Finance Bill, 1932—From the Seanad.

The Dáil went into Committee to consider recommendations made by the Seanad.

I move: That the Committee do not agree with the Seanad in recommendation No. 1:

Section 7, sub-section (2). To delete in line 27 the word "public."

It is regretted that we cannot agree with this recommendation. This refers to the proposal in the Finance Bill to give certain discriminatory relief in the matter of income taxation to Irish capital invested in Irish enterprises. It was confined in the Bill to new issues of public companies. In the Seanad it was very strongly suggested indeed that this should be extended not merely from public companies to private companies, but from private companies to individuals. While the Government is very anxious to recognise the co-operation of the Seanad, and their desire to have that principle of discriminatory taxation developed for the purpose of concentrating Irish industries, if possible, in the hands of Irish owners, it is regretted that in this particular form that extension cannot be accepted. It is found that to apply in that particular form, the relief which is given to public companies to private companies would not carry out its purpose. The difficulty is that the proprietorship of the private company is frequently practically the property of an individual and practically anything can be done in relation to the shareholders. It is not in any way for the purpose, or with the desire of limiting the application of this principle, as desired by the Seanad, but merely because the administrative difficulties of attempting to do it in this particular form, at this particular time, would be very great. For that reason, the Government is not able to accept this recommendation.

Question put and agreed to.

I move: That the Committee agree with the Seanad in recommendation No. 2:

New section. Before Section 12 to insert a new section as follows:—

"12. Whenever the Minister for Finance, after consultation with the Minister for Industry and Commerce, is satisfied that any articles charged with import duty under this or any other Act are essential to the process of any manufacture carried on or intended to be carried on in Saorstát Eireann and are not obtainable or likely to be obtainable in Saorstát Eireann and are required to be imported by a manufacturer for use in Saorstát Eireann in such process the Revenue Commissioners may by licence authorise such manufacturer, subject to compliance with such conditions as they may think fit to impose, to import without payment of this duty the said articles either, as the Revenue Commissioners shall think proper, without limit as to time or quantity, or either of them, or within a specified time, or in a specified quantity."

This is an omnibus clause put in to cover a series of clauses previously in the Bill. In relation to certain commodities which were taxed, power was given to the Minister when satisfied that particular things that were being taxed were themselves the raw material or for some reason were necessary for manufacture, that he could by licence import them. It was first thought that this would apply only to certain limited articles but experience has shown that it applies to a considerable number of articles. Therefore, we are accepting this recommendation which was moved in the Seanad and which represented the original policy in relation to the Bill, that is, to give the Minister power to admit under licence taxed articles which are themselves an essential portion of the raw material or are otherwise necessary for manufacture in the Free State.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee agree with the Seanad in the following recommendation:—

Section 21, sub-section (8). After the word "foods" in line 62 to insert the words "or non-alcoholic drinks."

This was a case where it was put forward that certain foods were admitted which were supposed to be principally for the consumption of invalids and children. The case was put forward in the Seanad that there were certain non-alcoholic liquids which came under the same heading. I must say that it was not known that there were such liquids. They really are such things as lime juice, ginger ale and things of that kind in which the normal sugar content has been greatly reduced especially for the use of diabetic patients. It is a perfectly reasonable amendment and it is accepted.

Question put and agreed to.

I move that the Committee do not agree with the Seanad in the following recommendation:—

Section 24, sub-section (3). To delete in line 23 the word "or" and after the word "Ireland" in line 24 to insert the words "the Irish Rugby Football Union, the Football Association of the Irish Free State, the Irish Hockey Union, the Irish Lawn Tennis Association, the Irish Amateur Swimming Association, the Golfing Union of Ireland, the Irish Ladies' Golfing Union, the Irish Amateur Rowing Union or the Irish Amateur Boxing Association."

This is a recommendation to exempt a whole series of outdoor athletic sports from the entertainments duty. No one wants to tax that kind of thing but the position, quite simply, is this: that a certain amount of money has to be found under the Finance Bill to do the work which the Finance Bill sets out to do specifically. A sum of £25,000 has to be found from this particular source. The Government are unable to find a source which they regard as most desirable from which they can get this money, nor are they prepared to eliminate from the work set out in the Budget, the amount of work represented by £25,000, which would have to be eliminated if this particular provision were not made. It is one of those taxes which nobody wants to put on and which I hope the future state of the finance of the country will enable us to get on without. At the moment we cannot fit the acceptance of the recommendation into the Budget.

I think that the Government ought to reconsider this matter and make up their minds to accept the recommendation, or to substitute it, as I suppose they can still, by another amendment in even more general terms, to give the same result. Whatever force the argument which the Parliamentary Secretary has now used may have had when it was used a few weeks ago by the Minister for Finance, the circumstances which have intervened have very much reduced that force. We have before us to-day an estimate for a large sum which was certainly not ostensibly provided for in the Budget and in the revenue to be raised by the Finance Bill. The amount involved here is very small. I have no doubt that many things are now going to be done by the Government in which sums of much greater than £25,000 will be absolutely wasted and I think that the Government ought to make up its mind to forgo one of these wasteful and useless measures which it appears to have in contemplation and that it should allow these outdoor sports to be free from tax. Even when the Finance Bill was before the House, it was difficult to believe that the reason put forward by the Minister for Finance was the real reason for this tax. It was difficult to see, when other concessions were given of substantial amounts, why the Government had to stand on this and it looked as if they were yielding to a particular sort of pressure to which I think they ought not have yielded.

I, personally, am in favour of giving some slight encouragement or some slight preference to native games because of the special difficulties that attend games which are practically purely national and have not the advertisement that international forms of sport have. That particular preference was already in existence before this Finance Bill and had been confirmed by this House on several occasions. It was, I think, enough. Native games are not in a bad condition and they were able to carry on and be strengthened. I think that the House has put a sufficient seal of approval on them by giving them the preference that was already in existence. Now we are not merely relieving a particular association from income tax but we are definitely going to put a tax on other forms of sport. I think it is going beyond all reasonable limits to say that because a football is kicked in a particular way, those who are engaged in that sport and choose to attend and watch it, must make a contribution to the revenue which people who watch a football being kicked under another code of rules are not called upon to pay. It looks to me, from all the agitation in the matter, that this particular association does not take up the patriotic attitude in the matter of making a contribution to the revenue. It really did not base its appeal for remission on grounds on which they ought to have been based or on which they might have been based; it has not merely demanded that it be free from tax but through members of the Fianna Fáil Party demanded that there be a definite discrimination against all other forms of sport. I think that the question of the rules under which a football is kicked is not of sufficient importance from the national point of view to justify this taxation of a sport that after all is followed by people who are the poorest people here in the city of Dublin. When such big sums are being thrown about by the Government it is really impossible to believe that the £25,000 which is involved is the real reason for objecting to this amendment.

When this matter was before the House on the last occassion I appealed to the Minister to allow the matter to be decided as a non-Party question. I again voice that appeal. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary does he seriously believe that there is any possibility whatever of obtaining a sum of £25,000 from this tax. I have been told by people who know this matter pretty intimately, people engaged in the sport, that the utmost the Minister can hope to obtain is something between £6,000 and £7,000. It was entirely useless for the Parliamentary Secretary to plead that he must find £25,000, when he knows in his heart of hearts that he will never get £25,000 out of the imposition of this tax. At the present moment, I see Deputies on the opposite benches —I see Deputy Oscar Traynor from North Dublin who got a great number of votes in any election in which he stood simply because he was recognised as a man who would stand up for a sport—the Soccer code—of which he was once an ornament. Is Deputy Oscar Traynor going to swallow all his principles or is he going to give the vote which those who elected him expect?

Do you know what he has done?

I know what he has done in the last vote. He voted in favour of the imposition of this tax.

On this question at the moment, do you know what he has done?

If Deputy Traynor did not vote in favour if the imposition of the tax, I will be glad to withdraw the statement, if he corrects me. If he did not vote for it, it is all to the good. I hope he will vote against it now. I see other Deputies on the opposite benches. I see Deputy Briscoe of South Dublin who also got a great number of votes because he was looked upon as a person who would support the Soccer code in this city. I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that the game of Soccer is a poor man's amusement and he will find the greatest difficulty in getting the small amount of money which he hopes to get. It is a healthy amusement and I am sure that the President himself will regard it as a game in the interests of the general populace. Those who attend these games get a great measure of help from their attendance. They are kept out of pernicious practices in which they might spend a great deal more money than they spend for the game. I believe that the President himself ought to intervene in this matter and wipe out this tax altogether. If he can find £2,000,000 for an emergency matter, there is no reason, no justification in the wide world for calling for the imposition of a sum of this sort. There is no possibility whatever of the Minister obtaining this sum of £25,000. I should like to remind the Minister also that the Rugby code alone have spent £30,000 in giving employment. Surely he ought to take matters like that into consideration. He must know that the country is against him in this matter. I know that there are men on his side of the House who feel that if they had a free vote they would not go into the Lobby and vote for this tax. I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary purely on non-Party grounds to reconsider his attitude with regard to this tax. It means a great deal to the ordinary working class people and I think that he should take off the Party Whips and allow it to be a free vote.

I agree also that there is really no validity in the argument put forward by the Parliamentary Secretary. I agree with the last speaker and I am satisfied that the Estimate of £25,000 is entirely beyond what will result from the imposition of this tax. If we assume that it will be produced, the Budget statement that was produced by the Minister for Finance suggested that the margin of safety would be about £65,000. Whether you take that as a surplus, or whether it is £65,000 or £40,000, £20,000 or even £10,000 it is, to my mind entirely immaterial. The Minister himself, in putting forward his Budget figures, admitted and stated that many of the figures had to be estimated on problematical figures. I do not think that the Parliamentary Secretary will make the statement that the margin of safety allowed for by that £65,000 is affected one whit by a reduction of £25,000. It is entirely a problematical difficulty and the possible errors in many of the other figures in the Budget are of a magnitude far beyond the figure represented by this £25,000. I submit to the House that there is nothing whatever in the argument put forward by the Parliamentary Secretary and that the substance of his Budget will not be affected by a trifle of that kind at all. I would urge the Parliamentary Secretary to satisfy himself definitely as to the likelihood of this figure of £25,000 being secured. I do not believe that it will be secured, and I believe that real damage will be done to the youth of the country and to their athletic training by the imposition of this tax.

When I spoke on this question before, I made an appeal to the Minister, based on the broad grounds of sportsmanship, as there had been introduced into this debate matters entirely irrelevant to the question, such as the question of foreign and non-foreign games, that we should address ourselves to the important fact that these games are necessary for the development of the youth of our country and that a tax of this nature is a tax on the health of our people. It is putting a tax on God's fresh air and a tax on the proper use of outdoor sports. I suggest also that the Government's attitude is inconsistent, because we have given a grant for the maintenance of the Tailteann Games and for the bringing out of our athletes to the Olympic Games. With regard to the latter, I am sure it is a great pleasure to all members in the House to know that we have covered ourselves with glory in the performances of Tisdall and Dr. O'Callaghan, both of whom have won events in forms of sport which are not necessarily purely Irish games. I suggest that we should do nothing that would discourage sport in the slightest way. A lot has been said about Soccer football. Football itself is not a native game. Rugby football is a game which has been taken up, particularly in the schools and colleges, chiefly on account of the manner in which it develops character. Many of the schools have taken up Rugby football, not because it is a foreign game or through any snobbery, but because they recognise that there is no game in the world that brings out the mental qualities of character and self-control and self-discipline in the way that Rugby football does. I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to forgo any small pecuniary advantage which he may be likely to derive from the taxation of these games, so that we may develop nationally on our health side. I think that if the matter got a little consideration it would be found that the amount of revenue likely to be derived from this tax will be very much smaller than the Minister anticipates. The tax was based on the assumption that the attendances at the football matches would be the same as in the past. As a result of this tax, the attendances will be very much lowered and the benefit to the Government in the form of revenue will be very small indeed. I am not in favour of foreign games myself, but speaking on behalf of games in general, I feel that it is no matter what particular code a man takes up so long as he plays the game to the best of his ability.

I should like to make a final appeal to the Minister to accept the recommendation. If he cannot personally see his way to do that, I would suggest that he allow it to go to a free vote of the House. In these days of financial stringency, it is difficult for people in ordinary businesses to carry on, and it is even more difficult for people to carry on sports or to extend them or even maintain the standard already attained. There is nobody, I think, who would not wish, if they were richer, to offer pecuniary help to sport in this country as they do in other States. If we cannot do this, we certainly ought not to put hindrances in the way of sports. Very many of the amateur sports in this country have had to exist on contributions from the outside public.

The outside public latterly have had their resources restricted for various reasons and they are now unable to contribute in their usual manner to enable sports to be carried on. If the last resort that is left to sport, "the gate," is to be taxed then very many sports will cease to exist. Take one sport, rowing. Rowing has kept its head above water in this country for many years largely by private subscriptions. Deputy O'Neill a moment ago spoke about the Irish successes at the Olympic Games. I do not think there is an Irish heart that was not thrilled by the successes of our representatives at the Olympic Games and I do not think there is an Irish heart that would not be thrilled by the success of an Irish Rugby team or an Irish Soccer team in international contests no matter what it represented as long as it was Irish. We ought all to be anxious to help any number of people to combine to make sport more popular in this country and to induce the boys and girls in this country to engage in sport of any description, but preferably Irish sport.

We all of us here prefer Irish sport. The President of the Executive Council and I are Deputies who engaged in both forms of sport, Irish and international. So long as our engagement in international sport is concerned none of us lost our Irish mind. If we prefer Irish sport there is no reason why we should hinder other sports that are of an international character. The mere engaging by young people in any form of sport is all to the good. It expands even their intelligence. It gives them that true and real spirit of comradeship which is not perhaps possible in other ways. We see in various forms of sport a coming together of people who are opposed to each other in other ways. We see these sports representative of political thought of the most diverse type. I am not now referring to political divisions amongst Deputies in this House, but to people, North and South, who forget their differences when they engage in these sports. Now this tax, instead of helping that development, will much hinder it. I would appeal to the Minister to leave this recommendation to a free vote of the House or, better still, to accept the recommendation and so put all sport on an equal footing so that it would be possible for any boy or girl to engage in sport, preferably Irish, but, at all events, some sport.

The Parliamentary Secretary must have some skeletons in his financial cupboard that he is more afraid of than he is of this House. He can hardly have the nerve to tell this House that he cannot spare this £25,000. Since this Bill was last before us the Minister for Finance made very considerable advances to his prospects of revenue by the additional taxes he has put on. We are told that there is going to be no revenue from these taxes. In the President's Press this morning we read his warning to the people that they must not buy British coal. Anyone in this country who is influenced by the President's Press will not buy anything for the remainder of the year but British cement. There is to-day a large advertisement in his Press, advising the readers to buy British cement. I submit that there is to be more of an increase in revenue from the taxation on British cement than will very much more than cover the £25,000 that is supposed to be involved in this recommendation.

We read in this morning's paper a protest and more or less an appeal on the part of the Chairman of the Dublin County Council with regard to the position of physical training in the schools of this country. We have had gradually growing and becoming more perfect a system of medical treatment of the school children. Adenoids are taken out but nothing has been done to set up the children in a proper way. The recommendations of the primary schools programme conference some years ago made very definite recommendations. The difficulties which lay in the path of progress were such as arise out of the difficulties in the schools. I am convinced that certain difficulties arise in certain places, but some schools throughout the country have shown in the most magnificent way what can be done even without a State subsidy. I have been one who in normal times argued that if a thing could not be done in the way that we thought, there ought to be a tax put on outdoor sports. That would radiate its influence through the schools and give us a properly set up people.

I would not in the circumstances in which we now are argue that there ought to be a tax on sport because we, at this particular moment, are suffering under the most crushing burden of taxation that it is possible to bear, a burden so crushing that it is going very much to interfere with employment. Deputy Byrne has spoken of things in North Dublin constituency. I take one small corner of North Dublin constituency and in that corner of the city, Clontarf, we have employment given by residents there who get up yacht races, lawn tennis sports, swimming sports, golfing championships, rowing and other sports. With the amount of taxes that people are at present called upon to pay there is undoubtedly the jeopardising of the employment of a number of people employed there and elsewhere in connection with sport, organised in that particular way.

In the face of employment being jeopardised these additional taxes on sport should not now be imposed. I would imagine if we link up taxation on outdoor sports with the proper development of physical culture, that our national organisation would be the first people in the van to assist that. We are completely opposed to discrimination as between different forms of sport. Putting taxation on any organised form of sport in the country is going to prejudice its development and it is also going to jeopardise the position of the unemployed. The Minister has been made aware by deputations from many sports associations of the very considerable amount of money that is involved in the matter and the considerable amount of employment that is given. I cannot understand how the Parliamentary Secretary can have the nerve to come here and tell us that he cannot spare this £25,000, if it is £25,000. I find it difficult to realise that he is giving an Estimate here to-day without presenting a new budgetary statement to us, when very remarkable changes have been made in taxation since we last saw the Finance Bill in this House.

On many occasions in this House I have protested against discrimination in sport. While I do not begrudge any advantage that the Gaelic games have and are receiving from this House in successive Finance Bills, yet I do appeal now, as I have appealed on other occasions when I stood up in this House to protest against what I will term as unfair discrimination in the matter of sports. I do not want to labour the arguments made by other speakers and I do not want to repeat what I have already said, but I do feel that a man should be allowed to play any game he likes without undue interference by the State. Undue interference is here exercised in discriminating between one form of sport and another. We have had all the games mentioned. I am supporting the amendment sent from the Seanad for the reasons I gave on previous occasions and also for the reasons now advanced by Deputies who have spoken in favour of the amendment.

Let us take the case of rowing clubs. Most, if not all, Deputies have received circulars from the secretary of the Irish Rowing Union. I mentioned here before that I have been intimately associated with Irish rowing for very many years. I can produce, if necessary, for the Parliamentary Secretary, evidence that should really satisfy him or anybody else that in nearly all cases these clubs are run at a considerable loss. We have had the sad spectacle here a week or two ago when the Metropolitan Regatta in Dublin, at the annual fixture, received something like £25 in gate receipts. There are other clubs that hold regattas all over the Free State and I am sure the amount of gate money received by them is frequently less than half of what the Metropolitan Regatta got. In sport, just as in trade, competition is certainly the salt of the business.

These rowing clubs, as most Deputies are aware, in order to keep going and in order to encourage the pastime for which they are established, have frequently to travel long distances. Anybody who knows anything about transporting a rowing club and a team of oarsmen or, for that matter, a team of sportsmen anywhere, must be aware of the considerable expense involved. Oarsmen travel to regattas if they have funds sufficient to take them there. Frequently they have to travel with a four-oared or eight-oared outfit. We know that the cost of transporting those boats over long distances is relatively high. In no case can it be said that the ordinary subscriptions of members are sufficient to cover the expenses involved. The clubs have to rely for support on public subscriptions and money obtained through whist drives and dances. It is my experience that at the end of every financial year these clubs find themselves in difficulties. I do not know of even one rowing club in the Free State which can say it is solvent.

I do not want to travel as far as Northern Ireland, but I know a somewhat similar state of affairs exists there, with this difference, that in Northern Ireland they do not tax rowing, nor do they tax football or other forms of sport. I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary, if he has ever kicked football, and I believe he has, that he might put it to the Minister that it makes no difference to a man what games he plays so long as he plays the game, as Deputy O'Higgins pointed out. The Parliamentary Secretary must admit that there is nothing better for building character, for building brawn and brain, than a fair indulgence in various forms of physical exercise. Why it is that this Government should make itself ridiculous, as the last Government made itself ridiculous, by an unfair discrimination in the matter of sport, I cannot say.

It has been said that many Deputies have developed a kink in favour of one form of sport. I am aware that the ex-Minister for Finance, Deputy Blythe, developed that kink and even to-day he cannot get away from it. He suggests that even now he does not object to Gaelic games getting more support as against other forms of sport. I disagree with him there. I believe no game should be taxed in this country. I am not going to refer to the present state of affairs; I do not want to touch on that; but if we had a normal condition of affairs here there is no reason at all why any young boy, who is a boy, who wishes to indulge in games should be deprived from doing so. There is no reason why these games should be taxed in any way. Gaelic games are exempt from this tax. Why? No reasonable case has been made for allowing Gaelic games to escape while other games are taxed. I support and I watch Gaelic games, but I am not going to be a party to discriminate between one game and another. If I have a bias at all it is in favour of rowing and Rugby football.

And fishing.

Fishing is tariffed enough, so far as I know. I have had to pay for my licence to fish and I do not object because I get good sport for the money. I suggest that the Parliamentary Secretary should ask the Cabinet to reconsider this matter. It is, in my view, a disgrace to our country to say that we have to tax certain games and that we allow other games to go scot free. Tax the lot or tax none. Perhaps I should have reversed that statement and say tariff none or tariff the lot. That is the way I feel. I do not want to see Gaelic games handicapped in any way. I want to see them encouraged. There are some persons who will make better Gaelic players than Rugby players and the obverse is also true. It is ridiculous to discriminate in this unfair way. I will support the amendment in the hope that the Minister will leave this matter to an open vote. It would seem as if this matter has really developed into a political issue. I do not want to make it a political issue. I have challenged the last Government on the matter; even now, I challenge the attitude of mind of the ex-Minister for Finance. It cannot be said that it is because this Government is in power that I am opposing this proposal. I opposed it also in the last Parliament.

I should like to join in the appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to accept the recommendations of the Seanad. There are several reasons why this method of taxation should not be proceeded with. Possibly the first is that the Minister does not really want this type of revenue. If, any day or night, the Minister for Finance and the Cabinet considered that this country is being deluged with British games, they can fall back upon another Act and they can demand an excise duty on the financial returns received from these games. We have now come to the pass in this country that we are arguing at great length over the possible revenue from sport. Someone said the returns would reach £20,000. I think the Parliamentary Secretary mentioned £20,000 or £25,000. Somebody else suggested that the amount would scarcely reach £7,000. I will ask the Parliamentary Secretary for God's sake to say: "Yes, I agree with the suggestion; cut it out altogether and we can tax games later if we like."

In this country, at the present moment the important question is, not whether we can collect £20,000 or even £7,000 off one form of outdoor sport or another. The important question is whether anybody can indulge in any sport whatsoever. I am sure that when I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary I do not appeal to him as an 18 ct. gold Celt or a 100 per cent. Gael or anything of that sort; I appeal to him as a man who knows what he is talking about. I say that all this talk about a tax on games is a futile waste of time, the most futile we have ever had here. We are discussing whether a person going to a Soccer match should pay a 2d. tax or a person going to see a regatta should pay a tax of 6d., while if one goes to a hurling match he pays nothing. That is the type of discussion we have when really it is not £7,000 or £20,000 we are concerned with. Our main concerns at the moment have to do with millions. We have in office at the moment a Government which has power at night—it is always at night they do these things— to place any tax they like on anything. The President laughs. He knows very well that that is the power he has. We are really only wasting time talking as to whether Soccer, Rugby, rowing, etc., should be taxed as against hurling and Gaelic football. I speak for a part of the country which is interested in rowing, Soccer, Rugby, etc.—the County Dublin. These games are supported, not by paying money to see them, but by voluntary subscriptions from persons who are really keen on them. I have a special interest in asking the Parliamentary Secretary to consider the importance of that matter.

I spoke at length on this matter when it was before the Dáil previously, but I should like to make a last appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to remit the tax. There is something petty about this tax. I do not think that the Parliamentary Secretary, who is a master of logic and of the good phrase, can defend it or put a reasonably decent look upon it. That is the feeling of every sportsman in the House. I only want to speak of this from a sporting point of view. I agree with Deputy Anthony that you should tax no sport or tax all. I would be sorry to think that all were taxed. It is this note of discrimination that is particularly galling to many of us who know we are Irish and who play games which are stigmatised as non-Irish. We should encourage all sports. We want sports in this country, at this moment above all. There is a story as to how draughts were invented. In a time of trouble in Asia Minor, when there was a war on for ten years, the people diverted their thoughts from unpleasant things by this wonderful new game. It would be well if the Ministry would devote their attention to inventing some more games—untaxed games—rather than new taxes. We were asked to find an alternative, some other source from whence this petty sum—because it is, comparatively speaking, a petty sum— of £25,000 might be derived. Some sources were indicated to the Minister for Finance during the last debate on this matter and I could think of some more. I do not care from what source it comes or whether there is any source. I do not care if you tax tall hats or political meetings to get the money, or if our Budget is out £25,000. I would appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary, in the interests of the country and the mental health of our young people, to drop this tax and never let us hear of it again.

One of the reasons given for levying this tax on these so-called foreign sports is that the people who play them are best able to pay—that they are the aristocrats, the plutocrats of our country. I know Rugby clubs where the hat has to be sent round to buy the ball or to provide a jersey for, say, the crack player. If it is an aristocratic or a plutocratic game, there are aristocrats and plutocrats in the ranks of the Government. I make an appeal to them as sportsmen to drop this tax. I appeal to the President himself. He will forgive me for reminding him of the fact that he was a very good Rugby player. I have seen him playing many times. In fact, I think I umpired a game in which he played. He played with characteristic Irish vigour—he was a good player.

A good tackler.

I think I saw him scoring. I appeal to him as a sportsman and an old Rugby player, even if he is an aristocrat or a plutocrat, to drop the tax. There is a frightful lot of nonsense talked about it. It is absurd to talk of these games as non-Irish or stigmatising the people who play them as bad Irishmen. I can hardly speak with patience when I think of some Irishmen who have played these games and afterwards done honour to their country in many other directions and in distant fields. I make this eleventh-hour appeal and I hope the President will take the matter up himself.

I think the Parliamentary Secretary will fully realise that the reactions of this imposition are about as inevitable and as unfortunate as they could possibly be. No matter what the Parliamentary Secretary or the Minister may say, the general feeling is that certain sports which are indulged in by good Irishmen are being discriminated against. In fact, so far as I am aware, the only member of this House who took the view that the sports were not being discriminated against was Deputy Hogan, of Clare, who took up the rather "Alice-through-the-Looking-Glass" point of view that if you put the tax on all first and take it off some of them, you are doing the same thing as putting it on some and not putting it on others. The finesse does credit to the poet's mind, but I do not think it would appeal to the point of view of the mundane populace who are interested in Rugby and Soccer. I turn with special confidence to the distinguished members of the Fianna Fáil Party, like the President, who are protagonists of Rugby, and also, with even greater confidence, to the Parliamentary Secretary, because he has said to-day that their only difficulty is that they cannot find revenue wherewith to accept the recommendation. I think Deputy Thrift, on grounds mathematical, disposed of his difficulty. I suggest another way of disposing of his difficulty. If he looks at recommendation No. 13, he will see that the Seanad there propose to provide him with just enough money to make the concession that they ask him for in recommendation No. 4.

I would turn with special confidence to Deputy Davin to lend us a hand here, in order to kill two birds with the one stone—to support the abolition of the principle of discrimination amongst Irish sportsmen and to provide revenue by withdrawing the subsidy from bus companies which at present is being granted to them, to the grave detriment of the railways of this country, as a result of which the number of employees has been greatly reduced. One could go round the House at length. We have already referred to one distinguished Deputy from North Dublin who found it possible to swallow this proposal when it first came before the House. Deputy Briscoe had even a better digestion; he is equally distinguished, or more distinguished, if that can be, than Deputy Traynor, in Soccer circles. Deputy Norton is also a distinguished person in Soccer circles. I think I am right in saying that Deputy Briscoe is Vice-President of a Soccer institution in this city. They conferred on him every honour, every distinction with complete confidence. I hope when they come to renew that honour their confidence will not have suffered such a shock as to deprive Deputy Briscoe of the distinction which sits so graciously on him.

I put this to the Parliamentary Secretary in all seriousness, that a feeling has been created by the tax quite out of proportion to the value of the tax to the Exchequer. The majority by which the Minister carried this tax on a division in the first place indicates that the sense of this House is against it, because I think the Government had never a smaller majority since the Dáil sat than on the question of this particular tax. It was only by a majority of five that they carried it in Committee. Deputy Professor Thrift has made manifest that the argument that the Exchequer cannot spare the money is not a sound one. I have made a suggestion which provides the Parliamentary Secretary with a way out if he wants to collect revenue. I ask him now to take the sense of the House on this recommendation, to allow a non-Party vote and let us record our feelings in this matter in the confidence that if the Exchequer drops this £25,000, they will collect a great deal more in good will.

Like most members of the Opposition, I am entirely against discriminating against any particular sport in this country. When this tax was first being imposed, the Gaelic Athletic Association, so far as I remember, was included, but the Government's agents throughout the country discovered or it was made known to them in very definite terms, that if this tax were persisted in, the Government would find a day of reckoning, with the result that the G.A.A. is no longer included. I do not think that is clean politics. Two great Irishmen within the last two days have distinguished themselves at the Olympic Games. They have brought Ireland a great deal of fame. These two men, Mr. Tisdall, of Nenagh, and Dr. O'Callaghan, from the County Cork border, have expressed themselves as being very thoroughly against discrimination in the taxation of games. I think the opinion of these two men should carry some weight in this country, and I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will give their views some consideration, although I must say I am not very hopeful. Is the Parliamentary Secretary so sure as to the amount of money he will derive from the taxation of these games? There is such a thing as the Six Counties in Ireland. I think the bulk of this money will have to come from international games and there is nothing on earth to prevent the promoters from arranging to have international games held in Belfast or some other town in the Six Counties, thus depriving Dublin not only of the taxation but of a very big expenditure of money by the people who come here to see these games. I think it is clearly a case of chopping off your nose to spite your face. Deputy Alton reminded the President that he was a good Rugby player. I am aware of that, too. Deputy Jordan, I think, expressed his admiration for his powers as a great tackler in the rugby field.

I never saw him in the rugby field.

He specialises also in another part of the game and that is in giving the "dummy." President de Valera gave the "dummy" in the rugby field and he has been giving the dummy ever since, but he has never crossed the line.

If you got him, he would be a great man in the serum.

President de Valera's nationality, in the minds of his admirers, at least, has not suffered by his playing Rugby, and I do not think that Rugby will make any man in Ireland anything more unnational than if he never played it. I think the whole thing is spiteful. Rugby and Association are both good games and the amount that you will derive from them in the way of taxation is negligible. For the sake of encouraging games generally, I think that the Parliamentary Secretary might very well abandon this taxation.

I rise to support very strongly the remarks made by Deputy Anthony. In his speech I think he mentioned every reasonable argument that could be adduced for having no discrimination with regard to games. There is no need for me to go back on anything he has said, but there is one point that I should like to stress very much and put to the President and to the Government. That is that I do not think I am in error when I take it that the object of this preference for Gaelic is really to encourage that game in this country. Taking sport as a whole, there are two great reasons to my mind which ought to encourage everybody in giving it support. One is the physical benefit which is to be derived from all forms of games or sports. There is another element to which I personally attach very great importance and that is the spirit of good fellowship and goodwill which all sports and games carried on in a proper manner ought to induce amongst those partaking in the games or people watching them. That goodwill cannot be expressed in terms of £s. d. The amount of good these games can do is immense. I look upon the Government's action in giving this preference to Gaelic, whether they intended it or not, as making the game of Gaelic, political. The mere fact of Gaelic having a preference over all other games must cause irritation, to put it very mildly, amongst the people who go to watch those other games. I take it that the main idea at the back of the Government's proposal is to promote Gaelic. They want to see that game developed. If that is their object, the best way they can set about it is to secure goodwill for Gaelic all over the country. They should get the goodwill of everybody. I have always supported cricket and Rugby. I play cricket myself, but I have never said one solitary word against Gaelic. I hold that people should be entitled to play the game they prefer to play. They should have perfect liberty to do that. I want to impress upon the Government that by putting this tax on other games and putting no tax on the Gaelic game, they must of necessity raise a spirit of animosity against that game. I think that is not what they want and that it would be a terrible pity. I think that even if they were to lose £25,000, the goodwill that they would get from everybody for the game of Gaelic by dropping this tax would be well worth it.

I feel that while there have been very many honest speeches on this question of taxation as a whole, there have been very many vitriolic outpourings from the benches opposite such as always follow practically everything that emanates from these benches. Why Deputy J.J. Byrne should have introduced his speech in the way he did makes me wonder and makes me wonder for this reason, that for the past week there has been going on in the Press a campaign of letter writing in which I have been the Aunt Sally so to speak. There has been a similarity between these letters and Deputy J.J. Byrne's remarks that makes me wonder does he know anything about this campaign.

Surely the Deputy will give Deputy Byrne credit for having the courage of writing letters over his own name.

Cumann na nGaedheal letters never appeared over the names of those who wrote them.

I do not want to do the Deputy any injustice. I just remarked the similarity between the letters and the statement made here by the Deputy. I have played Soccer football and I believe I have played it well and I make no apology to anyone in this House or outside for playing that game. The members of the Party of which I am a member know my views on this question. Deputy J.J. Byrne asked a question that has also been asked in this letter writing campaign. He wondered at my silence. It may be that I am a bit green in political circles and that I do not make enough of what I do and of what I have done. What I have done I have done behind the scenes and I have done it well, so much so that any little amelioration that has been made in this tax has been made, though I may say it egotistically, at my request and on my insistence.

I, like Deputy Mulcahy, have certain views on this question. If I were able to enforce my views I would have a Ministry of Sport which would direct the young idea into the channels in which it should go, and which would teach them to play all games, not one, two or three games and would teach them to play them well. Further, so far from taxing sport I would subsidise it. I would subsidise all sports of Irishmen. I believe that the Irish nation can be built up from the health that can be derived by participation in athletics. However, Deputies on the opposite side know, equally as well as I do, that members of a Party have Party pledges and, just as members of a team have got to give their loyalty to the team, so members of a Party have got to give their loyalty to the Party and it is my intention to do that however it may offend my friends in the athletic sphere. I might mention that in the last couple of days, as Deputy Dillon has stated, I have received notification that I have been elected vice-president of two branches of Association football in Dublin. I am very proud to have been elected but I also know that the necessity for taxation is there and that the necessity is not of the making of this Party. While that necessity is there I believe it is the duty of every association, whether athletic or otherwise, to do what it can to help the nation in this time of crisis. I pointed that out as a member of the deputation that went to the Minister for Finance. I pointed that out to the deputation on their way to interview the Minister and the deputation agreed with me that that was so. What they did object to and what I objected to was that any particular unit should have been selected for preferential treatment.

I join in the plea voiced by Deputy Dillon and other Deputies for a free vote on this recommendation. The Parliamentary Secretary must have realised how very unpopular this tax which is going to raise a very small amount of money, is going to be amongst those who have any connection with athletics and sports in this country. The Parliamentary Secretary resides in a portion of the County Cork where sports are carried on in a very marked degree. Cobh Regatta is one of the most popular fixtures I know in the country and Cobh Sports are also being revived. There is hardly a townland which is not affected by this tax. It seems to me that it is very unfair to tax the youth of the country who are really the people who will have to pay this tax in order to get revenue for the services of the State.

The last speaker has, with admirable patriotism I must admit, said that he deplores the tax but that it is necessary. Does that not point to the fact that all games should be taxed and that no particular section should be exempt for patriotic reasons? If there is any particular section who desire exemption in these circumstances they cannot be said to be unduly patriotic. I think I am right in emphasising the views expressed by other members that there should be no discrimination, no abhorrent discrimination because it is abhorrent to everybody, and that it should be withdrawn. The Parliamentary Secretary stated that he cannot do without the money which will be raised by this tax. He must expect very little benefit from his own tariffs if that be so. Almost everything that one buys nowadays is tariffed. It would be interesting to know if there is one single item that is not taxed in some way at the moment. I would appeal to him to remit this small amount of taxation because it is certainly a very unpopular tax. I was interested to hear Deputy Alton refer to the President's activities in Rugby and other games. Surely when he and other members of the Government have engaged in this game, it must be realised that it cannot be a very bad game to play. I would urge very respectfully that this is a tax which is imposed on a section of the people who are least able to bear it.

In my view the discrimination in the imposition of this tax is not the main objection to it. The main objection is to the principle of the taxation of sport of any kind. If this were a provision to give a subsidy to Gaelic football and nothing else I personally would not have any very strong objection to it, but I do think that the whole principle of taxation of games is bad. I rose really to make one point which I have not heard made by any Deputy who has yet spoken. That is that since we last discussed the subject on the 8th July a situation has arisen that gives the Government a good excuse for taking a rather more kindly attitude. Since then we have entered upon an economic war. The country is going to pass through a time of great strain and stress. I venture quite seriously to make the point that there is nothing better than games to keep the people in a state of good humour and good nerves.

Like Deputy Traynor, I have no apology to offer for the support that I give in any way to games which may be considered by some people as not of a national type, such as Soccer. I want to say quite frankly that when this proposition to impose taxation on all games and sports was first mooted it was put to me, and I believe the position to be so still, that while we have to confront a situation where foodstuffs are taxed it should be the first duty of any Government to remove the taxation on foodstuffs before proceeding to remove the taxation on games. In that spirit I accepted the proposition as it was then made. Since then, however, of course a remission was made in connection with one particular class of sport. I cannot speak for sport to any extent outside the city of Dublin because I do not happen to know much about the sport that is carried on in other parts of the country. Certainly the members from outside the metropolitan area felt very keenly the taxation of Gaelic games. A remission in taxation on Gaelic games has been brought about and that is now being held up by most speakers as discrimination. I do not know whether it is fair to say that it is discrimination against rather than in favour of a particular class of sport. I feel that I would be very happy if the Government could see its way to remit the taxation on all sports. Like Deputy Oscar Traynor, however, I find that if the Government feels in its wisdom that it must go on with this particular tax and sees no way out of it, as a member pledged to support that party which is the Government, I naturally will have to take my place in the line in the division lobby alongside them. I do not know whether if it was left to a free vote, I would do the same, but I also feel that there are Deputies on the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches who would find themselves voting differently.

Why not try it?

I would ask that I might be allowed to make my own speech without any promptings from Deputy McGilligan. The House will remember when this discrimination in favour of Gaelic games was carried out previously, and there was a free vote in the House on that occasion in which the majority of the members voted in favour of discrimination for Gaelic games. I happened to be the only member of the Party who went into the Lobby against discrimination. My hope would be that a free vote would result in equal treatment for all sports, but I have my doubts about it and I would be anxious to challenge the Parliamentary Secretary to do what I say and leave it to a free vote of the House, because I believe that a great number of the Cumann na nGaedheal back benchers who are ardent supporters of Gaelic games would vote for discrimination in favour of Gaelic games.

Deputy Dillon did me the honour of referring to me in the sense that he had heard that I was recently elected as vice-president of the Soccer Association. In fairness to the Soccer Association that gave me that distinguished honour, I must say that they made no conditions. They did not ask me to vote in favour of a remission of tax on Soccer nor did they threaten me that if I did not do so I would be asked to resign. I presume that like Deputy Oscar Traynor I was selected on my merits in their estimation as a promoter of the game. In consultation with a number of these people I find that their grievance is that if there is to be taxation on sport all forms of sport should shoulder it. They say, and I want to say it to the House now, that if the followers of Gaelic games feel that they are entitled to national discrimination in their favour, they should be the first to show their national responsibility. They should be the first to make the sacrifice, and if a sacrifice is called for from any sporting element it should be from the Gaelic games. It appears however that if Gaelic games want to be looked on as the national games—and I have no objection to them—the others feel that they should not be asked to make the sacrifice by way of taxation when the national games are let off. We have our views on these things. I can quite follow and agree with the people, some of whom are members of this House, who, against all opposition have helped to nourish and foster the Gaelic games into something that is living and can be recognised as a part of our national life. I can understand them conscientiously and sincerely feeling that there should be discrimination in favour of the national pastime. I hope, however, that they will be sufficiently sportsmanlike to feel that while a person living in a metropolitan area has in his area what they might term a non-national game, but again which is a local game, that they might feel that some consideration is due to the person who is in favour of taxation being taken off Soccer or rowing or any game whatever. I do not know whether the Parliamentary Secretary will listen to appeals or not. As Deputy Traynor has pointed out, he has done his best privately and behind the scenes, without putting it in the paper every day, to get this thing done. Others also have done their best, but it is expected of us by the sportsmen of the country, no matter to what party they belong, that we should play the sporting game with our own party. If the Government thinks that it is in the interests of the nation to raise taxation in the way suggested, I would point out to the Minister that the amount involved is not so tremendous. £25,000 is not going to bring him out of the difficulties at the end of the financial year and I appeal to him to consider whether, if he cannot see his way to remove the tax altogether, he could leave it to a free vote of the House. I am prepared to leave it to that and I think that the sporting people of the country would then feel that they had no grievance. The last time that it was left to a free vote the ordinary Soccer people lost as against the majority of the House. That can happen again in the same way; but in the hope that it will bring about, not discrimination against—I object to the term discrimination being used—but discrimination in favour of a certain set of games, in the hope that it will do away with the discrimination in favour of Gaelic games, I would appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to leave it to a free vote. Perhaps he would get the result that Deputy Traynor and myself hope for or we may get the results that the supporters of Gaelic games hope for.

This subject has been debated at some length and I wish to add just a very few words to the remarks that have been made. The recommendation which has come from the Seanad embraces practically the views of the supporters of every outdoor sport played in this country at the moment with one exception, and that is boxing, which is conducted at times outdoor but mostly indoor. I do not think that anybody will dispute that boxing from the standpoint of the youth of the country is a very fine sport indeed. The Parliamentary Secretary has sought to retain the duty of the tax on sport by reason of the necessity apparently for £25,000 this year. This £25,000 is comparatively a small sum when considered in relation to the amount which this Oireachtas is asked to budget for this year. Undoubtedly the principal interest of the country and of this House should be the welfare, health and above all the character of the youth of the country. In what way can the youth of the country best acquire first of all health and character? It is conceded generally on all sides here that the best way to obtain these is by participating in sport. If a man participates in sport, if he wants to be a good sportsman, he will first of all select for himself the sports that he wants to shine in or the game that he wants to shine in. He himself of course must be free to select the game that he likes best. He must be free to select the sport he is to follow. If the Oireachtas has the interest of the youth of this country at heart and if it wants to do that by promoting sport in the country we should place all sport on an equal footing. I am against discrimination. I do not care whether it is discrimination in favour of or discrimination against a particular sport. Every sport and every game in the country should stand on an equal footing and the people of the country should be free to participate in what sports they think fit. That should be the standard. It is conceded on all sides that a tax imposed on certain sports will interfere with these sports. It may be perhaps that we tax a certain number of them and if we do we are thereby cutting down facilities for sport which are open to the young people of the country. I would appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to leave this to a free vote of the House. I quite appreciate Deputy Traynor's remarks that he is bound by his Party pledge and that he has to play the game with regard to his Party and that he must abide by that. But this is a question in which there has been a demand from all sections of this House irrespective of Party. I would appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to keep sport clear of politics and not to bring politics into sports. He can do that by leaving this to a free vote of the House.

I would like to join in the appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to let this matter go to a free vote. If the President were in the House I would appeal to him to do this. I remember the President perhaps better than any Deputy here in the days when he played Rugby. I saw him many a time playing Rugby. I am therefore all the more surprised that he should tax Rugby or that indeed he should put a tax on any sport. I again urge on the Parliamentary Secretary and on the Government to let it go to a free vote of the House.

I feel a certain pride that this amendment has come back as a recommendation from the Seanad because it was made first in an amendment moved by me in this House. It was an amendment which when put to the House only suffered defeat by the smallest margin by which any vote has been carried, a margin of five votes. A plea has been made to the Parliamentary Secretary to leave this to a free vote of the House. That is not the way the matter should be treated. It should be left to a free vote of the House if the Parliamentary Secretary was convinced that it would be defeated. That would not be a proper thing in a House composed as this is after the Seanad has made a recommendation on a matter that has been defeated in this House by only five votes that we can now have it accepted by a small margin of votes. If there is any feeling at all in the country it is shown by the vehement way in which this tax is opposed. These recommendations in the Seanad should be carried out by a huge majority here. Deputy Briscoe and Deputy Traynor make the plea that their Party ties will compel them to vote for this tax. Let them see how they became affiliated to their Party and how their Party became affiliated to the Government. We are told by the Parliamentary Secretary that this sum cannot be afforded. I am going again to read the advertisement which shows how it was that Deputy Traynor and Deputy Briscoe became associated with the Government. The case made by the people who made out that advertisement and spoke for the Government was that.

"Fianna Fáil has a policy which can and will reduce the burden of taxation by no less than two million per annum." Now £25,000 is a small sum in comparison with two million pounds, which that Party was to find this year in the way of saving. It will be objected that this year was not meant but the advertisement here will show that it was this year:

"Fianna Fáil is satisfied that substantial economies are feasible without reducing social services, without inflicting hardships on any class of Government servants or impairing in the slightest degree the efficiency of the administrative machine. It has examined with minute care the Estimate of Supply Services for the current year and is convinced that a saving of many hundred thousand pounds can be made not including such items as the sum of £152,500 paid to the British Government in respect of R.I.C. pensions and other similar payments not required by the Treaty."

And then they wind up with this appeal:—"The burden of taxation can be lightened by no less than £2,000,000 per year." That is the solution after saying that the estimate of supply services had been examined with minute care and that not less than £2,000,000 could be saved. What is the use now of bladdering to us about £25,000? Deputy Traynor has been appealing for his constituents in the matter of this tax.

I have not put in any appeal for my constituents.

If the Deputy has not done it the Party opposite has. But that is the Party to which Deputy Traynor tied himself—the Party that promised a saving of £2,000,000 a year. We do not ask for £2,000,000. Give us this £25,000 and let us off this tax.

What about the taxes the Deputy put on?

That is the sort of thing on which Deputy Corry got a lecture here.

And I will be elected again any day.

We need not talk about that now. We are talking in relation to this £25,000. It is ludicrous to be told that the Party that promised £2,000,000 saving cannot give us this £25,000 now off this tax. "After examining with minute care the estimate for the supply services for this year not less than £2,000,000 can be saved." There is another way that has been spoken of by Deputy Dillon, and again I am sorry that the great upholder and advocate of the railways is not in his place, as he has not been in his place whenever these matters of taxation are being discussed.

The railways are not now under discussion.

Yes, by way of analogy they are. There is a sum to be saved if another recommendation is to be accepted—a sum of £25,000. Let the Minister accept that recommendation and relieve Deputy Briscoe and Deputy Traynor from the embarrassing position in which they find themselves.

Deputy Davin is dealing with the case of the railwaymen at the present time.

I wish he could be brought here.

I am here; I am in his place.

The railways are certainly saved now.

Ask Deputy Peadar Doyle to save them.

I suggest another way for making revenue. Let us have drilling, as Deputy MacDermot suggested, considered as an entertainment. Why not tax drilling in the country? Will you get £25,000 in that way? Of course, you will. It is the law not to allow drilling, and, if you are not going to enforce the law, put a fine on those found breaking the law and on the Minister for Justice, whose duty it is to see the law enforced. Let us have the double fine. Let it be considered an amusement. It may be termed an outdoor game; it is mainly a game, and it is certainly out-of-doors. What about taxing the people who do not recognise the courts? That is another game, a complete and entire game in the present circumstances. It is a game for which there is not even the excuse that is offered in regard to outdoor games. They at least bring some benefit to the people who are playing them.

We are having all this nonsense about £25,000 talked of. This proposal to get £25,000 from sports of various kinds comes from a Party which pledged itself to find £2,000,000. That Party can find £30,000 by accepting another recommendation of the Seanad. That Party can find any amount if they only put taxation on the particular types of folly that are being prosecuted in the country at the moment with every appearance of zeal. Deputy Briscoe put forward the suggestion that if there is going to be any hardship in this National Budget it ought to be borne by the association which prides itself as being a national games association. I do not think it is fair to put on this tax. There should not be a tax on any of these sports. It should be on them all or none. If you are going to put a tax on sports put it on them all or, alternatively, on those that can afford to pay. Put a tax, if one is necessary, on the heavier-priced seats. I had an amendment down to exempt an admision fee of 1/- or less and I suggested that if any tax was to be imposed on higher-priced seats it should apply to all games. That suggestion was not considered a good one and we had to have this discrimination in favour of all games played under the auspices of two organisations.

The point was made that we in our time made certain discriminations. There was a discrimination of a very trifling type in regard to income tax. It had reference to income tax on profits in relation to Gaelic games. That was rendered exempt after a free vote of the House. I voted against the discrimination, such as it was and trifling as it was.

The third point is one that goes definitely to the merits of all these games. I make no excuse for repeating what I said on other occasions. I agree with what Deputy MacDermot said. Games are useful at all times. They are never more useful or have more beneficial effects than when the people are going to suffer in other respects. We are told that we are going to suffer. Sometimes we are not told that. If we are to believe every type of nonsense that the Minister for Defence talks it would seem as if he will have to get all our houses rebuilt and have the doors made higher and wider if we are to pass in and out because we are apt to get very much stouter and swell up as a result of all the food that will be available in the country. If that type of argument is persisted in we really should have more games. If that sort of folly is persisted in it will lead one to the conclusion that we should have more games. If we are to eat as much food as the Minister indicated we certainly would need exercise. All that sort of thing is the purest nonsense. We are going to have hard times. There was never any nation that in time of want and hardship did not specially cater by way of games for the people who were likely to endure suffering. I alluded to this matter before and I made reference to the games in Ancient Rome. I mentioned that whenever there was a difficulty in giving the populace bread, when times were hard, they organised gladiatorial combats, chariot races, and everything calculated to amuse a people who were living barely at the subsistence level. It was in this fashion that they carried their people through hard periods. We have hard times ahead we are told. The Party that promised to give us £2,000,000 cannot lose £25,000, even though that might be necessary as a tonic to keep people in the urban areas at a good point of enthusiasm. There has been talk as if the only discrimination that mattered was one against Rugby football. I am sorry there is a discrimination against Rugby football but it is not the only discrimination. Look at the Seanad recommendation:—

To delete in line 23 the word "or" and after the word "Ireland" in line 24 to insert the words "the Irish Rugby Football Union, the Football Association of the Irish Free State, the Irish Hockey Union, the Irish Lawn Tennis Association, the Irish Amateur Swimming Association, the Golfing Union of Ireland, the Irish Ladies' Golfing Union, the Irish Amateur Rowing Union or the Irish Amateur Boxing Association."

Why should all these games be discriminated against? I have said before that as far as enthusiasm is concerned that there is no game, Gaelic football or hurling included, which can give rise to such an exhibition of mass enthusiasm as does the International Rugby contest which takes place here from time to time.

The Deputy does not know what he is talking about.

I have been at them all and I can judge as well as the Deputy. If there is one game that started off in this country with a definite prejudice against it, it is Rugby. By its inherent good qualities it has won through to such an extent that to-day it is admired almost by everybody, even those most keen upon keeping a ban on those who either play or attend the national games. One must admit that Rugby football stands out pre-eminently as a game. There was a time when a national paper of a weekly type in circulation here never let a week go by without some criticism upon Rugby football. Does it criticise now? What is the change due to? Tennis used to be thought a namby-pamby sort of game, a game played by polite young men and polite young women. I mentioned before that if people would only go back upon the records of school contests in Dublin here they would find that the school that has made most headway and that stands out pre-eminently so far as lawn tennis is concerned is one of the Christian Brothers' Schools. Golf also has come into the category of games for the democrat although it started as being something exotic. There has been a controversy going on here for years, one that unfortunately has not come to a proper head, in reference to the provision of an artisans' golf course. Those are the games we are discriminating against. Can anybody say a word against swimming? Even Deputy Corry is silent on that.

I should like to see you swimming somewhere. You would want a lot of water.

There is a certain novelist of the present day who suggested that most people suffer a bath upon two occasions, once just after they are born, and once, after they leave this life, and that they derive as little amusement from the first as they do profit from the latter. But there are other people who bathe more often and who swim. I do not know that anybody in the House will be able to assert that swimming as a sport or recreation is a thing that should be discriminated against. Much the same case can be made for the other matters spoken of. The game I want most of all to make a plea for is Association football, probably the game that was most derided by the strong Gael at one time in the history of this country as being the predominantly English game. If beaten at all by Rugby from that point of view, it was only beaten because it was said that there was a more snob-bish class attached to Rugby than to Association football. What is the situation with regard to Association football now? No wonder the two Deputies who sit opposite feel a little acutely their position in regard to Association football. It is all very well putting on smiling faces, but they do feel it and will feel it much more acutely later. They should feel it, because if there is any game which, as I said before, destroys the tedium of work for the working man, it is Association football, the game to which he looks forward on Saturday and Sunday.

What is the feeling like?

He spends his time looking forward to a match at the week-end for the end of one week, and for the beginning of another week he looks back to that match and then looks forward to another, and that carries him through the winter, the most discontented period of the year. It does carry men through. It will be said that this tax will not stop Association football. It may not stop it entirely, but it certainly is going to take a considerable amount of variety out of it. The League that was in existence consisted of about a dozen clubs. You might say that about a dozen first-class teams took part in it. They have been weakened within the last fortnight by two. There is not going to be the same interest for the working man in Dublin, Cork or Waterford if there is not the same number of teams to see in a contest as before. That is the position we have got to, and that is all for £25,000. Really is it worth while, for £25,000, despoiling the men who have not really much else to look forward at the end of the week? They have no games they can enjoy in the sense of playing themselves, but they do enjoy a contest, seeing other men in the arena, talking about form and the performances afterwards. Everything that goes to create enthusiasm, to make a man look forward to the end of the week, to lighten his heart and to lighten his work is all inherent in this tax, and that is going to be weakened, if not killed, by the imposition of the tax.

There should be definitely some advertence to this point. There have been other nations before this and they adverted to it. They took the games that were popular and they fostered them and they never fostered them more than when the country was in a state of turmoil. Times here are going to come down perhaps rather harder on the people. Everything is pressing on them. Surely for the sake of £25,000 it is worth while to let them have their week-ends as they used to have them. That is all that is asked for. It is no satisfaction to people who are pressing this amendment merely to say briefly that the money cannot be spared. The money can be spared. If necessary, the money can be found elsewhere. It is the Government's duty, if the House does express the view that this money should not be found this way, to put up alternatives. When alternatives are put up, it is possible that the House may reject them and go back to the games. That has not been put before us. There are a considerable number of alternatives which ought to be tried before we come to impose a tax on the week-end sports. If I am asked what alternative I suggest, I say that the Minister should again examine with minute care these estimates and give us £25,000 of the £2,000,000 promised to us.

My reason for intervening in the debate is this: it has gone on for a considerable time and we had many speeches, but no one ventured to speak from the Government Front Bench up to this. Seemingly it is a matter of no importance and is regarded as such by the occupants of that Front Bench, which has only one representative on it at present. When I played football I played Gaelic football and nothing else. I understand that when the President played football he played Rugby and nothing else. When the President was Leader of the Opposition in the House I heard him stating here that if he had his way he would not tax any games. I wonder what is going to be his attitude with regard to the games of various kinds? I also listened to the Parliamentary Secretary in this House stating that Cumann na nGaedheal back benchers were so much slaves to the Party machine that they marched into the division lobby like dumb driven cattle. I wonder what is he at this moment? So far he has been dumb. Those who should be occupying the Government Front Bench are absent without explanation. I wonder why? Is there any reason for it? Deputies Briscoe and Traynor have given explanations. What part did they play when there was a vote taken in this House recently on this matter? Did they vote on that occasion? They are now present and I ask them why did they not vote? What is their reason? Had they the courage of their convictions then? They seem to have gained some courage since. It would appear that they are going to vote this evening. We are told that this £25,000 cannot be done without. It is not so very long since the Minister for Finance could afford to make a present of £23,000 to small bus owners. It was said that that was to avert the danger of 1,000 people being thrown out of employment. I am at a loss to understand how the Minister for Finance arrived at the conclusion that 1,000 people would be thrown out of employment. On that occasion I listened to Deputy Norton, the leader of the Labour Party, with some interest, because in unmistakable language he said: "I must condemn this." He criticised the proposal in these words: "These buses that are now to be relieved at the cost of the State are being relieved for people whose employees are scandalously underpaid and scandalously overworked." These are his words, and they can be found in the Official Report. What was Deputy Norton's attitude afterwards if he considered that the employees of these small bus companies were scandalously underpaid and overworked? What did he do when he went into the division lobby? Did he act up to his convictions? One would infer that he was in duty bound to these employees to go into the division lobby and vote against the remission of that taxation of £23,000.

That was remitted in these circumstances to which I have referred and of which I have a very distinct and definite recollection. But what did the Deputy do? Although he condemned it by his voice, he supported the remission of £23,000 taxes to these small buses, which I say are a very great danger to the travelling public. I suggest that there are reasons why that was done. I venture to say that the Parliamentary Secretary, now representing the Minister for Finance, was in full possession of these facts and has a sound knowledge of why that remission was made. My reason for mentioning this matter is that we can afford to remit £23,000, but we cannot avoid taxing sport, although we had the words of President de Valera that if he had his way he would not tax sport at all. I wonder is he having his way, is he under compulsion, and if so, where is the compulsion coming from now? That is a question that requires an answer. There is no use in talking sheer nonsense and saying that we cannot afford to do this or to do that. There is the matter of a supplementary vote which is coming before the House for consideration, when the President and the Parliamentary Secretary will be asking the House for £2,000,000, but they cannot afford to overlook a matter of £25,000 which is going to be a very serious consideration for sport. As I said in my opening remarks, I have played Gaelic and nothing else. I was always a supporter of Gaelic.

Will that appear in the "Western People"?

Possibly. I hope it will, and that the people will read it. Having read it, they will be able to judge my conduct then and now and to judge that I have never run away from anything I have done, and that my pledge is my bond.

The abolition of the Mayo County Council.

I supported one form of sport but I am not in favour of boycotting or penalising another. This is penalising sport and I have no hesitation in saying that it is being done for political considerations. The Parliamentary Secretary and those associated with him have been intimidated into the position they are taking up now. I wonder why it is that Deputy Briscoe, who is the vice-president of a Soccer Association, is taking up this attitude, and why Deputy Traynor, who is such a great exponent of the game as I am told he is, can vote for it. When it comes to voting we look to Deputy Briscoe to show how consistent he is in this matter. He will have no hesitation in doing his duty according to his convictions, and he will not be afraid that his actions in this matter will be the subject of criticism in the daily Press. I have no objection to his sending a report of my remarks to the "Western People."

I would appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to leave this matter to an open vote. When Deputy Cosgrave was President there was no compulsion when this matter came to a vote before. The members of the Government Party then had absolute freedom to vote for or against it. Why does not this Government now take a like course? If members of the Opposition are willing to go round and support the tax let them do so by all means— the Cumann na nGaedheal back-benchers that the Parliamentary Secretary described on various occasions as dumb driven cattle who were slaves to a Party machine. I say here that the members of the then Government Party were not slaves to a machine with regard to sport. They had full and ample opportunity to exercise their own discretion and to vote according to their own wishes.

It is nearly one and a half hours since I heard Deputy Gearóid O'Sullivan saying that this debate was very dragged out and that it would have no effect whatever.

I did not say that.

I consider that this tax is absolutely justified.

In the absence of the Parliamentary Secretary or of a Minister, I think the House should stand adjourned for a few minutes.

Words of wisdom from the Lord Mayor.

There is no Standing Order on the point. It is for the Ministers or Parliamentary Secretaries to judge whether it is right or courteous for them to be in the House.

Mr. Byrne

Then to whom is the Deputy addressing his remarks?

To the Ceann Comhairle, as every Deputy should.

Mr. Byrne

For what purpose is the Deputy addressing his remarks in the absence of a Parliamentary Secretary or Minister?

The President and Mr. Flinn resumed their seats.

On a point of order. There is a convention that the Government Front Bench should always be occupied and that convention has always been observed except in particular cases. The absence of the Parliamentary Secretary, I take it, was accidental. I take it the Government does accept the convention that during the course of a debate in the House the Government Front Bench should be occupied.

The Deputy is quite right in stating that there is such a convention. I presume that the absence of the Parliamentary Secretary is accidental and merely temporary.

I desire to apologise.

I am afraid that Deputy Flinn took another one of his periodical trips to London that the Press are so fond of referring to. We heard a lot of talk this evening about discrimination. We heard appeals against discrimination from Deputy Thrift, Deputy Alton and others. I wonder were these gentlemen as vocal as they are now when the G.A.A. was definitely banned in this country in 1920. Did they then protest against the game not alone being taxed but being absolutely banned or were they supporters of the policy of the people who banned it at that time—those people who are so vocal now against discrimination?

I suppose I was.

The Deputy is not worth answering. I wonder also why those Deputies are so anxious now for freedom from tax for one association at any rate that refused to recognise the national flag in places where its games were played. Those are the people to be freed from taxation. Deputy Davis told us that when they were on the Government Benches they were absolutely free to vote in any manner they liked. I wonder will Deputy Hassett bear that out?

As far as Gaelic games are concerned, we were.

What about the Land Commission? Were you free then?

Just as free as you are now.

Was he free before when he had to pay for 365 acres that a district justice got in Tipperary?

A Deputy

What has all this to do with a tax on games?

Can the Deputy say that he paid for his own farm?

I paid for it myself and worked to pay for it, and I had no pension to enable me to pay for it either. I paid for it in spite of all I was robbed of by Mulcahy's army.

For God's sake keep away from that.

I will keep away from it. Then we had a Deputy on the Opposite Benches, who always reminds me of someone who is suffering torture, telling us about the saving that could be effected. Undoubtedly, there could be an amount saved in other ways. I suggested several times to the Executive Council a way in which they could save a lot of money for this country. If the Executive Council took my advice they could have saved an amount of money. Undoubtedly, England would not be so anxious to fight and we would not have those votes that we have to meet to-day.

Could the Deputy explain the present policy?

Of what?

Of what he is talking about.

I should like to direct the attention of the House to the fact that we have been many times pulled over the coals for interrupting, but the interruptions from the opposite benches are worse than ever.

You are afraid of that now.

I should like to know is it in order or is it helping the proper discussion of this matter to discuss why certain members on these benches are not in Mountjoy Prison or under other conditions?

It is not in order, but if the Deputy is allowed to speak without interruption debate will be more orderly.

I like interruptions. Deputy O'Sullivan is so anxious to speak that sometimes he opens his mouth a little too wide. He opened it too wide in Galway the other day. Ask Deputy O'Neill about that?

My mouth is not big enough to open too wide.

Will you cease interrupting?

I will not be intimidated by Deputy Corry's or Deputy Jordan's just chastisement. Deputy Jordan has repeated it here and Deputy Corry has repeated it here. There is a threat that certain members on the Front Opposition Benches are being guarded and Deputy Corry has boasted here that £12,000 could have been saved by preventing that, and Deputy Jordan said in Galway——

A Deputy

Is this a point of order?

I am raising it as a point of order. Are you afraid of it? Deputy Jordan said "You will get it." I want to know is that right. He runs away now from his own threat that he can prevent these persons from getting their just chastisement for what they did for the last ten years.

What is your interpretation of just chastisement? You would be surprised at the way I would chastise you if I got the chance.

I had no protection.

A Deputy

You had it for ten years.

Deputy Corry —on the games.

Apparently, every time I speak here I succeed in getting a lot of gentlemen on the opposite benches angry. I definitely put those two points. I am sorry that Deputy Alton and Deputy Thrift are not here. I would like to hear from them on the subject of what protest they made when the G.A.A. was banned here, or were they assisting those who banned it? Now, when their turn comes, or a little of it at any rate, you have them squealing so loudly. Secondly, when the organisation that refused to respect the flag of this country and refused to hoist the flag of the country in Lansdowne Road, when they, or their representatives come into this House asking for relief of taxation, I would appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary not to yield one inch of that tax to them.

So much has been already said on this matter that I do not wish to speak at length. One thing, however, I would like to bring to the minds of the Deputies, and that is that when the Minister for Finance introduced his Budget he had in his mind the taxation of all games, which will go to prove that, so far as the Minister was concerned, he was of the opinion at that time that if games were to be taxed, the taxation should be of a general nature. The House will remember that after the Budget statement deputations on behalf of the G.A.A. waited on the Minister for Finance and as a resultl of those deputations the Minister for Finance allowed it to be published that the taxation as far as Gaelic games were concerned would be remitted. With that decision I fully agree, but my position here to-day is that I want the same remission given to all games. I think that if the Deputies on the Fianna Fáil Benches would look on this question from the point of view of sport, they would have very little difficulty in accepting unanimously the recommendation that has come back from the Seanad. I do not want to go into past history as regards the G.A.A., referred to by Deputy Corry. It is just as well that we do not go into these things or perhaps we could speak a lot about it; but I think it is very bad and un-Christian, even if the G.A.A. were banned in 1920, that we should adopt that old heathen principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I myself have played all games, and the reason I am so much opposed to this discrimination is because I am convinced that this discrimination is injurious to the G.A.A. I have the honour to represent a county which for many years occupied a very high position in the G.A.A. world and as a result of this pernicketty policy of differentiation, this narrow-minded policy, that county has never appeared in a favourable light for the last few years, as far as senior football is concerned, at any rate. It would be in the interests of the G.A.A. that no differentiation should be shown between the games and it is for that reason that I am heartily supporting this recommendation of the Seanad. It is not a question of nationality or of preference of any one game over another. It is simply a question of justice and fair play, and I would appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to have this recommendation carried unanimously. But if he cannot agree with that course, he can at least allow this Vote to be an open Vote. On the last occasion, as has been pointed out by many speakers, the late Government allowed their members to have a free Vote and every Party in the House was satisfied. I think the same procedure should be pursued on this occasion, and I have no doubt but the Deputies would vote according to their consciences. It is according to the minds and wishes of a good many of them that this recommendation be accepted, and that we would have no differentiation or discrimination in games.

I suggest to the House that the recommendations of the Seanad are very wise recommendations and the House should accept them. To my mind it is a very bad thing indeed to take any steps for the discouragement of athletics in this country. I believe that athletics do a great deal more than merely to develop the body. I believe that athletics have got a great deal to do with the formation of character. I believe that any step which the Government takes to check the growth of athletics in this country is a very bad step and one which should not be taken. I sincerely hope that the view which has been put forward by Deputy Corry in the course of this debate is not the view which commends itself to the Government Benches and I hope the view which he expresses stands alone even in the Fianna Fáil Party.

What view?

We have got his idea of the principles upon which taxation could be levied and we have got from him now an admission that he is voting for this taxation because he is going to get back from certain associations a little of what they gave him some time ago. In other words Deputy Corry is voting against the Seanad's recommendations because he wishes to take punitive action against certain associations and he wishes to hit these back——

On a point of explanation, what I said was that the reason for discrimination was because one definite association, namely, the G.A.A., had been taxed and has suffered severely during a certain period when other associations were enabled to make money.

That is not so.

Therefore that association got into a worse position financially and is entitled now when there is a National Government in power to some share of fair play. That was the only reason I gave and I object to words being put into my mouth that I did not use.

When Deputy Corry talks about a National Government being in power now he talks a lot of balderdash and nonsense. There was never a less National Government in this State than the one now in office.

Well we know it is better than your Government.

Having now heard Deputy Corry's explanation we discover that we are in the same position as we were—that he is voting for this taxation in order that certain associations should be punished; that Soccer and Rugby games should be punished because of the fact that over ten years ago or thereabouts Gaelic football was not allowed to be played. That is now the attitude which we discover has been taken by Deputy Corry. I sincerely hope that that is not the attitude which is taken up by even one single Deputy in Deputy Corry's Party. Looking at this matter from the broad point of view I suggest to the Government that they are making a very bad mistake in putting this tax upon games and that in consequence they are checking the growth of athletics in this country.

In my opinion athletics are of great value to this country both physically and also for mental training. I think it a great mistake that anything should be done which will check that growth. The matter of football has been very fully thrashed out already. We are told that certain games are games that should not exist; that Rugby and Association should be squelched in comparison with other games. I do not agree with that view. I believe that a person should have the right to play any game he likes. I believe that every single person in this State should be free to play any games he likes.

Let us leave this question of football and come down to those associations which are being taxed here. Take the swimming association. What reason is there for taxing that? The consequence of that taxation is that a most valuable exercise is being discriminated against and discouraged. Why? Swimming is a very healthy exercise, and on occasions I should imagine that the Government would recognise, and that even the Parliamentary Secretary would recognise, that the acquisition of the powers of swimming has led to life-saving. I would imagine that the Government would encourage rather than discourage the learning of the art of swimming.

Then there is another form of sport —boxing. Upon what grounds can you differentiate between ordinary field athletics and boxing? Why should there be any tax upon boxing entertainments when there is no tax upon field athletics? I can, to a certain extent, understand why there should be a tax upon field athletics rather than upon boxing, because athletics do not require the same amount of coaching that boxing does. In consequence an athletic club can carry on successfully with smaller financial resources than a boxing club can. If a boxing club is going to be successful and to go along as fast as it ought to go along, it is almost a necessity that it should have a professional coach. Boxing is a sport which is increasing fast in this country. The game is being improved enormously, especially in country districts. Why the improvement in boxing has taken place in country districts is because, to a certain extent, good Gárda boxers happen to be stationed there. You have places like Wexford, Tobercurry, Sligo, and so on where boxing is going ahead, and if you examine that matter you will find it is simply because there happens to be very good Gárda boxers stationed in those districts. Those clubs all over the country should have professional trainers. The number of expert Gárda boxers is not unlimited, and they should be able to have coaches, professional trainers, who will teach them the art of boxing. That cannot be done, and, in consequence, boxing is not going forward as quickly as it should. Even at the present moment the boxing clubs are very short of funds.

I would like to know from the Government what income do they expect from this tax on boxing? How much per annum will they make out of it? There is no principle involved. So far as field athletics are concerned, they have given way. What loss to the revenue will it be? Remember, a trifling gain to the revenue will be a very serious loss indeed for the boxing association. £300 or £400 per annum to the Government is nothing. That amount raised by way of taxation on the boxing association would be very large indeed. For that reason I will press on the Government to consider seriously removing the impost in this instance. In the case of those associations where there is no substantial question of revenue involved, the Government should follow out the principle they established when they took the tax off field athletics. They should, at any rate, agree to take the tax off these small associations, such as the boxing and the swimming associations.

The case for Rugby and boxing has been put up so well that I will not detain the time of the House by dealing with them at any length. There is one little point I would like to mention concerning Rugby. Only two or three years ago the Rugby Union were induced to spend close on £40,000 on the erection of a Grand Stand at Lansdowne Road in order to accommodate their patrons. There was the hope that as a result of that improved accommodation all the International matches would come to Dublin. On the occasion of an International at Lansdowne Road between 40,000 and 50,000 people are usually present. Anybody who has tried to get to Lansdowne Road between 2 o'clock and 3 o'clock on the day of an International will realise the amount of employment that is given to Dublin carmen and taxi drivers, to hotel waiters and waitresses, many of whom perhaps, had not been working for at least a month before. By bringing these matches to Dublin a good deal of money is spent in the City. Speaking for Dublin, I appeal to the Minister to consider that aspect of the matter. Were Deputies ever present at Lansdowne Road when Ireland scored in an International match? Whether the scorer was from the Free State or from Northern Ireland that was never questioned and we cheered as no other race would cheer, especially if the score brought us victory.

There are three fields in Dublin City in which the big soccer matches are played—Shelbourne Park, Milltown and Dalymount Park. On an average you will have 50,000 Dublin working men paying 6d. or 1/- to enjoy one and a half hours' sport in the sunshine. Even if there was a heavy downpour of rain, that would not damp their ardour in any way so long as they saw a good game. The people who patronise Soccer are the working classes. The tax is only 1d. on the 6d. seats and 2d. on the shilling seats, but nevertheless that will impose a considerable hardship. Take the case of two boys who possess one shilling and desire to see a Soccer match. They will have considerable difficulty in finding the extra penny or two-pence and the receipts suffer in consequence. I do not wish it to be taken that I withdraw my support in the slightest in the case of big matches or higher priced seats, but I do urge the Minister to withdraw the tax entirely in the case of the 6d. or 1/-seats. If he does that he will be granting a great concession to the working classes. He could fix a tax upon seats over one shilling. I will appeal to him, however, not to fix the tax in such a way as to take away the good patrons from the International Rugby matches that we all hope to see played at Lansdowne Road.

I will give an instance of what the Minister would get from last year's Soccer receipts. As regards senior football the sum he would have been entitled to last year would be £6,700. Is it really worth while, for the sake of £6,700, to endanger the future of any of the clubs that are providing an afternoon's amusement to 60,000 people who travel from Dundalk, Waterford, Cork and other places? I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to give them some encouragement. Let him meet the House reasonably on this matter and submit a suggestion that will relieve the situation in regard to the lower priced seats. It might be of interest to note that there are countries on the Continent that subsidise football. In some of those countries where football is subsidised —I am now speaking of Soccer— when our teams went to visit them they were met by the principal public men and entertained hospitably. On more than one occasion within the last couple of years the Irish Free State flag was raised to an honoured position. These young men enabled Continental countries to see for the first time the colour of our flag. I ask you to treat them as ambassadors from our State, if you like, ambassadors for our products, by getting people on the Continent to talk about the Irish Free State.

There are many forms of sport in which we all feel great pleasure. At the beginning of to-day's proceedings, a compliment was paid to our representatives, O'Callaghan and Tisdall, who had done so well. There are one or two others that should be mentioned. There is another young man who carries the Free State flag in his pocket everywhere he goes. During the past year he has been unbeaten when a hair's breadth of a mistake at a turn would endanger his life. Everybody feels proud when the flag is raised by Stanley Woods. Swimming has been mentioned. It is only yesterday that we read in the newspapers that a young man named Heron from the Half-Moon Swimming Club won the British championship. I ask that the State will recognise the services of these young men. Only this morning again we read in the newspapers of Ireland's victory in cricket. It shows you that there are Irishmen capable of rising to great heights, no matter where they go, in forms of sport other than those mentioned to-day. If any Deputy wants to see what the Dublin children think of Soccer let him go to Bohemian Park some day and see the youngsters surrounding Captain Cannon, the goalkeeper, and asking him for his autograph. They can see them at Milltown watching Bob Fullam or at Shelbourne Park trying to get hold of that veteran of football, Bill Lacey. In recognition of the very great work done by these, I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to adopt the amendment, or go some way to save these clubs and these sports.

If anyone wanted to be prophetic as regards the future of sport in this country, I think one might safely say that sooner or later a Ministry of Recreation, something similar to that which they have in France, will be established in this country. In France they recognise the tremendous moral urge and impetus that sport of every description gives to a nation. I remember during the Great War, when a division was fighting beside the 16th Irish Division, something was going wrong with them. Their resistance was weak; their attack was weaker still. The authorities investigated the matter and brought the division out and drilled and re-drilled them until ultimately they discovered that games and sports were being neglected by the general in charge. When the cause was revealed, sport was re-introduced and made an Order of the Day. Boxing was made one of the primary things in the training of that division. When that division went back again there was a complete change in the part of the line which they held. When I was with the American troops General Pershing insisted on the same thing. The same thing was done with the Italian troops. General Haig, when he was in charge of the British Army, insisted that the first thing after training and even before it, should be sport and games. If in war, when men are at one another's throats, games are so necessary in order to maintain the morale of the men, the same thing applies to a nation in peace, and especially to a nation which to-day is engaged in an economic war. Let all taxation be withdrawn from games. Let the people have their games of one kind or another. Let them go freely, whether they go to the left to Croke Park, or to the right to Lansdowne Road, or to Shelbourne Park and those other places where Soccer is played, and let there be no tax on one to the advantage of the other. Let people have their sport and their games, and then the nation will advance in the way it should advance, with fine moral strength and courage.

Personally I should like to see this question left to a free vote of the House. Whether it is or not, if a division is called, I intend to vote as I did on a former occasion. Hurling and Gaelic football are recognised by all nationalists in this country as national games, and, as members of the Parliament of this State we have an interest in the promotion of national games, we should mark out these national games for some distinctive preference. That is the only reason why I believe the Government are right in this matter. Deputy McGilligan, who is credited with the most elastic imagination in this House, I believe has again done me the honour of referring to me in my absence and to my attitude on this matter. I do not know that he knew very much about my mind on the matter and my likely attitude upon another matter that is to come up for discussion. One thing I remarked during the ten years of office of the late Government was that, while they were Ministers they were very seldom, if ever, found at Croke Park at All-Ireland hurling or Gaelic football matches. They could be found "hob-nobbing" with the lords and ladies at Lansdowne Road, but although they were Irish Ministers, they could not honour by their presence the national games of Gaelic football and hurling. That is the mentality with which they look upon this proposal to-day.

Are you quite sure?

I do not know whether it is a pleasure or not, but I never had the pleasure of looking at the pleasant face of the ex-Minister for Justice at Croke Park during the period he was in office.

I was in Croke Park many times and I never had the pleasure of seeing Deputy Davin there. I did see Deputy Corish, I must say, but never Deputy Davin.

I was actively associated with the G.A.A. for a very long period.

And kept away from Croke Park?

No. I do not believe I ever missed an All-Ireland football or hurling match any time I was in Dublin during the last 25 years.

I have spoken several times to Deputy Davin at Croke Park.

Whether I was there or not, I am not bigoted. Certainly I am not definitely opposed to those who play other games. The young people are entitled to play any games they like in any way they like. Let us look at the issue and judge it fairly and squarely. Deputy McGilligan painted a grand picture about the enthusiastic thousands who frequented some football matches at Milltown, Shelbourne Park and Dalymount Park. Who are the people who are responsible for or-ganising these games? Men who put their money, the same as ordinary speculators into business concerns, to buy and sell young men and make profits by getting gate money. That is not the position of Gaelic football.

The Deputy has now mentioned the grounds of three teams. One of them is an amateur team.

The seven or eight teams which Deputy McGilligan had in his mind were got up by speculators who put their money into them just as they would put money into any other profit-making business, to buy and sell young men. That is not the position of the G.A.A. Those who play hurling and football do so whether there is profit or not.

What about Rugby?

As to the professional side of Rugby I am not competent to speak.

There is no such thing as a professional side to Rugby football and it should not be mentioned.

There is the Northern Rugby Union.

The Northern Rugby Union does not operate in this State.

There are two kinds of Rugby.

In Ireland there is only one.

There is the Rugby Union in the North of England.

I submit that any reference to the Northern Rugby Union in England is out of order in discussing the taxation of Irish games.

I am not going to provoke discussion or to prolong discussion on this matter. I say that I believe it is the duty of the Nationalist members of this House, who believe in the promotion of national games to show by giving a preference of this kind that these games are national and that they are not professional. I believe the Government is right in giving a preference on this occasion. Even by this taxation we are not going to prevent anyone from playing any game he likes.

Why not subsidise the national games rather than tax any game?

I should like to see this matter left to a free vote of the House because I believe, if it were left to a free vote, the House, although it is now different in complexion and character, would confirm the decision which was come to on a free vote of the House twelve months ago.

On a point of information. May I ask Deputy Davin did not the Labour Party vote for the self same amendment on a previous occassion?

Look up the records.

Mr. Byrne

Your leader voted for it.

As I observe the Parliamentary Secretary is anxious to conclude, I am not going to detain the House at any great length. I wish to refer briefly to some of the points made by the previous speakers in support of the recommendation of the Seanad in regard to the tax on outdoor sports. Deputy Blythe stated that the members of the G.A.A. on the Fianna Fáil Benches not alone got their games relieved from the tax but insisted on this discrimination, on other games being taxed. I would respectfully suggest that the Deputy should be more careful in regard to the verification of statements of that nature in future. I should like to point out that the principle of discrimination has been there for years— since an Irish Government first took office, in fact I might say since the time of the first Dáil. During the days of the British regime the G.A.A. resisted attempts made to impose taxation on it. I would ask some of those interrogative Deputies on the Opposition side to apply some of their ridiculous questions to their own attitude. I would ask them to explain their attitude and statements on former occasions up and down the country and in this House with the vote they gave here on the amendment on the Committee Stage of the Bill.

Deputy O'Neill in asking the House to agree to the Seanad recommendations conveys the impression, in fact he states definitely, that Rugby football is a factor in discipline, in physical, educational and intellectual development in some of the schools and is superior to any other game, Gaelic football or the old Irish game of hurling. I should like to ask if the Deputy seriously means that. My contention is that hurling is the finest game in the world. It is generally admitted by those who have seen it played by first class teams that it is the finest game in the world, and many people who saw for the first time the epic struggles that took place in all-Ireland hurling finals were converted to Gaelic ideals as a result. There is no doubting the statement that hurling is out on its own. It is a distinctive game, going back to the dawn of history.

I should like to remind the Deputy that I made no comparison between Rugby and hurling. I quite admit that hurling is a game away on its own and I would not compare any game in the world with it.

I leave it to the official records to verify what I have said as to what was the Deputy's actual statement. That was certainly the impression he conveyed to my mind— that Rugby football is superior from the point of view of discipline.

I must correct the Deputy. I did not state that.

I will take the Deputy on the point as to whether he did not state that Gaelic football as compared with Rugby——

I think the Deputy should not be allowed to take Deputy O'Neill on another point before withdrawing the misrepresentation of which he has been guilty.

I stated very definitely, and I am satisfied that the official records of this debate will reveal——

Records or no records, I think that a personal explanation when made should be accepted by any honourable man in the House.

If Deputy O'Neill states that he did not make a certain statement Deputy Gibbons will have to accept that.

Deputy O'Neill stated that Rugby was promoted and encouraged by those in charge of schools in preference to any other game.

I do not think so.

I am positive. You said that Rugby was encouraged in preference to any other game.

I do not want to be misunderstood. I think I have made my position quite clear.

Deputy O'Neill in the course of his statement was very contradictory. He said he had no objection to some slight differentiation in favour of national pastimes. Further on he stated that it was a disgrace for any Government to make any exception whatever. He stated also that he was in favour of Rugby and rowing, so it has come to this that it is a disgrace for a national Government to favour distinctive games of their own. Things have come to a nice pass if we are expected by Deputies on the Opposition Benches to apologise for our adherence to things which are Irish and national and of which we are proud and of which we should be proud. It was stated by Deputy Coburn that the constituency which he represents in days gone by had been pre-eminent in the G.A.A. I feel it incumbent upon me to make this explanation. He said that there was a different picture now, that it does not hold that pre-eminent position which it did in the G.A.A. movement in days gone by. He attributes this falling off to the principle of discrimination in favour of G.A.A. games that has obtained for some time. I can assure the Deputy and other members of the House that Louth does occupy a foremost place in the G.A.A. It is in the forefront of our games. I have seen their football team give a great display against the redoubtable Kildare team this year and I believe their minor football team is going to win the national championship this year. I think the Deputy does not know very much about the G.A.A. in Louth when he makes that statement. Deputy Finlay makes the point as to the reasonableness of having freedom of choice extended to boys who wish to play any particular form of game. I should like to ask him is that freedom of choice recognised in many of the educational institutions of our country? I say it is not. I say that many boys going to them have to play foreign games or no games.

Deputy McGilligan has made reference to the mass enthusiasm at the week-end Soccer and Rugby matches in Dublin and suggested that that did not apply to any great extent to Gaelic matches. He must not have been present at an All-Ireland final where he would see the real Ireland, in miniature, and see enthusiasm that redounded to the advantage and the pride of everybody in the country. He made reference to the disappearance of some Soccer clubs and specified Waterford. Why has the Waterford club gone out of existence? It was unable to carry on before these taxes were introduced because of the introduction of foreign players. The Waterford team was composed almost entirely of professional cross-Channel players and the club were unable from the "gates" they received to hold them, so that professional Soccer has practically ceased to exist there, and these taxes have nothing to do with it.

I spoke at length on this matter on a former occasion, and I am not going to delay the House any further. But I do ask the Parliamentary Secretary to insist on having those games brought within the provisions of the taxation as outlined in the Finance Bill.

I think the idea behind this Bill is not discrimination as between games but as between associations governing these games. There is a big difference between the two ideas. The Gaelic Athletic Association is conducted on national grounds and is entitled to consideration from a national Government. It was formed to fit Irishmen better to win the freedom of their own country, not, as Deputy Minch would have us believe, to enable the 16th Division better to beat the Germans. On that ground alone they are entitled to preference from a national Government. If one association has any national virtues beyond the others I submit it is the Gaelic Athletic Association. If anybody in this House or in the country doubts that, I would ask him to conceive the things that happened on Bloody Sunday in Croke Park being enacted at Lansdowne Road. If he can, then he and I differ. I appeal to the Parliamentary Secretary to stand by the tax.

Deputy Gibbons objected to Deputy Blythe stating that members of the G.A.A. not only advised and urged the Minister that they themselves should be exempted but insisted on the taxation of their rivals. Deputy Gibbons suggested that Deputy Blythe was misinformed, but his very last words were to that effect. He asked that the Government should insist upon preserving the taxation against those other bodies. I do not know if he can have very much objection to Deputy Blythe's suggestion at the beginning.

As a matter of fact, my heart is soft but my pocket is empty. That is the whole question. I am told that there is a surplus of £60,000. No one has taken into account the concessions that have already been made and every one of them was out of that £60,000. There is not any surplus of £60,000, and as regards the statement that the £25,000 can be done without the same thing can be said in relation to the proceeds of any other tax. These things, unfortunately, accumulate. If anyone thinks that we do not know that it is a politically undesirable expedient they must be simply mad. The people who are envisaging ten, twenty or sixty thousand of possible voters pouring into Soccer matches and who think that we do not see them and do not know that they are voters are very foolish people. We do. There is a whole lot of voters. There are roughly speaking 1,750,000 voters in this country who in one way or another are being asked in this Budget to face taxation in order to meet the necessities of the case and there is no particular reason why on broad grounds that proportion of them which we see going in in thousands to the football matches should be discriminated in favour of as a general principle. We are told that because we are asking for £2,000,000 here for emergency expenditure and another Supplementary Estimate for housing and the rest—because we are asking for more expenditure—we ought to throw away some of our income. That may seem a reasonable proposition. Deputy Mulcahy told us that he was in favour or had previously been in favour of a proposal, only it happened to be a proposal of this Government, that money might be exacted from those who look on at sports, for the purpose of benefiting the fibre and physical texture and the development of the race, but he is against it now when we are going to use the £25,000 as part of an expenditure that includes good housing, unemployment relief, public health works and £100,000 worth of free milk for the building up of the children. Why cannot they put this in proportion? The people who have been calling for thatmens sana finance—which is about the only quotation probably they know—in this matter to aid them in attacking the money which is being paid for this particular Vote have voted against every tax practically that we have asked for—all the unpopular things that we have had to do. To make them more unpopular they voted against every taxation and in favour of every expenditure, not merely the normal expenditure but every abnormal expenditure that has to be met out of these incomes. They say scatter £25,000 here and there; it is not required. They speak of the pressing burden of taxation and go into a whole series of irrelevancies. Deputy Mulcahy for some extraordinary reason has read the “Irish Press” and he is not capable even of understanding it when it is put in the very simple way in which it is put. He does not know that “Portland cement,” for instance, is a trade term and even when a Belgian firm is engaged in advertising that it is prepared to supply——

Are we discussing Portland cement?

I quite agree.

I submit that the Parliamentary Secretary is completely out of order.

The matter was referred to by Deputy Mulcahy and the Parliamentary Secretary is entitled to make the point.

In this debate !

Deputy Mulcahy made a very concrete statement.

One ex-Minister may be even shocked by ex-Minister Mulcahy.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary suggest that Portland cement is called Belgian Portland cement?

But Portland cement is excellent cement, and those people are advertising damned good stuff as an alternative to the British stuff. That was the objection—excellent cement— in spite of the people on the opposite benches who are going around trying to find propaganda to the contrary. We are alluding to newspapers and their actions. What national newspaper was it that rang up a respectable and responsible firm in this city and asked to be put on to some competent expert person who would tell them that Belgian cement was no good?

You admitted it.

I should like to ask is it in order for the Parliamentary Secretary to ask a question of that nature about a newspaper not named and to make an imputation of that kind?

It is better that he should not name it.

We will call it the national newspaper that is always accurate. We will be able to identify it then by its own columns. Deputy Byrne says that the total yield is only going to be between £6,000 and £7,000. Another Deputy Byrne says "Oh, no." Why they do not get together in a corner beforehand and come to an agreement as to what funny story they will tell or whether to contradict one another or not, is more than I can understand. Deputy J.J. Byrne says that the total yield will only be so much and Deputy Alfred Byrne says that we will get more from Soccer alone. All I am suggesting to them is that if there is to be any argument upon the indefiniteness of the yield, they ought to agree as to the amount of indefiniteness.

But then poor Deputy J. J. Byrne does not. The estimate which I have is founded upon the yield of these taxes when they were previously in existence. They are the estimated yield given to us by competent professional tax officials. They are not guesses either by Deputy Alfie Byrne or Deputy J.J. Byrne.

The Parliamentary Secretary mentioned——

The Parliamentary Secretary will talk to you later on.

He mentioned the estimates from Soccer as distinct from other games.

It was given by that absolutely impregnable authority, Deputy Alfie Byrne.

What was the Soccer estimate?

I could not tell you the separate estimate for that or for ping pong or quoits either. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney says that they will get £300 or £400 from boxing.

You were told nothing of the kind.

Then I will withdraw it.

The Parliamentary Secretary is not very quick on the uptake. What I endeavoured to explain to the Parliamentary Secretary was that a sum of £300 taken from the Boxing Association would be a very large thing to them, but a very small item to the State. As to what the yield of the tax might be I made no suggestion.

Then what had the figures of £200 or £300 taken from the Boxing Association to do with it, if they were not intended to be the yield?

It was merely meant to give a plain, simple example of how a very small sum could be of much more importance to an association and of no importance to a Government. Seemingly, even with the simple example which a child could follow, the Parliamentary Secretary cannot follow it.

Then it was not relevant and had no meaning.

It was absolutely relevant. I thought the Parliamentary Secretary had something to do in the business.

Among all the counties mentioned by the Deputy, he left out Clare where he has taught the cows boxing. Deputy McGilligan discussed how many times some people took baths. He was wrong. They take them three times, at birth, at marriage and at death. Deputy McGilligan also said that the British imposed the tax, and another Deputy told us it was invented here. Why do they not get into a corner and agree as to what misrepresentation they desire to give? That is about all that was said really. The position is that this Finance Bill has to be passed by Friday. Is it suggested that any amendment could now be made, that it could go back to the Seanad and be approved, and that we could still get it done by Friday? Nobody on this side of the House desires to do that politically unpopular thing of taxing all those thousands of people for whose votes the Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies have been appealing to-day. Because it is necessary that even from those people, in this unpopular way, this particular sum of money must be got in order to be added to all the other sums which are in the Budget to enable the expenditure of the State to be balanced by its income—for that reason we have to refuse to accept the recommendation of the Seanad in this matter.

Is it because of the inability of the Government to arrange its Parliamentary programme that this recommendation is being refused?

I should like to know whether, if the Dáil accepts a recommendation from the Seanad on a Finance Bill it is necessary for the Minister to put it through this House and send it to the Seanad for its acceptance of the recommendation.

Seeing that the Parliamentary Secretary is not accepting the recommendation, I do not see how the matter arises.

The Parliamentary Secretary put it forward as one of the reasons for not accepting it.

It is not the duty of the Chair to tell the Parliamentary Secretary whether he is wrong or not. If the Parliamentary Secretary were accepting the recommendation it would be the duty of the Chair then to find out what action should be taken, but seeing that the Parliamentary Secretary is moving the rejection of it it is not the duty of the Chair.

The Parliamentary Secretary has made a statement on procedure. He said here just now that no reasonable political party should ask him at this stage of the financial business to introduce an amendment consequent on the acceptance of this recommendation from the Seanad on the ground that it could not possibly be got through before Friday. I challenge with all respect that it is necessary for a fresh amendment to be put through on a Finance Bill and I ask for your ruling, Sir.

The Chair is not responsible for the correctness or incorrectness of a statement a Minister makes. The Parliamentary Secretary is opposing the recommendation; therefore, what Deputy Dillon is speaking on does not arise.

I want to ask the Chair to whom should a Deputy address a question on procedure of that kind if not to the Chair?

The Deputy has the Standing Orders to which he can refer.

Well I challenge the Parliamentary Secretary from my reading of the Standing Orders. May I not ask the Chair to rule whether this is not within the Orders and whether it does not arise?

If the matter arises out of what the Parliamentary Secretary is doing? It arises out of what the Parliamentary Secretary says. That may be wrong or it may be right. If the Chair were to say whether the statements made on this side and on that side of the House were or were not correct the Chair would have a busy time of it.

With respect this is one of the grounds on which the Parliamentary Secretary indicated the intention of the Government to reject the Seanad's recommendation. I challenge that statement and I ask you to say is my interpretation or the interpretation of the Parliamentary Secretary of the Standing Orders the right one? Until the House has that explanation they cannot agree with the Parliamentary Secretary's motion to reject the Seanad's recommendation.

I think the Deputy is labouring under a misunderstanding. There are two legs to this unfortunate thing. If the House were to accept a recommendation which reduces the revenue by £25,000, then the Government could not balance its Budget.

That is not what the Parliamentary Secretary said a while ago.

That is what I did say.

I challenge the Parliamentary Secretary to repeat that that is what he did say.

I do repeat it.

Then I accept it.

Question put: That recommendation 4 from the Seanad be not accepted.
The Committee divided: Tá, 68; Níl, 54.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Bryan.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Cooney, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Curran, Patrick Joseph.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Seámus.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas J.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Flinn, Hugo V.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Gormley, Francis.
  • Gorry, Patrick Joseph.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Keyes, Raphael Patrick.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.)

Níl

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Seámus A.
  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Broderick, William Jos.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margaret.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Gorey, Denis John.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Keating, John.
  • Keogh, Myles.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McDonogh, Fred.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Brien, Eugene P.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies G. Boland and Allen; Níl: Deputies Duggan and Conlon.
Question declared carried.

I move:—

That the Committee do not agree with the Seanad in the following recommendation: Section 29. To delete the section.

It is regrettable that we are unable to ask the Committee to accept this recommendation.

For the reasons which the Deputy will find if he takes the trouble to read the debates which took place in this House. There has been no change whatever in the position since the debate took place.

We have the arguments summarised.

Go ahead.

The recommendation comes from the Seanad to delete Section 29. On that the Parliamentary Secretary finds himself incapable of any argument. The section is one which deals with the reduction of duty on certain mechanically propelled vehicles. This clause appears in a Finance Bill under the auspices of a Party which dubbed itself as the pro-railway Party. I think that is a correct description of them according to their professions, but whether these professions were sincerely expressed or not we do not know. At any rate the Seanad recommended that this section be deleted and the Parliamentary Secretary, without any argument, says it is regretted that this recommendation cannot be accepted. The argument cannot be used this time of loss to the Exchequer. The clause itself means a loss to the Exchequer. The Government are, therefore, deprived of the argument on which they mainly rely—that this would mean a loss to the Exchequer. There is no other way of recovering the money.

This is the Party that promised to recover £2,000,000 this year—to reduce taxation by that amount. Being a pro-railway Party, they have decided to reduce the taxation imposed upon buses. That is the main effect of Section 29. They do that while professing themselves to be a pro-railway Party. When any argument has been put up against this section we are told that this applies to all buses whether they are owned by the private hauler or by the railway company; there can be no force in any argument used that this is anti-railway. The people who use that contention have no appreciation of the railway situation as expressed by railway companies. I am not speaking of the transport situation, but of the railway situation. The contention of those who are concerned about railway matters in this country is that all goods and all passenger traffic carried by road, whether by rail-controlled buses or privately-controlled buses is a loss to the railways and is, therefore, another step on the road to the ruin of the railways and the disemployment of a certain number of railway men. It is, we are told, not a sound argument. That is countered by saying that this applies both to the railway-controlled buses and the privately-owned buses. If this diverts traffic from the iron road to the ordinary road it is a loss to the railway companies. They will tell you that the bus traffic which they run is run, in the main, at a loss and, in so far as traffic is diverted from the railway lines to their own bus companies, it means reduced revenue—reduced moneys for distribution amongst their shareholders and their employees.

The Government attitude on this recommendation shows distinctly that there is no appreciation of the railway situation and it shows that without any appreciation of the transport situation the Government have simply decided that they are going to remit taxation on buses. There has been no argument made that the taxation on the buses is inequitable, judged by any standard which we have upon which to base our judgment. It has not been argued that the taxation on motor traffic of all descriptions is heavier than what is warranted in view of the expense necessitated by the running of these vehicles upon our roads. An argument can be used that, as between the different classes of motor users, the private car owner is treated harshly in comparison with the heavy vehicles carrying passengers for hire or carrying goods at rates. An argument can be used with justice that the private car owner is paying more than he should and that the heavy bus for passenger use or the heavy lorry for goods use is not paying as much as those two classes of vehicles should pay if one takes into consideration the damage they do to the roads and the expense entailed in the upkeep of the roads for their benefit. No argument of that type has been used. We are simply told that on examination it appeared that this taxation was iniquitous and therefore was to be reduced. I should like the iniquity of the tax to be shown by figures. There must have been some examination made, if the thing was properly considered, and I should like to have the results disclosed. What, for instance, is the damage done to the roads by this type of vehicle? What money is collected for the upkeep of the roads from this type of vehicle in comparison with the private motor owner, who does very little damage to the roads? However, that argument is not being used. We are to make this leap somewhat in the dark for the amelioration of the bus and lorry traffic, and, to my mind, therefore, to the disadvantage of the railway companies who do not want to have either goods or passengers carried on the roads, but who want to have them carried on their own permanent way. There one comes up against a mentality in the railway companies which must be changed if transport is to be run properly here. It is not going to be changed, however, by this sort of reduction of taxation without proper examination.

The contention I was personally responsible for putting up to the railway companies was that they must show themselves capable of entering into the new situation. The new situation, as it appeared to me, and as I described it to them, was one in which the railways were to be kept as the main transporters of goods and passengers for long distances, but that they must be fed by road transport vehicles, and that I preferred to see these road transport vehicles, in the main, under the control of the railways because they had the advantage of terminal points, of knowing how the services of the railways were scheduled to run. They had the best situation of any company in the world to convey the combined types of transport necessary to us. One could demand from them a better degree of organisation and a better degree of efficiency in the running of this combined transport service. However, the railway companies previously, to my mind wrongly, concentrated upon talking about what they vaguely described as restrictions put upon their arrangements and upon their actions in regard to transport. It has been pointed out to them from time to time, and I think pointed out effectively, that under the system of the Railway Tribunal, as it holds at the present moment, the arguments that they put up with regard to restrictions are not of very much effect. They have their effect with regard to, say, hygiene in connection with the carriage of goods. But, at least a year ago, it was pointed out to them that arrangements were being made to ensure that the same hygienic regulations would apply to goods vehicles on the road as applied to goods vehicles on the rail. Why they have not been put into force recently I do not know, because I know they were on the point of completion and should have been promulgated and made operative months ago. Once that was done, the railway companies' arguments with regard to restrictions adverse to them and not to their competitors were considerably weakened.

On the other hand, I say that the new situation has gone very definitely against the railway companies from another point of view. Certain transport measures were introduced in this House and an administrative policy was outlined under these measures. That administrative policy had its relation mainly to passenger traffic. It was pointed out that the policy then was to throw all passenger carryings by road into the three big companies under the control of the Great Northern Railway, the Great Southern Railways, and the Dublin United Tramways Company. The situation, to my mind, has been worsened for three companies by the fact that the administrative policy outlined last autumn and winter has not been carried out under the new system of licences; that what was estimated to amount to an effective monopoly for the railway companies for passenger carryings by road has not in fact been brought about. A considerable number of private companies have been allowed to amalgamate and have been licensed for the carrying of passengers over certain routes. To that extent, the railway situation is worse than it was last year. In addition, we must bring to our consideration the present and the future effects of the policy that has been persevered in in this matter of the economic war. Carryings are undoubtedly going to drop everywhere, for passengers and goods. Under these circumstances, that we should have this foolish clause persisted in shows a complete lack of appreciation of the situation in which the railway companies were prior to the economic war, and the frightful situation into which they have now got.

This, in a sense, may be the salvation of the railways. I think a point has been reached where, if the railways are to be saved, the railway directors must be given complete and entire control of the transport situation. They should be given complete and entire control for about two years. They should be put on trial for two years. They should be told that they have the whole resources of the country; that they can tap whatever they like and charge whatever price they like for passengers and goods; that they are free from everything in the way of restrictions that applied to them in the past. If, at the end of two years, they have made their way they deserve our congratulations and deserve to be continued in existence. But if, in two years, they do not make good, then there has to be some change made in the method of direction of the railway companies. I hope we shall never come to the point in which we will have consideration of or giving in to the policy of nationalisation of transport in the country. But the situation has come to the point now when the railways are so badly hit by everything that it is no time to insist upon old-time regulations of any type. They should be wiped out. We have to trust the transport situation to the railway directors whoever they may be.

Why did you not do it last November?

Because the situation did not demand it.

Because you had not the guts.

It was not a question of the term used by the Deputy. It was a question whether the situation warranted it or not.

Deputy Cosgrave would not allow you.

It was not a question of being allowed, but whether the situation warranted it. In these circumstances, when I get to the other leg of my argument, labour has to play its part. You cannot have a service that employs so many people, as railways do, continue, in the adverse situation they are meeting with at present, to pay labour what labour demanded at the height of prosperity of the railway system. The guaranteed week, the wages that are being paid, everything that appertains to the railway system comes down to us from the time when the railways were controlled, when they were under State auspices, and when it did not matter what the receipts were in comparison with the expenditure, because the cost in these days had to be passed on to those who had to utilise railway transport. Labour was able to fix its demand at a very high point. Apart from this question of wages, which is the last I should like to venture upon, the conditions should be revised. When you had a transport system in this country which was mainly founded upon railways, and when railways were all-important in the country's economic position, there was then something to be said for the labour people saying that they had a recognised position; one of considerable importance; one that therefore demanded attention from the railway managers; one which demanded certain regulations with regard to hours and wages, which could not have been demanded in the early days of railways when they were struggling concerns. We have now got into the position in which railways are again struggling, and if those who derive emoluments from railway services are going to persist in demands which were made in the days when railways were prosperous, or were in a position in which they could pay anything because the cost should be passed on to the transport users, then in the end they are going to kill this goose which lays the golden eggs for them.

They have got to readjust themselves to those new circumstances, and we, in this House, have got to readjust ourselves also to the new circumstances. The situation is such that if they persist in clause 29, this remission of rates to road vehicles which are destroying the railways, in face of the Seanad's recommendation, they are simply writing themselves down as having no understanding of the present position of the transport system of the country. I make an appeal, and I do not care whether the appeal is listened to or not, because the facts are going to bring about a situation so quickly that this appeal will have to be listened to before this year is over. The situation has now come to the point in which the railway companies will have to be empowered to use every weapon they find themselves capable of using against their main adversaries, and those are their competitors on the road. We cannot employ in this country through transport the number of men who at present find employment through the railway companies, and the number of men who also are finding employment through private buses, the goods carrying companies and the private omnibus passenger companies. Some one of those groups of employees has to go. The point now has been reached when inquiry has got to be made into arrangements being made to preserve the transport system of the country. I think, in the new circumstances, the only thing that can be done is to hand over to those who are in charge of the railway companies the complete control of transport in this country. You cannot hand it over to them immediately, but you can hand over to them liberty. You can give them freedom to operate their charges merely in order to do out their competitors. I abhor nationalisation, but I think the only thing that can be done is to set up some body like the Public Accounts Committee that will have the right every half-year to demand reports from the railway companies and have them discussed.

You disowned the Shannon scheme.

Not at all. There is no analogy between them—between a thing like transport and a new thing like electricity, because it was, to all intents and purposes, new. You may have to meet a situation in which you will have some board, like the Electricity Supply Board. If one had not painful experience that analogy of the Electricity Supply Board would strike me much more favourably. I wonder would anyone suggest taking it out of the hands of the people who are managing it at the moment, managing it with some degree of efficiency, and handing it over to a body selected by this House? Where would the personnel of the body be got from unless we are going to hand it over to completely inexperienced people? We would have to fall back on the present managers. I think transport has got to an extremely serious point, and no comparison of last November is going to unnerve me when saying that the circumstances are entirely different. If they are not entirely different we know that they are going to be completely different in a month or two when we get to this new economic situation or, at least, to the lag between the destruction of the present economic situation and the possibility of the dream of the new economic situation.

One of the agencies that is going to suffer in the interim is the transport agency. We cannot play fast and loose as between the two and there is more money in the railways, more people depending on the railways, and more employees working under better conditions and they deserve our support. In the circumstances, although it is a gamble, I do not believe there is any way out of it except to hand over control of transport to the three Boards of Management of the three main transport systems, to give them complete freedom from all restrictions and regulations, and judge them at the end of two years. If we are going to give any consideration to what I propose, I suggest that we get some access to those people and say that we make that suggestion to them on behalf of the trading community. It is a very delicate line to draw as between the other type of suggestion, to have what amounts to supervision over them. We can put up the suggestion to have access to them, to let us ventilate in our representative capacity points made by different trading agencies throughout the country, by farmers who want to have their stuff carried on the railways, by passengers who want to get from one place to another and the railway management can deal with these suggestions. To persist in present circumstances, and not merely in present circumstances, but in the circumstances we see inevitably developing in clause 29, reducing certain rates on mechanically propelled vehicles, convinces me in the clearest possible manner that there is no appreciation of the terribly dangerous point to which transport in the country has drifted.

I understand that Deputy McGilligan in my absence on more than one occasion has accused me of cowardice because of my alleged failure to be present on certain occasions when this section was discussed in Committee on the Finance Bill. If Deputy McGilligan will ask his colleague, Deputy Thomas O'Higgins, the reason for my absence on one particular occasion he will perhaps satisfy his curiosity on the matter.

On one occasion.

The policy behind the section of the Finance Bill as it originally stood is certainly wrong, wrong in principle from the point of view of the policy of this Party and to me is not quite clearly understandable. I have here copies or extracts from speeches made in this House by the present Minister for Industry and Commerce when he was in opposition and also by Mr. Lemass previous to the late general election in which he quite clearly indicated in plain English language that the Fianna Fáil Party was a pro-railway Party. No matter how much one may endeavour to explain the policy behind the section as it stands in the Bill it is impossible to persuade the railwayman, at any rate at the present time, that the section is not inserted for the purpose of propping up an uneconomic road transport system, a system which is making headway for the destruction of the railways of this country. I have been spoken to on many occasions during the short life-time of the present Dáil by members of the Fianna Fáil Party as to what could be done to try and save a certain section of railwaymen from being dismissed in different areas from which they come. I can only say here and now to the President and to those who may be anxious to preserve the railway system in this country that the destruction of the railways is being brought about fairly quickly at the present time by the policy that lies behind the section in the Bill. During the discussion in the Committee Stage, however, the leader of this Party criticised the policy behind this particular proposal.

Towards the end of the debate he asked the Minister for Finance this question: Is the Minister prepared to assure the House that so far as that section of the Act is concerned—that is Section 29 of the Bill—he will not allow bus companies which pay very low rates to continue to work road services. The Minister for Finance in reply said:

I am sure the Minister for Industry and Commerce, from any conversations which I have had with him, would have no hesitation in giving that undertaking.

What is the position to-day? That assurance of a very definite nature was given by the Minister for Finance in this House on the 8th July. On the 25th July licences were issued under the Transport Act for buses which were supposed to ply under fair and reasonable conditions so far as the employees were concerned. I have made inquiries—I am not quite sure that the information I have is altogether reliable—but I have sufficient information in my possession and I can give the House a good deal of information to prove that certain bus companies which received licences on the 25th July and which are at present operating in and around the city are paying wages as low as 17/6 per week to their conductors. From a labour point of view we have to consider whether we are going to allow the railway industry which on the date of amalgamation on the 1st January, 1925, employed 17,224 men, to be wiped out by an uneconomic road transport system.

The Great Southern Railway Company on the 1st January, 1925, employed 17,224 men under trade union conditions. On the 1st January this year that number was reduced to 12,044. Since that date hundreds have been dismissed and hundreds have dismissal notices in their pockets at the moment. What is the position so far as the buses are concerned and what are, generally speaking, the rates of wages prevailing in these industries in which licences were granted on the 25th July? The Dublin Tramways Company pays its conductors £3 per week, which is a fairly reasonable rate of wages and which has been agreed to by the union which acts on behalf of the employees. Ticket examiners, which is the comparative position in the railway service, in Dublin City are paid 52/- per week. In areas like Bray, Dun Laoghaire, Howth, and other industrial areas of that kind the figure is 2/- per week lower, namely 50/- per week. What is the position so far as the bus companies are concerned? The maximum rate of wages at present paid to bus conductors in and around the city is 30/- per week. Up to the 25th July or up to the 1st August only two companies operating in and around the city were paying that rate of wages. The "Blue Line" which is supposed to be the model employer in and around the city only on the 1st August raised its conductors' rate from 25/- to a maximum of 30/-. Compare the maximum rate paid to these bus conductors with the 52/- paid to the ticket examiners and the 60/-a week paid to the conductors of the Dublin United Tramways Company and make up your mind as to what you think of that situation and how you can expect any body of trade unionists to justify a subsidy of £23,000 to these small bus companies who are carrying on that uneconomic transport war, carrying it on under these scandalously bad conditions.

I had a letter handed to me to-day in this House by the secretary of the Transport Workers' Union, which speaks and acts for the employees in the principal bus companies. I am informed that at the present time out of all the companies that received licences only the I.O.C., the Dublin United Tramways Company, the General Omnibus Company, and now the Blue Line Company, are paying trade union wages. Personally I do not look upon 30/- per week for a married man who has to live under the conditions we know here in Dublin as a reasonable wage—conditions where you have to pay 1/2 per dozen charged for eggs which are sold and which must be sold in the country at 4½d. and 5d. In my native town eggs have been recently sold at that figure while the retailers in the Dublin area were charging in or about 1/2 a dozen.

Eggs are being sold at 1/4 a dozen in the Monument Creamery.

I do not know anything about the Monument Creamery. I have not the pleasure of the acquaintance of anybody who is associated with it.

I merely mention it on the question of the price of eggs.

I do not want Deputy McGilligan to get away with the idea that all the responsibility for the present transport position lies upon the Fianna Fáil Government, a Government that has been only three or four months in office. I admit that Deputy Cosgrave, the leader of the Government which Deputy McGilligan ornamented as Minister for Industry and Commerce, promised everything but did nothing except to allow the railways to drift slowly towards destruction, towards the position in which they now find themselves. In November last they brought in a Bill when they now they were on the eve of a general election. They hoped by bringing in that Bill that they would be able to get hold of the votes of the shareholders of the Great Southern Railway and their friends in the country. I might also tell President de Valera that the pronouncement made by Deputy Lemass on the eve of the general election, in which he said that they were a pro-railway party, got him as far as I know a considerable number of votes from railway shareholders and I believe it is up to President de Valera and his Ministry to make good the promise they made on the eve of the general election and to put their transport policy into operation before the railway industry is destroyed altogether.

Deputy Cosgrave made a very serious charge against the Fianna Fáil Government when this matter was under discussion on the Committee Stage of the Finance Bill. He did not know that Deputy Anthony was going to call a division at the time on the section. He said: "No one is going to vote against this but it is a bad method of solving the problem, if there is a problem to be solved." Deputy Cosgrave was always a road hog. He never saw a problem outside the roads. He was a great friend of the roads and be made provision for their maintenance out of taxation and at the expense of the taxpayers of the country. Deputy Cosgrave never had his eye on the railways and never knew there was a problem in the railway industry. Therefore, not knowing that Deputy Anthony was going to call a division, he said: "Of course no one is going to vote against this method of solving the problem," but in a second speech when he knew Deputy Anthony was playing the Cumann na nGaedheal game, he announced that the members of his Party would march behind him against the section in the Bill. Deputy Anthony, of course, had a more intelligent view of the railway position because of the pressure brought to bear upon him by railway employees in the city of Cork and Deputy Anthony can be found somewhere in the city of Cork.

The same might be said of you in your own constituency. You are living very well outside it anyhow.

I will compare notes with the Deputy.

I can go to my constituency.

I can go to my home in my constituency, not like the Deputy. In discussing the question of the railways versus the roads I want to say, speaking as a railway man with twenty-five years' service, that I am not opposed to the extension of road transport in this country. I believe that the financial position in which the railways now find themselves is mainly due to the unregulated transport competition which Deputy McGilligan and his colleagues allowed to grow up during their period of office. I believe that if you had a proper transport policy in the country it would be possible to maintain the existing number of employees in the transport industry, by a proper system of co-ordination, by making it possible for the buses and the lorries who are stealing the cream of the traffic from the railways to feed the railways and so maintain a good industry. I have heard members of the House say that the railways are out of date and that they can be done without. I would ask President de Valera to find out, or to tell me, if he can, how 20,000 followers of football from Kerry can be brought from Dingle, Tralee or Killarney on the day of an All-Ireland final to Croke Park by any system of road transport or any alternative form of transport? I would ask Deputy Cosgrave, on the other hand, to inform me how it would be possible to transport four or five hundred head of cattle from a fair in Bantry to Cabra for the cattle market by any system of road transport?

You are solving that question.

These are things for which the railway industry has to be maintained. It has to be maintained for the purpose of carrying cattle traffic and heavy traffic which cannot be carried on the roads. The railway industry must be allowed to compete on equal terms with other forms of transport, and to compete on fair terms, but when you have a bus company that is allowed to employ conductors at 17/6, 20/-, or even 30/- a week, against a railway company that pays 52/-, I say that is not giving them a fair crack of the whip.

We are told about all the capital that has been invested in the road transport industry, and all the capital invested by people who at present own buses. I should be surprised to know that any capital has been invested by the people who own and run buses in this country at the moment. I got a copy of the first list of shareholders of the I.O.C. when it was originally started, and it had then a nominal capital of £5,000, and the I.O.C., like every other bus company, paid for its buses on the hire purchase system, out of revenue and not by the method by which the railway industry was established. When the Great Southern Railway Company was established it had a paid-up capital of £26,000,000, capital which was owned by purely Irish shareholders. The Leyland Motor Company of Lancashire supplied most of the buses here and most of the people operating buses for the last five or six years here paid for them out of revenue instead of out of their own capital. Therefore, let us get it out of our heads that there is any great amount of capital invested in buses plying for hire in this country. Deputy Cosgrave accused the Fianna Fáil Government, by their action in giving concessions, of bribery and corruption. At least he said it was tanta-mount to bribery and corruption. I wonder would he now enlighten the House, as he did not enlighten us then, what he meant by that? He just gave us a couple of words without any detailed examination.

It is too laborious.

Deputy Cosgrave used to be looked upon by the railwaymen of this country as the leader of the pro-petrol party. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, who is not here, unfortunately, has promised to introduce a comprehensive transport measure in the autumn. He made that promise, I understand, to a deputation of employees of the Great Southern Railways Company who waited upon him. I think it is going too far, or that the Fianna Fáil Government are going too far, in throwing the fat in the fire by putting this bus tax into operation before that measure comes before this House and is passed by it. Apart altogether from that, I do not think that anybody who has any association with railway trade unions or with any other trade unions could possibly, in view of the promise given by the Minister for Finance on 8th July, oppose the Seanad recommendation. A definite promise was made by the Minister for Finance and to my knowledge it has not been carried out and I do not think that the bus companies who ply for hire in and around this city and who are going to get the benefit of this concession at the expense of the taxpayers of this country should be allowed any financial concession until they have carried out the conditions laid down by the Minister for Finance in this House.

What are you going to do about it?

I am not going to be dictated to by Deputy McGilligan or by Deputy Cosgrave on a matter of this kind. At any rate I have a far greater hope that the present Government will do more for the railwaymen of this country than Deputy McGilligan ever did while he was in office. While he was in office he forced 5,180 railwaymen out of a permanent position on to the streets and roads of this country and deprived them of the compensation to which they were entitled under the original Act of 1924. The Fianna Fáil Government would have to destroy the railways altogether before they would do as bad as Deputy McGilligan did. Deputy Seamus Moore is regarded by some of us as the transport expert of the Fianna Fáil Party. I believe that Deputy Seamus Moore knows much more about the transport problem than any Minister sitting on the Front Bench to-day or than any Minister during the period of office of the previous Government. Deputy Seamus Moore, however, is not always correctly informed. He said during the discussion on the Committee Stage, "I have had to get employment for a number of people and they were never paid as low a rate as £2 a week." That was in connection with a speech by Deputy McMenamin in which he spoke of bus conductors being paid a wage of £2 12s. a week. Does the Deputy know of a case where any bus owner is paying a rate in excess of 30/- a week in and around Dublin? There is no bus conductor in the city of Dublin earning a wage in excess of 30/- a week. The tram company are the best employers. They pay 30/- a week to their young members for a period of two years. In addition, they get certain holidays and certain overtime rates not paid to any other bus conductors and they get a uniform in addition, which is not supplied by any of the other bus owners. It is the best concern, so far as I know, from the point of view of wages and working conditions in the city of Dublin. I would like President de Valera, if he does read Deputy Seamus Moore's speeches, to know that the statement made by the Deputy to the effect that bus conductors were never paid as low a wage as £2 a week is incorrect.

I was not referring to the bus conductors. Deputy McMenamin had mentioned £2 a week in another case. Was not that his comparison?

I should like to ask Deputy Davin, if 30/- a week is accepted as a trade union wage by the bus conductors in and around the city of Dublin, does he or his Party accept that as a fair wage?

I have already said, if the Deputy had been listening to me, that I certainly did not accept 30/- a week as a fair wage in Dublin or anywhere else either.

Why does it continue.

The uneconomic competition carried on by these bus companies, and particularly by the smaller bus companies, has had the effect in and around the city of Dublin of reducing the number of passengers carried per month between Bray and Dublin by anything between 3,000 and 5,000 passengers. If they are unable to remain in existence under these circumstances, how can they remain in existence if they are going to be compelled to pay—as I hope they will be—the recognised local trade union rate of wages?

I do not believe that it is possible for the Fianna Fáil Government to save these small bus companies from being exterminated within the next three or six months. Therefore I say that the policy behind the insertion of this section in the Finance Bill is wrong and is bound to fail.

Has Deputy Davin forgotten that the small bus companies do not employ conductors at all? How many of these small bus companies employ conductors?

When I spoke of small bus companies I referred particularly to the "Falcon," the "Blue Line" and so on.

The Deputy has already said that these companies are paying a certain rate of wages to bus conductors. There are not more than one or two of them who are employing conductors at all.

I do not want to go into detail. The "Blue Line" is paying 30/- a week to conductors; the "Blue Bird" 25/-; the "Gem" 25/-, the "Falcon" £1 to 17s. 6d. and then the "Grafton" and some others of them pay a lesser rate of wages. Deputy Moore is aware of the extent to which these small buses ply for hire in different parts of the city. These are the small companies to which the Minister for Finance referred in his Budget speech. He said he was making this provision for them for the purpose of maintaining them in existence. I do not think it is possible for these companies to be carried on. Deputy Moore knows well that the "Falcon" employs a small number of conductors. The Minister for Finance in his Budget speech said: "The particularly difficult position in which many small passenger carrying concerns have been placed by the imposition and increase of the petrol tax and by the seating tax on omnibuses has been brought under my notice. I have had the situation carefully investigated, and I am satisfied that, unless some relief be afforded, many of these concerns will be driven out of business and many people thrown out of employment." He subsequently stated that 1,000 men would lose their employment unless relief were afforded. I do not believe that that is so. He then continued: "The Government could not permit such a position to arise and, accordingly, have decided to reduce the seating tax in the case of buses by 33? per cent. as from the end of the current year. This concession will cost about £23,000."

I contend that the policy and intention of the Minister is bound to fail and I do not think it is advisable for the present Government, especially in view of the promised transport legislation, to proceed any further in giving this concession to these bus companies until at any rate the definite pledge given by the Minister on 8th July last is carried out in the proper spirit and to the letter. I do not want on an occasion of this kind to talk about the merits and demerits of nationalisation. Later on a better opportunity will be afforded to Deputy McGilligan and others interested in the solution of the transport problem to deal with that matter. For that reason I am not going now to enter into a discussion of the nationalisation policy, into its merits or demerits.

Many members of this Party loudly applauded and supported Deputy McGilligan in his Shannon scheme policy which is still looked upon by the members of the Labour Party in this country as the greatest socialistic scheme ever carried out in this or any other small country. I do not see any difference between that and nationalisation except that you have a Board running the scheme not responsible to this House. Deputy McGilligan humorously talked about the failure of the Electricity Supply Board, forgetting the fact that Deputy Cosgrave and he were responsible for the selection of this Board, more especially Deputy Cosgrave. I would not suggest that the Railway Board should consist of men who would have no technical knowledge in the running of a railway.

The failure of the present policy of the board of directors of the railways is due to the fact that an overwhelming majority of these directors are men with no technical knowledge and these men with no technical knowledge of the running of a railway are dictating to men who have risen to the highest rank in the railway world as a result of their experience in railway work. Some of these directors would not know which end of a cabin to get into, but still they direct the working of the railways and make decisions on technical matters. These are the men who run, or perhaps I should say ruin, the railways. I hope that men of that class will not be put on any railway board that might be set up under a nationalisation policy.

I hope that the President will indicate to this House that the benefit of this financial concession will not be paid to bus companies who are not prepared to pay decent rates of wages and give decent conditions to their employees. I had an interview with the Minister for Finance on this matter and I was accompanied by two of my colleagues. I asked the Minister to let me know by what means he received the information which enabled him to say to the House that these small bus companies were on the verge of bankruptcy. I asked him to produce the balance sheet of some of the small companies. I did tell President de Valera—what Deputy McGilligan knows is a fact—that the method of working and carrying on business by some of these bus companies makes it impossible for them to produce a balance sheet. I have seen them carrying on where the fare is collected and no ticket issued. That kind of thing goes on wholesale as far as these small bus companies are concerned. I am satisfied that no proper balance sheet has ever been produced by these small companies.

Now to come to the railway companies and the I.O.C. I understand that the I.O.C., which was bought out of revenue provided by the Great Southern Railways Company, lost a sum of £70,000 last year. The shareholders of the Great Southern Railways will have to pay that loss and will also have to put up with the I.O.C. running buses parallel to the railways and stealing their traffic. That kind of suicidal policy cannot continue. Remember that this Party are prepared to give whatever experience they have acquired in helping the Fianna Fáil Government to bring before the House a transport measure which will help to put the whole transport system of the country into an economic position and preserve at the same time the great employment which the railways are giving to-day.

It seems to me that in considering the question of the concession to the bus companies there are three points that the Government have to establish. They have first to establish that the bus owners need the concession; next, that the bus owners deserve it and thirdly that it is in accordance with public policy. As regards deserving it we have had some interesting information from Deputy Davin who has told us the rates of pay paid to bus conductors. But something could be also said on the subject of the clerks and indoor employees. During the Trade Union Congress in Cork it was pointed out, I think, by Senator O'Farrell, that the clerks in the employment of the bus companies are getting normally £1 to 25/- a week and I understand that in many cases they are getting only 15/-. In one bus company the highest paid man in the office is getting £4 a week, one £3, and the rest from 30/- to 15/-with one or two exceptions.

Male or female?

Male clerks doing senior work are getting 15/- a week. The assistant accountant in one bus company who had been getting over £400 a year in the Ford business was only receiving 30/- a week and even then he was expected to do two men's work. Moreover, the clerks are not allowed to join trade unions. As against that the minimum salary for a railway clerk is £80 a year and at the age of 26 he goes to £210 a year without promotion.

There was a case quoted in the Seanad during the debate on this subject which deserves a little attention. It is a case that was heard in the Dublin District Court and it deals with a number of charges of driving buses at an excessive speed. This is the quotation taken from the Seanad debates:

Dealing with a number of charges of driving buses at an excessive speed, Mr. Little, D.J., in the Dublin District Court, said that in a case that came before him on Tuesday evidence was given that three boys, of about 17 years of age, were employed as cleaners by a Dublin bus company. They had to be out in the garage at 4 o'clock in the morning and they were paid 7/- a week.

"Of course, they stole something from the garage," commented the Justice. "That was only to be expected."

He wondered, however, how the railway company could possibly compete with that sort of thing. There was no common wage, age or skill limit, and the whole business was carried on in a ramshackle way.

The railway was becoming bankrupt, other people were becoming bankrupt, and soon they all would be bankrupt. When that happened they probably would turn around and say "Something has got to be done."

I just add these facts to what Deputy Davin has already told us about the merits of some of these bus companies as employers. Let us turn to the question of their needs. We were told the last time when the question was discussed here that unless this concession was given 1,000 men would be thrown out of work. I wonder if that estimate is persisted in? It was stated in the Seanad and not contradicted that the total bus employees in the Free State in the slack season was 2,500 and in the peak season 2,900. It, therefore, seems a very large order that 1,000 men should be thrown on the streets especially when you bear in mind that the largest bus owner is the railway company.

The railway company has not asked for this concession and has not threatened to throw anyone on the streets.

The I.O.C. employs 50 per cent. of the total bus employees in the country.

That means the railway-owned buses. We have not been told that the Dublin Tramways Company has threatened to dismiss anybody. If it has done so I have not heard of it. We have not been told that.

In fact, no serious effort has been made in this House to establish the case that the bus companies need this concession. No figures have been given to substantiate that claim. As Deputy Davin pointed out, we have had no balance sheets, and we have had no idea of how the figure of 1,000 men has been arrived at. This is a case where a great deal of explanation and proving ought to be called for. This Budget is imposing tremendous burdens upon everybody. Let us take the case of transport. We see the railways withering away under our eyes. One might say some tremendously strong case ought to be submitted to show that the bus companies need such a concession before it is given to them.

If some of the bus companies are on the verge of bankruptcy, I wonder why? I will take some of the figures quoted in the Seanad and not contradicted. They are to the effect that the bus services in the Free State in 1931 carried nearly 9,000,000 more passengers than in 1930 and over 12,500,000 passengers more than in 1929. It was also said in the Seanad and not contradicted that the receipts of bus companies were £94,000 more in 1931 than in 1930 and £133,000 more than in 1929. Therefore, it does look as if the road transport in itself was a flourishing and expanding business and one is naturally inclined to deduce from that that if some bus companies are doing badly it is their own fault and the result of mismanagement.

It was suggested a new situation was created by the tax on petrol. It was stated in the Seanad and not contradicted that the buses are not bearing the tax on petrol: that, owing to over-production of petrol all over the world, the price had not, in fact, increased substantially at all—only by ½d a gallon, and it is actually cheaper now than two years ago.

That was stated in the Seanad. It appears clear, however, that the cost of petrol has not increased by anything like the amount of tax. I suggest it is up to the Government to do a great deal more than they have hitherto done to establish the merits of this case, to show that the companies really deserve this extraordinarily generous treatment and, to show that they need it, and provided they conduct their business properly.

On the matter of general policy, it seems to me that it takes a lot of defending to introduce this Bill now. There is a comprehensive transport measure due and why should the situation be prejudiced any more than it is? To most of us the scales seem to be already weighted in favour of road transport as against rail transport. The road people seem to us to have the great balance of advantage and you are going further to increase that advantage by this concession. We are told the concession is purely temporary. Is it? What is meant by calling it temporary? There is nothing in the actual wording of the Finance Bill which shows it to be temporary; it appears to be as solid as it could be made. I know a comprehensive transport measure will be introduced and regulations can be made about rates of pay and other matters. Nevertheless, I do not think it is fair or accurate to call this a temporary concession. If it were temporary I should still consider it inadvisable, in view of the fact that a comprehensive Transport Bill will be introduced.

To any unprejudiced observer there seems to be no reason why the bus companies should not be called upon to take their chance until that measure is introduced. We have certainly not had the same softness of heart displayed in regard to other interests that might menace the Government with the possibility of dismissals of employees in large numbers. I doubt very much if the total dismissals that could arise, supposing the Government refused this concession, would have been as numerous as the total number of employees in Gallaher's factory. In any case, it is up to the Government to prove, what they have hitherto not attempted to prove so far as I have been able to see from the debates in this House and in the Seanad, that what they are doing is fair and equitable, or is called for by the needs of the situation, and that it will not prejudice, any more than it is already prejudiced, the permanent transport situation in this country.

I would not intervene were it not for the very interesting but amazing speech of Deputy Davin.

What is amazing about it?

It was interesting because of the Deputy's experience and technical training in the railway systems of this country and, in the circumstances, one would imagine that anything that he would have to say on a problem such as this would be worth listening to. His speech was amazing because of the fact that on one occasion when he could have been of positive service in this House—just a week or two ago when this subject was under consideration—he was absent from the Division Lobbies. I am wondering has he got the permission of his Party to raise this matter in the manner in which he raised it. I do not want to misquote, but I understood from Deputy Norton, the leader of the Labour Party, that certain assurances were given. I think the word "guarantees" was used.

Certain assurances, or guarantees, were given at an interview between representatives of the Labour Party and the members of the Executive Council.

Who told you?

That is the impression gathered both in this House and from paragraphs in the newspapers.

A "penny-a-liner."

Deputy Davin suggests that some "penny-a-liner" wrote these paragraphs. I know of very few "penny-a-liners" in the Dublin Press, and I think I know something about the Irish Press and the Dublin Press. These paragraphs appeared and were not contradicted either by the members of the Executive Council or by members of the Labour Party in this House. I feel that the difficulties shared by two Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party to-day, when they found themselves in the position that they could not vote according to their predilections, or feelings, or consciences, whichever word you wish to use, and had to make themselves vocal in the Dáil to explain their attitude in relation to another tax. I think Deputy Davin is in a somewhat similar position. Much though I want to see this Government continue in office, because I wish them to get a fair crack of the whip so that some of the things they stated they would do during the election will get a fair opportunity of being tried out——

How many times did you vote against them?

I shall do as I have done on election platforms, when I say to a disorderly interrupter, "When I am finished I will answer all your questions." Then I sometimes have to tell the fellow that if he does not shut up I will have to throw him out myself. I hope I will not have to do that with Deputy Davin. Deputy Davin has given us some figures relating to wages paid on the smaller buses operating in Dublin City and County. He has mentioned one company known as the Gem Line, which pays the very liberal wage of 21/- per week. That, I think, was the sum mentioned by Deputy Davin.

25/- for the Gem Company. I suggest that Deputy Davin's song at the Labour Party Conference should be, "Shall I that Gem destroy?" I think I said previously in this House when discussing this question that I gave certain undertakings, not alone to railwaymen in Cork City, but to railwaymen outside Cork, that I would do anything that lay in my power to secure that at least the position as disclosed then, and that is some years ago, would not be worsened in so far as the position of the railway workers was concerned. I am not a railwayman and know very little about the working of the railway system, but Deputy Davin does know something. I have already paid him the tribute that he does know something about the operation of the railway system and the technique of railways in this country. I am concerned to elucidate if Deputy Davin has got the undertakings, or guarantees, suggested in these Press paragraphs that the railway system was to be looked into, that the conditions of these bus conductors and drivers was to be bettered in some way or another, or at least that they would not be worsened, and that those very low rates of pay which have been read out by Deputy Davin would no longer continue. The fact that the conditions are just as bad to-day as they were some months ago goes to show that these undertakings, or guarantees, have not materialised.

I feel that there is an aspect of the position which has not got the consideration of the Government, or if it has got any consideration it must have been very little. The multiplying of these small bus companies in the country is not for the good of the transport system. I feel, rightly or wrongly, that we are creating a number of small vested interests and if and when a system of nationalisation is introduced, if the Government thinks it is necessary—I am not saying it is necessary, but if the Government think it is necessary—I think they are doing a very injurious thing to their own policy, because these vested interests will have to be bought out. We had the spectacle in Dublin and in Cork in relation to these buses of a war of attrition between two or three small companies. We had a cut-throat policy carried on, one company operating against another, andvice versa, and lowering the fares until they were transporting passengers at a considerable loss to themselves. Everybody knew that that system could not continue. Here again we may have in Dublin and elsewhere a number of the smaller companies carrying on, with the subsidy now given to them by the Government, a war of attrition which in the end will be bad for the company and for the shareholders, and very bad indeed for those engaged as workers in these companies. If and when a system of nationalisation is put into operation by the Government, or if any other system of unification, let us say, for want of a better word, is proposed by the Government, I feel that they are building up very big obstacles indeed in the way of that policy, if they multiply these smaller companies. The greatest inducement is held out to smaller companies to multiply because of the reduction of this tax. As one who has given a promise to railwaymen to do nothing which will worsen their position, I do feel that this is in a positive way worsening the conditions of the railwaymen, because, as Deputy Davin suggested, these buses have stolen the cream of the traffic from the railway systems, namely, the passenger service, and the smaller parcel traffic.

There is only one matter I should like to refer to and that is the statement of Deputy Davin that licences have been given to bus owners paying 17/6 per week to conductors, contrary to the undertaking given by the Minister for Finance on July 8th. I only heard of that to-day. I have not had an opportunity of having the matter investigated.

I can promise that I shall see that the matter is investigated at once. I do not know how it could happen that such licences would be given. If there is no means of taking immediate action with respect to them, we shall certainly have an opportunity of dealing with them when the time for renewal of licences comes, which will be in October at latest.

Perhaps the vote can be taken without any statement from me —unless the House wants me to speak on the subject.

This is an important matter and should be discussed.

Somebody has said that if the devil were, perchance, to occupy the pulpit, he would make a far better case for himself than those whose professional duty it is to attack him are prepared to admit. That is very much the position so far as we are concerned. The way to assist the railways is not to attack the buses. The buses are portion of the transport system of the country. The railways are portion of the transport of the country and, so far as I can envisage it, these two, in some form of ordered co-operation, will continue to exist, and must continue to exist, side by side, performing a certain service. The business of the Government is to find that method by which the best use can be made of both in the interests of the community. That is the purpose which the Government has in relation to the transport legislation which it will introduce and which any fair-minded member of the House recognising the amount of work —wise or unwise—which the Government has had to do since it came into office, will admit it had not time to introduce yet. We are told that vested interests are being built up in these buses. These vested interests were built up before we came in. It is said that the number of buses is increasing. As a matter of fact, the number of bus companies is, rightly or wrongly, decreasing by amalgamation. Whether that is going to make the problem more difficult, or less difficult, is a matter of opinion. It has been suggested that no other industry has, in a moment of necessity, been relieved of tax or benefited by variation of a tax. That is not quite accurate. If you look back a bit, you will find a time when there was no tax on buses, as such. The late Minister for Finance went down the country and announced that there was going to be a tax of £100,000 put upon buses as part of a policy which he would not disclose. He said it was not as part of the policy of saving the small towns but that it was as part of policy and not merely as a matter of revenue. There, you had within our experience a tax of £100,000 put upon this form of transport. Outside that, you had the petrol tax. On the contrary, and following that, you had an announcement, preluded by a very excellent address by Deputy McGilligan as to the relief of £75,000 in rates on railways, with prohibition of appeal by any county council against that. Deputies will see that the position has not been allowed to remain static. There has been a £100,000 tax, and the petrol tax in respect of buses and there has been a £75,000 relief of rates upon railways as compensation.

There is another parallel case, as the House knows. That is in relation to race meetings. A very eloquent plea was made by a Deputy who sat about three seats above where I stand now. That appeal was made to the Minister for Finance at that time. It is well worth while for anybody who wants to speak of the moralities, or otherwise, of a tax to look up the speech of Deputy Blythe in which he gave way and relieved the racing industry of taxation, although he said there was no merit whatever in the application. Still he did it. We are not without precedent where industries are in difficulties——

I think the Parliamentary Secretary is in error. I think the Deputy stated that that remission was sought, so far as racing was concerned, because it would give an impetus to the horse-breeding industry.

I am not questioning that at all. I am not suggesting for a moment that there were no merits in the case. I am making the contention that there is a precedent for the relief by taxation of an industry which says it is in difficulties. It happened in this particular case that the Minister who did give the relief felt that there were no merits in the application when actually giving it.

The discussion on this particular recommendation was broadened by Deputy McGilligan to the widest possible point. One of the reasons why I did not make any protest against that was because I was very interested to hear what Deputy McGilligan would say on the subject and what Deputy Davin, with knowledge on the subject from another side, would say. I thought a broad discussion on the point would be valuable and I would like that, in this House or outside it, in some atmosphere in which we were not either defending or attacking buses and not having one industry or another industry in our mind, we could really come down and ask ourselves: what is the solution of the transport problem as a transport problem, as distinct from a mere matter of polemical discussion? The rather amazing speech which Deputy McGilligan made contained a good deal of material which is well worth consideration, because there are different points of view. This transport problem is not one of the things in respect of which one can lay down mathematical laws and say that this solution or that solution is the right one. Deputy McGilligan suggested that the railways should have for three years the absolute right to do what they liked.

The present Boards.

That did seem to me to be an amazing statement. I remember, four or five years ago, when this discussion was on before, saying that I was 100 per cent. railway, that I was anxious to see the whole transport system co-ordinated and that I would not object to its being co-ordinated under the control of the railway company if I were satisfied that the railway system was being run by people who had the broad interests of the community, as a whole, at heart. But that is a very different thing from saying that the railway companies should be allowed to do whatever they like for a period of two or three years. I do not want to misrepresent the Deputy, but we understood his attitude in relation to the transport problem, when we pointed out the growing danger and difficulty of a position which has now become acute, to be "let the dog-fight continue." If the suggestion is that the dog-fight should continue for another two years in the hope that the remnants and the wrecks will be more easily dealt with, I disagree. We do not want any such solution. We recognise that, at the end of ten years, the administration of the railways and the whole transport system is acute. We have had the statement of Deputy Davin that the directors of the Great Southern Railways are in conflict——

That is not exactly what I said. The majority of them have no technical knowledge of the running of a railway.

I was at a meeting of Cork shareholders at which statements made about the management of their railway would justify any anticipation of failure. We have had it stated, too, that all the bus companies are in the same state of chaotic management. The statement that the railways are being managed in that particular way does not furnish a case for going to the assistance of the railways. The statement that the buses are being badly managed is not a justification for going to the assistance of the buses. It merely shows that, after ten years of the growth of these two systems, things are very bad and want pulling together. The intention of the Minister for Industry and Commerce is, in the next session, to go into the whole question of the existing transport systems of the country and try and co-ordinate them. We recognise the position as it is and that position is being allowed to remain static until we are in a position to deal with it. You have to recognise the fact that the buses at present are carrying nearly 60,000,000 passengers. They have not taken those off the railways, because they were never there.

Yes, they were.

I am not saying this in any polemic spirit. I want to be fair.

Would you be surprised to know that in the suburban stations between Dublin and Bray, during the last seven months, 27,000 passengers have gone to the buses as compared with last year.

I would not be surprised but I cannot divide 60,000,000 into 24,000,000 and get unity. The total number of passengers carried on the whole railway system — the Great Southern and the Great Northern— has not been more than 24,000,000 since 1913 or 1914. That means that these people are now carrying for every passenger they took from the railways, if you assume they took them from the railways—I do not believe, and Deputy Davin does not believe, that all the passengers taken off the railways went to the buses——

Some went off the trams.

A huge number went off to private motor cars. It was the first-class passengers going off the railways that did the damage. If you take the total amount of traffic which the railways have lost, the buses are carrying fifteen extra passengers for every one they are supposed to have taken off the railways. The only plea I am putting to the House is to recognise the importance of these two great transport enterprises and to cooperate, so far as we possibly can, in a spirit which is not in any way partisan, with a view to seeing that we get the best solution of that complicated transport problem under the new Bill. The Minister for Finance is asking, after that £100,000 tax on buses and the 8d. petrol tax, also affecting buses, with the countervailing £75,000 of relief in rates given to the railways, that temporarily—until he is in a position to establish co-ordination upon some sound lines—a transport system which is to-day, with all its defects, carrying 58¾ million of our people, should have this relief.

I have rarely listened to a speech so inadequate to the points made as that which has just been delivered. The confession of the Parliamentary Secretary—which is, in fact, no argument to justify this remission— is that he is keeping the position static, to use his own words. He is not doing that. The status quo was the position with this tax on. He is reducing it. When he sought for his analogies, I was delighted to find that, in the last resort, he quoted one in respect of which the then Minister for Finance said there were no merits. I think the phrase could well be applied to this remission. There have been no merits urged for the remission. What are the other analogies? The imposition of taxation on buses and the remission of rating on railways—two matters on which arguments were advanced to this House and which were not flung at the House with the statement—an exaggerated statement as clearly shown by Deputy MacDermot—that so many men are going to be put out of employment if this remission is not granted. Further, we have the Parliamentary Secretary turning his whole attention, so far as transport is concerned, to passengers. I think that anybody with any appreciation of the transport situation in the country knows that the passenger side is not the important side and that it is not on the passenger side the railways are losing. It is not from the passenger side, at all events, that their destruction is going to come and, certainly, it would not be from the passenger side their destruction would come if the administrative policy contained in the last two Bills had been carried out as then announced. When the latter of these measures was introduced, the comments made from all parts of the House —by railway shareholders and railway directors—and by the Press were that, so far as the passenger situation was concerned, the Bills had done all that could be expected. There was unanimity on that. Where it was alleged they failed was on the goods side.

The lorries.

This proposal deals only with buses and look at the way it deals with them. To keep the position static, we are to give a remission of taxation. We are told that that is because there is a transport measure in the offing. Surely that is the very reason why we should keep the position as we find it unless a good case can be made against it. We are told, further, that this proposal is based, in its entirety, on the probable, or possible, loss of employment to 1,000 men. One thousand is a ludicrous figure. We are told that 1,000 men might be put out of employment on the passenger-carrying side of the road vehicles if this were not done. That is a ludicrous figure to those who know the number of persons employed on the passenger side of the road transport system. It is particularly ludicrous to those who know the numbers employed by the three main road auxiliaries. These three companies have not, so far as I am aware, threatened to dismiss any of their men or, if they have, it is because the administrative policy outlined in the last two Bills has not been carried out. We were told that 1,000 men were likely to be put out of work. During the discussion, that figure was reduced somewhat. There was talk of hundreds as a possibility. We must talk in hundreds and not in thousands.

Take the other side. We are to remit £23,000 or £25,000 of taxation this year. That money used to go into the Road Fund. It will not go into the Road Fund this year. How was the money spent when it did go into the Road Fund? In the remaking of roads, the maintenance of roads and the making of new roads. Let us take 30/- per week as the average wage paid to an employee and let us take it that this £23,000 remission is going to keep men in employment who otherwise would have to leave this transport agency—about 300 men at 30/- per week. Is 30/- a week the ordinary wage paid to those who are engaged in the maintenance and making of the roads in the country? If it is, does this not mean that 300 men are this year going to be taken off road work?

If not, where is the £23,000 to be got?

There is an extra million pounds going to the roads.

An extra million which is only a forestalling of other spending. What we are going to do this year is: bring in for payment to men employed on the roads a certain amount of money which, in the ordinary course of events, would be spread over four, five or six years. That is a proper thing to do when roads have gone out of repair and when you want them overhauled. Will the Parliamentary Secretary argue that that is the position at the moment. No man used be more eloquent about the "velvet roads" of this country. He complained that, driving at fifty miles an hour, he was passed by buses which could travel at a greater speed because of the velvet roads. Yet, we are to bring in £1,000,000 as a forestalment of spending which ought to be done over four or five years. As far as this £23,000 is concerned that must be taken as an item in itself. If that £23,000 is to be given to the bus owners to keep 300 men in employment, if it goes in wages, then, in so far as it disappears from the Road Fund, it means that 300 men who are employed on the roads are going to lose their employment. They may be substituted by the other men, but, so far as I am concerned, it cuts both ways.

There is a Transport Bill in the offing we are told; we must keep things static, but surely we are not doing that. We are making a change when we are told the position should be kept as it is and that a Transport Bill is in the offing. Most people who talk of transport and look forward to transport legislation have their position clearly revealed from those who look forward to legislation which will mean the dismissal of a certain number of the buses from the roads. We are told there are too many agencies employed in transport at the present moment. Sometimes the phrase is used by downhearted people in order to hide the obvious result of disemployment. We are told there is going to be regulation and co-ordination. I have not made enquiry in any way, but I hold that that will give us better transportation so that if there is to be transport co-ordination opposition will disappear or alternately the railway system is going to be weakened. Supposing that is the position that will stand. We have buses at certain points, at the moment, earning something. Some people say most of them are bankrupt, that they are not making any profit. Others say they are, but their accounts are kept in such a lax fashion that the profits cannot be discovered. At any rate there is this: We are handing them back a sum of £23,000. They will have its use and experience for three, seven or eight years before transport will be adequate. Do we not enhance the price of buses that will have to be bought off the roads, and do we not make it more difficult if we are knocking off any company for those that will have to remain? Do we not make it more difficult for the surviving agencies to meet the expenses of getting the others off the road. That is the situation, as it stands at the moment when we are told that a Transport Bill is in the offing and calls to us. Deputy Davin talked about the general transport situation as affecting the railways, and he made the astounding statement that, after a certain number of years 4,300 men, previously employed in the permanent way, were forced out——

No, I said that 5,480 men were forced out and I did not say they were employed in the permanent way.

No, not employed in the permanent way but people who regarded themselves as in permanent occupation.

That is quite right.

He said that these people were not paid the compensation to which they were entitled under the 1924 Act. That is entirely nonsense. The Deputy himself knows that there was more controversy over the compensation to be paid under the 1924 and 1926 Act than on any other point of railway work or management. And he knows further that I met the trade unions and agreed with them on a certain model case and agreed further with them that if this model case presented to the railway arbitrator did not get the compensation to which we agreed they were entitled then the Act would have to be amended.

Was not that prejudicial to the men.

I said that under the 1926 Act we would agree that certain cases should be put before the arbitrator and if he found himself coerced against that we would bring in an amending Act. And by implication I understood the railway unions to agree also. A case went before the arbitrator and compensation was given and under these circumstances to say that there were three or four thousand people thrown out of employment and got no compensation to which they were entitled is mere rubbish.

I said under the original Act of 1924.

The only two points under which that was amended were that a man was not going to get two kinds of compensation—superannuation from the fund, and compensation from the Railway Board—and consequently that the burden of proof was increased upon the employee. The second point on which I was approached by the union and on which we hammered out agreement eventuated in compensation being given.

What about the words "for economy causes"?

These were the words upon which the case turned and the arbitrator found himself coerced to give compensation. After these words were introduced we had our test case and the union never again approached me about the matter.

Because it was hopeless or useless.

Though all the facts of the case went to them. We agreed upon a certain case—upon half a dozen cases. These were presented to the arbitrator and we awaited the issue. I agreed these were cases for arbitration. It does not follow that the Act is bad.

I suggest, a Chinn Comhairle, that the debate is getting wide of the issue.

I am only following the point made by Deputy Davin in answering some of Deputy Moore's objections. We are told that there are a certain number of people out of employment who previously regarded themselves as permanent owing to certain Railway Acts and that these Railway Acts changed and the railway situation changed.

Do you deny that these people were permanent?

I am not denying that. The railway employee generally looks upon himself as permanent.

With the consent of the company.

In ordinary times railway employment is permanent. At one time people employed on the old stage coaches were regarded as permanent but in the course of time they were beaten by the railway and now the railways find themselves up against the motor vehicles.

That is a good comparison.

It is a good comparison. You cannot close down the wheels of progress.

The same as employment in the service.

I do not see how that is appropriate. There must be reaction to the changed situation in the transport world. We are told it is coming. But I object, and Deputy Davin objects, to what is being done here. We are told that a decision has been taken where a remission of £23,000 is to be given to the owners of road vehicles without any case having been made for it.

May I return now to where I started. I understand, and I state here, for contradiction or agreement, that the last Bill as introduced so far as passenger traffic was concerned on the administration as announced, would have put an end to passenger traffic. I was driven to this conclusion between the different transport agencies. It is not coming in any case to be a new policy. The new policy has been to diffuse traffic over all agencies. A bus owner here or there may pay scandalous wages or they may be single man concerns, and cannot give the proper service required. But as far as transport stages or concerns go, the last Bills were intended to meet the situation and would have with proper administration. This is a new situation in which a remission of £23,000 is given. The railways stood on one side, they were not coming in, they had their agreement though as far as the passenger was concerned the Bill if administered properly would give them what they wanted. They are still left with a grievance about goods. They have a new grievance about passengers and £23,000 is thrown mainly to their competitors and mainly because they do not want it.

It is not mainly to their competitors.

The benefit is mainly for their competitors. The remission of money is the same to all companies.

And half of it going into their own pockets.

Obviously, if you give a man £1 as £1,000, and if you give a man £1 as 5/-, the £1 has a difference in each case. The remission is mainly to the competitors of the three companies. At any rate, put it to the test—ask the three companies do they want it or would they prefer to see this remission not given and let us have a vote on that, guided by the three companies. I do not think there will be much difficulty in getting a statement from them that they would prefer not to see Section 29 in this Bill.

Naturally.

Naturally; they must have some reason and the only reason is that they believe that this is for the benefit of their competitors.

The fact remains that it is not mainly given to their competitors.

The fact remains that the benefit that accrues from it is mainly for their competitors. It is the same amount of money, if the Parliamentary Secretary likes to put it that way, but it is more needed by the smaller bus companies than the larger. The others are prepared to do without it. There is the transport situation as we now find it—the passenger side that was supposed to have been advanced, now worse than before because the programme is different to what was outlined, and, secondly, because of this remission, and, on the goods side, we have no advance at all. In fact, so far as the Parliamentary Secretary is concerned here to-day, he does not even give us a hint that the matter is being considered. All he put forward was the plea that the Government had so much work to do, all it has done in the last few months, that they could not have attended to the transport business. If they could not have attended to it, they might at least have left it as they found it. If we are going to have a plea made for keeping thestatus quo, let it be recognised that it is not being kept. This is making a change and it is because it is making a change that objection is being raised at the moment.

There is one last point. Deputy Davin raised the question of the analogy of the Electricity Board, and, from that, went on to criticism of railway directorates. I say that the analogy with the E.S.B. does not hold. The Deputy himself knows, because he was in the House at the time, that the Shannon scheme would never have been capitalised privately. It had to be done under State auspices or not at all. The Deputy knows further, that, owing to circumstances surrounding the growth of electricity, it had always been looked on as a service that lent itself to municipal management and control. What has happened with regard to the E.S.B. is that you have changed the municipal ownership, or municipal trusteeship, into national ownership or trusteeship. The circumstances were entirely different with regard to electricity and transport. We find transport in the hands of private agents, as it has always been.

What was the Electricity Department that was taken over in Cork?

There were a few private companies, but, in the main, they were municipally owned.

Confiscation!

Confiscation? I remember when that point was being argued——

Might I suggest to the Deputy that we should not widen the discussion too far.

The point has been raised again and the analogy cannot be made. On the question of directorates, the Deputy has declared that all that is wrong with railway management is that a very big number of those on the directorates do not know anything about technical railway business. What are we faced with, and what does the Deputy look forward to with equanimity?—the programme outlined by the Parliamentary Secretary, that we are going to have these transport agencies as they are run at the moment, with directorates mainly of men who do not know anything about the technical side of railways, and, quite properly, do not know anything about it, and this House, which certainly cannot say that it knows anything about the technical side of railways, are going to be asked by the Government in the autumn, or some time, to look at the whole transport situation, and to say whether we are going to have another body without any knowledge of the technicalities of railway working, sitting upon the railway directors and deciding whether they are to be allowed to continue in their posts, or whether we, in our lay wisdom, and ignorant of the technicalities of railway working are going to establish some new system.

Who said that?

That is what is suggested. Is this House going to consider transport?

Will one matter which it has to consider be whether private ownership, with directors as at the moment, is to be continued, or whether there is to be some change? We are going to have two bodies sitting on this business. Does the Deputy believe that railway managers ought to be technical? Does not the system work excellently elsewhere, the same system as we have here, the system of men who have a good outlook of a business type, who know accounting and the general lines of policy? They take their technical advice from their technical people and they rely on it. Surely that is the system that prevails in the main and why should we get away from it? Because of what? Because the railways are suffering? Does that mean every industry that suffers from world circumstances must be adjudged to be bankrupt in management? Would you say that the coffee industry in Brazil has been badly managed because it is suffering at the moment, or that the nitrate, or silver industries in South America were badly managed, because they are now in difficulties because of world circumstances? We should hesitate before passing judgment in that casual way on people who have done good work in railway management up to the time they met with circumstances entirely outside their control. We find ourselves faced with this recommendation from the Seanad, abolishing Section 29, and the only defence made for Section 29 is that made by the Parliamentary Secretary, that we should preserve the existing position. My answer is a simple one—we are not preserving the existing position. What the House is mainly pleading for is a preservation of the existing position until such time as a transport policy is properly thought out and brought before the House and that is the issue contained in the recommendation from the Seanad.

I was very glad to hear the promise made by the Parliamentary Secretary that legislation would be brought in in the near future to bring about an altered condition in respect of the transport facilities in this country. Quite recently, I attended in my constituency two meetings brought about by the threatened closing down of branch lines of the Great Southern Railways Company. At one of these, a representative of the railway company pointed out that, in the last four years, 3,000 employees had been dismissed but that 12,000 remained. Of these 2,000 were in County Cork and were paid annually £300,000 in wages. The company's revenue for 1931 showed a decrease of £330,000 and, for 1932 to date, there was a further decrease of £150,000. In 1911, they paid a dividend of only 10/- per cent. and they were now approaching the position of being unable to make any return to the shareholders. That condition of affairs exists at present and is likely to be intensified if further facilities are given to competing methods of transport. It must be apparent to everybody in this country who has any knowledge of economic conditions at all that if anything occurs to bring about the breaking down of the railway facilities in this country for the carriage of cattle or heavy goods, we will practically be reduced to the position that existed 100 years ago.

Once we lose the facilities which we enjoy our last stage is very much worse than the first. You are striking a blow by reducing taxation on the buses against a company that gives ordered and regular conditions of employment and in favour of irregular conditions of employment for other employees of transport systems. I feel that it will be a national calamity if there is not in the immediate future an effort made to preserve what is absolutely necessary for us to carry on the economic conditions which govern agriculture in this country. There is a very serious menace to the taxpayer by the increased traffic which is on the roads. In the parish in which I reside, in a line running from Cork to Ballycotton, there are about 24 single journeys of buses by two companies competing with each other and chasing each other on the road to catch whatever traffic exists. It is very advisable that buses should be given an opportunity of opening remote parts of the country, but they should not be allowed to cut up roads that were not made to carry these heavy buses. The contributions which the owners of these vehicles make are in no way adequate to maintain the roads over which they run. The cost of road keeping is becoming more and more appalling. We have the very finest roads in the country, so far as they have been built up during the past nine or ten years, and very high praise must be given to those who had charge of that particular side of the administration. I have heard visitors to this country who have motored over those roads speak in the highest words of commendation of the roads that have been built up, but you are simply carrying on a method of transport over them which is a menace to the work that has been carried on and which will undoubtedly pull down whatever work we have done.

I feel, having regard to the enormous amount of employment that is given by the railways and to the very large vested interests at stake, that legislation in the near future is absolutely imperative and I certainly welcome the news that such is contemplated. Whatever slight disappointment may take place with regard to buses that are not able to take on, it is simply pandering to inefficiency to reduce the taxes which they are called upon to pay. I certainly support the recommendation.

There is one aspect of this question, with regard to the further closing down of branch lines, which I am afraid has been lost sight of and it is a matter which concerns the Labour Party very much. If the railway companies are permitted to close down certain branch lines they may substitute the railway services by buses which under the new conditions they can run very cheaply, particularly when we hear that 30/- a week is accepted as a good trade union wage, and in that way the men who enjoy legislative conditions at the present time will be put out of work, and a number of organised workers will be disemployed if it is allowed to go on. I put it to the Parliamentary Secretary that that is an aspect that ought not to be lost sight of. Whether it is a matter that must wait for the new Transport Bill I do not know. I think it is a question of serious importance from the point of view of labour. In the years that have elapsed since the amalgamation of these lines more than one-quarter of the total number of employees of the railways have found themselves out of work. In the last few months the position has become more serious than ever. I do not say deliberately that the growth in the gravity of the situation has synchronised with the advent of the pro-railway Party to power. But it is very significant and we must face the facts that since the accession of the Fianna Fáil Party to power there has been an alarming decline in railway traffic and increased disemployment. There was a horrible expression used here the last day, something about political bribery. I do not think it has been sufficiently explained. I saw that the Parliamentary Secretary in the Seanad said that there was no truth in the assertion. The Seanad accepted the explanation. I am sure everybody else would, too. At the same time, there was some reference to the fact that during the last election these small buses conveyed Fianna Fáil voters to the polls, to the exclusion of the supporters of every other Party. It is a suggestion that has not been clearly explained.

I do not want to waste the time of the House in referring to the bankruptcy of policy of the pro-railway Party. Deputy Norton, on the last day on which we discussed the matter, used a very sonorous and ponderous expression in regard to this matter. He lashed himself into a heated protest against the conditions prevailing in these services, but still Deputy Norton walked into the Division Lobby to vote for this section in the Bill. A nice bit of play-acting went on. He asked for an understanding from the Minister for Finance. They bowed to each other. It was a very nice bit of acting. In the intervals Senator Johnson appeared in the House; perhaps he had intervened—I do not know—but I think it is a matter that ought to be brought to the issue to-night. I ask the Labour Party, are they going to vote for a bankrupt railway policy or are they going to make a show of protest in support of the Trade Union members that they are supposed to stand for?

I do not want to add very much to this debate, except to refer to certain matters which were discussed on the last day. Deputy O'Neill wants the Labour Party to make up its mind as to what it is going to do in connection with transport matters. Long before Deputy O'Neill took an interest——

Not transport. This particular matter under discussion is the remission of taxes.

If Deputy O'Neill will read the speeches that were delivered from the Labour Benches on the last day and if he will read the division lists he will see perfectly clearly what the Labour Party did on that occasion. If there is any one thing that it is easy to make up one's mind about it is this particular matter and it is rather late in the day for Deputy O'Neill and his Party to display an interest in transport problems and in the conditions of railway employees because during the years that Deputy O'Neill's Party was in office—during the years that they sat on these benches—we had the spectacle of the railways and of the road services getting into a hopelessly tangled condition. The failure of the ex-Minister for Industry and Commerce to take any effective steps to regulate the transport services, both rail and road, in a large measure has produced the difficulties that the railway companies are experiencing to-day. During the past ten years—this may be news to Deputy O'Neill—over 5,000 railwaymen have been driven out of their employment on the railways. Why did not Deputy O'Neill and his Party who are so much concerned about the condition of the railway employees and who make frequent allusions to the duties of the Labour Party stand up on those benches and protest against the failure of the ex-Minister for Industry and Commerce to take effective steps to regulate the transport system.

I was not on the benches then.

There were other Deputies here and we know that not a member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party did during the past ten years any of the things on behalf of the railway employees that Deputy O'Neill wants us to believe he is genuinely concerned about doing to-day. I do not believe that there is any sincerity in any of the speeches or in any of the tears that have been shed from the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches about their concern for the railway employees.

On the last occasion when this Bill was being discussed in Committee Deputy Cosgrave made a speech and it is worth adverting to the speech. Referring to this particular matter Deputy Cosgrave at the conclusion of his speech said according to the Official Reports of the 8th July, Col. 529:

I say no one is going to vote against this but it is a bad method of solving the problem if there is a problem to be solved.

On the Committee Stage of the Finance Bill Deputy Cosgrave was not going to vote against the remission, but Deputy Cosgrave with his usual Parliamentary skill thought that he had the Labour Party in a difficulty and after making the declaration that no one was going to vote against this, which of course meant that Deputy Cosgrave was not going to vote against it, he proceeded to take advantage of certain circumstances in order to vote against this. Of course his vote on that occasion was just like Deputy O'Neill's speech here this evening, playing to the gallery, shedding crocodile tears for the railwaymen, 5,000 of whom were marched out of the railway service during Deputy McGilligan's period of office. I say that altogether in selfdefence and in answer to some of the ill-informed criticism that has come from the Cumann na nGaedheal Benches.

I want to say further in connection with this proposition that we do not look with enthusiasm on this proposal to remit the taxation on buses. While one can overlook many things done in a hurry, I regret that the whole Executive Council should have deliberately gone down before this clamour on behalf of the bus companies. The Minister for Finance on the last day said that he believed 1,000 people were likely to lose their employment unless this were done. The Minister who would believe that in existing circumstances would believe almost anything. I did not believe and I do not believe there is any more chance of 1,000 people losing their employment in the bus services this year than there was last year. That was the attitude of the Minister and I think it is a very unwise attitude indeed. I think at the same time that the Minister might have found a better case to justify this proposal than the plea that 1,000 people might lose their livelihood. I do not believe they would have lost their livelihood.

Our main concern in connection with this matter is to see that this remission of £23,000 should not be used as a means of subsidising companies who pay scandalously low wages and whose employees have to work long hours. On the last day I asked the Minister for Finance for an assurance that when issuing licences under the Transport Act he would not allow bus companies to ply for hire if the employees of these companies were paid low rates of wages or worked long hours, and the Minister for Finance gave a very definite assurance that, so far as he could speak for the Minister for Industry and Commerce, he had no hesitation in giving that undertaking. It was given very definitely and very explicitly and there was no haste about it so far as one could judge. What do we find happening in the meantime? I have got some information to the effect that these bus companies have got licences under the new Act and the employees of these bus companies are being paid rates of wages which are not only scandalously low rates but reflect upon all decent Christian conditions of labour. That has been done notwithstanding the very explicit assurance given to me. I think if assurances are going to be given in that manner then these assurances must be kept. While I did not hear the opening statements of the Parliamentary Secretary in connection with the matter, I do want to ask this question very definitely: Is this assurance going to be honoured? Are we going to take it that it is the policy of the Government not to issue licences to bus companies plying for hire if the wages paid by these companies are scandalously low wages and if the hours and conditions of labour generally are inhuman conditions of labour?

The other matter, of course, which has been introduced into the debate is the general question of the transport problem of the country as a whole. I believe that in the short time which the Government had at their disposal, it was not possible to deal with the matter in a comprehensive way or to deal with it in the way in which the Labour Party believes it can only be dealt with effectively. The example of having Deputy McGilligan ten years in office and doing nothing for these ten years is a very bad headline so far as the present Government is concerned. I would appeal to the President that there is a railway problem and a transport problem in the country. Both problems are inter-related. One problem cannot be solved except by co-ordination with the other. The problem has been allowed to drag on for many years. The transport services of the country to-day are in a chaotic condition. There is an enormous amount of wasteful cut-throat competition going on. Unless that competition is ended and some effort made to introduce ordered regulation into the present backward condition of the transport industry, then the prospect before that industry is going to be a very dismal one indeed.

I put it to the President that this is a matter of very vital importance not merely to the transport services but to the industry of the country as a whole. One cannot conceive an efficient industrial position unless one has an efficient transport system. Our transport services and our communications are the handmaidens of our agricultural and industrial position. Something must be done and done quickly to introduce order and regularity in our transport services. I would earnestly appeal to the President to give the House the assurance that he regards the regulation of the transport problem, which is the problem of the road services and the rail services, as an important problem and as one which will be tackled by the Government during the Recess so that the Dáil may be presented with proposals for legislation in the autumn which will put the transport services of the country on something like an ordered basis.

Might I intervene just for a moment? I quoted some figures when speaking earlier in the discussion showing the returns of bus companies for the years 1929, 1930 and 1931. I said that I took these figures from the reports of the Seanad debates. I just want to say now that I have ascertained that the figures were taken from the official records of the Department of Industry and Commerce as published in the Trade Journal in March. Might I also say that I discovered another statement in the Seanad debates which was not contradicted, that the results of the working of the bus companies during the first six months of 1932 showed that they earned record profits? I do not know where that information was taken from but I know that statement was made in the Seanad and was not contradicted.

Might I ask the Parliamentary Secretary a question which he did not answer in his reply? Might I ask whether the Minister for Finance before he took this decision and before his colleagues in the Executive Council agreed to it, had presented to them for their consideration and examination, the balance sheet and figures of the bus companies, to prove the financial position of the companies who are getting this concession? Was that done?

I cannot answer that directly but I do know that the Minister for Finance has stated here that he was aware from the figures of the financial position of the companies and that certain of them were not in a position to pay the tax which was then due. I cannot answer the question explicitly, but if the Deputy wishes it I will go into the matter and find out for him.

I submit that a concession of this kind given on a day when the Minister was putting his hands in the pockets of every class of taxpayer could not be done with a proper idea of the financial position.

He did not do it without a full and complete examination.

I am quite satisfied that some of the smaller bus companies could not present a proper balance sheet to any Minister or Parliamentary Secretary.

Are we to understand that the Minister for Finance took a decision on a matter of such importance without consulting the Executive Council?

No, the Executive Council would be consulted. I am anxious to avoid controversial statements in this matter. I do not want to get into a controversy, and if I alluded to anything that has been said it was certainly not in a controversial spirit. Deputy McGilligan misunderstood the measure when he thought that we were spending money on the same kind of roads as he spent money on. Some £6,000,000 of the State moneys were spent on what they called a State road system which was a duplication of the fan which has its handle in Dublin and of which all the roads stretch out over the country parallel to every railway in Ireland. That money was spent on duplicating the road transport system by a method which enabled it to be used as a direct competitor with the railways. The money which we are spending on roads this time, with very great difficulty I may say that we are keeping off that method. We are using the money, as far as is humanly possible, on the county roads for the purpose of being feeders to the central system as opposed to competitors with the central system. The whole object is, if the railway system is to remain as a backbone, then the roads must be used as feeders to that backbone. Frankly, I did not understand the amazing argument of Deputy McGilligan in relation to this House as a body to consider the subject of transport. The suggestion seems to be that this House was incompetent to deal with the matter: how could we here attempt to envisage the transport system as a whole? That may be so, but if it is so, then the whole democratic principle of Government breaks down.Ex hypothesi we are as competent or incompetent in relation to specialised items such as transport as in relation to other things. Another extraordinary thing was the statement of Deputy MacDermot to the effect that any statement made in the Seanad and not contradicted becomes the truth. Really, there is a limit on the Senatorial licence which we are prepared to submit to.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary contradict anything I have said?

I do not accept as necessarily correct a Senatorial statement as correct because somebody did not contradict it.

A Deputy

Even when it is made by the Labour Party?

Even by the Independent Party.

And even in face of the statistics of the Department of Industry and Commerce?

Yes, even so. If Deputy Norton had been here at an earlier stage he would have found that I made his speech and that the part of his speech that I did not make, Deputy Davin had already made. It may be a shock to him to know that.

I want somebody to act the speech—not to make it.

If Deputy Norton had been in he would have found that the assurance previously given had been repeated and that everything that it is humanly possible to do will be done to carry out these assurances.

That is, that they will not be allowed to ply for hire if there are low wages and the workmen have to work under bad conditions?

That is the policy of the Government. In every case we will try to carry out the assurance.

Can I have an assurance then that, to the extent that that policy has miscarried in the issuing of licences, it will be righted?

How will it be put right?

Will the Parliamentary Secretary say why the Department concerned did not take the proper steps to get the information from the bus companies who were looking for licences regarding their conditions of labour?

I should like to know have any wages been raised or conditions been improved?

How, if a licence has been issued, is it proposed to withdraw it?

That is a difficult matter, I must admit. We have a licence up to October, but as one might say the resources of civilisation are not exhausted. The expression of this Dáil in relation to plying for hire is effective just as in other matters. Everybody will know that these things will be checked up and the public opinion which reacts to what is said here will have an effect. Whatever else is in the power of the Government to do legally will be done—I do not think the ex-Ministers will ask us to do anything illegal—but anything that can be done to make sure of the rapid carrying out of this policy will be done.

Question—That Recommendation 5 be not accepted—put.

The Committee divided:, Tá, 64; Níl, 52.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Bryan.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Curran, Patrick Joseph.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Everett, James.
  • Flinn, Hugo V.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Gormley, Francis.
  • Gorry, Patrick Joseph.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kennedy, Michael Joseph.
  • Keyes, Raphael Patrick.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, William Frazer.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moore, Seámus.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas J.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • Powell, Thomas P.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C. (Dr.).

Níl

  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Brasier, Brooke.
  • Broderick, William Jos.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margaret.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Davin, William.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Esmonde, Osmond Grattan.
  • Finlay, Thomas A.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Gorey, Denis John.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • Hayes, Michael.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Hennigan, John.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Keating, John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McDonogh, Fred.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Myles, James Sproule.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Brien, Eugene P.
  • O'Connor, Batt.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, The.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Shaughnessy, John Joseph.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Thrift, William Edward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies G. Boland and Allen; Níl: Deputies Duggan and Conlan.
Question declared carried.

I move: That the Committee agree with the Seanad in Recommendation No. 6:

Section 42. After the word "shall" in line 5, to insert the words and figures "as from the 12th day of May, 1932."

Agreed.

I move: That the Committee do not agree with the Seanad in Recommendation No. 7:

First Schedule. To delete Ref. No. 5, including relevant references in columns 2, 3 and 4.

This recommendation deals with the import of metal door frames. It is recommended that these should be free from import duty and we are unable to advise the Committee to accept that recommendation.

Question put and agreed to.

I move: That the Committee agree with the Seanad in Recommendation No. 8:

First Schedule. Ref. No. 16. Second column. After the word "catalogues" in paragraph (e) to insert in brackets the words "(other than catalogues consisting only of samples of wall-paper)."

This refers to the import of catalogues of wall-paper.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary explain? We cannot hear him here.

I am sorry. The recommendation was that sample books of wall-paper should be permitted in free of duty. We are accepting that recommendation.

Recommendation agreed to.

I move: That the Committee do not agree with the Seanad in Recommendation No. 9:

First Schedule. To delete Ref. 21, including relevant references in columns 2, 3 and 4.

This refers to superphosphates, and we are unable to accept it. The Seanad recommends that superphosphates should not be taxed. We are unable to recommend the Committee to accept that.

Does that apply to superphosphates purely? Does it take in ground phosphates?

Ground rock phosphates or manufactured phosphates. It does not refer to the raw material phosphates unground; they are already free.

I understand this recommendation is being accepted?

No, it is not.

It is very difficult to hear the Parliamentary Secretary. Are you rejecting it?

I will put it more clearly. The Finance Bill set out that phosphates as a raw material would be admitted free, but superphosphates and ground phosphates would be subject to a tax. The Seanad recommended that superphosphates should be free of duty. We are unable to recommend to the House that they should accept that.

I submit to the House that the Seanad acted wisely in making this suggestion that superphosphates coming into this country should not be taxed. There can be no question about it that if superphosphates are taxed the farmer will have to bear the entire amount of the duty. It is a matter of common knowledge that manure manufacturers are comparatively few in number, that they are able to make a ring and that they are able to put any price upon phosphates, indeed upon any class of artificial manure. Between manure manufacturers in this country there is, for practical purposes, no competition. The only thing which can keep the price of superphosphates or, indeed, any other class of manure, from soaring is the existence of external competition.

I think it is of general knowledge amongst farmers that there was a very strong manure ring in this country some years ago, and that that manure ring was only broken down at the time co-operative societies were started. One particular firm manufactured for co-operative societies, the other firms refusing to do so. The co-operative societies, being able to sell manure at a cheaper rate than was being demanded elsewhere, succeeded in bringing down the price of manures for their customers. Through rivalry with other retailers, they succeeded in bringing down the price of manure to reasonable limits. I am talking now of what happened some 30 years ago, or thereabouts. Now, if you have only one or two firms in this country, there is nothing to prevent them putting up the price of superphosphates to any figure they like which will enable them to sell upon the same terms as the foreign or external manures can be sold.

This is a tax which, essentially, will fall upon the consumer. I do not think anything can be more unfair to the farming community of the State, especially the small farmers, than to put a tax upon a thing which is absolutely necessary for the correct carrying on of their business. There is no artificial manure so neccessary to the ordinary farmer as superphosphate. Superphosphate is really a key manure. You may have nitrogenous manures, and they are of a useful character, and potash manures are useful on different sorts of land, but superphosphate is required for every crop on every class of land. The only alternative which you have to superphosphate, the only other manure which will give you phosphates to a considerable extent, is basic slag. That, though not really a manure, is suitable for all classes of crops on all classes of land.

When the Government have been putting up steadily the cost of living, when they have been killing the markets for the farmers, when they have been putting the unfortunate agricultural community into a condition worse than the agricultural community has been in within living memory, that is scarcely the time in which the Government would be justified, nor would this House be justified, in adding an extra burden. We had a debate here before upon superphosphates. We heard no arguments put forward and no real excuse put forward for the imposition of this tax. It is a perfectly wrong tax, and it is a tax which, if imposed by this House, will do a very considerable amount of injury to the Irish farmer. Not only will it impoverish the Irish farmer, who will pay the extra tax if he buys manures, but it will prevent great numbers of farmers from giving to the land the manure that the land needs.

You can do nothing worse at a time like this, when the agricultural community is going through a period of stress and hardship, largely through the action of the Government and its supporters. Nothing can be worse than to force, as you practically are forcing, the agricultural community to waste their land, to let their land run down. If they are not able adequately to manure their land, their land must run down. If you allow land to run down, it will take years to pull that land round again. It is very easy to run land down, but it is very difficult indeed, and will require a very big capital expenditure, to make land which has once run down fertile again. I cannot for my part see what reason can have prompted the present administration to impose this very unfair tax. It is very unfair to the farming community and to agriculturists of every kind. Every single one of the farming community is hit by the imposition of a tax of this nature. This is a time in which, instead of adding to the burdens of the agricultural community, it should be the duty of the Government to come forward and help them. I should have imagined that if the Government wished to deal with this question of manures at all they would deal with it in a completely different fashion; that there should rather be a bounty to the person purchasing manures than a tax upon manures which cripples his power to purchase and, in consequence, compels him to impoverish his land and to get less return than he ought to get from his labour. I say less return than he ought to get, because if he works and tills a soil inadequately manured the return which he gets will not be commensurate with the efforts he makes to produce his crop. A tillage farmer cannot farm without superphosphates. They are a necessity. By putting this tax on superphosphates, by cutting down, in consequence, the consumption of superphosphates in this country, you are doing a considerable amount of harm to the agricultural interest and to the tillage interest in the State.

We have been told by the Parliamentary Secretary that the Government will insist on the imposition of this tax. It does not surprise me in the least. It is what I expected. It is perfectly obvious that this is a Government which takes no interest in agriculture, or the agricultural community: that this is a Government which does not care whether a man upon the land lives or dies, flourishes or starves. That is perfectly obviously the policy of the Government, because it is the policy which they have shown through every single one of the taxes which they are imposing upon the agricultural community. Therefore, it has not come as a surprise to me that they are persisting in the imposition of this duty. It is very little use, therefore, to point out to them the injury they are doing, because it is plain they do not care whether they injure or whether they do not injure. At any rate, I appeal to the House to see that they are not successful in imposing this tax upon a section of the community which is not fit to bear this burden or any further burdens.

I support the recommendation from the Seanad. This duty has been discussed on several occasions in the Dáil and every possible argument that could be used against its imposition has already been used. The Seanad, in my opinion, acted wisely in making the recommendation. There is no doubt that if the Government persist in imposing the duty they will inflict very serious hardship upon the farmer. There is no artificial manure so commonly used as superphosphates. It is indispensable for the production of grass and in the production of crops. This tax will inevitably mean, under existing conditions, that farmers will be compelled to use a lesser quantity of this exceedingly necessary manure. In debating this duty on a previous occasion, it was pointed out by Deputies who are themselves engaged in the manure business that for years past the Irish manufacturers have waited to fix the price of superphosphates until the foreign firms importing superphosphates into this country had fixed their price. That has been the custom of the Irish firm—because there is practically only one firm in this country engaged in the production of superphosphates—for many years past. They have always waited until the foreign firms had fixed the price of their superphosphates and then the Irish firm fixed their price. It follows quite clearly from that that the competition, small and all as it was from outside had the effect of keeping down prices. There is no doubt that this tax will have the effect of removing that competition altogether and thereby giving to the Irish firm engaged in this particular business a complete monopoly of the Irish market so that they will be free to fix any price they like for the superphosphates used by Irish farmers. Everybody who has any experience of farming in this country knows well that when this competition is removed the price will inevitably go up.

I cannot understand why the Government should impose the duty at this time on artificial manures. If we are to judge by their own Press, they propose very shortly to embark on a very big tillage policy. If they hope to make that policy a success, they should make it possible for farmers to secure the raw materials of their industry at the lowest possible price. One of the most essential raw materials that the farmers require for tillage purposes is artificial manure. Surely if the Government had any foresight or vision, or if they were really interested in the welfare of the farmers, they would have hesitated before imposing a duty on artificial manure. It has been the custom of the Department of Agriculture to encourage the use of superphosphates for many years past. Their inspectors have encouraged farmers to use superphosphates and have themselves actually facilitated farmers in procuring large quantities of superphosphates at comparatively low prices. It was stated, I forget at the moment whether it was by the Minister for Finance or the Minister for Industry and Commerce, that the officials of the Department of Agriculture were consulted before imposing this tariff. I am perfectly certain of one thing, that the Minister was not advised by the officials of the Department of Agriculture to put a tariff on artificial manures. I think if he had discussed the matter thoroughly and exhaustively with the officials of the Department of Agriculture he would have learned that the use of superphosphates at present in this country is absolutely necessary and that they themselves were encouraging farmers to use larger quantities of superphosphates year after year.

I do not propose to go over the arguments I used, when discussing this duty, on previous occasions in the Dáil, but I appeal to the Government, if there is to be any consistency at all in the Fianna Fáil Party or their policy, to, at least, drop this duty on artificial manure. Surely they will recognise that the farmer, at the present time, has got to bear a burden heavy enough for his shoulders. Judging by present appearances it looks as if the burden, at the present moment, is comparatively light compared to what he will have to bear in the near future. If the Government is not prepared to drive the farmer out of business altogether, then, surely the tax on superphosphates, and other raw material of the farming industry, should be eliminated completely. I do not know whether there is any use appealing to the Parliamentary Secretary. I am convinced if the Parliamentary Secretary was acquainted with agricultural conditions in this country at the present time he would have no hesitation in recommending the Minister for Finance to remit this taxation on superphosphates.

When this tax was debated here some time ago I think it must be admitted that no effective defence was put up for it by the Government Party. If there is any use in an Opposition, if an Opposition is to be effective in any way whatever then I say the opposition we offered to this tax was certainly effective. On this side of the House we had farmers, business men and those engaged in manufacture getting up, one after another, making a case against this tariff. No Deputy on the other side, and no Minister made any attempt whatever to refute these arguments. It was admitted by the Minister that the manure firms in this country produced four-fifths of the needs of this country as against the importation of artificial manures of all other sorts. The manufacturers have control of four-fifths of the trade. They are paying good dividends and are solvent in every way, not because the Government has gone to meet them, or that they expect any help such as this tariff proposes to give them. It would be useless, at this stage, to reiterate the arguments that have been used in this House against this tax. Some Ministers said that practically no artificial manure was used on grass lands at all, thereby showing that they know nothing whatever of the very subject upon which they proceed to instruct the House. There are numerous farmers of grass land for whom artificial manure means more even than the annuities about which all parties are concerned at the moment. There are farmers who, previous to the universal use of artificial manures, had, perhaps, from one to four cows on their land, and who were able to double the capacity of their farms by the use of artificial manures. Whatever arguments are used to the contrary the cost of artificial manures must rise and the price must rise as a result of this tariff. It is inevitable that the additional expenses of this tariff will put the farmer in the position that he was in before effective land purchase ever came his way.

There was no real defence made for this tariff. Practically the only thing that could be said, if it was the case, was that the Irish manufacturers were prepared and able to produce all that was necessary for this State and, that it followed, that the price of these artificial manures would not go up. It was said that with a 20 per cent. import of the total artificial manures used there was no need at all for the price to go up. Any school boy, with even limited intelligence, knows that if you eliminate even a very small portion of the supply, as in this case, the price will go up. We had manufacturers and business men like Deputy Dillon and Deputy Davis and others pointing out the absolute nonsense of the contrary argument in the last few years. They gave illustrations that when for any reason the small quantity of imported manure was stopped the price of the home stuff went up, but immediately that the importation began again the increased price dropped. A small competitive tariff on artificial manures coming in was enough to keep prices down, but if the importation is eliminated there is no doubt whatever but the manufacturers of this State will increase the price of farm manures to the farmers. It may be that during the next few months farmers will be asked to bear greater sacrifices than they ever anticipated. The President himself painted a picture bad enough, that we were to tighten our belts and make sacrifices. God knows the farmers have now got to a position when there is no other hole left in the belt to take in, they are squeezed as tight as that. Every tariff introduced into this State, and now the retaliatory tariffs imposed by our neighbours, fall upon the farmers of this country. The whole burden of tariffs, offensive and defensive, falls upon the farmers. Ninety per cent. of the economic fight will have to be borne by the farmers.

By the farmers of England?

Is there no sympathy amongst farmer Deputies on the benches opposite, for the plight of the farmers of this country. I do not want to be drawn into a discussion of matters that are outside the question before us. We are nearing a time when any further burden will be impossible for the farmers to bear. We may be reduced to a position when we may have substitutes for artificial manures. Many of the commodities the farmers are at present preparing for markets will be reduced to manure before the winter is out. Many of us will have to reduce to manure the agricultural commodities we are now producing. We may have to reduce our cattle to bone manure and other products to other forms of manure. Any increased price in the artificial manure we use is beyond our capacity to bear. This House having failed to induce the Minister to remit this tax, if the Seanad did not insist on putting forward these recommendations I, for one, would say the Seanad failed in their duty. The Seanad, by this recommendation, is endeavouring to help to save the agriculturists in this country just as we, the farmer Deputies, attempted to save them. I hope on second thoughts the Government will consent to accept this amendment. In these days, when large amounts of money are found for purposes not quite so necessary, it should not be difficult for the Minister to find from some other source the sum that he hopes to get out of this tariff on superphosphates. I would ask the farmer Deputies on the Government Benches to raise their voices for once, since they became Government Deputies, on behalf of the people who need their help now more than any other section of the community.

We are about sick of the wail from the new supporters the farmers have got. I never saw such a change of front in my life as has occurred in the Opposition Benches during the last three months. It required the putting of them into opposition to make them friends of the farmers, or pretended friends of the farmers, and they still carry on the same old dictum that was preached here repeatedly by the now defunct Farmers' Party, namely, that the policy of the farming community should be to give all the employment they could to the foreigners, but to look to the Irish people to buy their produce. This tariff has not been put on for the sake of the amount of money that is to be got from it. The tariff has been put on to give employment in this country to 1,000 men who are being driven out of employment by the importation of this stuff. The least said by the barrister-farmer-Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney the better. We have enough of that class in the country.

If the Deputy makes ridiculous statements, he cannot help people laughing.

Down in my constituency, during the last fortnight or three weeks, there was a meeting of your class——

The Deputy will address the Chair and not Deputies across the floor.

There was a meeting of that special description of farmers held in County Cork recently and the farmers of the constituency had to come in to disown them—the Colonial sheep ranchers, the retired British Army Majors and retired brewers and barristers who came in to speak for the farmers of Cork County. It is time that that thing was put an end to once and for all. This tariff, as I said, is being put on to ensure that, in this country, employment will be given to our own people. It was pointed out here, when this matter was debated before, that the imports of superphosphates in the first three months of this year increased by 5,000 odd tons as compared with the amount imported this time 12 months. Why? Because there was a tariff put on by Britain on the import of superphosphate into Britain to protect her own industry and, immediately that tariff was put on, the supplies that used to go into Britain were diverted here. I have no love for these manufacturers at all. They probably subscribe more to Cumann na nGaedheal funds, as is very well known, on the same lines as Messrs. Ranks, but this Government is not going to stand idly by and see the manure manufacturers of this country put in the same position as the flour millers. It is rather amazing to hear Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney and Deputy Roddy coming along now to wail about the position of the farmers. They have told us that the farmers found themselves in a position in which their belts are as tight as they can be. I admit that. I know the thousands of writs that were lying waiting until the general election was over to be sent out by the Land Commission if the Party opposite came into power for another five years. We know the sheaf of writs that were waiting to be shoved out and they were shoved out.

How many are waiting now?

The first thing the Minister for Lands had to do was to stop the bailiffs and sheriffs from operating on the unfortunate farmers of the country after the policy of the Deputies opposite. It is all very well for Deputy Hogan to sit smiling now. He increased the farmers' rents by 25 per cent. in my constituency, over and above what they were paying the landlord, by a so-called Land Purchase Act——

Mr. Hogan

I am not smiling.

——in order to give more loot to the British landlords who were getting out. Of course, we know very well that that Bill was not Deputy Hogan's production. It was produced by the British Government.

It has nothing to do with this recommendation.

Other Deputies alluded to the condition of the farmers and I am stating the manner in which the farmers were brought to that condition. It is absolutely disgusting to listen to Deputies opposite who pretend a terrible love for the farmers and whom I saw here, when we were making appeals from those benches to them to stop the looting that was going on, and bringing in amendments to prevent the landlords from looting the farmers, trotting up after the tail that was leading the dog during the last five years—the little landlord independents who formed themselves into a party here, and leading the so-called farmer Deputies after them in voting for Act after Act to drag the last ounce of sweat from the farmer for the benefit of rack-renting landlords. They talk about the effect of all this to-day. We are sick of this kind of thing and it is about time they ended it. This tariff on superphosphates is a tariff definitely intended to provide employment for our own people. As Deputy Bennett admitted, the manufacturers here are in a position to supply all our needs and why should we allow one shilling to leave the country for something that can be produced here? We hear talk of profiteering. We are taking steps to deal with the profiteer and if the manure manufacturer turns out a profiteer, we will have just as little hesitation in shoving Mr. Goulding into Mountjoy as Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney had in putting decent men there. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney has now gone to sleep. He is resting from his labours.

The Deputy's voice is so soothing that it would put anyone to sleep.

I would like to think that my voice would soothe the Deputy to sleep, but, like the effect of the superphosphates on the grass he was talking about a while ago, I think that something else had a more stimulating effect than my voice.

I think that Deputy Corry, in common decency, should be made to withdraw that statement.

In common decency, it ought to be allowed to remain.

In common decency, we should not speak to him.

I do not know what the Deputy refers to.

Everyone knows what was meant.

I know that it is very bitter to tell the truth to the gentlemen opposite every time I stand up. It is about time they heard a little of the truth.

And something about this question.

I am dealing with the tariff on superphosphates and I urge the Ministry to withdraw the preference which they are giving to British superphosphates. If any preference is to be given let it be given elsewhere rather than to people who are trying to finish the job that they very nearly succeeded in doing with the help of Deputies on the opposite benches. I certainly urge that upon the Ministry. The gentlemen who voted for this recommendation in the Seanad——

The Deputy cannot discuss the action of the other House.

Unfortunately, it is owing to the action of the Seanad that we are here.

The Deputy cannot discuss the actions of another House.

Deputy Bennett referred to the action of the Seanad in sending the recommendation back to the Dáil.

Deputy Bennett did not comment on the action of the Seanad.

Deputy Bennett said the Seanad was right. Surely I have a right to say that their action was a wrong one.

Deputies cannot discuss what induced the Seanad to do anything and cannot discuss their actions. Deputies can discuss the recommendation.

The way we must look upon this tariff is that we have to keep as much money as we can in this country. I see no reason whatever for paying the money of the farmers to foreigners for superphosphates when these can be produced here and the money kept at home. If farmers are in beggary now, it is definitely due to the policy of those in Opposition, who claimed to represent this country and handed over £3,000,000 a year to the British Government out of the hardearned sweat of the farmers. We are now endeavouring to get that money back. That was money which Deputies opposite robbed from the farmers and that is why they are now beggared. The difficulty about the annuities is due to the action of the Deputies opposite and to the manner in which they managed the Britishmade Land Acts that they shoved through here without any semblance of justice. We intend to provide employment here for our own people in spite of the action of the Deputies opposite.

I have resisted this proposal at every stage of this Bill. I would like to refer briefly to one or two things that were said this evening. We were told that another 1,000 men were to be thrown out of employment if we did not dole out £30,000 to the buses. It was pointed out that of the total number employed on buses, 2,800, more than half were employed by the I.O.C. and a large percentage on the Tramway Company's buses, neither of which concerns had threatened to dismiss men. Of the remainder, 1,000 were to be sacrificed if we did not provide money to subsidise the buses——

On a point of order. Is it in order for the Deputy to discuss the buses or the number of men employed on the question dealing with a tariff on artificial manures.

The Deputy must be aware that introductory remarks are allowed.

The Lord help us, if Deputy Corry is to call us to order. Having agreed to provide £30,000 in the name of the mythical 1,000 bus conductors who besieged the Minister for Finance at Leinster House to make the concession, that revolted the loyal heart of Deputy Davin and drove others into insurrection. Deputy Trainor stated to-day that party loyalty had a strong pull and a long pull, but that was the only thing that would drag him into the Lobby against the tax on Soccer football. I wish there was the same spirit amongst the farmers.

The farmers do not want advice from barristers.

And barristers do not want advice. I sympathise with a friend that I have on these Benches who was very vexed when he came and said to me: "You are trying to destroy the recommendation." Far from it. Knowing the President to be a reasonable and a conciliatory man, I have not the slightest doubt that if the question was raised on Thursday last at a meeting of the Fianna Fáil Party, and if members explained that they could not stand for this thing, he would be very glad to facilitate them.

The farmers do not want to be considered in that way.

I did not interrupt Deputy Corry. There is no impost in the Budget so manifestly unjustifiable as the impost on artificial manures, and particularly on superphosphates of lime. Deputy Corry stated that the imports of superphosphates increased by 500 tons last year as compared with the previous year. That was due to the fact that England had put on a tariff, and that the surplus from Belgium was sent to this country. Apparently the Deputy is also not aware of the fact that the officials of the Department of Agriculture have been going around the country for two years exhorting the people to use superphosphates. That is why you have increased imports. There has been an increase in the sales because the Department have exhorted the people to use superphosphates instead of other manures and to raise the ingredients on their own farms and save unnecessary costs. I suppose there is not much use in again appealing to the Government to make some concession in respect of manures required by the farming community.

At this juncture I would like to say that there is a growing practice in this House of hurling insults across the floor. I do not particularly refer to Deputy Corry, but I think it comes ill from the member of one Party, which has had a pretty rough time at the hands of another Party, in respect to subscriptions to suggest that Cumann na nGaedheal did this or Cumann na nGaedheal did that because they got subscriptions from this or that manufacturer. I heard a good many suggestions come from the other side which were equally deplorable, that Fianna Fáil did this and that Fianna Fáil did that because manufacturers gave subscriptions, and I saw the Minister for Finance get up and in great and justifiable anger protest. I say that such anger was justifiable as these are monstrous charges, to suggest that honourable men got subscriptions from this manufacturer or from that manufacturer, yet, on the same Benches, Deputies now get up and make the charge against the Cumann na nGaedheal Party that their own Minister bitterly resented as being out-rageous. I must say that I agree with the Minister for Finance there.

I did not say that members of Cumann na nGaedheal did anything for their own benefit. My statement was that Messrs. Goulding —and they are no friends of mine— probably subscribed generously to Cumann na nGaedheal. That has nothing to do with any benefits that they expect from Cumann na nGaedheal.

Deputy Corry made a reference to Ranks. I have heard him not once but several times make the same reference. It is time he came out one way or another.

An Leas Cheann Comhairle

I cannot deal with charges thrown across the floor of the House. That should be dealt with in some other way.

I obey your ruling—

An Leas Cheann Comhairle

There is a Committee on Procedure and Privileges and if any gross breaches of privileges have to be discussed, that is the proper place for it.

I bow immediately to your ruling, but I thought it well to refer to this matter lest somebody should suggest that I was getting bribes from somebody. I merely represent it to the Government that they are doing something now in the name of a thousand men who I suggest to them do not exist, the thousand who are going to be disemployed if we do not put a tariff on superphosphate of lime. I suggest that the farmers through the ordinary process of economic pressure during the last five or six years which has prevailed all over the world, perhaps less here than anywhere else, are having a very hard time. This added burden the agricultural community is not in a position to bear and the result will be, as I have said before, that if the price of manure is increased, as it certainly will be increased if Belgian and Continental superphosphate is kept out, that the farmers will use less of that commodity and the less the farmers use of that commodity the less production there will be in the country, and the less production there will be, the poorer everybody will be.

So much was said on this matter when it was before the House on a previous occasion and during the course of this evening's debate, that I do not intend to take up the time of the House at length this evening. I should like to point out to the Government that of all the tariffs they have recently imposed this is one that, in my opinion, is going to strike the farmer hardest—that is, the practical industrious farmer who is inclined to make the most of his holding. A twenty per cent. tariff imposed on superphosphate at a time like this, knowing the rings which we had to fight in that particular industry for years past, is the very thing that is going to hamper to a tremendous extent the action of the Government in trying to encourage or increase tillage in future. We are all prepared, at least I have always been and so have my neighbours, to give a preference to Irish manufactured artificial manures. I have paid £1 per ton more for Irish artificial manure in my native town than the price at which I could get Belgian artificial manure. If I paid that last year when there was no tariff, what shall I be expected to pay to the Irish manufacturer this year when he has the advantage of this twenty per cent. tariff?

I think that the Government at all events ought to give some undertaking to-night, if this particular tariff is passed, that there will be some control of manufacturers as regards the prices they will charge the farmers. If that guarantee is given it may go a considerable way to encourage those of us who have been doing our best in the line of production for some years and who will continue to do that on our farms in future. This tariff comes at a particularly bad time on the farmers, when we find it impossible to meet demands on us, to meet annuities, to meet local rates, to meet the shopkeepers. If I might throw out a suggestion—I do not know whether the Government would be prepared to consider it or not—I would ask them to consider this, that a ten per cent. tariff should be quite enough if they want to encourage manufacturers of artificial manure in this country. No figures have been given to us either on this occasion or on any previous occasion, to show that Messrs. Goulding and the other manufacturers of artificial manure cannot turn out artificial manure, superphosphate or any other classes, at a ten per cent. tariff. They should be able to do it or if not, they should go out of business. I wish to put that suggestion to the Government and I ask them seriously to consider it, if they are honest and sincere, in what we are told is their future policy, to encourage increased tillage amongst the farmers of the country.

Those who had the advantage of visiting the Departmental demonstration plots at the Cork Industrial and Agricultural Fair must have seen the enormous value of the use of artificial manure in our agricultural economy. I put it to the Government that they have made certain promises with regard to their tillage policy and it is certainly inconsistent with these promises to place upon farmers who will have to carry out that tillage policy any imposition which will add to the cost of agricultural production. If you look at the enormous advantage to the small farmer of being able to increase production by the use of proper mixtures of artificial manures it will be very apparent that the income of the country will be seriously curtailed by an imposition of this sort which far outweighs any slight advantage that may be gained in the shape either of revenue or increased production by the manure manufacturers in the country. It has been put forward that by restricting imports you will put a thousand men into employment. The fact is altogether overlooked that a tariff of this description will so increase prices as materially to restrict the use of artificial manure by farmers, particularly at a time when they are already so badly hit by tariffs in other directions and at a time when they cannot possibly stand up against the huge increase in the cost of their requirements.

I feel that this tariff will be a blow to the agricultural policy of the Government, a step that will certainly be most ill-advised and one that the agricultural community will seriously resent. When you take into consideration the fact that the farmers of the country are so heavily taxed that they will require a great deal more capital in carrying on their work, and take also into consideration the very serious example shown by the large amount of derelict land we have in the country showing how the farmers are being hit —that derelict land is increasing in area—you must agree that the Government would be well-advised not to add further burdens to those already borne by the agricultural community. I feel that this is the most ill-advised tax that could possibly be imposed and that it will hit the agricultural community when no recompense is being given them. It is true we have had the Butter Bill but it has yet to be shown that it is of any material advantage to the farmers. We have had also £250,000 given in derating small farmers under a valuation of £10, but I think that is a very small recompense indeed for the serious curtailment of production that is likely to ensue if the agricultural community are restricted in their activities or if the price of their requirements is increased.

It has been our experience in this country that when a tariff is imposed on any commodity the price of that commodity is increased to the full amount of the tariff. I am residing in a tillage country and I can see around me the needs of the tillage farmers. It is absolutely essential for these men to have a supply of superphosphates available. The tillage farmer is not able to keep a very large amount of cattle or to feed very largely, so he must have at his disposal a considerable amount of cheap manure, far and away larger than the ordinary rancher would have. In addition to that the value of superphosphate as top dressing for grass land is very apparent to anybody who has had experience of the work of small farmers. The agricultural economy of their farms would be very much enhanced and they would be able to carry a certain number of cattle which they could not carry if they were not able to increase production of their grass lands and their meadows. It has been the experience of farmer Deputies here that artificial manure is one of the chief essentials for the farmer. It has been emphasised that a very large quantity of home-manufactured manure is used by Irish farmers and I must say that that has redounded very much to their credit—the giving of a preference to a home-manufactured article. But the price of that is kept within reasonable bounds by the small amount of imported manure. The quantity imported is increasing. It is apparent to the agricultural community that if manures were not imported prices would go up very much beyond what they are at present. Co-operative employment also has been responsible for keeping prices down. Manure manufacturers have their own system of giving rebates in the shape of discount and that kind of thing to the trade, but if we are to abolish the one thing that is enabling us to keep manures down to reasonable prices for the farmers I have no hesitation in saying that it will have a very serious effect on our farming policy generally and on any constructive policy which the Government may bring in.

Progress reported, the Committee to sit again to-morrow.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.35 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, 4th August.