Central Fund Bill, 1933—Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I was speaking on the last day about some of the anomalies that arise in carrying out the duties of the Revenue Commissioners in collecting duties. I have already referred to gold size. I wish to refer to another anomaly in connection with wood preservative. The Minister was asked some time ago "whether customs duty is being charged on wood preservative sold and invoiced by the Solignum Co. and, if so, if he will state under what authority this duty is leviable?" The reply was: "Wood preservative would not be liable to duty provided it did not come within the scope of reference No. 8 of the First Schedule to the Finance Act, 1932, except in so far as duty might be chargeable in respect of any spirits contained in it or used in its manufacture." In spite of that reply, and though fortified with the Minister's opinion, duty has been charged on wood preservative and is continued to be charged. I should like to refer to another case of this sort. The Minister referred the other day to the gutter factory here. Of course, the gutter factory does not manufacture every class of gutters and certain special kinds have to be imported here—special sizes and shapes. Undoubtedly, duty is leviable upon these gutters as hollow-ware—a duty of 20 per cent., I think. Not content with levying a duty of 20 per cent. on special sizes and shapes of gutters which are imported because they are not procurable here, somebody appears to have looked up the definition of "gutter" in the dictionary, and the meaning of gutter is given as "a channel for carrying away water." I would be the last person to dispute the definition of anything given by the dictionary, but armed with that interpretation the Commissioners proceed to bring in gutters as channels under, I think it is, the Emergency (Imposition of Duties) Order No. 5, which specifies bars, rods, angles, girders, joints, beams, channels, posts and tees.

Everyone knows I suppose that there is some affinity between a gutter and a channel. I suppose you could describe a gutter as a channel high up, or you could describe a channel as a gutter down low, but that does not make a gutter into a channel. Gutters are cast and channels are rolled, but notwithstanding that fact they have been put together and a double duty is being charged on those articles. I do not know how the Minister expects that industry can be carried on when such anomalies exist. People really do not know where they stand as regards cost, and when people are uncertain what the cost of anything is going to be they proceed to delay carrying on the work. I am sure many people in this House are aware of schemes in connection with which it would have paid the Government to meet those anomalous duties out of a relief grant in order to enable those schemes to go on.

In order to specify a few more cases of this sort I should mention that pipe hooks and hold-fasts are specified as nails. I do not see how, by any process of reasoning, those articles can be classified as nails and made dutiable. I would like to refer to the practice of bringing in all sorts of absurdly small amounts of articles that are used in the manufacture of substances which come into the Free State. It would appear as if a scientific investigation was going on to find out whether any percentage, microsscopic or otherwise, of a dutiable article was contained in the goods being brought in, and they were then made subject to duty. As an illustration of that point, I do not think anybody could defend a tax on workmen's tools; nobody on the other hand would suggest that spirits ought to be allowed in free, but when you get the amount of spirits in a spirit level, which would not provide a cocktail for a canary, brought in under the heading of spirits and duty charged accordingly, I think we are arriving at a Gilbertain situation in the collection of the taxes of the Free State. I do not see how the Ministry can justify such things. I do not believe they are aware of the hold-up to business and employment which they involve. I would ask them to clarify as far as possible the imposition of taxes, in order that people may know exactly what they are faced with, what they have to pay, and what the particular project which they have in mind is going to cost. When they have done that, I believe they will find that some additional employment at any rate, if not a very much greater amount, will be given by the general public.

I should just like to ask the Deputy a question before he finishes. He raised a point about channel iron being mistaken for gutters——

Being mistaken?

Being regarded, from a taxable point of view, as gutters.

The duty is charged properly as duty on gutters, and gutters are also brought in under the heading of channel iron.

I am just getting to that. Has he actually been charged that extra duty?

Yes. I will send the particulars to the Parliamentary Secretary.

The second case was that of the spirit level. Has he actually been charged in that case?

I know the Deputy will not want to go into details here, but if there are any other particular cases he knows of and he lets us have particulars in writing they will be gone into.

As the Parliamentary Secretary has asked me for it, I will give him a letter from the Revenue Commissioners, with your permission, a Chinn Comhairle.

Letter handed to the Parliamentary Secretary.

I am encouraged by the Parliamentary Secretary's interest to quote a rather glaring instance of lack of consideration for traders in connection with the importation of motor cars. Some time ago there was a tax of 1/- per sparking plug imposed on sparking plugs imported into this country, the reason being that a sparking plug industry had sprung up here. Everybody was glad to see that industry; everybody was glad to see it getting protection, but when it results in an absurdity of this kind I think the Government should really think over it. The cars that are coming into this country are driven as a rule to the port for shipment. A record of their mileage and of their performance on that journey to the port is usually sent along to the importer here. That, as a rule, is a selling item in the car. What has happened since this sparking plug duty was imposed is that there is 4/- extra duty charged in respect of the four sparking plugs which were used in bringing the car to the English port. Surely the Government does not expect that these plugs should be taken out, that in fact the car should be rendered unusable in order that it may be imported here? What do they hope to gain by it? Do they expect that more of the sparking plugs made in Ireland will be sold because of that regulation, or because of that law—I do not know which it is?

Heretofore there was one duty of twenty-two and two-ninths per cent. on the complete chassis, notwithstanding that certain things which are included in the chassis were subject to other rates of duty than the twentytwo and two-ninths per cent. That twenty-two and two-ninths per cent. is now not enough; there must be another 4/- duty because of the four sparking plugs contained in the chassis. I submit that this is not merely an absurdity but that it gives rise to a lot of trouble, price lists, for instance, having to be altered. I have seen price lists which had just been issued before this tax came along; they are no use any longer. Quotations that had been given had to be altered. I have seen the preparation of catalogues held up because of this change. In that connection it must be remembered that catalogues are now subject to tax. The Government quite rightly is enforcing their preparation in this country, but it is surely not encouraging towards the preparation of catalogues or the development of business or industry in the country that traders are hampered in that way. It is much more irritating than it seems at the moment. I do not speak against a protection policy. I am as much in favour of it as, I think, any other person in the House, but I do think that with regard to these particular matters there could be a great deal more broadmindedness. There could be more regard for the worries and difficulties of business people than is shown in the particular instance I have referred to.

It is not very easy for a Deputy with limited experience to follow the ramifications of the Vote for Local Government consequent on this Bill and reconcile it with the other aspects of legislation, and promises of legislation, of spending millions on housing. I notice that the Vote for Local Government for the coming year is slightly increased. The amount for local loans is increased by £1,000,000. I find it very difficult to reconcile those small increases with the huge promises in millions that are being made.

Deputy Brennan, on the second last day we met, traced the working of the Housing Acts in the rural areas—that is the old Labourers Acts. We were told by the Minister for Finance that the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act was accounting for something like £300,000. He was questioned on the rate of interest at which that money would be made available. The Minister for Local Government is aware that last year, on a requisition from the Dublin Corporation for a quarter of a million pounds under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act in the City of Dublin, they were offered £50,000 from the Board of Works at 5½ per cent.—only offered £50,000 by our Government at 5½ per cent. to help the housing of the people of Dublin, to help the thrifty people who wanted to acquire their own homes. They would have to pay 5½ per cent. to our Government plus ½ per cent. allowed to the Dublin Corporation for administering the Act at the very time that the British Government was raking in millions out of this country at 3½ per cent. I fail to see how housing can be developed at this price and I hope to be able to show the impossibility and the absurdity of proceeding on those lines. It would be well if Ministers remembered that they were Ministers with responsibility when they get on political platforms as well as when they stand up here to address this House. The Dublin Corporation refused instantaneously the offer of £50,000 at 5½ per cent. and told the Board of Works they would have none. At that time, in the Corporation we were negotiating a loan of half a million pounds for housing and other works. We decided to include in that loan we were about to float £150,000 for schemes under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act. We had practically decided to float the loan ourselves in the Corporation but an unfortunate thing happened, and which is here before us now. There was an Emergency Vote of £2,000,000 in this House. No information was given to this House or to the country as to where that money was to come from or how it was to be spent. Everybody, with the most elementary knowledge of finance, knows that when there is such a raid— and I might say an almost notorious raid—it should be explained to the people of this country where the money is to be got for public purposes and the specific public purpose for which it is to be used.

We were about to issue our 4½ per cent. loan at 96 when this was sprung upon the country, and we were going to take the risk ourselves of going into the market with the loan. Our best advisers told us that they could not say from day to day what the state of the money market would be, and further advised us that we had better make a deal with the banks to underwrite the £650,000, and we had to increase it by a quarter per cent. Knowing as we did then, and as we did subsequently, the amount of available funds for investment in the City of Dublin, held in the courts by solicitors in trust for investment for clients, etc., we could easily, had this Vote not been passed here or introduced here in the bold way in which it was, have floated our loan and got the money at the very maximum at 4 per cent., and possibly as cheaply as 3½ per cent. It cost us at the very lowest calculation ½ per cent., which means that the Dublin ratepayer has got to pay for the next 55 years a sum of about £4,000 a year, because of that Vote of £2,000,000 passed in an irregular way.

Now, as it was, we were able to borrow money at 4½ per cent. Is it not very strange, and this House ought to have an explanation, and the country ought to have an explanation, how the Dublin Corporation can borrow money and make it available for the Small Dwellings Acquisition Acts to help thrifty citizens to buy their houses? They could get money at 4½ per cent. in the market even when this storm arose, and we were quite satisfied in the Corporation that we could get it at 4 per cent. in normal circumstances. Yet our Government could not give us money at less than 5½ per cent. That is very strange.

We have this anomaly now in Dublin City and suburbs. Many of the suburbs are, for housing purposes, under the administration of the County Dublin Board of Health. In the Board of Health we have no borrowing powers, and to work this Small Dwellings Acquisition Act, which we are working, we have to pay our Government 5½ per cent., whereas across the fence in the city people can get it at 4½ per cent. It wants some explaining away how our Government cannot make money available as cheaply as the Dublin Corporation.

Again, we are confronted with housing the most necessitous people in the country—the agricultural labourers. The debates we have heard during the last few days were illuminating as to the problem of housing the agricultural labourers. To-day, they have been made more illuminating still, and the Parliamentary Secretary informed the House that they were paying the agricultural rate of wage in certain counties for a complete six days at 21/- per week. I think we have come near the reason why the wild promises made on political platforms were not put into effect. We are confronted with the problem of housing the agricultural labourer earning a guinea a week. How is it to be done? I have before me some statistics relating to a scheme under the County Dublin Board of Health. It concerns 92 cottages costing £27,600. We borrowed the money from the Government at 5½ per cent. The cost of the land was £5,200 and the annual repayment at 5½ per cent. plus sinking fund, is £6 16s. per cent. When we come to the real cost of the undertaking we will have to add at least another half per cent. for administration. Usually there is a half per cent. allowed for administering the money under the Small Dwellings Act. That would bring the amount to £7 6s. per cent. The legal expenses, specification costs, etc., would put it up another 1 per cent. Taking all these extras, which the rates have to bear, and allowing for the 60 per cent. Government contribution, our 92 cottages will mean a loss of about £200 a year to the County Dublin ratepayers. If the big housing schemes we hear advocated are to be gone on with, who will be asked to pay for them? It will not be the Government; it will not be a matter of national taxation, but of local taxation.

I am speaking of the net loss after allowing for the 60 per cent. The Minister for Education should be better able to work out percentages. If he is not, there is something wrong with our education. This loss of £200 a year is worked out on the basis of charging a weekly rent of 4/- for these houses. If the agricultural labourer is brought down to the Government standard of a guinea a week in wages, he and his family will have to live on 17/-. If he has a family of six this generous Government will give him 25/- a week for doing nothing and who will work for a guinea a week if he gets 25/- for doing nothing? The relief to be given to rates in the coming year by way of half the annuities will be more than eaten up by the loss to local rates if there is any serious attempt made to deal with the housing of agricultural workers.

If the Government were serious in their promises they would carry out full de-rating and they would not do as they have done—they would not take away nearly half a million of the agricultural grant. They are now at the stage when they are hesitating about fulfilling their promises. It is easy for a Minister to say, as the Minister for Finance said last week, that the local authorities are not carrying out their duties in the matter of housing. He followed that up by a statement from the public platform that he is going to make a clean sweep of local bodies. Personally, I would not regret that very much, but I am sure he would regret it because then he would be up against it and he could not throw the blame on other shoulders. He would have to accept responsibility as a Minister then. If the Government seriously meant to carry out their promises they would have made an effort by now to remit rates entirely off agricultural land. They saw the snag in their promises and they ran away from those promises.

If housing in the country is to be put on a proper basis the ratepayers must foot the bill. In the case of the County Dublin scheme to which I have referred, we are going to lose even at a rent of 4/- a week. The Government supporters on our board of health took a snap vote with the result that they will give the cottages to the labourers at 2/6 a week notwithstanding that there will be a loss even at 4/-. There would be none of that if there was a direct charge for housing on the Central Fund.

Local loans are going to be increased by a million. I hope commonsense will prevail amongst the local bodies and that they will not take these loans unless they get them at a reasonable rate of interest. The taxpayer has a sufficiently heavy burden already, both nationally and locally. Our agriculture is going to be boomed at great expense. The Dáil is now considering the Estimates for the coming year and it is strange that there is only one Minister left in the House to make a case on behalf of the entire Government. Even our well-informed Parliamentary Secretary who gave us a two hours' oration recently on an agricultural matter has retreated from the position he adopted then. We are going to speed the plough, but we have no market for our produce.

Tá ár margadh féin againn.

Cá bhfuil sé?

Ar margadh féin, an margadh is fearr ar fad.

We have not the Minister for Agriculture here, but perhaps the next best thing is to have the Minister for Education. I would like to suggest that he should increase his Estimates slightly in order to provide little primers in the primary schools on the subject of the elements of economics, and he should distribute a few of them amongst the occupants of the Front Bench, selecting the Minister for Agriculture first.

He might give the Deputy one with advantage.

The Minister for Agriculture started a wheat scheme. I wonder what is the object of it. No one with any practical intelligence can see light from a study of that scheme. If the farmers grow wheat they will get a guaranteed price if it is of millable quality. It is not clear whether the millable quality is for human use or for the use of pigs. That is a rather vague promise to hold out to farmers. Naturally, the farmer who will grow wheat will select a grain that will give the greatest yield. The strains of wheat grown in this country at the moment that will give the greatest yield are not rich in gluten, which is necessary in order to produce bakers' bread. That knowledge is forthcoming as a result of experiments carried out in the year 1925-6, on the suggestion of farmers who knew what they were doing. A pamphlet following those experiments was issued by the Department. That was a very useful pamphlet which, apparently, the Front Bench of the Government did not read before they put over this foolish scheme that they have put over. If the farmers grow wheat in any quantities, if they increase their production of wheat they will, as business men—and must unless they are foolish —increase it on those lines—the lines of growing the wheat that will produce the largest number of barrels to the acre, because that is how they will be best paid for their labour. That wheat is a soft wheat. There are only two wheats known officially to the Ministry of Agriculture and to the Faculty of Agriculture in the University that can be classified as strong wheats grown in this country. One of these wheats is Yeoman No. 2. For the Minister's information, I give their names. The other is an old Tipperary wheat, Red Stettin 13. These are the only wheats that are classified as strong wheats in this country.

What yield would they give?

I am not now dealing with the question of production.

The Deputy mentioned the question of production.

The point I am making is that when you and I are asked to grow wheat we will grow the strain of wheat that will give us the largest yield. The question asked by Deputy Curran I can answer, but it is not the point I am on at the present time. If I may say so, his remark contradicts the point he is making.

I was anxious to know what was your information on the matter and what you thought of it.

If it is pertinent to the point I am at, I can give the information to the Deputy. Yeoman No. 2 will not give you a good yield.

Deputies should address the Chair.

The wheats mentioned by Deputy Curran are not good yielders, and if we were to bring them into the discussion it would be a very strong argument against this mad rush of wheat production. Deputy Curran, who is a practical farmer and who comes from the home of the native Irish strain of wheat, Red Stettin 13, I am sure agrees with me that 80 years ago this wheat was the leading wheat in this country. It was a native of Tipperary. The Deputy agrees with me that these two wheats are strong wheats and wheats that will produce flour to give us the best loaves, loaves equal to the loaves made from Manitoba wheat. Yet this wheat is a poor yielder, and I take it that the Deputy will agree also that economically it would not pay the farmers to grow this wheat.

If the object of the Ministry is to capture the home market—the market that we held 60 or 70 years ago when we grew 700,000 to 800,000 acres of wheat instead of the 25,000 to 30,000 acres of wheat that we now grow—we must grow the wheat that the market here now wants, a different strain of wheat. The two strains of wheat that we now have will never fill the bill for that market because they are bad yielders. The Ministry told the country that they are going to provide our daily bread but they are doing it by growing wheat that will not make bread. What sort of food will this make? It will make more cattle and pig food. And what will we do with this cattle and pig food? Feed it to cattle and pigs. And what will we do with them later on? The Ministry has shut down the market on us.

A Deputy

No.

Yes, the Ministry has shut down the market and there is no good in this cock-and-bull story that we heard here last week that Jimmy Thomas has shut it down. No, it was the Front Bench there who shut down the market. When the question of settling our financial difficulties arose the present Ministry was absent not only from the Front Bench but from the benches of this House. There is a time for doing everything and the members of the Ministry did not do their work when the nation wanted it done. Those who did it then I know did it to the best of their ability. But though I am on these benches now I must say personally that I did not agree with the Ultimate Financial Settlement. I always advocated its revision. I was responsible for getting the General Council of County Councils to take a motion for its revision. But I never stood for the repudiation of agreements and it is the repudiation of agreements that has cut the markets from under our feet.

Apart altogether from the artificial depression in which this country finds itself, due to the tariff wall against our produce, our Government should have taken cognisance of the trend of the depression all over the world. They should have known that trend. They could have got the information for 5/-, the best information in the world. They should have known that since the War the great depression that has come on the world has hit the raw materials primarily. It has hit agricultural produce more severely than it has hit the manufactured goods. The Government could have found out from this little book, the report of the MacMillan Committee on Finance and Industry, that agricultural produce had come down to 92 as compared with 100 in 1913. They could have found out from the same report the general depression that was prevalent in Great Britain and in this country by referring to the rise in the deposits accounts of the British clearing banks and the shrinkage in the current accounts of the British clearing banks. These were clear indications that the liquid capital was going to deposits and going out of industry, because industry and agriculture were not paying. Yet, they rushed this "grow-more-wheat" policy. They are taxing the people now to grow more wheat. They are even threatening the farmer that if he does not fly in the teeth of economic laws he will lose his land. I notice that not many farmers on the Government Benches have got up and advocated the taking of the land from the man who will not till and the giving of it for nothing to the man who will till. I should like to know how many farmers on the opposite benches make a flutter in tillage. I should like to know if there is anybody on the Front Bench or on the back benches who does it.

I will take a horse and plough with the Deputy any day he is ready.

We are discussing the results of the plough—the produce of the plough. We are not discussing a ploughing competition.

The challenge was issued.

I do not know what the Deputy means by referring to a challenge.

He means that he would give you a "belting" if you went into competition with him.

It is easy for the Deputy to be jocular. If Deputy Victory is such a ploughman——

You said there was no ploughman on the back benches here.

I said that there was no farmer on the Government Benches who would get up and advocate the taking of the land from the man who would not till, under present conditions, and the giving of it to other people. I should be interested to know if Deputy Victory is prepared to advocate that. He throws out a challenge about ploughing. I am sorry that when we had the national ploughing competition at Clondalkin a few weeks ago Deputy Victory was absent from the Longford team, which came last in the competition. No doubt, if Deputy Victory had been there, it would have come first. As a native of Longford, as Deputy Victory also is, I felt the humiliation of my native county coming last in the ploughing competition. Next year, I hope that that will be remedied. I shall be glad to nominate Deputy Victory as the champion ploughman and to crown him with the laurels as the champion ploughman of Ireland.

I did not say one word about being the champion ploughman. The Deputy asserted that there was nobody to speak for tillage on these benches.

I know the ploughing you do over there. You have not got over the primary stage. You sow the potatoes in lazy beds, with cabbage stalks on the brows of the ridges. Come to South Longford and we will show you how to till—where we raised the banner of Sinn Fein, carried it to victory and never deserted it. Of course, if Deputy Victory thinks that the only way to show knowledge of rural life is to throw out a challenge as to proficiency in any aspect of it, I shall be glad to go down with any member on the Government Benches to a farm in either Longford or Dublin and to do any work that is to be done on that farm. I am prepared to go down in a bog hole to cut turf or wheel turf with Deputy Victory. At the moment, I hope he will get up and advocate that the man who will not till his land should have his land taken from him. If he will get up on the street of Edgeworthstown——.

I certainly shall not get up and defend the Ultimate Financial Settlement. You were against the financial settlement and now you are with the Deputies with whom you were finding fault.

I knew that the Deputy did not realise his position in this matter. The declared policy of this Party before the general election was, and now is, a revision of the financial settlement. The declared policy of the Fianna Fáil policy now is, and before the general election was, repudiation of the financial settlement. We were talking about the dictionary meaning of words. I advised half a dozen Deputies.

On only one occasion has there been any considerable debate on the Central Fund Bill. The discussion on the Vote on Account was somewhat curtailed last week. Therefore, the discussion was carried over, more or less, on the same lines into the debate on this Bill. The matters under discussion are questions of expenditure—not questions of taxation or legislation. The Deputy has roamed over many matters—the Macmillan Report, the Ultimate Financial Settlement, British clearing banks, ploughing challenges, the initiation of Sinn Féin in Longford, and the declared policy of Cumann na nGaedheal, none of which is relevant to this Bill.

I did not introduce the Macmillan Report as a subject for debate. I introduced statistics which, I submit, were relevant to the debate, and I gave as my authority the Macmillan Report. These statistics I introduced to show the trend of money in the market over a period of years and to show the trend of agricultural price levels. The Bill before the House is a Bill asking for money for a number of departments, including the Department of Agriculture. In view of the economic evidence which I have put forward and the authorities I have quoted, I submit that the Government's policy should not get the financial support of this House and should not get a Vote on Account, because that policy is being pursued against well-known economic facts which will militate against its success. I could have made statements based on these authorities without giving the authorities. I am not discussing authorities. I submit I am discussing the Bill. The Bill is a Vote on Account for about eight millions, among other things for the Department of Agriculture. The Minister for Agriculture said we must grow wheat and he guarantees the price. I expect that some of the money that is being asked for in this Bill will go to provide the fixed guaranteed price. I did not ramble away from the subject before the House. The Deputy who interjected mistook the shadow for the substance. He thought I was discussing ploughing when I meant tillage. I was trying to show that if Deputies opposite were sincere in their advocacy of wheat growing and tillage some man who is making his living out of and who has invested his all in land would get up and advocate tillage in present circumstances. Not a single Deputy of the Party opposite who stands behind the plough, or who ever stood behind a plough or who knows to which end of a plough to yoke a horse, has got up and advocated tillage in present circumstances. They are absent from the House, all except nine of them. There are only nine Fianna Fáil Deputies in the House now. No doubt when the Division Bell rings every one of them will answer the call, and this Party, the greatest Farmers' Party that was ever in the House, is going to come in and vote for an Agricultural Vote that not one of them who understands it believes in; or if he went down to the local cross-roads or the local intelligence bureau, the country forge, would dare to stand up and advocate a vote for increased tillage and the confiscation of land that was not tilled.

What is the strength of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party in the House at the moment?

That has nothing to do with the Bill before us.

Neither has the other.

The other has. We are not putting up this Vote—you are, and the members of the Fianna Fáil Party should be here to support it or otherwise.

And the others to defend themselves against it and there are only five of them in the House.

The Deputy can interrupt as much as he likes. That is all I have heard from him since I came into the House—interruptions.

You are not long enough in it yet. You will hear more.

I take it that some of this Vote on Account will be used for the Faculty of Agriculture in the University Colleges of Dublin and Cork.

The Deputy must remember that the Vote on Account has been passed. We are now considering the Central Fund Bill.

Yes. This Bill proposes to pay out eight million pounds. Some of that eight millions I take it will find its way to finance the Faculty of Agriculture.

I think that the Deputy is not in order in discussing matters which arise naturally, if the Deputy wishes to speak upon them, in connection with the Votes for the different Departments. I understand that on the Central Fund Bill the general question of the raising of the finances necessary to carry on is the topic which ought to be discussed and not detailed questions relating to the Departments. For the information of the Deputy, I should like to tell him that the Vote for Universities and Colleges will be one of the first to be taken. The Deputy will then have a full opportunity for discussing this or any other matters arising out of the particular Vote.

The question of Government policy does arise on the Central Fund Bill but Deputies should not go into details which can be considered when the Estimates come before the House. Some of them will be on to-morrow's Order Paper. The Deputy should not now debate the Vote for the Faculty of Agriculture in Cork, for instance. Only questions of Government policy and expenditure may be discussed on this Bill.

I am in order in discussing general Government policy. I am in order, I presume, in discussing the vital Government policy of depressing the earning capacity of this country to provide the finances to run the country. I am in order, I presume, in discussing Government policy which has had the effect of closing our markets and adding an increased burden to the main industry and, with the exception of one or two other secondary industries, the only industry that was able to stand on its own legs, namely, agriculture. It added an increased burden to the industry in the year we are passing through of a net loss of nineteen and a half millions. That position should be made quite clear to everybody in the country, even Deputies opposite. Despite what the Minister for Education and the Minister for Finance said last week, that agriculture has got more than it expected and more than it was entitled to, agriculture in the present year has actually lost in its export trade eight millions. I hope the Minister when replying will not overlook refuting that, if he can. Our agricultural export trade went down eight million pounds That was the loss, mathematically correct, of agriculture during that six months. The conditions that obtained in the six months ending 31st January this year are more than likely to continue until 31st July this year, and it is a safe estimate to make that the loss to agriculture in the six months we are in will approximate to what it was in the six months gone out, namely, another eight millions, making a total loss of sixteen millions for the year. In addition to that the slice of trade that is passing over to England, England is confiscating at the ports by tariffs roughly five million pounds. That, normally, would come back into agriculture in this country. There is £21,000,000. In addition to that this Government, which I suppose like being a pro-rail- way Government is a pro-agriculture Government, has docked or promised to dock for the coming year £450,000 of the Agricultural Grant, which increases the total gross loss to agriculture to £21,450,000. Those are the figures given out here in this House and appearing on the official Government record. What is agriculture going to get by way of recoupment for that loss? It is going to get half the land annuities remitted, namely £2,000,000, leaving a net loss to agriculture of £19,450,000 in the year we are in. We are told "Stick it. Are we going to surrender to England?" Certainly, we should not surrender to England if it were a fight between Ireland and England—and the whole object of the Government is to try to make that the issue—but the issue is not a fight between Ireland and England but a fight as to whether the Government can get the country to stand behind it to save its own face. There was a time to settle the dispute with England, but that time is past. The Government of the day made a settlement, signed their hand to that settlement, and the Party that made that settlement are now satisfied that the time has come for revising it. Let the Government spokesmen stick to one line of argument as to whether we are going to have repudiation or revision of that settlement. Do not go to one cross-roads and say one thing, go to a second and say another, and then come here and say still another. This Opposition Party stands for revision; that is their fixed policy. Why? Because at the time that settlement was made in the beginning of 1926 the price level was far above what it is now. At that very time Germany had undertaken to pay £6,000,000,000 on foot of a war indemnity. This was reduced under the Dawes Plan to £3,000,000,000; under the Young Plan to I think £1,500,000,000; now it is wiped out altogether, and the very people who enforced that settlement on Germany at the point of the bayonet were the people who agreed to the remission of that entire debt. That is the position this side of the House takes up. It is the position I, as an Independent always took up. If that position is not put over and carried through where will the economic policy of the Government lead to? Where can it lead to if you do not honour your signature or the signature of your predecessor in office?

They want a war with England! If the British Government repudiated our currency in the morning we would be shut up like rats in a trap and the members on the Government Benches know that. They know that if we were unhooked from the sterling in the morning we could not buy a sack of flour in any market in the world, because no country or no individual will deal with a merchant who they know has no money. Internationally speaking, we have no money when we have no gold, and the Fianna Fáil Party are responsible for our not having gold, because they created conditions in this country under which you could not have a gold reserve here. They talk now about currency of our own. Every Irish nationalist stands for Irish currency, but no man with commonsense will stand for a currency and a separate gold reserve in conditions under which that gold reserve would fly out of the country in six months. They want to put in the dock those who have been working for the country, who established the State, established law and order, established the army, established the police force, because in the last ten years the land was not flowing with milk and honey. A precious lot of milk and honey the present Government Party brought to the country in the last ten years! Now they have not the Parliamentary Opposition but the Irish and national co-operation of the Opposition Party in settling with England. Why do they not settle with England? Why do they not approach England as Germany approached her creditor nations, as England approached her creditor nation the United States, and say: "This burden, in the light of the depression all over the world, we are not able to bear?" Have not several feelers been thrown out which the British Government is prepared to consider and confirm if a proposition like that is put up? Why is not the proposition put up? Instead, we hear: "We will not surrender. No, we will not surrender because there is a terribly high principle at stake." The high principle that is at stake is parallel with the high principle that was at stake when the Deputies opposite could not march behind the mortal remains of John Devoy four years ago.

The Deputy, in the discussion of the policy of this Government, cannot go back beyond last year. It has nothing to do with four years ago.

My mistake, a Chinn Comhairle, due to my inexperience. The external policy of this Government since 8th February has been conspicuous by its absence. It has had no policy, and, while I am not going to waste the time of the House debating what is no policy, I think I am in order in saying that the Government should have an internal as well as an external policy. No internal development can take place until the external difficulties and disputes are settled. If the economic policy of the Government were tested by itself in this country, without any external trouble, I think it would command to a great extent the entire support of the Irish people, and it would be entitled to it. It is the policy of Arthur Griffith, but unfortunately there is no Arthur Griffith to work the policy. That policy of developing our industries can only take place when we have a margin left from the primary industry, agriculture, to develop the industries of the country. Our agriculture must be the market for our industry, but the policy of the Government has been to rob agriculture by the figure I have already shown, £19,500,000 in the current year, and then they expect that industries to a large extent financed by the State —not merely subsidised by tariffs— should flourish. They do not seem to realise that they have destroyed the market for the produce of those industries by not getting agriculture on its feet and by not keeping agriculture on its feet, and the only possible way to save agriculture and the whole economic machinery of this country is to settle the dispute with England— the dispute which has been started by our Government and not by the British Government. The British Government have said time and again: "If it is nothing but the question of money that is between us, we can sit down and talk about it." But no, our Government has said, even I think since the 8th February, "we will have arbitration." What does arbitration mean? It means that we put up a couple of representatives, the British Government put up a couple of representatives, and some foreigner is made chairman. In other words, the whole destiny of this country is going to be placed in the hands of a foreigner, who will be chairman of the arbitration board. I could hardly see how a madder idea of settling a dispute could be conceived, especially with a little country like this with practically no prestige or influence in the world compared with what the British Empire has. If there is any danger of an Empire chairman being dishonest is there not an equal danger of an outside chairman being dishonest? Why will not our Government cast away their inferiority complex and go and meet the Englishman on level terms around a table and stand up to him? Do not run away from him. We have met him before and stood up to him. We did not run away from the Englishman at the conference table when the bargain, which the Government opposite could not see then but ten years afterwards accepted and what the men, who were sent over by this country, accepted when they signed an agreement ten years ago. What they saw then the Government opposite only saw the other day. Perhaps when we are all beggared in this country from this foolish economic war, the Government will see, when we have nothing left but our eyes to weep with, the force of the argument put up by this side of the House to negotiate with England because of our inability to pay the £5,000,000 a year and to demand a revision of that settlement.

We have the precedent of the European nations and England itself asking for a revision of agreements which they have entered into since we entered into that agreement. If we do not face the issue on that all the rest is superfluous. I am not speaking as a champion ploughman, but I am speaking as a producing farmer and as a man who did not want a subsidy to till, who did not want land for nothing, who went into the market and bought the land at the highest price and earned the money to buy it. I was not spoon-fed. We here on this side were not spoon-fed, nor do we want it. We do not want vague promises which we know are futile and cannot be given. We know there is nothing in this country to be got for nothing. If we are to build up the country we must work. The wild childish talk which we hear from the Government Benches and the camouflage about not surrendering to England is all nonsense. There are as many men on this side who have shown they would not surrender to England at any time as on the benches opposite, but we have the moral courage to say what we know, that the issue in this fight is not an issue of Ireland against England but an issue whether Ireland is going to honour her bond and her signature, and if she finds she is not able to honour that signature we here on this side have the moral courage to advocate approaching England and saying: "In the altered economic conditions of the world, we are not able to pay the debt on foot of that financial settlement, just as you have not been able to pay your debt to America, as France is not able to pay her war debt, and as Germany has not been able to pay her reparations." There is no dishonesty in saying what is a fact, and if we do that and get a settlement on those terms then we can talk about national currency. Without a national currency no power on earth can develop an industrial economy in this or any other country. No country in the world has ever done it or ever can do it, and we cannot have a national currency here until we first say we will honour our signature and honour our bond. It would be the worst day our country ever saw were the Government opposite to succeed in fooling the people of this country by repudiating the national signature of this country.

I do not know whether the Fianna Fáil Benches are again on the subject of the plough, but last October I made a very generous offer to Deputy Kelly of Meath, when he had spoken on the growing of wheat. I offered to give him 15 acres of tillage within fifteen miles of the City of Dublin free, gratis and for nothing for the season, simply to give him an opportunity of showing the people in the neighbourhood how wheat could be grown and made a paying proposition. Evidently, he took the advice of his colleagues, and he saw even with this concession that it was not going to be a paying proposition for him. Deputy O'Brien intervened to-day in Irish simply because I suppose he thought Deputy Belton did not understand him, but there are other members on the benches who can understand him. He said in Irish "We have our own market." I asked him where the market was and I got no answer. I have a bit of experience of marketing. About a fortnight ago I asked "Motorways" if they would deliver 500 tons of potatoes at Sandycove. They said "Yes," and asked me would I pay carriage, and I said certainly. I asked what the charge was. They said 1/6 per cwt. I then said "No, it would not be a paying proposition to send 500 tons of potatoes to Sandycove." I ask, is there any sensible man in this country who would stand for that kind of nonsensical talk? Deputy Keating told me within the last fortnight that he was buying turnips in the Minister for Agriculture's own county at 2/6 per load, carting them himself. He says there is a half ton of turnips in each load. Just to show you what the Labour Party think of this, I think they are quite in agreement with me when I say the people of this country should not be asked to produce these things unless they are given a guaranteed price for what they produce. I have the "Wicklow People" here before me. At a meeting of the Home Assistance Committee, Mr. Bourne stated:

"Suppose a farmer agreed to employ an additional man, he should receive the amount of Home Help, say, the 5/-, to help towards paying that man's wages, and so encourage farmers to absorb as many additional men as possible. They would be doing useful work and the farmers, the hard pressed agricultural community would be assisted. Mr. Everett said that would not absorb the men unless the farmers had a guaranteed price or market for their produce. That was getting away from the point they were on to-day."

I think that bears out everything I have said in regard to this.

The Minister for Finance on the last occasion tried to give the House to understand that they had practically done too much for the farmers. I say that the small farmer of a £10 valuation has only got an additional reduction of £1 in his rates. I am speaking from experience of small farmers of a £10 valuation. There are a good number of them in my constituency—farmers who are able to produce £300 on their cattle, pigs, poultry and other produce. What is their position now? They are being driven out of production altogether. Forty per cent. of their income has been taken from them. We are told that they get 12½ per cent. of a bounty. Probably that is quite true in some cases, but the general feeling is that in every case the bounty does not reach the person intended. It means that a farmer producing £300 worth loses to the extent of 40 per cent., which means £120, and, allowing for the 12½ per cent. bounty, there is a net loss of £82 10s. 0d.

We are told that farmers are going to get half the land annuities. In most cases the annuities come to £6 or £7 and there the relief will be £3 or £3 10s. 0d. On St. Patrick's Day I was talking to a small farmer whose annuities amount to £4. He told me he expected to get £2 off, but he would lose at least £2 on one calf. Some time ago Senator Wilson, speaking in the Seanad, said that in this country there were one million calves dropped each year, and it looked as if the farmers were going to lose £2 on each calf. That is the position to-day. I challenge any farmer on the Fianna Fáil Benches to deny that farmers are losing at least £2 each in the case of dropped calves. That means that even though we get half the annuities, that saving is gone in dropped calves alone.

I spoke recently to some Macroom merchants engaged in selling feeding stuffs in a big way. They told me they were selling about half the quantity of feeding stuffs that they sold in other years. These industrious people are being driven out of business. The ne'er-do-wells are not losing anything in this economic fight, but the industrious people are paying through the nose. I always understood county council work should be work of public utility. I know a man who bought a farm in 1931, and at the 1932 Election he was promised that if he voted for a particular Party they would build a bridge across the river in connection with the private road leading into his farm. The man paid £1,100 for the farm. I did my best against it, but at any rate he now has got the bridge, which was constructed at a cost of £120. That is most unfair, and I do not think any man on the opposite benches should stand for that sort of thing. I will ask the Minister to say whether that is legal or not.

I intervene in this debate merely to emphasise that the farmers are suffering great hardships in this economic war, and the Executive Council are taking no steps whatever to meet them. In the course of discussions in the House here, we were led to believe many things. We were told that relief grants will be continued, but we have no proof whatever that such is the case. There is no arrangement made for any grant in the coming year. I am convinced that we are not going to have the things that have been promised us. Speaking here last week, the President said he would ask me to carry my mind back to 1919 and 1921. This is what the President said (Vol. 46 Col. 743, Official Debates):

It is a serious responsibility for a small people and for the Government of a small people. I asked Deputy MacEoin, when he was speaking a few moments ago, to carry his mind back to 1919 and 1921. I ask him what he would have thought at that time of people who, pointing to the burdens that the inhabitants of the country had to bear and the sufferings they had to endure, would say that these burdens and these sufferings were sufficient reason why we should surrender. I know what Deputy MacEoin would then have said to anybody who would have uttered a remark of that kind. I ask the Deputy to remember these days.

I want to point out that I do remember these days very distinctly. We then had some notion of where we were going and what we were doing, and we knew when the end would come. I respectfully submit that the present Government has no notion, no idea, of when the end is to come or when the truce is to come.

The President says that any step in the direction of peace by him now will be taken as a token of surrender. I respectfully submit, sir, that it would not, and I say to him that he could at least make the Cuban speech all over again on this matter. It would do no harm. And if anyone says that his Cuban speech was a surrender well then I should say that he should not believe it. And I do not think it was. I am perfectly satisfied that if he made that Cuban speech over again, just in relation to the matter now in dispute between this country and Great Britain, a dispute that is inflicting the hardships that are being inflicted on the people, the result would be that the people would be put into the position that they would be able to pay the necessary taxes and they would be able to continue producing.

The President, I am sure, is anxious to alleviate the hardships on the people. If he is not anxious he should be anxious to alleviate these hardships on the people of this country. Therefore, I suggest to him, through you, that the Cuban speech should be made over again. I assure the President that if he does so there will be no one in the country to say that he has let the people down, and I can assure him that even the Irish-Americans who said so much about this Cuban speech would not object to its being made now. The situation is very difficult. Before we pass this motion, and when the Minister is replying, I would like to hear something that would make for a real and great improvement in the condition of the people. The people should know what was going to happen and when it was going to happen. They should know when this thing was going to finish. In that way only will they be able to meet the obligations with which they are faced.

I should like to say a few words on this motion. As a result of the economic war, the farmers of the country are down and out. In Wexford the farmers went in very much for growing potatoes. They shipped most of these potatoes to Wales. They grew them especially for the fish and chip shops. This year the farmers have potatoes and they are unable to sell them. What is the Government going to do for these unfortunate farmers? I know there are thousands of tons of these potatoes in my district and there is no market available for them. The Wexford farmers sell some of their potatoes at home at 25/- a ton but so far as the kind of potatoes they grew for export are concerned there is no sale for them. It is all very well for Deputies here to talk about the economic war and nonsense like that. Last June we were told that there were alternative markets for agricultural produce. What is the position now? What is happening to our live stock? The men in my district go in very much for tillage. In some cases many of them have half their farms in tillage. We have been told here that the only solution for the farmer is to grow wheat. Now any commonsense man knows that it will not pay to grow wheat as a cash crop. You can buy foreign wheat, and millable wheat at that, for 13/- a barrel, delivered at 16/1 in Wexford. We are guaranteed 25/- a barrel for millable wheat. What is millable wheat? I have been raised myself on a tillage farm and my people grew wheat until they were knocked out of doing so. They grew four or five or six barrels of millable wheat to the acre and now we are told here to-day that that is the solution of the farmer's difficulties. We are told that the farmers must bear these burdens on their backs for longer periods.

I meet the farmers at the fairs and markets about the country and they say: "What am I to do; how am I to pay my rates and my annuities when I cannot sell anything to make the money?" Yet we are told by the Fianna Fáil Government that the farmer will have to struggle on and fight on. We are told that we are to build up the prosperity of this country on industry. The greatest industry in this country is the agricultural industry. The farmers and the farm labourers are the big majority in this country. If the farmer is not prosperous the country cannot prosper. If the farmer is not in a position to pay the labourer a living wage what is the result of that on the business man and on the people in the towns generally? They must suffer. My advice to the Government is to try to get the country going again.

I warn the Government that they are not going to make the country prosperous through growing wheat. When the farmer is knocked out of the English market he cannot go on growing wheat. If he grows the wheat what is he to do with it? He will find himself in the same position as the man who has potatoes this year. He will have wheat, but he will have no market for the live stock to which he feeds the wheat. We were told by the Front Bench about the price the big millers paid for barley this year for the purposes of mixing with maize. The fact is, that the big millers have barley enough to last them for the next four years. What is to happen to next year's barley crop?

I know several farmers in my constituency and I met many of them yesterday in Enniscorthy who want to know what they are to do for artificial manures this year. These people have no money with which to buy artificial manures. They have not paid yet for last year's manures, and they will not get credit for this year's manures. At the present moment, turnips can be purchased at 5/- a ton, that is 2/6 a cartload. Is there any farmer who can produce turnips at that price? Can the man who feeds them to his stock afford to pay even that price for these turnips? The position is, that the Government are saying to the farmer that they are going to build up his industry at the very time that they are killing his industry. The farmer's industry will never prosper under the present system. When the farmer is not prospering the people of the country generally cannot prosper. If the Government would only realise their responsibility, and if the members of the British Government too would realise their responsibility and act with commonsense on this matter this economic war would end at once.

The farmers cannot stand this thing any longer. The farmer himself is bled to death, the farm labourer is bled to death and the general workers and the business people are down and out. In Wexford to-day we have two cattle boats tied up owing to the effects of the economic war. A year ago, those boats were leaving Wexford laden with live stock and bringing back foodstuffs and manures and so on. And now the people are told to grow wheat, when they cannot sell the potatoes they produced last year. As far as I know, bigger prices are being paid to-day in Scotland for Aberdeen Angus bulls than were paid ever before, and yet look at the price of them in this country?

It is quite clear that it is the mixed farmer who gives most employment. The farmer who grows corn gives employment for three months, but the farmer who goes in for mixed farming gives employment for twelve months. I do not see how we are to make this country prosperous by the methods the present Government are adopting. If the farmer is not able to sell his crops he cannot buy his requirements nor pay his labourers. Certainly he cannot pay his rates. At the present time, the farmers are down and out.

I did not intend taking any part in the debate this evening, and I would not have done so were it not for the challenges that have been thrown out to us. We were challenged this evening that there was no one on these benches who knew how to yoke a plough. I do not stand up here for the purpose of making political capital out of the speeches made on the other benches. I want to assure the House that I feel about the position in the country as much as any man here. A few years ago we had the question of the financial relations between this country and England and we had one Deputy here to-day saying that the financial relations with England were all right even though he spoke differently some time before. He told us some years ago that they were not. If we look around us we know what is happening in the country. We know that emigration has stopped. Each year, 24,000 young people used to leave this country for America and these people sent money back to their relations. Half the business places and half the farms down the country were bought by American money. What is the position now? I met a lady yesterday who was home from New York. She had three sets of furnished apartments there, and she wanted to find out from me in the event of her bringing home her furniture what duty she would have to pay on it. She assured me that she can no longer make a living in New York or in America. How are we to provide for those 24,000 boys and girls who used to emigrate annually and for the exiles who are about to return to us?

I heard a lot of criticism about wheat. About two years ago, I met on the roadside a young man who was enquiring for a certain homestead. He told me that he was born in Australia but that his parents were Irish. On the way down the road, I inquired about the farming business in Australia. He told me that some years ago they thought in Australia they could not grow wheat at all. He was of the opinion that he was lecturing me on something new when he told me that the Department of Agriculture had, through experiments, found a breed of wheat which suited the climate and the soil, so that Australia now had an export trade of wheat. There is nothing that I know of in the policy of this Party which compels any farmer to grow wheat. There is, however, every encouragement to him to try to do what Australia did. I am not out to compel farmers to grow wheat. But if we guarantee a good price, I think —and I know the country—that the more enterprising men will give the matter a genuine trial and will use such artificials and fertilisers as will prove that wheat can be grown here. If that is established by a subsidy, I think the policy of the Fianna Fáil Government will be regarded as a good one.

We did not hear this evening anything about depression in any other country but this. There is depression the world over, and we have to recognise that fact. Instead of trying to make political capital out of the position, I think we should regard this matter from a national point of view. I think it is up to the Deputies of this House to stand together and save the country in the coming year. I believe that the policy of the Fianna Fáil Government is the only policy tending in that direction—a policy to get all the people absorbed into useful work, to make them grow what they eat, to get them to make what they wear and to give the protection necessary to get industry going. I heard a lot said about the scarcity of oats. I was in the market of Edgeworthstown and farmers were delighted that they were getting 19/- a barrel and said that they would go in more for oats this year than they ever went before. I respectfully submit that some of the arguments of the Opposition were not meant to be real. The policy of the Government, so far as I can see, is the right policy.

The Minister for Education to conclude.

Is the Minister to conclude the debate?

Yes—the debate on the Second Stage.

If that is so, I should like to get back to the point from which this discussion originally started. The policy of the Government is said to be enshrined in the Estimate before us. The Minister for Finance, in dealing with the Vote on Account, said that our resources were limited, that he faced the position before him last year with very limited resources and that he faced it in a superhuman way by putting upon this country the heaviest possible burden of taxation the community, in his opinion, could bear. We asked him to elaborate somewhat further his policy, as enshrined in the Estimates, for the benefits of the county councils at present considering the message sent to them that, owing to the additional rate placed on agricultural land, they must find £448,000 more this year. They are also given to understand that relief by way of public works will be borne by them out of loans by the Government rather than by grants provided by the Government, as during the past year. As the councils are now considering this matter, after they thought they had fixed their rates, we asked that the Minister should elaborate his policy on these matters, bearing in mind that the councils are spending during the current year nearly £1,000,000 out of the Road Fund as anticipated expenditure. In deference to your difficulties, A Chinn Comhairle, I do not want to widen this discussion into a consideration of the position of the people of the City of Dublin and the urban districts, I want simply to confine the debate to the farming position. Local bodies are facing the discussions now going on with this statement of the Minister for Finance, made on 15th March, in front of them—that during the current year the farmers have been exceptionally helped, that they have been able to keep in their pockets £1,900,000 land annuities that ordinarily they would have had to pay during the present year; that they have been given a total of £2,980,000 in relief of rates on agricultural land and that they have also got £1,700,000 in respect of bounties and subsidies on produce exported. I do not know whether Deputies are able to reconcile that figure of £1,700,000 with the answer given to Deputy Roddy this morning, that the total for bounties was £994,000 out of the emergency fund and £296,000 in respect of butter out of the levy fund. However, the Minister for Finance claims that the farmers have got very considerable assistance. Since the Minister for Finance spoke, and since financial questions were discussed by the councils, these councils are told that, in addition to losing the £448,000 which they had last year for the relief of rates on agricultural land, and, apparently, in addition to having to bear the big end of the cost of public works carried out for relief purposes and still increasing payments in respect of home assistance, the farmers who are supposed to bear this new taxation are to have much less in bounties and subsidies than they had during the current year. All this comes at a time when the Minister is going to have considerable difficulty in respect of the next financial year, although he admits that the taxation imposed during the current year was the heaviest this country could afford. We do not ask the Minister for Finance at this stage to anticipate the position that will meet him on 1st April, but we do ask him to face the doubts raised in the discussion here as to the position with regard to possible additional taxes next year and to put himself in the position of a member of a county council discussing financial plans for the coming year and the extent to which they may be able to support the very important social services they have to maintain, as well as give the assistance to the Minister that he is apparently looking for in the carrying out of public works out of loans. Deputy Victory spoke of the policy of putting all the available unemployed on useful work. I thought the Deputy might have asked the Minister what possibility there is of the unemployed in his area being put to useful public work during the coming twelve months, if they have not all been put to useful public work in the past twelve months. If both the position with regard to State taxation and local taxation is going to be what it is——

Perhaps you will deny that we had emigration in years gone by and that we have not emigration now.

Yes, but I am talking of giving employment to the unemployed, that the Deputy speaks about. It would be much more important, instead of misunderstanding some of Deputy Belton's remarks, if he would ask the Minister in what way does the policy enshrined in the Estimates lead to the thing that the Deputy would like to see happening. So far as we can see from the Estimates, the Deputy will be further away during the coming year than he was this year from having what he desires.

Then it will be the world depression that will account for it.

The Deputy can explain that to his own followers. If he wanted to explain it to the House, he ought to have elaborated it more. I want, however, to direct the attention of the Minister to the position in which local bodies find themselves at present and to ask for some statement from him that will, if possible, clear the atmosphere for them and let them know where they stand.

As a member of a local body, I should like to say a few words, particularly as the Minister for Local Government is present. Local bodies at present are faced with a very serious situation. The reduction of the Agricultural Grant this year means an increase of 1/4 in the £ in the rates in my area. In addition to that, there is an increase of 2/3 in the £ in the demand of the Board of Health in connection with a matter that should be the responsibility of the Government, namely, giving home assistance to the unemployed. We say that unemployment is a national question, that it should not and ought not to be put on the ratepayers. Local taxation was never intended for any such purpose. I hope the Minister for Local Government will give serious consideration to this question of an increase of 3/7 in the £ in the rates for the coming year in my area. We are anxious to do what we can to help the country, but in present circumstances we cannot see how such an increase as that is going to be met in the coming year. Some Deputy spoke about the wheat questtion. As it is not compulsory, I do not want to cry about it, but we have no illusions about it. Any one who wishes to have a try at it can have it, but if he does not wish to do it he need not. Some of us know something about it. We do not look forward with any great hope to its being what the Government claims for it or a substitute for the live-stock branch of our industry. We do not believe that, although we are prepared to do anything we can to help the country and the local people. I again wish to remind the Minister for Local Government of the increased demand which the reduction in the Agricultural Grant has made on the local councils, a demand which they feel unable to ask the ratepayers to foot in the present circumstances.

I quite realise that the agricultural community have a difficult time in front of them, as they have had a difficult time in the last few years. That is an undeniable fact. It is not peculiar to this country. In fact, from statements that I have read as to conditions in other countries, and as to the state of semi-revolution that exists amongst the agricultural community in some very great and very rich countries, it may be that we are not quite so badly off as the agricultural communities in some other countries. That is not very much consolation, I admit, for the farming community, but it is a fact that we have to take notice of—that there is general depression in agriculture practically all over the world; not alone in agriculture, perhaps, but chiefly in agriculture. Agriculturists as a rule have a smaller margin of profit and a smaller surplus probably than those engaged in any other industry. Therefore, when there is a drop of any kind, they feel the depression more; it touches them more deeply and makes their lives harder than it does in the case of other industries. It is true, therefore, that there is, perhaps, a hard time in front of the agriculturist for some time. One does not know whether it may be for a year or two years. If the hopes that are raised in America and other parts of the world as to possible plans being discovered for economic reconstruction the world over are realised it may be that Ireland will benefit as these other countries we hope will benefit. At any rate, we have to go on whether these plans are discovered or not. We have to carry on our work economically, industrially and agriculturally as best we can. The Government here are faced with that position. Any Government occupying the position we do would be faced with the same situation. We have to realise that it is going to be difficult to get sufficient money to meet the demands for all the services which the Government have to provide in these days, particularly when social services are on the increase. The demand for social services is on the increase. That demand is not confined to Ireland; it is general the world over. We have to face that position and try to find money for social services. We have to try as best we can to take on the shoulders of the State as much of the burden of these social services as possible, and to put as little as possible on the ratepayers. That is our policy. It was our policy last year, it is our policy this year, and it will be our policy in the future to try to divide the responsibility of the burden as justly as we can between the different classes of the community. In that connection, looking into the burden that has to be borne by the local authorities, I asked the officials of the Department to give me a statement setting forth in definite figures the amounts given out of the State Exchequer to the local authorities in relief of rates. In response to that request, I got sets of figures which I think should be illuminating to many people, especially those on county councils who complain of present conditions, and complain—some of them rather bitterly—as to the manner in which the agricultural rate for this year is proposed to be reduced.

On a point of order. I would just like to inform the Minister for Local Government that the rates in my constituency in 1919-20 were 2/8½ in the £.

This is not a point of order. If the Deputy wants to make a short explanation I will allow him, but it is clearly not a point of order.

I just wanted to say that the rates in my constituency were 2/8½ in the £ in 1919-20, and the present estimate is 7/8 in the £. I would also like to add that the farming community, or the ratepayers, are more concerned with the rate they pay than the amount by which local services are increased.

What was it in 1919?

The Deputy might go back and tell us what it was 10 years before that, or 20 years before that, but that is not relevant. Many things have happened since 1919. Many services have been added.

Quite true.

And many services have not been added that the agricultural community—as other communities— are demanding should be added, but how do they think that money should be provided to pay for those services? Social services, as I said earlier, are on the increase. They are being demanded, and rightly demanded, because conditions in this country socially speaking, were in a very backward state. The social services in general are, even to-day, not anything like what they ought to be and what most of us in this House would like to see them, and money will have to be got to provide them.

That is the problem.

Water works, sewerage, public health in general—all those things cost money, but they are advantages and great advantages to the community and have to be paid for. In the last few years considerable additions have been made to the agricultural grant. Two years ago £750,000 was added to the Agricultural Grant. Last year an additional quarter of a million pounds was added to the Agricultural Grant, and that £1,000,000 brought down by that amount the rates on agricultural land. They were reduced in two years by £1,000,000. That was a very considerable reduction. The rates on agricultural land are, I think, 80 per cent. of the total rates raised in the rural areas of the country. In the year 1930-31 the aggregate amount levied off land was estimated at £2,276,000. The corresponding figure for this year ending the 31st March is £1,260,000. That is a reduction of nearly 50 per cent. in two years. A Government seldom hears a word of praise for a big reduction of that kind, but when a comparatively small sum is taken off—and with regard to quarter of a million pounds it was a sum which was given last year and not promised this year—we hear the county councils howling and complaining bitterly, even in times of great depression, because they do not get the same money that they got in years when depression was not so great. Up to the end of the year 1930-31 the rates bore more than half the expenditure of county councils. In this year 1932-33 the major portion of the county councils' expenditure was met out of Government grants. Deputies on county councils should bear that in mind.

We are listening.

The major portion has been met this year out of grants from the Exchequer. Two years ago for every £3 paid in rates in rural areas the Government was giving £2 in grants. To-day the position is reversed; for every £2 paid in rates £3 is given in grants. These figures do not in fact fully disclose the position in some counties which are receiving by way of agricultural grant almost three times what is levied off the land. That is a point that some members of county councils seldom advert to, and I think it is no harm to remind them of it. I have here an analysis of local taxation in rural areas in the current year, and it shows in the aggregate what land and other hereditaments contributed respectively towards the net charge. These are average figures. On land, for roads, the average rate struck is 11¾d, on other hereditaments it is 3/2 in the £1; for county services 10¾d. is the average rate on land, and on other hereditaments 2/10 in the £; for poor relief it is 10d. on land and 2/8 on other hereditaments; for health charges it is 1½d on land and 5d. on other hereditaments. That is an average rate of 2/10 on land and 9/1 on other hereditaments. The rates of course vary from county to county and also in the present year according to valuation. As the Deputies will remember there was an arrangement made for giving special reductions to the small farmers, valuations under £10 paying at a lower rate than higher valuations; for instance an occupier in Kerry with a £10 valuation or under—there are 10,000 of them in County Kerry alone—would pay altogether for general services less than 15/- on land. Imagine the value a small farmer who pays 15/- total rate on land gets for that 15/- in service. If one of his family is ill he has a doctor to call in if he is a poor man entitled to attendance by a dispensary doctor; if himself or one of his family is sufficiently ill to be taken to hospital he has a hospital to go to where he will get free maintenance and attention; in many counties—not in all counties—his children are visited in the schools and provided for if they are ill; there are mental homes to which any member of his family who is mentally afflicted can be sent free of charge. Imagine what the cost of the upkeep of these homes is and what the cost of even one individual would be in a mental home. When talking on roads and other utilities provided by county councils, it may be considered that that rate is too much on a very poor man, but still if you put it down in figures like 15/- paid by a farmer with 10 acres he gets all these services for that money.

The expenditure which county councils have to meet comes to a total of 5¾ million pounds. This year the Government is giving 3¼ million pounds of that total expenditure, the county ratepayers are paying 2 millions, of which about 1¼ millions will come from land occupants, the remaining half a million being made up by poor rate transferred from urban districts and other receipts.

It will be seen from these figures that the Government has become the largest ratepayer. The Government at the present time is the largest ratepayer in the country. It may not be paying enough. I am not saying if the money were there that they should not pay more.

That is the acid test.

At any rate in these times of stress the Government has got to economise and we are asking the people of the country to do the same. While saying this, I want to emphasise again that while we are asking the people to economise the Government is still the largest ratepayer in the country and paying more than any individual.

It will be seen from these figures that the Government has become the largest ratepayer and provides more than half the revenue of county councils. Even next year, taking into account the amount we are economis- ing—£448,000—the Government still provides more in grants than will be raised in rural areas in rates.

This is another matter, I think, which will be of interest to some, especially those on local authorities: that the rates are small in proportion to the farmer's income. The amount he pays in rates is a very small thing when taken in proportion to what is generally regarded as the income of the farmer.

Has he got any income?

He would not live if he had not got some.

He is living on cattle.

He would not live if he had not got some cattle. Even Deputy MacDermot could not live without cattle.

People can live on capital.

The Derating Commission were satisfied that rates on the land and farm buildings of the typical small farmer were about 3½ per cent. of the expenses of production. That was the figure arrived at by the Derating Commission, where all classes of the community, I think, were well represented. That was the figure which was generally accepted as being a reliable figure.

My point is that the rates are abnormally high this year— at the present time.

We do not accept that. That estimate of 3½ per cent. was made before the additional grant of £1,000,000 was made last year or the year before. And even before that additional million was given they cut the rate on agricultural land by half. The Derating Commission fixed a percentage on the production of rates at 3½ per cent. If we accept the principle that the landholder should contribute in proportion to his ability to the cost of local services it would be very difficult to show he has been called upon to pay more than in justice he should. His rates are applied to the upkeep of roads, maintenance of hospitals, public assistance, care of the insane and other essential services and these services must be kept up. It is to the farmer's interest that they should be maintained, and the amount he is called upon to contribute towards their upkeep is not beyond his normal resources. What exactly is the extent of these resources? These figures are taken from the Derating Commission, and one from a work of Mr. T.J. Kiernan, an official of the Ministry of External Affairs. He has published a book which I believe is regarded as a standard work on Irish economics. The necessary data for estimating current national income are not available, but we can form some general idea from the position a few years ago. National income in 1926 is estimated at 164½ million pounds by Mr. Kiernan. In that year the total amount of rates of every description collected amounted to 5¼ millions or 3¼ per cent. The income from the occupation and ownership of land was estimated at 59¼ millions. It is obvious from the figures already given as to the rates on land that they do not form a serious drain on the farmers' income. "The charge is felt by farmers to an extent out of proportion to its size as it is looked upon by them as largely unproductive." The farmers do not, like other classes of the community, always see coming into their homes the benefits which they derive from the expenditure of rates.

A Deputy

What are the benefits which the farmer derives from paying rates?

Are the roads of no value to the farmer? Are the county homes of no value?

A Deputy

Not for the farmer.

They will be very soon.

I hope the mental home is not going to be of any assistance to Deputy Curran. What about the county hospitals?

We do not want any.

What about the dispensary doctors?

If the farmers want them, they must pay for them.

Only those who can afford to pay. I do not think there is anything that is open to debate about the services. It is not open to debate the question of the value and services given out of the rates to other members of the community, agricultural or otherwise. The great increase in the Government subventions to county councils must in time give rise to serious administrative problems. As I have already stated, the major portion of the revenue is now drawn from sources other than the rates. The experience of the past thirty years shows that when rates are relieved by Government grants there is a tendency to increase expenditure until it reaches a point when more grants are demanded. That is our experience every year. This position is fraught with great dangers both to the principle of local government and to economical administration. Our system of local government is based on the idea that people in each county or other administrative area should determine for themselves at what rate they can afford expenditure on services required by the community. If the cost of the service is to come mainly from the State one of the main bulwarks of economy will have been removed. The check on extravagance will be weakened and the fundamental assumption in local government will disappear. These are things which ought to be thought about by those who are continually demanding further and further grants from the Central Fund towards the relief of rates. A time will come if the present policy is continued when the amount provided out of rates would get smaller in relation to the amount given by the Government, and I would then invite the House and those who are on county councils to consider whether it would be a wise policy for the Government to allow county councils to remain at all if they are not going to provide any of the money or a very small proportion of the money they spend. If this House provides the money, I think it will be admitted that the House has the right to dictate as to how the money will be spent.

It is not always realised that land forms 81 per cent. of the valuation of rural districts—in some counties it is nearer to 90 than 80. If the State paid all the rates on land it would be paying more than four-fifths of the total rates as well as the existing grants for roads, mental hospitals, medical expenditure, etc. Whether local government in rural areas could survive long under such one-sided financial arrange ments may be doubted, for the State would have to take a much more active part than it does at present in seeing how money transferred to county councils was spent.

To turn to the position as it will be next year, half the land annuities are to be remitted and the relief for agricultural land has been fixed at £1,750,000. This grant, although it falls short of the current year, is £552,000 more than was given two years ago. What will be the net effect? It will, on the average, increase the rate of agricultural land by 1/3 in the £ as compared with the year just concluded. An attempt was made to allocate public revenue and expenditure between the agricultural and nonagricultural sections of the community and the results were published by the De-rating Commission. The question is beset with difficulties and no certain conclusions can be drawn; but the result arrived at in 1931 showed that the agricultural community contributed 30 per cent. to the revenue and received a share equivalent to 59 per cent. of central and local expenditure. That is a figure that I know it is difficult to prove, but the best information we can get in the Department sets it down that the agricultural community contributes 30 per cent. to the revenue and receives a share equivalent to 59 per cent. of central and local expenditure. This result is, no doubt, subject to a wide margin of error and it is not desirable to press it beyond the statement that there is no evidence that taxation derived from landholders is greater than the benefits they receive.

Apart from local grants, there are other substantial Exchequer payments flowing into rural areas. Out of two and three-quarter millions for old age pensions probably one and three-quarter millions go to the agriculturists. In County Donegal the old age pensions are equal to the produce of a rate of 13/2. The amount of old age pension money provided out of the Exchequer and going to the community as a whole goes in greater measure into the hands of the agricultural community than it does into the hands of those who live in the cities and towns. I will give one or two examples. In the case of Donegal the amount received through old age pensions would be equivalent to a rate of 13/2 in the £; in the case of Leitrim it would be equivalent to 11/9, and in the case of County Mayo to 14/5.

I think it is only proper, considering that there has been such an amount of criticism of the deduction of £448,000 from the Agricultural Grant, that these facts should be stated and that those in charge of local authorities should be brought to realise, as they do not seem to realise at present, the very considerable amount of money that is going to them out of the Central Fund. There is more money, considerably more money, going towards local expenses, the expenses of the local authorities and local services, from the Central Fund than the local authorities are providing, at least out of agricultural land.

Has the Minister examined the possibility of making such grants to local authorities as would enable them to make a concession to such farmers as do not benefit in any way from the reduction in the land annuities? I referred to these farmers on a previous occasion here— freeholders or tenants who, for one reason or another, are not purchasing tenants under any of the Land Acts. Those people have to bear the brunt of present conditions, arising out of the economic war, the same as everyone else. They are missing the relief the land annuitants are getting. That seems grossly unjust. The President explained that they are a small class. If they are, it is all the easier for the Exchequer to make provision for them. I appeal to the Minister to consider carefully whether it is not possible to do something to remedy that gross injustice and it is obviously by means of a concession in the rates, more or less proportioned to what others gain by reason of a remission of half the land annuities, that relief could most easily be given.

There is no doubt that the farming community are facing a very hard time and I regret that the Executive Council have found it necessary to reduce the Agricultural Grant this year. We have been sneered at for not carrying out promises with regard to full de-rating. We are told that we had no intention of keeping our pledges. I remember two years ago when a motion was proposed here with the object of giving one million pounds for the relief of rates. That motion was opposed by Cumann na nGaedheal, the then Government, and by the Farmers' Party. Some of the then Farmers' Party are members of the so-called Farmers' Party that we have to-day. We succeeded at that time in squeezing £750,000 out of the gentlemen opposite. It took some squeezing. We did that despite the support given to the Government by the representatives of the ranchers here.

Last year we gave further relief to the extent of £250,000. I was an advocate of full de-rating until I saw the position in its true aspect. I sympathise with the farmers of the Twenty-Six Counties who sent in here as leaders two gentlemen who are not farmers, two gentlemen whose only claim for relief here is on behalf of the class that pays no annuities at all. I sympathise with the farmers who have to depend on that type of advocate. For whom are they advocating? Out of the £750,000 one individual in my constituency got the same amount of relief as the whole parish I live in and the next parish received. That is the type of gentlemen for whom Deputy MacDermot to-day and Deputy Dillon last week made an appeal. They were not concerned with the £10 valuations. The farmers with such small valuations are not their class. Such farmers are not classy enough for the lawyer leaders of the Centre Party.

If the Deputy will allow me to interrupt, I would like to mention that our Party happens to have a motion on the paper asking for complete relief from rates and annuities, during the continuance of the economic war, for farmers of every description.

The economic war and its effects were fought by you two months ago before the people and you got your answer.

I merely rose to correct the Deputy's statement, which is untrue.

The only appeal made up to the present by the two lawyer leaders of the Centre Party has been for the relief of farmers who will not be relieved by the 50 per cent. reduction in the annuities.

I wish to repeat that that statement is not true.

Deputy MacDermot made a statement here a few minutes ago and I have here the Official Report of Deputy Dillon's speech last week and he, at that time, made the very same kind of statement and the very same kind of appeal as Deputy MacDermot made to-day. That was an appeal for relief for a certain class. They wanted to know what was going to be done for the man who would not benefit by the 50 per cent. reduction in the annuities, the man who pays no annuities at all, the landlord who collected together the rack rents that he pulled out of the unfortunate tenants with the assistance of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party in the last ten years. A number of those people were gathered together in the Mansion House, men who held 500 or 600 acres of land and who were living on the interest of the money they had got from the farmer. It was for those people Deputy Dillon made the appeal last week.

Might I interrupt for a moment? The Deputy comes from Cork. Wherever he comes from he is supposed to be a farmer but, as a matter of fact, he is the son of a head-constable and when he comes here to say——

Deputy Finlay is out of order.

As far as what he says about me is concerned, I want to tell him that I was fighting when he was under the bed.

I was fighting before Deputy Corry ever fought, and I want to say——

If Deputy Finlay makes an interruption of that kind again I will have to ask him to leave the House.

I am sorry, a Leas-Chinn Comhairle, but I am really ashamed to have to answer Deputy Corry. It was a mistake for me at all to answer him.

The Deputy will have plenty of time to make his own speech and to make it in consecutive order, and not by means of interruptions.

There is no occasion for heat in this matter. The House has already listened to Deputy MacDermot's appeal, and I am prepared to quote Deputy Dillon's appeal made last week. The same appeal has come from both of them. That was an appeal for relief. They both wanted to know what was going to be done for farmers who paid no annuities and who, therefore, would not benefit from the reduction in the annuities. I think that as far as the farmers who have no annuities to pay are concerned they have already got enough relief. When we consider that 75 per cent. of the farmers in Deputy Dillon's constituency are farmers under £10 valuation, then he must be speaking for the other 25 per cent. But we can take it that 15 per cent. of that 25 per cent. are farmers who have to pay annuities. Deputy Dillon, therefore, only speaks for 10 per cent. of the farmers in his constituency when he makes an appeal for farmers who pay no annuities. When I was interrupted I was just about to apologise to Deputy MacDermot and say that he did make an appeal for another class, and that is for the farmer who did not purchase his holding and who was still paying a rent. I have more sympathy with that class of farmer than with anybody else. That is the farmer who was forgotten by the old Irish Party, and who was forgotten by the Cumann na nGaedheal Party for ten years, and who has to depend on our new Land Bill to get justice. That farmer is not forgotten by the Fianna Fáil Party. He will get full justice in the new Land Bill. That is the only class of farmer in Deputy MacDermot's appeal who is deserving of any sympathy.

I am sorry that the Minister for Local Government is gone. The Minister wants to split the burden evenly. When speaking last week, I called attention to a matter which gives evidence on the part of the Executive Council of their anxiety to spread the burden evenly. I have here before me the Estimates for the coming year. I would like the Centre Party to pay more attention to these Estimates than towards cutting the labourers' wages. It ought to be far more in their line. I find here that a gentleman who draws a salary of £1,200 a year from this State gets a sum of £160 19s. as cost-of-living bonus. Taken one by one, these items look small but when one remembers that the cost-of-living bonus a few years ago amounted to £360,000 the matter is an important one, especially when we remember the price of farm produce at present. Considering that price, it is my opinion that there should be no cost-of-living bonus now. I see no occasion for it. The price of our produce is down to pre-war level. I am speaking of the farmer—as one who represents more farmers than lots of Deputies here who claim specially to represent farmers. I represent more farmers than any Deputy in the Centre Party. Take the Estimates here and if one looks at the items under the Revenue Commissioners, which is in the Department of the Minister for Finance, I notice that the first three men in that Department are drawing a salary of £4,000 a year between them and in addition a sum of £498 cost-of-living bonus.

I think it is most undesirable that the Deputy should indicate in that fashion any particular civil servant when speaking here. The Deputy may make a general reference but he must not indicate any particular civil servant. That is a most undesirable proceeding. Individual civil servants should not be mentioned.

I am sorry, but we have instances of that kind. I will only say this, that in the Revenue Commissioners' Department there are 26 officials drawing salaries of over £1,000 a year in one Department alone, and there are ten more of them drawing salaries of £800 a year. Now, if the burden is going to be evenly borne we cannot stand for that. There must be some machinery set up by which those gentlemen will be dealt with and their salaries reduced to a figure that this State can afford to pay. I do not care what kind of genius any man is or what kind of university or super-university education he may have got. I say that no man in this State to-day is worth more to the State than £1,000 a year. I do not care who the individual is. I say that.

The Deputy would put no value on an honest man. The Deputy does not know the worth of an honest man.

That is the bother, they are so very few. I never met one of them yet. Now this question of salaries is a thing I would like to have very closely considered by this House. We should consider whether this country can afford to pay salaries of £1,500 a year to some of our officials and whether we are to pay salaries amounting to £4,000 to three officials and in addition to that £4,000 a cost-of-living bonus of £498.

What do you pay the Governor-General?

We brought him down a lot since you gave him £10,000 a year and £260 for a piano.

The Deputy cannot speak on that matter on this Vote.

I do not want to interrupt in any pert way or to intervene but I want to point out that we are on the Central Fund and the question of the Governor-General's salary arises and can be discussed.

If we turn to the law costs we find the same thing going on. Every one of these lawyers gets over £800 a year. I do not know what value they give for this. I know that any farmer who ever employed one of them found it turned out a curse instead of a blessing.

Deputy Corry is judging the seven lawyers in this.

Now the farmers are the producers in this country or the most of them are. At any rate, they constitute a large proportion of the producers. With all due respect to the legal gentlemen who lead the Farmers' Party, to the legal gentlemen opposite and all over the House, they are the drones. I think it is high time the Executive Council tackled the whole question of the salaries of the officials of this State.

There is one other point with which I should like to deal. We had a very definite admission from the ex-Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Hogan, that the Live Stock Breeding Act, as it has been operated, has proved an absolute failure—that instead of proving a blessing to the farming community, it has proved a curse. On account of the operations of the Act it was, he said, impossible to get a decent milking cow in the country. I cannot estimate what that Live Stock Breeding Act cost the farmers. It has cost them a lot and I seriously suggest that the £3,750 provided here for it could be devoted to some better purpose than paying for bulls which nobody wants and for inspectors whom nobody wishes to see. These are matters that I suggest should be dealt with as quickly as possible. With regard to the relief of rates, when I compared the 50 per cent. reduction in annuities with complete de-rating, I found that the ordinary, working farmer would get more benefit out of the 50 per cent. reduction in annuities. As he was only going to get one concession and not two, I plumped for the 50 per cent. reduction. I find that the farmer will get 55 per cent. more benefit out of this 50 per cent. reduction of annuities than he would get out of complete de-rating.

Question.

If it is a question of the gentlemen whom Deputy MacDermot and Deputy Dillon claim to represent and who have no annuities to pay, I admit that they are going to be worse off. I have no sympathy with them— not a bit. So far as the others are concerned, I say openly that the particular class of farmer who was forgotten by the late Irish Party, forgotten by the Cumann na nGaedheal Party in this House for ten years—that this unfortunate farmer now, as a result of the negligence of Cumann na nGaedheal and the Irish Party——

Can you prove that the late Irish Party was negligent?

These people find themselves still paying rent to the landlord.

There are always ingrates like you.

That class is still paying rent. These men who were forgotten by everybody are now being remembered. We are going to wipe out landlordism in this country.

If you were a ratepayer and a landlord, which I suppose you are on a small scale—if you were a man with £400 or £500 land annuities—you would probably have a little more interest in economy than you have at the present time. I do not say that you are not a ratepayer. What I do say is that from the way you speak you do not represent the farming community.

The Deputy must not interrupt.

I am here as a Centre Party man and——.

The Deputy must sit down.

I want to say this——.

The Deputy will please sit down.

I want to give the Deputy more light.

I cautioned the Deputy before——.

I thank you very much.

I cautioned the Deputy before for interrupting in that fashion, and if he interrupts again I shall have to ask him to leave the House. He is a new Deputy and that is the reason I am giving him so much latitude. If he wants to make a speech, he can do so at the proper time.

In the near future.

The Deputy must allow Deputy Corry to resume his speech without interruption in that disorderly fashion. I now give the Deputy that final caution.

I do not look on the Deputy's statement as an interruption. If I might be allowed, I should like to ask him what his valuation is. Would he mind telling me? I should like to have the matter cleared up.

Deputy Corry will please make his speech in the regular fashion and in no other way.

I am sorry the Deputy will not tell me his valuation. My valuation is £150.

Small enough.

I consider it big enough for any farmer. I can tell the Deputy that I got more farmers' votes than any Deputy in this House.

I wonder, did you.

I know I did—11,000 of them. I polled as many votes as the whole Cumann na nGaedheal candidates in East Cork put together.

I gave Deputy Corry a great deal of latitude and I called to order those Deputies who interrupted him. He will have to make his speech in the regular fashion and not be looking for interruptions.

I regret——

Expression of regret will not do.

I was only replying to the Deputy who wanted to know what my valuation was. I consider that my valuation is quite high enough.

The statements made by Deputies of the Centre Party to-day bear out the statement I made at the commencement of my speech that they do not represent the farming community. Seventy-five per cent. of the farmers in Deputy Dillon's constituency are under £10 valuation. When Deputy Finlay says that my valuation is not high enough for me to represent the farmers, I wonder what particular class of farmers he represents. I would urge upon the Minister to inquire what benefit we will get out of the roads. Unfortunately, the policy of the ex-Minister for Local Government was one of trying to get the largest amount possible spent on roads, not for farmers but for motorists. Any grant given for roads was given for trunk or motorists' roads. I suggest that any cheese-paring we have to do in the local bodies should be done at the expense of the motorists' roads. They have got a lot of money already.

There is one other point with which I should like to deal. I would leave it over for the estimate which it concerns but for the fact that when I raised it on the estimate before, I was told that the money came out of the Central Fund. One branch of the service has cost us an enormous sum and it is still costing the farming community an enormous sum. I suggest to the Executive Council that it is high time that that branch was removed. Its removal would be a relief to the farming community. I think that there is something definitely wrong with a court that cost the farming community £66,000 in nine months in increase of valuation of land on appeal. I suggest that the removal of that particular court of appeal, known as the Judicial Commissioner, would be an enormous relief to the farming community. Unfortunately, we cannot altogether remove the burden placed on the farming community, but it is high time that the burden should be removed now. We have heard a lot of complaints from Deputies. Deputy Belton got very vocal on the wheat question. I grew wheat every year from 1918 to 1926 and grew it successfully.

Is wheat on the Central Fund?

If Deputy O'Sullivan was here when Deputy Belton was speaking he would have heard a discussion not merely on wheat but on special brands of wheat. I think Deputy Belton's strictures on the Minister for Agriculture were absolutely uncalled for. Wheat was the best paying crop I had from 1918 to 1926, when the bottom fell out of the market. As I am paying rates on wheat-growing land, which means on a high valuation, I am very glad for the sake of my constituents that the Minister has seen fit to protect that particular branch of agriculture. A lot of the wailing we hear in connection with the farming community has been brought about by the exertions of Deputies opposite in the wrong direction in the last 10 years; Deputies who were responsible for the introduction of the Land Act of 1923 and all the ills that followed that Act; who were responsible for paying three Land Commission valuers £500, and for paying a gentleman in addition for increasing——

That does not come into this Bill.

When these gentlemen were allowed to apportion blame for the present position of the agricultural community it is well that we should trace back the depression in agriculture to its source.

Very well, we shall have an opportunity later on. If, as I said, the burden is to be borne equally by every class of the community then the £1,000 a year man must go. If he is not satisfied to carry on his job for less he may get some other country to pay him. The people of this country cannot afford £1,000-a-year gentlemen. I suggest to the House very respectfully that we should not pay them. I suggest to the Executive Council that they can save an enormous amount by cutting down these salaries. I seriously suggest to the Centre Party that instead of looking for cuts in labourers' wages they should give attention to cutting down the £1,000-a-year man which would have a much better effect. I am anxious for the assistance of every Deputy who claims to represent farmers. They should give their view as to the £1,500-a-year man and as to paying the cost-of-living bonus on £1,500, with the price of farmers' produce as it is.

Then vote against the Bill.

I was very sorry to hear Deputy Corry refer to the old Irish Parliamentary Party. He should have thought more over it before he referred to that Party. The Cumann na nGaedheal Party are here and they can stand up for themselves. The Irish Party have passed away but they did great work for Ireland. The Minister for Local Government, in a very interesting document which he read to the House, referred to the central authority now becoming the real ratepaying authority and said that local authorities were dissatisfied with the treatment they were being given. He set out to prove that this year under the conditions which the farming community have to face, and the rates which they have to pay, they are far better off than ever. That is what the document is produced for. What is the position of the Kildare County Council? What is the difference between this year and 1932? We will see whether they are better off and whether there is any justification for howling. In 1930 the rates leviable on agricultural land and raised in County Kildare amounted to £66,000. In 1931, they were practically £69,000. In 1932, they were £44,000. For 1933 they would be £44,700 but the proportion which is being held back from the agricultural grant adds over £11,000 to that, and brings them back to £56,359, and that with relief going up, with bounties being taken off, with our markets gone, and with money being borrowed from the Central Fund to carry on these relief grants. Yet we are told that the farmer is in a better position and that he has been receiving wonderful treatment; that the county councils should not howl and that the people should not raise their voice in protest. I have nothing more to say except to ask for a further explanation of that document from the Minister.

I am sorry that the Minister for Agriculture is not in the House, but I should like to bring to the notice of the Minister present the position of a very large section of the farming community in my constituency. I refer to the potato growers in the Cooley districts. Their position at present is anything but a pleasant one. The price they are receiving for potatoes, if they are in a position at all to sell, averages about £1 per ton. For a considerable time they were unable to export any potatoes to Great Britain. The Government came to their assistance by granting a subsidy of £1 on the export of potatoes. That was very much appreciated by the farmers in that district, but recently the position is becoming very much worse. I believe that, in view of that, the Government has lately given leave to the farmers of that district to grow extra beet this year. That will somewhat relieve the situation, but it does not go far enough, particularly in regard to a very large number of farmers in that district whose acreage does not permit them to grow beet on a very large scale. I refer now to the farmers in the Cooley district who grow from an acre to two acres of potatoes, and whose market for the disposal of such potatoes in the past was Dundalk. Owing to the black scab restriction they are prevented from taking those potatoes into Dundalk. As a result, those people are left with the potatoes on their hands and they have absolutely no means of living. I would like to ask the Minister if the Government can see their way, instead of giving a £1 bounty on the export of potatoes to give the £1 direct to those small farmers who are not in a position to export any potatoes to the British market.

There is another matter to which I would like to refer—I would ask the Leas-Cheann Comhairle if I am in order—and that is, in regard to the question of the position of a very large number of men, who, as a result of the strike at present prevailing in the Great Northern Railway find themselves in a very bad position, so much so that at the moment several hundreds of those men are working only one week in three. Formerly those men were entitled to receive unemployment benefit for the weeks in which they did not work. Now, owing to some clause in the Unemployment Insurance Acts, those men, I understand, are precluded from receiving unemployment benefit for the two weeks during which they find themselves idle. I may say, without in any way magnifying the position as it exists at the moment, that those men and their wives and families are in a very bad position. I understand that the question is sub-judice at the moment, but I would respectfully suggest to the Minister that he would bring the matter before the Minister for Industry and Commerce with a view to having unemployment benefit given to this very large section of decent workmen who at the present time, owing to this unfortunate dispute which we all hope will be settled in a very short time, find themselves in such an unfortunate position.

There is one other matter to which I would like to refer, but I do not know if it is relevant. It is the question of drainage. However, we can bring that up on the estimate concerned. I would like, in reply to Deputy Corry's assertions in regard to the plea that has been made by Deputy MacDermot on behalf of certain farmers, to state that those farmers for whom Deputy MacDermot speaks are not landlords of the class that Deputy Corry would lead us to believe they are. I have here a letter from a widow in County Louth who has three or four sons, three or four—to my own knowledge—of the most hard working farmers that could be found in the County Louth or in any other county in the Free State. They occupy a farm which is at the moment held under fee farm grant. That widow is, at the moment, being pressed for a sum of £139, which she has got to pay in full, whilst her neighbours who purchased under the previous Land Acts are entitled, if I understand the position aright, to a 50 per cent. reduction in their land annuities. I think Deputy Corry will agree that in that particular case there is a genuine hardship. I think that Deputy Corry, and in fact every Deputy on the Government Benches, will agree that there must be numerous cases of a similar nature existing all over the Twenty-six Counties, and that it is only right and just that something should be done for that type of farmer at the moment.

On a point of personal explanation. I explained when speaking that that particular class were people who unfortunately were not put within the provisions of any Land Act up to the present, and that they had to wait until Fianna Fáil came into office before their case——

This is another speech.

That was the point I made—that they had been forgotten.

That is another speech. It is not a personal explanation at all.

In connection with what has been stated here with regard to the general position of the country, let me state here and now, as I stated three or four years ago, that the sooner we recognise that this is a poor country the better it will be for all concerned, and the sooner the people of the country give up this practice of looking to the Government for everything the better it will be for all concerned. It seems to me that people think a Government can get money on the bushes. The Government can get money only in one way, and that is from the general body of ratepayers. It must come from somewhere. If you overtax industries the result may be that you will create more unemployment by such over-taxation. Of course it is the popular thing to say that the Government should solve unemployment. I may be in the minority, but I think I am entitled to my opinion, and I say it is not the duty of the Government to solve the unemployment question, and neither could a Government solve it. Time will tell; one little word with four letters—time. Experience has taught me in the past, as undoubtedly it will teach all of us in the future, that whenever any Government attempted to solve unemployment they increased rather than decreased it. I think it would be well if the Deputies of all Parties in this House would recognise that the best and surest means of solving unemployment is by private enterprise. Of course it is heresy to preach that! Although I am a trade unionist myself, I find myself at variance with the majority of trade unions as far as that question is concerned. I am convinced at any rate, from experience of what has been tried in other countries, that the surest way of solving unemployment is by giving the people who are at present engaged in industries an opportunity of carrying on those industries and enlarging them, thereby creating employment. That can best be done by keeping taxation at as low a point as possible. The Minister for Local Government in his speech candidly admitted that we were passing through a very trying time, and that the position of the farming community was anything but satisfactory. It was a candid admission on his part, but it was only an admission that one would expect from one with his knowledge and experience. He sees, I am sure, as we all see, that times are bad and that there is a general depression not alone in this country but in all countries, and the way to face that and conquer it, in my opinion, is first of all to recognise that it really exists, and then get the people to work in co-operation. We certainly will not solve these problems at the moment by everybody calling upon the Government to have money for this, that and the other thing. We heard a great deal of talk about social services. One would think that our services were nothing. Of course it would be a grand thing to have all these services up to date, but, after all, we are a poor country, and like the child which must be treated before it walks, we must be treated before we walk, and it will take a long time before we can reach that position of prosperity and comfort which all of us desire. In the meantime, I am personally of the opinion that the less interference in matters of industry by the Government the better. Any advance in that direction can be made by the people themselves working in co-operation and getting any little help they can from the Government. It is a Government's duty to advise the people in any way it can advise them, and I think the Government can best help those who are at the moment engaged in industry by placing as little taxes as possible on them, and thereby give industry the chance which it is looking for.

I do not want to pass any remarks which I am about to make by suggesting that I did not want to interfere in the debate until I had heard the last Deputy speak, but let me say that I did intend to interfere in the debate and to ask one or two rather pertinent questions. The Fianna Fáil Government, when going to the country, held out the very attractive promise that they would, if elected, reduce taxation in this country by at least two million pounds per annum. They also told us they would bring about that reduction without inflicting on any part of the community any kind of hardship. Again, they promised that no civil servant or any other servant of the State would suffer in the process of that reduction in national expenditure by the sum of two million pounds per annum. But facing up to the facts, what do we find? We find that taxation has not been reduced by two million pounds per annum. We also find that the civil servants are told or threatened that they will be subjected to a reduction in their salaries or emoluments. But we come to the main producer in this country, namely, the farmer, and he in turn was told that he would get very large sums of money passed by this Government. In some cases the sum was named but in most cases vague generalities were indulged in. The farmer was told he would have far happier and better times; that he would get a lot of money in the relief of local rates and taxation, and that he could not expect from any other Party who was appearing at that time before the electors the same kind of consideration. Now what are the facts that have evolved or emerged from the return to office for the second time of the Fianna Fáil Government, who promised us a reduction of two million pounds per annum in taxation? We all know the conditions of the farming industry in this country. Last year, on another Vote, I indicated quite clearly to this House what has come under my own purview and even my own knowledge, where miles upon miles of fishing on the River Lee can be got for a song. I could illustrate the disabilities and hardships which the farmers are labouring under now because of the fanatical policy of the present Government. But we were told by Deputy Coburn a moment ago that it was not the duty of a Government to solve the unemployment problem. How far that is in order on this Vote I am not prepared to say, but seeing that the Ceann Comhairle and the Leas-Cheann Comhairle allowed this point to be discussed, I am sure I will be allowed some little latitude if I discuss it at some further length. It is not, suggests Deputy Coburn, the function of any Government to solve the unemployment problem. I remember when a Minister of this House made that suggestion on a previous occasion advantage was taken of it by many persons who were then in opposition to Cumann na nGaedheal up and down the country. I feel that it was one of the most damaging things that was ever said by a Minister in this House, that it was not the function of this Government to find work for the people of this country. I agree that a Government has its limitations, but at the same time an elected Government of this country, elected as it is on a popular basis, with the freest and the best franchise in the world, should not be able to get rid of its responsibilities so easy as to say or to suggest that it is not its duty, particularly in the time of economic stress through which we are now passing, to find work for the unemployed people of this country. What is the alternative of that theory held now by Deputy Coburn and held at one time, but I believe not now, by the former Minister for Industry and Commerce? The alternative is a policy of drift, and a policy of drift to where? Does Deputy Coburn suggest that the unemployed should be allowed to drift into Communism? Does he suggest that the unemployed should have inducements held out to them, and as I suggest this is an inducement held out to them, to have other means of remedying this very great and grave social evil? It is not the business nor the duty of any Government to solve the unemployment problem! Such piffle. The second last Government, Cumann na nGaedheal, made some little attempt to do so. I want to be quite fair and to say that the present Government are making some attempt to solve the unemployment problem. If Deputy Coburn's mentality were to be any way general we would neither have an attempt on behalf of Cumann na nGaedheal nor on behalf of Fianna Fáil to solve this terribly grave problem. Let me suggest that my belief, founded upon experience, is that much of the unemployment would be obviated if our present Government took their courage in both hands and opened up negotiations with the people across the water to re-establish our markets with Great Britain. I am not going into the broad aspects of the position, but I feel when discussing this Vote, which allows us to discuss various aspects of the economic policy of this Government, that it is as well that we should do so.

I would like to ask the Minister responsible a question to which most of our people are anxious to have a reply. Does he propose in the immediate future—and I say "immediate" advisedly, because I have almost daily contact with large and small farmers in Country Cork, and knowing the position I am not attempting in any way to alarm any person—to give any indication of any means by which the Government will be able to solve the unemployment problem? Most of the unemployment that exists here is due to the economic policy of this Government. I am sportsman enough to admit that whether it was Cumann na nGaedheal or Fianna Fáil were in office we would have experienced some of the repercussions of economic events elsewhere. But we went more than half way to meet that kind of depression. Right in the midst of world economic depression this country was the least affected. Then the farmers were told, and the bait was held out to them, that if they returned a Fianna Fail Government they would be relieved of most of local taxation—translated into rates if you like—and most, if not all of general taxation. What has been the main result of that policy? After all, the farmer is our main producer. If people in the cities and towns are suffering and enduring hardship I have enough economic sense to know that the farmers are our main producers. The main result of the policy of this Government has been to reduce the farmers to such a state that they have no longer any spending capacity. That so far as it affects the towns and cities spells unemployment. I said that we went more than half way to meet the world economic depression and history will prove that I am right. When world depression was at its peak point we experienced it to a lesser degree than any other country. After the advent to power of the present Government what do we find? Again I stand to my guns. They began the economic war by withholding the annuities. The farmers are suffering and the natural corollary is suffering by the poor working men and women in our State. The best illustration of industrial depression here is to be found in our empty docks and unemployed dockers.

We were told on the election posters that taxation was to be reduced by two million pounds per annum. I ask the Minister for Finance when he is replying to give some indication as to how this reduction was to be brought about, because it is not reflected in the Estimates nor in the Central Fund Bill which we are discussing. The average docker and the average farmer is not an unintelligent person and they will be anxiously awaiting a reasoned reply from the Minister. It would be illuminating and it would be educative for some of the farmers I know to be told that they were now progressing, that they were now enjoying a measure of prosperity relatively greater than they enjoyed when Cumann na nGaedheal was in power. I know dozens of farmers who will be pleased to hear how they have progressed in a material way, because my experience goes to show that most of these men and women—the hardest working people that I know—are now faced with bankruptcy. They are told, forsooth, that they must tighten their belts and, according to President de Valera, they must wear hair shirts. I know many of these farmers who have already tightened their belts. They have not exactly gone through the process of wearing hair shirts——

I want to know on what occasion President de Valera made the statement, which Deputy Anthony has attributed to him, in regard to a hair shirt. When was that statement made?

Just a couple of months ago in the House, if you were here.

Give the reference.

If the Deputy says that President de Valera did not make use of the expression "hair shirt" then I will say I am very sorry for misquoting the President. Of course, I believe that President de Valera also stated that he would like everybody in this country to wear silk shirts if they could afford it. But the inference is there that our people have got to wear a hair shirt and to tighten the belt, etc., and that in face of the fact that, during the election campaign in this country, and for some time before it, we were told that national expenditure would be reduced by two millions of money. Already, the farmers of this country have paid through the nose more than is represented by the moneys that have been stopped from those who legitimately lent it—the boundholders to whom the money is honourably due. Many farmers that I know have lost more at the fairs and markets in this country than is represented by two years' annuities, that is to say, individual annuities. They have already lost that in the fairs and markets. I want to ask the Minister to say in his reply when will he write f-i-n-i-s to this lunatic policy. It is all very well to say that a mandate was granted to him and his Party at the last election to go ahead; but I want to challenge that mandate here and now for the second or third time in this House. Some time ago I said that if one keeps on repeating a certain thing often enough, even though it is untrue, he will begin to believe it himself. Now what does the mandate amount to? It amounts to this: A certain number of Fianna Fáil Deputies have been returned to this Dáil. A certain number of Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies were returned to this Dáil. A certain number of Independents and a certain number of official Labour members were returned to this Dáil. The present Government is held in office on the authority of no less a person than Deputy Davin and no less a person than Deputy Norton. Neither Deputy Davin nor Deputy Norton nor any other member of the official Labour Party got a mandate on the land annuities. They never asked for it.

At the last election?

Never. Neither at that nor the one before it. Nor did they ask for a mandate on the removal of the Oath. I confine myself to that one word "mandate"—m-a-n-d-a-t-e. We hear all this talk about mandates. What does it represent? Take away the eight members of the official Labour Party to-day in a Division and this Government will win by one or two or possibly three votes. Is not that the position? The position is that this country is led to believe that this Government has a mandate to do certain things. It has never got a mandate to do many things. It never got a mandate in relation to the land annuities. It did not even get a mandate in relation to the Oath because, when everything is said and done, what is a majority of two or three in this or any other Parliament? Would any sane Government attempt to force upon the community a great major issue like the land annuities on a majority of only two or three? Again I challenge Deputy Davin, who is in the House, did he ask his constituents in Leix-Offaly for a mandate on the land annuities?

Certainly.

Did Deputy Davin ask for a mandate on the Oath?

Do you want to see my election address?

I am talking of the Deputy's speeches made in his constituency. These speeches made in the constituencies by the representatives of the official Labour Party are there for anybody to read, asking for support on the plea that they would, if returned, implement and support the Treaty in all its moods and tenses and when they come into this House they do quite a different thing.

I want to wind up on this note— can the Minister explain how it is, having promised the people of this country a reduction of £2,000,000 per annum, having given a promise of increased prosperity for the farmers and having promised increased prosperity for the workers in the towns and in the cities, that we have seen none of these things materialising so far? In Cork County Borough, where there are at least 7,000 odd farmers— I am not talking now of agricultural labourers—but where there are, roughly, 7,000 farmers, I have met very few—and it should be obvious to anybody who has studied the position at all—who have said that they have increased prosperity. Very few workers in the city have I met who have told me that they had increased prosperity. Rather, the opposite is the case. Week-end after week-end I have hundreds of persons calling to my house who have been thrown out of employment as a result of the economic policy of the present Government. That does not suggest increased prosperity so far as it relates to the country in general and so far as it relates to Country Borough of Cork particularly. Instead of increased prosperity we have increasing numbers of unemployed. We have increasing numbers of farmers—I might say daily increasing numbers of farmers—who are finding themselves in such a position that the bankruptcy court would be a relief. When the Minister is replying, I do hope that he will explain to me, or rather for the satisfaction of the House, why it is that, having held out all these rosy promises, they have not been fulfilled. I should not like to embarrass the Minister in any way, but it has to be remembered that he must have known at the general election, as even the smallest boy in third or fourth standard in the national school knew, that we were faced with a condition of world-wide economic depression. Why is it, in view of his statement and of the statements of his leader and of the Government Party generally, that we have not yet been able to reduce expenditure in this country by at least £2,000,000 per annum; why is it that we have not increased employment, and why it is that we have not helped the unemployed to a greater extent?

The last two speakers, Deputy Coburn and Deputy Anthony, dealt to a certain extent with the question of unemployment. There may be a certain amount of difference between them as to the exact duties of a Government in that respect, but I think that for practical purposes for the moment we need not discuss these abstract doctrines about the duties of Governments. There will be agreement, I think, between many Parties in the House—we can hardly expect agreement from Fianna Fáil or, possibly, even from the Labour Party branch of it—that, as Deputy Anthony has pointed out, the result of the policy of Fianna Fáil to deal with unemployment has not been a diminution of unemployment but an increase of it in town and country. If we are to believe what we are told by the people in these districts, not only has unemployment increased but, what is still worse, there is a great deal of uncertainty about the future; uncertainty for the shopkeeper, for the shop-assistant, for the ordinary farmer and labourer. That is the result, I submit, of 12 months' effort on the part of the Fianna Fáil Government to deal with the problem of unemployment, to put into operation the plan that they boasted they had for dealing with unemployment.

We must be rather surprised—I think many Deputies are—at the difference in tone that has begun to make itself felt in Government speeches in the last couple of days. I cannot imagine that precise tone pervading their speeches, say, a couple of years or even a couple of months ago. But if we are to listen to Ministers, and to some of their supporters, the whole burden of what they have been telling us in the last couple of weeks and days has been this: that really the farmer does not know how well off he is; he does not appreciate all that this beneficent Government has done for him. It has been pointed out to him in no uncertain language if clouded over in figures. In reality he has been getting a big slice of his own tail to feed upon and he ought to be very well satisfied with that. That is, practically, what the policy and the speeches of the Government amount to— cynically put forward now.

I wonder why that line was not taken up before: that really the farmers are remarkably well off, that as a Minister put it last week the Government really find it rather difficult to satisfy themselves that they have not done too much for the farmer in the way of giving him relief. But the farmer, on the other hand, for several months past, and now more than ever, is beginning to feel what the Government has done against him. Even the various sums of money that have been given by the Government to the farmer out of his own pocket do not compensate him. They do not even go a fair distance on the road to compensate him for the losses that have been inflicted on him, for the loss of his trade.

The farmer was, of course, told that the loss of his market would be temporary. He was told: "Put the Fianna Fáil Government back into power; give them a majority—between themselves and the Labour Party they now have a majority—and there will be an immediate settlement." Are we nearer that settlement? If so, why is not the farmer given some hope? Possibilities are discussed. Carrots are occasionally dangled before his eyes; e.g., the possibility that somehow a settlement may come about. What is the foundation for that talk? There is no foundation for it at all except the obvious thing that anything is possible. The farmer was told that he need only put Fianna Fáil back into power to convince the British Government once and for all that the country was behind Fianna Fáil and that a settlement would come. Has that settlement come? He was told, too, that his market would be restored. Is there any trace of that? Is the price which the farmer is getting for his produce rising from week to week? We know the opposite is taking place.

I said here last week that hardly a week passes that some new blow is not struck at the agricultural industry or promised against it. I asked what was the policy in regard to the bounties. In the book of estimates which we got this morning we saw that there was no provision made for the continuance of the bounties. I suggest that when the Minister is replying he should avail of the occasion to tell the country and the House what is the policy of the Government in that respect. He may say that they are going to cut down the bounties given on our exports. Why? Is it because the farming community, with a still further decrease in prices, is in a better position to face up to its tasks in the coming 12 months than it was in the past 12 months, or is it because the Government will contend that the farming community get very little out of these bounties? Which is it? Remember the policy here is entirely the Government's. I do not think they will contend that the farmer will be in any better position in the coming 12 months to bear the losses that the Government still insists in inflicting on him than he was in the past 12 months. If the Government take up the line, as they may do, that the farmer got very little benefit out of these bounties what are we to say to a Government that in that case would be convicted out of its own mouth of throwing away well over £1,000,000 in that particular direction? Remember the responsibility is not on anybody's shoulders except the shoulders of the Government. It will be its business either to justify the withdrawing of the bounties or their continuance, but it cannot hold the people responsible or the farmer who protested that he got very little out of them. If the farmer got little out of the policy of bounties in operation in the last 12 months, then the responsibility for gross waste must rest on the shoulders of the Government.

What is the case made for the policy we are now discussing, not the policy of the Government for the last 12 months but the policy represented by the Central Fund Bill and the Estimates for the next 12 months? What is the case for putting new burdens on the farmer when, during the last 12 months, the Government had to come to his assistance to the extent of three and a half million pounds? In other words, the Government themselves realised the parlous position in which the farmer was in the last 12 months. They had to come to his assistance. As the Minister for Education, speaking last week, put it, they did not collect the annuities for two gales. If that held good in the last 12 months what are they going to do in the next 12 months? To use the language of the Minister, in another part of his speech, it would appear that the farmer would be worse off. A large amount of annuities were not collected in the last 12 months, but half are to be collected. We are told great assistance was given to the farmer. But why is it not to be continued? Certainly in none of the proposals of the Government was there any indication that that relief would be continued. In fact, there are excuses put forward for putting new burdens upon the farmers as if they were now able to bear them though they were not able to do so in the last 12 months. The Fianna Fáil Party comes to the farmer and finds him in a worse position, from the point of view of his markets and from the point of view of what he gets for his produce, but they are not going to give him the same assistance. They helped him when he had a lesser load, in the last 12 months, but they are not going to give him even the same help in the next 12 months when his condition is worse. This is an extraordinary position for the Government to take up. They have tried to justify their circular to the county councils, cutting down the agricultural rates, but they have not met the case put from the various parts of the House. We hear from most of the farmers in the country with whom we discussed matters that the reliefs given to the agricultural community, in the last 12 months, have far from compensated them for the loss of their markets; and that is to be a continuing loss.

The Ministers spoke of the diminished yield of taxation. They have taken steps to see that there is a diminished yield from taxation. More than that, they have struck blows at the economic wealth of the country. But surely, when there is a diminished yield is not the time to increase taxation as they did last year. The Government are quite cynically going back on everything they professed to favour before they came into office. Largely, as a result of their policy, and the decreased power on the part of the community to bear it, high taxation is to be continued. The operation of it is to be shifted, in time, from the central Government to the local bodies. There is no justification for that. We are told of all the services that are to be at the disposal of the farmer. The Minister for Local Government put forward the view that in fact if more relief was given to the farmers the local bodies would have to be abolished altogether. Why did not that strike the Minister and his colleagues when they stood for complete derating? Now they have gone back not only on complete de-rating but on the amount of de-rating already given. Why, when standing for complete de-rating and restoration of the old councils, did they not realise the immense amount of money contributed by the taxpayers and the ratepayers to the local bodies? They are growing wise. But I suggest now that the elections are over they are going back and becoming quite cynical. They take up the line that the farmers really do not know how well off they are, how much the Government is pampering them. That is an extraordinary attitude to take up on the Government Benches. We did not hear it at all two months ago but we hear it now. If the local bodies with the new duties thrown upon them will not meet the wishes of the Government then there are threats. If the farmer will not do what the Government tells him, there are threats; and there will be compulsion used against him. The farmer has to pay higher rates, if he does not run his farm the way the Government wants him to run it.

The local bodies also have to face the prospect of abolition if they cannot meet the situation which is largely the creation of the Government. What holds true about central taxation applies with equal force to local taxation. There is no greater capacity to bear local taxation than central taxation. Yet this is the time that the central Government determines to unload its responsibilities on to the local bodies. Is the farming community in any better position to bear these new charges and rates than it was in 12 months ago? What position is the farmer likely to be in in the next 12 months with the continued paralysis of his market? Will he not be much worse off? He was cajoled, to a certain extent, that whatever loss he sustained in the foreign market he would get it back in some other market; and if he did not get it back in some other market, he would surely get it back in the home market. Is there anybody who knows the farmer who believes that within the next 12 months, the period that we are now dealing with, the home market is going to compensate him for the loss of the foreign market? If not, what measures have been taken by the Government to compensate the farmer for the loss inflicted on him by the Government? If we take the view not even of 12 months, but a long period, it is quite clear that the Government are not merely sacrificing the present to the future which they had before their minds, but are sacrificing every advantage in town and country, and bringing about such improverishment that there cannot be any economic prospect before this country for generations. That is the real tragedy of the present Government.

We are speaking of the farmers, but every remark that applies to them, except the relief of the agricultural rates, applies equally to the people in the towns. The cities and the towns suffer also. The farmer is no longer selling his produce. Go to any town and ask: "How is business?" You will be told that it is bad. You will be told that the farmer cannot buy. He can live; he has the produce of his land. He has food for himself, better than he ever had before, because he cannot sell his produce. All that may be an advantage. But he cannot buy. And how, under these circumstances, are we to expect the towns to continue prosperous, and towns especially that depend upon the farming community? How can they give employment as they have done up to the present? If the shops in the towns are not prosperous, and the farmer does not buy, how can they carry on business? If the farming community is faced with bankruptcy surely that also must be the position in the towns. Remember, if the ordinary country towns are in that position it must react on the cities and the manufacturers in the cities. How can the big wholesale firms who buy from the manufacturers expect a clientele from the smaller towns when the smaller towns are brought to the verge of bankruptcy?

The home market was to compensate everybody, compensate the manufacturer and the farmer, and has not that home market in many cases, or at least the purchasing power of it, diminished like the foreign market has been destroyed? Everywhere you are simply hitting employment, making employment impossible at present and diminishing the prospect of anything like reasonable ordinary employment in future. It is quite obvious of course that relief works will have to be undertaken on a larger scale this year unless we are to accept the cynical view that relief works were on a larger scale last year because there was an election coming. Supposing we do not take that view, is there any prospect that ordinary employment will be better within the next twelve months than in the past twelve months? If that is so what becomes of the Estimate we see here for relief works. Is there to be another abnormal Budget? It is quite obvious from the policy of the Government that they can only think of an abnormal situation, an abnormal situation that becomes chronic until ultimately the patient dies.

I should like the Government to face up to the issue and to the state to which they have brought the farmer. Certainly considering the losses they have inflicted on the farmers, they ought to stop making speeches in this House, to the effect that they are a bountiful Government, that nobody has ever done as much, and that, in fact, when they come to examine their consciences, they begin to think they have done too much and that the farmers do not know how well off they are as a result of the beneficent policy the Government has pursued. Ask any farmer, big or small; I do not mind what way he voted at the elections—do not approach him as a politician; ask him what he has lost, how much more he has lost than the amount of his annuities for the last twelve months. What then do the Government tell him? When he says he cannot continue this any longer the Government says: "You can and you must. You are really much better off than you think." That is, as I say, the extraordinary attitude taken up by the Fianna Fáil Party whom we heard so often, when they were on these benches, pointing out that this country was overtaxed, that it could not bear the burden of taxation. They even went beyond that and said that the farming community, in so far as they were the principal producers of the country had to bear the burden of all taxation. They say now "See the great services you get and what do you pay for them?" Certainly that is an extraordinary change of attitude as far as that Party is concerned. Their cynicism, however, wins through. Possibly it will take the people some time to wake up to the real effects of their policy and the real value of the interest they have always professed in the farming community.

The Minister for Finance here, last week, and, I understand, in another place to-day, also dropped hints, vague hints, about the possibility of a settlement; that if a settlement comes then something will be done. What basis is there for that? Is that simply a statement like that which was made when the economic war was started? Everybody remembers how the farming community was told that next month, in five weeks time, in six weeks time, there was going to be a settlement. In July it was to be the end of August, and at the end of August it was to be the beginning of October. In fact it was actually arranged, we were told, at Ottawa. We were told it was to be all right. From week to week, from month to month, hope was held out to the farmers until, as I always feared, a state was reached when his position was so bad that he almost ceased to have any interest in a settlement, his market was so destroyed by the policy of the Government. Now when, any longer there cannot be the same— propaganda value behind the imminence of a settlement, we have vague hints dropped by the Minister for Finance as to what will happen when this thing is settled. Has any effort been made by the Government? where now are the pledges made that when Fianna Fáil were returned to power there would be a quick settlement of the financial and other disputes? What steps are being taken to carry out these promises? Surely the Dáil and the country are entitled to know. A number of points have been raised in this debate to which no answers have been given. I think it is quite obvious that the Government, having got the election over, is now determined to go on no matter what it costs the country. No matter how the farming community may suffer the Government is determined to go on, and if the farmer grumbles he is pointed out the excellent social services he has and how little he has to pay for them.

I am sorry Deputy Anthony has left the House, because I think from the nature of the speech which he delivered, and from the questions which he addressed to me in particular, he must have been very comfortably asleep in his bed or somewhere else during the course of the recent general election campaign. Before the last general election, and before the last Dáil was dissolved, Deputy Anthony repeatedly challenged the right of Deputies on these benches to give support to the present Government in pursuance of a certain policy. Surely the Deputy woke up after the general election. Surely he must have discovered that we were tested before the people on that issue and that we increased the number of our representatives from seven to eight, apart from the fact that we were only pipped on the post for three additional seats. Deputy Anthony can sleep quite comfortably either here or somewhere else during the course of a general election so long as he feels assured, as he felt at the last general election, of being returned again on the surplus of the votes cast for Deputy Cosgrave. That is the real reason why Deputy Anthony has to answer the crack of the whip when that whip is cracked by Deputy cosgrave or by any of the Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies on the other side of the House.

Deputy Coburn speaking like a voice in the wilderness—it is now actually a voice in the wilderness—said it was not the duty of the Government to provide work for able-bodied citizens of this State. That statement was made by Deputy McGilligan when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce but, so far as I can recollect, he has since swallowed it. I suggest to Deputy Coburn that he should read the address on unemployment delivered not very long ago by Cardinal MacRory somewhere in his own constituency and that he should say what now compels him to dissociate himself in this matter from the policy enunciated by Cardinal MacRory and every other public man in this and every other country. Surely, it is the duty of the Government to provide work or maintenance for all its citizens. Would Deputy Coburn go back to County Louth and say that the Government, in the Estimates for this year, are not correct in providing £220,000 by way of free grants for the erection or reconstruction of houses? Would he, as a trade unionist, in the building trade, stand over that policy in his own constituency? In the middle of Deputy Coburn's speech, he asked the Government to hurry up schemes for the carrying out of arterial drainage, failing to realise that the Government provides large sums by way of grants for that purpose, and I am sorry to notice that the amount for that purpose this year is £10,000 less than what was provided last year. Perhaps the Minister for Finance, when replying, would say what justification there is for that reduction, in view of the demands made to this House by Deputy Coburn and others for increased grants for that purpose?

So far as the members of this Party are concerned, the Estimates do not present any kind of rosy picture. Looking at the Estimates in a hurried way, because they were only circulated to Deputies to-day, I find that there is a reduction of £90,000 in the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture which, last year, went to assist the farmers mainly engaged in the dairying industry. We have, as I have said, a reduction in the Estimate for arterial drainage of £10,000 and we have a reduction, strange to say—and I cannot understand it—of £1,000 in the amount allocated for the improvement of estates divided by the Land Commission. If there is to be more progress made in connection with the acquisition and distribution of land in the coming financial year, will the Minister for Finance say why it is that the amount provided for the improvement of estates, which is so useful and so necessary and which can be spent in making roads and drains and carrying out other maintenance works, is not increased instead of reduced? I notice also that there is not an increase of even £1 in the Estimate for the Forestry Department, although we were informed here, I think by the Minister for Agriculture, that the Department intended to hurry up development work in that direction. Is there any justification even now for hoping that the work of the Forestry Department will be speeded up and additional employment given, as I am sure it can be given, to thousands of people throughout the country by the provision of more money under that particular sub-head?

I quite agree that something is being done in connection with housing and it is the only part of the whole picture painted by these Estimates on which one can compliment the Government. The Government are making very generous provision for the erection of houses all over this State, if only local authorities, for whom that money is being made available, will do their part in this very useful work of building up the nation and giving employment through a national housing scheme. I hope that some steps will be taken by the Minister to deal with local authorities who are not making a decent attempt to use the moneys available for house building purposes.

At a loss to the local authorities.

I am not quite certain but, of course, the Deputy is a building expert, and, without some details from him on matters of that kind, I am not going to drag building costs into a debate of this kind. I hope that the Deputy will, at a later stage, especially in view of his acknowledged expert experience in this matter, tell the House in what respect he can justify that statement.

I told you to-day but you were not here.

I am very sorry to have missed the Deputy's maiden speech on that matter.

The Deputy can read it next week.

I will read it with very great interest, particularly if it had any bearing on the matter to which the Deputy has now referred by way of interruption. Perhaps the Minister would also, in his reply, say what steps have been taken to set up the Food Prices Commission. I notice by a semi-official announcement issued in a paper at the beginning of this week that the Food Prices Controller is supposed to have been appointed. I take it that that is not an official statement but I should be glad to know what progress has been made in the matter. I am sure that Deputy Belton and others engaged in the agricultural industry will admit that profiteering at the expense of the producer and the consumer has been going on to a considerable extent for a long time. As an illustration, I noticed, some time ago, that the price of pigs in two market towns in my constituency had dropped as low as 17/- per cwt. live weight and I am in a position to say that, in or about that time, the bacon factories in the same area were charging the retailers something like 65/- a cwt. for what they were supplying to them while, in the town where I reside, the consumer was being charged at the rate of 1/3 per lb. The Food Controller and those associated with him can, I think, find very useful and urgent work of that kind to deal with and I hope that some ways and means will be devised to stop profiteering of that kind especially when the profiteering takes place on the sale of the necessaries of life.

We were told in the House on several occasions, and, especially, during the last general election, by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and some of his colleagues that innumerable new factories had been set up in this State and that so many hundreds or thousands of citizens had secured employment in those factories. I listened on many occasions to the Fianna Fáil leaders' talk in this House and outside it about the decentralisation of industry. I do not know of any new industry, small or large, established in my constituency since the appointment of the present Government and there are very few Deputies in this House, outside those who represent the cities of Dublin and Cork and, perhaps, Limerick, who cannot say the very same thing.

Those who represent Dublin can say the same thing, too.

I believe it is quite true to say that a certain number of very small industries have been established and, if my information is correct, a considerable number of these small new industries have been established as a result of foreigners coming into the country since the present Government was elected to office. I have been informed, and I believe it is quite correct, that Jewmen from other countries have been coming in here in fairly large numbers and putting some of their spare cash into the establishment of very small industries and also giving employment to boy and girl labour at very low rates of wages.

On commission.

I was informed only yesterday by a working man, a trade unionist, that his daughter had to work from 8 o'clock in the morning until 8 o'clock at night for 8/- a week.

So they are not getting the 24/-.

Of course, the Government has no direct control, I presume, over the rates of wages and conditions of employment of people employed in those industries, but I hope the Minister for Industry and Commerce has not sanctioned any loans under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act to people who will establish and carry on industry under conditions of that kind. Deputy Corry and others referred to the necessity for economy and I want to say that any vote I give on this Vote on Account will be given with the clear knowledge that I, and the members of this Party, definitely dissent from the recent wage policy adopted by the Minister for Finance or the Parliamentary Secretary on his behalf.

We all do. Will you put down a motion and give us an opportunity of voting on it?

I will welcome the very earliest opportunity and, if necessary, create the opportunity to take the judgment of this House on that particular matter and I hope that some of the Deputies who are now talking about the wages paid to people employed as a result of the giving of State grants will take a different side from the side they took when their own Government was doing the very same thing.

No "hear, hear" to that.

No answer to that.

If it is necessary to reduce the Estimates and to reduce the salaries and wages paid to State servants, let us begin at the top instead of at the bottom. There is, in my opinion, and I say so deliberately, as an ex-Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, plenty of room for raking these Estimates and effecting savings without doing injury to anyone. If we cannot effect economies by any other means except by cutting the salaries and wages of those who are employed under the schemes for which grants are provided by the State, certainly the wrong place to start is amongst the lowest paid sections of workers.

There is really no economy at all.

If we must rely upon our own people to absorb our surplus agricultural production the only way is to give more employment to the people, to give better wages to the lower paid sections of workers. If you reduce the wages of workers employed by the State, by local authorities, from 29/- a week to 24/-, you will make it impossible for those people to spend all they might spend on the necessaries of life and in providing themselves with better clothing. It is really false economy. I am glad to acknowledge that that kind of policy has always been strongly objected to by Deputy Belton. I say that quite sincerely. It is to his credit that he has always paid a fairly decent rate of wages to those whom he has employed.

I always did.

The Deputy knows it is a good policy for every good tillage farmer to adopt.

Of course it is.

I want to warn the Minister for Finance that I think it is very bad policy at this period for the Government to reduce the Agricultural Grant, thereby piling up increased rates on the people least able to bear them. I do not think it is possible for the small tillage farmers in my constituency to bear these heavy, additional rates which they will be called upon to pay during the current year. This Government, through its leader, has already declared itself in favour of providing work for able-bodied citizens and, failing that provision of work, it has accepted the responsibility of providing maintenance for those people at a decent standard. Having announced that policy, it is wrong for the Government to make the local ratepayers responsible for the increased charges now demanded for the maintenance of those cut of work.

They have also, in this particular year, reduced the Agricultural Grant. I would like to know how many occupiers of agricultural holdings are going to derive benefit from the reduction in the land annuities and how many occupiers of holdings not subject to land annuities, and who will not get this benefit, will have to bear the increased cost as a result of the reduction in the Agricultural Grant. If the Minister has any figures in relation to these matters he should give them to the House. I believe that there is a considerable number of people occupying agricultural holdings who will not get any benefit from the reduction of the land annuities. They will have to bear the increased charges which will come as a result of the reduced agricultural grant. I believe many of the tillage farmers will not be able to bear this burden. The Government should reconsider their policy about reducing the Agricultural Grant. They should find other ways and means of assisting farmers during this serious and critical period.

I am sorry, owing to the fact that I had to be in the Seanad, I was not here for anything except the concluding portion of this debate. I would like to deal with one or two points which Deputy Davin has raised. He says the Estimates do not present a very rosy picture. I am inclined to agree with Deputy Davin, but I agree with him from another point of view. The Estimates this year amount to £22,039,951. Last year the Estimates were for a considerably lesser amount, about £900,000 less. Granting that quite a considerable amount which is included here in the Estimates is in the nature of capital expenditure which might properly be defrayed by borrowing, nevertheless there will remain a substantial sum which will have to be found by taxation and cannot be found in any other way. Accordingly, because it cannot be found in any other way and because the Estimates do indicate that possibly we are going to find it very much harder to make ends meet next year, I say the Estimates do not present a rosy picture. At any rate, they do indicate what the position is and they do indicate why it has been necessary for us, in view of the very substantial concessions which we are making to the great mass of farmers in this country, the overwhelming proportion of farmers, in the form of reduced annuities, reduced Land Commission rents, to do what Deputy Davin has criticised us for doing— that is, to reduce the grants in aid of local taxation.

But even there the picture is not nearly so bad as Deputies have tried to paint it. Last year, in view of the particular circumstances which then existed, because we saw that it was possible for us to provide the money, we did give, over and above what had been given by our predecessors as a special grant for that particular year, the sum of £250,000, bringing the total amount allocated for the relief of rates on agricultural land up from £1,948,000, which our predecessors had given, to £2,198,000. But that was a special and extraordinary grant given, as I have said, in the special circumstances of the time and it was a grant which it was very likely we would be unable ever again to repeat.

But you imposed taxation for it.

We did and we imposed it on the whole community. We took it out of the pockets of the general mass of the people and we gave it to the minority who did not own agricultural land in this country——

The minority! Are the farmers the minority?

Does the Deputy forget, as a good many farmers do forget, the agricultural population who own no land but who with themselves and their children had to provide some part of the £250,000 which went to the relief of rates on agricultural land?

They make their living out of the land.

Anyway, the position now is that we did something which cannot possibly be repeated.

Will you reduce the taxation you imposed then?

Yes, if the Deputy will persuade the farmer Deputies in this House to present a unanimous demand for a reduction in the local taxation grants.

What about the increased taxation which provided you with that money?

We cannot reduce taxation and provide the Deputy with everything he wants at the same time.

May I put a question to the Minister?

If the Minister gives way.

I do not propose to give way. Time is pressing.

I will have an opportunity later on.

Yes, you will have five years in which to ask it.

Not five months in the way the Minister is going on.

Be sure we do not get rid of more of you the next time. Be very careful.

I know how annoying it is for the wealthy farmer Deputies in this House to be told that there is a limit to the resources of this community. But I was saying that that £250,000 was a special grant which I, at any rate, believed could never be repeated. In any event, whether it was repeated or not or whether it would have been possible to repeat it or not, since then the tenant purchasers have been given a very substantial and permanent concession in the form of the proposed reduction in the land annuities.

But leaving that on one side, I want to get back to this position, that as the Estimates were framed by our predecessors last year, by those now in opposition, they allocated £1,948,000 in relief of rates on agricultural land. What I want to emphasise is the gross allocation. That was subject to certain contingent liabilities, a liability to make good any deficiency that might arise in the Purchase Annuity Fund on the one hand and in the Land Bond Fund on the other. But as last year the amount of the Land Purchase arrears which accrued was about £300,000 the whole of the £1,948,000 was not paid out to the local authorities. In fact I should say this, that since the local taxation grants were given and were associated with the Guarantee Fund set up under the Land Purchase Acts the whole of this grant was never given in any one year. At any rate, we know that in the year 1931 a very considerable sum was withheld from the local authorities on account of the Land Purchase Annuity arrears. I think the sum could be put at not less than £260,000 speaking roughly. The position then was that instead of there being paid out to the local authorities in the year 1931-32, a sum of £1,948,000 there was only paid out to them something like £1,688,000.

They had their free markets then.

At any rate, whether they had or had not, they were only paid about £1,688,000, and they were not able to pay them.

How can they pay them now when they have no market?

Whatever the Deputy is saying about the markets, there is now a frank recognition of the position by the Government, which would never be acceded to them by our predecessors. The position was that they got about £1,688,000. For the next year we propose to give them £1,750,000 in addition to the other concessions that have been already extended to them in the form of moratoria and a permanent reduction of the land annuities. That is in addition to the very considerable sum which has been expended on the dairying industry in this country in respect of butter subsidies and bounties.

Might I ask the Minister to reply now to my point that we lost £19½ millions this year?

The trouble about Deputy Belton is that he is a financial astronomer——

I asked a question about the loss of our agricultural exports. Never mind about astronomy.

I could not follow the Deputy into those incalculable places where he gazes at the stars.

What about the loss of our markets?

Let the agricultural expert go on.

I was going to point out at any rate, that even at the worst the actual provision which would be made for the relief of the local authorities next year is greater than our predecessors were able to make in the year 1931-2, the year which most of the Deputies on the Opposition Benches look back upon as a halcyon year when the lot of the farmer under the Cumann na nGaedheal Government was supposed to be happier than under Fianna Fáil. At any rate, in this worse year we propose to do better than our predecessors did in that good year. But there is more than that.

I was saying that never in the history of the Agricultural Grant was that grant paid in full, that always something was held back in respect of these Land Commission arrears. This year nothing is being held back. For the first time the farmers are getting the whole of that grant.

Will they get it next year?

They are getting the whole of this £1,948,000. At least we will be in a position to give it as soon as the Land (Purchase Annuities Fund) Bill becomes law.

Will we get the whole of the £1,600,000 next year?

I hope so.

It is dependent on the annuities?

Yes, certainly.

You are dependent on that——

Deputies should realise that even a Minister has a right to be heard in this House without interruption.

I was saying that for the first time the Agricultural Grant is being paid in full——

For the last time.

That means that this year if we try to assess what that means to the farmer we will have to do it in these terms—what would normally have been the amount withheld from the local authorities in respect of the Land Commission arrears. I have shown that in 1931-1932 it was to the order of £260,000 and this year, judging by the way the arrears of annuities have been mounting up from 1930 at any rate, it would have been very much more than £260,000. In that connection, we have to remember that the local authorities —most of them composed of fairly hard-headed farmers and business people—when striking their rates some time in February or March, 1932, made the usual prudent allowance for the fact that they could not, in all the circumstances, expect to receive the local taxation grants in full. In striking their rates, they made allowance for that. What do we find at the end of this year? That they are receiving the local taxation grant in full and that, at the end of this year, to help them to face next year, to help them to make up for any deficiency there may be in the grant as compared with what it has been this year, they are to receive a sum of, I should say, not less than between £300,000 and £400,000. In fact, then, though the Agricultural Grant next year is to be reduced to something like £1,750,000, the farmers will be in virtually as good a position to face next year as they were to face this year on 1st April last. Their position is no worse and they have got that £300,000 of a windfall at the end of this year—a sum they never expected to get, a sum that, in the ordinary course, they would not have got. They have got that as a nest egg to face next year and, in addition, £1,750,000 will be provided for them, so that their actual net position next year will be no worse than it has been during this year.

I should like to deal with the criticism which Deputy Davin uttered in regard to the Vote for Agriculture. The Vote for Agriculture this year is down by £90,358. That reduction is accounted for almost entirely by the decrease under sub-head M5, which has the comprehensive title of "Improvement of the creamery industry—to provide funds for the improvement, reorganisation and extension of the creamery industry by the purchase of creameries and associated businesses." Of course, that was always bound to be a declining sub-head in the Estimate as the proprietary creameries were being gradually extinguished and were being replaced by co-operative creameries. The decrease in the sub-head is largely accounted for by the fact that there are virtually no suitable proprietary creameries left to purchase and also by the other fact that, as prudent people watching the course of butter prices, we have to make up our minds whether it is advisable to sink any more money in the creamery industry. The late Government went in for a grandiose scheme of creamery reorganisation. It has cost us almost three-quarters of a million pounds already. We have had to write off a substantial proportion of that sum as a dead loss and a Supplementary Estimate was introduced here a few days ago to make provision to write off a sum of £112,000 lost through the operation of the Dairy Disposals Board in the six years preceding the 31st March, 1932. In all the circumstances and watching the trend of butter prices generally, I think it was prudent to curtail our commitments so far as reasonable in the creamery industry. That accounts mainly for the reduction in the Agriculture Vote. With regard to the question of the Food Prices Commission——

What about arterial drainage?

There, again, we reached the end of our tether. Most of the schemes that were even 10 per cent. economic have already been undertaken and the question is, if we have to spend money next year, whether we should not spend it on those works which will yield the greatest economic return. As to that, arterial drainage is very like the creamery industry. The field for profitable investment is almost worked out. Quite a large number of schemes, like the Barrow drainage and others, are nearing completion. Accordingly, expenditure under those subheads must necessarily decline. We cannot simply use arterial drainage as an excuse for spending money. If work has to be undertaken under that sub-head, it should be work that will give some sort of reasonable return. My information in regard to this matter is that most of the schemes on which work could be profitably undertaken and on which money might be usefully spent have already been carried out. The difficulty is to get schemes which will justify any expenditure at all.

With regard to the Food Prices Commission, I understand that the Minister for Industry and Commerce will soon be in a position to announce the composition of that body. I do not know what foundation there was for the statements that appeared in the papers but I have no doubt that within a few days the Minister will disclose to the House and to the country the names of the people whom he has approached and who have consented to act upon that body. I do not know whether or not Deputy Davin was serious about the factories established by foreigners who have come in here since this Government came into office. One of our great difficulties was to get this House and the Oireachtas generally to agree to a Bill which would give us some control over those who propose to start factories and industries here. But we cannot overlook the fact that the management and direction of a large number of undertakings which we hope to see in operation here require a certain amount of technical skill. If that technical skill is not forthcoming here, naturally we have to get it from outside. I do know it is the general policy of the Government that, so far as possible, employment, whether it be in the administrative branches or in the operative branches of these concerns, will be confined to citizens of the Irish Free State. That is the whole policy of the Government and I can assure Deputy Davin that so far as it is possible for us to impose restrictions, that restriction will be imposed to ensure that policy will be given practical effect.

I do not know whether Deputy Davin was here on the last occasion when I was replying on the Vote on Account, because I dealt at very great length with the question of the alleged wage policy of the Government. I showed how out of a sum of over £2,100,000. which had been allocated for the provision of employment during the last year, virtually all of it, with the exception of that amount which was allocated to minor relief works, that comparatively small amount—I do not think it constituted as much even as seven per cent. of the whole—all of the money was expended on works in which the rates of wages were of the order of 32/- per week; that if the Government had any particular wage policy it was to be expressed rather in terms of 32/- per week than in terms of 24/-; and that we had never attempted, and did not desire to depress the level of wages. Possibly due more to inexperience than anything else, possibly due to the fact that we were over-anxious to relieve distress where we could find it, and rather than have unexpended in the Treasury a sum of about £50,000, which remained over after all the minor works proper had been catered for, we extended that scheme of minor relief works to districts and areas for which it was never originally intended, and to which it could not properly be applied, and because those particular works had carried with them established conditions, the £50,000 had to be expended in the same way and in uniformity with the balance of £100,000 which was spent in the specially necessitous areas for which the schemes were originally designed. It is on the basis of the expenditure of that £50,000, out of, as I have said already, a sum of over £2,000,000, that the whole of this campaign about the wage-lowering policy of the Government has been built.

I just want to say this. I want the Minister to be fair to members of this Party, as I want to be fair to him. We quoted in the House a circular issued under the authority of the Minister, which says that the rates of wages in the case of relief works should, where possible, be fixed at a lower scale than that normally paid to agricultural labourers in the district. That is what we strongly object to. I want to know from the Minister, even though that circular may have been issued by his predecessor, are Ministers standing over that policy?

That circular relates to minor relief works.

It does not matter what kind of work it is. It is Governmental work.

I say that, so far as minor relief works proper are concerned in districts for which they were originally devised it would not be possible for any Government to depart from the terms of that circular. Remember, these schemes were originally intended for the congested districts, those specially necessitous areas, and in these districts the works undertaken were mainly clearing drains, building accommodation roads, bog roads; that they were works which were primarily intended to benefit those actually engaged upon them.

Let us be quite clear. Am I to understand that the Minister, on behalf of the Government, which is supposed to be the best employer in every State, is now attempting to justify a rate of wages lower than that normally paid to agricultural labourers?

I say that in these particular areas, where the people themselves are both labourers and employers, in so far as they will reap the immediate advantages of the improvements, and that the improvements will accrue to them in their capacity as proprietors of the lands upon which the works are carried out, and in so far as that condition has prevailed from the outset——

Has the Minister paid men to improve their own lands?

Of course.

Given them public money to do it?

Yes, in the congested areas.

In the voting areas.

Not merely has the Minister done it, but, strange as it may appear to the Deputy, the Minister's predecessors did it.

A wrong principle.

The Minister talks about the value of improvements to farmers, who would be uneconomic farmers, employed on works of this kind on their own land. If the Minister knows anything about the matter he must know that the improvements are generally carried out for the benefit of two or three and that there are 24 or 25 persons working in the gangs who come from four and five miles away and who derive no benefit from the schemes.

It is turn and turn about. One job is done this time and another job is done, which will benefit them, another time. I know something about that. I spend quite a good part of the year in these areas on and off and I know the type of work done. In these areas, at any rate, it is a case really of filling in the time between one farming operation and the next, very often. The people who are building the road to the bog are working on the bog and taking their own turf over that road the next month or the next year, as the case may be. In so far as general relief works are concerned, the ordinary constructional works necessarily carried out as relief works in this country, apart from minor schemes, we do not stand for the application of that circular; we have never tried to impose that condition. When our predecessors attempted to impose it three or four years ago, we opposed them in doing that, and we do not want to establish the principle that where public works are carried out for the general benefit of the community, and carried out by those who are normally of the labouring classes, we have no desire to depress the rate of wages to the level of the agricultural wage. I want to make that quite clear and that that is our general policy. In this particular and isolated instance, I do not see how, having regard to the special areas for which the thing is designed, any Government could depart from the policy which has prevailed in regard to these particular works ever since they were first established, since the Congested Districts Board came into being. If a mistake arose at all, it was in trying to apply to certain circumstances something which was entirely unadapted to them and I do not think that will arise again.

Will the Minister have the circular complained of withdrawn instantly?

Why did not the Deputy when he was in the House insist that it should be withdrawn four years ago?

I am asking a question.

I am giving you my answer. I am giving you the Irishman's answer.

Would the Minister explain how it was that the circular was reprinted last October?

It went out in the ordinary way. The reprinting, I think, was this: A change of address had normally been issued from the Land Commission when the administration of these schemes was taken over by the Office of Public Works, and issued from the Office of Public Works instead.

Question—"That the Bill be now read a Second Time"—put and agreed to.