I move that the Bill do now pass.
Control of Manufactures Bill, 1934—Fifth Stage.
Before this Bill passes from this House, I think it right that certain points arising on Part III of the Bill should be commented upon. The Bill, as it stands at present, envisages a situation whereunder certain individuals will be set up in this country as monopolists in certain trades, and Section 22 is inserted for the purpose of suggesting that ample safeguards will be forthcoming, when it is proposed to create a monopoly, against exploitation of the consumer. We all very well remember that for the first six months of the Minister for Industry and Commerce's campaign of tariffs we were told that there would be no increase, or no appreciable increase, in the cost of living, and that the possibility of an increase in the cost of living would be prevented by the operation of the Prices Commission. When it became abundantly clear that the burden of the cost of living was increased every day on the backs of the consuming public, the Prices Commission was brought out of cold storage and, in my submission, completely broke down. You now have as a recognised incident in the life of our people that there is a steadily increasing burden in the cost of living sphere accumulating on their shoulders. That would be bad enough if it were happening in normal times, but when, at the same time, everything they have to sell, everything the trade on which constitutes their means of livelihood, is being made valueless by the Government, the burden of the cost of living becomes doubly grave.
Most of us have had some experience of what monopolies mean to the consuming public. No one has been more eloquent than the Minister for Industry and Commerce in his condemnation of the attempt that was made by an English firm to establish a monopoly in the flour milling industry in this country. He was perfectly right in condemning the attempt to establish a monopoly in the flour-milling industry here. Any assistance required to prevent that monopoly being established he got from every part of the House; because every Deputy recognises that to allow an industry like the flour-milling industry of this country to get into the hands of a monopolist meant that a heavy burden would be placed upon the backs of the consuming public of the country—a burden which they would have to bear.
Part III of this Bill enables the Minister to establish monopolies in any trade and we are forewarned that the monopolist will be entitled by the terms of his licence to charge prices substantially in excess of the prices ruling in the markets of the world, because, as the Minister has pointed out, he does not imagine the possibility arising of making a reserved commodity of anything that is manufactured in this country. It will be purely artificial industries that will be created under Part III of this Bill. We are told that the conditions which will be inserted in the licence under Section 22 will operate as an effective check against exploiting the consuming public. We will not know whether that will be the case or not except in practice. I am convinced that the conditions will not operate effectively to protect the interests of the consuming public; I am convinced that exploitation will result and that when that exploitation comes to be considered by this House it will be face to face with this difficulty that in order to make an end of what this House may consider to be an unjustifiable exploitation they will have to break that contract by statute —a contract which the Minister for Industry and Commerce, on introducing this Bill, described as one of the most solemn and sacred character. Part III of this Bill has received ample consideration but despite the representations made from this side of the House it has been inserted practically without amendment in the Bill. I think the underlying principle of Part III is extremely bad.
I want to say this—I had occasion to refer, but only in passing, to the report that was recently published of the economic condition of the Dominion of Newfoundland. That report was brought about by the action of the Government of Newfoundland turning to the British Government in London and asking them virtually to take over the Government of Newfoundland because that Government had collapsed financially. A commission was set up to inquire into the causes which brought about the collapse of the Newfoundland Government.
Having investigated the causes very closely in Newfoundland the Commission reported that, in their opinion, the fundamental reason for the collapse of self-government in Newfoundland was that the Government which had control of the country for the last few years had devoted all its energies to building artificial industries, while at the same time they ignored the welfare and the legitimate requirements of the fundamental interests in the country. In Newfoundland that industry is the fisheries. Admittedly they succeeded in establishing a large variety of industries that did not exist in Newfoundland previously. We discover from the report that most of the people in that country who are living out of the fishing industry were allowed to sink into poverty; that their equipment had been allowed to deteriorate; and that the fishing had not been properly looked after. When the factories proceeded to produce the commodities they were designed to produce it was discovered that the people of Newfoundland had no money to buy these commodities. The result was that the factories had to close their doors, and people who had been put into employment by them were disemployed. When the Government turned to meet a birth of their own creation they discovered they had exhausted their own resources in establishing industries. They were obliged to turn to Great Britain and to ask the Government of Great Britain to take over the whole Government of Newfoundland.
We have repeatedly pointed out that we hope to see Irish industries in this country grow properly. We have repeatedly pointed out that if the fundamental industry of agriculture which supplies the purchasing power of 80 per cent. of our people directly and indirectly is allowed to perish, absolutely and inevitably the industries which the Minister for Industry and Commerce is trying to establish at the present time will collapse. In that event it will be very difficult indeed to forecast what the Government of this country would or could do. I frequently criticise the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I think many of the enterprises upon which he embarks are extremely rash, and show about equal evidence of incompetence and shallow thinking. No one has ever denied him the credit of being a zealot and a hard worker. No man will for a moment deny that some of the work to which he has put his hands has produced concrete results. Little of it has had time to be tested yet. But it is exasperating to anyone who has the interests of the country at heart to see all his work and to see all the work of his predecessor, Deputy McGilligan, being placed in jeopardy by the insane indifference with which the Government has contemplated the ruin of agricultural industry.
It may be asked how it is that Part III is going to contribute to that. The answer is quite simply that it is going to increase the burdens on the backs of already overtaxed agriculturists. The principle of monopoly is bad and should not be incorporated in this Bill. The industrial development of this country is being foredoomed to failure by the progressive destruction of agriculture and the impoverishment of the small farmers of this country. I appeal to the Government now to realise that the foundations of the building are far more important to this fabric than the building itself. Let me put it this way. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is trying to build a fabric of industrial structure on foundations which President de Valera and the Minister for Agriculture are devoting their time to tearing away. It does not matter how fast, how well, or how ill the Minister for Industry and Commerce may be. If the foundation is disturbed while he is proceeding with his task the whole structure is going to collapse. It is unnecessary to try any simple explanation of the inevitableness of that development. Everyone in this House knows that unless the purchasing power is preserved to the small farmers of this country there will be no prosperous industrial development. I appeal to them now that in their Party room, in the secret conclave of their Party, they will impress upon their leaders the necessity of concentrating their attention on the foundation of industrial and every other prosperity in this country, in order that whatever this Bill may be designed to create shall not be lost for want of a foundation on which to stand.
The Minister took occasion from time to time, when replying to certain criticisms with regard to defects in the trend of the development of Irish industry here, to blame certain aspects of that trend on the alleged fact that when the last Control of Manufactures Bill was passing through the House the Opposition deprived him of certain powers which he then wished to have. The Minister is aware that there has been criticism, in spite of his last Act, that Irish capital which had been invested in Irish industry and which was being invested in Irish industry, was still, to a considerable extent, being jeopardised by the influx to the Free State of foreign capital. Foreign bodies interested in Irish industrialists and in the general development of Irish industry have been making that complaint.
Another complaint which has been made pretty frequently is that, still in spite of the powers which he had under that Act, non-nationals were coming into the State and prejudicing the position both of Irish workers and of persons acting in a managerial position here in Irish industry. Another type of complaint which we find among the same class of persons is that a very considerable amount of juvenile labour is being employed, particularly in new industries here, very often to the disadvantage of adults who already had employment in the industry. There is also the complaint that poorly managed, badly set up things called factories, in back lanes or in basements or in upper rooms, have been started here, and are undermining pretty well-established industries here —industries upon which a considerable number of our people are dependent for a livelihood. The Minister has had his attention drawn to quite a number of those things from time to time, and from time to time his reply has been, in a general and sweeping way, that if he had not been cramped by the Opposition in the proposals which he wished to enshrine in the last Control of Manufactures Bill those conditions would not at any rate be as bad as they are now said to be. I should like to get the Minister to take a resolution here to-day that he will not adopt that particular type of defence in future, in case he finds that some of the things which he is setting out to do in the better control of the development of manufacturing here are not actually achieved. What all Parties in this House are anxious for is to see the best method tried, and to see the best results obtained. The Minister, I think, should make up his mind frankly to rely on the instrument which he himself has formed, to state plainly either what the results are or what the defects are, and not to shroud over any of the defects that may be found to arise in future by the type of smoke-screen that he has been endeavouring to draw over those defects in the past. In order to help him in that direction I should like to hear him say here in the House that the Bill which is now leaving the House has not been in any way cramped from his particular point of view either by any criticism or any actions taken by any Party while the measure was passing through the House; that the instrument which he now has, while it has been subjected to a certain amount of criticism for the purpose of better seeing where the Minister is going and what the Minister intends to do, is the instrument which he asked for.
I should like to say a few words on this measure before it leaves this House, because I am a strong believer in the development of industry in this country, and also a strong believer in the efficacy of tariffs in developing that industry. It was the essence of the policy of Sinn Féin preached by the late Arthur Griffith, from whom most of us learned our first principles of practical patriotism. We have never gone back on those principles of patriotism; neither do we to-day; but to those of us who stood out seriously it is a bit alarming to find this weapon of tariffs, often described by able thinkers as a two-edged weapon, placed in the hands of a Minister who, in my opinion is not using it anything too wisely. I have said before in this House, and, in a small way of speaking, from experience, that any businessman, any producer of any article knows that the real trouble is not in the production of an article, but in getting a market for the article when it is produced. The Minister for Industry and Commerce would be going on at a sufficiently rapid rate if the general price level in agricultural produce were at the high level which it was at 12, 13, 14 or 16 years ago, but the manufacturing industry in countries where that industry was well established has deteriorated and produced a world economic crisis due mainly to the phenomenal depression in agricultural products. In a country where 80 per cent. of the people directly or indirectly make their living by agriculture, the market for industry in that country is agriculture. The Minister can devise what means he likes either by creating monopolies, by tariffs, or even by compelling people to make certain articles which are not made in this country. You can make any article at a price. To carry on, you must sell that article at a price that leaves a margin of profit. You are further depressing an already depressed 80 per cent., by increasing the price of the necessaries which that 80 per cent. of the people have to purchase, by building up industries at a time when the purchasing power of the agricultural population of this country is at its weakest.
The Minister knows that, and he has got a reminder in a few factories, and notably the hosiery factories of Balbriggan. I think I am right in saying that they have not got an adult earning adult wages working there, because they are over-produced. Why are they over-produced? Because the purchasing public for whom they were producing have not got the money to buy the output of those factories. If we neglect money as a means of exchange and compare on the basis of barter— let the Minister take up any article he likes, produced by the factories he has protected, and which he claims have been established here within the last couple of years—it will be found that by a system of barter, the goods required to purchase a certain unit of manufactured goods, the agricultural produce so required, is now nearly three times what it was a couple of years ago—and that in the main output of the agricultural industry in this country. The Government is the Government of the country, and I am not saying that the Government have not a mandate to go on with their policy. Every Government elected on a policy is elected to carry out that policy wisely, having regard to all the other economic conditions in the country. I want just to sound a note of warning to the Minister——
After all Deputy Little sounded? He played a tune.
I whistle the tune I dance to. I do not mind tunes that are played. I am speaking with some knowledge of the subject about which I speak and I am speaking in the hope that the Minister may show some knowledge of the subject it falls to his lot to administer in this country. I want to bring these matters home to the Minister. He, as a business man, knows this and I am surprised that, with his business experience, he continues to gallop, so to speak, when it would be much more prudent to walk. I would be the last person on any bench in this House to say that the Minister should turn from the course he is travelling, but I say that he is going too quickly and that he has not sufficient regard to the danger signals ahead of him and round about him. I would impress on the Minister the importance for the nation as for the individual of having a market for the goods you have to dispose of. The Minister, I am sure, in his business career would not stock goods in his warehouse which there was not a chance of selling within a reasonable time, in order to have a reasonable turn over. If we go on to produce at a higher cost than the general cost of world production and if we have to sell in a market that is depressed, and depressed 30 or 40 per cent. below the world market in similar productions, and which is already suffering from the world depression, it is a very serious matter to pile on the agony.
I would ask the Minister to pause and to think for this reason if it were for no other that, as a believer in protection and as a believer in a two-armed nation, I would not like to see this matter hurried and an opportunity given to any people, if there are any such people in this country, who want to keep this country always the fruitful mother of flocks and herds. If we are going to have an effort made to establish and develop industry here, I would appeal to the Minister to give it a chance. You are not giving it a chance. The Minister is not giving himself a chance; he is not giving his Government a chance; and he is not giving the policy he wants to put over a chance, by attempting it at a time when all the signals point to caution. If you had high prices for agricultural produce and more money among the agricultural community, then you would have a better chance of developing industry quickly, and developing it by tariffs. As a tariff supporter, I must admit that every tariff has a tendency to stiffen prices and the only time you can safely embark on a tariff policy is when the purchasing public you are producing to sell to are fairly well off and when they can buy and not at a time when they are not well off.
The next Bill, which will probably come up to-day, is one of the attempts to improve our agricultural economy. No attempt that has yet been made to change or improve our agricultural economy by the Minister's Government has been a success, standing on its own two legs. Every attempt that has been made to change our agricultural economy has only been done by subsidy and bounty. The plea is made that the farmer is getting so and so, and that is all right for the individual, but the general industry, as a whole, has to put up that bounty before a section of that industry can get it. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, who is mainly concerned with the development of industry, should have his eye to the agricultural industry, not in sections, but as a whole, because it is in that industry he must look for the market for the goods which his policy will produce in the industrial field. No member of the Government is more vitally concerned with the agricultural industry than the Minister for Industry and Commerce. He is not concerned with it in detail, but he is concerned with the volume of money in circulation and in the pockets of the agricultural community. In other words, he is concerned with the cash in the till of agriculture. If that till is empty, what can he do with his industrial policy? Nothing. That till is empty, and never was so empty, and it is for that reason, as a supporter of an industrial policy on the lines of the Minister's policy and not as an opponent, I am criticising this, although there are many aspects of this Bill in regard to the giving of bounties that are very dangerous. On the general policy, I would appeal to the Minister to be more cautious and to go more slowly, although I would be the last, as I have said before, to say that he should take another course. I would advise him, however, to make haste slowly. That is the surest way in which the Minister, his Government and this country will reach the industrial goal.
It is rather amusing to hear Deputy Dillon talking about the manner in which agriculture is being ruined and stating that we were doing nothing for the agricultural industry— Deputy Dillon, who yesterday wanted a holiday, who wanted to go home yesterday and leave the farmers during the coming harvest without a fixed price for oats or barley, just as they were left for the past 12 or 14 years. Deputy Dillon wanted to go home yesterday and did not want the Bills in reference to these matters considered. We have Deputy Belton telling us that he is in favour of the same policy as the Minister with regard to building up industries by means of tariffs, and then commenting on the fact that our economic policy in regard to agriculture could not stand on its own legs. We maintain that the farmer is entitled, at least, to the cost of production, and something over it for his produce, just as the industrialist is, and on the very same lines.
He is not getting it.
That is where we differ. We had Deputy Dillon telling us that the President and the Minister for Agriculture have ruined agriculture. I wonder who ruined it in England during the past two years. If you ask any farmer in England how he is getting on he will tell you his position very quickly. Then we have Deputy Belton telling the Minister to advance slowly. Cumann na nGaedheal were slow at the start and then they started off backwards. For the last three years they were in office they started smashing every little industry left in the country. The Minister for Industry and Commerce had to come in here and take over every industry which was practically wiped out. We have Deputy Mulcahy also talking about going slowly and asking for the latest figures of unemployment. On the one hand, he wants to keep people from getting work by advising the Minister to go slowly, and at other times he wants to have the figures read out in the House. Deputy Dillon tells us all about the farmers. For all he cares about the farmers they could be getting 4/- from the merchants for their oats and barley this year, so long as he can get another holiday along with the one he had last month.
We hear Deputies complaining about taking up the time of the House. When we hear three Deputies getting up one after the other and talking nonsense of this description it is time they were told to stop. We shall not have so much noise about general elections for the next six or seven months as we had for the last 12 months. Deputies opposite are not in any hurry now to go back to the people again. They got a bad fright last month. I am glad the Minister is going ahead. He is not going ahead fast enough to suit the people of the country, who want to see industries established and employment given, and the goods which are at present manufactured in other countries and brought in here, made at home by Irish hands and Irish labour. Deputy Mulcahy talks about back lane factories. I wonder where he got the term.
I went round and visited them.
Come down to Cork and we will show you some which are not situated in back lanes—the ones you wrecked and which we built up. Come down and have a look at them. They are not in back lanes, and the people are quite satisfied with the wages paid. There is not any scab labour there. We hear a lot of this trash trotted out here, week after week, by Deputies who will not take the trouble to learn something of what they are talking about and whom I would not waste time answering only we have so much of it.
I am not quite clear as to what the discussion has been about. I find some difficulty in relating any of the speeches, with the exception perhaps of that delivered by Deputy Mulcahy, to the Bill that is now before us. I do not quite follow how Deputy Dillon or Deputy Belton could argue that the enactment of this measure is going in any way to increase the burden on the backs of the farmers. Its effect rather should be in the opposite direction. I could leave it at that and be content with making that statement in answer to the speeches which have just been delivered, but I think it is necessary also to clear up one or two additional points.
Deputy Dillon talked about monopoly and Deputy Belton also, I think. This is not a Bill to create monopolies. There is nothing in any part of this Bill that is intended to operate for the purpose of enabling monopolies to be created, or which will, in fact, operate towards the creation of monopolies to any greater extent than the present position operates towards the creation of monopolies. There are a number of firms here at present which for practical purposes enjoy a monopolist position—quite a number. I do not know that Deputies have found it a very onerous position or have had occasion to come here and make complaints as to the prices charged, the conditions of employment imposed, or other ill effects resulting from the fact that these firms—some of them very well known firms—have got practical monopolies here. There is only one biscuit manufacturer in the country and he is not the only manufacturer in that position. There is no legal monopoly so far as that manufacturer or any similar manufacturer is concerned, because it is open to Deputy Belton, if he feels like doing anything useful in life, to start a biscuit factory for himself. He has not done it. Until he does, or until somebody like him does it, the existing manufacturer enjoys a monopoly position.
He took the biscuit long ago.
There are quite a number of industries in respect of which it can be said at present that there is only one producer, and although that producer has not been given any legal monopoly in any sense, he, nevertheless, enjoys whatever benefits he might expect to enjoy if he had been given a legal monopoly, with this difference, that at the present time he is under no immediate and direct supervision either with respect to the prices charged, the wages paid, or the materials used in the process of manufacture. Any industry, in respect of which a licence under Part III of this Bill is issued, will be under very direct regulation, and any person operating under such a licence will have to be accountable, not merely for the prices charged, not merely for the materials used, not merely for the wages paid, but for a number of other matters, all of which are set out in the Bill. The effect of the enactment of this part of the Bill, therefore, is to increase the safeguards for the consumer, to reduce the burden, if any, which the development of industry is alleged to have placed on the backs of the farmers.
We had all those dire forecastings from Deputy Dillon. Deputy Dillon made some remarks about me and I, in return, would like to make a few remarks about him. I have had occasion in the past to criticise him and will have occasion in the future to criticise him. I will say this concerning him, that I have never known him to miss an opportunity in this House of making a speech. He makes most eloquent speeches, but I am quite certain that nobody, not even himself, is quite clear at the conclusion of any single speech what it was all about. Is there any Deputy opposite who can say definitely what Deputy Dillon's speech this afternoon was about? He dragged in quite a number of things, from Newfoundland to Cork, none of them having relation to the measure and none of them having relation to one another. It was just Deputy Dillon taking another opportunity of appearing before the Dáil in the rôle of the prophet of disaster. He always appears as a prophet of something, usually as a prophet of disaster. The whole answer to his speech is this: if this measure is going to have the dire effects which he has foretold, why does he not vote against it? He is not going to vote against it. Deputy Mulcahy told us the reason—because he fears that if this measure were opposed by them they would then be open to criticism if at any later date the industrial position here were such that the effects of this measure would not be fully capable of dealing with it. Deputy Mulcahy opposed the present Control of Manufactures Act vigorously. He moved a very large number of amendments. When he failed to get them adopted here he had them moved in the Seanad by his political associates there and the amendments inserted in that Chamber went a very great distance in nullifying it. A large number of the evils that Deputy Mulcahy pretends to deplore were consequential on those amendments.
The Minister has never got himself down to detail on those points.
Deputy Mulcahy says that in this Bill we are getting the instrument we asked for in order to deal with the industrial situation here. I hope that that is a promise and that we are going to have from him active co-operation in endeavouring to persuade certain people in another place that this measure is the instrument that is necessary to deal with the industrial situation here. I cannot say I have the instrument I want until this measure has been finally enacted. The last Control of Manufactures Bill passed through the Dáil in the form in which I would have liked to have seen it, but it did not become law in the form I would have liked. I had to accept it in the form in which I got it. I hope on this occasion wiser counsels will prevail and that the experience of the last two years will have taught a number of people that the attitude they adopted in 1932 cannot be sustained.
This Bill has nothing whatever to do with back-room factories. It may be that in relation to one or two industries it is true that undesirable developments have taken place and factories have been established under circumstances which should not be permitted. But we have no power to stop that, and this Bill does not give us the power. The existing law does not give us power to stop them, and it was allowed to remain in existence without alteration for the ten years the Cumann na nGaedheal Government were in office. That law is ineffective, and when we tried to use it in relation to the furniture industry and instituted about 30 prosecutions in the course of this year, the District Justice in each case thought fit to apply the Act about first offenders and allowed the people off with a caution. We are going to have in the next session, as one of the principal items on the agenda, the necessary measure that will enable us to deal with the sanitary conditions, the employment conditions, and other matters affecting industrial concerns. I hope that Deputy Mulcahy's enthusiasm for reform in that regard will enable him to give us in relation to that measure the same degree of passive support that he has given us in relation to this.
I hope we will see it earlier than some of the Bills about which promises were made.
Deputy Belton says he is a believer in industrial development. He is not. He is only fooling himself when he says that. He makes that type of speech for no other purpose than to make us believe that he is different in his outlook from Deputy Dillon, but he really is not.
I am not concerned with what you may think of my outlook.
The acid test of Deputy Belton's attitude is to be found in the records of the Dáil. It does not matter what he says. What matters is how he makes up his mind. Every measure introduced by this Government and designed to encourage industrial development was opposed by the Party opposite and was opposed by Deputy Belton.
Mention one instance.
Will you mention one that you did not oppose?
I think the Minister should mention one that I did oppose.
On every occasion that Deputy Dillon or any other Deputy opposite thought fit to vote against the proposals of the Government, Deputy Belton voted with them.
Now, Minister, you made a definite charge against me, and I defy you to substantiate it in one instance.
Tell me of one occasion on which you voted for Government proposals in that connection?
Will you tell me one occasion on which I opposed such a proposal? In no court is a man asked to prove a negative.
It may have been Party loyalty that brought Deputy Belton into the same lobby as Deputy Dillon and the rest, but I am quite certain the records of the House do not show any occasion upon which Deputy Belton chose to disagree with his Party in the interests of industrial development. He made speeches about it, and he told us he believed in the old Sinn Féin policy.
But when Deputy Doyle says "vote," Deputy Belton always votes in accordance with the policy of the Party which, as a Government, stifled industrial development here, as Deputy Belton himself used to say at the cross-roads on many occasions.
This Party was never a Government. This is the Fine Gael Party.
Well, the Party with Deputy Belton out of it.
And it never will be a Government.
We used to call it the Cumann na nGaedheal Party until General O'Duffy picked out Deputy Belton and put him on the Front Bench and that changed, not merely the name of the Party, but its policy also.
When Deputy Belton came in he changed the attitude of the Party over there.
Deputy Belton has the facts all wrong. The only instance he gave to justify his statement that we were going too fast in relation to development was about the hosiery industry. He said something about the hosiery factories in Balbriggan.
I suggested you were going too fast, because of the loss of purchasing power in the market we are catering for. I asked you to apply yourself to the conditions of the purchasing public.
The example you gave was the hosiery industry—Deputy Belton said the hosiery factories in Balbriggan were not employing adults, because they could not sell their products owing to the decrease in the purchasing power of the farmers.
I do not want that statement, which is a very clever political statement, to pass. I said they were over-produced at the moment and that had its reaction on the conditions of employment there now.
And that is due to the decreased purchasing power of the farmers.
I said the decreased purchasing power of agriculture. The farmers do not mean agriculture.
I will let the Deputy get away with that. I quoted him correctly. I may have used preciser and clearer terms, but the effect is the same.
You are not at the crossroads now.
As regards hosiery, my information is that there is a new hosiery factory at Balbriggan being equiped at the moment, and my information also is that there were three additional hosiery factories established since the beginning of this year. Last year we paid over £1,000,000 for hosiery goods that we might have made for ourselves.
What percentage of the machines is working?
It may be that, because of defective management or lack of finance or for some other reason, some factories are not working to full capacity, but I may say that in the hosiery industry there is no overproduction; on the contrary, there is a considerable deficiency in production. We will have to get not merely every existing factory working overtime, but a number of new factories established, before we will have come up to the point at which we will be supplying even this reduced demand from the agricultural community about which Deputy Belton talks so much.
Would I be wrong if I stated——
You would, probably.
Would I? The Minister is up against it now, and he wants to sidetrack it.
That was the only example Deputy Belton gave and he was wrong, as he usually is wrong.
I think that the Minister ought to apply himself to the point I made and not try to sidetrack it.
I think it is time that I applied myself to the Bill before the House, instead of following into Deputy Belton's sidetracks. The Bill is designed to give us increased power to regulate the entry into industry here of non-national concerns. We are taking that increased power in order to encourage the development of industry here by Irish nationals, and the investment in industrial enterprises here of the capital controlled by Irish nationals. We have deemed it desirable, and events have proved it to be necessary, that in order to secure the active co-operation of our people in industrial development here and in order to secure the availability of capital to that end, this form of protection should be afforded. The Deputy will have noted that since the intentions of the Government in that regard have become known all issues of industrial shares in this country have been over-subscribed. That is a very satisfactory state of affairs, and it is a state of affairs that could not have been realised if legislation of the type of the Control of Manufactures Act had not been introduced.
We could always have had factories established here by non-nationals, factories which would have been just branch factories of foreign concerns, with all the ill-effects that follow from such a policy. We are now getting them established in the main by Irish-owned companies and, in consequence of that development, we are getting a much more rapid and a better kind of development than would otherwise have been possible in relation to a number of industries. Deputy Belton, no doubt, will be glad to hear that. At least, he will say that he is glad to hear it; but I have not the slightest doubt that if Deputy Mulcahy takes it into his head to vote against this Bill, Deputy Belton will vote with him. I am fairly certain, however, that Deputy Mulcahy will not vote against the Bill, because he has appreciated by this time that this type of legislation is desirable and necessary. It is an essential part of that policy which was sponsored by those who were responsible for the Sinn Féin economic programme long before Cumann na nGaedheal was established and long before Deputy Belton started his wild career from one political party to another.
I certainly was wild when I brought the like of you here to ruin the agriculture and the industries of the country.
You were not wild then.
You have sowed your wild oats and now you want to get out.
I do not think we are going to have this doleful story to tell of terrible ruin and disaster in agriculture that Deputy Belton and Deputy Dillon talked about. Agricultural conditions here, as well as agricultural conditions in all countries, are not satisfactory at the moment, but those Deputies opposite who have been studying the reports from other markets, reading the prices obtaining in other countries, and noting the circumstances prevailing elsewhere, will, I am sure, have realised that the agricultural community here has fared through the depression much better than the agricultural community in most other countries. The fact that their purchasing power has not been substantially diminished is demonstrated by the fact that the consumption of the majority of those classes of goods, which could be regarded as indices of national purchasing power, has increased and continues to increase.