Financial Resolutions. - Customs Duties (Provisional Imposition) Bill, 1931—Second stage. (Resumed).

Debate resumed on question:—
"That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

It is our intention to support the passage of the Bill. It is in fact in accord with the policy of this Party, and whether introduced to deal with the special set of circumstances now existing or introduced for the purpose of giving the Government this power under any circumstances, would meet with our approval. Its introduction is in fact a further indication of the conversion of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party to the policy of Fianna Fáil, which has been going on for some time past, and needless to remark we are glad of that conversion, inasmuch as it is taking place so rapidly as to be rather embarrassing. The Dáil discussed to-day the origins of the tariff on oats. It was pointed out that during the course of a recent bye-election the Minister for Agriculture found himself in the position that certain farmers refused to support his Party's candidate unless a tariff on oats was promised. The Minister was only in a position to promise a tariff. The farmers in question, not placing much reliance on promises, voted against his candidate. As we are now approaching the possibility of a general election and certainly of bye-elections, apparently the Government are determined not to be handicapped in that manner again. If they should find it necessary to secure votes by imposing tariffs, they are taking, under this Bill, power to do it immediately, whether the Dáil is sitting or not. Apart from that, however, there is good reason that in the special circumstances of this country, and particularly circumstances likely to prevail in the near future, the Executive Council should have power in the matter of affording protection to our industries against unfair external competition, to act first and seek approval afterwards. We think that the introduction of this Bill is a very wise step, and one which will probably be justified before long.

The Minister for Finance gave to-day a very lucid account of the danger that might arise in the event of a protectionist policy being adopted in Great Britain. I do not think he exaggerated these dangers. In fact there is some reason to believe that the situation which he visualises is already beginning to develop. Perhaps the only clause in the Bill to which we might take exception is the one which prescribes that it shall continue in force only for a period of nine months. We think it is possible to make a case for keeping upon the Statute Book some Act such as is now suggested which would give to the Executive Council the power to act rapidly in matters of this kind without finding it necessary to convene a special meeting of the Dáil. We hold that in the past certain tariffs were probably held up because the Dáil was not in Session and the motion imposing a tariff could not be introduced until the Dáil reassembled. While this Bill is in operation that will not be necessary and it should not in our opinion be necessary at any time, at any rate until the economic position of the country has changed very much from what it is at present. There are one or two points in connection with the drafting which I would like to refer to, but perhaps it would be better to bring them up on the Committee Stage.

I should like to say that we welcome this Bill. In my opinion a Bill of this kind is long overdue. I consider that any Executive should have the power which is conferred under this Bill. A great amount of time has been lost in the past in so far as the application of tariffs is concerned and when the Tariff Commission was considering whether a certain tariff should or should not be placed on certain articles a great deal of dumping took place. The Executive Council under this Bill will have power to deal with a situation of that kind. I hope they will examine the whole situation as far as tariffs are concerned. I take it the reason for bringing in the Bill is to enable them to deal with something that is going to happen in consequence of the economic situation on the other side of the channel. I believe the Executive Council should go further and do something under the powers to be conferred on them under this Bill to endeavour to build up the industries of this country. As I say, it is certainly a very good thing for the Executive to have these powers. We welcome the Bill and will support it.

I welcome this Bill; it is better late than never. I feel the Ministry, in introducing this Bill, may have in mind recent occurrences across the Channel and therefore must have had in mind the very grave menace to industry in this country as a result of recent happenings in other parts of Europe as well. While this Bill professes to do certain things and to take certain precautions against dumping, I would like to know if these precautions mean that the Ministry will go so far as to actually prohibit certain imports into this country. I have in mind and I feel also the Minister must have in mind that quite recently we have had dumped into this country a good deal of ready-made clothing from Poland. I do not know any tariff that we might raise against that particular kind of dumping that would meet the case at all. We must have regard for the fact that our people have a higher standard of living than the Poles or the Russians. We have no forced labour and we have no slave labour, and it would be almost impossible for our people, even with a tariff of 100 per cent., to turn out as a result, this ready-made clothing at a price to compete with that at which it is dumped here. I hope the Minister will tighten up legislation of this character and see to it that within the scope of this Bill we will be able to put up a prohibition order against dumping of the character to which I refer. I do feel at the same time there has been a good deal of dumping of foreign flour for a considerable period. How far dumping in that direction is continued I do not know at the moment. It would be easy to get the figure.

I agree it is difficult to provide against dumping at times, though it would not completely upset the economic fabric to have a certain amount of dumping. That is commonly accepted by economists who know their job, but we are in a rather peculiar position in this country. We cannot afford to stand by while the over-production of mills in other countries is being dumped in here. When I say dumping I mean every import into this country under the cost of production.

I welcome this measure, because I feel the Minister has responded in some way, at least, in this matter, but not, of course, to the whole-hog tariff people. Personally I am not a whole-hog tariff reformer. I believe we must continue by way of selective tariffs. Good and valid reasons must be shown for these tariffs. But I suggest the Minister might consider another aspect of this question, and that is that the onus should not be thrown entirely upon the producers of a certain commodity to look for the need for a tariff. It should be up to the State to intervene and help the operatives engaged in a particular industry to see that it is protected. We know there might very easily be a number of inefficient manufacturers. They might have very highly efficient operatives, but because of the inefficiency of the manufacturer or proprietor a certain industry might be allowed to become inefficient and find itself not able to hold its own in competitive markets. I feel the Minister should make provision for such a case in this measure. As he has taken such a bold step, I sincerely congratulate him, though I think he might also make provision in this Bill for the case that I have put forward: that operatives in any industry where it is found that the workmen are efficient, but that owing to an amount of bad trade organisation or bad distribution, for which the operatives are not responsible, the business is not a success, then the State should be able to step in and say we want to protect this or that particular industry. I would have regard to key industries. I felt at the time of the debate on flour that we were losing a key industry by allowing it to pass into other hands. I hope the Minister will take every measure to secure that this country is not going to be made a dumping ground for slave labour, or Polish or Russian labour, or the sweated labour of any other country, and on that understanding I heartily welcome this measure.

I think it is an extraordinary commentary upon the policy of the Executive Council, as this House has heard it outlined in the past, when they were, I might say, propagandists for the theory that the economic welfare of the Free State is in some way indissolubly bound up with the fortunes of our neighbours across the sea, that they should be compelled, by virtue of the crisis that has befallen our neighbour, to take steps to protect the welfare of our country and the productive powers of the community. In the crisis that has occurred in England, out of which capital is sought to be made in this country at present, that now perhaps more than ever are our fortunes linked with our neighbours, it is an extraordinary thing that that policy should be preached. Because one would imagine that anyone who seriously studied the trend of events across the water in the past few years, and saw the steady growth of unemployment, the steady decline of foreign trade, the steady decline of British financial prestige, and the cataclysm, the worst features of which probably have not yet perhaps made themselves felt, and who seriously looked into these matters, could argue that there is any future for this Free State, or any hope for an economic policy which is fundamentally based upon the conception that we are linked up, and that our future is in some way indissolubly bound up with that of the British Empire and the neighbouring island in particular. In my view the moral of the whole crisis in Great Britain for our people here is: we ought to look to our own affairs. We know those nations on the Continent of Europe that steadfastly pursued a policy of increasing their own productive powers, and husbanding their resources, and by every means in their power, by anti-dumping, by subsidies, by bounties, by protection, by special grants for technical research and every possible weapon which lies in the hands of modern government for building up their country economically, and the more we look into all these questions the more we see that these Governments are right, and that the countries which have such Governments are countries that are to-day progressing, while other countries that allow things to drift and lapse find themselves in a position where the wit of man cannot see where the solution will lie.

Whether the Executive Council had a certain policy or not in the past, and whether they are departing from that policy or not, is a matter of opinion, but in the future, at any rate, no matter on what side of the House we may sit, we should endeavour to do the very utmost that within us lies to build up the potentialities of our own country. This crisis, whatever its repercussions and reactions may be upon our own people, has at least driven us inward upon ourselves and made us realise our own position. I hope one of the effects will be not alone to force whatever Government is sitting in this House to face up to the question, but to have a strong and bold policy in this matter and also in financial matters generally.

The Minister for Finance and other Ministers have stated over and over again in this House that the question of the cost of living and of imposing large burdens on the poor, who are already suffering greatly from the economic troubles, is the paramount consideration in the application of a tariff. The Ministry now realise that the cost of living or any other question must be set aside in a crisis such as we have at present, or in an emergency when the whole productive power of the country may be shattered overnight by some policy originated in the Argentine, in the United States of America, Germany, Poland or somewhere else. It simply proves over and over again that the Sinn Fein policy was the right policy, the policy of self-reliance, of building up our own industries and our own productive power. It is also the policy of trying to keep our money at home and no longer allowing it to be said that Irishmen have no industries in which they could invest their money. There is, and there ought to be, that security that the Government can give. If the Government would only come forward now and say that they were going to take very definite steps under this Bill, there is, in my opinion, an excellent opportunity to bring home capital that was invested abroad, a great deal of which has been lost recently. No matter how poor an opinion we may have of our business methods and of our enterprises, we must, at least, agree that capital could not have suffered any worse in Ireland, from whatever lack of management and technical methods there is, than it suffered in the hurricane of the last one or two years.

I think the introduction of this Bill is a tribute to the policy that Fianna Fáil has preached, in season and out of season, for years, that no matter what happens in other countries the only solution for us is to have regard fixedly and solely to our own interests. If we concentrate on our own business and endeavour to build up our own country, I have no doubt that if the necessary steps are taken—and they must be strong and definite steps, and taken soon—the Free State will weather the storm.

Mr. Byrne

The speech that Deputy Derrig has made seems to me to be an extraordinary speech to make in this House. One would imagine from that speech that there was never a tariff policy in this country until Fianna Fáil entered this House. Deputy Derrig has had the temerity to say that the introduction of this Bill is a tribute to the policy of Fianna Fáil. It would have been much more correct had the Deputy stated that the Bill is a tribute to the policy of Arthur Griffith, one of the most distinguished leaders that the Party on this side of the House ever had. It seems to me a most extraordinary thing for a Deputy who is well informed like Deputy Derrig to make a statement of that kind here. He referred to the dependence of this country upon England. Anyone who knows anything about economics knows that no country is impervious to the influences of external affairs, and that this country, no less than any other country in Europe, must feel the repercussions of these affairs. One would imagine, when listening to Deputy Derrig's speech, that this Bill was introduced for the protection of English industries, and was to operate in England and not in the Saorstát. Surely it is evident to the House that this Bill is meant to protect Irish and not English industries. As one who has always held fairly strong views on protection, and on the value of protection for the development of Irish industries, I welcome this Bill. It will certainly make clear to the country that industries that have been established, mainly through the tariff policy of the Government and of those sitting on these benches, will be protected, and that these industries will be protected from the aftermath of the economic troubles that exist throughout the whole world. This Bill is clear evidence that the 15,000 to 20,000 people who have received fresh employment in the tariffed industries that were set up by the policy of the Government Party, will be protected when this measure is passed. It means that their employment is safe, and that capital that has been invested in Irish industries will be safe. I notice that this Bill is being closely followed by a similar measure in England. The English people evidently have come to the conclusion that a free trade policy spells ruin, as far as English industries are concerned. We did not come to that conclusion on these benches to-day or yesterday. We have been imposing tariffs for a considerable time, and this Bill continues the policy of the Party that sits on this side of the House. Speaking as one who believes in protection, I welcome the introduction of this Bill for one very important reason. Anyone who knows anything about economics knows that the greatest weapon in any system of protection is the weapon of retaliation. This Bill puts the weapon of retaliation into the hands of the Government of this country. Hitherto, that weapon may be said not to have existed. We had fixed ad valorem tariffs with no elasticity. Once a tariff was imposed it remained fixed, practically, until a further appeal to the Commission was made. Under this Bill that cardinal weakness in the system of this State has been definitely removed.

I remember on one occasion asking the question here owing to very persistent rumours in the City of Dublin that the Belgians intended to impose a prohibitive tariff on the import and sale of Guinness's stout. I realised that if these rumours were true our system of tariffs gave us no means of dealing with such a situation, but happily our trade representative in Belgium was in a position to say that there was no truth in the rumours. That situation, if it should arise in the future, could be immediately dealt with under this Bill. When we consider that we pay Belgium £4 for every £1 Belgium pays us, and that Belgium is in a position under her tariff system to prohibit the sale of Guinness's stout in her territory, and that we had no weapon that we could use, we can realise the weakness of our existing tariff system. The passage of this Bill puts an entirely different complexion on the system of tariffs that will henceforth operate here. Anyone conversant with the tariff systems in other countries knows that they possess the weapon of retaliation. It is one of the most important weapons possessed by France and Belgium. In my opinion a system of tariffs that cannot apply the weapon of retaliation is an entirely ineffective system.

One of the main principles operating in the imposition of tariffs in a small country like Belgium is the principle of the value of the amount of labour in the imported goods. They have differentiation in Belgium. They have a maximum and a minimum tariff but we have only one fixed ad valorem tariff. After this Bill passes through the House the Government will be able to deal with any situation that may in future arise. Under the Belgian tariff system they have a minimum and a maximum tariff. Under our system we have only one tariff and, as I have pointed out to the House, once that tariff is fixed by the Tariff Commission before there can be any further alteration in it there must be a further appeal to the Tariff Commission on that particular question. Under this Bill there will be practically no appeal necessary. Immediate action can be taken and if there is going to be a flood of dumped goods into this country, that flow of dumped goods can be immediately checked. In Belgium, owing to the operation of the minimum and maximum tariff system, they can at once prohibit the import of goods which are being dumped into that country. They can for instance raise the ordinary tariff of 2,800 francs from the minimum to the maximum of over 8,000 francs. That practically amounts to prohibition.

I hope this Bill will be speedily applied. I am informed that at the present time Russian sweets are being offered and, if I am correctly informed, are being imported into this country at a price considerably under the cost of production in the Saorstát. If that be true, I hope that one of the first things to which this measure will be applied will be retaliation in regard to these Soviet imports. Under our old tariff system we had no cure. Under our new tariff system we have now the weapon in our hands. I hope, as I have said already, that it will be immediately applied to this sweet industry. I do realise one thing, that the fixed tariff on sweets operates very considerably to the benefit of foreign combines and foreign exporters. It has operated mainly in one way. Although we have set up several factories in this country, they are not producing the most profitable lines.

They are producing what is known to the business man as purely bread and butter lines on which there is a very low proportion of profit. The fixed ad valorem tariff protects the lower end of the trade, but it fails to protect the luxury end of the sweet trade, which is the most important and lucrative end of the trade. I hope this Bill will be at once applied to the sweet industry.

There is only one criticism I have to make as far as the Bill is concerned, and that is that it is a purely temporary measure. In my opinion a measure such as we are discussing this afternoon should be permanent in any system of tariffs in any country. If the Minister cannot see his way to make the measure permanent, I hope he will consider the advisability of considerably extending the duration of the Bill. Reading over the Bill in a rather hasty way to-day, I gathered that it will only operate for a period of nine months. I think the scope and the operation of the Bill should be considerably enlarged. The criticism that has been made from the opposite side has been, I regret to say, a purely Party criticism. One of the curses of this country is that economic matters cannot be discussed in a purely non-Party spirit. If a discussion of this nature were taking place in the German Reichstag do you think that criticism would be adduced by the Opposition Party such as has been adduced here this afternoon?

Yours is a non-Party speech?

Mr. Byrne

Mine is a non-Party speech.

I would like to hear you on the hustings then.

Mr. Byrne

I have pointed out clearly and distinctly the misstatements that have been made by the Deputy's Party, that this Bill was introduced owing to the lever that the Fianna Fáil Party was using in this country. I pointed out that before ever the Fianna Fáil Party were in the House the Party sitting on this side was a Protectionist Party. I pointed out that the real exponent of Protection in this country was Arthur Griffith, the Leader of this Party. These are facts which I would like Deputies on the opposite side to refute if it is in their power to offer such a refutation.

This Bill is an indication that the overwhelming facts of the present situation, so far as Ireland is concerned, have completely justified the policy and the principles put forward by this Party. The Bill itself cannot be said to be satisfactory from the point of view of these principles, for several reasons. It is better than nothing, but it certainly is an admission under force of circumstances that the Government policy, which was mildly a Free Trade and mildly a Protection policy—Protection for the purposes rather of gathering taxes than for the preservation or the creation of industries—was wrong, and that they have been forced now by a new set of circumstances to provide what would have been provided for long ago if the Fianna Fáil policy had been adopted. They are merely following in the wake of British legislation. There is to be a measure in the British House of Commons dealing with the dumping which is anticipated, and that is to be followed by a protectionist policy, a large-scale protectionist policy. I do not know whether the Minister will now find it easy to go further than the British have gone, now that he has gone so far with a protectionist policy. However far he goes, he is all the time justifying the principles which have been preached by this Party for a considerable time back.

Deputy Byrne referred to this Bill as in some way carrying out the principles of Arthur Griffith. There is this very great distinction between Arthur Griffith's attitude and the principles involved in this Bill. Obviously this is a temporary measure. Its terms are of such a timid nature that I personally cannot see how a tariff can be closely examined, certainly on the record of the Government Party hitherto, by the Tariff Commission within four months. A Bill has to be brought before this House within the next ten sitting days. In any case that is a very short period for investigating the whole thing from beginning to end. The Tariff Commission has taken several months, and years even in certain cases, to deal with matters of this kind.

They will have to change their methods altogether if it is to be made effective. The effect of this Bill may be to protect industries which are already on their feet but it does not carry out the purpose which Arthur Griffith had in mind. Griffith was a strong advocate of the views of the German economist, List, and List's views were that free trade might be a good thing for countries where trade was developed but that protection was necessary where new industries had to be built up. This Bill is not to build up industry but is to stop dumping and it can only be used where industries are doing well. I cannot see that it can be used for the purpose of building up industry, which was the essential part of Arthur Griffith's programme—to get the industrial as well as the agricultural arm developed. It is a sheer necessity and is the minimum measure that could be brought in from the point of view of industry. Will the Minister apply this in the case of industries where dumping has already taken place? Will he apply it, say, in the case of Polish bacon and make it possible for the bacon industry to live in this country? Something has been done in reference to oats but there are other things Deputy Anthony mentioned, for instance, the dumping of ready-made clothes. How is it going to affect that?

On the whole I think it will be found that the measure itself although in the right direction, is very inadequate. It cannot really be used for the purpose of bringing home capital to be invested in new industries. It would require a different Act altogether to do that. I do not see how it can possibly be amend d to deal with such matters. In the case of the flour industry there was a delay when flour was being dumped in this country. The Commission insisted upon receiving vouchers and invoices and all sorts of details in order to come to their decision in the matter. Will they insist upon the same details in the future, and will matters be held up as they were held up before, or is this Act an indication not only of a departure from past principles and policy, but of a complete change from former methods of administration in this matter? There is one thing which is perfectly clear now to everybody, and that is that free trade is dead.

I think that the Minister, if he were to admit the position he was faced with, would have to admit that he is only tackling really a very small proportion of the trouble which this country is labouring under. What is the Minister aiming at, and what does he hope to achieve under this Bill? On the one hand, while our currency is tied on to the British currency every fall in value which the British currency suffers is reflected here, and automatically our purchasing power from outside is diminishing. In other words a further increase is given to the invisible tariff which the fall in our currency brings about. The Bill is only going to stop coming in here the surplus commodities that have already been made for England, and for which there can be no market. We should do this thing from the country's point of view. It is wrong for Deputy Byrne to think that because Fianna Fáil advocated persistently a definite tariff policy to reconstruct our industries on a proper basis this particular Bill is the policy of Arthur Griffith. The Minister admits that it is purely a panic, emergency measure.

Mr. Byrne

The Minister made no such statement.

If you read the Title of the Bill you will see that it is an emergency measure for the purpose of keeping within this country any surplus goods which England would not be able to take or may not want to take.

Mr. Byrne

England is not mentioned in the Bill at all.

I do not know whether Deputy Byrne was in his seat when the Minister made his Second Reading speech.

Mr. Byrne

You are talking of the Bill.

One is to be in conjunc-junction with the other. I would like to ask the Minister is he going further. The £ may fall further but at any rate it will be a considerable time before it reaches its parity value. The exports from this country are chiefly foodstuffs. Our neighbouring country pays by way of bills for food alone £1,000,000 per day. If she cannot buy in foreign markets we will have accidental prosperity. I would ask the Minister what is the position with regard to the retaining of sufficient food to feed ourselves.

Mr. Byrne

What would Denmark's position be?

I am speaking of the Free State. We have the same currency as our neighbouring country. If the British £ falls to 5/- our £ falls to 5/-. I would like the Minister to assure us that if the £ falls further he will consider adopting what other countries have adopted. Export licences were insisted on so that the particular country would not be sold out and retain nothing but paper of a ridiculous value. The Minister knows very well that this Party has always asked that we should develop and be self-reliant and have always suggested that we should prevent an adverse trade balance. How is this measure going to help us? Deputy Byrne referred several times to anybody who ever met anybody who knew anything about economics. I do not know if Deputy Byrne ever met such a person, but economics, as far as this country is concerned, should be considered purely from our own point of view. What protection is the Minister going to give to this country in respect of the money owing under the Second National Loan, which has to be paid in dollars? Will he make some move to render this country independent in respect of its own finances or are we going to be tied to everything that happens to our next door neighbour? I should like the Minister to tell us whether, apart from this emergency measure, which I do not believe will solve our problem, he is prepared, if occasion requires, to prevent the property of the people of this country from being exchanged for currency which will have no value? This may appear to have no relation whatever to the Bill but the whole difficulty is owing to the fall in value of the British £ and the possibility, as the Minister says, of Britain placing tariffs on certain commodities.

When are we going to be in a position to look after our own affairs here in a proper manner? This country has suffered a tremendous loss by reason of the fact that £200,000,000 deposited in the banks of this country is invested outside the country and has suffered depreciation by the fall of the £. The Minister knows that the City of Dublin was promised a loan of one million pounds from the banks for the building of houses. We cannot get that money now because of this financial crisis.

We cannot do anything under this Bill to remedy that position.

If the Minister would—

The Deputy is wandering very far from the Bill.

This may appear to be a light-hearted matter——

The Ceann Comhairle is not treating the matter light-heartedly, but he does not want to have a discussion on currency on a Bill about dumping.

Do you say, then, that the Minister did not say that the reason for the introduction of the Bill was the crisis which has occurred in England and the possibility of the imposition of tariffs there? If you admit that, you will have to admit that the whole thing is a financial matter.

There is no process by which the Deputy can convince me that this Bill which deals with dumping is concerned with currency.

I take the opportunity to point out the danger of this country being in a worse position than it was in the famine years if the Minister does not take courage to consider this from the right point of view and not from the petty point of view—that we do not want to take in what England does not want to take. Whatever England does not want to take on account of her present situation, we will keep out —that is what the present Bill amounts to. We ought to have a tariff policy and not a tax policy. Fifteen per cent. or twenty per cent. on clothes or shoes does not constitute a tariff policy; it is a tax policy. Every tariff imposed has been merely tax-gathering. If we are to have a tariff policy, let us have regard to what the country requires and what will bring peace and security to the people.

The Government every day prove more clearly the fact that they are unable to take a long view of the situation which faces this country. They are making a great fuss about this Bill. It will have the effect of safeguarding the foal after the mare has been stolen. As Deputy Briscoe pointed out, this is panicky legislation—legislation to deal with a panic which the Government are deliberately allowing to be created in this country. There is no reason, if the Government sat down to protect Irish industries or, as they have it in the Bill, to safeguard the country from a threatened industrial injury—there is no reason why they could not bring in a Bill which would guarantee the home market years ahead for the native Irish producer. The difficulty with the farmer, the manufacturer and every other producer in this country is that there is no guarantee that he will be able to sell what he produces here. The Ministers prate a lot about the foreign market and they are always sneering at the Irish market. They talk about our exports to England and they suggest that if we cannot continue to export we shall be ruined in this country. The only reason we have to export is to pay for our imports. If we did not import so much, we could keep a lot of our exports at home and use them for ourselves. Take wheat, for instance. If we grew our own wheat, we could keep at home and use for ourselves six million pounds worth of butter, bacon, eggs, beef and mutton which we have to export at present to pay for our imports of wheat. We have been trying to impress upon the Government that they should give a guarantee of the home market to the native producer, that they should see that it is nationally ruinous that we should be forced in times of low prices abroad to export our native products in order to pay for products which we could produce at home, but which under present circumstances we have to import, As an indication that the country generally is coming to see the correct national policy, we welcome the Bill. The Government are being forced by public opinion to take steps such as they took to-day in dealing with the oat tariff and such as they are taking in this Bill, but we wish that the Government would look ahead and make up their minds properly upon a national policy to deal with the industrial situation. They talk here of imposing, during a limited period, tariffs on goods from abroad to prevent a threatened industrial injury here. Goods coming from abroad in future may threaten a particular industry that is at present running, but goods are coming in for every day, and have been coming in for years, that threaten to extinguish native industries. No powers have been taken in this Bill to deal with that situation. The Government have shamefully neglected to take powers to deal with the dumping of foreign products which killed industries which we had in the past.

The few industries that we have left are hardly worth talking about when we think of the potential industries that we should have in this country, the industries which existed here at one time and which were killed by dumping from abroad. What is dumping? Wheat has been dumped in here. Ministers do not seem to realise it. Our farmers who are paying a pound or thirty shillings or £2 per acre for rent and rates have to compete with farmers in Canada and elsewhere who have no such overhead charges. Wheat has certainly been dumped in here. Deputy Anthony to-day said a thing that I marvel at. He said that we have got no forced labour and no slave labour. What are the farmers and their employees throughout the country? They are being forced to labour on a very low standard of living. They are being forced to pay rent and rates and to produce goods which they sell at a very small profit, a profit that does not give them a better living than or as good a living as many slaves have. They talk about slave labour in Russia and forced labour in Russia. No one can be quite certain whether it is going on there or not. But we can be certain that it is going on here.

Certainly the unemployed and the ordinary working classes in the towns will tell the Minister truly and pretty plainly if he goes down amongst them that there is slavery going on amongst them in this country, and that they would prefer that he would take steps to deal with the slave labour and the forced labour in this country rather than talk about slave labour and forced labour at the ends of the earth. I have said that Ministers, if they want to do any good, if they want to give employment here in this country, should introduce a Bill which would guarantee the home market ahead for the native Irish producers so that they might give labour and wages here that would keep the workers in employment.

Ministers have steadfastly refused to deal with the question of wheat, although the wheat that we import amounts to five or six million pounds worth in the year. They brought in a Bill to deal with oats to-day, and the Minister for Agriculture said that the reason he was in favour of that Bill was in order that the people who are depending on tariffs may be disappointed. Ministers are doing in many instances the right thing in the wrong way, and they certainly dealt with the oats question in the wrongest possible way. Instead of putting on the tariff in time to give the farmers the benefit of it, they put it on too late to benefit the farmers but in time to benefit the merchants who got the top and bought oats at a low price.

Ministers should look ahead and visualise the situation that is going to arise here during the Eucharistic Congress. There have been various estimates of the number of visitors who may come here for the Congress—a million and a million and a half and so on. If we take no steps to prevent the dumping of foreign bacon, vegetables and things like that, we shall find without a doubt that the foreign visitors to Ireland next year will be fed on foreign produce. The greatest possible benefit would come to the country if those visitors got good native Irish produce; if the Government said now at the beginning of November that they were going to prevent the dumping of foreign vegetables or any stuff into the country during the period of the Congress, the native Irish producers would set to work and would be quite capable of giving our foreign visitors a good plateful every day in the week of native produce.

The situation with regard to vegetables and fruit and other goods is this: that you have the South of England and the Channel Islands sending in a lot of their produce a fortnight before it is ordinarily ripe here, and what happens then is that it is the farmers of England and the Channel Islands who get the top prices, and when the native Irish produce is ripe and arrives on the markets the foreigners have lowered the price sometimes to a third of what it was at the start. There is no reason in the world why that should be so. Our fruits come in their season and the foreign producers should not be allowed to anticipate our season. We have something for every season in the year, and our native producers are entitled to the top prices that the first fruits of the season should bring to them. This is one of the things about which Ministers have never done anything. But it should be done. If Ministers would give a warning now that they would do that, it would mean a lot of employment here in this country and it would give the people some heart.

I am always afraid of seeing the Ministers doing the right thing because I doubt their motives. I know they are trying to put something over on us and on the country. They have wide powers under that Bill. If properly used they would do good, but I do not think that the Ministers are the people who are going to make the best use of that power. We have got to agree to the Bill because it is right in itself, but I wish to goodness there were a set of men over there who would use it in the right way.

I would like to point out that it has been brought to my notice within the last three or four weeks that the dumping of goods has been carried on on a really extensive scale during the last month in country towns and villages. The dumping of these goods is not confined to leaving them at a certain store in the country towns. Hawkers actually carry these goods from door to door and the people in the towns and villages who have to pay rents and rates, and who have to bear their share of taxation, are unable to compete with the hawkers who carry on this line of business. I would suggest to the Minister that in addition to the powers he is taking in this Bill——

I think the Deputy is getting further away from this question than Deputy Byrne did.

Well, I was going to suggest that it would be only right if the Minister in addition to the powers he seeks under this Bill put a duty on hawkers and on hawkers' licences.

I decline to accept the stinted praise that was thrown upon me with reference to this Bill. It is not an indication of any conversion on my part or on the part of the Government to Fianna Fáil policy in regard to tariffs, a policy which I take to be the imposition of tariffs whether they are necessary or unnecessary, whether they are justifiable or unjustifiable, whether they would have beneficial effects or evil effects. It is simply and entirely in line with the policy which the present Government have pursued in regard to tariffs. That is to have tariffs imposed when they thought that the imposition was justified and when they thought that the results of the imposition of the tariffs would be beneficial to the country as a whole and not merely to some small group in the community.

It is perfectly easy to impose tariffs and to give a benefit to some few. The difficulty is to impose tariffs without inflicting undue hardships on the general community for the sake of the few. We have restricted this Bill because we know that everybody who wants tariffs alleges dumping. It seems to me that allegations of dumping are so widespread that some people understand it in the way in which Deputy Aiken understands it. I listened to Deputy Aiken's speech, and it seems to me that the only definition of dumping he understands is the importation of goods. The Deputy used the word "dumping" when he seemed to me to be talking about the importation of goods from outside. We are not against the importation of goods in the ordinary way. Every manufacturer who finds his goods being competed with in the market says that there is dumping. I realise that the passage of this Bill will lead to a good deal of trouble in dealing with people who will once again rush to the Department of Industry and Commerce and claim that they are being overwhelmed because of the dumping that is going on.

So far as ordinary dumping is concerned, we think that can be met and ought to be met by the ordinary procedure of the Tariff Commission. If any manufacturer finds his business suffering by reason of dumping, then in the ordinary course he should apply with the other firms engaged in the industry to the Tariff Commission for a tariff. I am supposing that in any case where the manufacturers are able to show that they are suffering from dumping or where they can even show that the probability is they are suffering from dumping, they will so apply. It is sometimes very hard to prove dumping. If they can even show that the probability is that they are suffering from dumping, I am satisfied that in any such case the Tariff Commission will recommend an appropriate tariff to the Executive Council, and the Executive Council will in such case bring the matter before the Dáil. So that so far as dumping of the ordinary sort is concerned, we are satisfied that the machinery which exists already was and is adequate. But we are likely, because of our geographical situation, and because of the matter of language to which I have already referred, to be subjected to dumping of an extraordinary character and dumping on an unprecedented scale. We must be prepared to guard our manufacturers against that sort of dumping.

Dumping which merely lowers the price, which only takes away a percentage of the market, can be met by the procedure of the Tariff Commission, which is relatively slow. But if there is going to be dumping that might close a factory, that might cut off three-fourths or nine-tenths of the market within a week or two, then we have got to think of another procedure. This Bill is introduced almost entirely to deal with the emergency with which we are likely to be faced because of the changes in the economic policy of Great Britain. It can be used if there should be tremendous dumping arising from some other cause and on a very large scale—a scale that would tend to cripple some of our industries. But so far as anything on a small scale is concerned, so far as the competition which is alleged to be dumping, and which it is difficult to know whether it is dumping or not goes, these powers are not required.

There was a reference to imported cloth. I do not know that there is any dumping of cloth on such a large scale as to cause us to have to anticipate any recommendation of the Tariff Commission, which has an application before it for an increase of the tariff on ready-made clothing. So far as bacon is concerned, there is no dumping of bacon which would make it necessary for us to anticipate the report of the Tariff Commission on the application which is before it for a tariff on bacon.

This is not a panic measure. It is a measure which has been in view for a long time as one which might have to be introduced as soon as the change of policy in Great Britain, which is now likely, became likely. We must all realise that the possibility of great increases of tariffs in England would make it likely that there would be a diversion of very large significance of goods which had been manufactured for the English market, and which had hitherto been confined to the English market, into this country under the changed conditions.

It may be that the period which has been set down for the Bill is too short. On the other hand, it is more likely that the changes which we would generally expect in British policy will have taken place before the expiration of nine months, and it will be no longer necessary to have these very drastic powers. We do not want to have powers if they are not necessary simply because, as I have already said, every person who wants a tariff automatically alleges dumping, and frequently alleges dumping when there is not a shadow of justification for the allegation. It is very seldom that we have been able to get what seemed to be proof of actual dumping. I have seen one or two cases that seemed to me to be reasonably well-founded, where the evidence seemed to be fairly sufficient, but in the great majority of cases that came before me it certainly was at least doubtful whether there was any dumping or not.

The manufacturer who carries on abroad and efficiently sells his goods at a reasonable profit here is not dumping. I would not go so far as to say that he must sell under the cost of production in order to be dumping. I think that is, perhaps, the strict definition of dumping. I would not go so far as to say that. I would not say any person was dumping unless he was selling at such prices that he could not make what could be regarded in the trade as an ordinary profit for himself having regard to his own cost of manufacture. I do not regard goods as dumped simply because some manufacturer elsewhere was able to make them a good deal more cheaply than the manufacturer here and, accordingly, would be able to sell them here more cheaply.

Cheaper by paying lower wages.

There is the question of excessively low wages. The question of sweated wages or excessively low wages would have to be taken into account.

Or depreciated currency.

Depreciated currency is one of the matters which we might have to deal with under this Bill, and it is because of the possibility of having to deal with it that the first section is worded as it is worded.

But we do not go anywhere near accepting the idea that Deputy Aiken has of dumping, and consequently we regard these as powers that should remain only as long as the dangers arising out of the present situation across the Channel remain. So far as ordinary trade competition, whether it is fair or unfair competition, is concerned, the needs of the situation here can be met by an application to the Tariff Commission in the ordinary way or, in an extreme case, where the people concerned in the industry cannot agree to make an application, an application might be made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

The Minister would not like to answer the questions I asked him?

I do not think that they have any bearing on this Bill.

The position of the currency has no bearing on the Bill?

Not on this Bill.

The Ceann Comhairle ruled me out from discussing currency, but we are on the Committee Stage now.

The Deputy is a super-optimist.

Question put and agreed to.