In Committee on Finance. - Vote on Account.

I move:—

“Go ndeontar i gcuntas suim nách mó ná £7,985,460 chun no le haghaidh íoctha na Muirearacha a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1934, i gcóir seirbhísí

That a sum not exceeding £7,985,460 be granted on account for or towards defraying the Charges that will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1934, for certain

áirithe puiblí, eadhon:—

£

public services namely:—

£

1

Teaghlachas an tSeanascail

800

1

Governor-General's Establishment

800

2

An tOireachtas

37,300

2

Oireachtas

37,300

3

Roinn Uachtarán na hArdChomhairle

3,600

3

Department of the President of the Executive Council

3,600

4

An tArd-Serúdóir

5,460

4

Comptroller and Auditor-General

5,460

5

Oifig an Aire Airgid

21,000

5

Office of the Minister for Finance

21,000

6

Oifig na gCoimisinéirí Ioncuim

230,000

6

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

230,000

7

Pinsin tSean-Aoise

1,085,000

7

Old Age Pensions

1,085,000

8

Iasachtaí Aitiúla

900,000

8

Local Loans

900,000

9

Coimisiúin agus Fiosrúcháin Speisialta

3,100

9

Commissions and Special Inquiries

3,100

10

Oifig na nOibreacha Puiblí

32,200

10

Office of Public Works

32,200

11

Oibreacha agus Foirgintí Puiblí

191,000

11

Public Works and Buildings

191,000

12

Saotharlann Stáit

2,300

12

State Laboratory

2,300

13

Coimisiún na StátSheirbhíse

4,600

13

Civil Service Commission

4,600

14

Cúiteamh i gCailliúna Maoine

24,700

14

Property Losses Compensation

24,700

15

Cúiteamh i nDíobhála Pearsanta

700

15

Personal Injuries Compensation

700

16

Aois-Liúntaisí agus Liúntaisí Fágála

140,000

16

Superannuation and Retired Allowances

140,000

17

Rátaí ar Mhaoin an Rialtais

31,500

17

Rates on Government Property

31,500

18

An tSeirbhís Shicréideach

3,500

18

Secret Service

3,500

19

Coimisiún na nDleacht

1,610

19

Tariff Commission

1,610

20

Costaisí fén Acht Timpeal Toghachán, agus fé Acht na nGiúirithe

Nil

20

Expenses under the Electoral Act, and the Juries Act

Nil

21

Costaisí Ilghnéitheacha

2,000

21

Miscellaneous Expenses

2,000

22

Páipéarachas agus Clódóireacht

42,000

22

Stationery and Printing

42,000

23

Measadóireacht agus Suirbhéireacht Teorann

10,430

23

Valuation and Boundary Survey

10,430

24

Suirbhéiracht an Ordonáis

11,790

24

Ordnance Survey

11,790

25

Deontas Breise Talmhaíochta

450,500

25

Supplementary Agricultural Grant

450,500

26

Dlí-Mhuirearacha

19,040

26

Law Charges

19,040

27

Longlann Inis Sionnach

1,280

27

Haulbowline Dockyard

1,280

28

Príomh-scoileanna agus Coláistí

78,000

28

Universities and Colleges

78,000

29

Congnamh Airgid do Shiúicre Bhiatais

Nil

29

Beet Sugar Industry

Nil.

30

Oifig an tSaor-Chíosa

1,390

30

Quit Rent Office

1,390

31

Luach Saothair chun costais bhainistí Stoc Rialtais

20,900

31

Remuneration for cost of management of Government Stocks

20,900

32

Oifig an Aire Dlí agus Cirt

12,300

32

Office of the Minister for Justice

12,300

33

Gárda Síochána

562,050

33

Gárda Síochána

562,050

34

Príosúin

25,500

34

Prisons

25,500

35

Cúirt Dúithche

13,000

35

District Court

13,000

36

Cúirt Uachtarach agus Ard-Chúirt an Bhreithiúnais

17,000

36

Supreme Court and High Court of Justice

17,000

37

Oifig Chlárathachta na Talmhan agus Oifig Chlárathachta na nDintiúirí

15,860

37

Land Registry and Registry of Deeds

15,860

38

An Chúirt Chuarda

17,500

38

Circuit Court

17,500

39

Oifig na nAnnálacha Puiblí

1,600

39

Public Record Office

1,600

40

Tabhartaisí agus Tiomanta Déirciúla

1,200

40

Charitable Donations and Bequests

1,200

41

Rialtas Aitiúil agus Sláinte Puiblí

265,000

41

Local Government and Public Health

265,000

42

Oifig an Ard-Chlárathóra

4,700

42

General Register Office

4,700

43

Gealtlann Dúndroma

6,000

43

Dundrum Asylum

6,000

44

Arachas Sláinte Náisiúnta

101,030

44

National Health Insurance

101,030

45

Oifig an Aire Oideachais

54,800

45

Office of the Minister for Education

54,800

46

Bun-Oideachas

1,390,000

46

Primary Education

1,390,000

47

Meadhon-Oideachas

116,980

47

Secondary Education

116,980

48

Ceárd-Oideachas

63,250

48

Technical Instruction

63,250

49

Eolaíocht agus Ealadhantacht

14,020

49

Science and Art

14,020

50

Scoileanna Ceartúcháin agus Saothair

61,000

50

Reformatory and Industrial Schools

61,000

51

An Gailerí Náisiúnta

1,960

51

National Gallery

1,960

52

Talmhaíocht

138,500

52

Agriculture

138,500

53

Foraoiseacht

20,600

53

Forestry

20,600

54

Iascach agus Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta

90,000

54

Fisheries and Gaeltacht Services

90,000

55

Coimisiún na Talmhan

148,800

55

Land Commission

148,800

56

Tionnscal agus Tráchtáil

43,000

56

Industry and Commerce

43,000

57

Bóithre Iarainn

25,400

57

Railways

25,400

58

An Bínse Bóthair Iarainn

1,050

58

Railway Tribunal

1,050

59

Muir-Sheirbhís

3,660

59

Marine Service

3,660

60

Arachas Díomhaointis

64,300

60

Unemployment Insurance

64,300

61

Oifig Chlárathachta Mhaoine Tionnscail agus Tráchtála

5,700

61

Industrial and Commercial Property Registration Office

5,700

62

Puist agus Telegrafa

650,000

62

Posts and Telegraphs

650,000

63

Fóirleatha Nea-shrangach

14,500

63

Wireless Broadcasting

14,500

64

An tArm

418,000

64

Army

418,000

65

Arm-Phinsin

84,500

65

Army Pensions

84,500

66

Gnóthaí Coigríche

26,000

66

External Affairs

26,000

67

Cumann na Náisiún

8,000

67

League of Nations

8,000

68

Forbairt Bhaiterí Leictreachais

3,000

68

Electrical Battery Development

3,000

69

Scéimeanna Fóirithinte

140,000

69

Relief Schemes

140,000

An tIomlán

7,985,460

Total

7,985,460

As will be seen from the particulars on the Order Paper and the White Paper, out of a net total of £22,039,951 required for supply services for the year 1933-34, the sum which I have just mentioned, £7,985,460, is asked for on account. The corresponding Vote on Account for 1932-33 was £7,864,460. The provision made in the Vote on Account represents the sums required to defray expenditure on the supply services during the four months beginning 1st April, 1933, and ending 31st July, 1933. Accordingly, in most cases, approximately one-third of the net Vote is asked for on account. In some cases, however, there are reasons for demanding a greater or lesser sum than one-third of the net Vote. These cases are very numerous, and I can assure the House that in regard to them there is forthcoming a satisfactory explanation of a kind inherent in the nature of the Vote itself.

I do not know that there is anything to which I might particularly direct the attention of the House in considering the Vote except possibly the reduced provision which is being made under certain Estimates and the increased provision which is being made under certain others. For instance, in connection with old age pensions the total Estimate for this year will be £3,256,850 as compared with £3,027,000 last year, representing a net increase over last year of £230,000. On the other hand, under Vote 16—Superannuation and Retired Allowances—the total Estimate this year is for £418,605, as compared with £1,653,245, representing a net saving of over £1,200,000. Similarly, in connection with the Land Commission Vote—No. 55—whereas last year the total amount asked for was £636,733, this year the amount asked for has been reduced considerably, and is only £446,254. As against these reductions we have, on the other hand, considerable and significant increases. I have already referred to the increase in the old age pensions. I might also refer to the increase on Vote No. 8— Local Loans—which goes up from £1,150,000 last year to £2,150,000 this year. Then again on the Vote for the Department of Local Government and Public Health—Vote No. 41—the Estimate instead of being £565,000 as last year, is £794,991.

It will be noted that the reductions are mainly due to the fact that we are not making provision this year for R.I.C. pensions nor for any of the payments to the British Government which normally would fall on the voted services; and that the increases are represented very largely by the increased facilities which we propose to provide for local authorities for carrying out constructional schemes, public health works and housing works, of a nature calculated to provide a considerable amount of employment in this year. The estimate for local loans last year, for instance, amounted to £1,150,000. Of that amount, £600,000 represented the annuities to the British Government under the Financial Settlement and other agreements of that nature. This year, £2,150,000 is to be provided for the Local Loans Fund making up the grants in aid of that fund which will be utilised as to £1,000,000 for the housing of the working classes; as to £500,000 for the purpose of the Labourers (Ireland) Acts; as to £200,000 for the purpose of the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act; as to £200,000 for Public Health Loans; as to £50,000 approximately for Drainage Loans; as to £40,000 for Housing (Gaeltacht) Loans; as to £31,000 for Vocational Education Loans; and as to £50,000 for Land Improvement Loans. Similarly, the greater part of the increases on the Vote for the Department of Local Government and Public Health is represented by the additional provision which we propose to make for free housing grants in that year.

The Estimates, in short, may be taken to represent the general policy of the Government. It may possibly happen, when the financial year has been closed and the provision to be made for next year comes to be considered, that they may be revised, modified or amended in some degree. At any rate, at this moment they represent the provisions which we hope to make and we are now asking the House to grant the necessary authority to raise and expend the sum of £7,985,460 which we estimate will be the amount required to carry on the public services for the first four months of the coming financial year.

Will the Minister explain the reduction in Vote 69?

In view of the generous provision which we are making under Vote No. 8 and under Vote 41, to enable local authorities themselves to execute schemes which will provide employment, and in view of the fact that we hope these local authorities will be more responsive to the policy of the Government than possibly they have heretofore been, it is our opinion that we may be able, when we have made further examination of the position, to reduce the provision made last year for the relief of unemployment. At any rate, that figure at this stage does not represent the final conclusions of the Government in that regard.

A Supplementary Budget.

The Minister yesterday in reply to a question put on behalf, I think, of the Agricultural Committee of Offaly in regard to the position of the tobacco growers, and in his further reply to-day to Deputy Finlay, indicated that the tobacco growers were like all the rest, that is, that they were in the soup of uncertainty. He expects that the farmers will go ahead with their work without any idea as to whether there is anything behind the suggestion that has become very general in certain counties that an excise duty is to be put upon home-grown tobacco. Similarly, the county councils were allowed to prepare, consider and decide on their estimates before the Minister for Local Government called the secretaries together to tell them that they could not get the grants from the State that they got last year, and that they expected to get this year, when framing their estimates. He called them together after the estimates were considered and decided upon to tell them that, although agricultural land in the year 1930-31 bore rates to the extent of about two and a-quarter million pounds, and in the two subsequent years, although the circumstances in which agriculture found itself were not at all as bad and disastrous as the industry finds itself in to-day, £1,000,000 of that two and a-quarter million pounds in rates had been taken off the land, leaving one and a-quarter million pounds in rates leviable off agricultural land.

Nevertheless he was going to require that one-third of that amount again was going to be put back on agricultural land. The county councils were left completely in the dark in respect of the most important aspect of their finances while they prepared their estimates. The estimates that we got so hurriedly yesterday indicate still further darkness in the minds of the local authorities. They indicate that while the local authorities are—if they are allowed—revising their estimates and preparing to strike their rates they are still left with even as much darkness around them comparatively as was left around them when they were preparing their estimates originally, because those estimates which the Minister said enshrined the Government's policy raise some very great problems for any local authority deciding upon its estimates for the current year and fixing its rates. There are some matters that the Minister must be more expansive about before we finish this discussion, if local authorities are not to find it absolutely impossible to have due regard to the responsibilities which attach to them in providing for local services during the coming year and imposing the necessary rates on the people, and if they are going to take proper and sound decisions.

When the Minister introduced his Budget last year he planned additional taxation to the extent of £3,950,000. Some of us thought at that time, both from the general atmosphere in which the Budget was introduced and from some of the Minister's own statements, that he was planning to find himself at the end of the year with half a million pounds to the good in his hands. The information that the Minister has placed at our disposal week after week in the "Iris Oifigiuil" tells us that, so far from getting £3,950,000 additional taxation, the Minister has during the first eleven months of this year got additional taxation to the extent only of £2,218,000. In so far as the information he gives us is of any help to us at all he discloses to us the possibility that instead of getting £3,950,000 additional taxation by the time the financial year will come to an end at the 31st March he will have got only £2,470,000; in other words he will find himself with a deficit on his estimate of £1,480,000—a deficit in income. In so far as the information he has placed at our disposal is of any help to us he will find, at the time he discovers that he has a deficit in income, that he has over expended another half million pounds, so that in fact we may expect him to tell us that there is £2,000,000 deficit in his Budget when the expenditure and the income are placed together at the end of the financial year.

I think the Minister should in some way confirm or deny what stands out from the facts which he has put before us. He should tell us whether he relies on the £4,600,000 in his Suspense Account to provide for the £2,000,000 deficit in his Budget, and what exactly is going to happen to the £2,600,000 that may be expected then to remain. We ought to know how we are going to stand with regard to the amount of money that is going to be raised in the country next year, the taxation that might be brought in at these present rates next year, and the £2,600,000 that may remain in the Suspense Account, in its relation to these Estimates and to the Emergency Budget which seems to be written in practically as a post-script to these Estimates. On the Estimates as they stand before us we may take it that there is, when you weigh up what is coming off and what is going on, a slight increase in the amount embodied therein. We may take it that the present rates of taxation are not going to bring in that money, because apart altogether from the income tax position the Minister is quite aware that one of the effects of the conditions that have obtained in this country during the last twelve months is that the consumption of tobacco has gone down by about 38 per cent.— that is, the import of tobacco into this country—implying not only lessening in the consumption of tobacco here, but a lessening in employment. The consumption of tea in the country has gone down by 25 per cent., so the Minister may expect that at the expenditure contemplated in these Estimates additional taxation will be necessary to bring in the amount of money required. In these Estimates there is implied that not only will the local authorities be deprived of £448,000 to the relief of land but that very considerable expenditure in respect of relief works and in respect of home assistance is going to fall on them. The position with regard to home assistance in the country at the present moment is abnormal. There has never been a year in which the amount of home assistance paid during the month of January has not fallen below the amount paid during the month of December. Not only was the total amount of expenditure on home assistance during the past year very considerably above what it was for any year before, but it kept on rising into the month of January.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce provides us with his figures as regards unemployment in this country, and an analysis of the position as regards the employment of the different classes of persons registering as unemployed on the 16th January last. We are told in his returns that in the month following the 16th January last the number of registered unemployed fell from 96,000 odd to 88,000 odd or a total reduction of 7,000 odd, but during that period not only did the unemployed increase in the City of Dublin by about 500 but the number of persons who were in receipt of unemployment benefit decreased by about half that number. We find the explanation of the decrease in the general total of the Minister's figures to be an explanation somewhat on the lines of the famous disappearance of 6,000 unemployed off the register in Ballina. We find that during the month after the Minister decided to have an analysis of the persons on the unemployed register in the town of Athlone and in the area around 4,874 unemployed people evaporated; that in Sligo town alone and in the small area around it apart altogether from its satellite registration districts 2,566 unemployed have evaporated. Although for the total reduction in unemployment the Minister records on his weekly figures of 7,737, 7,412 were like the evaporaters of Ballina, who having felt that they did their duty by having themselves recorded and thereby pushed up the amount of relief grants in that area. So that there is nothing in the registered figures for unemployment which shows that either the necessity for granting home assistance or the necessity for providing public work is going to be less during the coming year. Nevertheless the Land Commission Estimates here, the Office of Public Works and the Post Office, imply that less construction work is intended to be done out of State sources than was done last year while on the other hand with a magnificent gesture £1,600,000 is being provided so that employment of a relief kind or employment as a substitute for what would be called employment from the State may be provided at the expense of local authorities.

If these Estimates enshrine the Government policy, I submit that in the circumstances which exist here— circumstances brought about by the general policy of the Government in destroying our agricultural export trade and, therefore, cutting off a very considerable amount of money and reducing the earning capacity of our people—local authorities should be told by the Minister now whether the financing of public works or relief works for the relief of that distress is going to be done from moneys provided by the State or from moneys which the local authorities will be driven, if we understand the Minister correctly, to borrow and to spend whether they wish to do that or not.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance told us in fact that he had taught many members of Fianna Fáil clubs in different parts of the country what it was like to feel in their hand for the first time 24/- a week. The Minister for Local Government and Public Health is ashamed to pretend that he hears questions being put to him as to what is happening in regard to the administration of public works under the Mayo County Council. Are we to understand that those persons who have been taught, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister claims, what the feel of 24/- a week for the first time is like, are going to be marched in bodies, as in Kilkenny and in Tralee and in other parts of the country, to the doors of local authorities and the responsibility left on the local authorities to keep providing them with work and pay? Are we to understand that in Mayo, where they are not even driven to march, that the local authority in Mayo is going to be subjected to the organised bullying already reported and that the moneys which are to be demanded for services so rendered are to be provided by the ratepayers of County Mayo, whether directly out of rates or by the payment of interest and sinking fund on loans which would be very generously provided by the Minister? I submit these are questions which, if the Minister wants local authorities to do their work in a responsible and effective way, if he wants that public employment will be given to tide over his emergency, and that a return will be given somewhat on the lines of the return which he himself stated last year he wanted given rather than a return on the lines which the county surveyor in County Mayo actually says is given, he must tell local authorities where they stand with regard to his Estimates.

The Ministry, I submit, ought to learn a lesson from the way in which the Minister for Local Government and Public Health has treated county councils. If local authorities are to be further ill-used by asking them to accept responsibility in blinkers or blindfolded then the result of the chaos, the result of the loss of employment or the result of the mis-spending of public money which will inevitably arise will lie at the feet of the Minister and his colleagues. We are now in the middle of March. Local authorities must settle their finance and the lines upon which their year's work will be carried out immediately, and if the Minister insists on waiting until he comes to his Budget to say what exactly he thinks of his own financial position and the position in which local authorities are going to be placed, then very serious damage will be done to the general position which the Minister claims he has so much at heart, to local authorities and their proper administration and to the people who, in the present circumstances, must expect assistance from public works or some relief grant of one kind or another.

I agree with Deputy Mulcahy. I think the Minister ought to state here and now what is the position of his Government with regard to unemployment. If the Author of Life has conferred on man a right to live in frugal comfort provided he has not forfeited that right by misconduct, against whom does that right exist? Does it exist against the State, or does it exist against the local authority? That is a plain question and one which, I think, ought to be answered, in view of the fact that the local councils must, because of the law, prepare their estimates for the coming financial year. It would be a great guidance to the people in the country, and particularly to the councils, to know exactly whether the Government are going to take off their shoulders the responsibility of relieving prevalent distress. It would, in my opinion, be unwise to throw additional burdens on the ratepayers who are already crushed down with a lot of taxation. The only other matter I would like the Minister to explain is why there is an increased expenditure in connection with that broken-down concern known as the League of Nations.

I must say that the timidity of the Minister for Finance in his reference to the reduced provision for relief schemes has not, by any means, set my fears at rest as to the Government's intentions in connection with such schemes. The Minister was quite robust, indeed almost enthusiastic, in reference to some other Estimates which he quoted, but there was a certain shyness, a certain timidity, manifest when he came to refer to the reduced provision for relief schemes. I hope that the Minister will give the House some more definite details as to the Government's proposals in connection with relief schemes. Here some months ago we had a definite acceptance by the Government of their liability to provide work or maintenance for the unemployed. Frankly, I have seen no great evidence of the Government's intentions fully to implement their acceptance of that principle. I will concede, of course, that during the past twelve months the Government have done a considerable amount of useful work by making available much larger sums for the relief of unemployment than were made available during the régime of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. At the same time, one expects more, having regard to the professed declarations of the Fianna Fáil Party when in opposition, having regard to their election manifestos, and having regard also to the utterances of the Front Bench members of the Government Party.

And the conditions created by them.

And by Deputy Norton.

If Deputy Belton does not keep quiet he might be put out of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, too.

When Deputy Norton goes back to Kildare he may find a different reception awaiting him than on the occasion of the last election.

I can assure the Deputy that I will get more votes the next time.

The Vote before the House is a Vote on Account.

We had a definite declaration by the President on behalf of the Government that they accepted the principle of providing work or maintenance. Nothing that has been done during the past ten months has convinced me that the Government were genuinely desirous of fulfilling that promise to the letter. Nothing that is before us in these Estimates gives room for hope that the Government will fulfil their promises during the current year.

We are entitled to know what the Government propose to do for the relief of unemployment. No matter what statistics are issued, either by the Fianna Fáil Government or by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, the plain fact of the matter is that the country to-day is in the throes of a serious unemployment crisis, a crisis which has not arisen within the last few months, a crisis which has been with us for years, even during Deputy Mulcahy's period of office. The statistics compiled by his own Department in 1926 arising out of the census showed that we had 78,000 unemployed in the country. We had that number in 1926. They were not children either, but able-bodied adults, able and willing to work.

The unemployment problem is not, as Deputy Mulcahy would have us believe, something that has grown up within the last twelve months. It has been a serious problem for many years. It is to-day in a very aggravated state due to the fact that it has continued so long. We are entitled to ask now what the Government propose to do to relieve the sufferings of the unemployed. I may be told that there is unemployment insurance available. Everybody knows that the Unemployment Insurance Act was never designed to meet a crisis such as the nation is passing through to-day. Everybody knows that the whole actuarial foundations of the Act and its limited scope were only designed to meet the normal, pre-war unemployment conditions. To-day you are faced with something graver than the mere pre-war unemployment problem. You are faced with a grave crisis which has continued for a long time and which has reached the stage now of obvious severity. To-day we have no greater provision for relieving existing conditions than this out-of-date Unemployment Insurance Act, which is not catering for large sections of the unemployed.

There is no indication in the Minister's speech, in these Estimates, or in the form of declarations from members of the Government, that they propose to adjust the Unemployment Insurance Act in order to make State provision for those whom, for one reason or other, it is not at present possible to absorb into industry. Relief grants have done much to ease hardship, but relief grants in the form in which we have known them and in the inadequate way in which we have seen them administered, will not touch more than the fringe of the unemployment problem. Something very much more than the mere issue of inadequate relief grants will have to be done if the Government is serious in its acceptance of the principle of providing work or maintenance.

It is quite impossible to-day to expect local authorities to discharge the State's responsibility to the unemployed. Unemployment is not a problem for the local authorities. This is a State charge. The Government should face the responsibility and meet this problem as a State charge. It is quite unfair to ask the local authorities to do it. Their machinery and resources are not adequate enough and everybody knows from the attitude and outlook of some local authorities in the matter of home assistance that there is going to be very scant consideration given by some of those bodies to the physical, much less the moral, needs of the unemployed. It is because I see no evidence in this Estimate and no apparent enthusiasm in the Minister's speech to make adequate relief that I desire to draw attention to the matter at this stage.

We had a definite acceptance by the Government that they would assume liability for the provision of work or maintenance. We ought to have now, on the eve of the commencement of the new financial year, a definite declaration from the Minister as to whether or not he proposes to accept that liability. If he does, we ought to know in what way the Government propose to implement their promises. We are entitled, in any case, to know from the Government in what way they propose to deal with the serious unemployment crisis which exists and which, notwithstanding all the interested statements to the contrary, looks as if it is likely to continue with us for a much longer period.

The Government had responsibilities to the unemployed people of the country. No existing Act of this House and none of the proposals contained in this Estimate will be adequate to provide for relief of unemployment and the Minister ought to give the House some idea of the Government's proposal for dealing with that serious problem. I say that because there is no use closing one's eyes to the fact that the sufferings of the unemployed to-day are becoming keener and keener and because their hardship is becoming greater on account of the fact that the suffering and hardship have been endured over a long period. The unemployed are entitled to expect a Christian Government in a Christian country to make provision for them instead of allowing them to carry on in the present way without any adequate provision for their human physical needs and without any hope that the future is going to be anything brighter than the immediate past.

Passing from that, I want to refer to Estimate 53, Forestry. The present Minister for Justice is in the House, and I am sure it will be within his recollection that it has been brought to the notice of the Government, and to his own notice in particular, during the past twelve months that a comprehensive scheme of afforestation should be undertaken. Instead we have the Forestry Estimate for this year at £20,600. It looks to me as if in the matter of Forestry there is going to be no great development. It looks to me as if we are going to have the same slow development in the matter of afforestation as we have had in the past. And this, notwithstanding the repeated declarations by members of the Government that they desire to put under way a comprehensive afforestation scheme which would help to improve the wooded districts of the country, a scheme which would give the country more timber, which would give us the shelter belts of which the country has been denuded by the vandalism which has gone on in the past in the matter of cutting timber, and by the inability of the late Government to face up to its responsibility in the matter of afforestation. This Estimate, as far as afforestation is concerned, looks as if we are going to be where we have been in the past. It looks as if there is going to be no great inspiration and stimulus in the matter of afforestation. It looks as if the Government boiled down the plans in the Forestry Department, and as if they were not going to utilise the Forestry Department for the purpose for which it was intended in the first instance. It looks as if they were merely content to allow it to jog along, doing nothing in the matter of afforestation and doing nothing to supply to the country the wood of which the country is in dire need. Apparently this Estimate is a confession this year, under the Fianna Fáil Budget, that there is going to be no greater scheme started during the current year.

I want now to pass to Estimate No. 10, Office of Public Works, and I do so for the purpose of raising again that scandal of the 24/- a week debate in this House recently. On that occasion the general phrase of 24/- a week was used as indicating a low rate of wages which was being paid on these minor relief schemes. Since then it has come to my notice that in some counties a wage of 21/- a week has been paid under relief schemes. I do not happen to have official confirmation of that at the moment but I have submitted a question as to whether it is so. But whether it is 24/- a week or 21/- a week it is a disgraceful state of affairs, and I hope that this money or as much as is made available of it to the Office of Public Works for minor relief schemes, will at least be utilised to pay a decent Christian wage instead of the starvation wage which is being paid at the moment.

Put a figure on it.

If the Deputy wants any extra advice on the matter of low wages there are people on his own benches to give him that advice, because they were the first people to pay this wage.

That is not a fact.

Yes, it happened when his Party was in office. Some days ago we had a declaration here from Deputy Flinn that these people who are getting the 24/- a week would tear limb from limb those who raised this matter here. He said that those people were getting a Christian rate of wages. I hope somebody has told Deputy Flinn in the meantime that he is living in 1933. I hope that some of his own people have told him what I have heard them say about a declaration of that kind and I hope that some more of the Fianna Fáil Cumainn will tell Deputy Flinn how completely divorced from realities his statement last week was and how his cynical attitude on low wages was revealed by the quite unwarranted statement he made in this House last week. I do not blame personally the Parliamentary Secretary in this matter. The Minister for Finance is the Executive head of that Department and I hope that in future we will have a declaration from the Minister for Finance that the Board of Works will pay a decent Christian wage on these schemes instead of having this work carried on by the sweat and blood of the unfortunate workers who are not getting 24/- a week all the year round but 24/- a week for a few weeks of 56 hours, most of which time they spend up to their knees in mud and slush in gripes and drains throughout the country.

The Minister referred, in the course of his speech, to the provision which will be made this year in respect of housing. So far as increased provision is made to assist local authorities to carry out house-building schemes, I think everybody who desires to see the housing problem solved will congratulate the Minister on the extent of his proposed expenditure. But the plain fact of the matter is that there is inexplicable sloth on the part of many of the local authorities in building houses. Not a little of that sloth is due to their bias against the existing Government. Not a little of it is due to the fact that these people do not want to proceed with a solution of the housing problem by using the facilities that have been made available to them as a result of the passage of the Housing Act of 1932. I know in the County Kildare that the County Council, which consists in the main of supporters of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party——

Question.

——which consists in the main of supporters of Cumann na nGaedheal and the Centre Party.

Question.

Well, I am sure that Mr. Minch has not lost all his friends in the County Council yet. Has he not a few left still? I know that Deputy Minch is naturally angered over the recent happening in Kildare, but the Kildare County Council is representative of the Cumann na nGaedheal and Centre Party. Deputy MacDermot, when giving utterance to progressive views in this House, might remember what I am saying now. There are applications for 1,000 labourers cottages in Kildare County. The Department of Local Government and Public Health has dealt before with this housing problem, which in Kildare is extremely acute. The Department of Local Government and Public Health has appealed to the County Council and said the problem is extremely acute. The Housing Committee has appealed to the County Council to deal with the matter and has told the County Council that the problem there is extremely acute. Yet in spite of the fact that houses are needed there and that there are 1,000 applications for labourers' cottages and in view of the fact that the money for the erection of the cottages can be got, this County Council, representative in the main of the Centre Party and the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, have decided to build only 250 houses.

The Housing Act has been passed about eight or nine months and, at the rate at which the matter is being tackled at the moment, there is not the slightest hope, in my opinion, that one of those labourers' cottages will be built this year. Flowery promises are made. The people are told to wait until March, April, May or June. These promises will be found to be so much humbug and unless the Minister for Local Government is going to use the powers conferred on him under the Housing Act of 1932, I am greatly afraid that in that county and in many other counties—Kildare, which I know personally, is typical of many other counties—the position for many a year will be that these people will continue living in insanitary, rain-soaked, mud cabins instead of in the cottages with which it should be possible to provide them under the 1932 Housing Act. If the local authorities are allowed to go their own way, I am greatly afraid that the Minister will save money in respect of advances to supplement house-building activities. I hope that the Minister for Finance will tell his colleague, the Minister for Local Government, that all over the country, on the part of local authorities, there is a want of inclination to avail fully of the powers conferred on them under the 1932 Housing Act. I hope that the Minister for Local Government will take definite steps to secure that, as far as that Act is concerned, the local authorities will be either compelled to discharge their duties to the public or that the Government will avail of the provisions of the Act to erect the houses for the people which the local authorities, in their indolence, are, apparently, not prepared to erect.

I listened with interest to the leader of the Labour Party whistling, like an expert, two tunes at the same time. We have heard him touch on subjects that must be of major and of vital importance to his supporters. We have heard him touch on them as if he was going to deal with them somewhat extensively. Immediately, we have seen him flying away from those subjects lest he might tread on the Governmental corns. We have seen an attempt, half-hearted and faint-hearted, to criticise and attack Government administration and a weak-kneed retreat when half-way through that particular attack. Matters, such as were raised by Deputy Norton, have got to be regarded one way or the other. Either a Government introducing an estimate is responsible for the contents of that estimate or it is not. We have a Government at the moment which has recently shown its efficiency in turning a rather grave formality, or serious undertaking, into an empty formula and sometime subsequently re-enacting it in its previous form as a serious undertaking or serious obligation. Be that as it may, I submit to this House that resolutions debated and passed here should not be treated as empty formulas, as matters of no importance, as matters to be placed on the files or records of this House but that, in fact and in practice, mean nothing.

Some twelve months ago, with the assistance of Deputy Norton and his Party and, I think, with the support of all Parties in this House, a resolution was accepted by the Government and put through here by virtue of which the Government took full responsibility for providing either work or maintenance for all unemployed people in this State. In that resolution, no differentiation was made between married men and single men, between men who belonged to one organisation and men who belonged to another organisation or men who belonged to no organisation. Within the last week, and often during this particular session we have had the exhibition of one Minister after another getting up to explain why one set of men should not be provided with work, and we had the statement —not contradicted—that they were not being provided with maintenance. Admitting that each Deputy has a right to his own opinion as to the desirability of, or the necessity for, such a resolution, the fact is that the resolution was accepted by the Government and put through this House. That being so, it should have been acted upon in its fullest sense and in the most real and painstaking manner.

The whole proceedings of this House become a farce, a kind of tragic joke, if resolutions of this kind are to be accepted by the Government, to be passed by the House and to become a dead letter the day afterwards. When the Government was accepting that resolution last year, I had a very shrewd suspicion that it was just so much political humbug, that they would never honour their undertaking. From the Labour Benches and from other benches we have since had, session after session, ample evidence that that resolution was never treated as a reality. We have had cases brought up, session after session, of great masses of people that have neither work nor maintenance and we have here glib-tongued excuses being made as to why they are not being provided with either one or the other. We have now reached a point when the Government stands, as an example to all employers, for a wage of 24/- per week and, according to Deputy Norton, to a substantially lower rate at times. I have evidence in my own constituency that that wage really works out at half, because the men employed at that rate are employed only on alternate weeks. Taken over a month or a period of months, their earnings are about 12/- a week. Finance or anything else may dictate that policy, but what I am very conscious of and what I cannot forget is that that is the policy put across this country by a Party that fought two successive general elections within twelve months on the promise that they would put every man working at a wage not lower than £2 per week. Such offers were made and, in face of this Vote, we are entitled to get some explanation as to why these promises, made by those in responsible positions, were not acted upon. We have an estimate here reduced substantially in two or three particular subheads. We have a very big and very drastic reduction—it amounts, I think, to £250,000—in the amount of money to be available next financial year for relief work, as compared with the amount which was available this year. Is the real explanation of that drastic reduction to be found in the fact that we are not going to have a General Election this year——

You hardly want another.

Or does the explanation lie in a claim that there is less unemployment at the moment than there was last year? Every one of us, unhappily, is aware of the fact, no matter what circumstances brought it about, that the numbers of the unemployed in this country are not being reduced. In face of that fact will the Minister or anybody else on the Government Benches attempt to justify voting less money this year for relief schemes than last year? One of the very substantial reductions in this year's Estimates is to be at the cost of the most unfortunate class of people in the whole community—at the cost of the unemployed. The Minister's Press and the Minister's supporters can now brag that they have reduced these Estimates at the expense of the most unfortunate body of people in the community.

The other most striking reduction in these Estimates is the reduction of approximately £500,000 at the expense of the farmers. This year the grants for relief of agricultural rates are to be £500,000 less than last year. I should like to hear from the Minister what is the justification for that reduction. Does he claim that the prospects of the farmer this year are brighter than they were last year? Does he think that under the administration of a Government that blew up the bridge between the farmer and his market the farmer is able to pay more rates this year by £500,000 than he was last year? If he is not prepared to show that the agricultural industry is in a stronger position this year than last year, how does he justify that withdrawal of £500,000 from the relief of agricultural rates?

There is another very small sum here as to which I think the House is entitled to some explanation, a sum of £2,318 for the Governor-General's establishment. Heretofore the Governor-General's establishment cost very substantially more than that, but everybody understood the particular functions that were being carried out by that establishment. The head of the establishment acted as the host on behalf of the nation to distinguished visitors from other countries. Men of letters, politicians, prominent visitors to our shores were entertained in that particular establishment. This year, as a matter of policy decided, apparently, between the holder of that office and the Government, and published to the people, there has been a new departure, and it is laid down that the Governor-General is going to lead a very quiet, retiring life; that he will take part in no such activities as heretofore.

The house heretofore used for the purposes of his office has been closed down and I understand 30 or more hands disemployed. He has retired to live in a private house in the suburbs of Dublin and when occasion demands he signs a Bill. We have a sum of £2,318 here for the upkeep of that establishment and we should like to be informed exactly what is the return the State and the taxpayers are getting for that particular sum and how it is proposed to expend on a small private establishment a sum of £2,300. Personally, I believe that the State was getting a far better return for the higher vote heretofore and that an economy in that particular direction is a very unwise economy and in the long run will turn out to be the most hollow and the most useless form of economy —a case of penny wise and pound foolish. Here we are asked to vote a certain sum towards these particular Estimates, towards the reduction in the amount available for the relief of unemployment, towards reducing the amount of assistance that was heretofore given to the agricultural community, and before this Vote is passed I should like to get from the Minister or some member of the Government the justification of these two reductions in particular.

We have on more than one occasion asked the Minister if he does not think it is nearly time that the people who are primarily responsible for the condition of affairs in which the farming community find themselves at present should not make some contribution. Of course these words have been twisted and perverted by people, who wish to misunderstand them, into suggesting that we wish the Parliamentary allowance made to members of the Dáil to be withdrawn. That has never been suggested from these benches. We have always recognised that in a democratic country membership of this House must be made available to every man, no matter what his material circumstances may be, and that an allowance must be provided which will be sufficient to make it possible for him to represent his constituents here. But I think in these times, when economy is the order of the day, in order to meet the emergency situation, that we who are called upon to enforce these economies should play some part in the economies ourselves.

My personal suggestion to the Minister would be this: Our rates of allowance were fixed, perhaps, in 1923. The salaries of civil servants and other public servants were fixed at that date, too, and their salaries included what is known as the cost-of-living bonus. I suggest to the Minister that our Parliamentary allowance should be made relative to these salaries. If developments made it legitimate to reduce civil servants' salaries, the cost of living having fallen, then I think our Parliamentary allowance ought to fall with them. If these incomes that we prescribe for civil servants are sufficient for them to rear a family on they ought to be sufficient for us to pay our expenses when we attend Dáil Eireann. I want to make it quite clear that, so far as I am concerned, I recognise the necessity for a Parliamentary allowance if you are to have a truly democratic Parliamentary Assembly. At the same time, I think it is a wise and proper thing that we should be prepared to bear our share of the burden and do some tightening on our own belts when we are calling upon the agricultural community, civil servants, the Gárda Síochána and everybody else to tighten theirs. I believe it would be for the good of the public life of the country if we should show that good example, that we are not going to ask other sections of the community to make sacrifices in which we ourselves are not prepared to play a part; that in calling for any sacrifices we call for some measure of sacrifice from ourselves, and that in imposing any pinch on one section of the community we impose the same upon ourselves. That is a matter the Minister ought to consider very carefully when he comes to draw up his Budget.

Now I turn to Vote 10—Office of Public Works. I have on several occasions drawn the attention of the Minister to the existence of Drainage Boards set up in the country under the Acts of 1854 and 1856. I think that is the date of the Act, but the Minister will remember what Acts I refer to. They are the old Drainage Board Acts of the middle of the nineteenth century. I would suggest to the Minister that a large number of these boards are at present collecting revenue and doing virtually nothing. I do not for a moment suggest that the money is being made away with. It is not, but it is being squandered, and there are no tangible results whatever for the expenditure. The Minister has powers under the Act which was passed in 1924 to take over these drainage areas, recondition them, and hand them over to the local authorities for subsequent maintenance. I ask him to speed up that work or else to take steps to bring those drainage boards under adequate control and supervision. I have pointed out on more than one occasion that if he would—I am not going to advocate legislation—undertake this work which he is authorised to do under the 1924 Act it would be an admirable way of relieving unemployment, because all the engineering work has been done and all that is necessary is to put men on the job with a competent person in charge and you have useful work put in hands on the spot. I submit that as something worthy of consideration by the Minister.

I now come to a question on the Vote No. 33—Gárda Síochána. I am sorry the Minister for Justice has left. I think it only right to say perfectly frankly that there is some uneasiness in the public mind that members of the Gárda Síochána are being transferred from one station to another on representations locally made, which are not being sufficiently investigated. I believe that it is only necessary to draw the attention of the Department of Justice to that fact to secure redress, and it is in order to secure redress that I mention it here to-day. Naturally, the times being what they are, we may expect to hear a good deal of complaint and a good deal of grousing. What I would ask the Department of Justice to do is to be constantly on the watch lest local representations against a member of the Gárda Síochána are not well founded. All I want them to do before they accept any charge of misconduct against a member of the Gárda Síochána, is to make exhaustive local inquiries to ascertain the true state of affairs. I have reason to believe that in one or two cases, particulars of which I shall be glad to furnish to the Minister, honourable members of the Force who have discharged their duties impartially and to the best of their ability have been transferred to other stations, which involves upon them a certain reflection, as a result of representations coming from the locality in which they were discharging their duties. I think that that is a source of great danger. I am particularly anxious that the public mind and the members of the Gárda should be reassured that no member of that Force will be penalised or publicly humiliated as a result of political representations, no matter how influential they may be, that every member of the Gárda will be judged upon his record in the Force, and that no other considerations will be allowed to weigh in deciding any action that may be taken in regard to him. I have spoken with carefully studied moderation, because I do not desire for a single moment to make any capital out of it. I have spoken in the profound conviction that all that is necessary to do is to draw the attention of the Department of Justice to that apprehension in order to get an assurance of redress and that nothing of the kind will occur in future.

Last year on the Estimates I mentioned the congestion that had arisen with regard to Circuit Court appeals. I think it would be well if the Minister for Justice would look into that question again. When Deputy Geoghegan was Minister for Justice he deprecated the suggestion that any serious congestion existed. I rather imagine that on investigation he found there was something in what I complained of. I still have reason to complain that there is grave congestion in the Circuit Court appeals, and I ask the Minister for Justice to look into that question with a view to having justice rapidly and expeditiously administered.

On Vote No. 44 we are advised both by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health and in the Press that the Government contemplate introducing an Act of Parliament to revise the present administration of the National Health Insurance. Would I be in order, sir, in referring to sections that may appear in that Act?

It would not be in order to discuss forthcoming legislation.

Then I pass from that. In a rather stormy debate here—which came in for its full share of misrepresentation-on the Education Vote last year I suggested to the Minister for Education that the time had come to make dispassionate inquiries into what the situation actually was with regard to primary education in this country. On that occasion I think Deputy Cormac Breathnach supported my view in so far as I asked for an impartial and detached investigation as to what the situation really was. I now repeat, though I do not propose to go into the question in detail, that I think it would be greatly to the advantage of primary education in this country if such a commission were set up, if inquiry were made and a report brought to the Dáil as to what an impartial commission thought of primary education in this country as it is at present. I believe it would do great good to the language movement and I believe it would be very helpful to everybody who is concerned with the national schools of the country.

Deputy Norton has spoken at some length on the question of housing, and I need hardly say how cordially I agree with much that he has said. I am not at all satisfied that the Government has done all that they might have done with regard to housing during the last twelve months. Fianna Fáil has sat on the Government Benches now for more than twelve months, and can any member of that Party say that a single individual has been taken out of a tenement slum in this city and put into a decent house?

That is absolute nonsense.

If the Deputy instead of dozing would listen to what I was saying he would know that I had merely asked a question.

It is absolute nonsense.

I asked the Deputy—or rather I did not ask the Deputy, but I asked the Minister—to say if a single individual has been taken out of a slum tenement and put into a decent house. If the Deputy is in a position to say a thousand were I will be delighted, if five thousand, I will be more than delighted, if ten thousand I will rejoice exceedingly, but I suggest to him not to leap out of his slumbers and start barging, because that does not help him and does not help me. I believe that the Government has managed to achieve very little in the matter of slum clearance. Now I make every allowance, and I only take this opportunity of saying that though they have not advanced as rapidly as we would have wished them to advance in the last twelve months their most energetic endeavours to effect slum clearance in this city will receive unanimous support in this House. There is no form of unemployment relief which could be more useful than the employment of people on the clearance of slums in this city, and in other cities of the Free State. I do not desire to cast any reflection on their past activities. All I ask them to do is to let us see a little more than they have managed to show us during the last twelve months. And I want to reassure him that every Party is with him heart and soul in any work they do towards that end.

I also want to remind the Minister for Finance that the Gaeltacht Housing Commission has no money, and there are hundreds, I might even say thousands, of applications in the Gaeltacht Housing Commission awaiting to be undertaken, and there is no money to undertake them. There are people living in cottages 9 feet by 9 feet, with families, who want to repair their houses and who want to improve them, and the only reason they cannot do it is because there is no money provided by the Government for that purpose. I would ask the Minister to lose no time in making money available for the Gaeltacht Housing Commission to finance schemes which are already approved of and awaiting work.

I was particularly amazed and annoyed with the Minister for Industry and Commerce, because I saw on occasion the incompetent manner in which he discharged his duties. He introduces here a tariff on egg boxes. I drew his attention to the fact that this might well be a very undesirable burden on an already burdened part of the agricultural interests. "Not at all," said the Minister for Industry and Commerce, "they can get better egg boxes than were ever made outside of here, in Ireland—beautiful egg boxes." And the Minister for Agriculture chimed in and said he cordially endorsed what his colleague had said. But the Minister for Agriculture, who has been having rather a stormy time, interviewed a deputation from the Central Egg Merchants' Association and one of the principal matters they discussed, and which was raised at the Minister's request, was set out as follows:—

"The Trade representatives pointed out that the tariff on imported egg boxes was most unwise and injurious to the trade."

Now I would ask you to remember that the Minister became explosive when it was suggested that as good egg boxes could not be got in this country as outside. "Conclusive evidence was given, showing that the Irish saw millers were unable to supply egg box boards of suitable quality at competitive prices, even allowing for the fact that they were helped by a tariff of 50 per cent. on the imported article."

Well then, the Minister started off on another rampage. He was going to save the artificial manure manufacturers of this country. He just dashed in in time to rescue this industry and he announced that he was going to impose a tariff on artificial manure and that we were quite capable of supplying our own requirements, and that if he did not act dramatically hundreds of men would be put out of employment, and he told us he was only just in time to save them. I pointed out to him on that occasion that if he did not except superphosphate of lime from his beneficent intentions he would do more harm than good and that instead of creating employment he would create unemployment, and he would create it by driving the people from buying artificial manure because of the increased price. He laughed. The Minister for Agriculture again came galloping to the rescue and he laughed. The Minister for Agriculture has learned otherwise since and a despairing cry has gone out from Upper Merrion Street. "The Free State Department of Agriculture states that up to the present there has been a serious decrease in the demand for superphosphates and other fertilisers for the 1933 season. There is evidence that many farmers who intend to use the normal quantities of fertilisers have not yet placed orders with their retail merchants. The Department desires to call the attention of merchants and farmers to the danger of delay." The bargains may be all gone if you do not buy now. "Disappointment is bound to result if orders are held back until the beginning of the sowing season, as even if manufacturers' stocks are adequate everyone cannot be accommodated in a last-minute rush of deliveries. Retail merchants are strongly urged to take immediate delivery of at least a portion of their anticipated requirements." And apparently having taken them keep them there on their shelves until 1934. Then they go on and say "a decline in the use of fertilisers would be most regrettable." I told them that last November. They have suddenly awakened to the fact. What I told them then was true and it is an interesting fact that the manure manufacturers, who were doing fairly well up to now, are taxed up to the roof and artificial manure manufacturers are cutting down employment because they cannot dispose of their stocks as nobody is buying them. It is extraordinary that the Minister in charge of this Department has the effrontery to come down here and ask for £43,000—43 pence would be more like what his Department is worth.

I would like to remind the House of another instance where the Minister gave this House another piece of valuable information. When he proposed a tariff on lubricating grease, I drew his attention to the fact that common sense suggested he would make at least an effort to consult the various interests in the matter. Not at all. The Minister for Industry and Commerce knew the whole thing. You never used grease in lubricating machinery, and so far as he knew—I do not say that he actually said this, but it was what he implied —all you used it for was for greasing donkey axles. I asked him to consult a member of the Great Southern Railway Company and ask him what his view upon the matter would be, and his reply was "they will do very well and they can get as good axle grease in the country as out of it." On the following morning a paragraph appeared in the paper from the Railway Board to the effect that this was going to add a substantial burden to an already heavy burden of expense.

That was conclusive evidence.

It was conclusive evidence of this: when the Minister for Industry and Commerce came galloping into this House at the request of a few of the minor manufacturers of axle grease for donkey cart axles he imposed a tariff on donkey axle grease without ever even thinking of the lubricating materials to which the tariff would apply. It is like many another thing the Minister does. He has his hand in one thing and he does not realise at the time what he is doing at all, and he is quite staggered when he begins to discover the result of the application of some of the legislation he introduced. I do not wish to complain; all I want to ask is that the Minister would consider what he is doing. My only reflection is on the Minister's incompetence. He comes in here with legislation and proposals for tariffs without having given them the consideration that a 15-year-old schoolboy would give them. All I ask is that he will come in here and make some kind of an intelligent case for his proposals and not simply come in and wait for the Ceann Comhairle to ring the bell and wait for the members of his Party to endorse his views, though most of his Party might not understand his proposals. I wish to Heavens the Minister would realise what he is doing. It would save this country a good deal of trouble.

Now, I want to pass to the sore item in this Vote, and that is the relief of taxes by a quarter of a million pounds. I wonder are the farming members of the Fianna Fáil Party awake to the fact that Fianna Fáil are to de-rate agricultural land in this country. That pledge was as specific a pledge as was ever given off a public platform. It is one of those mandates that they have decided to drop. Mandates apparently confer rights, but no obligations. If you want to go in pursuit of your mandate you are quite free to do so; but if you do not, you need not.

Your mandate was a very doubtful one.

It got me here all the same. At least it may be said that whatever mandate we got we stuck to it; we did not drop it. We are still prepared to carry out what we undertook to do. I hope the farmer representatives on the Fianna Fáil Party will use some pressure to make their leaders carry out what they undertook to do. They have now ratted on de-rating, and they have reduced the agricultural grant by almost half a million, with the result that a large number of people who are getting their land annuities halved will have the greater part of that benefit taken away from them by the local authorities. What are the agricultural community going to get out of that quick-change operation? I think the unfortunate people who were looking forward with eager anticipation to the arrival of Fianna Fáil in the Government Benches are going to get a very rude disappointment. It is not the first they got, and it will not be the last; but this will do a good deal to wake them up.

I do not despair, even at this moment, that we might stir the conscience of the Minister for Finance and bring him back to his old allegiance, his old allegiance of de-rating. He promised it, if he ever promised anything. It is amongst the most explicit of his undertakings, and it is very little use now explaining that he is giving the people something else instead. What the people want is what the Fianna Fáil Party undertook to give them, and that is de-rating. What they are getting instead of de-rating is a reduction of their land annuities, with the addendum that the local authority will take back the greater part of what the Government propose to give them.

The Government conveniently forget, when they pursue that line of policy, that there are people in this country who are paying rent still and to whom this reduction in the agricultural grant will mean a very heavy added burden; and that there are people in this country who were foolish enough to do what they believed was the patriotic thing when the Land Acts were passed, and that was to purchase out their holdings with a lump sum. When the Land Acts were passed that was considered to be the patriotic thing to do. If you could relieve the borrowings of the Government, so much the better. If you did not require financial accommodation, then by all means you should complete the purchase and release the money in order to bring about the purchase of some other tenancy. The poor fools who did the patriotic thing are now going to derive no benefit from the reduction in the land annuities. They will receive no generous requital for their patriotism.

In these times, when pensions are the order of the day for anybody who was patriotic or who pretended to be patriotic, when we are to search the pockets of everybody in the country in order to provide a pension or a gratuity for every person who thinks he did something in the cause of freeing this country, I think those who were undemonstratively but constructively patriotic when the Land Acts were going through and when real work was being done for this country, ought not now to be forgotten.

I ask the Minister to consider that aspect of the situation. The reduction of the agricultural grant is going to impose an unfair burden on those who have redeemed their land annuities. I ask the Minister to see if some measure cannot be devised to remove that inequality and to see that these people receive the same measure of relief as the annuity-paying tenants will receive.

Deputy Norton referred to afforestation. Even since this State was founded I have been listening to the prodigies of achievement that were to emerge every year in the way of re-afforestation. We are told it is being carried out here and there. That may be so, but I have never seen any of it. Donegal is waiting for it, is anxious for it, and there are large tracts of suitable land in Donegal. I am aware that bog land is not suitable for afforestation, but there are large tracts of mountain and dry land which might very profitably be devoted to afforestation. There are large areas in the South Rosses which might very well be devoted to afforestation and also in Gweedore.

Donegal has been waiting patiently for its share of afforestation for the last ten years and I shall be interested to hear from the Minister if he thinks there is any possibility of persuading Senator Connolly, who was mighty active in Donegal in the last general election, with tar barrels, torches and brass bands, as to the desirability of assisting Donegal in this way. If the Senator is now prepared to return to Donegal, without the torches and without the brass bands, to do something for Donegal in return for all that Donegal did for him, he will be warmly welcomed. He need not go back making as much noise as he did during the election; he need not go back with a crowd at his heels; he can go back alone and, if he goes with gifts in his hands, he will be received with a warm welcome from the supporters of the Centre Party and Cumann na nGaedheal, not to speak of Peadar O'Donnell.

It was sheer chance that brought me into the House when Deputy Dillon was speaking. This must be my lucky day. There is no Deputy I would more like to hear. There is nobody that I know of here or elsewhere who can make a greater pretence of knowledge with less justification than Deputy Dillon. He has spoken here with the pose and the voice of an oracle, laying down the absolute truth in relation to a number of industrial matters about which he knows very little. He proceeded to indict my Department. He bases all his indictments on the imposition of three tariffs of which he disapproves, one on egg boxes, one on artificial manures and one on lubricating grease. That is the whole basis of his indictment.

I must interrupt the Minister. I did not want to keep the Dáil the whole day and that was the reason I confined myself to one or two items. If I had gone over the Minister's entire record while in the Ministry the possibilities are that we would not get this Vote through tonight. I gave only a few instances. If the Minister wants me to deal with others, I shall be glad to do so. I certainly could go a great deal further.

I am perfectly well aware of the Deputy's ability to pose as an authority on any subject at a moment's notice, whether it is lubricating grease, egg boxes or some obscure mineral product. I know quite well that he could speak with the same authority on matters of that sort as he could about afforestation in Donegal or some other subject about which, possibly, he does know something. What was the Deputy's whole complaint? We imposed a tariff on lubricating grease in order to benefit some hole-and-corner factory and we imposed an additional burden on the already over-burdened Great Southern Railways. Is not that it?

No. It is that you came in here as a Minister and you did not know what you were doing.

I forgot the first part of the Deputy's announcement. He indicated that I galloped into the Dáil in order to impose it.

Innocent and ignorant of what you were about to do.

The Deputy said I galloped into the Dáil innocent and ignorant of what I was about to do, and that through the tariff on this lubricating grease I imposed a burden upon the Great Southern Railways and benefited only a hole-and-corner factory.

And to the injury of everybody who is an importer of grease for lubricating purposes.

That is one part of it. May I say that the Deputy has improved upon the official organ of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party in his description of the factories? The Cumann na nGaedheal organ calls them gutter factories, but the Deputy calls them hole-and-corner factories. It is a slight improvement.

A little more accurate.

Let us examine the accuracy of the statement. There are two factories manufacturing lubricating grease here, one in Cork and one in Dublin. The factory in Dublin may be described as a hole-and-corner factory, it covers two acres of ground, but that would not prevent its being a hole-and-corner factory to a man with the spacious mind of Deputy Dillon. Not only is it a large factory, but it happens to have a unique reputation. There are only three factories like it in the world. It gets orders for lubricating grease from no less a customer than the British Admiralty. It is a factory unique in Europe. It can produce certain greases and oils which no other factory in Europe produces.

We are not speaking about oils. The tariff refers only to grease, and it is with grease we are dealing.

This is the hole-and-corner factory of which I am speaking. I am dealing with the Deputy's description of a hole-and-corner factory, the same type of factory as the organ of the Party opposite calls a gutter factory employing two men and a boy in a shed. But the fact about this factory is that it is not merely able to produce the whole of the lubricating grease and oils required in this country but it is able to sell its lubricating grease and oils required in this country would seem to be some indication that it is being run on fairly efficient lines. I am sure Deputies will admit that. Of course all these facts fall to the ground in the face of the great fact that a Director of the Great Southern Railway said that this tariff on lubricating grease was imposing an additional burden upon an already over-burdened institution.

Now I wish to say that the Deputy should be very careful about accepting everything that a member of the Board of the Great Southern Railways may say. The Board of the Great Southern Railway has a peculiar mentality. An English railway company might use lubricating grease made in Ireland. An English railway company might use home-grown oak for keys for their rails but the Great Southern Railway have to use Burma teak. An English railway company might use Irish oak. It would be impossible for persons with the mentality concerned to realise that an Irish factory could produce lubricating grease not merely better but cheaper than the price at which we could import it. The fact is that the director of the Great Southern Railway who burst into print on this matter has, since this tariff went on, not seen fit to speak of it again. His ignorance on the subject is only equalled by Deputy Dillon's. Then we have this question of artificial manures. I could not quite follow Deputy Dillon in this matter. He said that artificial manure factories in the Free State were now loaded to the roofs with artificial manures that they could not sell and that the remedy is to remove the tariff.

Does the Minister dispute that or deny that they are?

I would like to hear the Deputy elaborate that.

If the Minister wants to hear it now I will tell him.

I want to put a question to Deputy Dillon. He says these factories producing artificial manures are loaded to the roof and unable to sell them. Would they be in a better position to sell them if there had been no tariff?

I told the Minister that that was so. These manures are 9d. per cwt. dearer now than last year and the manures are still there in the factory because the people will not pay the price for them.

The fact is that before last year people purchased Irish manures at a higher price than the price at which they could buy the imported manures. The farmers insisted on getting the Irish manufactured manures in spite of the fact that a tariff was not in existence. The tariff imposed does not bring the price of imported manures up to the price of the Irish artificial manures. Nevertheless, the farmers are using four times as much artificial manures of Irish manufacture as of imported manures.

How is the competition kept so low?

Because the important consideration in this matter is quality.

Quality is determined by a chemical test.

And four out of every five farmers in the country are incapable of knowing their own business. That is the Deputy's point.

Are they buying them this year?

We have another authority on the subject of artificial manures. I am delighted that we have another authority in the Dáil in the person of Deputy Belton.

Like Deputy Dillon, I am delighted to see the Minister there.

That is a rather ambiguous thing to say. The Deputy will be expelled from that Party if he repeats that again.

Why does the Minister say "expelled"? Is the Minister going to repeat the lie of his understrapper, Deputy Corry? I invite the Minister to prove his insinuation or else to go on and speak on manures now.

May I express my appreciation of what the Deputy says?

If the Minister likes. Perhaps he had better go on with the manures.

There are 1,000 employed on the production of artificial manures here. Of course, that is a small number to a large employer like Deputy Belton, but nevertheless it means a lot to the workers employed.

I do not produce artificial manures. I use them.

I will take the Deputy's word for that.

I am glad to hear the Minister for Industry and Commerce on this matter, but——

A Minister or Deputy addressing this House can only be interrupted by another Deputy on a point of order.

The second point is that before any tariff was imposed four-fifths of the manures used in this country were produced in Irish factories despite the fact that the foreign artificial manure was very much cheaper.

Foreign imports broke up the manure ring.

The third point is that the reason why four out of every five Irish farmers were prepared to pay a higher price for Irish manures was because it was more economical to do so. The superiority of the Irish article was the cause.

Foreign imports broke up the manure ring.

The third point is that the reason why four out of every five Irish farmers were prepared to pay a higher price for Irish manures was because it was more economical to do so. The superiority of the Irish article was the cause.

I accept that statement. I agree with it.

The fourth point was that the tariff was necessary in order to deal with competition arising out of the peculiar economic situation existing on the Continent which resulted in very strenuous efforts being made to increase the sale of artificial manures here by sending the manures in at a low price. The tariff helped on that particular point. The tariff did not reverse the price position. Despite the tariff, it is still cheaper to buy the foreign article but the farmers do not want it. That is because they have not the same knowledge as Deputy Dillon.

It is fully understood that I am bound by your ruling, sir.

I do not want to be taken as interrupting the Minister but may I put a question?

Certainly.

I would like to know if the Minister for Industry and Commerce stands for the principle of putting a tariff on an essential raw material for our main industries?

The Deputy has asked a question which the Chair cannot allow the Minister to answer. The business now before the House is the consideration of expenditure and administration generally and general financial policy, but not specific tariffs.

Perhaps we are all out of order, but we are arguing on the merits of doing what I am asked to stand for as a principle.

Deputy Dillon argued that the Department of Industry and Commerce was incompetent.

Not the Department, the Minister.

The Deputy said that the Minister for Industry and Commerce was going to cost the people £14,000 more this year, and that that £14,000 would be ill-spent in view of the fact that the net result of my activities last year was a tariff on artificial manures, lubricating grease and egg boxes. I do not think that I am misrepresenting Deputy Dillon. I should hate to misrepresent him. So far as artificial manures are concerned, if the circumstances are as Deputy Dillon described and the tariff had not been imposed last year, it would certainly have to be imposed now. On the question of tariffs in general, we stand for putting tariffs on everything that can be produced within the country of the required quality and in quantity capable of supplying our requirements.

I now come to the third point-egg boxes. For some inscrutable reason known only to Deputy Dillon, we cannot produce egg boxes as competently and as efficiently as they can be produced elsewhere. Timber brought in here loses its quality. Sawing machines will, for some reason, not work. Irish labour is naturally inefficient and cannot use these machines in any event. If we set down a sawing machine in Latvia and put Latvian workmen to operate it, will the Deputy admit that, the same machine being set down here and operated here——

Again, I am not permitted by the Ceann Comhairle to interrupt the Minister.

I am aware of that. It was merely a rhetorical question. I am merely trying to do something to enable the light of knowledge to penetrate the abysmal darkness of the Deputy's ignorance. The fact is that we can produce egg-boxes and that we are producing them. When Deputy Dillon was like that schoolboy of fifteen to whom he made reference, we were producing egg-boxes. In recent years that particular industry was badly hit—almost killed—and we have taken steps to restore it. For a period, we had to walk gingerly. We had to ensure that there would be no interruption of supplies. We issued licences to egg exporters when they satisfied us that the Irish saw millers were not in a position to supply their requirements. We have got to the point where they can supply requirements. On the question of price, if the Irish saw millers could supply egg-boxes more cheaply than they could be imported, there would be no necessity for a tariff. In the circumstances I have referred to, it is not possible to make egg-boxes as cheaply as they can be imported. The Deputy may not be aware that we can buy from certain Baltic countries egg-boxes manufactured more cheaply than we can buy from the same countries an amount of timber equivalent to that contained in the boxes. That is the position. We will be able, I think, to rectify that position by securing supplies of timber from other sources and by developing and utilising native timber. But the Deputy can take it definitely from me that there is no article of wood which we cannot produce here and which we will not produce here. The duties imposed by the Government are intended to secure that these articles will be produced here. The egg-box industry is capable of providing employment for a number of our citizens. That is why the duty was imposed, and that is why it will be imposed. I am not aware, and the Department of Agriculture is not aware, that any ill effects have followed upon that duty on egg-boxes. I see where the Deputy is making the mistake. The Deputy takes as a fact, in relation to every tariff, the statement of those interested in the articles against which the tariff is directed.

I am spurred into interruption. Here is the Minister for Agriculture assuring these gentlemen who made these representations that he would relay them to the Minister for Industry and Commerce and give the recommendations his full support. The Minister's own colleague, having listened to the case and examined it, says he will relay the recommendations to the Minister for Industry and Commerce and give these recommendations his full support. Is the Minister for Industry and Commerce bearing in mind that component parts of boxes are affected?

It is the component parts I am talking about. It is the component parts that are imported.

Deal with the comment of the Minister for Agriculture.

The Minister for Agriculture fully agrees with this tariff, was associated with me in advocating it to the Dáil and is prepared to stand beside me in defending it.

There is a nigger in the wood pile somewhere, because here is the statement of the Minister for Agriculture, who undertook to place these recommendations before the Minister for Industry and Commerce and to give them his full support.

Let us get the facts right. What is the Deputy quoting from?

A circular issued by the Central Egg Merchants' Association, in which they state that Dr. Ryan, the Minister for Agriculture, called a consultative committee meeting for February 22nd. They then set out the attendance and state the subjects discussed. The first paragraph deals with the egg-box question. This is the recommendation:—

That the tariff on imported egg-box boards be immediately abolished, suspended, or else egg-boxes be allowed in free of duty under licence during the next six months. In the meantime, the saw millers here could be given an opportunity of convincing the Minister for Industry and Commerce that they will be in a position to supply equally suitable boards at prices not exceeding imported quotations plus 50 per cent. tariff. If the saw millers are unable to give conclusive evidence that they can do this, the Minister for Industry and Commerce could re-enforce the tax at the expiration of six months from now. If, on the other hand, the Free State saw millers are not able to compete, the tax should be immediately abolished, and all egg-box timber allowed in free. The trade representatives pointed out that the egg industry, especially now that it was so hard hit, could not possibly afford any more than a 50 per cent. tax on the boxes, which are all required for re-export. This being so, any further increase on the present tariff with a view to helping the saw millers would prove an intolerable burden on the egg industry. The chairman and officials undertook to pass along these recommendations to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and to give the same full support.

The Chairman was the Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Ryan, who supported the proposal that the tariff on imported boxes should be immediately abolished or suspended or that boxes should be allowed in free unless the saw millers came down in their prices.

That is a very different thing from what the Deputy has been saying up to this. There is quite a lot more in that—more words at any rate. There are quite a number of other things brought into it. The fact is that the egg merchants have been getting supplies of boxes under licence, but these supplies are going to be restricted in quantity. I have said that already. I have stated that we had carefully exercised our licensing powers with a view to securing that egg exporters would get a supply of imported boxes when they had shown to the satisfaction of my Department that they could not get supplies from the native saw millers. The native saw millers for five or six years were practically wiped out. Now they are being revived. It will be some little time before they can get to the same state of efficiency that they attained before. To give up the battle in advance is the surest way of losing it. If our battle is to be won, we must be prepared to fight it right through. If we run away at the beginning we might as well not start the campaign at all. We are succeeding in restoring to this country one of the industries most suitable to it—the saw-milling industry. As a result of that industry we are going to be in a position to supply not merely the requirements of egg exporters but other types of box and other types of woodwork. There is no article made out of wood which cannot be efficiently produced here. In fact, in respect of a great many articles of wood, as the Deputy may be aware, we have an export trade that is growing.

However, to get back to the main subject of the indictment. My Department is subjected to criticism because it will cost £14,000 more, although it is said that the net result of its activities last year were these three tariffs, every one of which can be justified, every one of which was designed to increase employment, and to enable the country to pay in taxes the amount required to meet the additional expenditure involved. The increase in the cost is entirely due to the fact that the Department is now working for the first time. Heretofore, it merely consisted of an organisation created for the purpose of carrying out certain statutory obligations imposed upon it by different Acts of Parliament. Now it is beginning to exercise a different function, to play a different part in the life of the country. I submit that there are very few people, apart from Deputy Dillon, who are not thoroughly satisfied with the progress that has been made already, and who are not confident that equal progress will be made in the future. I should like to say this to Deputy Dillon in conclusion, that the opinion of the people of Donegal in that matter is just as valuable and has been just as decisively expressed as that of the people in other parts of Ireland.

I should like to congratulate the Minister who has just sat down on returning to his old-time controversial style; not exactly that he refuted what Deputy Dillon stated, but that he showed remarkable cleverness in the flippancy with which he dealt with it. Possibly that would be for him a more effective way of dealing with the subject than the way in which Deputy Dillon dealt with it. Though I presume there is hardly any activity of Government policy that we cannot discuss on this Vote, into the matter of the dispute between the Minister and Deputy Dillon I do not propose to go. I was not disappointed in hearing from the Minister, because I think we have heard it in the case of every tariff that has been attacked, that this was the one tariff beyond all others that justified itself. I do not think we have had a tariff discussed or attacked here as to which the Minister was not in a position to make that particular answer. I could understand his saying that a tariff was justified, but we are generally told—if a tariff is picked out for criticism—that the one under criticism was precisely the one that particularly justified itself. That was so in the case of artificial manures. As to the Minister's case against Deputy Dillon, I do not believe it was sound. We had that argued out in this House. I remember we spent a couple of days arguing it out in connection with that particular tariff. At the time we saw no justification. We did not think the Minister had brought forward any justification on the figures published by his own Department for the imposition of that particular tariff. I am not aware that he has bettered his case to-day. Some explanation will ultimately have to be given for the failure of the farmers to use artificial manure; for the fall in the consumption of artificial manure in this particular year; the fall that is indicated in the circular read out by Deputy Dillon. What was the reason? Was it the high price charged this year for the home product? The Minister for once seemed to slip into the acknowledgment that the home article was dearer than the foreign article; that even the foreign article plus the tariff was not up to the price of the home article. Why is there less being used? Is it that the farmer is no longer in a position to buy artificial manure? Is not that an extraordinary position for the farming community to be in after twelve months of the Fianna Fáil Government, especially with an intensive campaign of tillage being started, that precisely in this particular year there should be a shortage apparently in the use of artificial manure? That only bears out what I have heard down the country that artificial manure is not being used to the same extent. The Department of Agriculture has wakened up to that fact. There is either one or other explanation: either the cost of the product, or the incapacity of the farmer to spend the money even on this necessary article. That may be the explanation. I suggest, if it is the explanation, that it is not any more gratifying to the public, nor should it be any more gratifying to the Government, if as a result of twelve months of their policy the farmer is no longer in a position to buy that manure so necessary, as everybody will acknowledge, for the full and proper use of his land. It is all the more necessary, as we are on the eve, we are told, of this intensive campaign of tillage which the Government are determined partly to induce the people into and partly to force them into.

As I say, we might discuss practically any aspect of the Government policy on this Vote. It is difficult to know what particular aspect to pick out. We shall have plenty of opportunities afterwards of discussing various aspects of Government policy. We might take this opportunity to discuss once more the effects of the policy of the Government, the policy which has destroyed not only the foreign market, but, as there is every evidence to show, has destroyed the home market as well. Reference was made yesterday by the Minister for Finance, as well as I remember, to the abnormal Budget that would come in this year. Again he is apparently going to separate the abnormal and the normal Budget. The abnormal Budget, apparently, which was introduced as a purely temporary one-year matter last year, is to become with him one of the most standing features in the finances of the country. The abnormal Budget, in fact, is to become the normal. Year after year, as far as I can see from the remark yesterday, we are to be presented with a Budget divided into two compartments, one normal and the other for some reason called abnormal. Apparently, the abnormal is destined to last year after year as long as the present Government lasts.

I must commend the Minister for Finance for the phrase which he used in reference to the pensions, that there was a net saving of £1,200,000—rather a neat way of referring to that disastrous policy, of which this is portion, of refusing to pay this £1,200,000. I wonder whether that is an example of the economy which was practised by the Government. Mention has been made by previous speakers, and the debate has turned a lot on Vote 69, especially so far as relief works are concerned. That has been diminished by £350,000. But we are told by the Minister for Finance, as well as I could follow his interruption, that we need not take that seriously; that this £150,000 might be described as a Token Vote; that it does not represent the Government's view of what may have to be spent in unemployment this year. Why are we not given some kind of estimate, if the Minister is in a position to know that this is not a proper estimate? Why is it put in to swell this great reduction of five millions which is made up in such an extraordinary way? The public may be under the impression that there is a saving of £5,000,000 effected, but, of that £5,000,000 £2,000,000 is made up by the wiping out of the emergency fund in aid. What is the policy as regards that? What has happened to that £2,000,000? An opportunity will be given of course to the Minister and to the Government of explaining how much of that they have spent. Have they spent it all? Do they intend to re-vote any of it? Are any bounties to be given next year? Is the economic war to come to an end? If it is not to come to an end is the aid that was given to the various industries—agriculture and so on—which have suffered in the economic war to be stopped? Have the Government definitely made up their mind that all bounties that were necessary in order to enable England to collect taxes on our exports are to stop? There is no indication as to that. The Minister indicated various other things, but did not explain how it was that there was a complete lack of provision for that particular help to our industry. Is it to be given or not? Surely that is a matter which the Minister might make clear to this Dáil. Is the policy of bounties on manufactures because they are subject to tariffs, and the bounties on agricultural produce, going to stop? If so, why? How much has been spent? What is the position? He explained various other matters; surely one of the outstanding features in the alleged saving of £5,000,000 might have drawn a slight reference from the Minister by way of explanation. What is the policy of the Government on that particular matter? Reference was made to another portion of the Vote, the £500,000 which was voted last year, this year reduced to £150,000—a saving on relief votes of £350,000. I gathered from the reply of the Minister to, I think, Deputy Norton that that need not be taken seriously— that it meant really nothing. It is rather difficult to make out the policy of the Minister on the point, because at one moment he seemed to shift the responsibility from the central authority to the local bodies. He said, that as result of the help given to local bodies under local loans and under the Vote for Local Government he hoped there would be a better response from the local authorities in dealing with unemployment than there has been up to the present. That was the reply he gave to Deputy Norton—"We expect a better response from the local authorities." What is the inducement to the local authorities to give a better response? As far as I can see, one of the principal inducements to the local authorities to give a better response is the reduction of the assistance that is given to them by the Central Government so far as ordinary rates are concerned. They may get sums for building and matters of that kind, but what is their position so far as rates are concerned? They are getting in the coming year, as everybody knows, £450,000, roughly speaking, less than they got the previous year. Is this the inducement to the local authorities to respond to the demand of the Central Government so far as housing and other matters of expenditure are concerned? Is anybody seriously of opinion that that is the way to offer a better inducement? Is that an inducement to the local authorities to respond more readily to the demand of the central authority to spend money, even on the relief of unemployment? Deputy Norton, of course, would be a little more thorough than the Minister has been up to this. It is strange, coming from the benches that were always particularly keen on the rights of local authorities, that we had Deputy Norton advocating that compulsion be brought to bear on the local authorities, not because they evaded their statutory duties but because they did not respond fully to those rather vague wishes—not statutory requirements—on the part of the Government. They may be fulfilling their duties all right so far as legal obligations are concerned; they may be administering the affairs of their county faultlessly—correctly at any rate—but, if they fail to respond fully to this vague policy of the Government, then according to the Party that always stood up for the rights of local authorities, they are to be compelled to do so. What are we to think of the position of the Government as shown in that intimation which was so very recently given to the local authorities? I think that, when an intimation of this kind was being given to the local authorities—which so much affected, not merely the policy of the local authorities but the policy of the Central Government; which was shifting the burden of practically half a million pounds from the shoulders of the central authority to the local authority —it is regrettable that a copy of that circular was not sent to the members of this House. They might then be in a position to discuss more fully the policy of the Government.

The policy as regards local authorities is pretty much the same as the policy of the Government towards taxation. The less people are capable of bearing taxation the more they have to pay. That was, as we saw, the policy of the Minister for Finance last year. That is now apparently to be the policy so far as local authorities are concerned. Owing to the action of the Central Government, notwithstanding the depressed times, notwithstanding how agriculture has suffered, more is required from agriculture in the way of rates than was required before. After all, that is only enforcing on the local authorities that particular policy which the Fianna Fáil Party has so consistently pursued, that we have increased taxation. That is the policy that was pursued so far as central taxation is concerned. That is the policy which is going to be forced on the local authorities. The less people are able to bear the more they will have to pay. As a result of this swoop upon the local authorities a sum, approximately speaking, of £500,000 extra is to be raised by the local authorities. They have no chance of revising their estimates which are already struck. They are not to be gone back upon. Surely in so far as expenditure, on which there is a certain amount of discretion left to the local authority, is concerned, one of the matters that would be taken into account by any responsible body, central or local, in making an estimate is the capacity of the public to bear the tax or the rate. Surely the amount of what that rate would be is a matter that would influence the local authority in striking its rate, in making its estimate. Is it fair on any local authority to wait until they had formed their estimate, which they are then told is fixed and cannot be gone back upon, to tell them that they are going to get so much less; for instance in the case of the County Kerry, that they are going to get £20,000 less, and the same with the various other bodies? They are told how much less they are going to get. They were induced to frame their estimates without any information being given to them. It is only when they have framed their estimates, when, according to the circular that was sent around, they are no longer in a position to go back on their estimates, that they were told that the money which was coming to them in the shape of relief on agricultural land was to be diminished to such a very appreciable extent. That is undoubtedly what seems a very cynical and almost scandalous provision on the part of the Government. It is practically telling the local authorities: "We have caught you. We waited until you had committed yourselves. You cannot go back on it now. We are going to relieve the central authority and put it on you." That is practically the attitude taken up. There is to be a saving shown in that expenditure at all events. There is to be a saving shown so far as the expenditure of the Central Government is concerned, but is there a saving for the people? Nothing of the kind. They will have to find the same sum. If they cannot find it in taxes they will have to find it in rates. Is that fair dealing with the local authorities or with the public? It is merely, at the very best, a shifting of the incidence of taxation from income tax, indirect taxes and so on, on to the local taxes. I have not the slightest doubt that the various members of the Fianna Fáil Party will point out the tremendous advantage that is to the community, and that it is an advance. So far as the country, the community generally, and the Government are concerned, the action is always a victorious advance. In one paper it was said they were quite delighted with the new step on the part of the Government. I cannot speak with authority on that—I can only make reference to the paper. The Government expects a better response in the way of expenditure on the part of local bodies in the way of speeding up works and giving more employment, and this is the inducement they hold out to local bodies to give them that better response! All this from the Party that was eloquently and insistently defending de-rating in this House, this from the Party that demanded, merely as a preliminary to full de-rating, that £1,000,000 be paid by the central authority, this from the Party that scoffed at the £750,000 which was voted by their predecessors as being totally inadequate to deal with the situation. Why was it supposed to be inadequate? It was supposed to be inadequate owing to the way the farmer was hit, owing to the expenses of the farmer in comparison with his income. Was it ever pointed out more eloquently than by some of the speakers who are now in those Front Benches, but who were then on these benches, what the farmer had suffered, how he was incapable of bearing the burden put upon him by this State, and how his prices had fallen? That was only a couple of years ago. Is it suggested that the prices have gone up since then—the prices which the farmer receives for his commodities. We need not now debate what is the cause of that. We can all have different opinions about that. Surely, it must be common ground that the prices have fallen tremendously since such an eloquent case was made for de-rating, and now not merely is there no advance to de-rating but, as in most other things affecting the welfare of the community, the pace has been altogether backwards—every portion of the policy of the Government has been in that direction. It is a change or movement undoubtedly, but not a movement forwards. What exactly is the fate of their de-rating policy? They promised full de-rating so far as agricultural lands are concerned and apparently the time for that has gone by. There has been a fall in the price of the article sold by the farmer, a fall due to world conditions generally, and aggravated tremendously by the policy of the Government. As I said yesterday, not a day passes, not a month passes, that there is not a blow hit at the farming industry. Sometimes the blow is hit cynically, carelessly, and callously. Sometimes the blow is struck for the alleged purpose of improving the farmers' position and improving the conditions of the country as a whole. So far as the results are concerned, the blow is equally destructive whatever the motive. But whatever it is, whatever the pretence is, whether there is any pretence or not, the fact remains that everything is being done to hit still harder and to make the position of the farmer more difficult. A couple of years ago when, as we were told, they were on the verge of bankruptey it was the Government themselves who were vocal then so far as the farmers were concerned. Now we get the circular to the effect that we are going to impose further taxes, further duties and further burdens on the farmer. He is not getting much time to change over to the new policy. He is going to pay heavy rates unless by next April he makes up his mind that he is going to employ a large number of male employees. I wonder why is the distinction being made here between male and female employees. Is it because the female employee of the farmer is engaged upon a certain type of work, a certain type of work which the Party opposite wants to kill? Why is this distinction made between the sexes? No relief for the number of the female hands employed by the farmer. Why is that? In the circular we are told that relief will be given for full time annual employment given to all male adults. Why is that? Tillage policy again? It is quite obvious that the Government is fully intent upon destroying cattle-rearing, dairying, poultry, etc. in this country and it is not a mere accidental result of the economic war. Why is that distinction made unless destruction is the proclaimed intention of the Government? In that respect I wonder has the Government ever considered the amount of employment given by the different classes of farming, taking the country as a whole? Take for instance the rearing of cattle from the time of birth up to the time they are sold, and the amount of labour involved, compare that with the amount of labour involved in the growing of, say, ten acres of wheat. I wonder has the Government ever even considered the comparative amount of labour engaged in that respect? I do not believe they have ever even considered the problem. They are going to act as they have acted in most other matters. They simply say it must be so.

We were told of course that the farmers were not to be compelled to adopt the new policy. There is to be no policy of compulsion. Compulsion was not a portion of the Government policy. Aid would be given to those, in the way of bounties, who joined the new policy of the Government and who helped the new policy so far as wheat was concerned. "Aid would be given but no compulsion." What is this policy outlined in the circular except the thin end of the wedge of compulsion? In fact people are going to be taxed if they do not fall in with the Government's wishes and what is that but compulsion? If it is not, what would they mean by compulsion? Putting a man in jail or taking his land from him? even that is foreshadowed by many of the Government spokesmen. Some in that respect are a little more careful than others but I have always found that the truer prophets, so far as the Government Party are concerned, are the less careful exponents of the policy. It is their views that are found ultimately to be adopted and carried through by the Government. Surely, as I said, it is only a step from compulsion by means of taxation to compulsion in another form. In this respect other Governments have been referred to and one particular Government is sometimes referred to even by members of the Front Bench. In the action of that Government they would find a useful precedent for the present road our Government is travelling. That Government found the methods now adumbrated here a useful start against their rich farmers. So far as that is concerned, it is only the beginning of the policy in which the Government is indulging.

We expect the next step will be, not merely that there will be no relief in rates, but that the acreage a man will be allowed to have will depend on the number of his employees. Is that to be the next step? In some of the things they do the Government are logical enough, but are they going to have this same policy in relation to other forms of employment and industry? Take the case of a man who will have his income taxed. Will he get so much relief if he employs three, ten or twenty people? Take a man with £500. Is he going to get relief if he employs ten people as compared with a man similarly placed who employs nobody? Will the policy be pushed right through? Where are we, so far as this Government's policy is concerned?

In my own county the people will have to provide £20,000 more by way of rates. I gather that is the amount that will have to be provided by reason of the policy of this Government. The farming community have been told that they are going to be let off half their annuities. We have argued that matter already. We argued it last November and yesterday. We were asked yesterday why a certain action was not gone on with. The Attorney-General might be asked why he did not give the necessary fiat to go on with the action if he was so sure of his case. We have pointed out that reducing the land annuities by one-half is no adequate response to the heavy burdens that have been placed by the Government, especially by its land annuity policy, on the farmers. Take the £20,000 less that Kerry should get from the central body. It will have to be found.

What has Kerry got through the policy of the Government? It is a county that depends to a large extent on its exports. It is a feeding county and it is hit, not merely by the general policy of the Government, by the cutting off of the markets and by the tremendous fall in the price of farm produce, but in other respects as well. We know there was a period of some three weeks when prices began to go up. We were told from different Fianna Fáil platforms that this was due to a rise in the prices in England and had nothing to do with the fact that there was a general election here. The extraordinary thing was that the prices fell after the election. What are the prices at the fairs throughout Ireland? I admit the price of pigs has gone up. Why is that? Ask anybody who attends the markets and he will tell you it is because pigs have nearly disappeared from the market. Even with the present prices, any farmer will tell you that those prices do not pay. I have no doubt Ministers here will tell you that the people who say that do not know what they are talking about, but nevertheless that is the firm conviction of the farmers.

You have a county like Kerry that depends a great deal on its export of agricultural produce. That county is hit by the Government's policy and by this economic war. It is also hit by the policy outlined in the Cereals Bill. In County Kerry, rightly or wrongly, the farmers do not believe they can profitably grow wheat. They may be wrong, but I would like to know what prospect there is of an increased wheat production in that or other counties this year. By the 1st April the farmers there will have to make provision for extra employment, otherwise in the following year their rates go up. That does not give them much time to think it over. They have not much time to consider what crop they are going to cultivate. Some Deputies seem to hold that all grass lands can be immediately broken up and put under wheat. The farmers apparently must undertake its cultivation or they make themselves liable to an increased rate. The farmers in my county are badly hit by the Government policy.

Certain counties may derive benefit from the clause relating to mixed feeding, but Kerry is not one of them. The people there want to feed cattle in a particular way. To take quite recent information, they, with other people on the western seaboard, believe that Scotch seed oats were more suitable for their land. At this time of the year they want it for seeding purposes. What happened? There was a jump in the tax from £5 to £15. Of course, the farmers may be quite wrong in believing that Scotch oats are the best for their land, but nevertheless that is their belief. I am quite willing to acknowledge that there may be Deputies here who know more about the farming business in particular areas than the farmers there actually do; but what I have indicated is the firm belief of those farmers. There was no warning when the tax on Scotch oats was raised, and I am afraid the farmers will have to do without the Scotch seed oats which they consider suitable—and this from the tillage Government!

The Government has plunged into various policies. The speech of the Minister for Industry and Commerce was effective in so far as he evaded many of the important issues and it was effective from the point of view of being flippant in its whole tone. He indicated at one time that after a period of eight months we should see how successful his policy would be. Factories would go up, unemployment would be diminished to a tremendous extent. The eight months have passed and we are still waiting for the tremendous fillip to employment. The Minister is more wedded to his policy than ever. Any mistakes pointed out in that policy only confirm him all the more that his course is the right one. It is quite evident that even while he does not seem to be able to grasp the fact that while his tariff may have directly put a number of people into employment, indirectly it has helped to put a great deal more out of employment.

They were put on without explanation and without examination even by the Minister, much less by this House. There was an exchange of compliments between the Minister and Deputy Dillon to-day. We, who were in the House when these matters were last discussed—and they were not many, because when these matters are discussed there are not many in this House—remember the tremendous pains that Deputy Dillon and Deputy Morrissey went to in the course of an hour and a half or two hours of an afternoon to get into the head of the Minister for Industry and Commerce the information that grease could be used for lubricating purposes on machines. Their efforts were justified by the gradually awakening dawn in the mind of the Minister, and his appreciation of the facts they were putting before him. We on these benches listened with interest to the schooling Deputies gave the Minister, and to the way in which the Minister quickly absorbed the instruction. If the Deputies here would only throw their minds back they would see now that Deputy Dillon was justified in the views he put before the Minister on that occasion.

There are many things that we could raise on this Estimate. I am particularly anxious to draw attention to the cynical and callous fashion in which the Government have acted towards the local authorities, and indeed, to the way in which they have thrown them over. When they were sitting on the Opposition Benches and when they had no responsibility for finding the the money, they hailed the problem of finding the money with a pean of joy. But now they are in the position that they themselves will have to find the money. How? By throwing the responsibility of finding the money on the local authority, and throwing it on to the industry that the Government has done everything possible to destroy. That is the position. The Minister for Industry and Commerce seems to be more satisfied than ever as to the results of that policy, based as it is on the economic results of the General Election.

May I point out that that is not an argument to be advanced against our policy? That that does not make the policy of the Government sound so far as its effects on the people are concerned. There are a number of other matters that might be referred to, but I thought it better to confine myself to the remarks that I have just made.

Deputy O'Sullivan made great play about the decreased grants-in-aid to rates on agricultural land. But he conveniently forgets that this is the first year on which there are no deductions because of arrears on the land annuities. He forgets that during the period of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government these deductions averaged between £350,000 and £400,000 a year. One year the deductions went as high as £800,000. This year there are no such deductions. Deputy O'Sullivan made great play with the fact that there was an extra £20,000 taken off Kerry. But boiling down this matter and applying it to my own constituency I find that the benefit accruing to the farming community in Westmeath, because of the halving of the annuities, means £70,000, and as against this the rate is up £13,000. There is a net benefit to them of £57,000. In the case of the County Longford the benefits that they get because of the halving of the annuities means £34,000 a year, and they are asked to pay £7,000 in rates in return for that.

This year the farming community are only asked to pay a quarter of what they paid in any other year— £1,000,000 odd instead of £4,000,000 odd. Not only does that apply to people under the Wyndham Act and the Ashbourne Act but the tenants under the 1923 Act. The tenants got untenanted land under that 1923 Act and subsequent Acts during the previous régime at an enormous and uneconomic price. Deputy O'Sullivan went on to explain that at a particular period this year the prices of cattle went up. Englishmen decided to give more for Irish cattle and sheep because they thought that Professor O'Sullivan was to return to power. The Englishman would give Professor O'Sullivan, his Government and the people of this State £500,000 more for cattle and sheep in return for a payment of £5,000,000 which Professor O'Sullivan's Party would give them if returned to office.

Then Deputy Professor O'Sullivan said the price decreased. He admitted in the next breath that the price of pigs had gone up. He never said anything about the law of supply and demand. He said that this price of pigs was not a paying price. Every farmer would admit that £2 10/- per cwt. for a 10 stone pig was a very good paying proposition. It pays for the feeding and rearing of a pig. To make out that it is not a right price is very ridiculous.

It is clear that the Deputy does not keep pigs.

There were other matters brought forward in the debate. Deputy Dillon spoke of the matter of the Gárda Síochána. He said that political pull and influence was used in the matter of the Guards from one station to another. I believe that if the State could afford it, it would serve the public interest and the administration of the law if the Guards were shifted about more frequently and if they did not get rusty in their stations by being ten years in the one place. Speaking of political pull I believe there is political pull from every side of the House on the question of the Guards. In my own constituency there are Gárda stations situated within three statute miles of one another. We are over-guarded and over-policed and that is the opinion of all who have the true interests of the country at heart. The administration that preceded the Fianna Fáil Government and the Fianna Fáil Government itself made repeated representations that these stations should be closed. Immediately the thing had been mooted the interested people locally, the traders especially, got particularly busy. They got memorials and petitions of all kinds asking to have such and such a station kept open. We, who know the country intimately, know that in many of these areas there are no criminals whatsoever and there is no need for the Guards there. These areas could be administered from the adjoining stations. I would like to press the Minister for Finance on this subject and I hope when the Gárda Vote comes on to stress that a great saving could be made by the closing of a number of redundant Gárda stations. Deputy O'Sullivan referred to the decreased benefits to the community as a whole. He closed his eyes to the fact that under the Vote for Old Age Pensions there is an increase in benefits of a quarter of a million pounds. Most of this money finds its way to the agricultural community.

During this debate Deputy Norton again raised the question of the rate of wages paid on agricultural relief schemes. On a previous occasion, Deputies Morrissey and Anthony were very eloquent on this matter. Under the previous Administration, in the two winters preceding the coming into office of Fianna Fáil, certain relief works were carried out on a national scale under the Land Commission in every county in the Saorstát. The rate of wages laid down and paid in the counties of Leinster with which I am acquainted was 20/- per week. I happened to be a member of the House and I did not hear any eloquence from Deputy Anthony and Deputy Morrissey about this rate of 20/- a week. If my recollection serves me, they urged that the money be spent quickly, but there was no reference to the rate of wages. That flat rate of £1 was paid all over the Midland counties. As regards the rate of wages paid in the relief of unemployment in the Midlands, that is the county council rate on main and linking county roads—32/- per week. In the urban area of Athlone the rate is £2 per week. In the Commissioner area of Mullingar it is 38/-. On the minor relief schemes it was 24/-. The amount of money spent in this way was only a fraction of the total. On the housing schemes begun in Athlone and Moate, the rate of wages is 38/-. The same applies to sewerage schemes. It is very unfair to represent the Government as desiring to pull down wages to a flat rate of 24/- per week. It was a surprise to me to hear about the rate of wages paid to agricultural labourers. Let us face facts. With the exception of two farmers, there is no farmer that I know in the Midlands at present paying 24/- per week in cash to agricultural labourers. I make that statement deliberately. The flat rate of wages paid in County Westmeath is 15/- per week in cash, outdoor, and I believe that in the County Kildare it is as low as 12/- per week. I do not stand for that kind of thing, but it is most unfair that Deputies should get up and pretend that a certain state of affairs exists in the wages world which does not exist. I rose principally to refer to this wages question because of the misrepresentation that went on during this week and the previous week and in this particular debate about the rate of wages obtaining in the country.

I was under the impression at the outset that this debate was to be confined to local government and agriculture. As the speakers who preceded me roamed over the whole gamut of the Vote, I assume I am at liberty to discuss one particular Estimate. The Minister, in introducing this Vote, apparently took pride in the fact that he had reduced the Land Commission Estimate by £190,483. A few years ago, when a substantial reduction was made in an Estimate which I introduced, it was made the subject of a debate on a Vote of this kind. I think that was in the year 1927. I am anxious to find out from the Minister how this figure is made up—under what sub-heads of the Land Commission Vote he has effected this saving. Last year there was, I believe, approximately £90,000 provided in the Estimate for improvement of estates. Very little land was divided by the Land Commission since the Fianna Fáil Party took office, and I am anxious to know what amount of the money provided for the improvement of estates was subsequently refunded to the Treasury. I am also anxious to know what amount the Minister has provided in the Estimates under that particular sub-head— Improvement of Estates. I know that there is great activity in the country in the way of inspecting land and reporting as to its suitability for acquisition. I am wondering where the money is to come from to pay for that land. At the time the Fianna Fáil Government took over control of the Land Commission there were approximately 300,000 acres actually acquired. Schemes were in hand for the distribution of the greater part of that land. These schemes are still in the Land Commission and no steps whatsoever have been taken to dispose of these lands. I should like to know from the Minister why these schemes which had been prepared have been held up for a period of twelve months in the Land Commission. We were told by the Fianna Fáil Party when in Opposition that they would when they attained to power distribute land three times faster than the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. Land distribution during the period of my association with the Land Commission proceeded at the rate of approximately 50,000 acres per year. Last year I do not think the Land Commission divided even 10,000 acres. I have not been able to get the actual figures. Notwithstanding that there were schemes in hand prepared by the Land Commission inspectors and ratified by the Commissioners for the distribution of at least 30,000 acres, the land has not been distributed and the country is still seeking an explanation from the Government as to the reason for holding up all these schemes. If a portion of the reduction on this Estimate has been secured at the expense of the Improvements sub-head, that is a clear indication that the Land Commission, or the Government, do not intend to proceed with distribution of land this year—or at least with the distribution of very much land. There must have been a very substantial saving on the Improvements sub-head last year, and I am assuming that that saving of £190,000, which the Minister has made on the Land Commission Estimate, will to a very large extent come out of the Improvements sub-head.

As I am dealing with the Land Commission Estimate, I should like to know from the Minister if he proposes under the circumstances recently brought about by his Government to continue the statutory payment of £134,000 to the British Government in respect of the bonus and excess stock. I have not seen the Estimates for 1933-34 yet.

That is the principal saving.

That leaves a balance of approximately £50,000. Has that saving of £50,000 been effected by reducing the Improvements sub-head? I think the Minister effected a saving last year, unless I am mistaken or misinformed, of something like £60,000 under that particular sub-head. I think the figure was actually higher. I should like to hear from the Minister if that saving of £50,000 has been effected under that particular sub-head of the Vote. If that is so, then it seems to me, judging by the items contained in this Vote, that there will be very little money available for employment this year. The Land Commission did succeed for the last four or five years in giving employment to quite a big number of people in various parts of the country, particularly during the season from 1st November until the end of March. These men were mainly engaged on work relating to the division of estates; work connected with fencing and draining and works of that character. It appears to me from the saving which the Minister has made in the Land Commission Estimate that that work is to be considerably curtailed this year, and that, as I say, taken in conjunction with the reduction of £350,000 in the relief works, will mean a very substantial reduction in employment works of this character during the coming year. So much for the Land Commission.

I said in a discussion on a Relief Vote some time ago that I could not understand why the Minister did not charge the Land Commission with the responsibility of administering a substantial portion of the relief grant. It was the custom of the previous Government to charge the Land Commission with the responsibility of administering the major portion of relief grants since the first relief grant was given in the financial year 1924-5. The Land Commission succeeded during a period of years in devising a perfect machine for the administration of these grants. Deputies on every side of the House must admit that they did succeed in giving very general satisfaction. The last relief grants were administered by the county councils. I can say quite definitely, without fear of contradiction, that a good portion of that money was wasted and wasted shamelessly. There was no proper supervision. There could not have been proper supervision, because the money had to be spent within a certain limited period. There was no organisation of any kind at the outset. In the absence of a proper organisation for the expenditure of money of that kind, it is impossible to have the work done economically or to have adequate supervision. The money, I say, was squandered. There was no adequate supervision either from the engineering point of view or from the point of view of the gangers. In very many cases there were gangers appointed in charge of these works who did not know the first thing about road work and who never had any experience of road work. If relief grants are to be given—and I assume under existing conditions it will be necessary for the Government to introduce not one, but probably many relief votes during the coming twelve months—I suggest to the Minister, in the interests of economy and the interests of the country, that he should once again charge the Land Commission with the responsibility for administering these grants. It is the one Department of Government with experience of their administration, and it is the one Department of Government which I do believe will give adequate satisfaction in the expenditure of this particular money, if charged with the responsibility.

A great deal has been said already about the reduction of £448,000 from the Agricultural Grant this year. Certainly that reduction came as a bombshell to the farmers. They quite naturally assumed from the many promises made by the Fianna Fáil Party during the past few years, that when that Party had an opportunity they would, instead of reducing the grants, increase them very substantially. I think it was at the February election in 1932 that the Fianna Fáil Party promised the people quite definitely that when they were in power and succeeded in retaining the land annuities they would utilise these annuities for the purpose of giving complete de-rating. This is the way they have fulfilled that promise. Instead of giving complete de-rating, as they undertook to do, they have reduced the Agricultural Grant by approximately half a million pounds and they have reduced that grant at a time when agriculture in this country is suffering in a way it has not suffered during the history of this State.

Deputy de Valera, as he then was, introduced a motion into the Dáil on 26th March, 1931. In the course of his speech in moving that motion he went into a very great deal of detail relating to agricultural conditions in the country at the time. He went on to show the reduction that had taken place in the area of land under tillage during various periods from 1912, I think it was, to 1931. He went on to show the reduction in the number of dairy stock, sheep, and so on. In any event, the main point he tried to make was that if the farming industry was to survive the depression which then existed it was necessary that the Government should come to its relief by giving certain rate reliefs during that particular year. That was the main point in his speech. It is interesting, in the light of the developments of the past twelve months, to read the speech of Deputy Ryan, as he then was, the present Minister for Agriculture. In the course of that speech, in referring to the report of the De-Rating Commission, which was then due, he said: "And unless we hold the market for him we are going to be nowhere in a few years. Therefore, I say, do not let the farmer go out of production; do not delay in giving him the relief he wants." He finished up in this strain: "There is no time for that"—(waiting for the recommendation of the De-Rating Commission). "There is no prospect for farming so far as we can see. The prospects for farming were never worse. Up till last year we thought that things were going to improve, but now we see they are going on as they were and that relief is wanted immediately if we are to keep the farmer in production. Unless we hold the market for him we are going to be nowhere in a few years." That was Deputy Ryan in 1931. I wonder what the Minister for Agriculture to-day would say of the speech he made on 26th March that year in support of the motion moved by the leader of his Party. "We must hold the market." As a matter of fact, as a direct result of his policy, we have to all intents and purposes lost at least a very large share of that market. If his policy is to be followed to its logical conclusion, we will inevitably in the course of time lose the whole of the market. At all events, the point which the Minister for Agriculture and the President tried to make at that time was that in order to encourage production amongst farmers it was necessary to give some relief. Surely to goodness if under the conditions of 1931 the leaders of the Fianna Fáil Party who were then in Opposition considered that in order to encourage production amongst farmers it was necessary to give some rate relief at that time how much more necessary is it to-day under the unfortunate developments that have taken place during the last twelve months to give additional relief to farmers instead of reducing the amount of the Agricultural Grant? President de Valera said the other day, I think it was in reply to a question of Deputy O'Donovan's, that it was not proposed to give the farmers de-rating. In reply to a supplementary question of Deputy O'Donovan's in which he reminded him of the promises made to the country during the General Election campaign of 1932, he said that the farmers of the country should not expect too much, and he developed the point that they were getting 50 per cent. off their land annuities. The point is overlooked, deliberately or otherwise, by the members of the Fianna Fáil Party when they say they are going to reduce the land annuities by 50 per cent. Admittedly, at least I assume that that reduction will take place when the long-promised Land Bill is introduced into this Dáil, but the farmers are already paying their land annuities in the shape of special duties to the British Government. The majority of farmers have paid their land annuities two, three and four times over, and by the 9th May of this year there will not be one farmer in this country large or small who will not have paid his land annuities in the shape of these special duties to the British Government. The position at the moment is this, the farmer is already paying his land annuities in the shape of these special duties to the British Government. Under the proposals which the Fianna Fáil Government are going to introduce very shortly into this Dáil he is to be asked to pay another 50 per cent. of the legal land annuity fixed originally on his holding, so he will be paying one and a half times the legal amount of the land annuities, and in addition to paying one and a half times the amount of the land annuities he has got to endure a further reduction in the amount of the Agricultural Grant, amounting to somewhere about one shilling or one and threepence in the pound. In my own county of Sligo, which is primarily an agricultural county, probably more predominantly agricultural than any other county in the Free State, the reduction in the amount of the Agricultural Grant amounts to about £10,000, which represents a further increase in the rates of 1/3 in the £. That is the way in which the Fianna Fáil Party have carried out their promise about de-rating. Instead of de-rating we have a reduction in the grants hitherto given to farmers in the country, and that as I say at a time when agriculture in this country is suffering more severely than at any other time in the history of the State. The indications seem to point quite clearly at this moment to the fact that the expenditure of the public boards will increase during the coming twelve months. There has been an abnormal increase in many counties during the past twelve months, and I do not see any indication at the moment that the increase is going to be stopped. There has been an increase in home assistance, a very big increase in many counties but in all counties some increase. Even in my own county of Sligo the increase amounts approximately to £4,000, and that represents an added burden on the shoulders of the unfortunate ratepayers.

I see there is a reduction of £15,494 in the Estimate under the head of Fisheries and Gaeltacht Services. The Gaeltacht formed a subject for debate in this Dáil I think more frequently than any other subject mentioned in this Estimate. Days and days were spent here in discussing the woes and the grievances of the people in the Gaeltacht. The Fianna Fáil Party when they were in opposition made it a favourite topic of discussion at every one of their chapel gate meetings during the week-ends, and they gave the people of the Gaeltacht clearly and definitely to understand that when they were in office they would regard it as one of their primary obligations to set up some special Department of Government to deal with the special conditions of the people of the Gaeltacht. It was suggested some time ago that the Congested Districts Board was to be revived in a new form for the purpose of dealing exclusively with Gaeltacht problems. Does this reduction in the Gaeltacht Vote indicate that the people of the Gaeltacht are going to get any special consideration? Does it not indicate as a matter of fact that there is going to be a lessening of activity in these particular areas? There has been a lessening of activity in these areas during the past twelve months. As Deputy Dillon pointed out, there has been no money available for Gaeltacht housing during the past ten months. Other activities in the Gaeltacht have also had to be curtailed for similar reasons. Now that Vote is to be reduced by another £16,000 approximately, and that, as I say, notwithstanding the promises made to the people in the Gaeltacht areas that when the Fianna Fáil Party was in power one of their first and primary duties would be to attend to the needs and wants of the people of the Gaeltacht. It is quite safe to assume that this reduction means a further curtailment of activities in the Gaeltacht areas. I would like to get from the Minister, when he is concluding this discussion here to-day, an undertaking that adequate money will be made available for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the Gaeltacht Housing Acts, and that adequate money will also be made available for the purpose of carrying out the activities so successfully carried out in the Gaeltacht areas during the lifetime of the late Government.

I also see that there is a reduction of £90,350 in the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture. I would be interested to know from the Minister under what sub-heads of that Estimate that saving is being effected. What particular activity of that Department of Government does he mean to curtail in order to effect this saving? £90,000 is certainly a very substantial reduction in a very important Estimate of that kind. Agriculture in this country as I said a moment ago was never so much in need of assistance, and yet it is under these prevailing conditions that the Minister has thought it wise to effect a saving of £90,000 in the work of that particular Department, which saving will inevitably mean a curtailment of certain very necessary activities on behalf of the farmers of the country.

There are other Deputies, I am sure, who would like to deal with other Estimates. These are the three Estimates in which I am primarily interested, and I hope the Minister when concluding the debate will be in a position to provide me with some information relating to the reductions that have taken place in the Estimates of these three Departments.

During the Minister's statement he was asked by Deputy Norton how it is that Vote No. 69— Relief Grants—is being reduced and whether we were to understand that that was a change in the policy of the Government in so far as the relief of unemployment is concerned. The Minister made the answer that he was increasing the amount under the head of local loans in order to enable the local authorities to do something in the direction of relieving unemployment.

I think that is a very dangerous announcement. I think it is a statement which will make the life of the local public man more unbearable than it is at the present moment. Week after week we have marches of the unemployed attending the different bodies in the country asking them to do something towards relieving unemployment. To a great extent, a great number of the local bodies have done their share towards the relief of unemployment, but there are limitations. Local councils can only go a certain distance in so far as the raising of money is concerned and owing to the fact that the amount which they are permitted to borrow is only twice the valuation, and that in a small borough valuation is rather low. A great many of the local authorities have practically reached that limit. None of them like to go up to that limit. They always like to leave a margin to enable them to do certain necessary works if the necessity should arise. And in view of that fact, and the fact that the interest which is to be paid on money at the moment is so very high, I think there will be a good deal of hesitancy on the part of local authorities to take on work which Ministers suggest should be their work. At the moment a good many schemes, such as waterworks, sewerage and so on could be undertaken by local authorities, but whilst a good number of them are doing this kind of work a larger number still are waiting to see if the interest charged on loans of this kind would be reduced —the interest charged by the Local Loans Fund is 5¾ per cent.

I have raised this matter in the House already and I consider that interest is very high. Of course I know the Minister will tell me that if local authorities put up schemes such as waterworks or sewerage a certain amount will be given by way of grant towards the project. Even so, the amount given, to my mind, is inadequate, in view of the liabilities of local authorities at the present moment. But there is another point in connection with that, and that is: attached to that grant is a stipulation to the effect that the local authority has no power to employ the men for those particular jobs. The men must be taken from the managers of the labour exchanges. The local authority does not know who the men are until they are on the job. That is quite all right in so far as relief schemes are concerned, but when a local authority is going to raise money by way of loan to do certain things which they think are necessary, I think the least local authorities should be allowed to do is to select the men whom they think most suitable. For that reason alone, many local authorities hesitate to ask the Minister for a grant for these very necessary works. Now, I do hope the Minister will reconsider the position in that connection.

Again referring to local loans, under this heading a sum of money is raised each year to pay a certain amount to the British Government. I suppose we may take it now that the amount is not being paid this year and, in view of that, I would suggest to the Minister that urban authorities should also get relief in this connection. After all, shopkeepers in urban areas are suffering at the moment because of the fact that the farmers have not ready money to pay for the goods they require, and I do suggest that in view of the fact that this money is being collected but not being paid over to the British Government by reason of the policy adopted by the Government, that urban ratepayers are also entitled to some consideration when remissions are being made to the rural population, and I would ask the Minister to consider it from that angle.

Another matter which has been referred to by various speakers is the question of the Agricultural Grant. This is not being taken very well by the different county councils in the State. I was at a meeting of the Wexford County Council on Monday last, and the offer of the Minister was turned down unanimously. As a matter of fact, I heard farmers express their views very strongly, some saying they would prefer paying their land annuities almost, and have the Agricultural Grant continued. Estimates, I am sure, in practically every county in the Free State, were prepared and submitted to the councils, and everything was ready. The attitude of the Minister certainly was a great surprise to the members of the county council in this connection, and I would ask him to reconsider the matter.

Deputy Roddy has referred to the fact that the Vote for Fisheries has been cut down considerably. I want to approach that from a different angle altogether. I think it was admitted by the Minister for Fisheries last year, after representations had been made to him from all parts of the House, that another patrol boat was absolutely necessary to protect the fishermen of this country. We have one patrol boat which has to do the whole coast around and the Minister knows, and we all know, that there are trawlers from France and England fishing, in season and out of season, inside of our waters, taking the harvest which Irish fishermen should get. I do suggest to the Minister that some money should be made available in the very near future, so that a second patrol boat would be procured in order to protect the fishermen. It is certainly a scandalous thing to see these foreign trawlers, week after week, taking away the harvest of our Irish fishermen.

I would also like to refer to the tariff policy of the Government. This Party here has supported the Government in its tariff policy. We believe in the tariff policy, and we believe it will build up industry if properly applied, but I find in many places where tariffs have been applied, that the Minister concerned has not taken any pains to secure that the people working in a particular industry are safeguarded. I have in my mind at the moment a very large firm in my constituency where tariffs have been applied, and where boys are permitted to do the work of men. Boys are taken in for a few years and after becoming handy they are thrown out on the road again and younger boys taken in. I think if we are going to have tariffs, and if the State is going to subsidise an industry —after all a tariff is tantamount to a subsidy—so far as the general taxpayer is concerned I do think that the interests of the people working in that particular industry should be seen to by the Minister. I would suggest that the Minister for Finance in turn should suggest to the Minister for Industry and Commerce that a great deal more care ought to be exercised before applying a tariff, or even after a tariff is applied, so as to secure that the people working there are treated in a proper manner, and that boy labour would not be recruited when it is necessary that adults should be taken in to do the particular work.

I again suggest to the Minister that he ought to reconsider the suggestion he has made to Deputy Norton in so far as the question of local ratepayers in the matter of relieving employment is concerned. As a matter of fact, I think that the Ministry should go a great deal further than they have gone. For instance, at the present moment it has been pointed out by the various speakers that the relief list has grown considerably during the past twelve months. Up to some years ago able-bodied men seeking relief was an unknown thing. To-day we have hundreds of able-bodied men seeking relief and local ratepayers are at their limit in trying to provide for them. I believe it will be necessary for the central authority to come to the aid of county health boards in assisting these people until employment can be found for them. I suggest that the Minister should consider these things, because I believe it will have to be done eventually.

With regard to the points raised by Deputies Roddy, Dillon and others about the Gaeltacht housing, I am informed that there is no such hold-up in relation to work on Gaeltacht housing as has been suggested. A sum of £300,000 has been allotted to complete that work and there is still a sum of £50,000 which is being considered; but as regards the main grant of £300,000, it is obvious that there should be more than sufficient to enable work to be carried on. So far as I am aware, there is no hold-up and, if there are actual circumstances of which Deputies are aware, I shall be very glad if they will bring them to our notice.

Deputy Roddy stressed at great length a reduction which has taken place. I did not wish to interrupt the Deputy while he was speaking, but as regards the provision for improvements under the Land Commission Vote, it is practically the same as last year. The sum is £190,500. There is what might be termed a casual variation or reduction of £1,000, but that is not substantial. The reduction on the Land Commission Vote is in respect of a sum of £134,600, the bonus on excess stock formerly paid to the British Government, and the remainder is mainly made up of income, a provision which had hitherto to be made in respect of a deficiency of income on untenanted land. There has been a considerable reduction in that provision. From these two sources we get the reduction in respect of the Land Commission Vote.

Deputy Roddy pointed out that the Government had last year allocated moneys which hitherto used to be distributed through the machinery of the Land Commission, through other agencies, such as the Board of Works, the Parliamentary Secretary there having been made responsible for dealing with the question of unemployment grants generally, and through the local councils. There were two main reasons for that change. The first was that the Land Commission, as Deputy Roddy knows, has been distracted and impeded in its real work of proceeding with the division of land. A substantial programme has always been laid out, but in actual fact, as I think the Deputy will be glad to corroborate, the Land Commission has never been able to carry out its real programme on account of the fact that a considerable number of the staff had to be taken away to deal with minor relief schemes—to supervise the work upon them. The result was that the main work of the Land Commission in the ordinary process of the division of land was held up. I think the Land Commission officials themselves had a very strong view about that. They contended, when they were being urged to proceed more speedily with the division of land, that they could not do it if each year they were going to be asked to expend a very substantial sum, £100,000, in the congested areas.

We thought also there was an advantage in having all the schemes of unemployment relief under the control of the Parliamentary Secretary, and we asked him to devise, within our financial circumstances and within the moneys that we were able to allot to him, the best schemes he could for the different areas and to allot moneys to those different areas all over the country, having regard to their requirements. Deputy Roddy contends that that has been unsatisfactory. A small proportion of the entire expenditure last year on relief work would have been spent through the Land Commission, in any case. I think it is extremely doubtful, if the Land Commission have, under the new Land Bill, fresh demands made upon them in connection with the division of land, that they would be willing, even if requested, to shoulder the burden of administering relief schemes in the West of Ireland.

Deputy Roddy laid great stress on the fact that this Party, according to him, were committed to complete de-rating. We have always denied that we were committed to anything more than a promise that of the sum of, roughly, £3,000,000 of land annuities, which we said we would hold if we were returned to power, at least £2,000,000 should be returned to the agricultural community. As Deputies know, we made a special increase last year in respect of the Agricultural Grant. We found, on examining the position, that the small farmer has the greatest difficulties. The larger man has the power to carry on under existing circumstances. Everybody knows that with the depression in America, with the growth of our population at home and the difficulty of finding employment for young people, small farmers in counties like Kerry, for example, have the greatest difficulty in carrying on.

If we were to give complete de-rating to the agricultural community it is not, as those who have gone into the question will understand, the congest of the West or the working farmer throughout the country who would be the chief beneficiary. We decided that in allocating a substantial remission of land annuities we were, in fact, giving substantial relief all round; we would not be discriminating against any particular kind of farmer. It can be shown in respect of the big farmers, whose claims have been voiced so frequently here this evening, that in fact they would get very substantial amounts in remission.

When Deputies tell us that the reduction in the Agricultural Grant this year is something terrible, something that nobody could possibly stand over, and when it is suggested by Deputies like Deputy O'Sullivan that the Government is seeking to transfer its responsibilities to the local authorities, I would remind Deputies, and particularly Deputy O'Sullivan, who, as a former Minister for Education, was interested in this question of local rating, of one very important fact. For many years past, owing to the growth of modern conditions, the demand for better social services and for a higher standard all round, we have been committed to big increases. There have been constant demands upon the Central Treasury, as the Deputy well knows. Even on the services we have, apart from the new services that are asked year after year —even on the services we actually are committed to and that our predecessors were committed to since this State was founded—if we did not add anything further in the way of new services, we find that every year we are already committed to enormous increases.

When the Deputy had an opportunity of relieving the Central Treasury in respect of education and in respect of vocational education he can claim that he saved the farmers of the country, but he certainly did not do very much for vocational education. We have these payments constantly being made and the question is, what are the duties of the local authorities? Have they any duties or any responsibilities at all in regard to education or in regard to public health or in regard to housing or in regard to unemployment, or do Deputies now suggest after their ten years' term of office that the local authorities have no responsibility at all in these matters? Not alone that, but we are faced constantly with an increasing burden in respect of existing services; and we are to be asked to consider new services. Every Deputy who stands up with a new idea in his head as to how money could be usefully spent in his constituency expects to be treated seriously and to have his proposal examined carefully.

Deputies know very well from the statement of the Minister for Finance, that the field of taxation is decreasing. Therefore, economies must be made in the services. We must do without new services or without increased taxation. In the long run the Government are charged with the responsibility of trying to provide for the services that they think most important for the community and in the interests of the people generally, having regard to their resources. It is not to-day or yesterday that the income of the country has been growing poorer. It is not alone by the present Minister but by the previous Minister that the limit of taxation had practically been reached. It is questionable whether one can go very much further in demanding further sums from the taxpayers.

The farmer, as has often been pointed out, as regards direct taxation does not suffer to anything like the same extent as the civil servant, the business community or the professional classes. I know it can be stated that he is not in the same position. He has not the same income and his circumstances are quite different. But Deputies should remember that during the past year, no matter what is said about the farming community, from the pure standpoint of £ s. d. anybody who examines the position would be satisfied that the Government have not only done their best for the farmer but probably they have done more than they should have done, having regard to the other demands upon them for social services, like, for instance, the Education Vote. On these services if money is available we could spend it on matters like employment schemes, housing, and so on. I would remind Deputies while a reduction in the Agricultural Grant for the present year is £448,000, that, as regards the figure of the Agricultural Grant, as the list presented to this House by the late Government shows, there is only a difference of less than £200,000. I say that because in respect of a number of other grants such as tuberculosis, school meals, child welfare and other matters I think the grants are increased. These statutory grants are increasing so that in fact the figure of £448,000 does not give a proper picture of the situation when you consider that the income of the Exchequer has diminished, and that the taxable yield has fallen since our predecessors had been in office. Despite that fact the grants to the local authorities are something like £70,000 below what they were in 1931 and 1932, I think the Government and the Minister for Finance have reason to be congratulated on the comparatively small reduction.

Let us remember that this year up to 31st March, the end of the financial year, we shall have paid in annuities to the farming community the sum of £1,750,000; that in respect of advances from the Guarantee Fund we have realised £1,600,000. And what is the effect of that? That means that the farmers in Wexford and elsewhere who are grousing and grumbling would, in normal circumstances, be paying heavily for the deficiency in the land annuities which we are remitting. This money would be deducted even if the financial struggle between ourselves and Great Britain had never arisen. Farmers would have been paying a substantial sum in the rates to make up for the deficiency in the Guarantee Fund. The effect of that is to help out the local ratepayers. It prevents them having to pay an additional rate in respect of the deficiency in the land annuities. We also gave a special grant of £250,000 last year.

The total sum given to the farming community was £3,600,000. The total sum which the farmers pay in respect of the land annuities which are in dispute was about £3,000,000, and the amount payable in respect of those matters to the farmers is £3,600,000. In addition to that special provision was made for agricultural labourers and farmers, not alone for the building of new houses but for the reconstruction of houses. As regards agricultural labourers we give very substantial inducements indeed. I think I would not be wrong in saying that no Government ever gave such inducements to provide houses for agricultural labourers and the people generally as we have given. Last year a special relief grant was given, and a large portion of that money which was expended went back into the pockets of the agricultural community. In the West of Ireland the farmers' sons found employment, and in other parts of the country the agricultural labourers found employment, so that if we were to total up the percentage of expenditure on relief work which accrued to the agricultural community in one way and another, and if we add that to the £3,600,000 which was paid directly into the pockets of the farmers we would see that last year the farmers got very substantial amounts from the Government.

Were the annuities collected from the farmers? They were not, and the very first thing we did when we came into office was to say that we were prepared to meet the case of the man who was not able to pay, and who was able to make a good case. We said that the man who was not able to pay should not go out on the road. And when Deputies talk about the effect of the small reductions in the Agricultural Grant let them remember that in addition to the £3,600,000 paid out directly and in addition to the housing grant and relief work on the roads which went to the benefit of the agricultural community, that no annuities were collected last gale or the next gale, and that a substantial number of annuitants who have been in arrears for several gales are not going to have these arrears collected. These uncollected arrears are to be paid off over a period of 50 years.

If our opponents suggest that they could have done more, or that they could have done better for the farmers in regard to these matters, I wish they would do so. It is suggested that in respect to employment the Government within its means and resources is not acting fairly by the people in connection with this Vote on Account. I have already pointed out that as regards the Gaeltacht housing, there is this sum of at least £300,000 available; that as regards provision for expenditure under the Land Commission Vote it is practically the same as regards local loans for housing where the State is bearing the lion's share of the burden. A sum of £2,150,000 has been made available. Last year something like £350,000 was made available.

With regard to this figure of £448,000, again let us leave out of consideration the provision that has been made both directly and indirectly for the farmers in last year's Budget, in the Emergency Grant and in various other matters, and let us remember that another provision which will be embodied in the new legislation —the reduction in land annuitants cases—will amount to something like £1,600,000. Is it suggested that in addition to that permanent remission of half the annuities the farmers should get complete de-rating as well? If that is suggested, I wonder how the proposition could be defended to the other elements in the community who, I think, have some claims. Even if it were possible, I do not think it would be advisable, because I agree with the President that whatever danger there may be of Communism at present, there would be far greater danger if people were to get their land absolutely free of all charge and obligation and have to pay nothing whatever to the State or the local authority in respect of it.

Do not be changing your ground. That is not what you thought five years ago.

When Deputy Morrissey makes a speech, I do not, as a rule, interrupt him. Deputy Roddy stressed the contention that the farmers in County Sligo—other Deputies made the same point—were not benefiting from the remission of land annuities. It is an extraordinary thing that when they were offered the bird in the hand at the last election, they decided to have it and that in Sligo-Leitrim Deputy Roddy did not make a very big show. If those Deputies represent the small farmers, their positions in the lists on polling day were very extraordinary.

In conclusion, I cannot let this opportunity pass without expressing surprise at the case sought to be made in this House and in the Press that the Government is associated in some way with a policy, or has the intention, of cutting wages. There is no foundation whatever for that. In regard to the cases which are said to have given rise to the belief that a fair rate of wages was not being paid—that 24/- was not a reasonable rate having regard to the circumstances of the areas and to the wages paid by farmers in the districts—I would remind the House that only about seven per cent. of the total expenditure on relief was spent on these minor relief schemes.

You are Deputy Flinn's apologist—a man who was brought into this country to cut down wages. I can prove that.

I fully endorse what Deputy Flinn said regarding the Gaeltacht areas, where there is poverty such as Deputy Anthony may not be acquainted with.

I agree with Deputy Flinn that if it were suggested by a Labour Leader or anybody else in Connemara, Donegal or even Kerry that the people should not work for the rate of wages which, having regard to the circumstances, the Government pay them in a desire to spread the employment as far as they can, he would be given very short shrift, indeed.

"Torn limb from limb." Those are the words he used.

When Deputy Anthony preaches that doctrine in the Gaeltacht, we will be glad to hear what will happen.

Ní dheunfaidh sé sin. Níl focal Gaedhilge aige.

There is a humanitarian side to this question.

Hear, hear!

Let it not be assumed that people like Deputy Anthony and Deputy Morrissey who shout loudest about wages are the best friends of the labouring classes. The Government, up to the present, have given the maximum the country could afford and will continue in the future to give the maximum that it can afford in relief of unemployment. It comes very badly from those Deputies, who say they have an interest in the working man, to endeavour to make political capital out of a small number of cases. Even if they were good cases, they are only a small number. Even if they were absolutely sound cases which, on examination, would prove the Government to be absolutely in the wrong and these Deputies in the right, I say it is not from the humanitarian point of view the question has been introduced into the House but simply as a political catch-cry with which these Deputies can go down the country and say that the Government is in favour of a policy of paying 24/- a week. Every Deputy knows that local circumstances and local conditions differ. Deputy Morrissey knows as well as I do that because a higher rate of wages is paid by the county council in South Tipperary is no reason why that consideration and that consideration alone should guide us in dealing with the problem in other parts of the country.

Will the Minister allow me to put him a question? Is he aware that 24/- is the maximum to be paid in any part of the Saorstát?

I am aware, as was pointed out, that this wage was paid for ten years for the kind of work done by the Land Commission and that there were no great complaints— perhaps no complaints at all—in regard to it.

Answer the question.

I say that the kind of work that is being done generally on these minor relief schemes, which are only a small proportion of the whole, is the kind of work that was done, in most parts of the country where the Land Commission operated, by the tenants themselves and their sons, largely for their own benefit. It was for that reason that what was admittedly a lower rate of wages was paid. It is suggested now that the Government has done something fiendish because, in regard to this 7 per cent. of total expenditure, it has continued to carry out the policy that has been in operation for ten years. At least, before we change the policy let us ask ourselves whether, in the long run, we are going to do a bad turn or a good turn to the poor people in these parts of the country who are very anxious, as the Parliamentary Secretary said—great capital was made out of the statement—to get some cash, no matter how small it may be, into their hands. Let us be very careful, when examining the question, to ascertain whether in the long run we are going to do these people a good turn by reducing substantially the number that can be given employment on relief work in existing circumstances.

Mr. Morrissey rose.

I understand that an agreement has been arrived at to conclude certain business on the Order Paper to-day. It is, of course, a matter for the House, but I should like to remind Deputies that there are half-a-dozen Supplementary Estimates to be dealt with before the Central Fund Bill can be taken.

Probably the House would like to have a discussion on some of these Supplementary Estimates, too. The agreement was that the Vote on Account and the remaining Estimates on the Order Paper were to be taken to-day.

I submit with all respect that there was no hour fixed for the conclusion of this particular debate. I think it will be admitted that it is the more important debate. I am sorry the Minister for Education has left the House. He is, in my opinion, one of the most industrious and most hard-working members of the Front Bench, and usually, unlike many of his colleagues, when he speaks on any subject he is worth listening to. It was a pity from his point of view that he was led into, or thought it desirable to come to the assistance of Deputy Hugo Flinn on the question of 24/- per week, because it was quite obvious from what he said that the Minister had only a nodding acquaintance with the rates of wages and conditions laid down by the Board of Works. The Minister, until I, at the risk of incurring his displeasure, interfered by way of question, to save him from committing himself even more than he was inclined to do, tried to create the impression that the rate of wages varied over the Free State. We know, however, and it was quoted by members of the Labour Party last week from the official circular issued by the Board of Works, that 24/- per week was to be the maximum wage; that the wage was not to be based upon the existing agricultural wage, but was to be lower than the agricultural wage in any district. The point I want to make is that 24/- per week was to be the maximum wage paid on those relief schemes in any part of the Free State.

On relief schemes?

On relief schemes. If the Deputy will interrupt he should speak more clearly so that somebody can understand him or otherwise he ought to refrain from interruption. I know he is very uncomfortable. I am absolutely certain that Deputy Corry does not agree either with Deputy Hugo Flinn or the Minister for Education on the 24/- per week. I know he does not believe in the 24/- per week. I am quite satisfied that if Deputy Corry could revolt he would and that he would be quite glad to go to the Cork County Council to-morrow and say, "I do not stand for 24/- per week; it was imposed against my wishes; I was overborne by my Party; if I had my way the wage paid would be at least as high as the wage paid by the Cork County Council." I am giving Deputy Corry credit for that.

I will look after the rate in my constituency if you look after yours.

I am quite certain that there was no Deputy listening to Deputy Hugo Flinn on Thursday who was more uncomfortable than Deputy Corry. I do not believe that there was a Deputy who resented the remarks and the attitude of Deputy Flinn more than Deputy Corry did. I believe that Deputy Corry knows a good deal more about the actual conditions in Co. Cork and even in the City of Cork than the Parliamentary Secretary. It is because Deputy Corry is in closer touch with the workers in the County and City of Cork than Deputy Hugo Flinn that he does not agree with the 24/- per week. I am quite satisfied with that and I want to give Deputy Corry full credit for it. There is, however, more than the question of the 24/- per week involved. Might I remind some of the members of the Labour Party that it was not since the last election that this rate was fixed? Might I remind the Minister for Education that when he talked about people introducing and agitating about the 24/- and said that they were only trying to make political capital out of it, that there was no humanity behind their motives, he was accusing his colleagues of the Labour Party who brought up the matter in the House? I want to make the point that this circular which was waved and read by Deputy Norton and Deputy Davin last week was not issued since the last election. That circular, fixing 24/- per week as the maximum wage, was issued by the Board of Works in October last and was not questioned by the people in a position to make the Government withdraw that at the time. They had the balance of power then. They do not hold the balance to-day. The President to-day can snap his fingers at them and carry it in spite of them. At the time, when they were in a position to force the Government to withdraw that circular, they did not do it. Are the members of the Government Party aware that men who were employed, say, on Monday last under these schemes by the Board of Works will have to work at least five weeks before they can get any payment? Is the Minister aware that under the regulations they must work at least five weeks before they get any payment? What are they to exist on for the five weeks they are working? Is the Minister aware that in many cases these men have to walk or cycle four, five, six or seven miles morning and evening for 4/- per day? Is the Minister aware that another condition is that if there is an hour's rain in the day the whole day is gone for these men and they get no payment whatever? Is the Minister aware that there are no unemployment insurance stamps under these schemes? Is the Minister further aware—and if he is not aware will he inquire from the Board of Works—that although they are paid by the day they have to do task work upon certain parts of the schemes? Is he aware that those engaged under the grant which is made available for the Land Commission are expected to make so many yards of ditch per day? I want to put it to my colleagues in the trade union movement that here we have task work for daily wages? Is the Minister aware of that? How many members of the House are aware of it?

Will the Deputy tell the House where is this task work taking place and where are the workmen deprived of payment?

The Deputy has proved my contention that not even the members of the Government Party are aware of the conditions under which this work is being carried out.

Mr. Flynn

What wage was paid by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government for the last twelve months they were in office? 3/6 per day. The Deputy did not protest then.

Long before the Deputy came in here.

Then you joined up.

Deputy Corry would like to sail away from the points I put to him.

I never go away from any point.

Donnchadh O Briain interrupted.

The Deputy can make his speech afterwards. We will be delighted to hear the gentleman from County Limerick. If I might say so, the Deputy should not be airing his knowledge of the Irish language, because it is much more puzzling to many of his colleagues than it is to me. I want to remind the House, and to remind Deputy Corry and Deputy Flynn, that the greater part of this money is being spent not by the Land Commission, but by the county councils under the supervision of the county surveyor and his assistant surveyors. I want to put to him this point, that under the Relief Grant which was passed by this House prior to the coming into office of the present Government, which was spent by the county council and under the supervision of their officers, the minimum wage was 29/- a week.

A Deputy

What is it now?

24/- per week under this grant. Does the Minister question that?

Will the Minister tell me why?

When you have finished your speech.

I am stating here and challenging contradiction on it that instructions have been sent to county surveyors and county councils, in respect of money which was allocated to the Board of Works, that the maximum wage was to be 24/- a week. From the money which is used in making by-roads or any other roads the maximum wage is 24/- a week under the supervision of the county surveyor and assistant county surveyors. Prior to the coming into office of the present Government the wage was fixed by the late Government— and I freely admit that I opposed it both in this House and outside it— at 29/- a week, and (this is a very important point) so far as the unemployed were concerned, there was an unemployment insurance stamp attached to it.

What was the rate paid by the Land Commission at that time?

I have dealt with that. I am dealing with a different point at the moment. I am making this further point that upon representations from the Labour Party some years ago to the then Minister for Local Government, Deputy Mulcahy, the Government withdrew the order which they had sent out, thus enabling county councils to pay on Relief Grants any figure they liked— enabling them to pay as much as they were paying to their own permanent staff. I am glad to say that some of the county councils took advantage of that order and increased the wage of the relief workers up to the wage of the permanent staff.

I want to make another point, and I am sure there is no member of this House on any side who will disagree with me. In my opinion it is much more important even than the question of whether the workers should be paid 4/- or 5/- per day. I refer to the regulation under which the men have got to go out and work for five weeks before they get any money at all. I think all of us, whether on this side of the House or the other side, are close enough in touch with the unemployed to know that no unfortunate unemployed man can carry on work for five weeks without pay.

Will the Deputy say where that is taking place? I am a member of the Leitrim County Council and I know that the men are paid regularly.

I am not talking at the moment about the county councils.

Mr. Flynn

You do not seem to know what you are talking about.

The Deputy was just telling the House that the work is carried on under the county council, and now he is not talking about the county councils at all!

I was speaking about the portion of the Relief Grant allocated to the county councils for road work. The Minister knows quite well——

I do not, and I do not think the Deputy knows either.

I will not say what I was going to say.

The Deputy is entitled to put his case in his own way.

What I should like to say in regard to the Minister's interruption I am afraid would not be allowed by the Chair. Out of respect for the Chair, if not out of respect for the Minister, I will refrain from making the statement. I was speaking of that portion of the relief money which is being administered by the Board of Works or through the Board of Works, and allocated to the county councils. That is a different matter. On the question the Deputy put to me with regard to the money which is being used through and by the Land Commission, the case I make about the five weeks applies to the money that is being expended by the Land Commission.

Mr. Flynn

What money is the Land Commission expending?

The Deputy should get up and make a speech.

I will give the Deputy a case in point. In my own County of Tipperary on Monday last a number of men were told at the labour exchange that they were to go to a particular estate in Tipperary—I can give the name if the Deputy wants it— to make ditches or hedges. They were told by the overseer or the foreman who is not from the County—I think he is from the County Kerry but it does not matter—that they would not get any payment for at least five weeks. They were told further, many of the men who had been unemployed for months, that before they went there they would have to purchase a spade which would cost them 4/- or 5/-. Is the Deputy aware of that?

Mr. Flynn

You are speaking about Relief Grants. Keep the Land Commission out of it. It has nothing to do with the Board of Works Department.

The Deputy does not seem to grasp that this is relief money administered by the Land Commission and supervised by the Land Commission. If the Deputy cannot grasp that I am afraid I cannot possibly put it into his head. I am making that point. The real point I wanted to make is that it is unfair. It is inhuman to expect a man who has been unemployed for many months to work for five weeks at task work—so many yards of ditch must be made—before he is paid. Where are they going to get sustenance for themselves and their families while they are waiting to be rewarded at the end of five weeks with a miserable 4/- a day?

I can in the first place assure Deputy Morrissey that if he looked after his constituency as well as I am looking after mine there would not be any 24/- a week being paid there. I can give him that solid assurance. I have got my share of every grant that was going.

A Deputy

You have got them all.

You have the spoils of office. That is the reason you got them and not on your merits.

On unemployment relief in the town of Cobh the wage paid under the Cumann na nGaedheal Government was 29/- per week. The wage paid, and mind you we got £4,500 for the last 12 months there, by the Fianna Fáil Party was 37/6 per week.

In the town of Cobh. Perhaps the Deputy does not know it. It was known as Queenstown in his time.

Because the men refused to work for less.

That is not true.

The Deputy will address the Chair, and running comments must cease.

I hope that will apply all round.

There must be no such assertion or insinuation, direct or indirect, against the Chair.

Oh, no. I withdraw that, a Chinn Comhairle.

I remember during the last eight or nine years of Cumann na nGaedheal rule—I am rather surprised that Deputy Morrissey thought fit to change into that wage cutting Party, which started a very definite policy of wage cutting in this country—over in those benches, protesting frequently against the wage of 29/- per week on grant work. I am glad Deputy O'Neili is here, because I am sure he, too, will remember one occasion on which a special Finance Committee of the Cork County Council sent down to us prominent officials from the Department of Local Government and Public Health to insist that they could get plenty of men to work on the roads at 29/- per week, and that we should cut the labour wage to 29/- per week. This prominent official from the Department of Local Government and Public Health was sent down by Deputy Mulcahy. Let us nail this thing on the head. As I said, I have got relief grants under the Board of Works. I have seen these relief grants administered in my own constituency and the lowest wage paid in my constituency on Board of Works money was 32/6 per week. I do not know what the Deputies were doing, but I am looking after my own house, and I hope that the Deputies opposite will look after theirs. If necessary I can produce the time sheets to prove this case.

Minor relief schemes.

On all relief schemes. I got money from the Board of Works and no Board of Works' money was spent in my constituency at a less rate than 32/6, and the wage paid, as I said, on Board of Works' money, was increased from 29/- to 32/6— 21/6 a week was the rate paid by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. Speaking for my own constituency, I can assure you there will be no wage cutting there. As I said, I do not wish to labour this matter too much, but I want to make it very clear to Deputy Morrissey that with a full knowledge of the facts that Party was the Party that brought in the wage cutting and which brought in the change in relief grants—the change from the ordinary county council rate of 35/- a week down to 29/- and that the ordinary roadworkers should be brought down to the ordinary wage of 29/- per week, with a full knowledge of those facts the famous Party of two split into one, and there we have the explanation why Deputy Anthony was left on his own in this House and Deputy Morrissey joined the wage-cutting Party.

I was rather surprised—in fact, I was amazed—when I saw Deputy Morrissey joining that Party with his full knowledge and talk about trade unions and so forth. Deputy Dillon here to-night was very interested in one particular class of the community. We are going to be penalised, he said, under the change in the Government policy from giving relief in rates to giving a 50 per cent. reduction in the annuities. Deputy Dillon was interested in one particular class of the community, and who were they? Whom did this new barrister-leader of the Farmers' Party talk for? The small farmer? No—Lord Barrymore, who had no annuities to pay and who, therefore, has no reduction to get. That was the party he spoke for, and those are the people who returned him to the Dáil. Deputy Dillon got up here to-night and spoke in a very mournful tone and he lamented the fact that a base injustice was being done to Lord Barrymore because the Fianna Fáil Government had decided that the small farmer should be protected and should get all the relief that was going, and that instead of a relief in Lord Barrymore's rates, the small farmer was going to get a reduction of 50 per cent. in his annuities.

On a point of order, I was here when Deputy Dillon spoke and I never heard mention of Lord Barrymore's name at all.

I am quite prepared to admit that the Deputy, at least, did not mention any gentlemen's names, but the Deputy's appeal to the Minister for Finance was for the land owners who had no annuities to pay, and, who, therefore, had no relief to get from the 50 per cent. reduction, and what class did he make that appeal for but for Lord Barrymore's.

You are trying to twist the whole thing now.

I took a special note of his statement. I am sorry he is not here. I say again that the class he was appealing for was the one class alone who had no annuities to pay, who had their lands free of annuities, and who were perhaps the people who had driven out the unfortunate small farmers who are now looking for relief in their rates. I am very glad that at this early stage of the Centre Party's life in this House one of their two barrister leaders came out with this very definite statement as to whom they represent here. He made an appeal for another class. I do not wish to quote anybody incorrectly. He made an appeal for tenants who had not purchased, tenants who had not come under any Land Act, tenants who were forgotten by the Party whom Deputy Dillon well knows—the old Irish Party—and who were forgotten and ignored for ten years by the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, and who had to pay their full rents to the rack-renting landlord the whole time. Deputy Dillon got up here to-night to make an appeal for them. I can assure Deputy Dillon that under our new Land Bill that class of the community are going to get their wrongs redressed at long last. They had to wait during the lifetime of the old political Parties in this country, they had to wait during the lifetime of the landlords representatives opposite, they had to wait for a Fianna Fáil Government to come in and get their wrongs redressed, and they will be redressed.

Now, of course, Deputy O'Sullivan told us how hard hit County Kerry was by the actions of the Executive Council and the Government. Apparently the harder you hit a man the better he will vote for you. It is rather amazing that hard hit Kerry put the two Cumann na nGaedheal representatives at the bottom of the poll; they did not even get their quota at the election. It is rather an amazing thing that County Kerry, after being so hard-hit and so kicked about by the Fianna Fáil Government for twelve months, as Deputy O'Sullivan has stated, should return five Fianna Fáil representatives at the head of the poll and two Cumann na nGaedheal candidates at the bottom. That was a most amazing result from the small farmers in the County Kerry, the small farmers who are ground under the heels of the terrible Minister for Finance that we have got. Deputy O'Sullivan, of course, told us all about the economic war, how it was spoken of last November and later on. He told Kerry about it, too. I am sure he told the people there about it during the general election and he knows what happened to him. The Deputy ought to remember these little things. They ought to be fresh in his memory, and when he looks across to those benches at the present Minister for Education he ought to remember them still better.

There is one particular matter I want to deal with. We heard a lot about wages to-night. I would like to know from the Minister for Finance when he is going to deal with the Department of the Revenue Commissioners. It is one of the Minister's Departments. We heard a lot about Deputy Flinn and the wages paid of 24/- a week. I find that in the Department of Finance we have men drawing £1,500 a year, with cost-of-living bonus which amounts to more than 24/- a week. It is high time that we in this country should set out a definite rate or take a definite line with regard to civil servants. There is no use closing our eyes to the fact that the people cannot afford to pay £1,500 a year to anybody, whether they be judges or officials in the Department of Finance. The time has come when we have got to scale down salaries and when there must be no well protected class in the community sheltered behind barbed wire entanglements. The people who have to pay the rates and taxes cannot afford it.

I hope, when the Minister for Finance is concluding the debate to-night, that we will hear something very definite from him about the famous economy committee that Cumann na nGaedheal set up about six years ago. Deputy Michael Heffernan, who was then the Chairman of the Farmers' Party, was appointed Chairman of that committee, but nobody ever heard a word from it afterwards. Of course, Deputy Heffernan was then made Minister for Posts with a salary of £1,200 a year, and he had to suit economies to his salary. At any rate, we never heard anything from that committee, but I imagine there should be some report from it hanging around the Minister's Department.

It has nothing whatever to do with the matter before the House.

We are discussing the policy of the——.

The Chair has ruled that the committee set up six years ago under the chairmanship of Deputy Heffernan has nothing whatever to do with the Vote on Account.

I bow to your ruling. What I was suggesting was that when the Minister was considering how he was going to exercise the axe in regard to these well paid posts that perhaps he might find the report of this committee. It might be of assistance to him. It is high time at any rate that the question of salaries should be dealt with here. This country cannot afford salaries of £1,500 a year to any individual, I do not care who he is. If there are individuals who think they are worth more than £800 or £900 a year, well let them go to some place where they can earn it. If we are going to have on the one hand in this country unemployed people who have not enough to eat, people trying to live on 7/- and 8/- a week home assistance, and on the other hand a definite class set up with barbed wire entanglements around them so that no one can touch their salaries, their increments or their bonus, then I think the time has come when we must have a complete tearing up of these barbed wire entanglements whether they are Article X or Article XXV of the Treaty. Whatever Article of the Treaty stands in the way must be cleared away, and there must be a complete scaling down of salaries. I hope I will have Deputy Anthony supporting me on that.

Hear, hear, when you mention the £1,500, of course.

Yes, and down along the line, even to the £350 fellows.

Why not set the example ourselves?

Two years ago when I sat on the benches opposite I mentioned to the then Minister for Finance, Deputy Blythe, who has also disappeared from amongst us, when he said that he would have to tax the poor man's sugar in order to find the money needed for de-rating, that there was no need for him to do that. I pointed out to him that there was being paid in cost-of-living bonus to those with salaries of over £400 a year the enormous amount of £360,000. No man in this country with a salary of £400 need fear that he or his family is going to go hungry. I think it is about time that we dealt with this very definitely. I hope that when we hear from the Centre Party again they will not be so much interested in the gentlemen who have land free of annuities, land free of everything and that they will be more interested in the small farmers whom they pretend to represent. Of course, we cannot expect it from a Party that came into this House with ten strong, with two barristers leading the farmers of the Free State.

I am aware that other opportunities will be presented to me and to the members of the House to discuss the various items in this Vote for almost £8,000,000. I do not propose to examine in detail the 68 or 69 items included in it. As an ordinary member of the House I feel that there has been an entire disregard for the amenities and decencies of Parliamentary life, if not indeed of ordinary life, by the Deputy who spoke last. He has rambled around every item of expenditure in the Free State without in any way analysing or giving to the House any intelligent criticism of the items comprised in this sum of almost £8,000,000. I do not propose to follow along that line, but I certainly will not allow the occasion to pass without, at least, challenging one or two statements which were made by Deputy Corry. With a full intention, I suppose, of claiming credit for the Fianna Fáil administration of establishing a higher wage for unfortunate workers in the Free State who, by force of circumstances have been compelled to work on relief schemes, he attempted to make it appear that the wage of 24s. a week which has been subscribed to by the Fianna Fáil Government, was established by the previous Government, namely the Cumann na nGaedheal Government.

What are the facts? The facts are these. I speak honestly and fairly as an independent member, unattached to any political Party in this House, and owing no affiliations in it. The Cumann na nGaedheal Government, with all their faults, and all their limitations, laid down at one particular period in the history of their administration that 29/- a week should be the maximum wage paid to labourers on certain classes of work. As a result of that rule or instruction from the Local Government Department, a considerable amount of agitation took place. At that time I was a member of the Labour Party in this House and we interviewed the then Minister, Deputy Mulcahy, and established a good case to him for a better wage than 29/- being paid by the various local authorities. On one local authority, with the business of which I was fairly conversant, although I was not a member of it—Cork County Council—as a result of our activities, we secured from the then Minister for Local Government that they could pay any wage they liked above 29/- a week. Let us get rid of all this political propaganda that we heard to-night.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

I welcome those "hear, hears." I am not a bit disturbed by these "hear, hears." The Fianna Fáil Government must admit this, that the Leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Norton, read out in this House a week ago a document which was circulated from the Board of Works making it incumbent on local authorities to pay a wage of 24/- a week. It is all very fine for Deputy Corry to say that this kind of wage cutting began under the late Government of Cumann na nGaedheal. With all their faults and their limitations, they never went so low as 24/-. Deputy Corry cannot deny that. Let me further say that a few weeks ago in one area of Cork County Council, namely North Cork, that wage was being enforced, and was agreed to by representatives on that County Council, most of whom are members of the Fianna Fáil Party.

That statement is not correct.

It is true.

Absolutely true. Then a vote was taken, and, of course, Deputy Corry found himself in difficulties. The Deputy could not face his constituents in East Cork with a headline given to him by his masters here in Dublin. I want to correct myself when I said "masters," because I feel that I should have said "master" in Dublin, Deputy Flinn, who was brought to this country as a wage cutting instrument, and nothing else. The official Labour Party know what I am talking about. They have full knowledge of it. He was brought to this country as a wage cutter, and he is one of the demi-gods in the Fianna Fáil Party to-day, a man whom Deputy Corry, when he goes down to part of Cork County, at any rate, can proclaim and pretend to be the friend of the poor oppressed person but, who, at the same time subscribes to the idea that 24/- a week is good enough for him.

We had another reference from Deputy Corry about a person who was appointed as Minister for Posts and Telegraphs in the last administration. I never had a very high regard for the person to whom the Deputy referred, and I honestly and frankly admit it. At the same time, while I cannot ask Deputy Corry to express an opinion as to the value to the State of ex-Deputy Heffernan, or his successor, I certainly must ask the House to have regard to this fact, at any rate, that political capital has been made out of appointments in this House. Deputy Heffernan was appointed Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. Fianna Fáil appointed a Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. What qualifications or qualities has Deputy Heffernan's successor over and above those of Deputy Heffernan?

The Deputy might remember that Deputy Corry was not allowed to pursue that subject nor to discuss a gentleman who is no longer a member of this House.

Deputy Anthony knows he could not wipe his successor's boots.

I quite accept your ruling, sir, but seeing that Deputy Corry is allowed to get away with those things——

He was not allowed to do so. He was stopped from pursuing it after two sentences, and the Deputy knows that.

I accept that and I will not pursue the subject any further, but I may have a mental reservation. There are a few items in this Vote—— notwithstanding the smiles of the gentleman who missed the train at Mallow, the present Minister for Finance, who would possibly have been in receipt of a pension from the British Government were it not for missing that train——

All of which is quite irrelevant.

I agree, sir. I have indicated to the House that we will have further opportunities of discussing many of the items included in the 69, but under Vote No. 10 for the Office of Public Works I find that £32,200 is allotted. Here, again, I should like to advert to the 24/- a week laid down by the Office of Public Works as an adequate wage to be paid to a worker on relief schemes; but as I have already said something on that point I propose to pass to another item, No. 46, Primary Education.

I had hoped that the Minister for Education would be present, and I do not propose to go into any great detail in relation to this particular Vote. I will reserve my comments, with the exception of a few minor matters, for the major Vote on Education which will come up on the Estimates. However, I noted from Press reports that the Minister must have had regard to what I can describe as a growing feeling in the country that there is a strong objection to maintaining in the service of our primary schools married lady teachers. Fearing that there might be any confusion in the minds of any member of this House, or even in the public mind, I have had on more than one occasion to restate my position in relation to those married lady teachers. Political party propaganda has been made out of the fact that I advocated that in all future—and I want to emphasise that word "future"— appointments in our national schools, every lady teacher on marriage should become compulsorily retired. I wanted the same rule to apply to those married lady teachers as already applies to a lady in the Civil Service who gets married. I did not want then, and I do not want now, to interfere with the living of any married lady who is now in the service of the National Board of Education or who is engaged in the national schools of this country. I said "future appointments," so that all future entrants to the national teaching profession of this country will understand where they are in the same way as a lady, either a young girl or an adult, who enters the Civil Service understands very clearly what will happen in so far as relates to employment in the Civil Service if she gets married. I have put before the House on a previous occasion very good arguments. At least, they were arguments that appealed not alone to many members of this House, but which appealed to a very large number of people outside the House, and I want to state again my position in relation to those people. I saw quite recently in the Press—within the last few days, to be in any degree accurate—a reference made to some pronouncement or official document in which it was stated that the Government had decided to do as I have suggested myself and that is to enforce a rule that in future all ladies who entered the married state, that is, lady national teachers, should resign on marriage. I have advocated that policy for many years—well, for some years, at any rate, before I came into this House.

It was suggested to me, in the course of a debate in this House some year or two ago, that at one time I claimed as my leader a national teacher and that during that time I had not advocated this reform. For the information of a number of people in this House and outside it I may tell you that I had advocated that reform for many years both within and without the official Labour Party. I am not a member of the official Labour Party, but I claim to represent more working class people than any member of the official Labour Party.

We do not agree with that.

Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the figures are there. My policy in this particular regard, whilst it was challenged here in Dublin, has never been challenged effectively in Cork City, a city I am very proud to represent. I can tell you that I had a number of national teachers in my Borough canvassing from house to house against me because of my advocacy—not a negative policy of advocating the abolition of some office, but a positive policy of advocating that while there were a number of young girls capable of fulfilling those positions, they should be employed. Many of these girls have come to me in my capacity as a member of a vocational education committee—girls with the Higher Diploma in Education and with B.A. and M.A. Certificates—and those people were walking the streets of Dublin and Cork unemployed, while married women were holding positions in the national schools in this country, with dual salaries going into one house in a poverty stricken district. Many of those girls, whose fathers and mothers toiled hard and sweated long in order to give them an education, were compelled to remain idle. I advocated that policy and I challenged the people of Cork City to reject me if they thought I was wrong in that policy, but instead they selected me for the fourth time and they elected me for the fourth time. That is the best answer that I can give to those people who criticise my policy.

I shall return to that on another occasion. I now come to another item, "Fisheries and Gaeltacht Services." Now I would be the last person in the world to demand, or even to request, that all Ministers should be present at one and the same time in the House on the discussion of Estimates; but it is rather remarkable that there are only two Ministers in the House at the moment, namely, the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Agriculture, when very vital matters affecting the economic life of the country are being discussed.

If the Deputy goes on much longer there will be only one Minister present.

The Minister does not want criticism. Eight millions of money, of course, is only a trifle. On this Vote for Fisheries and Gaeltacht Services we have another trifle of £90,000. Deputy Corry talks glibly about salaries of £1,000 and £1,500 a year, but he has no comment when it comes to a question of spending £90,000 in this Vote, or £1,390,000 in the Primary Education Vote. These are matters merely to smile at. I hope the Minister will drop his usual rôle of poseur when replying to Deputies who offer reasoned, intelligent and constructive criticism when he comes to reply. He will, however, very likely adopt his usual attitude to-night. He will look round to see how he looks, and his looks would be directed all the more carefully if he had a mirror in which to see how his hair was dressed. I ask the Minister, in connection with this Gaeltacht Vote, to tell us what is his intention in regard to the poor honest industrious people living round the seaboard, endeavouring to make a living out of gathering shellfish. In one village, not twenty miles from Cork City, one or two persons endeavour to make a living not alone for themselves but, also, for twenty or thirty other persons engaged in picking periwinkles, cockles and other kinds of shellfish. As a result of the so-called economic war, these people cannot get their shellfish into the markets of Great Britain without paying a very heavy tariff or duty. The result is already that numbers of these people have been rendered unemployed. It may, of course, be a matter of little or no importance to the Minister, but it is of very serious importance, indeed, to those poor humble people who live by picking cockles and periwinkles and all that kind of shellfish. I ask the Minister whether it is proposed to give any relief whatever to that class of the community. They are a most industrious class. First, in connection with this industry, we have the small man, who invests a little capital to procure the gear necessary to catch the shellfish, and then—and this is the primary consideration—we have the people who pick these shellfish in all kinds of weather in this most precarious occupation. Is there to be any relief for those people now shut off from their best and, indeed, only market, which exists across the Channel?

Now with regard to army pensions I want to say that I agree that it is absolutely essential, if we are to continue to have an army, that we must provide pensions for people who give us good service. We have so far only a temporary Army Act; we have no permanent Army Act. I do not know whether the people, as a whole, are quite aware of that. The Army Act is renewed from year to year. I have advocated in this House, no matter what Government was in power, whether under President de Valera or ex-President Cosgrave, that the Army should be stabilised to this extent that a man having served twenty-one or twenty-two years, or whatever the period of service agreed upon by the Executive Council, should be entitled to some kind of pension or gratuity that would keep him off the unemployment register after his service. President de Valera, last night, said, and I endorse every word of that part of his statement, that he did not at all agree with the idea of pensions for young men who are fit and able to work. I entirely endorse these views of the President although politically I am entirely opposed to him. We had in the last Dáil under the ægis of the Fianna Fáil Party, an Army Pensions Bill introduced, giving pensions to a whole lot of young people. Can this country afford that kind of thing? I pointed out, in the debate on that Bill, that if I felt it was to be final, that it was to be the last Army Pensions Bill that would be introduced, I would fully subscribe to it almost to every comma. I asked then, and I ask again now, if and when we make our calculations on the nation's Budget, we should be allowed to anticipate certain events. If there is to be another revolution— not that I anticipate it—is there to be another Army Pensions Bill? I asked that question when the Bill of 1932 was passing through the Dáil because I think we must have some kind of finality.

As the Deputy rightly says we must have some kind of finality, may I point out to him that on this Vote on Account, it is usual to discuss administration, general expenditure, and financial policy in matters of general wide interest. The Deputy referred to cockle-pickers in Cork, and he is now dealing with legislation, but criticism of existing legislation, or the advocacy of future legislation is quite out of order.

I accept that.

Is it in order for a Deputy to read a newspaper in the House during the discussion of business?

No, it is not in order.

What is the point the Minister is making?

It has no reference to the Deputy.

I notice, sir, that when my criticisms or remarks seem most effective, there is usually a point of order raised by the Minister for Finance. I do not mind the interruptions of some Deputies here, because they will have an opportunity of getting up and expressing their views, if they can do so coherently afterwards. I want to say further that there is a barrier up there behind which some people should be put. I think I had something to say here before about people of atavistic tendencies.

It seems to me that the Deputy is deliberately obstructing the business. The greater part of his speech is irrelevant.

The Deputy-on the Vote.

Yes, on the Vote. I am aware that this kind of criticism is not very welcome to the Ministerial Bench. I have already pointed out that here is a Vote for a very trivial sum, the very trivial amount of £7,985,460, almost £8,000,000. Then we heard laments from people like Deputy Corry about the poor, distressed farmer when it is a matter of £800 or £900, but on this matter of £8,000,000, not a word. I agree it is not acceptable to the Minister for Finance to hear me talk in the strain I have been talking this evening. I referred to Army pensions. I indicated that in this Vote there is provided for Army pensions £84,500. I am going to confine myself, acting on your advice, strictly and solely, to the question of the administration of this £84,500. I have indicated quite clearly to the House that whilst I was prepared to subscribe, and will always subscribe, to the policy that suggests that any man who served in the Army or Police Force of this country is entitled to a pension at the end of a period—let that period be defined by the House as 12, 21 or 25 years—at the same time, we should have certain rules and regulations to guide us. What rules and regulations have we to guide us in relation to the £84,500? You have had a recent Act passed here giving pensions to a number of persons—I hope this will not be thought to be controversial—who are out to destroy the structure of this State.

The Deputy has been informed that criticism of legislation is out of order. If he cannot get down to the Vote before the House he will have to sit down.

I am entitled to criticise the administration of this £84,500 and how that is distributed. Is that not so?

Administration yes, legislation no.

I quite accept that. I was speaking of how the money was being administered. I want to suggest in connection with the Army pensions that some provision should be made for the private soldier, for the officer or non-commissioned officer who leaves the Army, by way of gratuity. I suggested when Cumann na nGaedheal was in power here that there should be a system of deferred payment.

Once again I submit that really the Deputy is not discussing administration at this stage. He is speaking of what there should be; not what there is.

I am discussing the administration of this £84,000. I want to suggest that some provision should be made for the private soldier, the officer or the non-commissioned officer, who leaves the Army, that we should not throw these people on the unemployed list and add further to the misery and distress in our cities.

The Deputy, as far as I understand him, is suggesting some amendment of existing legislation. Is that in order?

The Deputy seems to be suggesting improved regulations in administration of the money.

I want to advert, and I would not have adverted to it at all were it not for the interruptions of the Minister for Finance, who because of his position, should be normally expected to give some kind of lead to persons like myself, ordinary members of the House, to this Relief Grant. We shall be told that there should be no comments made on this 24/- a week, which seemingly is to become the standard wage for a certain type of labourer in this country. The Labour Party was threatened, mind you, by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance that if they, the official Labour Party, went down to certain parts of the country, they would be torn limb from limb—these are his exact words—if they objected to that wage. Apparently the Labour Party has swallowed that and taken their medicine, because they have not said much about it. I say, as far as I am concerned, and I speak on behalf of a very large number of those poor people who cannot make themselves vocal on all occasions, that I object very strongly to the standard laid down by the Fianna Fáil Government, a standard of 24/- a week for those unfortunate men who, by virtue of their economic position, have no other choice but to accept it in certain areas in the country. I hope that when the Parliamentary Secretary replies he will indicate to the House, and to these unfortunate people who are clamouring for work at the moment, that that is not the standard wage established or about to be established by the Fianna Fáil Government who, when going on the hustings, proclaimed that they were out to establish a new social order based on high Christian principles—high Christian principles translated into 24 bob a week for the unfortunate unskilled labourer in the country.

It is generally understood, I think, that, in a discussion on Votes on Account, the debate, so far as possible, should confine itself to one or two issues indicated beforehand by those responsible for the several Parties in the House and by those who might be taken as able to determine the course of the discussion.

Might I ask if the Minister is concluding?

No, the Minister does not necessarily conclude on the Committee Stage.

It has not been hitherto the general policy to roam at will over the Estimates as the last speaker did—at least it has never been the practice, if it has been the desire, of the House to have a really useful debate—because on occasions of this kind, it is usual to have only the Minister for Finance present and the Minister for Finance, unless he happens to belong to a one-man band like Deputy Anthony, cannot be expected to be a Poo-bah and deal with all the questions that might be raised in a general discussion. The principal points which have been stressed in this debate, in so far as any issue really emerged from it, were, firstly, the question of the rate of wages paid on minor relief schemes and, secondly, so far as one could discern any other prominent issue, the question as to whether we were being fair to those farmers who are being asked to accept, in exchange for the very substantial concession the Government has given them in regard to the land annuities, a comparatively unimportant reduction in the local taxation grants.

Question.

Before dealing with these issues, however, I should like to deal so far as I can with a few points which have been raised, I think, by Deputy Dillon, because I take it that Deputy Dillon in this matter was speaking for the Party of which he is a member and that the points which he made were points which are of general interest to the members of that Party who did not indicate previously that they desired that any particular topic should be discussed. Deputy Dillon, in dealing with Vote No. 10, referred to the position of certain drainage boards in this country which have become, owing possibly to the lack of interest on the part of their members, moribund, and he asked us whether we would be prepared to take over these drainage areas, to re-condition the works, and to put them under the local authorities. The position in that regard is that the Commissioners of Public Works have power, as Deputy Dillon said, under the Drainage Maintenance Act to appoint an engineer or other competent person to inspect and report to them on the condition of existing drainage works, and if it appears to the Commissioners on receipt of this report that the works are not being suitably maintained, the Commissioners can put these works in a suitable state of repair and then hand the district over to the county council concerned for future maintenance.

In a certain number of cases these inspections have been made and the necessary steps consequent on the reports have been taken, but they have only been taken in those cases in which reports were made to the Commissioners of Public Works by responsible persons. If Deputy Dillon or any other Deputy in the House knows of cases where it would be desirable in the public interest that the procedure which I have outlined should be adopted, I should be very glad if they would make the necessary representations to the Parliamentary Secretary, to myself or to the Commissioners of Public Works, and I undertake that the promptest attention possible will be given to the cases which they bring under their notice. I agree with Deputy Dillon that possibly the repair of defective drainage works or works which have been allowed to fall into disrepair would be one of the best ways in which moneys voted for the relief of unemployment could be utilised.

The Deputy also raised a point on Vote No. 33, which provides for the Gárda Síochána, which I think should be dealt with immediately in this House because, if it were not dealt with, possibly a good deal of misunderstanding which, apparently, prevails among those with whom, at any rate, the Deputy has been in contact would continue. The Deputy said that he understood that members of the Gárda Síochána were being transferred from one station to another on representations locally made. I presume that the Deputy has had certain cases of this kind brought to his notice and that he has probably taken it for granted that the Minister for Justice had power to transfer a Gárda from one station or district to another. As a matter of fact, the Minister for Justice has absolutely no power in this matter. The Commissioner of the Gárda Síochána, as Deputy Geoghegan pointed out to the House, is the supreme authority and has absolute authority in the matter and, if Gárdaí are transferred from one district to another, they are not transferred on representations locally made, as was implied in Deputy Dillon's question, by those who desire that certain people should be victimised for political reasons, but because the Commissioner of the Gárda, in his sole discretion and acting as absolute and supreme authority in this matter, considers that it is in the best interests of the Force that these changes should be made.

Very often they are made, I am sure, for disciplinary reasons but, for whatever reasons they may be made, the one thing I should like to emphasise is that neither the Minister for Justice nor any other member of the Government has any power whatsoever to influence the promotion, the transfer or disciplinary treatment in any way of any member of the Gárda Síochána below the rank of inspector and, even above the rank of inspector, our powers are confined merely to appointment and dismissal, and to dismissal on report put up to us by the Commissioner of the Gárda. I should like to make that clear because I feel that it should be made patent to everyone, beyond all possibility of doubt or misunderstanding, that the Gárda is not subject in any way to political control.

I suppose we may take it from what the Minister has said that the Minister for Justice has not, in fact, ever tried to interfere with the discretion of the Commissioner or to put pressure on him in that respect?

I am absolutely certain that that may be taken. The Deputy also referred to congestion in regard to Circuit Court appeals. The Government has in contemplation legislation which will deal with these cases and, speaking now without the book, I think the proposed Bill is actually in the Parliamentary draftsman's office, and that when it is brought before the House it will contain a provision which will enable the congestion in regard to Circuit Court appeals, if such congestion exists, to be immediately cleared and relieved.

The Deputy at this point joined forces with certain other Deputies. For instance, he joined with Deputy O'Higgins, whom the House, like the country, has long ceased to take seriously, in saying that we had broken our pledges to de-rate agricultural land. That pledge was never given. We never pledged ourselves fully to de-rate agricultural land. We did say, and we are fulfilling our undertaking, that if we retained the land annuities, out of the £3,000,000 that used to be sent over to Great Britain in respect to those annuities, £2,000,000 would be devoted to the relief of agriculture.

Might I ask the Minister a question?

With the Minister's consent.

Have I the Minister's permission?

Did the Minister read the speech made by President de Valera in the town of Athy during the 1932 election and his explicit promise absolutely and completely to de-rate Irish land?

Is the Minister aware that the election addresses of, at any rate, some Fianna Fáil candidates—I had thought of all, but there were certainly some—in the election of a year ago, specifically promised complete de-rating?

First of all, I do not recollect having read the speech of the President on the occasion to which Deputy O'Higgins refers, and secondly I certainly am not aware that any Fianna Fáil candidates, in their election addresses, promised de-rating.

I can guarantee it for County Limerick. For the whole panel of Fianna Fáil candidates one address was issued and it definitely promised derating.

That is so.

I hope that as the Leader of a Party, Deputy MacDermot at this stage is not going to assume responsibility for everything that a candidate of his Party says or writes or puts in an election address during any coming election.

I must admit that I thought it was a stock election address for the whole country.

I was saying that we had never given a pledge completely to derate agricultural land. I said that we had pledged ourselves, in the event of our retaining the land annuities, to devote at least £2,000,000 to the relief of agriculture. That pledge was given at a time when the total amount voted for supplementary agricultural grants was £1,198,000, If, in addition to that sum, we were to add another £2,000,000, our undertaking in regard to the relief of agriculture out of the proceeds of the annuities would be fully discharged. What is the position this year? We have retained the land annuities. How much of them did we collect from the farmers this year? Of the gales due in May, June, November and December, amounting to £2,968,000 the total amount collected from the Irish farmers was about £1,061,000.

How much has Great Britain collected from the Irish farmers?

The utmost claim Mr. Thomas makes is £2,156,000, and that was not all collected from the Irish farmers.

Add that to the other.

Out of the £2,968,000 of land annuities properly collectible, we collected only £1,061,000, and we allowed the other £1,900,000 to remain in the pockets of the Irish farmers this year. We gave, in addition to that, £2,198,000 by way of relief of rates on agricultural land. I may say it is the first time since the agricultural grant was introduced in 1897 or 1898 that the grant was paid to the local authorities in full. In every other year, as has been mentioned in the House, considerable sums were retained by the central authority in respect of arrears of land annuities. This is the first year since the grant was established, the first year in over a generation, when the full amount of the grant, £2,198,000, was paid. It was paid on a scale unparalleled and, I believe, on a scale undreamt of, even by the greediest and most avaricious member of a local authority in this country.

Was it because the Minister could not legally retain that money?

Not at all. The Minister could have quite legally retained it. Is it not the position under the law as it stood that we were entitled to retain the money—that, as the farmers had failed by £1,900,000 to pay the full amount of their annuities under the Acts of 1891, 1903 and 1909, and, speaking from memory, as the farmers had failed by an additional £700,000 to pay their annuities under the 1923 and subsequent Acts, our position was that we could have retained the whole of the local taxation grants; that, in fact, under the law as it stood we were bound to retain the whole of the local taxation grants; that we were bound to retain the £2,198,000 which, instead of keeping for the general purposes of the Guarantee Fund, we are paying out and we propose to pay out before 31st March, if we get the necessary legislation, through the county councils?

I suppose the Minister is aware that legal opinion of considerable weight, because of the name behind it, has been given that so long as the annuities were not being paid to England the Government had not a legal right to retain them?

Legal opinions, no doubt, have been given but, after all, I think in regard to the land annuities the old adage still remains, that possession is nine points of the law. At any rate, it is better than any legal opinion so far as the Government's policy is concerned; it is better than any legal opinion we have heard to the contrary. The money of the people has been retained in this country and Deputy Belton, like many another farmer, has succeeded in getting away with a very much lesser sum in regard to land annuities than he would get away with under any other Government. Not merely have they the £1,900,000 and the £2,198,000 in respect of grants to local authorities, but they have also got £1,700,000 in respect of bounties and subsidies on produce exported.

To the exporters.

To the farmers and producers. And if the Government were to propose to cut off the subsidies and the bounties, the uproar would not come from the exporters or from the cattle buyers, but from Deputy Belton, Deputy O'Higgins and every member of the Centre Party.

Might I ask the Minister a question—from whom did the request for the bounties come—was it from the farmers?

The bounties were paid without any request. We paid the bounties as part of the considered policy of the Government in order to ease the situation which had arisen during the last year and in order, as far as we possibly could, to remit at the earliest possible moment to the farmers the benefits of the land annuities which we were retaining.

Has it got the endorsement of any representative farmers?

I have not heard any demand from any body of farmers or any person asking that the bounties be not paid. In the phrase which the Parliamentary Secretary has made classical the person who would go down the country advocating that the bounty should not be paid would be torn limb from limb at any fair in the country. That would be the fate of the person who said the bounties should not be paid and that the burden on the general taxpayer should be correspondingly reduced.

Might I ask the Minister a question?

How much bounty is paid on cattle—how much per cent. is paid?

Just one moment. I will answer that question with the greatest pleasure—though I am not bound to answer it—if the Deputy will answer me one which I will put to him afterwards. The bounty paid is 12½ per cent.

What are the British charging by their embargo?

One question at a time. It has been alleged that the bounty of 12½ per cent. is not passed on to the farmer, that the farmer gets no part of this bounty. Deputy Keating is engaged extensively in the cattle trade——

Not very extensively, but where there is competition.

I have not put my question yet. The Deputy is engaged in the cattle trade. I am prepared to admit that he has much more knowledge of the cattle trade than I could possibly have. Will the Deputy tell me, "yes" or "no," whether any part of the 12½ per cent. is passed on to the exporter or will the Deputy put it in his pocket?

Cattle dealers are not getting any profit. We are losing heavily. I have asked the Minister to tell us what is the British Government charging by their tariff?

Am I to assume then that as the Deputy says he is losing heavily, that he is buying cattle out of the goodness of his heart and that he passes on everything to the farmer?

The Minister seems to be a very simple businessman. When a cattle dealer goes to a fair or market he has not that all to himself. I have not the market all to myself. I have got to bid against others. I am not the only buyer in the market.

So that there is competition in the market now. The Deputy has to bid high in order to get cattle—is that the position?

I have to bid the market value for them.

The top of the market?

There is no top to the market now.

No, it is sky high.

But low down.

If it is so low as that how is it that the Deputy is losing money?

I would ask the Minister to try it himself, and I am sure he is a smarter man than I am. I heard the Minister for Education saying to-night that the County Wexford is better off than any other county. The fact is that the people in County Wexford are hard-working. It is an agricultural county and the people live chiefly by stall-feeding cattle, and sheep-raising, and they pay 40 per cent. on everything they send to England.

Does not Deputy Keating give them back 12½ per cent. that he gets as a bounty?

What does Deputy Corry say? Why does he not take his hand down from his mouth when he is speaking?

I was only hoping that as Deputy Keating had interrupted me, he will at least deal with this question which has arisen—that is as to whether any part of the bounty is passed on to the farmer by the cattle dealers.

I would just like to remind the Minister for Finance that at the last Ard-Fheis of the Fianna Fáil Party it was declared that the farmer was not getting any benefit.

Dr. Ryan

Was Deputy O'Leary there?

I read it in the Press.

I was only hoping that this vexed question would be settled one way or another. It was open to Deputy Keating to say that the farmers were not getting any part of the 12½ per cent. bounty and that he, as the cattle dealer put the whole of that 12½ per cent. in his pocket.

Does not the Minister know as well as I do that where there is competition that cannot be done, people cannot be robbed in that way?

Precisely; they cannot be robbed like that. Now we have it out.

The Minister knows that all right.

The Deputy says that where there is competition you cannot do that and he has told us that there is competition. Accordingly the argument of Deputy Belton is exploded by Deputy Keating's argument. I hope that Deputy Belton will not split the Cumann na nGaedheal Party because his argument has been exploded by Deputy Keating who says the farmers do get some part of the bounty.

The Minister ought to get a farm and show the people of the country how to make money.

We all know it is the action of the Fianna Fáil Government that has caused the depression in our markets.

In any case we have learned this and it is a very useful contribution to the debate, and that is, that Deputy Keating cannot go down to any fair and fix his own price. He cannot fix his own price because there is a demand for the cattle.

There is no demand.

He has got to pay the market price. Considering that he is doing this in order to lose money and that he is doing it in order to keep the cattle trade of this country going—

Might I tell the Minister that you might possibly lose money if you were to buy a beast for 10/-.

However, I think I have shown that Irish farmers are not losing by the fact that we have reduced the land annuities—by the fact that we have held on to the land annuities —and by the fact that we have introduced special legislation into this House which will enable us before the end of the year if the Bill before this House becomes law to enable us to do it, to pay £2,800,000 in agricultural grant. I would like to make that clear to the House. Yesterday, we had two Parties here each professing an interest in the farmers and we had the members of the Cumann na nGaedheal and the Centre Party going into the Lobby to vote against a Bill that would enable the Government to pay these grants in full——

Into the Exchequer.

There is no other way in which the grant can be paid to the farmer if that Bill does not go through. The people who profess to be anxious to remove the burden from the farmers were the people who went into the Lobby yesterday to impose upon the Government or to continue upon the Government the obligation of holding this money in the Guarantee fund, and thereby putting additional taxation on the farmers. That is the issue that was raised in yesterday's debate. It was in order to impose that additional taxation on the farmer that Deputy Belton and Deputy Bennett and every member of the Centre Party voted against that Bill. I do not blame the Centre Party as much as I blame Deputies Belton and Bennett because they are familiar with the procedure in regard to the Guarantee Fund. It was in order to withhold those moneys that Deputies Belton and Bennett's votes were cast here yesterday.

That is not so.

That was the effect of it.

If I am in order I would like to say——

The Deputy is not in order.

The Minister's concessions are no damned good to the farmers as long as we are losing our markets.

That may possibly not have been the intention of Deputy Bennett when he cast his vote yesterday.

Is this relevant? It is very easy to answer all that. It will carry us into a very wide field of discussion if we have to discuss again the Bill that was voted on yesterday here.

The Leader of the Farmers' Party did not know what he was doing.

On a Vote on Account, Deputies have very great latitude.

I shall not trespass on the time of the House any longer in pursuing that particular aspect of the matter. I have simply made clear what the position was.

It is a pity you were interrupted. You were going on a very interesting line.

I generally do. I now come to the other points raised. A point stressed by Deputy O'Higgins, Deputy Morrissey and, so far as one could gather what he was talking about, by Deputy Anthony——

Before the Minister passes from Deputy Dillon, does he feel inclined to say anything on Deputy Dillon's comments on Vote No. 2?

I dealt with the points raised by Deputy Dillon because I assumed—perhaps erroneously—that the Deputy was not aware of the general practice with regard to the Vote on Account. The question of the allowance to be paid to members of the Oireachtas can more suitably be raised on the Vote itself. It is a matter which I would not attempt to dispose of in the few minutes I might be able to give to it.

The point I was dealing with is the point raised by Deputy Morrissey, by Deputy Anthony and possibly in its crudest form by Deputy O'Higgins. Deputy O'Higgins said: "The Government stands for a wage of 24/- per week as an example to all employers." The Deputy said he had a shrewd suspicion, in another connection, that a certain thing was just political humbug. The Deputy is a good judge of political humbug. He trotted out one of the finest specimens of it in that sentence which I have just repeated—that the Government stands for a wage of 24/- as an example to all employers. The Government last year devoted the sum of £2,150,000 to relief schemes and for the undertaking and construction of a considerable number of public works. Of that £2,150,000, £2,000,000 was devoted to what might be called "major relief schemes," and £150,000 was devoted to what was hitherto known as "minor relief schemes." Minor relief schemes are of a peculiar kind. As the Parliamentary Secretary has pointed out, they were only, in the first case, carried out by the Land Commission and, so far as possible, they have hitherto been confined to congested districts and very necessitous areas. As a general rule, the work which was undertaken in respect of these minor relief schemes was of this nature—accommodation roads, small drainage works carried out on farms and, generally, land-improvement works of various sorts mainly executed by the people who were owners of the land adjoining the accommodation roads or owners of the land in which the drains were made or cleared. The people who were actually engaged on the works were the people who were going to be the primary beneficiaries. In so far as any improvement might accrue to the lands in consequence of this expenditure of public money, the benefit would, as a general rule, directly inure to them as the proprietors and owners of these lands or, if not actual proprietors at that moment, potential proprietors when their parents died. Last year, after all the minor relief schemes that were in a sufficient state of development to be immediately undertaken had been carried out in the districts for which they were originally designed, there was a balance of money left over. A question arose as to how it might be applied.

As the county areas which hitherto had not benefited under such relief schemes had received their full allocations of the moneys voted for major works, it was decided to increase the allocations by distributing the residue, after the congested areas and other districts of that type had been dealt with, over certain other counties where the need seemed to be greatest. As the money had been originally voted by the Dáil as minor-relief money, it naturally followed that the conditions which hitherto had applied to minor relief works—conditions which had been sanctioned by the Dáil for a period of ten years, endorsed by the Public Accounts Committee, and accepted by the Comptroller and Auditor-General as conditions which were fair and just and equitable, bearing in mind the intention of the Dáil—should continue to apply to these works even if undertaken in counties where hitherto they had not been known. Furthermore, as the Minister for Education has pointed out, it was noted that whenever the Land Commission was entrusted with the administration of relief works, the Land Commission staff was diverted from its ordinary purpose and ordinary work—that of dividing and allocating lands and improving estates—to the administration of these schemes. It was decided in order to free the Land Commission staff for its normal and proper duties that the administration of these Votes should be undertaken for the time being by the Commissioners of Public Works, for whom the Parliamentary Secretary speaks in this House. It was found then that the Office of Public Works had no proper staff which could be devoted to the administration of these schemes, and it was decided that the best thing to do in order to get work going without any unnecessary delay was to have the scheme administered by county surveyors and the money disbursed by them whenever works were undertaken outside the congested areas. It was because of that fact that the anomaly which has been referred to in this House arose—two classes of relief schemes going on in certain areas at one and the same time and administered under the control and supervision of county council officers, different rates of pay being in operation on those two schemes. One set of men working, as was said, in a quarry, because they were working on a major relief scheme, were paid at the full county council rate. Another set, in the same place, because they happened to be working on a minor relief scheme, were paid at the rate properly pertaining to minor relief works in accordance, as I have said, with the generally determined policy of this House during the previous ten years. It is quite true it was an anomaly, but it was an anomaly which was very restricted in its occurrence.

I have pointed out that we set aside £2,150,000 last year for relief works and the provision of employment generally. Of that sum, £2,000,000 was expended on work which was paid for at the full county council rate of 32/-, upwards and downwards within a very narrow margin. At any rate, £2,000,000 was spent at the general standard rate of 32/-. Another £150,000 was spent under the conditions which hitherto have normally prevailed. Of that £150,000, fully two-thirds was spent in congested areas at rates which have never been questioned in this House. What is left? A balance of £50,000, which was distributed to the most necessitous men at the rate of 24/- a week, so that the whole complaint of Deputy Morrissey, Deputy Anthony and Deputy O'Higgins is based on the fact that out of the sum of £2,050,000 we spent £2,000,000 at the rate of 32/- a week and £50,000 at the rate of 24/- a week in the special circumstances which I have detailed to this House. On the basis of that £50,000 we are told by Deputy O'Higgins that we are trying to make 24/- a week a standard rate of pay in this country, and an example for all employers. This is the basis upon which the whole of this case has been built. That is the grain of dust out of which this mountain has been raised about the rates of wages which we are paying upon these schemes. Deputy Morrissey was very voluble; Deputy O'Higgins was very voluble; but Deputy O'Higgins has not told this House that on the schemes carried out by the Land Commission, for instance, in the county of Westmeath during 1930 and 1931, the rate of wages paid was not 24/- a week but 20/- a week. Deputy O'Higgins knew that men were being paid on those works at that rate in those years. Deputy Morrissey knew it and Deputy Anthony knew it, but I did not hear one of them getting up here and saying that the Cumann na nGaedheal Government were trying to set 20/- a week as an example for all employers. I am not holding up the actions of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government as a model for imitation—God forbid—but I am holding up and publicly exposing the hard-faced hypocrisy of Deputy O'Higgins when he talks about 24/- a week being set as an example and a standard to employers of the State. He was one of the men who knew that under the Government which he supported the rate of wages in much better times, when the country could afford to pay better rates than it can pay now, was not 24/- a week but 20/- a week. Deputy Morrissey knew that and yet Deputy Morrissey deserted the Labour Party and joined Cumann na nGaedheal. Deputy Morrissey will now get up, strike his breast, and say "what a good boy am I" when speaking about this 24/- a week. Nobody minds very much what Deputy Morrissey says because he is not very careful of his facts. He was talking to the House this evening of the case of men who under those minor relief schemes had to work for five weeks before they were paid. We challenged Deputy Morrissey to be more precise in his statements, and to tell us where those things had happened. He said, mind you, that one of the conditions attaching to those minor relief works was that the men would have to work for over five weeks before they were able to draw their money. As I said, we challenged him to be more precise. Deputy Morrissey quibbled; Deputy Morrissey shuffled; Deputy Morrissey tried to evade in every possible way the issue which he himself had raised, but at last Deputy Morrissey was cornered and said that those schemes to which he referred had been carried out by the Land Commission. If any person had to wait for five weeks before they were paid for work on minor relief schemes carried out by the Land Commission then those men must have been employed under the Cumann na nGaedheal Government, because no works under minor relief schemes have been carried out by the Land Commission since this Government took up office.

I am not sure of exactly to what extent Deputy Norton was familiar with the facts as I have related them to the House in connection with the relief works. I am afraid he has been misled if he has assumed—because the exigencies of financial control (which we cannot break; which my accounting officer cannot break, unless he makes himself responsible to the Comptroller and Auditor-General for the refunding of every penny piece of money and property spent) in relation to minor relief works had to be carried out, and the minor relief conditions had to be applied to these schemes, even when undertaken in areas in which they were not originally intended—that 24/- a week was the normal wage prescribed by us for minor relief work. Over £2,050,000 of public money has been spent in providing employment during this year, and of that sum fully £2,000,000 has been spent in paying wages at the rate of 32/- a week. The remaining sum of £50,000 had to be spent, if spent at all, under the conditions hitherto prescribed for the execution of minor relief works. It had to be spent, if it were to be spent at all, at the same rate as agricultural wages in the country.

Does the Minister justify it?

I justify it in these circumstances, that the money had either to be spent in that way or withheld in the Exchequer. There were only two courses. We had either to spend it on minor relief works under the conditions hitherto prescribed for those works, or keep it in the Exchequer and deprive the people for whom it was originally intended of the benefit of it.

I do not want to interrupt the Minister unless he has finished——

I have not finished.

Would the Minister mind saying whether he contends that it is not within the power of the Government to vary the instructions which have been issued from the Department?

The term minor relief works by custom and by precedent has been restricted in its scope to mean work of the nature which I have outlined—work on roads and work of that nature—as a general rule undertaken in certain prescribed areas by the people who were themselves to be the primary beneficiaries.

Can you vary the regulations?

We do not propose to vary the regulations because in the areas for which they were originally intended they do useful work. If minor relief works have got to be carried out in other districts in the future we will have to find another name for them. When that name has been found we will possibly apply different regulations to them. The point was that the money was originally voted in this House for minor relief works. Once it has been voted for works of that description it either had to be applied to those works or it could not be applied at all. As is well known, money is voted by this House for a definite and specific purpose—the purpose laid down in Part 3 of the Estimate. That money has to be spent for that purpose or it cannot be spent at all. I will be quite frank with the House; if there is any blame to be attached to the Government in this matter it arises because of the circumstances under which the Budget was being compiled. It was compiled under circumstances of some difficulty. We had to find a considerable sum of money and it was difficult enough to find ways and means of raising it. And we again had to assist so far as we could towards relieving the amount of unemployment which had to be relieved in the country and make the necessary allocations in having the general body of distress dealt with and to make those allocations in a way which would give us the best and most economic results. Working on the basis of previous relief grants, we say that £150,000 can be usefully employed on minor relief schemes. As I said, when the matter comes to be sifted, we find in effect there were actual schemes aggregating to £100,000 which could be dealt with and properly classified as minor relief works. The question arose, therefore, whether we were to spend the remaining £50,000, or leave it lying in the Exchequer. We decided that as there were certain counties more necessitous than others, we would give those particular counties the benefit of that £50,000, but it was only to be given to those counties as money for minor relief works, the Dáil having voted it for that specific purpose and no other. When it came to the question of distributing that money to those counties it had to carry with it the conditions which had hitherto been applied to it. Now, the position we will be in next year is that if those counties have to be dealt with we must possibly make a different allocation of the money.

Why? I do not grasp the Minister's point of view. I understood you got these regulations and regarded them as being perfectly sound and sensible.

Of course they were perfectly sound and sensible in the conditions for which they were originally intended, that is to relieve distress, and particularly necessitous areas where the people are not generally employed as agricultural labourers, where, as a general rule, they were the owners of small patches of land, and where the work to be carried out would be a direct improvement to their land and to their benefit. It was perfectly sound—I think so anyway. Those conditions do not exist except in certain definite and limited areas in this country. They do not exist in this country at large. The problems of the agricultural labourer arises in a much more definite and aggravated form in other counties, and, therefore, the possibilities are if works of the kind which have hitherto been carried out as relief works in these areas, are to be carried out in different areas, I say that possibly different conditions must apply. I believe the Parliamentary Secretary has not yet had time to examine the problem in all its aspects.

There was one other point which I think Deputy Norton raised and I think I ought to deal with it. He said there is no great evidence of a desire to provide work, "Nothing which has been done has convinced me that the Government desire to implement its promises in this regard." Well, I do not know. I find it very difficult to believe that what the Government has already done in regard to the relief of unemployment has failed to carry conviction to Deputy Norton.

It is appreciated——

I think at any rate we can feel this—I at any rate can feel—that Deputy Norton is of opinion that we have tried within our limited means—our means are limited and we have not an inexhaustible source of supply—to make the utmost provision that could possibly be made to relieve distress and to create employment in this country. Last year we did it in a superhuman way, by boldly imposing the heaviest possible burden of taxation that the community in my opinion could bear. We did it last year in that way. This year we propose to do it in a different way. We are providing under the local loans four constructional works of various kinds as a grant in aid over and above the provision which was normally made last year, and of the £550,000, we are providing over and above that normal provision an additional sum of £1,600,000.

A Deputy

At the same rate of interest?

I will deal with that later. We are providing as grants for housing purposes to local authorities the sum of £300,000 and we are providing for minor relief schemes another £150,000, making a total distribution of £2,050,000. Now, the best way, I think, of relieving unemployment is to provide employment, and that is what we are doing. These figures of £1,600,000 and the figure of £300,000 for grants to housing are not mere estimates, nor mere guess-work, but they are estimates based on the applications which have already come in for the money on schemes which are in contemplation and which will proceed, we believe, during the ensuing 12 months from the 1st April next. As I said, the best way of relieving unemployment is to provide employment. This £2,050,000 is designed to do that.

The constructive policy of the Government in regard to employment is now beginning to fructify, and, as I have already said, these grants are being provided for to finance schemes which are already projected and well under way of actual execution, and the only question is, it did not matter whether I said we are going to provide £2,000,000 for the relief of unemployment, or whether we were to give to local authorities loans which we must raise in the first instance, the Government has indicated, by the generous housing grants it has given, and by the grants it will possibly make for other works, that local authorities are going to be assisted in these undertakings and loans are being provided in respect of undertakings which local authorities themselves have already projected and for the financing of which they have already asked that facilities be provided. And so, even on the Estimates, there is already going to be provided almost as much as £2,050,000 for next year, almost as much as or almost equal to the £2,050,000 which was provided this year, and that is the position.

I think when Deputy Norton or any other member in this House contemplates and considers and ponders upon these figures that at any rate he will not be able to say that this Government is not being sincere in its attempt to implement the promises it gave during the elections. So far as we in this House can possibly ensure, within the limits of our resources, everything possible will be done towards the relief of unemployment and distress.

The Minister did not deal with the question of interest.

The Deputy asked me whether it is going to be at the same rate as last year. I am not in a position to say that yet. It will be necessary, I believe, for the Government this year to raise a long term loan for a large amount, and the rate which we will have to charge local authorities will depend on the price we have to pay for the money which we ourselves borrow.

How much does the Minister estimate for the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act?

£200,000.

Has every penny of this sum been ear-marked to a specific purpose, or is some of it still available?

Some of it is still available. There has been a margin left for applications which may come in, but the estimate is based on schemes considered or projected.

I do not intend to make a speech on the Vote at this late hour. Other occasions will arise for that, but the trend of the debate, at least by Ministers on the Front Bench, has been that the Government have done more than they should have for the farmers. These were the words used by the Minister for Education, and the implied words of the Minister for Finance. I got up principally for the purpose of refuting the implication that the Minister for Finance levelled at me and other members of our Party, as well as at the Centre Party: that in a certain Vote yesterday our object was to prohibit the Government from making available certain grants in aid of agriculture and for other purposes. Our purpose in voting for Deputy Cosgrave's amendment was altogether different from what the Minister implied. It was to ask the Ministry that, while this unfortunate economic war lasted, they should not take the action they intended, and further that they should suspend the collection of the annuities from the farmers until the economic war ceased; that they should not only cease to collect them but remit them. That was the object of our vote. There will be occasions to-morrow, perhaps, of fully accepting the challenge of Ministers that they have done more than they should have for the farmers. The challenge will be taken up and debated by members on this side, and I hope by members of the Centre Party. If that is the last word of the Ministry, then I say "God help our agriculturists."

Mr. McGovern rose.

I understood there was an agreement that this Vote would be taken before 10 o'clock, so that some Estimates and the First Reading of the Central Fund Bill could be taken to-night.

There was such agreement.

I just want to say a few words.

Is it agreed that the Deputy can speak for five minutes and that the Vote will be taken at 10 o'clock?

Agreed.

I just wish to refer to a point that the Minister for Finance tried to make to-night. It was a repetition of the claim made by the President last night, namely, that the State was giving something like £1,900,000 as a free gift to the agricultural community. Instead of being that it was really only an instalment of justice because it has been proved before a Commission appointed to inquire into the matter that complete derating would be only bare justice. If we had anything like equity in taxation the farmers would be entitled to complete derating of their land. I hold that what the President and the Minister claim as a gift to the agricultural community is merely an instalment of justice.

There is another matter that I would like to refer to—the question of the land annuities. It is claimed that the farmers are only paying half their annuities: that the other half is being remitted. The real fact is that they are paying 5¾ millions to Great Britain and half their annuities as well. That is almost two and a half times the amount of the annuities. Of course, the Government claim that Great Britain will not be able to collect this sum of 5¾ millions. In that case the Government are only confirming the case made by Deputy Belton last night that the farmers are in reality paying £16,000,000. For a number of years our agricultural exports were valued at in or about £28,000,000 per year. A 40 per cent. tariff on that and the 10 per cent. they are losing in preference show that the farmers are losing more than £16,000,000. Because of the economic war they are losing more than the £16,000,000 Deputy Belton mentioned, and they are losing that according to the case made by the Government themselves. The strongest case that could be made against the Government policy has been made by themselves as regards the loss the farmers are suffering.

It has been stated that the bounties compensate the farmers to a certain extent. I think if they are examined fairly it will be found that they are of no real benefit to the farmer. In the first place, we have lost the good will that we had in the British market, and that would be equal to half the value of the bounties. That is one item alone that offsets any benefit that may accrue from bounties to the farmer. In the second place, some of the bounty has to go to the middlemen. For this the middlemen are not altogether to blame. Because of the method of paying the bounty to the exporters there is a great deal of uncertainty and delay, and the middlemen are entitled to protect themselves by making some allowances in the prices they pay. They safeguard themselves by not passing on the full benefit of the bounties to the farmers. Another thing that has to be considered is that these bounties are to a great extent paid by the farmers themselves out of their other pocket. These are three disadvantages that more than offset the value of the bounties. Then again, there is another very important aspect of this question of bounties and tariffs that has not been considered by the Government or sufficiently considered by any Party. Up to lately the agricultural industry was the only one in this State that was able to carry on without being propped up by tariffs. Both farmers and labourers are paying a large amount every year for the upkeep of other industries. As a matter of justice, the agricultural industry is entitled to some compensating advantage having regard to what it is paying for the support of other industries. As there is an exportable surplus of agricultural produce, the only way in which that industry can be compensated is by paying a bounty on exports. Apart from the circumstances of the present time, and in view of the tariffs that have been imposed on Irish produce by Great Britain, which have more than offset any advantages given to the industry here, as a matter of justice the industry is entitled to a bounty.

Question put and agreed to.