was the state of things until the Government set up the De-rating Commission, and we are now awaiting the report of that Commission.

You put your faith in the Government.

He gave them a chance to hang themselves.

I did not put my faith in the Government. The whole position of de-rating was being considered by the Government, and I was waiting for them to bring in a Bill.

Mr. O'Connell

Why are you running away from your own motion now?

I am not. My point is that from 1926 to 1930 the Labour Party did not utter a single word with regard to 20 per cent. of tillage on a £50 valuation when that extra Agricultural Vote was brought up for consideration.

Would it be right to put down an amendment then?

I suggest that the Labour Party should give Deputy Corry an opportunity of making his speech.

I quite agree that the Deputy should be given an opportunity.

I am quite happy listening to them. According to the statistics that have been prepared, we have in County Limerick, the county that would be most affected by Deputy O'Connell's amendment, no less than 8,400 agricultural labourers who are apparently to be thrown to the wolves.

There are no wolves in Limerick.

There are no proposals in the amendment affecting the dairy farmers who, if the statistics are correct, employ much more labour than the tillage farmers.

Is there any such reference in the motion?

Mind your amendment.

There is no proposal in the amendment suggesting any provision for finding employment for 8,400 agricultural labourers in Limerick, for 10,700 agricultural labourers in County Tipperary, or for 9,000 agricultural workers in my constituency. All those labourers are to be slaughtered if we are to take the proposals put forward by Deputy O'Connell into consideration. In County Limerick you have employed on the farms 25,200 people— farmers, their families and their labourers.

Mr. O'Connell

Are they all on farms of over £50 valuation?

I wonder how many of these people will come under Deputy O'Connell's amendment. It has been admitted by the Minister for Finance, and indeed by everybody else, that the rateable valuation in this country cannot be taken as any basis because of the fact that the tillage areas were valued on the Griffith system of valuation at three of four times the valuation of grazing areas. This is going to hit the tillage farmer, the farmer that Deputy O'Connell wants to save. It will hit him except in so far as he is going to get 50 per cent. under the amendment when he satisfies the Minister for Agriculture that he is tilling 20 per cent. of his land. I am amazed at Deputy O'Connell's selection of the Minister for Agriculture as an authority on tillage. It was one of the most amazing things that I read in the amendment. Deputy O'Connell selected as an authority on tillage the Minister for Agriculture. That Minister is better known in my constituency as the Minister for Grass. He is the gentleman who is selected as an authority on tillage.

I wonder how many new officials are to be appointed to measure the 20 per cent. in the case of each farmer. I had a little experience in that connection from 1917 to 1919 when we had the compulsory tillage order brought in by the British Government. Each farmer was compelled to till so much land. If ever there was a bigger fraud perpetrated on this country, I do not know of it. Fully £6 or £7 a week was paid to gentlemen driving round measuring the number of half acres tilled by the farmers and all this money was paid out of the farmers' pockets. Most of the million pounds would go that way under the amendment. I quite appreciate the idea of the Labour Party looking for increased employment for officials. I quite appreciate that they are prepared to throw overboard the unfortunate agricultural labourers because the labourers are not now aristocratic enough for them. The agricultural labourers do not count any longer in the scheme of things. Extra officials will be appointed travelling the country finding out the farmers over £50 valuation who will satisfy the Minister for Agriculture that they have 20 per cent. of the arable land on their holdings tilled. Who is going to decide what is arable land? Perhaps it will be the Minister for Agriculture, and I would like to know how long it will take him to go from farm to farm.

Perhaps it will be the Judicial Commissioner.

Those are things we would like to have threshed out. I never witnessed anything like this hurried rush of the Labour Party to get an innings, and I never witnessed so poor an attempt as they have made. I expected better from them. A tillage farmer in my constituency with a valuation of £50 a year would have about 30 to 40 acres. That might be rather amazing to Deputy O'Connell. I would not be at all surprised if it were, as he is judging by this little bit of the County Mayo he rules so carefully, and County Mayo employs altogether 1,351 agricultural labourers as against 8,400 in the County of Limerick, where he would give no relief at all. Those are points which I think Deputy O'Connell ought to consider carefully. I do not think that the Labour amendment is worth bothering with, much further at any rate. In the first place the machinery to be set up by the Labour amendment might be set up by a proper speeding process in 12 months or two years. It would not be set up any sooner. If we were considering a scheme of permanent de-rating we would probably take the Labour view or something approximating to it on the de-rating proposals here, but we must also consider the dairy farmer of whom Labour is ignorant. He is of no interest to Labour, but in the County of Limerick he employs 8,400 labourers.

I can assure the House that we would not dream of bringing in this million pound proposal as it stands except as a purely temporary proposal dealing with this year only, because the Government was attempting to shirk the definite promises they have given to the farming community. If this motion has done nothing else it has definitely prevented the Executive Council and those who support them from shirking their duty this year on this matter.

We had a statement from the Minister for Finance that he was going to make a definite statement on de-rating on the Budget, but last week we put proposals before him on a portion of the seven million pounds on account. The only contribution they were giving in that towards the relief of the farmer was the old £300,000 for four months on an agricultural grant, the same as usual. That was the tune of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party last week. If we have made the Minister for Finance whistle a different tune I think we have done a good day's work for the farming community of the Free State. A short time ago I happened to meet in my constituency a farmer who would be considered an enormous rancher by Deputy O'Connell. He had a valuation of £200. He asked me was there any hope of de-rating this year. I told him that there was no hope that he would get anything. He asked me into the house, and in his kitchen there were at dinner 22 workmen, who were working on that farm and who were getting a livelihood out of that farm. He was giving them permanent employment and, in addition, employed from 15 to 20 extra men from the 1st of May to the 1st of November. Is that farmer going to be put outside the scope of any of the relief, even under Deputy O'Connell's amendment? That farmer cannot be put out in the cold.

Mr. O'Connell

Why?

He would have to satisfy the Minister for Grass that he had 20 per cent. of his holding under tillage.

Mr. O'Connell

Had he?

He probably has, and more.

Mr. O'Connell

Then he is all right.

But look at the difficulty he would have, and the high time some official would have down there for a fortnight, pretending to measure the ground and getting £7 a week out of the million. We have to consider in this proposal men like him, who are an asset to the community. I hold he is a bigger asset to the community than the retired or even the active publican who would have 50 acres of land in the County Mayo or probably 100 acres of land with £40 valuation and who would get three-quarters of his rates wiped out by Deputy O'Connell and perhaps not till an acre at all.

I expected something better from Labour. I do not know how they came to make such idiots of themselves as they have in this. I never thought I would see Labour throwing overboard the 8,400 agricultural workers in the County Limerick or the 9,000 agricultural workers in my constituency. I have the greatest respect for the agricultural workers, and think they are the only people in this country who are not drones. I will take another instance. The average farmer in my constituency would be over £50 valuation. I will give you a description of the affairs of that farmer. The moment his son can be kept at home from school without being arrested by the Civic Guards he is made work and kept on as an unpaid labourer until he reaches 40.

What would be done with him then?

Deputy O'Donovan knows the circumstances just as well as I do; so does every rural Deputy. They know that but for the unpaid labour of the farmers' sons and daughters they would not be able to pay the rates and annuities of the present day. Those men are unpaid labourers, living on the farm in order that through their labour social services might be afforded to gentlemen whose salaries will be trebled by the Minister for Local Government from time to time and for whom the Minister has the greatest sympathy.

The Minister for Local Government would not even dream of giving any rebate of rates that would not be for motorists' roads. No matter how much a county council would spend on the ordinary link roads and by-roads they would not get any rebate. As a matter of fact, the policy of the Minister for Local Government, in recent years at any rate, has been to compel the county councils, by bribes and other means, to spend more money than they can afford in making billiard-table roads for motorists. I can see no reason whatever why this motion should not be accepted. As the Minister for Finance said, it will take a very long period before the report of the De-rating Commission can be considered by this House, before it can be considered by the Ministry, and before all its implications with regard to changes in the local government system and otherwise can be considered.

[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]

If we are to judge by the speed, for instance, that was shown in the case of the Town Tenants Bill, it will take ten years and then there will be only an instalment brought in. From 1925 to 1931 the Executive Council have been considering the Town Tenants Bill and we are now told that an instalment is being brought in. If it takes the Executive Council five years to consider a Town Tenants Bill, how long will it take them to consider the report of the De-rating Commission and to change the local government system, as the Minister for Finance stated they were going to do? By the time it would be considered the farmer would be as scarce in the fields of Ireland as a Red Indian on the banks of the Manhattan.

I would like if some Deputy would get up and explain why the business of farming should be the only business to be taxed for local services. Why not, for instance, tax the importer of agricultural seeds and manures? Why not tax the importer of coal? Why not take one of the Minister's officials with £1,500 a year and £199 13s. 0d. of a bonus for fear he would go hungry and compel him to pay something for local services? I suppose the argument would be that the gentleman pays income tax and the farmer does not. The man with the £1,500 a year gets de-rating to the extent of £199 13s. 0d.

He helps to pay half what the Cork County Council spends.

That is a statement that we must take with a grain of salt. I do not want to go into the actions of the Minister for Local Government in regard to the Cork County Council.

I think it is not relevant to this debate. But if he draws me I will try and do a little by turning my deaf ear to the Ceann Comhairle.

He will not be allowed to draw the Deputy.

I would like that the Minister for Local Government would get up and justify the taxation of the farmers for local services while allowing these gentlemen to go free. Above all, I would like to see some of the rural Deputies getting up to justify their voting against this million pounds proposal. After all, it is only a sop of what the farmer is justly entitled to; it is only a small piece of what has been robbed from him by this Dáil from 1923 to 1931. I would like to hear those who were sent in by the farmers to represent them here explaining why they are going to walk into the Lobby to-night to sell the farmers who sent them in here for whatever mess of pottage the Government has given them. Is Deputy Hassett going to walk into the Lobby and vote against relief for the farming community, who he knows are definitely and justly entitled to it?

We can give the farmers much more than those on your side can give them.

The Deputy has told us that he is going to give the farmers a lot more than what we can give them. I hope that the scourging we have given the Cumann na nGaedheal Party in the last few weeks will have the effect of compelling them to come to the aid of the farmer. I hope to see in this House after the next general election a party that will do justice to the farming community, as Cumann na nGaedheal never dreamed of doing justice to them, and as Cumann na nGaedheal never would do justice to them. I only enjoyed one thing here to-night and I enjoyed that thoroughly. It was the picture of the Minister for Finance, looking like a poor fellow who was after being knocked down and robbed, when there was dragged out of him a statement that he was going to come to the relief of the farmer. Whether he likes it or not, he has to give it.

I suppose it is fitting in the penitential season of Lent that our sins should be publicly paraded before us, so that we might examine them closely. Listening to some of the statements that have been made, we find that the sins of the Labour Party are three. They have tabled an amendment to a Fianna Fáil motion. That is a very serious offence, evidently. And they have neglected to table that amendment for some time. That is another offence. The third is that we have mentioned the word tillage in our amendment. I do not think there is any need of discussing the first. A motion is fair game for any amendment by any Party. Regarding the statement about tillage, we do not put forward whatever is contained in our amendment as our cure for the slackness in tillage. We do not say it is put forward as any cure for it. We put it forward merely as a recognition of the fact that there are some extra charges on the man with over 50 acres who is tilling. We were asked why we did not put down this before. For many years when we were the chief official Opposition we were unfortunately very keenly conscious of our inability to carry such a thing in this assembly. When others came in and took over the position of official Opposition, we naturally thought that such an important matter would be dealt with by them. When we found them dealing with it and proceeding on wrong lines, we thought it was our duty to give them the benefit of whatever information our experience had provided us with on this matter.

It should be remembered that 92 per cent. of the people interested in this matter can be dealt with without any reference whatever to tillage. That is an important point to remember. As regards the other 8 per cent., I think it has been pointed out, and pointed out with effect, that arable land has been scheduled since the war period, and that there is no great difficulty whatever in the Government ascertaining what is the amount of arable land in any person's holding. The main thing, however, to consider is that 92 per cent. can be dealt with immediately, and that the other 8 per cent. will not take as much time or such a horde of officials as Deputy Corry thinks. Referring to Deputy Corry's remarks on this amendment, it is interesting to note that Deputy Corry himself tabled an amendment recently that would have involved, if it had been carried through, a similar horde of officials. The Government offered some time ago some sop in this matter of de-rating. They said they were going to do something or other. They are in the habit of making these statements, probably without considering them. I do not think they consider them fully, at all events, because they scarcely ever do anything on the lines indicated in their promises. When they made this promise, Deputy Corry's proposal fell through. The charge which he makes against us could have been made against himself when he brought in this proposal.

The motion and the amendment are directed towards securing certain relief for the farming community. No matter what has been said to the contrary, I think it is incumbent on the supporters of the motion and amendment to make a case for this relief, and to show how the amount of money that is proposed to be expended will reach, in the most effective fashion, the community it is proposed to relieve. If we were to follow the many hares that are started, we would never get to the motion or amendment proper. Whatever about Limerick or any other place, if we were to cease to deal with land on the grounds that Deputy Corry put forward, probably no landlord in the country would be disturbed, because a great many of them do give employment and their places would be kept intact because of their giving employment. Deputy Corry's suggestion was that the man with £200 valuation and 20 employees should have his farm kept intact, and thus prevent 100 uneconomic holders from getting a decent living in his stead. Why should we have so much compassion for a man with £200 valuation?

Divide that by 100.

Mr. Hogan

I will divide it by nothing. Evidently, Deputy Flinn is divided in his own mind as to what is the proper action to take on this matter. That is what is troubling him.

I was trying to understand Deputy Hogan.

Mr. Hogan

Even on a valuation basis alone, a very good case could be made out for this amendment. We do know that land that was valued on a wheat-producing basis has long since ceased to be wheat-producing land. In my own county, I know land valued on a wheat-producing basis, which would not now produce black oats. As a matter of fact, it is producing rushes at the present time. It is not easy to arrive at a figure representing the average rate on agricultural land throughout the State. We can assume with safety that it is 5/- or 5/6 in the £. That is a conservative estimate. The rates, which in 1913 were 2/- on agricultural land, are at the present time something like 5/- or 6/- in the £. They have gone up three-fold. Each one can examine the position in his own county. In my own county they were 2/10 in 1914; 3/10 in 1916 and 7/-in 1931.

Surely that is a considerable increase in the burden the farmer has to bear. It is not alone a charge upon agricultural produce; in a great many cases it is a charge on agricultural capital. It is a drain on agricultural capital, for the reason that to meet the demand note of the rate collector cattle have had to be disposed of. The economic unit of the farm, therefore, becomes an uneconomic unit because it could carry a cow which has to be disposed of in order to meet the demand note. That is the position regarding increase in rates. On this matter, I should like to quote from one who would be probably regarded as a better authority than I am. I refer to Deputy Heffernan who, at the time he made this statement, was leader of the Farmers' Party. He said:—

Take the local rates. I live in a county that has not been at all one of the highest local rated counties, a county that has been, from the point of view of local administration, perhaps one of the best managed in Ireland. I would like to say, in spite of that, we are of opinion that the rates we are asked to pay, and in particular what the farming community are asked to pay, are intolerable. I will give you an instance of the rates that had to be paid in one of the lowest rated unions in the county. The rate for 1914 was 1/10 in the £; 1917, 2/2; 1919, 3/9; 1920, 4/4; 1923, 5/10: and 1924, 5/- (Vol. 7, cols. 2146 and 2147, June 11th, 1924.)

That total impost now means a charge upon agricultural production and agricultural capital of something like £900,000. What has accumulated since 1914 should also be taken into consideration.

Another matter which was referred to by Deputy O'Connell should certainly be taken into consideration by the Government in any scheme they put forward. Take, for instance, the capitation grant for inmates in mental hospitals, etc. Years ago it was fixed at 4/- per head. The cost of maintenance then per inmate was probably £20. The cost of maintenance of an inmate at present is something like £60. Yet the capitation grant still remains at 4/- per head. That is surely a matter that should be looked into and altered. These are the main items on one side of the statement of accounts. If I were so inclined, I could add other items. I could make out a local case where the Government de-rated the property of the Electricity Supply Board, under the Shannon scheme, and so militated against a large section of ratepayers in the administrative county of Clare.

I could point to the impost put on the rates of the county in the matter of extra health charges while the Shannon scheme was in operation, and also to the medical assistance and the hospital treatment that had to be given to the workers on that scheme. Probably that will hold for another day when we will have a better opportunity of dealing with it. I would like to take a hurried glance at the revenue side of the accounts. I think it would be well for us to understand that the situation of the farmer to-day is not one that he came into immediately. It is the culmination of a series of causes operating over a considerable period, and further, I think it would be idle to rely entirely on published figures for an accurate estimate of the position of the farming community. There are several tests which we could apply to gauge the position of the farming community. We could talk about the cattle population, about cattle exports, about agricultural produce exports and agricultural production. These are tests that we could very easily apply, and, considering the pros and cons, we could safely assume that in the main the figures are correct. Regarding the cattle population we find that between 1923 and 1925 there was a reduction of 286,278 animals. The diminution was not attributable at all to exports, for we find that in 1924 and 1925 the export of cattle fell by 250,000 animals, representing a value approximately of £4,279,591. Between 1924 and 1926 there was a reduction of 307,002 animals, representing an approximate value of £5,200,000. Coincident with the reduction in cattle we had a reduction in tillage between 1924 and 1925 of 40,000 acres. There was a reduction of butter exports between 1924 and 1925 of 55,655 cwts., representing a value of £390,000.

Between 1929 and 1930 we find a drop in the cattle population of 99,000 animals, and a reduction in the amount of tillage of about 102,000 acres. In the matter of produce there is a diminished acreage and a steady decline in everything except beet. It may be no harm to state the amount of produce per acre in tons as between 1929 and 1930. It is something like this: wheat in 1929, 31,718 tons; 1930, 29,260 tons; oats, 1929, 689,385 tons; 1930, 632,146 tons; barley, 1929, 127,720 tons; 1930, 118,215 tons; rye, 1929, 3,159 tons; 1930, 2,944 tons; potatoes, 1929, 3,006,676 tons; 1930, 2,337,452 tons; turnips, 1929, 3,680,944 tons; 1930, 3,175,975 tons. In all agricultural produce there is a steady decline in the tonnage and the acreage under tillage.

Taking the value of what has been produced we find in the "Trade Journal" for February that the index figure in 1911 was 205; in 1912, 160; 1913, 144; 1914, 160; 1915, 157; 1916, 140; 1917, 131; 1918, 137; 1920, 124.8. Not alone has there been a steady decline in the cattle population, in cattle exports and agricultural produce exports, but there has been a decline in the amount of agricultural produce and in the price of these products. The motion in the name of Deputy de Valera proposes to give some compensation to the farmer for this series of reverses by providing one million pounds towards relief of the rates. We were induced to put down the amendment because we do not consider that there would be equitable distribution of that money on the basis of the motion. We consider that a certain section of the community that has suffered for a number of years through dislocation of markets and disturbances of various kinds, has a greater claim upon the State, and that they are in more need of this relief than other sections of the farming community. That is the reason we put down the amendment—that people under £50 valuation should be granted a reduction of three-fourths of the rates assessed on them.

On looking up the statistics we find that there are roughly 350,000 holdings under £50 valuation, and about 32,000 holdings over £50 valuation. If we were to work on the basis of the motion, and according to the rate of assessment, then half of this million pounds would go to the 32,000 holdings, leaving only the other half to be distributed amongst the 350,000. We do not consider that an equitable way of dealing with the situation. We consider that the large farmers have greater resources. They have proportionately less overhead charges, and they have certainly greater credit in the banks and in the local shops. We consider that the small farmer is more in need and that he certainly has a greater right to a just portion of the million pounds than the large farmer. We considered that the best way to see that he got it was by tabling this amendment. In the constituency that Deputy de Valera and I have the privilege to represent there are something like 17,000 holdings under £50 valuation.

I find that there are something like 948 holdings of over £50 valuation. Taking Clare as a unit, about which I probably know something, on the basis of Deputy de Valera's motion the administrative county would get something like £50,000, while under our amendment it would get something like £65,000, working it out in round figures. I have calculated that Clare would get £2 12s. 6d. per holding under the motion and something like £4 per holding under the amendment which the Labour Party has tabled.

What is the total valuation of the 17,000 holdings under £50?

Mr. Hogan

I can let the Deputy have the figures later. The position appears to me that we would give a reduction of three-fourths of the rates to 17,000 holdings and that we would give 50 per cent. reduction to 950 holdings. That is a difference of over 20 per cent. I assume that we are doing the greatest good to the greatest number in giving a three-fourth reduction to 17,000 holdings. It would work out at about £4 per holding, whereas under the motion it would work out at something like £2 12s. 6d. I notice that the Minister for Agriculture has just come into the House. I want to say that sometimes he initiates a slogan with which I agree. He said, for instance, that an extra cow, an extra sow, and an extra acre of tillage would go far to relieve Irish agricultural depression. These may not be his exact words. They are a free paraphrase of them. I would like to ask him, on the strength of that slogan, to support our amendment.

I would put it to him this way. There must be some means discovered of finding capital for the small farmers. I come in contact with small farmers very often and find that they cannot get sufficient capital to make their holdings economic. The joint stock banks are of very little use to them. It is almost impossible for small farmers in my constituency to get capital from these banks. The Agricultural Credit Corporation is, if anything, worse than the joint stock banks. Anyone who has dealt with that corporation knows that you would have to extract money from it with a pliers.

Probably the Minister for Agriculture is saying to himself: "If we put this amendment into effect what value will £4 per holding be to the average small farmer in the matter of capital?" It will be of very great value to him as capital. It is useless to suggest to the small farmer that he should go to the open fair and pay from £14 to £20 for a milch cow. He has no means of getting the money. In a great many cases he endeavours to rear up a milch cow, but what happens? At a certain period of the year, when the rate collector comes along, the calf that he intended to become a milch cow has to be disposed of to meet the moiety. The hope of the farmer and his family of being able to rear a milch cow, and thus make the farm economic, has to be abandoned, and, as I say, the calf has to be sold to meet the moiety of rates.

Not alone has the hope of rearing the milch cow to be abandoned, but the farm has to remain an uneconomic unit, because, though it is probably capable of carrying another cow, that cow cannot be put there, and the grass and other things which could be utilised in the production of milk have to be abandoned also. That disposes to some extent of part of the Minister's slogan concerning the extra cow. The very same thing happens in regard to that portion of his slogan about the extra sow. The outstanding moiety has to be met by the disposal of the makings of the extra sow, and the hope of the extra acre has also to be abandoned owing to the cost of seeds, fertilisers, or farmyard manure. I do not think that any case could be seriously made against either the motion or the amendment. I think, however, that the motion, as it stands, will not deal fairly with the vast majority of farmers who are in need of relief. I think that the great majority of them will not get their just share of the £1,000,000 suggested to be distributed, and I think that our amendment will succeed in securing that the small farmer, the man who has no credit with the banks, and who has no cash, will be able to make his farm an economic unit. He will be able to retain the calf to become the extra milch cow, to retain the extra sow and not dispose of the young pigs, and to prepare that extra acre of tillage, thus enabling him to carry out the Minister's slogan.

I think that there is great danger that this House, sticking its head into a lot of figures and decimal points, is going to lose sight of one very important thing on which this debate bears. The rates that have been struck in the current year throughout the country must be collected. The moneys that are necessary to run local government in this country for the next year must be fully and truly estimated, and arrangements must be made to have them collected by means of rates. The local bodies throughout the country for the coming year will have to make up, in one way or another, £50,000 for the additional land annuities which remained unpaid last year.

If we are going to have the position that money has to be found for the running of local government services, in addition to making up for rates which have been uncollected out of the current year's warrant, to making up for money improperly estimated for, or, if estimated for and rates struck, not definitely collected, the position of this country financially and socially is going to be disimproved. Deputy Corry told us a story of a conversation with a Corkman which he thought had some relevance to this debate or to the question before us. I heard of a conversation much more relevant than that which Deputy Corry had with the Corkman. In this case he was asked: "How do you like the £1,000,000 we are giving you?" The Corkman replied: "It is fine, but I wish you thought of it long ago." The speeches of Deputies on the opposite benches have been such as showed an endeavour on their part to keep away as far as possible from the intention in their mind when putting down this motion. Deputy Corry, who, according to himself, has been hatching the motion at least since October, could not entirely keep away from the intention, and could not prevent his tongue from travelling over the political implications of the motion or from travelling over the discussions that took place at certain county councils where some members asked the council not to strike a rate for this year until this great motion was disposed of.

The farmers of this country, as represented and as sitting on county councils, have shown that they do not think much of this motion. The farmers of this country were not depending on Deputy Aiken this evening to draw a statement from the Minister for Finance to know how their interests stood in the light of the general policy of the Government. The Minister for Finance read out the terms of reference of the De-rating Commission, and the implications of these terms of reference were perfectly clear. As Deputy Hogan stated, the present difficulty of the farmers is not one of sudden growth. Whether the difficulties that the farmers are in are such that they can be materially assisted by de-rating relief of any kind, is a thing that requires very thorough examination. Deputy Lemass told us in a recent speech that this motion was put down because the Fianna Fáil Party saw in the Press that the Government was going to do nothing. Saw in the Press! Deputy Allen, one of the Whips of the Party had information on that subject long ago. On the 29th March last year, in time for a motion of this kind before the Budget of last year was introduced, he was able to tell his own constituents at Newbawn in County Wexford, as reported in the "Enniscorthy Guardian" that "The Free State Government had set up a Commission to enquire into the question of de-rating but it was for the purpose of keeping people talking, and that the Government did not intend to de-rate. When the Fianna Fáil Party got into power they would carry out de-rating. They would keep the £5,000,000 per annum that was going to England at home and that would be used for the benefit of the country."

Hear, hear!

Why in these terrible circumstances of the farmer, that I am sure Fianna Fáil Deputies realise, as well as Deputy Hogan, are not of sudden growth, why not in March of last year when the Chief Whip of the Party was able so freely to tell his own constituents, and no doubt his Party, what the position and the Government attitude in regard to de-rating were, put down this motion? The putting down of this motion at this particular time is just typical of the actions of Deputy de Valera as Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party. Pressed by the tail of his Party in an indecision of mind he seeks refuge in action.

Keep to your own mind. Speak for yourself.

He seeks refuge in action, and he puts this motion down although he knows that the De-rating Commission are about to report.

At some time.

He puts it down at a time when by using the discussions of the least reputable farmers in the country on some of the county councils, he can get a sounding board for his great, deep and heart-felt sympathy for the farmers. He endeavours to create, by a non-rate striking position, confusion in the country in the first place, and attempts to stampede the Government into taking action supposed to be for the relief of farmers without a thorough examination of the matter. The farmers looking for relief and help are looking for it on the true statement of the full facts, and they have shown that they are not to be led into the position by any Party that it can be said that they are taking relief which in the first place it has not been fully shown that they deserve, and in the second place, that they are taking relief which it has not been fully shown is being applied for the purpose of bettering the farming community and the farming industry as a whole.

What about the Limerick County Council? Have they not struck their rates?

The Deputy can say where there is a county in the country that comes under this particular motion that is not going to strike its full rate.

Mr. Crowley

They struck their own rate, and they asked the Deputies for the Limerick constituency to support this motion. That is all.

The Deputy can say all that he has to say here when he is on his feet. He can explain what he thinks these Limerick people are going to do in regard to making provision for their local government services next year. We, here, are not going to be driven into taking an action that we are not fully convinced is the best possible action that can be taken for the benefit of farmers. We are not going to allow any Party in the country to put the farming community in the country into the position that anyone can say that they have got relief that was not fully and thoroughly examined.

We want justice, not relief.

We have been told from the Fianna Fáil Benches that if they gave us the full and great benefits of their own great brains on this matter, this is not the scheme they would put before us. They have been hatching the thing for a long time, but they are not showing their hand. They do not accept responsibility for saying that this is a good way to relieve farmers. Deputy de Valera is not prepared to saddle himself entirely with the actions and the mind of Deputy Corry on this matter. The Labour Party have expressed very great surprise that Deputy Lemass should say that their amendment was nonsense, and that it should be repudiated so vigorously by Deputy Corry in the name of the agricultural labourers in County Cork and in Limerick.

It was humbug, he said. Do not quote him incorrectly, anyway.

At any rate they do not think much of it. I would like to hear Deputy Walsh from Mayo on the situation. I would like to hear Deputy Lemass himself on the situation. Deputy Corry says that the reason they will not accept the Labour Party's amendment is because of the agricultural labourers.

And your officials.

I would advise Deputies interested in the matter to look at the report of the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis about October last for an explanation of the matter and to see what Deputy Buckley's mind was on the question of forcing people to till. Forcible tillage was discussed at that Ard Fheis.

And passed.

No, it was not, because the Counties of Meath and Kildare, where all the great agricultural labourers are, do not want compulsory tillage. If the members of the Labour Party went into it they might find that the grazier mind, and not the mind of the agricultural labourer, was behind the attitude of the Fianna Fáil Party.

It is in the motion.

Is the Minister prepared to accept it?

Does the Minister stand for compulsory tillage?

I am only prepared after the fullest possible examination of the matter that has gone before the De-rating Commission to say what is the proper thing to be done for the farmers.

You want somebody to make up your mind for you.

And take as long as over the Traffic Bill.

The Traffic Bill, the Town Tenants Bill, decimal points, and a long string of figures— anything but the motion on the paper and what it is put down for.

We have not seen your motion yet.

We got on this matter, which is a very simple matter, so many decimal points from Deputy de Valera that you would imagine that what is wrong with the agricultural industry is that it is suffering from some kind of smallpox. If we are to consider this motion as worth talking about, or if they are to consider it worth talking about—

It is about time, as you did not say much up to the present.

——I should like them, say, to turn Deputy Walsh on to the discussion. As recently as February last, as reported in the "Western People" of 7th February, Deputy Walsh referred to the possibility of a general election this year. Elections have been linked up very much with Fianna Fáil discussions on de-rating. Deputy Walsh dealt at length with the de-rating question, and stated that if de-rating is brought in and means additional taxation it will be of no benefit to those with low valuations of, say, less than £5, and the ranchers, the men of £50 valuation and upwards, will benefit at the expense of the smaller holders.

Were the words "the men of £50 valuation and upwards" in what the Minister has read, or were they interpolated by himself?

They are down in plain black and white in the "Western People" of 7th February, 1931. The Deputy is astonished that the same figures should get into the speech of Deputy Walsh as have got into the Labour Party motion.

A very sound, sensible statement by Deputy Walsh.

Of course, some of the opinions of the "Western People" may be very objectionable, but I certainly think that the editor will answer for his reporter and the accuracy of the statements there.

He might have more black and white than there is in that document.

It is a good sample of his black and white. It is a good sample of the black and white that the members of the Fianna Fáil Party have been responsible for on this question of de-rating in quite a number of counties. Even Deputy Lemass, as reported in the "Connacht Tribune" of 12/4/1930—of course, opinions may have changed somewhat since then—speaking at Loughrea, which I am sure Deputies opposite will admit is on the map, said:—

"I know there is an agitation in existence now which seeks to have de-rating carried out. I believe any scheme of de-rating which must be financed directly or indirectly out of taxation will work out to impose additional charges on the small farmers for the benefit of large farmers."

Deputy Lemass said that in Loughrea.

And quite right.

We have not heard from Fianna Fáil where the money is to come from.

The annuities.

It was the fashion about September, October, November and December, 1929, to talk about annuities and all you could do for de-rating by the annuities, but then Deputy Fahy and Deputy Jordan decided that they would not go to war for the annuities if they could not get them by ordinary quiet means. They repeatedly assured their own constituents in Galway that they need not have the slightest fear on that ground. If they could not get the annuities by coaxing them or by getting some impartial Chairman to say——

I wonder could we coax the debate back to the motion?

It might be a good thing.

The point I want to make is that this million pounds must be got somewhere. The annuities have gone off the map and we will leave them off the map. The question is: Where is this money to come from? If money is wanted for the relief in any way of agriculture I think I can answer for the present Government Party and the Executive Council that they are prepared to find the money, and to find it without apologising to anybody as to the way they will find it.

Tell us how.

Just wait and see.

That is what you are telling the farmers.

When any sum of money was wanted for the building up of the country or for attending to anything which could only be attended to by providing money, we have never shirked the issue and never failed to find the money, and we will find this money.

How much?

Whatever money is necessary. In endeavouring to hide what this motion is about the discussion has gone off into all kinds of figures and figurative directions.

Annuities!

When it came to discussing how much was required Deputy O'Connell showed that he had gone very thoroughly and in a very exhaustive way into the matter in order to get the figures that he required to make his case. Nevertheless, I suggest to Deputy O'Connell that in the figure he quoted as to what Mayo would get under Deputy de Valera's motion he is about 20 per cent. out. If that figure is to be applied all round on whatever basis Deputy O'Connell worked out his £825,000, the total cost of his scheme would have to go up at least by 20 per cent. The whole trend of the discussion has shown, even if you were going to give relief to the farmers by a certain amount of de-rating, that you could not decide how it ought to be done until you see the material that the De-rating Commission Report is to put up.

Would the Minister say if the 20 per cent. increase is in the case of the holders of agricultural land over £50?

No. Deputy de Valera has as much consideration for the holders of land over £50 valuation as for those of £5 valuation.

I thought you were answering Deputy O'Connell.

I was saying that Deputy O'Connell was giving figures showing how much Mayo would get under Deputy de Valera's scheme. Perhaps the Deputy is right.

You are usually wrong.

At any rate I withdraw what I said about Deputy O'Connell's £825,000 having to go up by 20 per cent. I put it like this. If in figuring out what Deputy de Valera's scheme is going to do for Mayo, Deputy O'Connell can be out 20 per cent. we cannot take it that he is going to be perfectly accurate in figuring out what his own scheme is going to cost. We certainly want a thorough examination of any scheme that we may propose, and we are not going to be pushed out of that.

There is one thing that I would ask Fianna Fáil Deputies to consider in connection with this matter in the interest of a real thorough dealing with the farmer's problem. Deputy Hogan wants one cow and one sow and one acre additional.

The Minister for Agriculture wants that.

We do not want to make any Deputy on the Labour Party a present of that idea. The idea comes from here, but at any rate Deputy Hogan subscribes to it. I wonder has Deputy Hogan figured the matter out at all? He gave a figure of from £14 to £20 as the likely cost of a milch cow. It would be worth while figuring out how many years a farmer of the average size of holding in Clare would take to save up what he would get from Deputy de Valera's motion before he could buy his milch cow.

Mr. Hogan (Clare):

Let us be quite clear on what I said. I said a farmer could not afford to give from £14 to £20 for a milch cow, and that he had not credit to get that from the Joint Stock Banks or the Agricultural Credit Corporation, but I said that many individuals would rear up a calf which would ultimately become a milch cow, but that the rate collector came in between, and that the calf had to be sold to pay the moiety of the rates.

I take it from the Deputy that a good milch cow would cost anything from £14 to £20, and if the person who wants to buy a milch cow does not want to go into debt and had to save up from year to year what he would get from Deputy de Valera's motion then I cannot say how long a Clareman would take to do it, but a farmer occupying the average holding in Cork County would have to save up for five years to buy this cow.

He will have to wait five years before you start to help him to buy the cow.

He would have to wait a terribly long period before some of the Deputies opposite started on the right lines to help the farmers. It was well that the second Corkman who had a conversation with Deputy Corry understood that. It is suggested that the Government Party are terribly anxious about this motion. Not the slightest bit of anxiety as to what the farmers think of this motion, and not the slightest bit of anxiety as to whether the farmers had to wait to hear dragged from the Minister for Finance what he would say as to what our attitude was towards the farmers. We are going to wait to have the De-rating Commission Report, and to have the information so carefully compiled and so carefully analysed before us before we decide how much money is to be raised in taxation for the relief of the farmers, and how that money is going to be spent.

[Deputy Fahy and Deputy Corry both rose.]

May I ask one question of the Minister? (Interruptions and cries of "No" and "Sit down.") In view of the two conversations he alleged that were heard by a farmer— (interruptions.)

I call on Deputy Fahy. Deputy Corry must sit down.

The Minister who has just sat down has given us a very fine tirade, but very little about this motion. He has spoken about the intent in our minds, and it is obvious in this respect he has many standards. He says that Deputy O'Connell went very carefully into the figures and quoted very careful figures in support of his case. But when Deputy de Valera went into figures, which the Minister dare not dispute, because they were from official returns of trade and commerce, showing the decline in cattle exports and the decline in tillage and what the percentages were, we were told they were vague percentages and so on. When Deputy O'Connell quoted figures, then, according to the Minister, great care was displayed, but when anyone in our Party quotes figures it is a laughing matter for the Minister, who is such a splendid clairvoyant that he can read what is in our minds. He states that this matter of de-rating is very closely associated with elections in our mind. The question of de-rating is closely associated with elections in the minds of other people.

We all heard quoted by the Minister for Finance the speeches made by the President and by the Minister for Education on November the 22nd last. Perhaps the Minister is not aware that there was a bye-election on at that time. I suppose indeed they had no connection whatever with the bye-election, but one of those speeches was delivered in Dun Laoghaire, and the other was delivered in Lusk at a time of a bye-election. Of course these Ministers, like the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Local Government, were very careful not to quote figures. They prompted the quotation of figures in other quarters. We find on December 22nd, when the bye-election is still on, a heading in the "Independent": £1,000,000 for the relief of farmers. Form of de-rating in the next Budget." That, of course, had no connection with the election; not at all.

It has nothing to do with this motion.

Just as much as the Minister's quotation a few minutes ago. I am just as much entitled to quote as the Minister, and the Deputy did not object to the Minister's quotation.

I did not interrupt.

You are interrupting now, though you did not then.

There were enough interruptions then without Deputy Gorey.

I do not object to his interruptions. "The sum of £1,000,000," said the "Independent,""is being talked of in well-informed circles as the amount the Government hopes to find to enable it to come to the aid of the farmers. There is a good deal of speculation as to the form a scheme of de-rating will take. It is suggested that it may be formulated on a graded scale giving more aid to the small farmer than to the individual with a larger valuation." Then Mr. Belton got inquisitive as to what exactly were the Government's intentions. He put a public query to the President as to what the intentions of the Government were on this matter. Of course, there was no connection at all with the by-election.

On December 8th a letter appeared, signed by President Cosgrave, in which he wrote as follows:—"I cannot forecast what the De-rating Commission's conclusions will be. Whatever they are, the evidence the Commission has collected will be of the greatest assistance to the Government in directing what is the most suitable form which the relief we intend to provide for the agriculturists shall take. We are agreed that the farmer deserves and must receive every assistance that, having regard to our resources, can be given to him." The Minister for Local Government now queries whether he needs that assistance at all. Deputy Finlay, speaking at Skerries after the election, is reported in the "Independent" of December 15th as saying: "The electorate knew the Party that could deliver the goods, because that Party had delivered them and was delivering them, and President Cosgrave's pledge to assist the farmers would be fulfilled." On December 24th the "Independent" had another article about the million pounds relief for farmers. All the promises and all the wild talk of a million for the farmers did not come from the Fianna Fáil Benches.

I have a quotation here from Deputy M.J. Connolly, T.D., in a statement he made that was duly reported in the "Longford Leader" on January 10th. He said: "Far from inflicting hardships on the farming industry, as the position would lead them to believe, the Government was doing its utmost to foster industry and in the latest effort in that direction about £2,000,000 will be made available to assist farmers. That will be done without inflicting undue hardship on the country." Perhaps the Deputy will give the benefit of his great financial genius to the Government in deciding how it will find £2,000,000 without inflicting any undue hardship on the community. We are asking for only a million.

The Minister for Local Government waxed sarcastic as to the scheme of de-rating that we were advocating. We are advocating no such thing. We have heard speeches from several members on the opposite benches mentioning promises about de-rating. We heard sums of £1,000,000 and £2,000,000 mentioned, but there was no sum mentioned by the Minister for Finance. Will the Minister for Finance or the Minister for Local Government say that £1,000,000 will be given in the Budget this year as extra relief for farmers? If they say that we will then know where we are.

Certainly not.

The Minister for Finance told us the Government expected shortly to have the Report of the Tariff Commission. Last November the President told us that the report was practically ready, but we have not got it yet. The Minister for Local Government is not prepared to tell us on what basis any relief grant would be divided. We are told that everything must be taken into careful consideration; that the reactions on local government must be fully considered, and that careful consideration must be given to the wise advice that will come from the Commission. The Minister asked why Deputy de Valera had not outlined the manner in which this money would be expended. He asked why the Deputy had not put before the House a complete scheme for temporary relief.

The fact of the matter is, that the Minister, with all the Government Departments at his back, is not capable of putting any scheme before the House. I presume he knows what will be contained in the Commission's report. He must think that we here are super-men when he expects us to submit a scheme. He could not submit any scheme notwithstanding all the assistance he has at his back. He has not suggested any scheme of temporary relief, and he cannot have it both ways.

The terms of reference of the De-rating Commission were read out for us. We hope that the Commission will bring in a good scheme of de-rating. We have to take into consideration all the hypotheses linked up with the Minister's promises, the delay that has taken place in connection with the report of the De-rating Commission and the splendid promises made by the "Irish Independent." I presume the statements published in that paper were inspired, and they got their information from Government quarters, perhaps from the weekly communiques they get from the Minister for Finance. On February 22nd they stated that there was a surprising change in Cabinet policy, and they mentioned that the schemes the Government were considering for additional temporary financial relief for the farmers were, if not definitely abandoned, postponed for twelve months. We want to know if that is true. The Minister tells us that if certain things happen in relation to certain other things he will do so and so. We must take the wrappings off the parcel and see what we will find inside for the farmers. The Minister tells us that the local authorities must strike rates this year. Certainly they must. In 1926 there was a grant of £600,000 given, and yet the rates were struck.

Perhaps the Deputy will explain why persons calling themselves Fianna Fáil representatives on the Kildare County Council walked out as a protest against the striking of the rate. Is that the party attitude?

I have no more control over a county councillor who happens to be a member of Fianna Fáil than the Government have over a P.C. who had to appear before the court and who happens to be a member of the Government Party. I have just the same control in that connection, and the Minister knows it. What have we to do with a county councillor who happens to be a follower of Fianna Fáil? We are no more responsible in that respect than is the Government for a P.C. who was arraigned for assault.

It is interesting to know that the people in the country who are against striking a rate do not represent the Fianna Fáil policy. It is satisfactory to know that.

I would like the Minister to know that we do not dictate to members of local bodies the same as the Local Government Department dictates to local bodies. The Fianna Fáil members on local bodies follow what they think right without consulting us or without being dictated to. That is the exact position. We would like to know what promise the Minister for Finance is now making. Is he prepared to give any relief this year to the farmers? I can assure the Minister for Local Government that none of us is advocating that rates should not be struck or collected. We are advocating that some form of relief should be given.

The Minister for Local Government spoke about the depression in the agricultural industry not being a sudden thing, and he mentioned that it has been going on for a long time. The farmers represent 72.3 per cent. of the industrial production of this country. We are told there is depression in that industry. If we are to take President Cosgrave's prosperity campaign into account, we must be suffering from what I may call progressive prosperity. Government Deputies have admitted in the country that the great industry of farming is depressed. It has been agreed by all sides in this House that it is depressed. The promises made by the Government are too vague. We want this million to be given in immediate relief. We think that the amendment submitted by the Labour Party might be very useful if there were a permanent scheme, but ours is not a permanent scheme.

This suggestion that we make to-day does not indicate what we would do in the matter of de-rating. If we were dealing with a scheme of de-rating we would distinguish between the small farmer and the grazier. If it were only for political motives it would be to my interest in Co. Galway to distinguish between the large grazier and the small farmer. We must, in the matter of de-rating, distinguish between the small and the larger farmers. We must recognise that some of the large farmers give a good deal of employment in the dairying industry. I make no excuse for them, but if they give employment this is not the time to lessen that employment. I would deal with them justly if we had any permanent scheme. It will not encourage tillage now, Deputy O'Connell says. Therefore it is penalising those who will not till. I say it is better to induce them to till than to penalise them for not tilling.

Mr. O'Connell

It is not penalising them; it is a recognition of the fact that those who are tilling have bigger burdens to carry, and to that extent it would be a special measure of relief to them.

I do not think it is feasible. If this motion were carried you would have to deal largely with the Minister for Agriculture. Does the Deputy know what is his opinion about this matter? When a similar motion was before the Dáil some time ago the Minister for Agriculture waxed eloquent about the number of officials that would have to be appointed.

Mr. O'Connell

The county instructors would do it.

I would like the Deputy to ask the Minister for Agriculture what he thinks of that. Apart from that I do not think you could fix it this year. The amount of land that is to be under tillage this year is already fixed. It is too late now to have that changed. It would cost a great deal, and we want immediate relief. If we get from the Government a definite promise of a sum—something to be mentioned in the Budget for extra farm relief—it would be time then to reconsider this motion, but not until then. We have got no promise that we will get anything, and seeing what promises were made on previous occasions we do not trust half promises made by the Minister for Finance now.

It seems to me that the two Parties in this House are now vying with each other in their desire to show practical sympathy with the small farmer, and that being so I think that the debate as a practical debate has now become unreal and insincere. The Minister for Finance has stated that he proposes in his Budget to mention what he is prepared to do for the farmer. I think, therefore, that any further speeches on this motion might very well be deferred until the Budget statement is made, and that then these speeches will be of some practical benefit, when we know what the Government is prepared to do.

Mr. O'Connell

That is the only way to know what they will do.

Does Deputy Murphy know what the Government is going to give?

This is an amazing debate even if a bit unreal. What has been the history of this business? More than a year ago a Commission was set up to go into the question as to whether de-rating is the correct way to give relief, and to give an answer to that question. It is more than a year and a half ago since that was set up. Three months ago the President of the Executive Council stated in unequivocal terms that the Government admitted the necessity for relief to the farmers and were prepared to give the farmers relief. That is the second step. It is now an open secret, known to every Deputy on the opposite benches, that the De-rating Commission is about to report.

Which report?

Mr. Hogan

I will give the Deputy full permission to speak afterwards. I am making my speech now. As I said, that is an open secret. The party who have for the last two or three years been wasting my time and their time, and the time of the Dáil talking about wheat, tobacco and indiscriminate tariffs and the uselessness of the British markets, have suddenly woke up, and at the last moment have realised that de-rating is the goods, politically, and they rush in at the last moment with the motion which Deputy de Valera himself admitted is ill-considered, which he does not attempt to defend, and which he can only apologise for on the grounds that he is in a hurry. Now Deputy de Valera is in a hurry, and Deputy O'Connell is in a hurry. But what is the hurry? Is the hurry to relieve the farmers? I doubt it very much. The hurry, as everybody knows, is to get any political credit that can be got beforehand out of the report which all know is coming from the De-rating Commission which we set up——

And nobody outside the party asked you to set it up.

Mr. Hogan

That is the hurry and there is no other hurry. We are told that the farmers need relief. We are reminded that that is admitted. We have been given a number of reasons, some relevant and some irrelevant, as to why they need relief. We have been told, and I think it is a case made by practically every spokesman on the benches opposite, that the big disadvantage which the farmers are suffering from at present is the high cost of living and the high cost of production. I find myself in entire agreement with that. Deputy de Valera tells us that the trouble with the farmer is that the price which he receives for what he sells has fallen much more than the prices of the articles which he buys. That is partly true and partly incorrect. It is true that the prices of cattle and sheep have fallen. It is true also that the prices of some of the commodities, some of the absolute essentials of life which the farmer has to buy, have not fallen nearly so much as the prices of cattle and sheep. But what are these commodities? Boots, clothing and furniture. What are the other necessaries of life the farmer has to buy? Tea, sugar, flour. Compare the index figure for tea, sugar, flour, essentials for the small farmer, with those other essentials. boots, clothing and furniture, and what do we find? Sugar is at pre-war. Flour is practically at pre-war; clothing and boots are very much above the pre-war figure. The index figure for both boots and clothing is considerably higher than the index figure for cattle and sheep which the farmer is selling. Is there any doubt about that? I welcome this return to sanity on the part of Fianna Fáil, and I ask them who is responsible for the high prices of boots and clothing.

You are.

Mr. Hogan

We are partly responsible, but let the Deputy remember what they would have been if we abolished the Tariff Commission and if we adopted the Fianna Fáil policy preached for the last two years and which is now forgotten. I never see a word about it in the Monday morning papers now.

Is the Minister opposed to tariffs on boots and clothing?

Mr. Hogan

I tell the Deputy that I will give him full permission to speak afterwards.

Answer the question.

What would the position be if income tax had not been reduced?

Mr. Hogan

I know I am hitting home, but I do suggest that I am strictly in order and that I should be allowed to carry on when I am on the point. We heard from the benches opposite that the farmers were suffering from the great disadvantage of high prices for what they have to buy compared with the low prices for everything they have to sell. I have been saying that myself for years. The Deputies on the Fianna Fáil side should come over amongst us at last.

We are particular about our company.

Mr. Hogan

There is more rejoicing. Well, that is the case that was made from the opposite benches during the whole evening. That is the case made to show the farmers' disadvantages at the moment. What would the position have been if we had adopted the policy that the Fianna Fáil Party had been reiterating ad nauseam for the past three years? What would the position be if we had no Tariff Commission, if we had indiscriminate tariffs, if we had Deputy Lemass's policy, expressed when he was younger, not in years but in experience, that everything should be taxed until a case was made why it should not be taxed? That was his policy. Has that gone, is it all forgotten now?

It still is.

Mr. Hogan

Who is the leader of Fianna Fáil? I sat here. I listened to questions. What are the poor clothing manufacturers to do? What are the poor woollen manufacturers to do? They cannot compete, even though they have so much. There was one answer from the other side. Your patriotic duty, the duty of any Irish Government who had the interests of the Irish people at heart, is to immediately increase the tariff. We all know you cannot do it. You have entered into some dark bargain with the capitalists in Ireland or in England, or the British Government. You cannot do it. I listened to that for years. I listened to suggestions that we should put up the price of bran and flour, that we should spend millions of the farmers' money on growing wheat. I listened to all these things in the last three years. Now the De-rating Commission, which has been sitting for the last year and a half, is blamed because they have not their report here. What were you doing in the last year and a half? You were preaching policies up and down the country which, for the whole of the day, you are endeavouring to run away from.

The only change in policy last year was on your part.

Mr. Hogan

I remember four or five months ago when Deputy Lemass was in one of his enthusiastic moods which occasionally supervene. He told the country "We have won definitely on this policy of tariffs." What are we back to now? Reduce the farmers' overheads. I am flattered. These are amateur efforts to carry out my policy, but the intention for the moment is good. It was not to-day or yesterday that I discovered that. I think I am entitled to a little boast at the moment.

We taught it to you.

Mr. Hogan

I pointed out that to Deputies for years in their salad days. At last they admit it. If I have read one speech of the leader of the Opposition I have read twenty on the following lines. They were all the same speech. I could say it off by heart. It is always the same speech, but delivered in different places. The Deputy will correct me in the exact figure. I am not as good at statistics as he. We export into this country twenty-one million pounds worth of food, drink and tobacco. Look at the millions we could leave in the country if we could tax these imports. To-day that Deputy talks about reducing the farmer's overheads and reducing the price of what he has to buy. He will go down to Limerick next Sunday again, and he will make the same speech about the twenty-one million pounds worth of food, drink and tobacco, which includes five million pounds worth of feeding stuffs and six million pounds worth of wheat, even though his angle now is opposite. The trouble of the Party opposite is that they have no real political or economic convictions. They simply have the crude line that if the Government say one thing, we want the other. I do believe in a vague kind of way there has at last penetrated into the recesses of their economic consciences the idea that they did talk a lot of nonsense in the past and that there was something in the policy which we have been putting forward and carrying out in the last three or four years.

What policy?

Mr. Hogan

I am afraid the Deputy would be incapable of understanding it. Nearly everybody in the country understands it. I am not going to waste the time of the Dáil in going into it. It is too big a question.

It cost you £500—slander.

Mr. Hogan

What did it cost? The less said about that the better. Leave out slander. It is really irrelevant and leaves me quite cold. We will debate that, by the way, at any time. When the case was diagnosed for us, and we were told that the farmer was suffering from low prices on the one side and from high prices on the other, we were taken to another point and told: "Look at the decrease in tillage and the decrease in live stock." We were told that tillage had declined to a tremendous amount in the last three or four years. I will pay this compliment to the Deputies opposite. When Deputy de Valera was talking about the decline in tillage he was talking with some advertence to the fact that if his magnificent policy were carried out we would not have any such decline in tillage and we would not lose these millions of pounds. In other words, if we had succumbed to this silly nonsense about wheat-growing and tobacco-growing, and if we were growing wheat, and if we were taxing the country for the purpose of paying the farmer a subsidy on a crop which has fallen below pre-war prices, if we were carrying out any of these policies advocated for the last three or four years, we would have this money in the country.

As I am on the point, let me turn to Deputy O'Hanlon for a moment. I do not propose to discuss the agricultural policy just now. It is too big a question; but I do think at this stage Deputies should drop the habit of comparing prices now with prices three years ago and saying: "There you are, there has been a fall." That is merely silly. All prices have dropped. We can do a lot; we have done a lot, but we cannot prevent world conditions. If Deputies want to make any intelligent comparison about prices, they are up against a very difficult proposition, and if they want a difficult proposition I will give it to them. Compare prices now with what prices would have been if we had not put our policy into operation. That is the only real comparison. I heard Deputy O'Hanlon talking about the Dairy Produce Act, the Live Stock Breeding Act and the Agricultural Produce (Eggs) Act. I will leave out the Meat Act, as it has only been in operation for two months. He asked what have those Acts done for the farmer. He told us nothing. That is just nonsense. In what position would the creameries of the country be if we did not take the steps we took five years ago? Every speaker from the opposite benches has quoted the case of butter as an example of the plight to which agriculture has been reduced. It was not to-day or yesterday that we woke up to that situation. Four or five years ago we passed the Dairy Produce Act. Does anyone suggest for one moment that that has not increased and improved the quality of our butter? There are Deputies on the opposite benches who do know something about the creamery industry. I would like to hear them suggesting that that has not improved the quality of our butter.

Does not any Deputy who has any technical knowledge or knowledge of marketing know well that but for that Act our butter would be off the English market? Everyone knows it. The same thing applies to Irish eggs. There can be no question about it. The Live Stock Breeding Act has put millions of pounds into the pockets of farmers in this country. Every farmer knows it, and it is admitted freely by our purchasers and every agricultural association in Scotland, but it does not stop at that. People talk of the plight of the dairy farmer as if they heard about him for the first time last year. Come down a little later. Three years ago we purchased in one deal practically all the proprietary creameries in the country. What was the position of the dairying industry when we did that? Financially, creameries were in a very bad way, they were up against fierce competition, financed by one of the richest firms in the world. I remember deputations that came to me from creameries all over the country, telling me the position they would be in if this transaction were not carried out. We carried it out successfully, with the co-operation of the farmers, and at one stroke we put 75 per cent. of the creameries in a financially sound position. But for these two measures, the Irish creamery industry would not be able to stand up against the slump it is actually in, and that slump is not our fault. It was not to-day or yesterday we realised that the dairying industry was the foundation of our agriculture. When Deputies opposite were talking nonsense about crops and about growing grain for sale, and generally preaching theories in a way that you see boys in a debating school doing it, we were dealing with the real problem. We were saving agriculture in this country, and but for these measures that we had three years ago in regard to the dairying industry the position of dairying at the present moment would be disastrous.

Much better.

Mr. Hogan

What do you know about it?

As much as you.

Mr. Hogan

I do not mind a man speaking honestly who has some knowledge of the subject.

As a matter of personal explanation, the Minister has directed his remarks to me for the last few minutes, the inference being that I objected to these Acts being passed. I never suggested that for one moment. I said I quite agreed with every Act I quoted, but that, notwithstanding the fact that these Acts were passed, the farming industry was depressed at the moment, and that the real results of these Acts had not so materialised as to relieve the farmer in any possible way. I do not want to be misunderstood. I think when you read the Official Report of my speech you will find that I did not go on the lines the Minister suggested. The Minister has warped my speech.

Mr. Hogan

I beg the Deputy's pardon. I started by quoting what the Deputy said. The Deputy said in express terms that none of these Acts put a penny in the pockets of the farmers. These are his exact words. Is that correct?

Quite so, up to the present.

Mr. Hogan

I am not deliberately misrepresenting the Deputy. He said an agricultural policy was necessary. He went on from that to say that this motion was the first sign of an agricultural policy, this slap-dash motion to spend one million pounds in relief of agriculture.

The Minister should not misquote me. I did not say that an agricultural policy was necessary. I did say that this House had agreed, judging from the speeches that had been made, that relief for agriculture was necessary, which is quite a different thing. The Minister admits himself that relief for agriculture is necessary. And the matter is being brought to a head by this motion.

Mr. Hogan

I think it is most unfair. We have two motions here, the Fianna Fáil motion and the Labour amendment. The first three hours of this debate were taken up with apologies by Fianna Fáil for their motion, and attempts to explain it and apologies by the Labour Party for their amendment and attempts to explain it and its implications. I sat here and listened to a rather interesting debate between the two Parties as to what they meant. I did note, in any event, certain things which rather amused me. The Fianna Fáil people told us that this is merely a temporary expedient. They did not wish to forestall the De-rating Commission Report. It is set out here in the motion that this relief of rates is only to last for a year. What is to happen next year? Was there ever anything like this? Is it seriously suggested that you can take off a million pounds of rates one year and put it on the next year? Or is it the case that by next year we will have our policy and we can put it into effect in substitution? If that is the position. I am quite ready to argue it on that basis. But, mark you, we are to have a million pounds given in relief of rates at the moment in this slap-dash fashion, in a fashion which its authors apologise for. Why? Because they have no permanent policy.

In the last three or four years surely this was present to their minds. Surely they could have examined this during the last two or three months and produced something that would be permanent if they were serious about it. But no, we are not, remember, going to forestall the De-rating Commission. You set up a De-rating Commission to consider whether there should or should not be de-rating. "Our policy is de-rate." That is not forestalling the De-rating Commission. Deputies seem to think that by merely stating black is white other people will agree.

We then come to the Labour motion. They attempt some permanent scheme of De-rating and they make certain distinctions. The big farmer is to get less than the small farmer; the tillage farmer is to get more than the grazier. That has been their consistent line. But it was the policy of the Party opposite up to to-day.

Hear, hear.

Mr. Hogan

And when they are asked to-day what has happened, they say this is only temporary. We are unable to think out a scheme that will work permanently, and hence we will have to drop the small farmer, to swallow our hatred of the big farmer, and to give exactly the same treatment to the grazier, whom we hate as the tillage farmer whom we love.

Why have not you a permanent scheme?

Mr. Hogan

We will have it. We are not accustomed to do business on the lines of introducing schemes that we do not understand. When we introduce our scheme here, and we will introduce our scheme here, as the Deputy well knew—that is the reason why you have this motion—it will be a scheme that will hold water, that will stand up to criticism, and that will have the support of every thinking farmer in the country. There is to be no distinction between the big and the small farmer! That is the new line of Fianna Fáil. I seem to remember yesterday's Land Bill. I sat for hours listening to the case made that the big farmer should not get anything like the same treatment as the small farmer. Has that gone by the board?

Mr. Hogan

They never stay "put." That is the trouble. Deputy Ryan used an expression which rather intrigued me and which he used outside this House some time ago. He said that the farmer should be encouraged to produce what he has been producing and should get every opportunity of doing it. I have been saying that for years. Does that mean that we will hear no more about our old friend, tobacco? Does that mean that we have definitely given up this policy of burdening some very big area of the country, even though the farmers decline to grow wheat? What is happening? Is that dropped also? We are to reduce the farmers' overheads. I have dealt with that. We are to reduce his cost of living. I have dealt with that. I want to put one question to the Fianna Fáil Party: will they stand definitely on the line they have taken to-night and cut out the politics? This motion is a political motion, and Deputy de Valera knows that well. This motion was introduced to forestall the De-rating Commission, to get whatever little political capital was going from any relief that we had definitely pledged ourselves to give agriculture this year. Everybody knows that. Everybody knows that six months ago the Fianna Fáil Party would not have touched this with a forty-foot pole. At the last moment they have wakened up to the realisation that de-rating is the goods, and now they rush in with their motion. Drop the motion; drop the politics. Do you stand by the line you have taken? Will you continue, seriously, on the line you have taken to-night—on the line that this is an agricultural country that, as Deputy Ryan said, must hold its export market? I used to say that. I was accused of being a traitor. Of course, nothing was ever expected of me. I was wept over by all sorts of patriotic people for saying that. Will you stick to that line? Will you also realise, as various spokesmen said here to-day, that the best service you can do agriculture is to reduce its "overheads"?

When are you going to do it?

Mr. Hogan

I shall not tell you; it is a secret. That is exactly what we shall not tell you.

Until the next by-election?

Mr. Hogan

Do not get me on to that. Will you stick to that line—to the line you took here to-night? I should like an answer to that question from some of the other Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party who are to speak.

Ask the Minister for Local Government.

Mr. Hogan

Do not keep up that gabble all night.

Deputy Corry must restrain himself.

Mr. Hogan

Will you stick to that line—that the best service you can do the farmers of this country, who must hold their export market, is to reduce their overhead expenses? If you stick to that line, we can do business for the first time. We are next to each other. Will you take the clear implications of this line—that indiscriminate tariffs in a situation where you have practically all the producers, agricultural producers, who must have reduced cost of production—will you take the implications that indiscriminate tariffs in a country of that kind is suicidal? Will you stand to that? Will you continue in that line? If you do, we may have an intelligent agricultural debate in this House.

I welcome this debate. I think this has been one of the most illuminating debates we have had yet. I have been listening for a few years to debates on subjects that I could not take an interest in. The propositions put forward from the benches opposite were so unreal, so out of touch with the common sense of the country, so out of touch even with the commonsense of the farmers who vote for the Party opposite, that I could not take an interest in them, and could not, day after day, stand up and show the utter fallacy of them. It is clear that the conviction has been forced upon you that you have been on wrong lines. The real motive of this particular motion was political. At the same time, I do believe that the statements which have been made here from those benches, and which I just quoted, represent, to some extent, what Deputies really thought. It is the first time I have heard it. If Deputies will come down to these fundamentals and stand on them— they do not rule out tillage, they do not rule out a certain number of tariffs, because farmers are willing to make certain concessions in order to try to develop other industry; they do not rule out any sensible policy— if Deputies, with the knowledge which they have just now acquired in the realisation that you can have tillage, that you can have industry, that you can have a profitable agriculture and profitable industry within the necessary economic limitations of this country, which they have admitted to-night, are prepared to stand by these fundamentals—we can do business. If this debate, which started in a very unreal way, founded upon an unreal motion brought forward for purely political purposes—if this debate did nothing else but take Fianna Fáil Party a step—a very long step —forward in the direction of economic commonsense, then it would have done a good turn for the country, and it is the first time I could say that of any motion brought forward by Fianna Fáil.

We are extremely grateful to the Minister for Agriculture for his kind remarks. They indicate, if I may say so, a far bigger advance in his attitude towards this Party and in his Parliamentary manners than any advance in the Parliamentary education of the Fianna Fáil Party. If the Minister, in his concluding remarks, did not refer to the question of economy all round and reduction of costs, I hope he will correct me. I take it that that was what he was concerned with. When Deputy de Valera spoke a few days ago on this question of economy, I followed, for a few minutes, in what, I think, was a very moderate way. I had expected that the Minister for Finance—the "housekeeper of the nation," as Deputy Murphy called him—would show some evidence of the desire for economy and reduction of costs that are such a source of heartburning to the Minister for Agriculture this evening. But we had no gesture whatever from the Minister for Finance to show that he contemplated any economies or that he proposed to reduce costs in this country to the level that our principal industry can afford to pay. On a celebrated occassion, when we were discussing the question of allowances to Senators, and when the Farmers' Party and the Cumann na nGaedheal Party voted down the proposal for a reduction of the Senators' allowances by £10,000, the Minister for Agriculture got up on a Friday afternoon— having an eye on Saturday's "Independent"—and poured forth what the wiseacres of the "Irish Independent" would call the floodgates of his eloquence on the Fianna Fáil Deputies who took their cheques and said nothing about them. I have no other business in life than this, but I am prepared to take the same cut in my salary as the Minister for Agriculture or any other Deputy on his side of the House. When we asked for a lead in this matter and said the men at the top should give the lead, we were not afraid to follow them—I was not, at all events.

Mr. Hogan

You should have been on that committee.

I do not believe in coming here with a lot of bluff and throwing dust in the eyes of the Irish people. If there is any sincerity about all this talk of economy and reduction in costs, why is there not some attempt by the Government to show economies in earnest? I submit that the Minister for Agriculture is simply bluffing the country. He has not the slightest intention of reducing his own emoluments or the emoluments of any officer in the service by a single sixpence. That is my reply.

Mr. Hogan

Why did you not go on that committee——

Allow me to speak, as I allowed you. That is my reply to the Minister for Agriculture, and I am prepared to meet him on the question in any part of the country. This is a political question. I know that. I am prepared to put it on a man-to-man basis, and I am prepared to meet the Minister for Agriculture or the business men of his Party, who find it such a great inconvenience to come here and discuss the worries and the troubles of the farmers. We have the Irish Press telling us that we are wasting our time, that we should simply stay at home and let the Government deal with this matter in their offices, after many years produce their schemes from their pigeon-holes, and not let the Fianna Fáil Party assert they represent any volume of opinion. We represent opinion in this country just as much as the Minister for Agriculture. If the Minister for Agrficulture was sincere, why did he not put up that proposition to the farmers of Carlow, when they refused to hear him a few months ago—the proposition about reducing taxation and costs? When he saw that the Fianna Fáil Party was carrying on a successful campaign against him he swallowed his words. He went down to Athy some months later and said: "We must reduce costs at the top, in the middle, and at the bottom." He swallowed his own words as he swallowed his words on the tariff question when he introduced the butter tariff in this House.

As regards his remarks on the dairying industry, although we differ from the Minister for Agriculture and believe that his outlook is not alone bad economically but even dangerous to the country, we are certainly prepared to give him credit for anything he has done in connection with dairying. But his marketing scheme has not been above suspicion. I am not going to criticise it. I leave that to the representatives of the industry. They have told the country what they thought of his marketing system.

Mr. Hogan

I am beginning to take this statement as a joke. It has been stated five or six times that I had something to do with some marketing scheme. The Deputy is suggesting that now. I had nothing to do, good, bad or indifferent, with any marketing scheme, and I shall not have anything to do with any marketing scheme.

It is quite true that the Minister has definitely put away the idea of compulsory marketing—the system of compulsory marketing which he was going to force on the creamery industry, whether it liked it or not.

Mr. Hogan

There is no foundation, good, bad or indifferent, direct or indirect, for the suggestion that at any time I was in favour of compulsory marketing. On the contrary, I opposed it from the very beginning, and Deputies know that perfectly well.

The cost of marketing and the methods of putting Irish butter on the market in England, the lack of advertising, above all the enormous overhead expenses; the failure to reduce freight costs, the failure to get proper salesmen to handle the market in England, the complete failure to appreciate conditions over there, the complete failure—which negatived the whole marketing scheme—to appreciate the situation where you had four or five combines in England in a position to hold up your marketing scheme by refusing to buy your butter when they could get Danish butter instead; the failure to appreciate these conditions has left the marketing scheme of the Minister in the position it is to-day. If he is convinced that his scheme is a good one and that the creamery industry is going to repay the half a million or more the Irish taxpayer has sunk in it; if he is convinced that it has a future, I ask him to go back to the representatives of the creameries, to take them into his confidence, ask them for their opinions, and not go over their heads, as he did when forcing this scheme upon them. When he has done that, and when his marketing scheme has unity, harmony and intelligence, and a proper appreciation of commercial conditions—when he produces that marketing scheme the creamery industry will accept it, and, as a Party, we will be prepared to accept it.

The Minister has asked what are we going to do next year, and he laid great stress on the fact that the Fianna Fáil Party stands for a policy of protection which he claims has increased the cost of living on the farmers. The tariff on boots was imposed before the Fianna Fáil Party came into this House —even before the Tariff Commission was set up—and it has never been reexamined. If the Minister for Agriculture was examining this question from the point of view of the cost of living and the impost placed upon the farmers, he should at least have got his Tariff Commission to investigate that matter. If he is satisfied that the tariff adds to the cost of living, places an undue strain on the consumer, or that there is profiteering, I submit that he should—we have suggested this over and over again—have brought such questions before the Tariff Commission and have the whole question reexamined. If we are not going to have a policy of protection for Irish indus tries, where are we going to get employment for our population? There has never been an answer to that question, and there never will be. The Minister for Agriculture wants this State to be a free-trade State—such a State as exists in no other part of the world.

The "Irish Independent," on the 30th of December, told the people in a semi-official statement that "the county councils next year will be invited by the Government to administer a substantial sum of State-provided money which will go to the relief of the rates." It went on further and said: "From the experience gained during the twelve months, a permanent scheme will be worked out, not necessarily on the lines of the experimental scheme." Was it because there was an election in County Dublin, and because a general election was imminent at the time, that this statement was supplied to the "Irish Independent," that a considerable sum of money was to be granted to relieve rates, that it was only to be experimental, that, in fact, the Government did not commit themselves to it, but were giving it because—as we say the position is that now—urgent relief was necessary, and that in the meantime they would examine the possibilities of a permanent scheme? If there is to be any permanent scheme it must be on some such lines as we have laid down. De-rating is nothing new. The principle of rating relief is not new. It has been going on since the time of the abolition of the Corn Laws, and since 1898 particularly. In 1901 a Commission on Irish local taxation reported that agricultural land in Ireland should be valued for rating purposes at only one-fourth of its annual value.

We set up a De-rating Commission 30 years after that Commission had reported that the agricultural valuations should be reduced by one-quarter and the burden of rates removed from the farmer. After 18 months the De-rating Commission has not produced a report or, according to the Press, they produced a report and submitted it to the Executive Council. According to the "Independent," the Executive Council was not satisfied with it and—an unprecedented thing for a Government to do—they asked the Commission to reconsider the question and to say how best the million pounds could be spent. Then the Minister for Agriculture twits us because we have no permanent scheme. His De-rating Commission was not able to come to any conclusion or to such a conclusion as they ought to have come to if they had a proper appreciation of the position of the farming community in this country. According to the daily Press—the statement was not contradicted—the Commission had to be sent back again to learn something about their business, to learn that Irish agriculture does need relief.

Mr. Hogan

On a point of explanation, may I state that there is no foundation for the statement that the De-rating Commission presented any such report, and no such request was made by the Government to the De-rating Commission, good, bad, or indifferent.

Why was the statement not contradicted then?

Mr. Hogan

We have something else-to do. In fairness to the Government, I want to make perfectly clear that what the Deputy says are not the facts.

What are the facts, then? The Press statement goes on:

A matter which is influencing the Government in favour of the farmers is the fact that its protection policy in respect of industry has indirectly increased their burdens by making certain commodities more expensive.

The Government's tariff policy, according to the "Irish Independent," has increased the cost of living to the farmers. Who is going to remedy that? The Government which put that policy into operation. This wonderful correspondent, who has such splendid information that nobody but readers of the "Irish Independent" can obtain it, on Tuesday morning, says:

Through a system of de-rating, there might be handed back to the farmer a sum roughly equivalent to the amount which he contributed to the Exchequer through the industrial tariffs.

Are we to understand that there is a split in the Free State Cabinet as there has been on previous occasions?

Mr. Hogan

Are we debating the views of the "Irish Independent" or the views of the Government?

We know who supplies the "Independent's" information.

If the Minister for Local Government, that master of Press cuttings, had not set a very bad headline, possibly I would not have thought of inflicting the views of the "Irish Independent" on the Minister.

Owing to the fact that Press cuttings, extracts from speeches, and so on, have entered largely into this debate I think it is no harm to quote the Political Correspondent of the "Irish Independent." Are we to take it that there is a split in the Cabinet? The Minister for Finance refuses to budge. The Minister for Agriculture says that while we are taking £1,000,000 from the farmers in taxation on boots, shoes and clothing, surely there is a case for giving it back to them. Possibly Deputy Heffernan in his more courageous moments supports the Minister for Agriculture in his efforts to stand up for the farmers against this Party, which seems to be ruled by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. The Minister for Finance has a wonderful weapon. He asks, "Where is the money to come from?" In a statement which he made in the Dáil on the 24th April, 1929, columns 777-8, the Minister for Finance said:

"The de-rating of agricultural land and buildings would involve seven items of new or increased taxation, which I may recapitulate:—1/- on income tax."

How would the Chamber of Commerce like that?

"¼d. per lb. on sugar; 3d. per lb. on tea; 4d. per gallon on petrol and paraffin; 5 per cent. on boots; 5 per cent. on such apparel as is now subject to 15 per cent.; 6d. per lb. on tobacco."

Deputies will recognise that no Minister for Finance could bring a list like that to the Dáil for adoption and expect an enthusiastic reception.

Now that the Minister for Local Government has categorically stated that the money is going to be found to provide relief, when and if they think fit, are we to take it that the Minister for Agriculture or the Minister for Local Government has persuaded the Minister for Finance that the condition of agriculture is such, that the difficulty of collecting the rates is so great, that even those formidable impositions, which it is suggested are necessary to "raise the wind", will be accepted by the Dáil which seems to be quite unanimously in favour of relieving the farmer? Or is it that the Minister for Local Government has found some other way of raising the money? At any rate, it is not going to come from economies. I ask representatives of the farmers here to-night to note that there is no reply from the Minister for Agriculture when a straight and simple proposition on the question of economy is put up to him. His speech, in my opinion, was a swan song. He made no effort to reply to Deputy de Valera's statement in regard to the present situation in agriculture. Is he prepared at this hour of the day to tell the Irish farmers what he told them some time ago, namely, that the indications are that livestock prices will maintain their level or has he only the same hopes for the maintenance of livestock prices at the then level as he had for the maintenance of butter prices at the level they were at when he bought the Lovell and Christmas combine? Does he expect Irish farmers, as Deputy de Valera said, to agree with the attitude of "live horse and you will get grass"? So long as livestock prices continue or so long as there is even an indication that they are going to maintain their present level, then agriculture, whatever its condition, cannot be said, at any rate, to have reached the lowest level of depression. Is that the pronouncement of the Minister?

The Minister for Agriculture made no effort to contradict the statement of Deputy O'Hanlon that the prices on the Dublin cattle market to-day are worse than for many years past. Is that an indication that the Minister's prophecy is coming true—this wonderful Minister whose refulgent light shines over the jealous States of Europe which are not fortunate to possess such a star? Are the farmers on the Dublin cattle market to-day satisfied with the Minister's wonderful prophecy that live stock prices are going to maintain their level and that therefore there is no need to be unduly worried or anxious about the position of Irish agriculture? Whenever any proposition comes up, particularly from the Fianna Fáil Benches, it is a political question. It is only put up to fool the people, to blind and bluff the people. Ministers, in fact, say: "Let us dismiss it with an airy wave of our hand and return to our offices. If we can keep the daily Press dishing out the same stuff that they are dishing out to the farmers at the instigation of the Government for the last six months on the question of de-rating, there is even a reasonable prospect that we may be returned to office when we seek the suffrages of the people in a couple of months."

The Minister for Local Government stated that the rates must be collected. Who stated that they must not be collected? Was it any Deputy on this side of the House? Was it Fianna Fáil councillors in Co. Kildare? No, it was Deputy Jordan trying to inspire some enthusiasm into the almost defunct Farmers' Party, trying to ginger it up to do something. I commend the Minister for Local Government to turn his eloquence and reforming zeal on Deputy Jordan, of Wexford, who was the principal party to a proposal passed by the Wexford County Council to the effect that the council should not strike a rate. It was only last Monday they struck it. They deferred striking it until such time as the representatives of County Wexford put up a case to the Government to relieve the farmers by way of de-rating.

There is just as much foundation for that statement of the Deputy as there is for his other statements—that is none; good, bad or indifferent.

Were you not at the meeting of the county council when it was decided to postpone striking the rate pending a deputation to the Government?

Mr. Jordan

Certainly I was, but I was not responsible for it.

Did you disagree with it?

Mr. Jordan

I did not, but you are trying to convey to the House that I was responsible for it.

Did you vote for it? Deputy Jordan is in the splendid position of many other Deputies, who pretend to represent the farmers and who, rather than embarrass the Government when a simple proposition is put up to them, even in their own constituencies, to strengthen the hands of the farmers and to force the Government to do something, take up the attitude of being neither on one side nor the other. The least said about that the better.

Deputy de Valera has called attention to the fact, and I must repeat it, that in 1925 the Minister for Finance said that the whole question of the incidence of local taxation was being investigated by his Department. It has been investigated for the past six years. It was investigated for two years before Fianna Fáil came into this House. If there is any blame for not producing a permanent scheme for bringing local rating up-to-date and removing obsoleteness and excrescences, who is to blame? Is it Fianna Fáil or the Government, the Government who, on their own admission, have been considering the question for six years and still have not succeeded in producing anything? Is the other statement of the Minister for Agriculture that this proposition in regard to de-rating is introduced only now because the De-rating Commission is expected to produce its second or final report, whatever it may be called by the Minister——

Mr. Hogan

I want to put it on record that that statement is untrue. I stated before that it is not a fact. I object to the Deputy here deliberately atacking people who, he knows, cannot reply. I stated specifically that there was no second report, and the Deputy is maligning members of the Commission when he persists in making that statement. He should, at least, accept my statement.

Why was it not contradicted in the Press? It was reported there.

Mr. Hogan

Such a question!

It is contradicted now.

As for the statement that I took this opportunity to malign members of the De-rating Commission I take exception to it. I know some members of the De-rating Commission and I have the greatest respect for them. I simply quoted a statement in the Press which was not contradicted at the time, and I leave it at that.

If they were so much maligned, why did they not contradict it?

Mr. Hogan

If Deputy Aiken wants to say anything let him get up and make a speech.

The Minister for Agriculture said that this motion was only brought in for political purposes because the De-rating Commission was about to produce its report. May I quote from page 1010 of the Official Report of the proceedings on the 25th April, 1929, when I raised the question of de-rating on the Budget for the year 1929? The Minister for Finance then stated:

Deputy Derrig suggested that if it were not possible to de-rate, an additional amount should be given by way of agricultural grant. My feeling even about increasing the agricultural grant is that some further examination of the position of local government should be undertaken. It was perhaps all right to give a second £600,000 to Councils, for the relief of agricultural rates and leave the position as it was before. But if another substantial sum were to be given, as big as or bigger than that, as I suppose some people would ask, I think that one of the results of doing it would be that we would have a decrease in the rates the year the grant was given or the year after, and then we would have the rates creeping up again to the old figure. My own position is that I would not be inclined to give any more money to the local authorities from the Exchequer for the relief of rates until we had examined further the machinery of local government.

It is clear then that we raised the position in 1929. Deputy Corry also had a motion on the Order Paper, which he has already referred to, dealing with the question of the agricultural grant. It was not discussed, and the question of the agricultural grant or de-rating in general was not spoken of by this Party since the De-rating Commission was set up, simply because we knew that the answer would be that the De-rating Commission had not reported, that we knew very well there was a Commission sitting on the matter, and that it would be foolish to discuss it when the Commission had not yet made their report. We introduce it now because the County Councils have struck their rates; some of them have not yet struck them, and they want to know definitely what is going to be done. We introduce it secondly because the De-rating Commission has been sitting for eighteen months and has produced nothing. Whether the Commission produces its report or not, the Government should at least follow on the lines that the Minister for Finance and other Ministers have indicated, not alone in 1929 but in previous years, when they passed through this House in 1925 the Local Government (Rates on Agricultural Land) Act, and when they specifically laid it down in Section 2 of the Act that in any subsequent year the Minister for Finance could increase the agricultural grant to any figure he thought fit.

There was no necessity to introduce a Bill. The machinery was there, and all that was necessary was to increase the Estimates accordingly. Is it contended, then, that the Minister for Finance could not have taken the step of increasing the agricultural grant last year or this year by means of the powers he had taken unto himself in this Act to increase the grant? He could, of course, have done that without prejudice to the Commission which is investigating the question of de-rating. If the Commission is to result in any good whatever to the farming community it must be in some form of rating relief. Whether the relief is to come in the form of an increase in the agricultural grant, or in a form which might now be temporary, or whether it will be given in another form later on, when a permanent scheme is evolved does not concern us. We are simply dealing with the question that the Government have not followed the lines laid down in that Act. They know the position of the industry, and they have full powers to deal with it, and yet they have not taken the plain and simple means of increasing the agricultural grant.

The Minister for Agriculture referred to the Land Bill, and I notice that he was applauded by the Deputies of the Labour Party, who, strange to say, were absent from the House yesterday when the discussion was taking place on the principle of compensation for resumption of holdings.

How many of your own members were present when you were speaking?

I was present, and I speak for my Party. The leader of the Labour Party was not present, although he was chiefly responsible for raising this question of fair play for the owners of resumed holdings. He did not see fit to sit in the House to listen to the various arguments put up. In any case, the question of the acquisition of land for the relief of congestion, a policy that we believe in and that we stand for and that we are prepared to defend, hasnothing whatever to do with the question of the relief of rates on agricultural land. It is an entirely different question. I might as well say that Deputy O'Connell when he looks for relief for the small payers of income tax should demand that they should follow a particular calling in order to get that special relief as to demand that farmers, in order to qualify for a further relief of rates, should work their land in a particular way. If you are out to relieve taxation, whether it be central or local taxation, the only principle upon which you can give relief, and the only principle that has been followed up to the present, the principle upon which the Labour Party and the Government agreed in the 1925 Act, is to relieve taxation according to what the individual has to pay. If you want a policy of providing work in the West of Ireland, or of dividing land there, that is a different matter which can be dealt with through the Land Commission or some other Government department. We are now talking about relief of taxation, and that is a separate matter which the Labour Party have tried to complicate by introducing this amendment.

As for Deputy O'Connell's amendment, which remits three-fourths of the total amount of rates which he has to pay to the ratepayer under £50 valuation, is it going to be of any benefit to the small farmers in the West or the congests in County Mayo with holdings of £2 or £3 valuation? Does it matter in the slightest whether they get three-fourths or one-half or even the whole? If anything is to be done for them it should be the abolition of their rates altogether. If you abolished rates on certain communities in certain counties, that would be the only solution. My point of view is that if you deal with it on the basis of Deputy O'Connell's amendment you will introduce enormous complications into the system of local government. You will have large bodies of people paying low rates, and adjacent to them you will have people paying heavy rates. It is obvious that that is going to create a very difficult situation and that it would have to be carefully thought out. We are not opposed to the principle. What I say is that if we want to deal with the problem in the West there is a special way of dealing with it. The people there demand that they should get employment for their children, and that they should get the rich lands of the country to live on, and get them at a price, I should tell Deputy O'Connell, that would enable them to live on them.

Are we to take it that this motion has no concern with the congests in the West? That is the clear conclusion from the Deputy's statement.

As regards rates in general, Deputy de Valera pointed out that the standard rate that was fixed in 1897, which is the basis of the present agricultural grant, should be brought up to date. That is as far as we can go into the matter at present. We are prepared to go further into the matter when some effort is made by the Government to produce a permanent scheme. At any rate, we can go so far as to say that we recognise that the agricultural grant should be brought up-to-date and should be put on the basis of recent rating instead of the basis of rating in 1897.

I should also like to call the attention of the House to the fact that since that year—which is an argument in favour of the motion—the rates have enormously increased. As far as the mental hospitals which have been referred to by Deputies are concerned, the capitation grant was only about 4/- when the standard agricultural grant was fixed. The capitation grant was said to be about 50 per cent. then. It was only 20 per cent. in 1927-8, the average cost per patient being something like 16/8. What is still more important is that the cost of these institutions is increasing. The increase in the number of inmates in 1927-8 was 15 per 1,000, and the increase between 1919 and 1928 was 10 per cent. No allowance is made either for the increase of patients or the increase in the cost of maintenance by virtue of the fact that the post-war cost, generally speaking, even with the same number of patients, is 50 per cent. greater than pre-war. You have increasing expenditure there. You have a standard grant based on conditions in 1897, and you have the fact also that the nature of the service would seem at first reading at any rate, to demand that it should be treated as a national service, that there should not be a distinction between, let us say, the people in the Dundrum Central Lunatic Asylum and the people in the Ballinasloe Asylum. If one class of patient is to be taken up and maintained and looked after by the State there is prima facie a very good case for treating the others in the same way.

As regards roads, there has also been an increase, according to the Minister for Local Government. As reported in the Official Report of the 30th April last year, column 1204, he said that there has been an increase of 80 per cent. on the cost of roads as compared with pre-war. What is still more extraordinary is that although the grants from the Government have been increasing by something like 10 per cent. annually, the expenditure for which the local ratepayers have to bear responsibility is also increasing at a fast rate. It is calculated that in 1931 the total amount falling on the rates in virtue of expenditure on roads was £1,140,000, an increase of over 6 per cent. as compared with the previous year which, again, showed an increase of over 6 per cent. on the year before. Therefore, it is quite clear that in spite of the increase of £600,000 in the agricultural grant given in 1925, the agricultural grant is not bringing up the relief of rates to the 50 per cent. level that it was intended in 1898 the farmers should enjoy. In England, the farmers every year since that, up to the time de-rating came into force, got 50 per cent. each year. In this country, although we are now giving relief, amounting to £1,200,000, the farmers are in the position that they are still paying something like £1,800,000 in rates. In other words, in spite of the fact that we are giving the farmers an increase of 50 per cent. in the agricultural grant they are still paying a balance which is 50 per cent. more than what they were paying altogether in rates in 1898. That shows that there has been an enormous increase in rates since 1898, that there is a very good case as conditions have changed so much for bringing the agricultural grant up to date.

I do not want to delay the House any further, but I simply will say that in poor rates, home assistance, and other services there is an equal increase. There is an increase of something like 60 per cent. in the poor rate for the current year as compared with pre-war years. It is quite evident, therefore, that to give the farmers even the 50 per cent. annual reduction in rates that they should have got in 1897, but that they did not get, not alone is the present agricultural grant of £1,200,000 inadequate, but even if you do bring the grant up to the 50 per cent. level which is asked for in this motion the farmer's difficulties will not be solved. Every year from this forward, if the policy of the Government as we have seen it during recent months is pursued, you will have further demands made on the farmers, further increases in rates for other purposes. Our suggestion is that in the present year, at any rate, the agricultural grant should be based on the level of the last three years.

Many Deputies who listen in the Lobby to the eloquence of Deputy Corry from time to time know that he claims credit for having forced the Fianna Fáil Party to table this motion. We cannot understand, however, why he comes along now as a private soldier to second the motion, and does a right-about-turn from the position he occupied on this question as late as 18th March this year, and even as late as yesterday in the debate on the Report Stage of the Land Bill. Deputy Corry, speaking in this House on 25th October, 1929, asked the leave of the House to move the following motion:—

That it is the opinion of the Dáil that the agricultural grant should be applicable only to the relief of rates on holdings which have a minimum of fifteen per cent. of the arable land of the holding under tillage, and that the amounts so retained be devoted to increasing the grants to holdings complying with the regulations.

Deputy Corry, on the 18th March, 1931, in the debate on the Vote on Account as reported in column 1697 of the Official Report, stated:

The farmer tills his land, and the more he tills the more he loses.... Why should we till at all? Why not allow the whole country to go back into ranches again?

That seems to me to be an absolute contradiction of and in conflict with the statements made by him in support of this motion. Having listened very carefully to Deputy Corry, I came to the conclusion that he had unconsciously made a case in support of the amendment and not in support of the motion moved by his leader. However, perhaps Deputy Corry, in the Lobby, and in East Cork and elsewhere, will be able to give some reasons, at any rate, why he has turned this somersault in such a short period, and why he failed to convince the majority of his Party to take the line which he took up on this very matter as far back as 25th October, 1929.

Deputy de Valera, in moving the motion, in a mild and moderate speech, furnished Deputies with a considerable amount of statistics to show that the agricultural industry is suffering from acute depression. That was not necessary. Any Deputy, especially a Deputy who represents a rural area, who knows anything about the state of affairs in the country, does not need to be convinced by figures that that is the position.

Deputy de Valera quoted figures which were unnecessary from the point of view of the average Deputy, but he failed to furnish the House with figures that we expected him to give, namely, figures showing the amount which each county would get as a result of the allocation of the sum of £1,000,000 mentioned in his motion. I hope Deputy de Valera, when he replies, will furnish some such information, because that is the only proof that Deputies can get, and especially the farming community in the areas concerned, as to the real meaning of the motion to the tillage farming community, and especially to the small farmers about whom Deputy Corry and others on the back benches of Fianna Fáil have been wailing so long.

Apart from the extraordinary somersault made by Deputy Corry within the period of a year, I think the next most extraordinary statement was made by Deputy O'Hanlon. He told the House, and I hope it will be printed in Cavan and that his words will get back to the small farmers in Cavan, that he held a mandate from 6,200 organised farmers in Cavan that they did not want 75 per cent. reduction on the existing rates, but that for the sake of the country, and to show their patriotism, they would prefer a 50 per cent. reduction. Will Deputy O'Hanlon tell the House what is the name of the organisation with which these people are associated? I would be surprised to know that there was in the whole Free State 6,200 farmers organised, not to mind in the County Cavan. If there are 6,200 farmers well organised in the County Cavan, Mr. Baxter should be back in the seat now occupied by Deputy O'Hanlon, that is if they belong to the Farmers' Union. Looking at it from the point of view of valuation of the small farmer, we find that in the County Cavan there are 986 farmers with a valuation of over £50, compared with 12,237 occupiers of agricultural holdings with a valuation of £50 and under. If our amendment is passed these farmers would be given an immediate reduction of 75 per cent. on the existing rates. Deputy O'Hanlon is the greatest patriot that ever came into this House, but I doubt if he speaks the mind of 6,200 organised farmers in the County Cavan when he makes that statement. There are only 321 farmers in the County Cavan who hold over 100 acres of land.

Boiling this whole debate down to figures and looking at it from the point of view of how it is likely to affect the area I represent myself, I have taken the trouble to get out some figures. Working from the figures furnished to me by the Secretary of one county council in my area, I find that in the case of the County Leix there is a total of 9,667 holdings. Out of that total 1,027 are occupied by people with a valuation of over £50, whereas the remaining 8,640 have a valuation of £50 and under. Looking at it from the point of view of how the people with a valuation of £50 and under would be affected by the motion and the amendment, I find that taking holdings with a valuation of £50—and they are mostly tillage farmers—they would get a reduction of £7 5s. 0d. on the basis of a £50 valuation as the result of the passing of Deputy de Valera's motion, whereas the same individuals as a result of the passing of the Labour amendment would get £13 2s. 6d.

The Census of Production, and of Population, and other figures, go to show that it is the tillage farmers who have been losing most in the past four or five years. Naturally, as Deputy Derrig said in his recent speech at Borris, these are the people who should get the benefit of any reduction in rates that the nation can afford to give at the present time. Deputy Derrig, speaking to the small farming community at Borris, said:

By all means let us have relief all round, but let us begin where the taxation presses most heavily and most unfairly.

Deputy O'Connell proved conclusively in quoting the case of Meath, with an average valuation of £49, and Mayo with an average valuation of about £10, that the County Mayo carried a population of three times County Meath. That is the case in all the counties where tillage farming is carried on, and that applies almost altogether in the case of the 346,000 people in this State who occupy holdings with a valuation of £50 and under. These are the people who should get the benefit of any reduction in rates which can be brought about as a result of this or any similar motion.

Deputy de Valera by this motion asks the Dáil to provide £300,000 out of that £1,000,000 for 6,000 farmers with a valuation of over £50. Deputy Corry talked about the damage likely to be done to the agricultural workers in Tipperary, Limerick and Cork as the result of the passing of our amendment. I quite agree that there may be exceptional cases where hardship will be caused as the result of the passing of our amendment. We considered an alternative scheme very carefully which would be likely to give a reduction in rates on the basis of the number of agricultural workers employed by the farmer and especially the large tillage farmer. Will Deputy de Valera furnish any evidence to show that proof can be given from year to year from any source whatever as to the number of people who would be employed continuously on farms of £100 or £200 valuation? Deputy Corry talks about some East Cork farmer, some bloated capitalist, a landlord presumably, who gives employment in a particular period to 22 people. He walked into the kitchen of this landlord or lord of the soil and found 22 people eating at his table. I suggested at the time, and I think I was right, that that must be on a day when this gentleman was threshing, because he would not find the same number of individuals eating there if he went there 15 or 20 times during the year for any other purpose. We know well that a farmer with £40 valuation would possibly have 22 people helping him to thresh under the conditions in which threshing operations are carried out. However, Deputy Corry has an elastic imagination and picks out the exceptional cases to prove that our amendment is likely to hurt some of his new landlord friends, some of the people whom he was denouncing yesterday

Take the County Tipperary. Out of the total number of people occupying agricultural holdings in that county there are only 2,760 with a valuation of over £50, leaving 19,895 who will get the benefit of the 75 per cent. reduction which our amendment would give them, if passed. Take the County Limerick. The Deputy talked a good deal about Limerick and, apparently without any figures at his disposal, he looked upon that county as a county which would be likely to be ruined as the result of the passing of our amendment. In County Limerick there are 17,923 occupiers of agricultural holdings, out of which only 2,345 are occupiers of holdings with a valuation over £50. If these 2,345 farmers in the County Limerick and the 2,760 in Tipperary can prove that they till at least 20 per cent. of their arable land they, in addition to the other people under £50 valuation, will get an immediate reduction of 50 per cent. in their existing rates.

Deputy O'Hanlon also made a remarkable statement. He stated that if total de-rating is not given to the farmers the question will still remain a vital one. Are we to understand that Deputy O'Hanlon is an advocate of total de-rating, or would he put any limit on the valuation of the occupiers of the agricultural holdings whose rates whould be completely wiped out at the expense of some other section of the community? Deputy O'Hanlon said that he was opposed to 75 per cent. reduction of the existing rates, as proposed in the Labour Party amendment and he is going to vote for a 50 per cent. reduction, for the patriotic reasons already given. He allows us to infer, if he did not actually state it, that he is in favour of total de-rating.

These were the extraordinary statements that were made by some of the opponents of our amendment. Deputy de Valera is the man who should produce his figures for the information of the farming community and for the information of the public whom he is addressing this evening. He should produce the figures, for county after county, of the additional amounts which would be given as a result of the passing of his motion if it is passed. Side by side with these figures he should also give us figures of the amounts which would be given as a result of the passing of Deputy O'Connell's amendment, if the amendment is accepted by the House.

The Minister for Finance is usually, if not convincing, at least plausible. When he gets up and makes a speech on a question such as this of the kind that he made, I think it is pretty certain from it that there is very little of a case to be made on the other side. His objections to this motion appeared to me to be anything but sensible. They appeared to me to be absolutely and utterly childish. Deputy Ryan, following him, pointed out how utterly childish they were. Just imagine putting forward as a reason for rejecting this motion, that if we passed it now when the de-rating policy is being considered by the De-rating Commission, that henceforward no body of men with self-respect could be asked to undertake a serious investigation. Does he not know full well that this motion was put forward here because we all understood and accepted that the examination of this question of the best means of giving relief was likely to be a protracted one; and that when recommendations are made here and placed before the Dáil, a considerable time will have to be spent before there will be anything like an acceptance of the principles put forward?

The Minister said that whatever scheme was adopted now should be in the nature of a permanent scheme. He did not think of that back in 1925 when he gave the very self-same reasons for bringing in a supplementary grant that it was the quickest way to give— relief.

These are the very same reasons we are giving for bringing in this motion. I want to make it clear to everybody that the reason we brought in this motion was that Deputies in our Party who are members of local bodies understood that if relief were to be given to the farming community it should be given immediately. They pressed upon us to submit this motion in order that the Government, if they really meant business, would be able to give relief this year. If this motion is passed its effect will be that there will have to be provision made in the Budget for the giving of this relief of one million pounds. If we do not pass the motion then we can only depend on the indications given to us from the opposite benches. When we tried to nail them down, not one of them would give us anything that we could regard as a definite promise. They told us to wait and see. They did not tell the farming community or other sections of the people to wait and see when the bye-elections were on.

We believe they are playing the same trick on the community in regard to this de-rating question as they played when Deputy Rice spoke of the fifteen millions that were going to be made available for housing. There was inspiration given to the Press recently that the scheme was off, and the conclusion the people were asked to draw by the Press was that the Government had changed its mind, and that they would have to wait for another year. It was in these circumstances that we put down this motion. We do not want to get any political capital out of it. Our policy with respect to de-rating was proclaimed long before this. We held that if we kept the money that is being paid over to England in respect of certain matters the whole of the rates on agricultural land could be remitted and we would have some millions to spare. When we put forward that suggestion as a practical way of getting the money without any hardship—keeping money that belonged to us—we were told "Let us have a policy that will deal with the present time. Your opponents are not prepared to accept that policy; we expect you, if you want to give us relief, to put forward a policy which your opponents can accept."

That is what we have done by submitting this motion. We want the million pounds given, and we do not want it to be put off any further. The Minister for Finance told us that there would be an orgy of spending if this money were given; that the whole system of local government would have to be rearranged before money like this could be given. Are we going to wait until the whole system of local government is changed so as to suit the views of the members opposite, so as to prevent what they call an orgy of spending? Now, this orgy of spending cannot take place this year. There are definite commitments which the local bodies will have to meet. We know what those assessments are. They can be followed up. And if there was any attempt to manoeuvre so as to get an unfair proportion of this grant, the idea of the three years' average would preclude it.

Deputy O'Connell complained that under this system of averages Mayo would suffer somewhat. Is it not fair to give relief in accordance with the average expenditure for the last three years? It is not this year alone that this depression has come upon us. It has lasted a considerable time now. And is it not fair, when giving relief, that the sums spent in the last three years in the local services should be taken into account? I am not making any particular point on that. But I say that if Mayo had a small sum to pay in the last three years, that meant that only a small sum by way of rates was taken out of the pockets of the Mayo ratepayers; and if they get a less sum now it simply means that they had to pay a less sum out of their pockets before.

I was asked to give figures. Figures are not necessary to show the effect of this. I pointed out that the effect of it would be the same all over except where it is slightly altered by the average. Apparently Mayo is in a unique position because its rate was lower a few years ago. Its rate has advanced more. They will get the advantage of the advanced rate and the disadvantage of the lower rate. It will be on the average. The all-round effect of this motion is this, that every ratepayer in the country who is paying rates on agricultural land would be relieved in respect of such rates of roughly half the amount he would have to pay. That is what it amounts to. I have those figures that Deputy Davin asked for worked out. I have not all these figures. There is a certain amount of calculation involved. In any case, it cannot be absolutely worked out without the whole of the assessments. Carlow will get £14,000 to £15,000, Cavan something over £26,000, Clare, about £50,000, Cork £115,000, Donegal about £43,000, Dublin County £45,000, Galway about £74,000, Kerry about £49,000, Kildare about £33,000, and so on. Mayo would get about £29,000 or £30,000. They are calculated fairly rapidly, but anybody who wants to know what is roughly the sum that any county would be given in relief and the amount of relief that would be given by this motion can get it by saying that it would amount to about half of the present burden.

How much in the pound would it be? What would be the allowance in the pound?

The proportion in the pound would be got in the same way. Where there would be an average rate of 6s. this would give relief to the amount of 3s.

That is not my point. My point is that when you take the average, a county which has, if you like, been economic in its administration for the last three years, will come out worst. I have seen figures worked out, and these show that while some counties would get 4/4 in the pound, other counties would get as low as 2/1 in the pound.

The relief they will get will be proportionate. The relief would be about half the average rate. If the county has been worked economically, what will that mean? It means that there has not been a burden upon the taxpayers. This motion is going to relieve the people who bear burdens in proportion to the burdens they are carrying, and in proportion to the services they rendered by carrying these burdens. If a county has good social services and makes provision for home assistance, and so on, such provisions will mean extra burdens. Those who contribute most of these burdens will get comparatively the greatest relief. The whole principle is to relieve proportionately those who are carrying the burden of rates and relieve them roughly to the extent of one-half.

Our policy with respect to de-rating was complete on the assumption that the moneys were to be got by retaining what is at present, in our opinion, being paid away needlessly. We have also made it quite clear that we favour a system which would discriminate to the advantage of smaller holdings—the holdings of the small farmers. Why are we not doing that here, it may be asked. Why are we opposing the proposal put forward by the Labour Party which seems to indicate a line of approach in that direction? I say to the Labour Party that we are opposing their proposal because of the fact that we want a definite motion that the gentlemen on the opposite benches will have no excuse whatever for rejecting. We do not want those on the opposite benches to bring up red herrings as to whatever differences there may be between a £49 valuation and a £51 valuation. We do not want them to get away with the idea that there would be a great deal of expense in connection with the administration of this scheme.

Deputy Hogan of Clare pointed out very rightly that the present condition of things did not occur overnight; that there has been a certain continuous growth. We ask the Labour members to put this question to themselves: Is it fair that a man who has no inducement whatever to till should be penalised? That is exactly what it means. I think it was Deputy Davin who pointed out that the farmer who tilled at the moment was the man who suffered most. If that be so, is it fair to penalise him? It means that you penalise certain people because they do not till their land. The way to look at it is that if you do not give a person whatever privilege his neighbour may be getting you are to that extent penalising him and there is no use in trying to make it appear otherwise by any form of words.

Speaking for myself, I would not be prepared to penalise any person at the present time for not having more tillage because there has been no inducement given to him to do more tillage under the existing State policy. No policy has been put forward by this Government to induce people to cultivate more land. I think it would be unfair to penalise anybody in this respect and it would be particularly unfair to penalise the man with the £51 valuation as compared with the man with a £49 valuation. Any scheme which would give encouragement over an extended period and with a definite prospect in view would be on a different plane. This proposal here, however, is for a year only. If the proposal from the Labour Benches were adopted it could only be regarded as in the nature of a penalty.

Mr. O'Connell

Its adoption would prevent us from giving a huge slice of the money to graziers, for the most part.

If Deputy O'Connell were to make a thorough investigation of the effect of the proposal upon individuals I am perfectly certain he would find that he would be penalising a large number of people other than graziers, people he would not dare to penalise, people who are giving employment. There are people in the country obliged to work according to the system of economy preached here by the Minister for Agriculture, and that was forced upon them by circumstances.

Does the Deputy accept that view?

I have made my view about the future quite clear. We stand for the encouragement of tillage, for making the land do its primary duty, which is to provide food to minister to the wants of the community and carry the population.

Vote for the amendment so.

No, I will not vote for the amendment, because the amendment is not going to do that. It is only a one-year business, and for one year it cannot encourage tillage; it does not indicate any general policy. It is a gesture, if you like, on the part of the Labour Party. As a gesture I agree, but as a practical proposition to put up here against people on the opposite benches, who are not disposed to give relief this year as far as we can see, it will not be effective. I think it is a bad proposal from the point of view of a policy to put up to the Government, because if they went seriously to attack the Labour proposal—they did not do it—as they would if it were the one substantial motion before the Dáil, they would have adopted a different course. They are not able to attack this motion because they know they are giving relief on practically the same terms. They know they are already giving a million, and this is simply adding to a sum given before.

Then you are in agreement with them?

I am in agreement with them? Unfortunately I am not, because I do not believe that your proposal or ours is going to carry a majority here. I am not in favour of the principle of allocation as a permanent policy. I am in favour of it as the simplest at the moment and as the one, in all the circumstances, that is going to bear most fairly on the community.

I want to make another point clear. It is said that I did not point out where this money was to come from. No, I did not. Deputy O'Connell did not point out where this money was to come from. He indicated that he did not want it to come by way of indirect taxation on the section of the community which is least able to bear it. With that we agree, and if there was any proposition that it would put such a burden of indirect taxation on the section Deputy O'Connell wishes to protect we would vote against it. Where is the money to be got for it? I am precluded from referring to the land annuities in connection with this motion. It is not that I am abandoning our case, but I did not want to have another red herring across this debate by the Deputies on the benches opposite. I gave figures which the Minister for Local Government did not understand to prove a certain thing, that if it were necessary by taxation to come to the relief of the farmer it should be done and we would be justified in doing it. I did not say it was necessary, but I say if it is proved to be necessary I am prepared to take up that way of finding the money. What way is it to be found? We pointed out here in the last two or three days ways in which a sum equivalent to that mentioned in the motion can be found by economies. We pointed out the direction in which these economies can be effected, but the men who talk of economies "at the bottom, in the middle and at the top" were not prepared to face these economies. On the benches opposite it was said that we were not prepared and that we were always putting forward motions for relief of this, that and the other thing. We are bringing forward motions for relief of those who need relief, and we think that the burden ought to be borne by those who can bear it. If it were necessary to put a tax on petrol—

Or increase the income tax.

Or increase the income tax. If the economies we recommend cannot be carried out, and we believe they can, I am prepared to stand over that motion and to back it up by finding the moneys necessary by taxation of those who can bear it. I hope then that every Deputy here will realise that we are not making mere gestures, that we are prepared to back up the motion with deeds, because we believe it is necessary in order to give needed relief to those men who are in the agricultural industry. The Minister for Agriculture told us how we had been converted to his ideas. One would imagine that agriculture was in a magnificent condition in this country instead of being in the condition in which it is. The feeling that those engaged in agriculture are in need of relief is as strong on the benches opposite as it is here. The need of it has not been questioned by anybody. Why is relief needed if the policy of the Minister for Agriculture has been so successful as he tells us it has been? We do not agree with his policies because they give no hope to the farmer for the future.

All the Minister for Agriculture can tell the farmer is to stick it out, to tighten his belt. When he wants to give a little bit of hope he says that those who are pointing to the facts are mere pessimists. They are hypochondriacs. There is no Deputy here who has not accepted the fact that depression does exist amongst the farming community, and if the condition of agriculture is such as we know it to be, is it not the best proof in the world that the policy that the Government has followed for the last eight or nine years is a rotten one? It is a bad one, and we believe that the policy which I have spoken of and which other members of our Party have spoken of from day to day—we will repeat it until the people understand it, until it wins through—with respect to agriculture is the only sane policy at the present time. The Minister tried to turn this debate and the fact that we admit that the farming section of the community relatively to other sections of the community has heavier burdens into an argument against tariffs. It is not an argument against tariffs. I think I heard Deputy Derrig read a statement made by a member of the opposite side, to point out one of the reasons why the rest of the community ought to give help to the farming community is because the tariffs imposed for the advantage of industry do bear more hardly on them than on others. That is a good reason in order to equalise the burdens. We have stood for protection, not merely for industry, but for the farming community, because with all-round protection any burdens will be equalised and the advantages will also be common. Is the farmer interested in building up industry? I say the farmer is, and I say the development of industry is one of the best ways of relieving agriculture. We know that the land under the present economy is carrying more people than it can support. We know that the outlet for the farmer's sons at the moment is industry. We want to build up side by side with our agriculture our industries, but our agriculture is here at the moment, and the question for us at this moment is this, are we going to save that which we have and then build up side by side with it its auxiliary, or are we going to concentrate on building up industry and let what we have go by? I think that would be a very bad policy.

There are a good many Deputies in this House who desire to express their views and who have not got an opportunity of doing so. May I ask the President if he will say definitely whether the Government intend to grant relief to agriculture in the coming financial year?

And how much?

And why?

I have already stated in public, and it has been quoted here, that it is the intention of the Government to do so. I want to say that the Government's policy is not dictated by the Deputies opposite.

How much are you going to give?

That will be told to the House, not to the Deputy.

Amendment put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 11; Níl, 121.

  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Colohan, Hugh.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Davin, William.
  • Doyle, Edward.
  • Everett, James.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Aird, William P.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Corkery, Dan.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • MacEóin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Mullins, Thomas.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Murphy, Joseph Xavier.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin M.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Leary, William.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Flinn, Hugo.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Redmond, William Archer.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Shaw, Patrick W.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • Tubridy, John.
  • Vaughan, Daniel.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
  • White, John.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Davin and Cassidy; Níl: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle.
Amendment declared lost.
Motion put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 62; Níl, 73.

  • 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.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Corkery, Dan.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doyle, Edward.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Flinn, Hugo.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mullins, Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
  • O'Hanlon, John F.
  • O'Kelly, Seán T.
  • O'Leary, William.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipp.).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Tubridy, John.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.

Níl

  • Aird, William P.
  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • 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.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Thos. Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Jordan, Michael.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • MacEóin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Murphy, Joseph Xavier.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Redmond, William Archer.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Shaw, Patrick W.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • Vaughan, Daniel.
  • White, John.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies G. Boland and Allen; Níl: Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle.
Question declared lost.