Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 2 Aug 1934

Vol. 53 No. 16

Supplementary Estimate. - Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep Bill, 1934—Second Stage.

In view of the discussion which has already taken place here to-day, I think I may commence by saying that this Bill was drafted entirely for the benefit of the producer of the cattle. It is not intended that either the butcher or the seller or the consumer or the taxpayer should get any benefit as a result of the Bill. As a matter of fact, I think it will be fairly plain that either the consumer or the taxpayer must contribute towards the benefits which the producer will get under the Bill as it now appears. There is, admittedly, a depression in the cattle trade, and in order to get a clear basis of tackling that problem we want to see to what the depression is due. In the first place, there has been, during the past three or four years, a very steep fall in world prices of beef and cattle, and with that particular part of the cause of the depression we cannot attempt to deal under this Bill at any rate.

The second thing that occurred as far as cattle are concerned in this country was the penal tariff imposed by Great Britain in 1932. When that tariff was imposed our cattle fell, roughly, by the difference between the tariff and the bounty which was given, but there was free sale for cattle, and at any rate we can claim that the producer of cattle was getting the best possible price that could be expected from the buyer who exported. When the quota was imposed on the 1st January of this year quite a different position arose. We had, then, those who were buying cattle for export buying them in restricted numbers, where the number for sale was greater than the demand. It was quite plain before very long that the producer was not getting as much as he should get, allowing the trader the ordinary profits that he was accustomed to take. We did attempt to deal with that problem, of course, during the stall-feeding period, by giving licences to the feeders themselves, and in that way the difficulty was got over to a certain extent — in fact, I suppose to the full extent — but it would be impossible to continue that system for grass-fed beef. This Bill is introduced principally to correct the unnecessary fall in price which was the result of the quota, and also to deal with the surplus cattle which may or may not be there as the result of the restriction of exports from this country.

This Bill is urgent in many ways. I believe in this country the quota position could be dealt with if the producers were willing to take advice. When this quota was brought in early in the year we had a preliminary census taken immediately of the number of fat cattle in the stalls. We knew from our census that those cattle could be disposed of either by exporting them or by using them for home consumption before the end of the stall-feeding period, that is to say, about the end of May. We made it known publicly that, according to the census taken by the officers of the Department of Agriculture, we believed that those cattle could be disposed of, but we had, on the other hand, to contend with Press propaganda and statements and motions put on the Order Paper here, such as the motion put down by Deputy Belton referring to a surplus of 58 per cent. Naturally the farmer-producers got the idea that there was really a surplus of stall-fed cattle in the country. As a result of this Press propaganda, and propaganda by Deputy Belton and others, many of those cattle were sold at a much lower price than they might have been sold at.

And some not sold at all. What about those?

Dr. Ryan

The cattle were entirely disposed of by the end of May. As a matter of fact, I think it is quite true to say that there were much fewer stall feeders in the stalls at the end of May this year than there were in the stalls in the previous year. Of course, there was a very big and unnecessary loss to the farmers, because the farmers with stall feeders down the country sold their cattle at about 15/- a cwt., or even less, while the cattle for export were sold at 25/- or 27/- a cwt. If the farmers had not got the idea that there was a surplus, and had not developed a sort of panic, they would naturally have held out for the higher price. It would have meant £4 10s. or £5 a head on those cattle which were sold at those lower prices. There is no doubt that the Department of Agriculture was right in its census, because the cattle were disposed of. We also find from the ordinary yearly census, the preliminary figures of which have arrived within the last two or three days, that the number of cattle now in the country is not any higher than it was this time last year, so that really this political propaganda about a surplus of 58 per cent. had no foundation whatever.

The first and the principal object of this Bill is to compel home butchers to pay a fixed price for cattle. It has been pointed out by Deputy Belton that there is nothing in this Bill to compel any man to purchase any beast. That is quite true. We have not gone so far as to take power to say to a butcher: You must kill two or three cattle per week that we will deliver to you, and you must pay the price we say. We have, however, gone this far, saying to a butcher: You must not kill any cattle unless you pay the price fixed by the Minister for Agriculture. If a home butcher intends to continue in trade, he must pay the fixed price. If he gets out we have no redress under this Bill except to let him go out. We presume that sufficient traders will remain in the cattle trade to supply the wants of the people of this country with beef. In order to give an idea of how this fixed price of meat is to work, let us assume that the export price of finished cattle is 25/- per cwt., and that we fix the price for home-killed cattle at 25/- per cwt. Assuming that the demand for cattle for export and for slaughter at home is sufficient, then we shall have achieved our object without going any further with this Bill. If there is a surplus we will have to go on to other parts of the Bill. If there is no surplus, and if the demand is equal to the supply, both for cattle slaughtered at home and cattle exported, then we have only to fix the price of cattle and, whether exported or killed at home, they will bring that price and we will have solved the difficulty as far as fat cattle are concerned.

As to the working of fixed prices, buyers of cattle for home slaughter must be registered. One of the most difficult questions we have to deal with is how are prices to be fixed and how are the cattle to be sold? The only sure and safe way of having the Bill operated is by having the cattle sold by weight. We could not possibly have fixed prices on any other basis. The cattle must be sold by weight and the fixed price will be on a certain figure per live cwt. Deputies who have read the Bill will see that the price can be fixed, and even the details with regard to the number of hours a beast is fasting before weighing takes place. No difficulties will arise under this system of selling cattle by weight. There may be a difficulty in districts remote from any large town where no weighing facilities are available, but in such cases they may by order be declared exempted areas from selling by weight. The animals can be sold by weight, the weight being that which in the opinion of the inspector they will weigh.

Guess work.

Dr. Ryan

In remote areas.

What qualification will the inspectors have?

Dr. Ryan

They must have some practical knowledge. It is an offence both for buyers and sellers to engage in any transactions otherwise than selling by weight as prescribed. If a farmer sells a beast to a butcher other than in an exempted area, and if he agreed to sell the beast by hand rather than by weight, he is committing an offence, and so is the buyer, and both can be brought to court and fined. On the other hand, if a buyer buys cattle at less than the fixed price, it is not an offence for the seller, but it is an offence on the part of the buyer, and as a matter of fact the seller is entitled, any time within 12 months, to sue the buyer for the balance due to him. That is a necessary provision, owing to the experience of other countries in the working of similar schemes. For instance, there is a fixed price for bacon in a neighbouring country, but in some cases, where there was a surplus of pigs, there was a scramble between producers to see whose pigs would be taken. The buyers took advantage of the position and got pigs at much less than the fixed price, but the sellers could not report because they were also guilty of an offence. In this Bill we do not make it an offence for a seller to sell under the fixed price, so that he may be free afterwards to report and have the buyer brought to court and made pay what is due.

It will be necessary to register retailers of beef and mutton so that in the investigation of offences the meat may be traced to its destination. A price may be fixed for different classes of cattle. We may fix a price for heifers, bullocks, and young cows. Deputies will realise that it would be impossible to fix a price for first or second class heifers or bullocks. If we did so we would have to get immediately the opinion of someone as to whether they were first or second class animals. We could fix different prices for the best light heifers, the best heavy heifers, the best light bullocks or the best heavy bullocks, but these matters will be decided principally on the measure of administrative possibilities and difficulties. Under this arrangement of fixed prices the local butchers will be as good buyers as exporters, and it will certainly save the great anxiety amongst cattle owners to get export licences. It will pay just as well to sell to local butchers as to exporters, and in that way the value of export licences will be reduced to nil.

The various parts of the Bill will be brought into operation by order. We can operate one, two or three parts, and may find it unnecessary to operate other parts. If the demand for cattle is equal to the supply, then we need only operate Part V, dealing with fixed prices. It is more than likely, however, that we may have at certain periods of the year to bring in other parts of the Bill. It is more than likely that we may have a surplus of cattle at one particular period of the year which, if kept over, could be used at another period. In that case we would have to bring in Part IV, which deals with the marking of cattle. We have had some experience of the marking of cattle during the early part of this year. We had inspectors going round to see the cattle in the stalls. They did not mark the cattle, but sent back a form to the Department of Agriculture stating that owners had so many cattle, and that so many of them were fit for sale within that month. We mean to go into the matter in more detail under this Bill, and to have a more methodical way of dealing with it. The cattle will be actually marked, and no other cattle can be bought for home slaughter within a specified time, except cattle marked by the inspectors. It may be possible that we might have a surplus of cattle in September or October, and we calculate by holding them over they could be used during the following two or three months. In the same way we might have a surplus of cattle in February and March, and we calculate that by keeping them over they could be used during April, May and June. If the supply for the whole 12 months is not more than the demand, we would not have to go further with this Bill than using Parts IV and V with regard to fixed prices and marking for slaughter.

We may, however, have a surplus not only at certain periods but for the 12 months. In that case we shall have to use the power proposed under Parts 7, 8 and 9 of the Bill. We shall take Part 9 first, because it deals with first-quality beef, which we have been dealing with up to this under Parts 4 and 5. This part will enable us to dispose of a considerable quantity of first-class beef under the free meat scheme to those who cannot afford to purchase it. So far as our present information goes with regard to the census of the total number of cattle in the country and the likelihood of the number of fat cattle which will be available for sale during the autumn months, I think it is extremely likely that we may have to use some of this first-class beef under the free meat scheme. In fact, I think I may say that it is the intention of the Government to proceed with this part of the Bill immediately it becomes law.

Under that part of the Bill vouchers for free meat will be issued to those in receipt of home assistance and unemployment assistance. These are the two classes of people who, it is considered, find it impossible to buy meat sufficient for their families in the ordinary way. These vouchers will be issued for a certain amount of beef per week, according to the size of the family. They will take these vouchers to the butcher with whom the Minister for Agriculture has previously made a contract to supply a certain amount of free meat from first-class cattle — young heifers and bullocks. These contractors will not be compelled to use certain cattle for the purpose. They will be compelled to take the meat from first-class cattle, but it is quite possible that in many cases they may use what are regarded as the most expensive cuts for their own customers and supply what is termed boiling beef from these good cattle on the free meat vouchers. In making these contracts we may not meet with any great difficulty. We may have sufficient competition amongst butchers in any city or town to supply this meat at a reasonable price. We may, however, have difficulty, as we may have rings formed. In order to meet that situation, Section 40 is inserted in the Bill, under which we can deal with rings of that kind which may be formed. Section 40, I think, sets out clearly what can be done.

Part 9 of the Bill, with regard to free meat, I should like to say, is entirely provisional. It is experimental, and we intend to operate that part for a period of four, five, or six months. If it is to be continued after that, it is more than likely that we may change it to a cheap meat scheme rather than a free meat scheme. We are not prepared to take the risk of running a cheap meat scheme just now, because we may find it difficult and, perhaps, impossible at times in the early stages of the working of the Bill to find this meat for every person with a voucher. We, therefore, think it is much safer to work it entirely ex gratia, so that we are not bound to deliver this meat to a person with a voucher. All we can do is to do our utmost to supply them.

If Part IX of the Bill — that is the part with regard to free meat—becomes necessary, then Part III will have to be operated, and that is the levy — the levy which was suggested to-day by the Minister for Finance of £1 per head on cattle and 5/- per head on sheep. If it is decided under the first order to make the levy, of course it will be possible to vary it from time to time by order. Circumstances may make it desirable to vary these levies. If, for instance, the price of sheep goes down, the levy could be increased, and if the price goes up the levy could be lowered. That is a thing that Deputy Belton, by his reasoning in economics, does not understand, but I will explain.

I am sure the Minister does not understand.

Dr. Ryan

As to sheep, there is a free export at the present time. Therefore, Deputy Belton will agree, because it is part of his economics, that the export price will regulate the price here. In other words, if a particular sheep is worth 38/- exported, after paying the tariffs and everything else, to buy a similar sheep at home will cost 38/-. That is quite plain. If sheep, therefore, are dear, we are not going to get anything more for the producer here by raising the levy. It is all the same. The butcher has to pay the price for the sheep whatever our levy is, because he has to compete with the exporter. The only way the butcher can deal with the levy is to pass it on to the consumer. If sheep are dear, we may think it inadvisable to pass on a high levy as well to the consumer, because mutton would be too dear. Therefore, we lower the levy. We can put on a high levy if people can afford to pay more for mutton. Therefore, if sheep are low in price the levy goes up, and if sheep are high in price the levy goes down.

The Minister for Finance will keep the sheep cheap.

Dr. Ryan

I do not know what the Minister for Finance will do.

There is one sheep which he wishes he could keep from bleating.

Dr. Ryan

With regard to cattle, the influence of the levy must be looked at in a different way. The price of cattle will be fixed. Take an example again. We fix the price of cattle at, say, 25s. per cwt., live-weight. The producer gets that. He does not care as a producer, though he may, perhaps, as a consumer, what levy we put on. It is a matter for the butcher to pay that levy and to get his money back whatever way he can. There again we have to be guided in our levy by the price of beef, not by the price to the consumer and not by the price of cattle to the butcher. Taking it at 25s. per cwt., live-weight, the butcher is getting cattle very much cheaper than he did for a very long time anyway before, say, a period of twelve months ago. By putting £1 per head on the beast it is only going to make it, roughly, a halfpenny per pound on the beef sold to the consumer. A halfpenny per pound is a very small increase considering what the present price should be. It is a very small increase on the consumer, and I think the consumer of beef can very well bear it. I do not mind whether you call that a tax or a levy. If you like putting a halfpenny on the beef is the same as if the Minister for Finance put a halfpenny on sugar. It is a tax, if you like. Let us lose no time arguing over that. We will admit it is a tax. The consumer can bear the tax, because the price of beef is low compared with what it was three, five, ten or fifteen years ago. Therefore, the consumer can afford to pay the extra halfpenny. In any case, whatever we make the levy, whether £1 or £5 on cattle, or whether 5s. or £1 on sheep, the producer is not suffering one halfpenny. Let us get clear on that.

If Deputy Belton and Deputy Curran have any concern for the producer of cattle and sheep, let them not argue on that line. Let them, if they like, have a little concern for the consumer. We can argue on that basis, because it is the consumer has to pay in this case. The consumer is going to pay the levy. I think the consumer can afford to pay part of the levy. It is a case of the taxpayer or the consumer paying for the benefits to the producer under this Bill. If the taxpayer has to pay £500,000 or £600,000 — and I think it will amount to that — the Minister for Finance will have to put a tax on some commodity or other, and it is just as well to start now by putting half of that tax on meat, because meat is very cheap.

Parts VII and VIII of the Bill deal with the manufacture and processing of cattle and sheep products. I have said already that if we have a surplus of first-class cattle, heifers and bullocks we can deal with them to a great extent in this cheap meat scheme, because with the number of cattle that are being slaughtered at home, the number that are being exported under the quota system and the number that will be slaughtered under this cheap meat scheme — it is going to amount to 40,000 cattle a year under the free meat scheme — we will be disposing under those three heads of the same number of fat cattle as we disposed of during the years 1932 and 1933. Unless there is an increase of fat cattle in the country, we should have no trouble in disposing of them under the heads I have mentioned.

What heads?

Dr. Ryan

The three heads I have outlined, export, home slaughter — that is, home slaughter under ordinary conditions — and the free meat scheme. Those three heads will account for what was disposed of for home slaughter and exported during 1932 and 1933.

In other words, you expect this scheme will consume 50 per cent. of the fat cattle exported?

Dr. Ryan

That is not true.

That is just what it is.

Dr. Ryan

Our home slaughter, independent of this, has gone up by at least 40,000 a year. The Minister is taking power, as Deputy Mulcahy says, to become a butcher, a buyer, a seller and a slaughterer, and any of those other occupations you can think of.

In addition to being Minister for Agriculture.

Dr. Ryan

In addition to, or as part of his job.

You will have some job.

Dr. Ryan

I do not intend to do it all myself. There will be a certain staff appointed under this Bill. The Minister, in addition to engaging in those various processes, may lend money to another individual or a company, or a co-operative society, to undertake this manufacture and processing of cattle and sheep products, and so on. Apart from young cattle, heifers and bullocks, there is, we believe, a big surplus of old, useless, diseased cows in the country and one of the factories that is being spoken of and that is likely to mature under this Bill will be a factory to deal with these old cows. There will be a considerable expense on that factory, because turning old cows into meat meal will involve a considerable subsidy on the price of those cows unless they are sold practically for nothing. The existing factories which are turning out meat meal, in this as well as in other countries, are getting cattle for that purpose practically for nothing — merely taking them away. If we get a factory to deal with the old cows for conversion into meat meal it means that we must pay the owner by way of subsidy.

What percentage of the stock would they represent?

Dr. Ryan

We might probably deal with from 40,000 to 50,000 old cows in the year.

Will there be a levy of £1 a head on them?

Dr. Ryan

No, because they are not being sold for human consumption. As a matter of fact, we will not allow them or any part of them to be sold for human consumption in this country.

What price would you give for them?

Dr. Ryan

I am not sure about the price. If we give anything over 10/- for them we would be giving more than they are worth, but at the same time we will give considerably more than 10/-. I had a deputation from Deputy Bennett's constituency, a deputation of dairy farmers, and one of their biggest complaints was that they cannot dispose of the old cows at the present time. I gathered from them that they would be glad to get £2 or £2 10s. each for the old cows, if we took them from them, and we will give at least that. The working of that factory will probably mean an expenditure of £100,000 to £150,000 a year in addition to the expenses under the other schemes. There is also a small trade in this country for tinned beef and it may be possible to dispose of a certain number of cattle for that purpose.

How much would be realised on a 10 cwt. bullock, live-weight, for use as tinned meat?

Dr. Ryan

I am not good enough at mental arithmetic for that. I could not tell you that at the moment. For tinned meat purposes he would be worth 13/- a cwt.

Then you are going to dispose of him at half the standard price. The taxpayer will have to look up again.

Dr. Ryan

The Deputy is now getting interested in the taxpayer. I thought he was more concerned with the producer. Under Section 35 of the Bill it will be seen that the accounts of this business must be properly audited and laid before each House of the Oireachtas. I mention that in order to assure Deputies that any business I will engage in will have to be accounted for by me here at some time. I think that gives an outline of what the Bill contains. The big principles underlying it are to give the best possible price to the producer for his cattle and to deal with the surplus cattle, if there are any. These are the two big things that I would like should be considered by the Dáil on Second Reading. If Deputies believe there is a problem under these two headings, if Deputies believe we ought to increase the price of cattle to the producer and that we ought to deal with the surplus cattle, if there are any, then this Bill ought to get a Second Reading. But if they believe that we are not dealing with the problem in the proper way, then I suggest that the Bill ought still to get a Second Reading, and we might have the ideas of those Deputies submitted by way of amendment on the Committee Stage.

The administrative difficulties of the Bill are not under-estimated by me or by the Department. It is going to be a very difficult Bill to administer, but if we get co-operation from the producers the Bill can be administered. It is in the interests of the producer to have the Bill administered as strictly as possible. Neither am I in any way over optimistic about the results of this Bill. I have said at the beginning that we hope at least to make right the abuses and the bad effects arising from the quota; in other words, that we may be able to get the producer as much as he is entitled to for his cattle — the very maximum — but whether we can go further than that I cannot say at the moment. At any rate, however, we can get him back so that the ill effects of the quota will be nullified by having this Bill administered and giving him what is due to him for his cattle.

I do not think it is necessary to discuss in detail the various provisions of the Bill with regard to registration, and so on. I think that it would be better that these matters should be left over for the Committee Stage, as it would be wrong, in my opinion, to obscure the main principles of the Bill, the two big principles that I mentioned, which are to try to get a better price for the producer for his cattle and to deal with the surplus cattle if there are any.

Will the Minister deal with Part V?

Dr. Ryan

I think I dealt with it already.

The Minister said that the big principle of the Bill is to see that the producer will get a fair price for his cattle, and to deal with any surplus cattle if there are any. He talked about 25s. a cwt. for cattle. We had a Bill yesterday, which was complementary to this Bill, fixing the price of feeding stuffs. The Minister's definition of a fixed price for those feeding stuffs yesterday was the cost of production plus a little profit. Now, take up these feeding stuffs from the farm that produces them, or from a mixed farm; value them by that standard; then turn them either into your store or into the market, and value them at the selling price that the Minister says should be got for those feeding stuffs. Is the Minister prepared to fix a standard price for beef based on the cost of those feeding stuffs—that cost that is standardised by himself in the Bill that got a Second Reading yesterday? Those feeding stuffs are passed on to the stall to turn out beef. Will he fix that beef at a price based on the cost of feeding stuffs, of which he fixes the price, plus the cost of labour and plus a margin of profit for the feeder, and will he standardise the price of beef? That is the problem for the Minister and it is the essence of the whole case.

Deputies talked yesterday and wanted to put Deputies on these benches here in the wrong. They wanted to misrepresent the position we took up, namely, that we were opposed to fixing a standard price and a fair price for oats and barley. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. We accept that standard price of oats and barley, but the finished product of oats and barley will be the beef that will be turned out and we will see whether the Minister will fix a price based on those costings. It is extraordinary how sins always find the sinner out. The Minister, in his introductory remarks, said that cattle had fallen here since the start of the British special duties by the difference between those special duties and the bounties that he gave. I think that is substantially a fair quotation of the Minister's remarks. It is the first time since I came into this House that the Minister has admitted that the price of beer was lower in this country than in Great Britain. On several occasions he has got up here and brazenly defended the falsehood, or I should say the fallacious position, that he had been approached by people from the Six Counties for permits to send cattle into the Free State. The truth has come out now at last.

Dr. Ryan

The Deputy is wrong. If I have a little time to-morrow, I shall send him at least three quotations from the Official Debates bearing out what I said to-day.

And about a dozen stating the opposite.

Dr. Ryan

In regard to cattle?

Dr. Ryan

I should like to see them.

There is a tariff of £6 a head on fat cattle going over to England and our Government gives a subsidy of 35/-. Is the difference between the price of beef here and the price of similar beef in the British market £4 5s. 0d. a beast plus the ordinary trade expenses in putting that beast on the British market? Is that the difference?

Dr. Ryan

That is right.

And that is the loss the producer has been suffering here.

Together with £3 at the present time for a licence.

We have got the Minister on the run and it is the first time that I have heard that admission made without qualifications from those benches over there.

Dr. Ryan

I must send them to you.

What was said is in the newspapers.

He has admitted it now anyway, and it is about time.

The Minister has now disclosed his mentality on the price that was, apparently, occupying his mind, and he mentioned 25/- a cwt. I presume that he takes it that that is the price after deduction of the British tariff off our cattle. Does he intend to base that price on the tariff, less the bounty that he is paying now, or does he want to slip away with the bounty and make a present of it to the Exchequer and deprive the producer of fat cattle here of any advantages from the bounty? I should like him to be clear on that point.

The Minister said that that was how prices ruled up to the quota system. He taunted me with being responsible for the statement that 58 per cent. of the cattle tied up in stalls last Christmas were surplus cattle and could not be disposed of. I am not the author of that statement, but, as far as I am concerned, the Minister is the author of it.

The Minister remembers our conference of the 19th January last when our whole discussion about the allocation of export licences hinged round this figure. The case put up by the producers was this, that only 42 per cent. of the cattle that they had in their stalls could be shipped to England. That 42 per cent. remained after deducting the amount required for home consumption. Exporters who had been getting licences to go into the market to buy 42 per cent. out of the 100 per cent. could give any price they liked for the cattle. No wonder, as was admitted then and as the Minister will not contradict now, that the effect of giving those licences to the exporters was equivalent to giving them a present of between £5 and £6 a beast on the cattle bought. On an export trade of about 10,000 cattle a month that works out at £50,000 a month. All that money is taken out of the pockets of the producers and given to the exporters.

The relevancy of this is that the Minister now proposes under this Bill to take a census and inspection of the cattle anywhere and everywhere. This is many times a greater job than the job he told us on the 19th January last—and that he told us in this House a couple of months ago— was an impossible job for his Department to do, namely, to continue giving licences to the producers. When we put up the case to the Minister we were told that no census could be taken. But on the 10th February the census was taken and 50 per cent. of the licences went to the producers. By the 14th February 100 per cent of the licences went to the producers. Then when we came on to grass-fed beef, the traders and exporters all got around the Minister and they got around the Deputies here. One met them trooping about the Lobbies out there.

The Deputy's analogy may be quite in order but the details of what happened in connection with export licences is not in order. The trooping of deputations through the Lobbies of this House is not relevant.

I do not want to go outside the rules of order and there is no need for me to go outside the rules of order. We could talk for a month within the rules of order in this case. I was not going to detail what happened in the Lobbies or to say anything about deputations coming in here. They are quite entitled to come in here if they want to do so. The point I wish to make is that the Minister gave way to these influences and he handed over the licences to the traders-exporters. The Minister knows to-day that those licences are worth £3, £4 or £5 apiece. And he comes up here with as innocent a face as any face of the 120,000 calves he had slaughtered. He tells us what provision he is making for the surplus cattle, if any.

What is it that is putting a premium on those licences issued by the Minister? It is that there are more cattle seeking export in this country than there are licences procurable or than the British will let in? In this Bill the Minister has not shown how he is going to deal with those surplus cattle. In a discussion on some subject closely akin to this a short time ago, the Minister admitted that taking it on the average we have a surplus of about 20,000 fat cattle a month here for export. I do not think the Minister will contradict that statement or those figures. Under the quota system we are allowed to export about 10,000 cattle a month. That leaves 10,000 cattle for which we have not a market. Even at the present rates we have not a market for these and surely we are not going to increase that market by increasing the price of meat to the consumer.

The Minister proposes to increase the price of meat to the consumer. Presuming that the consumer will consume as much meat at the higher rate we still have 10,000 fat cattle a month of which we have to dispose. That was the problem that agitated the country this year. That was the problem created by the British quota. That is the very same problem that the Minister told us time and again he was considering. But that is the one problem that he has not tackled in this Bill. The Minister should not try to hit below the belt. We can all hit above and below the belt when we are put to it. It shows the weakness of his case when he tries to hit below the belt. The Minister said in the course of his speech that political propaganda frightened the farmers into selling their cattle at 15/- a cwt., whereas on export they got 25/- a cwt for them. Some of the farmers got more than 25/- a cwt for their cattle on export. The Minister may thank the Deputies on these benches that producers got 28/- and 29/- a cwt for cattle since the quota was imposed. How they may thank the Deputies for it is this: They were getting 18/- and 19/- a cwt for the best beef in the Dublin market while the Minister's friends, the exporters, had the licences. But when the producers got the licences, the producers were able to get 28/- and 29/- a cwt in the Dublin market.

Do you mean to say that it was the Opposition Deputies brought that about?

I claim it was. There was a deputation that I headed to the Minister on the 28th January last. On that occasion the Minister said he could not get the census of fat cattle. On the following Tuesday I supplied the Minister with a census of the fat cattle in the Co. Dublin. I put that matter up to the Minister, and that made the Minister think, and when he got thinking he said that it was better to give the licences to the producers and they got them. Of course, I know that some schoolmasters got those licences and some fellows across the Border got them. I know that the McMahons, the Mulhollands and the Moores got these licences——

None of whom is mentioned in this Bill.

Well, if Deputies on the Government Benches want to introduce them they will get them. We have still the whole problem of 10,000 surplus cattle per month. We had that last winter. And it was not the rancher had them; it was the grazier had them. The problem for the Minister to consider is that if we have these 10,000 fat cattle next winter they will have to be fed mainly on oats and barley at a price which the Minister, by legislation, is fixing and that will be remunerative to the growers. The principal idea is that the growing of oats and barley will be profitable. The problem is whether the same number of fat cattle will be stall-fed next winter or only half the number. I am afraid he will only get half the number.

Why do farmers sell their cattle at 15/- a cwt.? Because they cannot get any more for them. When a man goes to the fair with cattle, he is thinking of the price of his cattle, not what will serve Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. He is down to brass tacks when selling his cattle. He will not ask the buyer's politics and he will not be influenced by what any politician says in this House or out of it. He goes to the market, looks for the best price, and sells at the best price he can get, and the best price he could get here is 15/- per cwt. The man who can get a licence, and exports his cattle, gets 25/- a cwt. or thereabouts. The question of political propaganda does not enter into the matter but the question of Government policy does enter into it. The man who sells his cattle at 15/- a cwt. loses £5 a beast through the quota, and £6 owing to the British special duty on each animal, making £11 a beast, for which the Government policy is responsible. The Minister said it would be an offence for the buyer to buy cattle under the minimum price. Will the Minister take the case of a man who has got cattle to sell and cannot get a buyer? What will he do with them? I wonder where the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands has flown to at present. How many times, in the last couple of months, have the sheriffs refused to take cattle? Are they ready to take cattle now? I was informed yesterday that 566 notices went out in County Dublin for alleged arrears of land annuities, more accurately described as arrears of the new land tax.

If the Deputy refrained from describing it at all he would come to the Bill all the sooner.

The live stock is valueless to them. The Minister fixes the price for the butcher. The butcher buys and sells. The butcher will not continue to buy unless he can sell. And again we find ourselves back to the problem that the Minister turned a blind-eye on, namely, our surplus stocks. What is the inevitable result of that? It means less beef will be produced. It means pulling the production of beef in this country down to just the balance between the supply and the demand and wiping out of existence any export trade. It means reducing the area under tillage. There is no market for tillage produce in this country outside the little wheat and beet and tobacco we produce, and all of which is subsidised. There is no market for the tillage produced here except stall-feeding. The Minister boasted yesterday of the increase in our cereal crops, though he regarded it as yet too small. He said we have 90,000 acres of wheat where we should have 600,000. If we grew 600,000 acres of wheat this year we would be growing 600,000 acres of root crops next year. All these root crops will go to feed cattle. But the Minister has killed the market for these things by refusing to provide a market for our surplus beef in order to keep up the production of beef. Of course, it is childish to put forward the argument the Minister put forward that the producer is not paying the levy. Nobody else but the producer is paying it. This whole Bill could not be improved upon in Russia. I do not think that any Communist Government in the world could add a comma to this Bill. By the time it becomes law we will hardly own the air we breathe in this country. We will be inspected by inspectors, and there will be another troop of inspectors inspecting them and so on until we have nothing but tier after tier of officials on one another's backs.

There will be no surplus fat then!

There will be very poor trade for calves. Not many of them will be brought across the Border. The butcher will have to license his premises to slaughter the cattle. These premises will have to be open to an inspector at any time he cares to inspect them. He must furnish a return of the animals slaughtered, and then of course he has to hand out £1 per head for any cattle he kills, and 5/- for every sheep. The Minister proposes to send round inspectors with power to go anywhere they know there are cattle, or anywhere they have reasonable suspicions there are cattle, take a census of these, mark them and give a date at which they can be slaughtered, and not before that date must they be slaughtered. I wonder, if the Department is capable of carrying this out, why they were not capable of taking a census of the grass-fed cattle and giving the producers a licence? If the Minister would try to be fair and give a reasonable price for cattle, I see no way by which that could be achieved, except by fixing a price here for cattle per cwt., per class, corresponding to the British price less the cost of transport and guaranteeing that price for all cattle, offered for sale anywhere at any time. There is no other way I can see of meeting this problem. What the Minister would do with the beef that he had purchased I do not know, nor can I offer any suggestion but he and his Government are responsible for bringing the trade to that pass and it is for him and his Government to get the trade out of that situation. Then, the Minister can go into business himself. It shall be lawful for the Minister to engage in the purchase, keeping, and slaughter of cattle and sheep, the sale of cattle and sheep, either in or outside Saorstát Eireann——

I shall get a job.

He only slaughters your stock-in-trade. He does not buy them.

You will give me your six-cylinder.

I warn Deputy Smith that if he interrupts again I shall be constrained to ask him to leave the House.

The most serious provision from the national standpoint that I see in the Bill is from Section 37 onwards. The Bill says:

"It shall be lawful for the Minister, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, to lend, out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, any sum or sums of money—

(a) to any person engaged in or carrying on any business to which this section applies, for the purpose of extending or developing such business, whether by the acquisition of additional premises, the installation of new or additional machinery, plant, or equipment, or in any other way whatsoever, or

(b) to any person for the purpose of the acquisition of any then existing business to which this section applies and the subsequent extension or development of such business in any such way as aforesaid, or

(c) to any person for the purpose of the promotion and formation of a company having amongst its objects the carrying on of a business to which this section applies.

(2) All moneys lent by the Minister under this section shall be so lent on such terms and conditions as to time and manner of repayment, rate of interest, security and other matters as the Minister shall, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, think proper in each particular case.

The Deputy might assume that his fellow-Deputies are not illiterate.

I want to draw attention to what follows. Public money is being lent for a certain purpose and these are the conditions surrounding its lending. We come on to subsection (5):

(5) Whenever the Minister has lent any money under this section it shall be lawful for the Minister to do all or any of the following things, that is to say:—

(a) with the consent of the Minister for Finance, to vary in any manner all or any of the terms and conditions on which such money was so lent.

He can lend public money to people on certain specified conditions as to time, manner of repayment and rate of interest and after that contract is signed, sealed and delivered, the Minister can vary it. The section goes on to say:—

(b) with the consent aforesaid, to compound for or wholly release all or any part of such moneys or of any interest or other payment payable on or in relation to such moneys;

(c) to take such steps (including legal proceedings) as the Minister may think proper to compel payment of, or to recover, all or any part of such moneys or of any interest or other payment payable on or in relation to such moneys or to enforce compliance with any term or condition on which such moneys were so lent.

If that is not undermining the credit of the nation I do not know what is. This money, I presume, will have to be borrowed in the open market and paid for by a charge on the revenue of this country. The money can be lent to individuals on certain conditions, but a Minister is given power to write off that money, not to collect it at all, or not to charge any interest. Even though there were conditions attached to its lending, he can write them off.

The Minister did not make it clear if these beef vouchers for free meat were to be given as an addition to unemployment assistance or in lieu of portion of the allowance to recipients of employment assistance or home assistance, as the case might be. I agree with the Minister that it will be very difficult to administer this Act. I go further and say that, in my opinion, it will be impossible to administer it, but it is not the administration with which I am concerned. It is a matter for the administrative Department to do its best, but the one matter that has created the whole situation the Minister has not touched. That is, to find a market for our surplus fat cattle. He has not touched on that at all from beginning to end of the Bill. He has not even provided means whereby the producers of those cattle can turn them into money, even at the standard price of 25/- per cwt. about which he talks. There is no compulsion on anybody to buy cattle. There is no responsibility taken by the Minister, or his Department, to buy the surplus cattle at 25/- per cwt., and to provide that meat in depots to be given out to the recipients of beef vouchers. That is the aspect of the problem which promoted this Bill and which constituted the acute part of the tillage problem and of the whole agricultural problem which faced the country since the quota, which left a surplus of finished cattle on our hands. Why does not the Minister deal with that aspect of the problem by fixing a standard price, and cutting out all this nonsensical patching—making the butcher do this, that and the other thing? If the Minister says, "I will buy all the surplus cattle at 25/- a cwt., 21/- or 31/-," the butcher will have to compete with him and there will be no pimping or spying around any man's premises. If that were done, the Minister would not want an army of inspectors. Let the Minister dispose of that surplus meat free, or at a small price, but if he undertakes to take the surplus at 25/-, the whole thing will be fixed automatically. He will, of course, in order to give the man who sells at home an equal price to that of the man who gets a licence to export, have to vary the standard price according to the variations in the British market and according to the value of the licence he gives to export cattle. Then the licence will be of no value to the exporter. The Minister thinks, innocently perhaps— I doubt if he believes it—that by making it an offence for a butcher to buy a heifer from a farmer at £1 a cwt. when the price is fixed at 25/-; while it will not be an offence for the farmer to sell, he will put the farmer spying on the butcher. The butcher is no such fool as to be caught with birdlime of that kind. What record will there be to substantiate the testimony of the farmer if he turns informer on the butcher? Will the butcher not insist on the farmer giving a receipt for 25/- per cwt.? Of course he will, and the farmer will be glad to give a receipt for 25/- a cwt. when there is no market. The whole trouble is that there is not a market for all the stock and the Minister is not providing one. If he wants to standardise prices, all he has got to do is to undertake to buy the surplus stock. If he does that, there will be no loophole for anybody who wishes to break the law in that regard. As it is, the Bill fixes nothing and unfixes everything. It disputes the ownership of the butcher in his premises. It disposes of the last shred of ownership the farmer had in his land because the Minister can walk in, without saying "by your leave," take up the land and work it for any of the purposes set out in the Schedule and then sell the land to anybody he likes. This is the last word in Bolshevism. It is just as well it has come out now, because coming it was inevitably under the policy pursued by the Government, who were shouting for tillage but pursuing a policy almost scientifically opposed to tillage. That policy is destroying the market that tillage produces. It is destroying the stall-fed market. When that market is reduced to half, tillage must be reduced to half. That applies not only to the tillage that goes to feed live stock but to the tillage that goes to feed human beings, because the land that grows wheat this year must grow root crops next year. If you have not stallfeds for the root crops next year, it will not pay to grow wheat either this year or next year. The whole system of agricultural economy is being undermined. That is disclosed in this Bill, which also discloses the utter incompetency and callousness of the Government in dealing with the basic industry of this country. The time is not far off when the greatest dupe of a farmer who supports the Government will find that out. Certain farmers who are not dupes are supporting them and will support them. They will do that because they are gone so far on the downward financial path that they are afraid a day of reckoning will come when everybody will get his own. If everybody got his own, the broken-down farmers following the Party opposite would have nothing left for themselves.

They have not any six cylinders.

It is paid for.

This Bill brings us a further stage on the road to complete Government control. We are rapidly advancing to the position of another State, which controls the life and property of practically every individual in it. I do not think that the Bill will achieve the purposes which the Minister intends it to achieve, but it will considerably hamper certain interests. It will upset the industry of the butchers and it will make it practically impossible for small butchers operating in the country to carry on business. These men will, to meet the requirements of the Bill, have to employ permanently somebody akin to an auditor to keep the accounts which the Minister seems to think they ought to keep. In the case of the average butcher in a country town, the expense imposed by this Bill will make it impossible for him to carry on except he mulcts the paying consumer to an extreme degree. One of the results of this Bill will be that the price to the consumer, other than the people who are to get free meat, will be considerably increased. In this Bill we are taking a further step on the road to complete control by the Minister, by heads of Departments and by a corps of inspectors of every description. When we had the finance motion before us to-day I asked the Minister what portion of the levy would be employed in paying inspectors. I should like to have that information now. Can the Minister make any guess at the number of inspectors that will be needed to inspect slaughterhouses, inspect the accounts of victuallers, play hide and seek amongst the small farmers and find out the number of cattle and sheep fit for slaughter?

I would like to see the Minister on a hot July day—in weather such as we have had during the last three months—trying to find out what an inspector was doing on an ordinary farm. Deputy Corry smiles and it is no wonder. With the fly active amongst cattle during very warm weather it would be interesting to see the inspector trying to discover what particular animals would be fit for consumption at the end of a particular period. I am afraid that under such conditions he would not be able to do very much. I imagine that he would have to come to the farm at the midnight hour with a lantern in his hand to do his particular job, and it seems to me that he would require the assistance of quite an army of the temporarily unemployed in his effort to round up the stock in order to mark them. That is one of the difficulties that are likely to arise in connection with this particular Bill.

The Minister said that under one section of the Bill—this is a point that was enlarged upon by Deputy Belton—it was provided that public money might be lent to persons to set up premises to engage in different classes of business and even to the Minister himself to engage in various operations. But in a Bill which is primarily intended to benefit farmers there is no provision whatever empowering the Minister to lend money so that the producers may be enabled to produce. No power is taken to lend money to a man to stock his land, and there are many men to-day who have no stock on their lands. Any they had the sheriff has got them, so that we have this position to-day that there are many farms in the country absolutely denuded of stock. The Minister is not taking power to enable him to lend money out of the public purse to farmers to enable them to produce either beef or mutton or any other quality of eatable flesh. The officials of the Minister are to mark the cattle. First of all the cattle are to be graded. Then a time limit is to be put on. The farmer, in fact, will not know what particular cattle he can sell or when he can sell them. He cannot sell certain cattle before a specified date, but when that time comes he will not be sure if he can sell them. What is the average farmer to do while he is waiting for that time limit to expire? If he is fortunate enough to have his cattle marked fit for sale at a price that the Minister will fix as reasonable and if the sale period is to be November what is that farmer to do if, for instance, he wants money about the 1st August to meet some demand made on him by the sheriff? Is the Minister going to make an advance to him from the amount to be paid for the cattle that are to be slaughtered in November? The Bill does not make any provision that a farmer can get any portion of the price of the cattle in anticipation of realising it at a subsequent date.

The one great point that the Minister made in connection with the Bill was that the farmer would get the export price of his cattle, and by the export price he meant the price that the farmer gets when the British tariff is taken off and when every other ancillary charge is taken off. Two years ago, when we had a free market in this country, the prices for cattle were very much higher than they are now. The Minister will admit that the prices for beef and mutton were very much higher then than now, and yet while that was the position the producer could barely eke out an existence. He could not put anything by. He could barely live on the prices that prevailed in those days. The prices to-day are very much worse, so that the position the farmer finds himself in is that he cannot live at all and no manipulation of prices, whether they are fixed or unfixed, is going to be of any use to him. That is not going to help production of any kind in this country so far as the farmer is concerned. There is only one real solution of the difficulty. It has been stated many times in this House, and it is to give the farmer a free market. He asks for nothing more. He asks for no subsidy or for any of the other leads in the dark that have been in operation during the last two years. These attempts to sustain the farmer have failed. The plan in operation during the past two years has failed. We have had two years of guess-work and of various attempts trying to keep the farmer on his feet or, rather, trying to keep him on one leg, but all have failed. Let any member of the House—the majority here represent agricultural constituencies—take any five farmers in an average county, and is it not true that four of them are bankrupt? The fifth is surviving because he was in the position of being able to have some money laid by. The Minister thinks that the other four are going to be put on their feet by the operation of this Bill. I am afraid very few who know what the actual conditions in the country are, share his view.

There is one saving section in the Bill and that is the provision of free meat for certain unfortunate people. Nobody grudges them that, least of all the Deputies who sit on this side of the House. It is unfortunate that there should be a number of people in this country for whom it is necessary to make such provision. The proposal to use an over supply of beef and mutton in that way is certainly to be commended, but I think some better means could have been found for doing it than the means outlined in this Bill. Deputy Belton dealt with a number of dangerous sections in this Bill. There was one that he did not refer to. Deputies will remember that we discussed here a couple of years ago a Land Bill. We made a great fight on this side to protect farmers' interests. Ultimately, it was decided in connection with the acquisition of land that a holding of the market value of less than £2,000 was to be immune. But I find a rather curious provision in this Bill. It seems to me to annul completely the protection that was given to a farmer under that Land Act. Under this Bill the Minister is taking power to take over any land. Section 33 provides:

For the purposes of doing anything which he is authorised by this Part of this Act to do, the Minister may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, acquire, compulsorily or by agreement, any land together with every right of way, water right or other easement used and enjoyed in connection therewith.

The Minister will, perhaps, reply that he does not intend to operate that section very largely. He possibly will not, but the power is there to violate a particular section of the Land Act which every Deputy who had the interests of the farmers at heart fought for. The power is in this Bill to enable the Minister to acquire any farm in the country and to sell it afterwards: to acquire my farm or Deputy Corry's farm or Deputy Curran's farm, and, having acquired them, he may sell them if he does not want them. There are certain provisions in the Bill restricting the Minister in the case of an Act passed in 1845 and other Acts, but there is no restriction as far as the Land Act of 1933 is concerned.

I gather from my reading of the Bill that under it he can acquire any land that he wishes and having acquired it, if he has no use for it, he can sell it to the highest bidder. Even purchased lands are not exempt from that provision. With the consent of the Land Commission the Minister can acquire purchased lands, lands on which an annuity is payable. He only needs to get his brother Minister who is in charge of Lands and Fisheries to agree with him that he ought to acquire those lands and hey presto it is done; he can get all the land he wants. If this Bill does get through this House, I hope that that particular Section 33 will be deleted. It ought never to have been brought into the Bill. As I read it, it violates the most useful section of another Act passed in this House, and to me it appears the most dangerous section in this particular Bill. I may have interpreted it wrongly, but that is my reading of the section, and I think it would be the reading of nine out of ten ordinary farmers.

The Minister said that cattle were to be sold by weight in certain districts where machinery for weighing them is available. In remote areas—and, mind you, the number of those areas will be much larger than the Minister envisages—where there are no convenient methods of weighing cattle, they are to be sold on the guess principle. The inspector is to guess the weight. The number of men in this State who are capable of accurately guessing the weight of live stock is very small. I myself have seen some of the most eminent cattle buyers very much out in the weight of a live beast. The same may apply to some of the inspectors whom the Minister employs under this Act. One does not know who they will be, or from what section of the community they will be drawn. I myself should not like to back with any particular enthusiasm their estimate of what a beast might approximate in weight. We are to have no guarantee as to what section of the community those inspectors will be drawn from. I do not believe that the Minister will draw them altogether politically; I absolve the Minister from that. I believe he will endeavour to get the best men he can, but in spite of all his best endeavours there will be a lot of incompetent men employed; there are bound to be. We had the Improvement of Live Stock Bill. The greatest care was taken by the previous Minister for Agriculture and by the present Minister to select what they thought were the most competent men to inspect bulls, but there was most complete dissatisfaction. Government Deputies will agree with me that the most unfair decisions were made. I believe that the decisions were made with all good intent, but the inspectors had different views from the average farmer. Their idea of what a beast should be was, in many cases, almost diametrically opposite to what the farmer would have desired. It will be just the same in this case, because I believe that the Minister will find it almost impossible to get sufficient competent inspectors to put this Bill properly into operation. I believe it will be impossible to find men who know their jobs, men who will be in other ways trustworthy, and in every way suitable to carry out the job of inspector. I believe that even after the lapse of five years the Minister will not have a body of inspectors that he or the people of the country will be satisfied with.

I think the Minister said when he was introducing the Bill — I hope it is not so — that the purchasing of the cattle was going to be restricted to the victuallers. If I am not quoting the Minister correctly he will contradict me. I think he said that he intended that the victuallers would be the buyers of cattle. If that is so, it is going to place us in an altogether impossible position, because if we had to wait for the local butcher to buy our cattle we would have to wait till Tibb's Eve. I did not read that into the Bill myself. I thought it did not limit the buying of cattle to the local or any other butcher, but I gathered that the Minister, when introducing the Bill, said that the purchase of cattle was to be restricted to the victuallers and butchers. Is that so?

Dr. Ryan

That is not exactly true. The person who is going to slaughter the beast must pay a fixed price, but there is nothing to prevent the middleman coming in.

I just wanted to have that point cleared up, because if the Minister was going to confine the buying of cattle to the butcher the sale of cattle would be practically at an end because a man might never find a buyer. I am glad that the Minister has now made it clear that there is not going to be that restriction. A man will have a chance of selling his cattle to anybody he likes, but his chance of selling marked cattle will not be as good as his chance of selling unmarked cattle would be. It will have some effect on the trade. Nobody—and the farmer least of all— likes any restriction put on his operations. The farmer likes to sell when he wants to sell, and to buy when he wants to buy. If he is successfully to carry on in ordinary times, or any other time, he has to get those rights. The people in the live stock trade are in the position that they have got to use their heads. It is not like growing a crop, where you just put it in, wait until it comes up, and then sell it. In this case the farmer has to be a sort of stockbroker. He has to watch the rise and fall of the market; he has to get in at a certain time, and get out at a certain time. This Bill is going to upset his ordinary trade. He will not know when to sell or when to get out. Possibly he may have to get in or get out at a time when he does not want to get in or get out.

Another difficulty arises. The cattle are to be marked. There will be much less consumption of beasts during the summer months than in the subsequent months. The greater demand for beef will be in the winter months. Possibly an inspector will walk into the ordinary farmer's place when this Bill is in operation, if it goes through quickly, and mark his cattle for sale next December or January. How is the ordinary grass farmer going to keep his cattle in condition for that period? It would be impossible for a man who produces grass beef intended for sale from June until September to keep the cattle until December or January. It would be an absolute impossibility unless he was to go in for stall feeding. Unless he did that he could not keep his cattle in condition until October. They would deteriorate very much, and possibly when some unfortunate butcher had to buy them later on in January — and he would be quite entitled to buy them, according to the Bill, once they were marked — he would be buying beasts that were altogether unfit for consumption as beef.

There would be another effect of this Bill. Even if there were going to be any gain for the farmer under this Bill —and I doubt very much if he is going to gain anything by it — there will be a loss in another way. Even if he did benefit, as the Minister expects, I should like the Minister to consider for a moment what will be the reactions on the bacon trade. The Minister has done his best for the pig industry. He is going to create a taste amongst humble people for beef, which they had not previously. If there is one section of the people who consume and love bacon above all other kinds of food it is the poor people. They would rather have bacon and cabbage any day than beef or mutton. Very few Deputies will disagree with that statement. If there is to be a great distribution of free beef all over the country, and afterwards cheap beef, there is bound to be less demand for bacon. There is then going to be very serious reactions on the bacon trade, if the Bill is to be the success that the Minister expects it to be. In that way, what is gained in one way, if there is to be any gain, will be lost to another part of the farmers' production, that is, in pigs.

A good deal has been said about the levy. I have no great objection to a levy if it is going to benefit farmers to any extent, provided it does not, as happened under other Acts, make a prohibitive addition to the cost to the consumer. I am very much afraid that the levy in this case may make beef a good deal dearer to the ordinary consumer than it should be. If any small butcher is able to survive after conforming with the various regulations, such as keeping accounts and providing premises, he will not only charge the levy to the ordinary consumer but the expenditure that he has been put to in putting his premises in order and in employing hands to keep accounts and other things. All will go on to the consumer and the ultimate amount he will have to pay for beef or mutton will be out of all proportion to what the price should be. These are some of the effects I think this Bill will produce.

I regret that any attempt to help the farmer should be brought in in such a manner. I believe that some other method could have been arrived at, possibly the suggestion made by Deputy Belton of having regular fixed prices for different classes of cattle: for first or second-class cattle and stores. If the Minister made an order fixing the prices to be paid, without having any inspectors, there would not be any need for all these regulations. I admit that there would be difficulties, that possibly various people would claim that their cattle were up to a certain standard when they were not. But there would not be any of the difficulties that are evident in the Bill and we would not have to have a host of inspectors. No one can make a shot at what the number of inspectors will eventually be. The chief objection I have to the Bill is that it is another step on the road that the Government have taken to control every interest, private and public, in this State, and that we will shortly arrive at the position, agriculturally and commercially, when no man will be able to carry on his business as he desires.

I approach this matter with a perfectly open mind but, having listened to the speech of the Minister introducing the Bill, I have come to the conclusion that this is a very important and far-reaching measure, designed to interfere unduly with the legitimate trade, and is one of a number of measures that have frequently been brought before the House during the present session, most of these having been directed towards erecting a big smoke screen round and about the activities of the Fianna Fáil Government owing to the hopeless mess into which they have led our unfortunate country. Part II deals with registration of premises, with the keeping of returns, and imposes on the purveyors of meat conditions which may appear to be rather light, but which cause an amount of annoyance and worry to an already worried and annoyed section of the community. I feel that this is one of the unnecessary interferences with trade to which Deputy Bennett referred. I do not propose to stress that aspect any further. Part III proposes a levy in respect of cattle and sheep slaughtered in registered premises, and makes it incumbent on the Minister to levy at the prescribed rate on cattle and sheep slaughtered during certain months in such premises. I am anxious to know how this figure is to be arrived at. The Minister was very clear in his definitions and explanations of the various sections but I am anxious to know how he arrived at the figure which will be prescribed by the regulations made by him. I should like the Minister to clear up that point for the satisfaction of Deputies and for people engaged in this industry outside. In Part IV the Government appear to be taking very drastic and revolutionary steps with an existing trade. I may also mention that it is also proposed to take from farmers the right to sell a beast any time they like and at any price they can get.

Inspectors are to be appointed by the Minister who may or may not be qualified to act as judges in this respect. I want to stress that, because my experience when talking to farmers is this, that many of the inspectors who have hitherto gone around—I do not wish to reflect on any servants of this Department, because as a rule they are highly efficient—to inspect dairies and cowsheds, who were appointed under the ægis of the Department have been incompetent. They have been telling farmers what to do, just like telling one's grandmother how to suck eggs. I am quoting the words of many of the Minister's own Party in that connection. These inspectors will have, according to the Bill and according to the Minister's explanation of the sections of the Bill, the sole right of saying when and how these farmers' stock may be disposed of. I think the Minister must admit that this is one of the most revolutionary measures that has ever been brought under the notice of this House. This again I consider to be under interference with trade and I would make the suggestion to the Minister in all sincerity that he should go the whole hog and let the Minister for Industry and Commerce, for instance, take action to bring every other industry in the State under State control. Then we will know where we are and we will know exactly whether we are to be Russianised, if I can use such a term, this year, next year or the year after. The sooner this comes along, the better, because it will give many persons who are contemplating putting their small capital—I am referring to the small people and not to the people with big capital—an opportunity of knowing exactly where they stand and of realising how any little capital they will put into industry may, at one stroke of the pen, be filched from them and any little business they may have built up entirely taken from them or put under the ægis of some Government Department or another.

Under Part 7 of the Bill, certain restrictions will be placed on the manufacture of cattle and sheep products for human consumption. I think Deputy Mulcahy earlier in the afternoon mentioned that amongst these cattle and sheep products were such things as tripe and other such commodities, and last but not least, that well-known Cork dish, the succulent drisheen. I can quite see a whole lot of objections being raised to this section by a number of industrious people whose families have been in this business for many generations, and I would like the Minister to allay the fears of those people when he is concluding this debate, because already there is some anxiety present in the minds of those people that their business is to be interfered with. I can quite understand any measures that have been taken which will ensure to the general public a pure and wholesome meat supply and will ensure that all these cattle and sheep products are made under hygienic, good and wholesome conditions, but I want to submit very respectfully that if we have too much inspection—I can only term it over-inspection—in this branch of the industry or the other, it is not going to lead to the things the Minister suggested it would lead to. The Minister told us that eventually the profit would come to the producer, and he gave the tax on the consuming public as a halfpenny per lb., but he also made the admission, which has been made in this House on more than one occasion recently, and which I, in common with many other people welcome, that eventually it is the consumer pays for all this. The taxpayer and the consumer are synonymous terms and it is the consumer, whether he be rich or poor, who will have to pay this extra halfpenny.

The Minister suggested that it might be called a tax or a levy and if the Minister for Finance put another halfpenny on tea it would be called a tax or a levy and he was quite agreeable to accept the explanation that it was a tax. It is well that the general public should know that they are about to be taxed to the extent of a halfpenny per lb. on beef, which, the Minister says, has been sold in this country far too cheaply for some considerable time past. I do not want to bring the eternal question of the economic dispute into every discussion that takes place in this House, but the Minister must be aware that this Bill, and other Bills of a similar character, are brought in here simply because we have not got the commonsense to sit at a round table and discuss this economic position with our neighbours across the water. We cannot go behind that. I must say that I am looking with a good deal of horror and certainly with a good deal of anxiety to the future of this country and particularly to the future of the taxpaying community. I feel that we will reach a stage one of these days in this country when about 40 per cent. of the people will be maintaining 60 per cent. of the population.

Another portion of this Bill provides that the Minister himself may carry on a business or businesses. Here again, we have the State taking certain powers, which they have already taken to a certain extent under the Shannon electricity undertaking, and I feel that it is unduly interfering with the ordinary and everyday lives of the people, and I would suggest that the Minister might realise that it is about time the shoemaker stuck to his last and not to get into business which neither he nor those associated with him know anything about. The Minister may know something about agriculture and a good deal about medicine and other matters, but this is a highly technical business. The slaughtering of animals and the rearing of animals for sale is a technical business. It is a farmer's job and a butcher's job respectively and I suggest that the Minister, in unduly interfering—and again, I use the word unduly—with a trade or calling so long established is making a very big mistake.

I look upon the distribution of beef to certain classes as a necessary evil. Mark you, it is not free meat of the best quality, as the Minister himself admits, but free meat of a certain character as defined in the Bill. The Minister himself admits that it is not the best parts of the beef that are going to be given away for nothing and here again, I feel, and I am sure that every self-respecting member of the Government Party feels, that turning the whole of the Free State into a glorified soup kitchen is not a thing the Irish people should be proud of. I would much prefer to see the Minister and his colleagues engaged in a vigorous campaign to reduce administrative expenses, Government expenses, and the money so saved could be applied either to opening new avenues of employment or increasing unemployment assistance or unemployment insurance. These are the ways in which I should like to see money expended and not in the way of the old soup kitchen, giving free beef—and that not always the best part of the beef—to the necessitous poor of the country. It is most humiliating, in my view, to find that that portion of the Bill is going to receive any support, especially from the benches opposite, which are supposed to represent the working class people of this country, and it is humiliating to me to find that the working class people of this country are going to be put into the position in which some of our people were during the famine in '47 when they took soup. We had then religious proselytism whereas now we have political proselytism.

Another thing I am concerned about, and I feel the public in general are concerned about, is the number of inspectors and extra officials who will be required to administer this Bill when it become law. I remember, some 12 months ago, asking this House what was the result of some of the new tariffs that had been imposed on various commodities. I was not answered by the Minister then but some other member sought the information in a question on the Order Paper. As far as my recollection goes, the answer to the question was that the sum paid out by way of salary to the extra officials appointed amounted to something like £63,000 per annum. That represents a permanent charge on the Exchequer of £63,000. What sum of money will be required for the extra inspectors and officials necessary to administer this Bill when it becomes law? We heard a lot from Fianna Fáil platforms some years ago during the late Administration as to the hordes of officials employed. We heard their spokesmen declaring that this country was run by hordes of officials who were costing enormous sums of money. They pretended to show that when they were entrusted with the administration they would see to it that these hordes of officials were reduced very considerably and that the administrative costs would be reduced considerably. There were so many millions to be saved here and so many thousands there and so on that the cost of administration could be reduced by at least £1,000,000. What do we find? The cost of administration is going up and up. When this Bill becomes law I venture to prophesy that they must of necessity employ extra inspectors and further clerical assistance. That will again be a permanent charge on the taxpayers.

I ask the Minister and those associated with him to cry halt even now to the introduction of measures not calculated to benefit the ordinary man in the street or the ordinary working-class people, because the Minister himself admits that after a time this free beef will cease to be given out and that a small charge may be made for it. I would prefer to see the Minister even now, at this late moment, saying that there will be no free beef and that a nominal charge will be made for it. I feel that any person who stands up here in the name of the Labour Party or the working classes and welcomes a measure of this character is for all time branding the necessitous poor as a lot of people who are worse than the perverts in 1847. As I have just said, there were at that time religious proselytisers; now we have the political proselytisers. I appeal to the Minister to take those parts relating to free meat and the applying of those vexatious and unnecessary restrictions on trade out of the Bill and then let us see whether we can reach some measure of agreement upon it.

I waited for some time to hear what criticism of this measure was going to be offered by the Opposition. I cannot say too much for their powers of imagination, but undoubtedly they have been stretching their imagination all the evening to try and find something wrong with this measure. Yesterday we had Deputy Belton complaining because the farmers are now going to get a price for their oats and barley and the merchants are no longer going to be allowed to rob them. Deputy Belton's only complaint in reference to that measure yesterday was that there was going to be no fixed price for cattle. To-day when a Bill comes up to fix the price of cattle he has been stretching his imagination for a full hour, until the contortions on his face became painful to look at, to try and find some way out. Then we had Deputy Bennett, and now we have had Deputy Anthony, all playing on different strings of the one fiddle. What is the complaint? That this Government are endeavouring to find a definite market for the cattle, a definite means of disposing of, you might say, the surplus cattle and seeing that the farmer gets some price for them. What was the complaint during the last two years? That the farmers' cattle were being bought for nothing and that the butchers were robbing the poor. For the last two years they were wailing and moaning about beef being bought for 15/- a cwt. and butchers selling it at 60/-. Now the farmer is going to get a fixed price for his beef.

What is it?

You will be the next speaker and you can stretch your imagination to find out what it is. That is your job. I do not like to be helping you out too much. I have made a fair study of this for the past few weeks and I believe that it will not alone afford a fair market for the cattle, but will practically get rid of all the surplus cattle. I do not believe there will be any surplus cattle left. We are coming to the time when, like persons dealing in every other class of commodity, the farmer will know definitely what he is going to get for his beef. The price will be fixed for him. We have had various complaints with reference to this measure. Last, if not least, we had Deputy Anthony complaining that the poor are going to get free beef. He is shocked at the idea. Deputy Bennett's complaint was that if we gave beef to the poor they would not eat any more pigs' heads. Which of the two are we going to satisfy? Deputy Anthony's complaint was that the poor are going to get free meat—a scandal and a shame! Another point he made was that they were going to get second-class meat— that it is not going to be the best. In what part of the Bill did he find that?

Read the Bill.

I read the Bill.

Read it again.

It is not in it.

I read the Bill a long time before the Deputy. He did not read it yet. It is not in it.

Section 39, Part 9.

I will read the section.

He does not understand. He has not read it at all.

There are only three parts in Section 39 and where could Part 9 be? Deputy Anthony did not even read the Bill. I knew he did not.

Look at Part 9, Section 39.

It is at the top of the page.

Let him alone. He does not understand it.

Is there any word in this section having relation to the quality of the beef?

The Minister, when he was explaining this Bill—and I took good care to note what he said— mentioned so much beef of a specified kind and quality. There is only one Minister for Agriculture, so far as I understand, unless I am as ignorant and as silly as Deputy Corry. I think Dr. Ryan's explanation is more acceptable to me than the explanation of uninformed Deputies.

What was the explanation given?

Ask the Minister.

Ah, shut up!

A man of your type should not be allowed into any decent assembly at all.

Deputy Anthony's kind and quality, as enumerated by him.

By the Minister.

I challenge the Deputy to say that the Minister mentioned any kind of quality.

Challenge the Minister.

It is not in the Bill.

As a matter of fact, when Deputy Anthony made the statement I just passed a note to the Minister in connection with it and his reply was "first quality."

Is that in the Bill?

Show me the stuff in the Bill that you are talking about.

Deputy Corry is entitled to make a speech without interruption. He should be listened to without interruption. If the Deputy is interrupted, it is not reasonable. Other Deputies may speak if they want to when Deputy Corry has finished.

That was one of the fights of imagination into which Deputy Anthony went. I admit he is up very high in the world and probably he can see what other people cannot see, but I cannot see where the Minister has brought in any second-quality beef or any beef, as Deputy Anthony put it, that was not going to be first-class. Deputy Anthony's main complaint is that we are going to get any beef at all; he cannot understand it. Deputy Anthony was a member of the South Cork Board of Assistance, like my colleague, Deputy Broderick, and he saw the amount of money we have to give out in the way of assistance. Amongst others we have to support a man and his wife and five children. He should be very grateful to see this assistance being added. He should be glad to see the unfortunate man who gets 8/- or 10/- a week now getting five or seven pounds of beef in addition. I am very glad that our surplus beef will go to feed the poor. I do not think we owe an apology to anybody for seeing that the poor are considered. The main object of this Bill is to get rid of the surplus stock which happens to be in the country. In regard to that surplus we have varied expressions from the Opposition. Deputy Belton told us that only for the attitude of the Government there would be no surplus. Deputy Belton would get a fabulous price from New Zealand or Australia. As Minister for Agriculture there he would be able to induce the British Government to take all their mutton and their agricultural produce, without any quota. Mind you, there is a quota in New Zealand and Australia. They cannot sell to England all they want to sell.

Is the Deputy aware of that personally?

I read the papers at times.

Will the Deputy allow me to read something for him?

With a heart and a half. I would always like to give way to you.

This must be the speech of the Minister of Agriculture in England.

The old Blue Book.

Here is something that might interest the Deputy:—

"New Zealand in the Ottawa year sent 377,000 cwt. of frozen beef. The estimates of the Dominion were that there would be an increase thereafter of 10 per cent. The shipments in 1933 on the basis of the Ottawa year, plus 10 per cent., would have been 414,000 cwt. The actual shipments in 1933 were 700,000 cwt. In the first half of this year they have been over 500,000 cwt. and there is another 500,000 cwt. still to come."

The date is 16th July, 1934, and the Minister is Mr. Elliot.

Dr. Ryan

Why did he say that?

I understand from Deputy Corry that the Dominions were restricted to a quota. I believe that was the agreement in Ottawa—that they were limited to 10 per cent. and in consequence of that limitation they were cut down to 414,000 cwt., in the year 1932. They sent 700,000 cwt., and in the first six months of this year they sent 500,000 cwt. and in the second six months they will send another 500,000 cwt.

Dr. Ryan

Would the Deputy say why the Minister of Agriculture in England quoted these figures?

He was dealing with the same problem as the Minister.

Dr. Ryan

Was it not to point out that the New Zealanders would not keep to a contract and he would see that they would keep it?

That statement clearly shows what was imported. It proves conclusively that they used that much and that explodes all the theories and statements.

Dr. Ryan

The Minister's point was that they would not be allowed to do it again.

There was no mention about that.

Dr. Ryan

Oh, yes, there was.

Better read it again.

Listen to this. This will penetrate after a while:—"In the first half of this year they have been over 500,000 cwt.," though for the whole year they were allowed 414,000 cwt., "and there is another 500,000 cwt. still to come."

Dr. Ryan

Yes, that is right, but what did he say he was going to do?

Make what you like of it.

Dr. Ryan

The Deputy is an adept at making an extract suit.

I accept Deputy Cosgrave's word and I am very glad I gave way to him, because we want to have this whole thing out. I also read in the public Press the statements in regard to the quota system and the offers made by the New Zealand Government. They appeared in the public Press for any man to read. Their offer was that they were prepared to wipe out all tariffs on condition that Great Britain would accept from them all the agricultural produce they had to export.

They are doing very well.

I also read in the public Press the British Government's refusal to agree to that. Those things are there in the public Press for every Deputy to read, and if there are 500,000 cwts. coming in and 500,000 cwts. more to come, that does not mean that they are getting rid of all their produce. While that particular market for frozen beef at that particular price might suit the impoverished pockets of John Bull at the present day, it does not mean that the Irish farmer would be prepared to produce his beef and to sell it at the frozen beef prices in England.

Hear, hear. That is the point.

I doubt very much whether he would be prepared to do it or not, and I do not believe he would be prepared to do it. I do not believe it would be possible for him to do it, any more than it was possible for the Irish farmer in former years to grow wheat in this country at the price at which Deputy Cosgrave's Government told him he would have to grow it—£6 a ton. There is such a thing as cost of production.

Hear, hear.

Cost of production enters into all those things, and I do not think that the Irish farmer, badly off and all as he is supposed to be, would be prepared to sell his beef at the price of frozen beef in England. I was dealing, however, with statements made by Deputy Belton here on that matter. In this measure we are providing once and for all and getting a little further along the road to the position where the farmer will have an idea and will know what he is going to get for his produce before he produces it, and that, I think, is the main point. Guaranteed prices, after all, should be the basis, and if Deputy Cosgrave and his Government had acted along that line in the past ten years this Government would never get the opportunity of inflicting all the ills and woes they are supposed to have inflicted on the farmers in the past two years.

Deputy Cosgrave and his Government told the farmers:—"Yes, you can sell in the open market; you can grow wheat here and sell it in competition with the ranchers in Canada and Australia, and you can do the same with the rest of your produce; you can produce your pig here but it will have to go in competition with the Chinese pig, and the same applies to all the other items of agricultural produce." We are coming down to the basis where we consider that the farmer has to get for his produce the cost of production, plus something extra and that, at any rate, in the market we can control, the market here at home, the farmer will get that price. He is just as much entitled to it as the manufacturer of boots or the manufacturer of clothes, or any one of the other industries that have been started here. He is just as much entitled to the cost of production plus something over as any of those. It is a matter of finding out what the cost of production is, and working it out on that basis.

I admit, and Deputies over there have admitted, that the prices of beef and mutton have fallen considerably even in England during the past two or three years. I will admit this much, that I have not taken any very great interest in it for the past few years, because, four years ago, I considered that at the price of beef in the English market it would not pay me to produce it, and I got out of it.

It would not pay you?

What about the price of this market now?

The idiot of a farmer who stuck to it is in a bad way now, just the same as if I went out with a reaping hook to cut a field of wheat to-day and expected that field to pay me.

Carry on!

Carry on! Those who carried on in those circumstances at that time can only expect to carry on against the wall. The sooner the farmers in this country realise those matters, the better. I had to realise them in 1926.

You were a man living near a town.

When I went in to Messrs. Furlong with a sample of wheat I was told: "It is the finest sample of wheat we have seen for a long time but we can only pay you the world market price—£6 a ton." There was my ten acres of wheat gone west—£60—and I had to put up with it and there was no use in telling Deputy Cosgrave that I could not pay my land annuities or my rates either, because if I told him that I would be told to get out on the road.

Perhaps Deputy Corry would talk about the Bill now.

I am sorry if I was drawn away from it. The Bill, as I say, is one of the steps along the road when the farmer will get a fixed price for his produce and when the consumer here in this country, for whom Deputy Anthony has all the sympathy, and for whom we have a lot of sympathy also, will have to come down to the point when he will know that he has got to pay for agricultural produce at least the cost of production and some bit of profit. We are going to protect the market that we have here at home and I should like that that particular point would be thought over and would sink in.

No one objects to that point.

The trouble with us was that you people did not do that for ten years. The farmer had to be satisfied with what he could get in the world market and it did not matter what——

I tilled more in one year than Deputy Corry tilled in three.

I quite admit that Deputy Holohan is a tillage farmer, but I would also guarantee that he would not grow wheat and sell it for £6 a ton. He had to wait till Fianna Fáil came in before he could get a good price.

The Bill we are discussing is the Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep Bill. There is no reference to wheat in it.

I regret having allowed myself to be drawn by Deputy Holohan and I do not wish to take up the time of the House. I have dealt with the few arguments put up and they were very few. This is a Bill to fix the price of cattle. Yesterday we fixed the price of grain. In my opinion we are travelling along what I consider the right road, the road where the farmer will know when he starts to produce what he will get for the article produced, and that he will not be at the mercy of any of these gentlemen. After all, what has been the argument used here and in every hole and corner during the past two or three years? Take a beast to the fair. You sell that beast at 1½d. a lb. and you will pay 9½d. for the steak cut from that carcase. That has been the general argument commonly used in recent years. That argument will not be capable of being used in future.

The butchers of the country owe a debt to the Government because by this Bill they are taking away from them the charge of profiteering. I am sure the butchers will be duly grateful for that. I consider that the Bill is a very useful Bill, that it fulfils what is absolutely required in this country, namely getting rid once and for all of our surplus beef and putting us on the straight road where we will know where we are and what we are going to get for our work.

It is refreshing to hear Deputy Corry stand up here this evening and advocate the case of that unpatriotic gentleman the rancher, or the case of anybody who has anything to do with the bullock. Deputy Corry is very much concerned with him. But never before had he any interest in him. He was the one man Deputy Corry did not want; but he comes along this evening and tries to bolster up a case for this Bill under an apparent concern for the rancher. There are some things on which we might all agree. One of these is that everybody is entitled to the cost of production. I think we will all agree to that.

Hear, hear.

But what does this Bill seek to do? Is it not interfering in every possible way with the individual farmer? Take Part IV of the Bill: Inspectors can go to a man's land, inspect his cattle, mark them, and it will be an offence to have these cattle sold before a particular date. Is it the intention to take a census of the whole cattle population of the country at the present moment? I would like to have an answer from the Minister to that question. The Minister admitted that the Bill was a hard Bill to work. That is the one point on which I do agree with the Minister —the difficulty of working the Bill. There is one thing in which the Minister and the draftsman have scored—that they were able to produce such a document to the House.

The interference with the farmer's rights which is being made possible by this measure is, as Deputy Anthony said, a great objection to the Bill. The Minister pretends to propound by this Bill that he is going to help the cattle industry in this country. I wonder if he will? He seems to think that by raising prices the problem will be met. I understood the Minister to say that more beef was consumed in the country than was consumed some years ago. So there is. But if you want to raise the price to what is an economic level, is it not quite likely that the consumption of the commodity will go back again to the same figure as before?

This idea of inspectors trying to operate this Bill must be considered by the House. The cost of trying to operate the Bill must be very considerable. I am satisfied that it is not fair to send an inspector into a farmer's place to tell that farmer that he is to sell his cattle at such and such a time, that the cattle will be fit for sale on such a date and so on. I do not think any Government should take to itself the power of dictating to the farmer in that way, or adopting that attitude.

The Deputy asks why. Because it is an interference with the legitimate right of the farmer to sell his cattle when he wants to sell them. In actual working practice it will be found that the inspector might come to my place and say: "these cattle will be fit for sale in a month or two." If I have got to keep to these dates will there be any competition at all in connection with the cattle industry under the Bill? It is such clauses in the Bill which I would ask the Deputies to analyse and ask themselves how they will work out so far as concerns the people whom they represent. In Part V of the Bill there are provisions to fix the basis of weight. It is upon this the price of the cattle is to be settled. How many Deputies in this House are capable of turning round and saying that a beast would be worth a certain sum calculating it on such a basis? There are not many such people. Yet the Minister proposes that the Bill will be worked in that way. There is the implication that inspectors will be appointed. Nobody knows who these inspectors are or what their qualifications will be or anything else about them. Deputy Bennett says he hopes there will be men qualified to fill the position. I do not know.

The inspector will not be like the tailor who came around to examine my bulls.

He will be sacked if he goes near you at all.

These things are not within the scope of this Bill. I do say that the Minister can well scrap that section about the inspectors, and not be sending three inspectors around to a cross roads where there would be only one bull to inspect. It is time to cut that out.

The Minister's predecessor sent a tailor to do it.

Deputy Corry must keep within the rules of order.

He cannot keep order. I am concerned with the working of this Bill entirely. The Minister says it is time to increase cattle prices and time to absorb the surplus stock in this country. That is what he proposes to do under the Bill. How the Bill can be operated to bring about that result is a puzzle to me. I think it is a puzzle to every Deputy who has studied the Bill. I will have the greatest possible admiration for the Minister for Agriculture if he makes any sort of a job at all of it. I know the difficulty inherent in such a job. This Bill, as Deputy Anthony said, is something revolutionary. Take that section in it fixing the minimum time or the maximum time after being fed when cattle may be weighed for the purpose of calculating their weight and so on. All this is very difficult to work, and I cannot see how the Bill can at all be operated in the way in which the Minister wants it. A great deal was said this evening about free beef. I do not make any objection to free beef. What I do want is to see that the farmer gets the cost of production. I am at one with Deputy Corry in that. It is only reasonable to expect that the farmer, as well as any other producer in the State, would be given the cost of production.

Then why oppose the Bill?

That is not in the Bill.

No; it is in another Bill.

Yes; it is in another Bill. Somebody mentioned here about £1 5s. a cwt. live-weight. I would like to know on what basis that figure was arrived at. This is the first time that I heard the Minister admit here that the farmers in this country were never getting the production price of beef calculated by the tariff and everything else. The Minister admits this evening that the farmer has at least lost £4 5s. on his animal. We had this matter here before and we had a discussion and some interruptions on it. I tell the Minister that it is well known that a fat stock licence is worth £3. The Minister said here one day that public spirited gentlemen, going around the country buying stock from farmers, were entitled to a licence. I approached the sheriff's representative some time ago and asked him was he giving a licence with the cattle he sold, and he said he was not. That is a direct contradiction of what the Minister said. I want to know who will fix the price. Under this Bill a price has to be fixed. Who is to fix it? There is also provision for the Minister to set up business. I wonder does he intend to set up a butcher in every town. If so, I suppose he is to be a Fianna Fáil supporter and the cattle would only be bought from Fianna Fáil farmers.

That is nonsense, and you know it.

I do not know it, but I am very glad to hear Deputy Donnelly say it is nonsense. We have heard much from the Fianna Fáil Party that the Minister wants to go into the trade. If he does buy cattle, the price that he pays will fix the price generally and he can dish that price out to everybody he likes. Under this Bill we are to have numerous inspectors — inspectors of cattle, inspectors of beef, inspectors of slaughterhouses and of various other places.

There are a lot of inspectors in your own organisation.

I do not know that. The Minister mentioned a deputation that waited on him from my own constituency. They told me he treated them very courteously, and he told them that the greatest problem was the disposal of cows; that is a matter on which there is a great difference of opinion. The Minister says cows are useless but that depends on the age of the cow. If she is four or five years old she may not be suitable for a dairy cow but would she be the class suitable for the factory? Would he buy her for 10/-? It is a question of degree in connection with all these cattle. You might have cattle of the same weight yet some of them would be worth more than others. If the Minister knows anything about cattle he knows that is so. How is that to be settled? Is there to be competition on the part of the exporters or the local traders? The Minister takes power to prohibit the export of cattle. In fact he takes power to do almost everything; how he is going to do all these things has been puzzling me. There are some sections of this Bill that I thoroughly object to. If the Bill was intended to increase the price of cattle, and benefit the farming community it would be all right, but instead of that there is to be constant interference with the rights of individual farmers. For that reason I object to a good many of the sections in this Bill.

Deputy Corry, in his speech, remarked that some members on this side of the House had not read the Bill. It was perfectly obvious from the Deputy's own speech that he had not read the Bill. The whole case he made was based, not upon the Bill before the House, but upon some other Bill that is not before the House. He talked about this Bill being introduced primarily for the purpose of guaranteeing to the farmer a price for his cattle and sheep which would meet the cost of production with something over for a profit. Of course there is no such thing in the Bill. He talked about a provision in the Bill which is to secure that the meat which was to be issued to those who were compelled to seek home assistance, or unemployment assistance, was to be of prime quality, was to be of the best quality. There is nothing at all about that in the Bill. The Deputy knows that, for he is not as foolish as one would conclude he was listening to his remarks for the first time. He gets away with it now and again. He is now trying to convince the farmers that this Bill will ensure for them a price for their live stock that will not only cover the cost of production but will leave them a profit. There is nothing whatever about that in the Bill. The one thing the Bill does lay down is to secure a minimum price.

That is what Deputy Curran does not understand.

I am afraid that Deputy Davin does not understand much about the matter either. Deputy Corry said it was about time that there was a fixed price for the farmer. We could easily get a fixed price for what the farmer produces or what anybody produces, but at what figure? You could get a guaranteed price for butter at 9d. a lb. or 6d. a lb., or you could get a fixed price for beef at a penny a lb. But that does not mean that the farmers can produce the butter or the beef at that figure. The fact of the matter is this, and Deputy Davin knows it is the case, that the effective minimum price will also become the maximum price. Deputy Davin knows something about the cattle trade and he has stood in a fair now and again. I do not know that he has been at one lately; in fact, I have doubts about it. If he attaches to any animal, whether to his head or to his tail, X pounds as the price fixed by the Department of Agriculture, that is the price that will be paid for the animal and no more.

If there is no competition.

There is no competition. I happened to be at the fair in Nenagh yesterday for three or four hours. There is another Deputy in this House who was also at that fair and he belongs to a different Party from the one to which I belong and he can tell the House that most of the buyers would not even bid for the cattle they had for sale. There is another objection and Deputy Davin knows it. I said, and I am quite satisfied, that the minimum price will become the maximum price. Deputy Davin knows how this operates in connection with employment. He has a good deal of experience in these matters and he knows that where men are employed with a minimum wage fixed that minimum also becomes the maximum. The same will apply here.

Deputy Corry, of course, goes on with his usual nonsense and wants to bring into the debate all about the price of oats, barley, grain and everything else. He told us last night that the farmers had to get away their oats for anything they could get for it. I remember him a few months ago boasting about the price he got for his oats. Deputy Donnelly says that all this talk about inspectors going in on a farm is nonsense. It is all nonsense as far as Deputy Corry is concerned because if an inspector were to go in on Deputy Corry's farm and to mark a beast for sale at a certain price it would be as much as his job would be worth. Deputy Corry would plague the life out of the Minister and the officials of his Department until that man was got rid of altogether. I do not presume to know as much about the practical side of farming as many members of this House, but I have some rough idea of it. Let me put this case to members of the House. Let us say that an inspector goes in on a farm—let it be a fairly small farm or the ordinary sized farm, and that there are a number of beasts on that farm and that he stamps these beasts as being fit for sale on a certain date at a certain minimum price. Let us assume that he does that honestly, conscientiously and efficiently, that he is a man who knows his job thoroughly. It may so happen, and it does so happen in the ordinary farmer's economy, that even if the beasts were fit for sale on that particular date it might not suit the farmer to sell on that date.

Even if he were able to get the value of them?

The Deputy knows what I am at. There are farmers who have certain calls to meet at certain times of the year. I think I am making myself clear on that point. Are we to be faced with the position that a farmer cannot walk into an ordinary fair and sell his beast to the highest bidder, whether that buyer is buying for export or for home consumption? If the farmer walks into any country fair in the ordinary way, he tries to get the highest price in the market and he does not know or does not worry whether the cattle are going to be bought for home consumption or for export. That is not the way the trade has been worked at all. Does anybody, who has any knowledge of the position, really consider for a moment that this Bill can be effectively and efficiently worked? I am afraid that it cannot be either effectively or efficiently worked. I am satisfied of two things, that it is not going to absorb the surplus live stock of this country and that it is certainly not going to secure for the farmer a price which will cover the cost of production and something in addition to maintain him and those who are depending on him as they should be maintained.

Let us come to the other parts of the Bill. Of course, it is the usual practice of Deputy Corry to look at the truth from the wrong end of the telescope. He tried to attribute to Deputy Anthony statements which he did not make. So far as I am concerned—and I think Deputy Anthony is of the same mind—in the circumstances, I have no objection whatever to the Government's providing free beef, free mutton, or any of the other necessaries of life free for the poor and destitute of this country, but I do say that it is a terrible commentary on the policy of the Party opposite, who told those destitute people two and a half years ago that if there were a Christian Government in power in this country, there would be no destitution or no unemployment. It speaks very badly for the policy of that Party that, after two and a half years of their government, things are so bad and destitution is so much greater than it was two years ago, that they are forced to introduce a measure like this.

Is that why we won the local elections?

The local elections have nothing to do with it, but if the Deputy wants to talk about the promises made at the local elections, I can talk about them. One of the promises was that the people were going to get everything free. Not only were the poor going to get free maintenance but the farmers were not going to be asked to pay anything. Those who were in receipt of old age pensions, or those who were looking for them, were told that if they did not vote Fianna Fáil they would not get them and that if they had them already they would be taken from them.

That is too old.

I agree it is a very old trick of the Fianna Fáil Party, but unfortunately it worked.

Mr. Corry rose.

Unfortunately for Deputy Corry it did not work in Cork. That is a great tribute to the Cork people. Not even Deputy Corry was able to fool the Cork people all the time. To get back to the Bill, I must say in passing that Deputy Donnelly has not lost any of his old tricks. The Deputy always knows when anybody is getting near his corns. I was saying when I was interrupted by Deputy Donnelly that this Bill speaks badly for the efforts, or the so-called efforts, of the Government for two and a half years. We are being driven back into the position—Deputy Donnelly, Deputy Corry and even the Minister now and again likes to call a spade a spade—in which, as Deputy Anthony said, we shall have the soup kitchens, the pauperising and the degrading of the decent working people of this country. Deputy Corry talked about first and second-class beef and mutton being given to those people. There are many members of this House who are also members of local authorities. I want to put it frankly to any member of any Party in the House, whose duty it has been to consider the contracts for the supply of beef and mutton to institutions, does he believe, although these institutions advertised for prime beef and mutton, that they ever got it?

Deputy Corry says "yes" but the Deputy knows quite well, and I know it, that when butchers were charging 1/-, 1/2 and 1/3 per lb. for prime beef and mutton in their shops, they were tendering to supply that prime beef and mutton at 4½d. per lb. to the institutions. That was even when it was costing them 8d. and 9d. per lb. on the hoof.

Mr. Corry rose.

Let the Deputy sit down for a moment. I am talking about something I know.

I only want Deputy Broderick to answer the Deputy.

The Deputy is trying to be more petty than he usually is. We all know what Deputy Corry is trying to say but he has not the courage to say it. As far as that is concerned, Deputy Broderick has a higher sense of honour and courage than Deputy Corry ever had. I am talking about facts. I go further and ask, if this Bill passes, when it comes into actual operation and when the ordinary working man or his wife or little child gets a voucher and goes into the butcher's shop on a Friday or Saturday afternoon, what is going to happen? The worker's wife takes her place at the end of the queue and has to wait with her relief ticket while her next-door neighbour, whose husband is working, can walk up and pay for her beef independently and walk out. In this case I believe in calling a spade a spade. There are men in this House who know that what I say is true. There are men serving on local authorities who know all about contracts entered into for the supply of meat to public institutions. These men know that the person tendering a relief ticket to the butcher will not get the same quality of meat as the person who is able to plank down the cash.

We have listened to a great deal of detail on the technical side of this measure. We have been told what it is going to mean to producers of beef and mutton. I want to get it into its political setting in which it has not been put yet. This thing ought not to be called the "Slaughter of Cattle and Sheep Bill." It ought to be called the "Slaughter of Trade (Third Shift) Bill." If those of you who believe that we have won out in the economic war want a better title, why not call it the Economic War (Victory)—you might put "Victory" in inverted commas as well as in brackets—Third Celebration Bill? What is the situation with which we are faced? The Minister did become more frank to-day than he has ever been in any phase of this whole economic struggle. We have suffered twice from the British reaction to the land annuities fraud— once when the penal tariffs went on and, secondly, when quotas were fixed. We did not think that we were ever going to be driven to this device. On the 14th July, 1932, when the Emergency Imposition of Duties Bill was introduced, the Minister for Finance felt certain that we had alternative markets. If the British did anything to us, we could, he said, get our produce sent elsewhere. He did not think that the alternative market was going to be the provision of free meat and cheap boiling beef to the extra number of unemployed brought about by two years of Fianna Fáil Government. That never ranked in anybody's mind as an alternative market but that is the refuge now.

The Minister told us to-day that when the penal tariffs went on it was found that the beef producer in this country was being penalised by the difference between the bounty and the British tariff. I want him to amend that. He was penalised in the difference between the amount of the bounty which the producer got—which was not the whole amount—and the penal tariff. Then we got a further set-back when quotas were fixed. I did not understand the immediate sequence of the Minister's argument on that point. To me he did appear to argue at the beginning that the quotas would be of no importance if it were not for Press propaganda and panicky remarks by Deputy Belton. He said that, due to these things, people got the impression that there were more cattle to be exported than the quotas allowed and that there was a rush to kill and a rush to sell cattle. If we have no more cattle to export than the quota allows us to get into Britain, why this measure? If there is a bigger exportable surplus than the quota allows us to get into Britain, why blame Press propaganda and Deputy Belton for what the ordinary law of economics brought about?

Now, we are going to get over some part of the trouble with Britain. I have not yet gathered from the Minister whether the bounties are going to stop. I take it as an implication from part of his speech that they are not. I take it that this measure is only intended to relieve the producer of cattle from that extra handicap which the quotas have imposed upon him and that he is still going to be at the loss of the difference between the amount of the penal tariffs and the bounty. That is not Deputy Davin's plan. Deputy Davin is the father of this scheme, according to himself.

I did not say that.

I am going to tell the Deputy where he spoke of it. His speech is reported on April 16 and it was delivered at Mountrath.

You said I was the father of this Bill.

Deputy Davin said:—

"The Labour representatives had put forward a scheme which, if put into operation, would, he believed, enable the farmers to receive a minimum of 24/- a cwt. live-weight for fat cattle."

Is not that more or less the Bill?

"Under the scheme, butchers would be licensed to purchase cattle at that price and sell fresh meat to able-bodied recipients of home assistance and unemployment assistance. A subsidy would be necessary and the money now used for the provision of bounties could be diverted to the subsidy fund."


That is not the Bill. The Minister has failed the Deputy there.

"Under the scheme it would be possible to provide fresh meat at prices ranging from 2d. to 1½d. per lb."

I hope the Deputy will pardon me for reading the rest of his speech.

The Deputy can read it all, if he pleases.

Deputy Davin went on to say:—

"They were being repeatedly reminded by President de Valera and his Ministers that they stood for a policy of self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency should mean that they would devise a scheme which would provide our own people with the surplus food we are not able to sell to others."

To my mind, self-sufficiency would be catered for by selling abroad at a profit what you could not have consumed here.

And starving your own people, as your Government did.

There were not so many people on the unemployment register then as there are now and there were not so many people for whom it was thought necessary to provide cheap meat.

There were not so many people on your faked register.

Deputy Davin will have an opportunity of intervening in the debate later.

He has been very reluctant to intervene to-day. The Deputy proceeded to say:—

"Mr. de Valera and the Minister for Agriculture would be well advised to give up thinking of and talking politics for a week or two and see whether it was possible to put such a scheme into operation immediately."

The Deputy had the scheme. It was presumably passed on to the Minister, who had to consider it. It has been turned down in part.

"It was a scandalous state of affairs that they should be asked to tolerate a continuance of the existing position—"

This must have been an awful shock to the Minister, because he denied that this was ever the position.

"—which enabled cattle dealers from the Six Counties to come into the Free State and smuggle fat cattle across the Border, thus making for themselves a profit of £7 per head."

Did they ever make these profits? We used to be told that prices here and in Northern Ireland were much the same. The Deputy thought that men smuggling cattle—presumably they did not get the bounty on them—were making £7 profit per head.

They were not paying the tariff.

The Minister used to tell us that prices were very much the same here as in Northern Ireland. His colleagues certainly used to tell us that. To-day, he says that the producer of cattle was hit, prior to the quota system, by the difference between the amount of the bounty and the amount of the penal tariff. I presume that the bounty is going to continue and that this Bill is an attempt to make up for the extra burden caused by the quota. I wonder if Deputy Davin remembers when a scheme such as this was previously proposed. I have here a pamphlet called "The Nation Organised — Labour's Constructive Policy and Programme." It was sold for 3d. but could often be got free. Section 3 (Agricultural) contained this——

Ask Deputy Morrissey about that and see what sections he was responsible for.

There is a little addition to this pamphlet and Deputy Morrissey may have been one of the people responsible for getting that affixed. The original scheme ran:

"For the purpose of providing a fund for financing these and other industries connected with the animal products, we propose that a small tax should be imposed in respect of livestock exports. On the basis of 600,000 head of cattle shipped from this country per annum, a tax averaging 5/- per head would provide a sum of £150,000, equal to 5 per cent. on £3,000,000 of capital."

This addition rather blots part of the text but, so far as I can make out, it is as follows——

Read the addition and be fair.

I propose to read it afterwards. It is an interesting addition:—

"This tax on live cattle exports would not fall upon the farmer of this country; on the contrary, a reduction of the supply of cattle for the English market by 1,000 or 2,000 cattle per week through the killing of that number in Ireland, would raise the market price of live cattle for shipment by much more than the amount of the tax."

It would be interesting to have that tested by facts. It has not done that.

"Such a fund would enable provision to be made for insuring farmers and owners of live stock against loss due to accident or disease."

Before I come to the annex, the plan was to put a levy, a tax per head on the shippers of cattle. It could be done. It would provide a sum equal to 5 per cent. on £3,000,000 of capital. It is a sad day for Deputy Davin when he has got to vote, not for putting a tax on the exporters of cattle, but for taxation on the consumers of meat in this country to enable exporters to export.

To tax the profiteers.

No longer are those who ship cattle regarded as the people from whom the loot can be gleaned. They have got to be helped now. On that point I should read the addition pasted over this programme—the green book—that was drawn up provisionally subject to ratification by the first annual conference of the Party. The conference was held on the 26th and 27th June and paragraph 49 was defeated.

Yes. Why did you not read it in the beginning? It would save you reading the paragraph.

I am telling it now. There was the proposal which the Provisional Committee drew up.

Of which Deputy Morrissey was a member.

Let me go to the pamphlet first. The foreword to the pamphlet bears two signatures— Deputy Norton's and Deputy Davin's. That is Deputy Davin's opinion, but the Party were more sensible and they turned it down. Deputy Davin is here to-day to vote, not for putting 5/- a head on cattle exported out of the country, but for putting a tax of a halfpenny a lb. on the people who eat meat in this country in order to enable the cattle trade to live, and apparently the cattle trade must be kept alive. There was a time when it was thought to be the most unpatriotic thing possible to almost breathe the same air as a cattle exporter. Now we find ourselves reduced to the position that the Minister rather graphically described to-day. I think this is a fair statement of his position. Previous to his interfering with the trade of this country, previous to his winning that great fight over the land annuities, there were so many cattle reared in this country, some remained at home for breeding purposes, some were consumed at home and the rest were exported. Those retained for breeding purposes are about the same, those retained for home consumption are, according to the Minister, greater than ever and the only difference is as to the numbers exported. There used to be an export of a certain amount. Now we cannot get it. Why? Because the British will not let us. It used to be said that the British could not do without our cattle. Apparently they can.

It used also to be said that the British had more cattle coming in from all over the world than they could afford to have, but Deputy Cosgrave showed to-night that New Zealand alone was sending in last year twice the amount that was being sent in previously. It used to be said that we had alternative markets. But what are we reduced to? We have a certain number of cattle that used to be exported to Britain. We have that number to think of. Some of them are to be sold with a bounty; some of them are to be bought and distributed free; some of them, old and distressed cattle, are to be driven into factories—the new factory for old cattle, as someone described it—and converted into meat meal, and some are to be tinned. That is the position; that we cannot do without this production of cattle. We cannot send them out as we used to at a particular price. The Minister says that he is not going to quarrel with anyone who calls this a levy or a tax, but it is going to cost the country £600,000 per annum.

I remember the old plan, referring to the farmer, when the Minister was looking for the votes of the people. The Fianna Fáil plan for the farmer meant a guaranteed market and guaranteed profitable prices for a large part of his marketable produce, increased competitive power resulting in increased exports. It meant giving Irish agriculturists chances they had not got since 1922, and it meant security. In face of that we have got to the position that some of these cattle have to be bought and distributed to the poor at an extra cost to those who can afford to buy. The calves are to be slaughtered for their skins so that they will not grow up to be an embarrassment in years to come. The old diseased cows are to be driven into a meat meal factory and some of the rest are to be put into tins.

That was never forecasted. There was never any blot like that in the plan. We were promised that the land annuities were going to be retained in this country, that complete derating was to be given to the farmer and there was to be £1,000,000 extra for the relief of taxation. We have kept the land annuities. Have we got the complete derating? Have we got the £1,000,000 extra for the reduction of taxation? Were we ever told about the £600,000 extra that it was going to cost the country to keep the cattle trade going, and to keep it going to England. We are going to pay that extra sum for meat, for the production of beef and for the forced sale of it to England at a time when, without this money, England is getting back every penny of the land annuities save only that part that she has decided not to collect: the part that she has decided has been converted from a terminable annuity into a permanent one, the sinking fund charges.

Except for that every one of the cattle that we must send to England bears some part of the land annuities as surely as if there was a coupon attached to the neck of each beast to be cashed into so much land annuities. While we are paying every shilling of that, we have not got from the retained moneys complete derating or the reduced taxation that was promised. We find ourselves driven to two shifts: one that we are going to borrow this year to pay what is called the cost of the bounties. In other words, we are going to borrow to pay some part of the land annuities although we were told that they were to be retained and were to go to the benefit of the country, and we are going to tax the people £600,000 more per annum to try and keep the business alive.

In June of this year Senator Connolly, who is a Minister in this Government, went to Naas and said that it had taken 100 years to establish the cattle trade in this country but that with God's help it would not take 100 years to kill it.

It is dying fast.

Apparently it was dying too fast all the while; hence we rush in with this business of State control. The Minister for Agriculture to-night said that as far as the moneys for the financing of this measure were concerned he did not care whether they were called taxes or levies. He used another and more picturesque phrase—putting the thing more vividly before the House: if the money was not to be got in the levy as it was proposed it would be necessary for the Minister for Finance to come into this House some day and propose a tax which would bring in £600,000. So in regard to this deplorable trade, which Senator Connolly told us was going to be killed soon, we now find ourselves facing up to the burden of a new £600,000 tax in order to keep it going. The logic of all this is hard to realise. When we were discussing on other occasions the establishment of flour mills in the country, one of the great hopes held out was that if you got so much flour manufactured here there was going to be so much more in the way of offals for sale in the country. There was going to be feeding stuffs. For what? For live stock. For what? For export, as this Bill shows. We are going to deal with another Bill to-night, which admits that we are setting up a factory for the production of industrial alcohol which is going to be uneconomic. The bait of the thing is that, for every gallon of industrial alcohol produced there are going to be nine gallons of industrial alcoholic wash, and it is going to be marvellous foodstuff for cattle. Again, for what? So that some of them will drift out into England. Or I suppose industrial alcohol had better be thought of in another direction. If we are going to tin the beef I suppose we may say that by the time they have got the industrial alcohol tinned they will be partially canned. The industrial alcoholic wash —the backwash, as somebody described it—is also going to be cattle food. In the end, despite the great efforts of the Minister for Finance in July, 1932, and, I am sure, despite his great efforts since, we find no alternative market.

This is only one stage in the attempt to make up for the losses that we have achieved through the economic war. There has been a pretty distinct effort made to destroy the cattle trade. There was the emergency panic measure that was started this year with regard to the calves, and there is this other thing which is talked of now and for which I understand we will require another subsidy—this factory for the conversion of old and diseased cattle into meal. Despite all that, and despite the absence of the embarrassments that there would be, say, next year, or some years afterwards, by reason of those young animals growing up, and by the clogging of the market with those old diseased cattle, the Minister has no better hopes than this measure—a halfpenny a pound on meat for those who are able to pay for it; a huge army of officials; big administrative expenses; new subsidies in the offing for this factory and, I suppose, another subsidy in the offing for the canning. Despite all that, and with all that, there is sticking out the one economic truth that we can have discovered to have pierced any head on the Government Benches, the statement made by the Minister for Defence when he told his audience in Louth that as long as this country had to export any goods to England, so long would England be able to take from us the amount of the moneys we are now withholding from her. This does not get us far on the way towards the self-sufficiency which will enable us to run away with that money and not suffer, because this not merely allows for but insists on export. That is the political setting in which all this thing ought to be looked at. We are told that the bait in it is the free distribution. I noticed that the Minister went quickly away from the free distribution. He did speak of it as free for a bit. He even talked as if the free distribution was going to include what he described as "the good cuts." He told us afterwards that certainly at a later point, and a point soon to be reached, the free distribution would only include what he called the boiling beef ends. A little later he made another step, and we no longer had any hope of free meat, even of the boiling beef type, but only cheap meat, thus getting further away from Deputy Davin's labour organised—or disorganised— view-point.

Your misrepresentation of it.

I have read the quotation from the speech.

You read something that was never adopted, and you admitted that in the end.

I quite definitely agree that there was a slip put over it, showing that some sense remained in some portion of the Labour Party, but not in Deputy Davin.

Ask Deputy Morrissey about it.

I was against it. The Deputy knows that.

This is a speech of April 16th of this year. That is an old pamphlet back in 1931.

And marked "Provisionally approved."

The plan is still fermenting—I think that is a good word—in the Deputy's mind.

In your imagination.

Will the Deputy address himself to that point about free meat on which Deputy Morrissey has offered comment? I think I heard Deputy Davin echoing and making certain approving comments when, during the last twelve months, the Vice-President stood here in this House and denounced the giving of relief in kind. He was adverting principally to the position of the Dublin Union, and he said it was a shocking, demeaning and pauperising thing. He himself made use of the phrase which Deputy Morrissey used here to-night—that you got back very much to the days when there were abuses in the poor relief system. He talked as if we had got clean away from all the old taint of pauperism. He talked as if that had been removed simply because you now gave to people in need money to allow them to buy what they pleased, and had done away with the grievance of giving people foodstuffs and making them take that as part of the relief to which the State had declared them entitled. We are coming back to it. We are coming back to it for a big number of people. Everybody who is in receipt of home assistance, and they are a big number, and everybody who has got a certificate entitling him to relief in the way of unemployment assistance, another big number, may have a voucher, with which voucher he can go to the licensed butcher or licensed victualler, hand it in, and get some little portion of meat. The Minister has hopes, which Deputy Morrissey properly derides, that the man with that voucher is going to get anything like the quality of meat that the man who is paying will get. That is a small side of it.

The main thing is that with the approval of Deputy Davin we are going to get back to payment in kind. It will be interesting to see how the Deputy, who, on many occasions was vehement about the stain that that left and the hurt that it did to people who found themselves under the necessity of taking relief in any way, will justify it now in relation to this measure. The only justification for this measure, or anything in it, is that there is nobody who believes in this doctrine of self-sufficiency; nobody believes in it logically carried out to the end. Nobody believes in seeing this country devoting itself to providing only goods that the people of the country can consume. Nobody is so far forgetful of the country's interests as to hope that the international trade which used to be between this country and Great Britain will stop for ever.

What about Griffith?

Did he ever want a complete cessation of trade? I should like to get a quotation to show that.

He never wanted them as our commercial bosses.

They need not be our commercial bosses if things were properly managed. They have been made our commercial bosses, and made to realise that they are our commercial bosses, when we have to bring in a Bill to tax our own people for the meat they eat, in order that we may continue to export to them. There was never such an exposure of weakness. If we had a weakness in our situation we could hide it, but this is a complete "give-in." No one really believes in this as a lasting thing. It is only a subterfuge, something to go on with, something to do in a difficulty, which we all hope will be temporary. The Minister believes in Deputy Davin's nonsense of April 16th about self-sufficiency, providing just for the needs of the country, and not caring about an export or an international trade——

Another misrepresentation, and a deliberate one.

——or the benefits to be got by the two countries from the export of the surplus of both on a good basis. Is this a measure to carry out self-sufficiency, to have only a certain amount of cattle in the country, and by some system of preferential licences to enable people to rear and to trade in a certain amount of cattle and no more? It is a good sign, at any rate, for the future, that you have a thing like this brought in, because there is inherent in it a negation of the policy of living entirely inside the walls of this country, and neglecting everything that happens outside. This is an entire negation of self-sufficiency, as it is understood by some people, and that is the only thing that makes the measure even tolerable in present circumstances.

In order to misrepresent the policy of this Party in reference to matters that have some relation to the terms of this Bill, Deputy McGilligan was presumably supplied by Deputy Morrissey with a provisional draft of the policy of the Labour Party when it was established.

May I say that that statement is absolutely untrue. I never saw this copy.

Deputy Morrissey could tell Deputy McGilligan, as he had some responsibility for the drafting of the final decision, that the provisional draft was drawn up by a committee, and that some of the sections, as has been done in other Parties, were inserted by a majority vote, and subsequently submitted to the first annual conference at which the section which Deputy McGilligan read out, misrepresenting the policy of this Party, was turned down by a majority of the delegates.

Both statements are absolutely untrue.

I accept the Deputy's statement as to supplying a copy.

I voted against the section that Deputy McGilligan quoted.

On the drafting committee?

I will have to look into that.

It was sent all over the place.

The Deputy knows nothing about it.

I think Deputy Morrissey's statement should be accepted.

I accepted it.

The Deputy said he would look into it.

Into another matter. I accepted Deputy Morrissey's statement that he did not supply a copy.

You did not accept the other denial.

When Deputy Morrissey and Deputy Anthony sat on these benches they were as enthusiastically in favour of guaranteed minimum wages and a guaranteed price to farmers for agricultural products as any other members of this Party. I cannot understand why they stood up in this House to-day and opposed the principle which they supported when members of this Party.

That is not the case.

I am not going to give way to the Deputy. He made a speech in opposition to this Bill, the fundamental principle of which is to provide a guaranteed minimum price for the producers of certain types of cattle, and the payment of such prices, when fixed by the Minister for Agriculture, by butchers, who are going to be licenced under the Bill.

To cover cost of production.

The minimum prices which will be fixed by the Minister for Agriculture will, I assume, be economic prices. Section 23, which, perhaps, Deputy Anthony and Deputy Morrissey did not read very carefully, empowers the Minister to fix the minimum prices at which cattle may be bought by a registered butcher, including the fixing of minimum prices for different classes of cattle in different areas.

What does that mean?

If Deputy Morrissey thinks, as he seems to suggest, that minimum prices do not mean economic prices, he does not understand the reasons for the introduction of the Bill.

Read the section.

Since Deputy Morrissey and Deputy Anthony left this Party the members have had the pleasure, in co-operation with this Ministry, of bringing in other measures which fixed decent and economic prices for other agricultural commodities, and I have every reason to hope, with the passage of this Bill, that the prices for cattle fixed by the Minister will have the same effect.

Twenty-four shillings weekly.

Do not be interrupting.

Deputy McGilligan read out a correct extract from a speech which I delivered at Mountrath in April last. That speech was made with due regard to the views of the members of this Party at that period. I can say this, and it is to my own disadvantage, that this Bill, in my opinion, is in many respects a considerable improvement on the rough and ready proposals which we presented to the Government in connection with this matter last April. The Bill is excellently drafted. Deputies on the opposite benches cannot deny that it goes as far as any measure of the kind could go to protect the interests of producers and consumers. Deputy Belton when speaking on the Financial Motion, apparently not having read it very carefully, said that licensed traders would be placed in such a position that they could deduct the levy of £1 from the producers of cattle and 5/- in the case of sheep. The Minister for Agriculture very ably disposed of that silly argument. I can only come to the conclusion that Deputy Belton would not have twice advanced that argument if he had read the Money Resolution carefully in conjunction with a section of the Bill. Like his colleague, Deputy Curran, Deputy Morrissey objects to inspectors having anything to do with farmers. I wonder if the Deputy would have that objection at a particular period when the administration of the National Health Insurance Act included looking after farmers to see if they had complied with the provisions of the Act.

I did not say any such thing.

One could carry such a silly objection to the stage of telling certain people when they should baptise their children or the age at which they should be confirmed. The inspectors appointed will be calling on farmers for a very useful purpose, that of seeing that the prices which will be fixed by the Minister when the Act comes into operation are paid to producers. No section will be more delighted than farmers when the inspectors call upon them for that particular purpose, to see that the terms of the section are strictly enforced and that the profiteering people, who have been buying cattle at ridiculously low prices and selling meat to consumers at particularly high prices, are dealt with. I am glad to support the terms of any measure which will raise a levy from profiteers in this country, people who have been slaughtering cattle in certain butcher shops, after buying them at sacrifice prices and then selling the fresh meat at highly excessive prices. The ex-Minister knows perfectly well that behind this Bill and the powers in it is the Food Prices Commission. I understand that that Commission is at present engaged in an inquiry into the prices being charged for fresh meat by butchers.

Have you read the report?

Will Deputy McGilligan have the courage—and he claims to be the most courageous politician in this House—to stand up and say that the prices that are being charged by butchers in the City of Dublin are not excessive, having regard to the price at which they are purchasing fat cattle in the Dublin cattle market?

I will say this—the Prices Commission will not find it out.

Will you have the courage to stand up and say that they are not charging excessive prices to the consumer?

I will say that the Prices Commission will not find anything out.

And everything you have said from the Opposition Benches is a defence of the butchers in this country.

I do not know any butchers. I have nothing to do with them.

The Deputy might come back to the Bill, and might also address the Chair.

The cause of the low prices at present paid to the farmers of this country for fat cattle is admittedly the surplus stock we have here and which the British, for certain reasons of their own, are not prepared to buy in the same quantities in which they bought heretofore. This Bill will have the effect of having a considerably increased number of our own fat cattle slaughtered in our own country, and fresh meat supplied to the most needy section of the community. That is being opposed by two Deputies who once claimed that they were Labour representatives and who once claimed, and, perhaps, to some extent, still claim, that they represented the poor and needy section.

Certainly we do, and I proved it in Cork City.

The concession contained in this Bill, so far as it applies to those at present in receipt of home assistance or unemployment assistance, is in addition to the miserable pittance provided by the former Government, in the shape of weekly payments of 6/- a week to the rural population of this country who are compelled to look for home assistance. This is in addition to it, and I cannot understand why Deputy Anthony, if he still claims to have any democratic principles, should oppose a measure of this kind.

Were you here when I was speaking?

I was. You are opposing the Bill, and the Bill contains two principles which any Labour man, or any man who ever held Labour principles, should vote for—provision for a guaranteed price to the producer and provision for the distribution of free meat to the most needy section of our population.

Did you hear my alternative?

Your alternative is direct opposition to this Bill, in conjunction with your Blueshirt colleague sitting on that side of the House.

Get away from the abuse and come to the Bill.

I have had occasion to call two or three Deputies to order. There is a mistaken idea that a specific warning is necessary before action is taken on disregard of a call to order. No specific notice is necessary. The Deputies concerned have had an opportunity of participating in the debate and other Deputies are entitled to differ from them, without being repeatedly interrupted.

Deputy Morrissey made the point that the minimum price—and he has some peculiar figure in his elastic imagination in that respect— would in this case be the maximum or ruling price. So long as there is a large surplus of fat stock in the country, I agree that there would be a good deal in that contention, but a number of people who have access to facts and figures—in some cases, Government advisers—estimate that the number of fat cattle to be slaughtered under this Bill, when it is in operation, for the purpose of providing free meat for people at present in need of home assistance and unemployment assistance will increase home consumption by at least 70,000 or 80,000 cattle per year. If we can reach a stage in our history, while this Act is in operation, where by increased consumption of fresh meat in our own home market, we would cut across the British quota requirements, Deputy Morrissey's argument as to the minimum price being the maximum price will not apply. If we can reach a stage at which the British will have to come into the market here and buy in competition with the people responsible for the administration of this measure in the Irish market, and with those who buy cattle for human consumption in the normal course of events, the British, being compelled to look for the cattle instead of buying them here under present conditions, in which there is a surplus, will put that minimum price at a competitive price and certainly the figure will be higher than the minimum laid down by the Minister. In other words, if we can get to a stage when the British will have to come in and buy as distinct from the present position, the minimum price will not be the maximum price as stated by Deputy Morrissey. At any rate, it is the duty of any Christian or civilised Government in this country to provide clothing and shelter for its own people before they look after the interests of the people in another country.

I have nothing to regret in what I have said, because what I said at Mountrath was said with due deliberation. It is the policy, and was the policy, of this Party before Deputies Anthony and Morrissey were expelled from it. I did not think it was necessary for me to say anything in support of this Bill because it is a Bill which Labour Deputies could support in the Lobby without a speech and without mental reservation of any kind. It contains principles which we have advocated in this House and outside, long before some of us became Deputies, and when we were associated, as we are to-day, with the trade union movement in this country. I have no hesitation whatever, and very considerable enthusiasm, in voting for every section of this Bill, believing that it is serving a useful purpose, by providing free meat for the most needy section of our population. Again, I confess that it is a considerable advance and improvement on the rough and ready proposals which we presented on this matter to the Government as far back as April last.

I am very sorry that Deputy McGilligan has left the House. I was very much struck by one or two remarks he made in the course of his contribution to the debate. One was that everybody hoped that there would be no necessity for measures of this kind or that the necessity would not last long. There is nobody on these benches, either Minister or ordinary back-bencher, who has the slightest disposition for a continuation of any set of circumstances that would perpetuate the system that makes measures of this kind necessary, but I cannot follow the line of reasoning of Deputy McGilligan, able though he is, nor can I reconcile to a very great extent the logic he used, when he said that this Bill was, if anything, the greatest confession of weakness the Government has yet introduced into the Dáil; when he said that we were showing our hands and exposing our weakness, and proving conclusively that this country could not do without the cattle trade, and that England— this is practically what he said—was the only possible purchaser for these cattle. If there was any weakness at all in the Government's case, or in the contentions they have had to make, which could be pointed out, no time and no opportunity has been lost by all the members of the Opposition without exception in pointing out these weaknesses to the Government across the water.

Deputy McGilligan started off as he usually does with that worn out document he has and which I have seen him quote here at least half a dozen times. It is stuck to a piece of cardboard or something like that and he calls it "The Promises"—the promises we made at the elections and on which we got into power. We kept the land annuities at home he said, but we are still sending them away in some indirect or invisible manner. As I said, he always prefaces any remarks he has to make by a reference to the promises we made. Certainly we promised that we would keep the annuities at home, and they have been kept at home. What was the attitude taken up by Deputy McGilligan and other members of the Opposition during the course of the general election campaign when we put our cards on the table with regard to keeping them at home? He talks about weaknesses. The reply that was invariably made to that—and I quote one, Senator Blythe, and I would ask Deputy Curran to take special notice of this—was "The day you keep these annuities at home, a poll tax will go on your cattle." That was one weakness, I suppose. In case our friends across the water might not know it, one of the strong men in the Opposition, one man whose words would be paid attention to, went around the country and from platforms and in the Press pointed out to these people, "Here is the place where you can strike back"—of course his reputation to some degree as a statesman was at stake—"you can strike back by putting a poll tax on the cattle," and the poll tax was put on. After it was put on the Government is blamed by members of the Opposition for taking a further step to meet the situation created by the levying of the tax on cattle going across the water and the establishment of the quota. Members of the Opposition cannot have it both ways. They cannot have it in one respect in the country by saying that we made a grievous mistake in starting this campaign and have it in the other respect by coming into this House to condemn the counter-action taken to meet the exigencies of the situation created as the result of the economic war.

Like Deputy Davin, I am supporting this Bill and I am going to vote for it. Apart from any pledge or affiliation I have as one of the rank and file members of the Party, I would vote for this Bill. I cannot understand a Deputy of the standing of Deputy McGilligan trying to use the sentimental or sob stuff about the degradation that it is for the poor people who are unemployed to go to the butcher's shop and hand in a ticket to get free meat. I would suggest to members of the Opposition that the further they get away from that sort of argument, the better for themselves. It would be better that it should not be mentioned. There is no degradation whatever attached to people who have no money getting food. There is no degradation attached to any father or mother going to the butchers' shops set up by the Government to get food for a big family. Food is a necessary of life. If we have to go back, as Deputy Morrissey said, and re-establish in this country something similar to what occurred in the souper days, do not forget the objective kept in view in those days. We do not intend to make soupers of our people, to lower them in character, or in the slightest way to bring about degradation by giving them the necessaries of life. If Deputy McGilligan were here I would ask him, and Deputy Morrissey also, to take into consideration the amount of that kind of work done in this country to bring about a state of circumstances that this Government is engaged in trying to repair at the present time.

Deputy McGilligan said that Arthur Griffith never dreamed at any time of making this country self-sufficient to the extent that it should not have an outside market. I think Deputy Cosgrave will bear me out, as he would be a better authority on it than I would be, when I say that Arthur Griffith's whole life was given to one purpose and one objective—to make this country self-supporting. His whole lifetime was given to this one particular thing—pointing out the ruin done to this country by the treatment we were getting from the people across the water. By measures of this kind we have at last taken a definite stand against the system of penetration adopted by those people across the water to try and bring about the economic ruin of this country.

I was reading last night—I am sorry Deputy McGilligan is not here to hear this—one of a rather interesting series of articles called "Ireland's Poverty: Its Cause and Its Cure," written by Deputy Belton who was at that time an ex-T.D. He is as good at writing as he is at making speeches. He gave a description of the methods used to bring about the state of circumstances which exist at present in this country and which this Government told the people they were going to try and alter. I would recommend every member of the Opposition to read his description of the old souper days of '47 and what the people went through while England was preparing a commercial state in this country to make this country dependent on her. I would recommend every Opposition Deputy to read this series of articles written by Deputy Belton. I would ask Deputy Belton to read them again and refresh his own memory.

Get your own Deputies to read them first.

Speaking in all sincerity, I am surprised at the attitude adopted by Deputy Belton as regards measures of this kind. I was hoping during the afternoon that, like the Bill introduced yesterday, there might not be a division on this Bill. I do not know whether there will or not. I was hoping that it would go through after all the talk as a measure that would bring some sort of satisfaction to some section of the community and do good to some people—to people, at any rate, who may be hungry and to farmers who want to get the cost of production. As I said, I am candidly surprised at the action of Deputy Belton in opposing Bills of this sort. In his election address in 1927, just immediately after he left the Fianna Fáil Party, he said in the last paragraph that he stood for the policy of Fianna Fáil and that the only fault he had with it was that it should come through a process of evolution and not by any revolutionary action. He told the people whom he asked to vote for him that he stood for the policy of Fianna Fáil.

The Deputy might come to this Bill. So far he has said very little about it.

This Bill is part of the policy of the Government.

The Deputy is not entitled to discuss the general policy on this particular Bill.

I was discussing the attitude of Deputy Belton to this portion of the policy of the Government, but if you rule otherwise I bow to your ruling. I ask the Deputy just to refresh his mind on one or two of these things. I am supporting this Bill not because I happen to be a member of the Party, but because, like Deputy McGilligan was at one period, I was a student of that system of economy that was preached by Arthur Griffith, that it was the right and patriotic thing to make this country self-sufficient. We are told we are in a weak position. These people are told on every occasion, both inside and outside this House, where the weakness lies in the case that is being made out and the action taken by the Government. Is it possible for any success to emerge out of this struggle while the Government are being attacked, as they have been attacked day after day, week after week, and month after month, by an Opposition which should throw its whole weight behind the Government in all the actions they are taking to defend this country in the economic war. No Party in England would do it.

The Deputy must get to this Bill and not deal with general policy.

This is part of the general policy.

The Chair decides whether it is or not. The Deputy has not been conspicuously relevant in his remarks so far.

It is not a nice Bill to get down to.

At any rate, it is a Bill which I am supporting and it is a Bill which a few years ago Deputy Belton would have supported.

Give your reasons for supporting it.

I have already given the reasons. This is the action taken to meet the situation that has been created. Counter-action must be taken against the moves across the water, and this is one of them. Deputy Belton complains that there is a surplus of cattle and he asks what is going to be done with them. Here is a Bill which attempts to solve that problem. Why not come forward with some constructive amendments to this Bill, some constructive suggestions? Why cannot Opposition Deputies point out where they think there are weaknesses? Why should they instead adopt this carping, cutting attitude all the time?

I gave constructive suggestions.

You have given several constructive suggestions in your time, but unfortunately nobody ever followed you anywhere.

Evidently you did when you brought in my writing of several years ago.

I do not think I will detain the House any longer. I have not heard from the Opposition what is the alternative to this Bill. We are engaged in an economic war. What is the alternative to it? What is the alternative to measures of this sort? Do you want us to put up the white flag, to surrender? I could understand that attitude. I could understand Deputy Cosgrave saying in this House that it would be better to put up the white flag and then these Bills would not be necessary. I submit they are necessary. I say they are going to go a good way towards meeting the situation and for that reason I am supporting this measure.

The Minister for Agriculture this evening followed very much along the lines of a speech he made yesterday on the occasion of another Bill and also on the occasion of the introduction of his Estimate. He said there were many things that were wrong in this country. The agricultural industry was in a serious situation, but the whole fault in relation to any losses sustained by agriculturists, certainly for the last six or 12 months, were entirely due to propaganda by the Press or by the Opposition. Some time last January a new situation arose in respect to our cattle trade. Up to January last, whatever might be complained of in respect to the price of cattle, one thing at least was sure and that was, it was possible to cash them. In January a new situation presented itself and we were suddenly confronted with a prohibition order on the part of the British Government practically restricting us to an export of 50 per cent. of the cattle we had been previously accustomed to export. The Minister told us this evening that if it were not for propaganda and for the Opposition that situation would have settled itself. Feeders and others would have been able to get rid of their cattle quite easily without any disturbance and with no loss of price, but that in a panic they tried to cash them. I have met some feeders during the last six months. They had not even the opportunity of cashing their cattle. The animals were fit for sale in January, February and March and they had to be taken from the stalls where they were kept and stall-fed and turned into stores by being put out on the land.

That solved the situation for the Minister. What was his attitude at that time? He can correct me if I am wrong. He said the main trouble in this country was that we had too many cattle and there was only one way to deal with the situation and that was to ensure that for the next year or the next two or three years we would not be in that position. To make that certain he offered a bounty of 10/- on calf skins. There was a statement made here that something like 300,000 calves should be slaughtered annually so as to save us the bother of rearing them. That is the contribution the Ministry makes to a serious economic situation. Their solution is the slaughter of the calves, with a bounty paid on the skins. These calves were the best calves that were ever bred in this country. For something like ten years a real, earnest attempt has been made by the Department of Agriculture to improve the cattle breeds and, in consequence, those were the best. We will never have the opportunity of selling them as first-class quality. There is no man who comes from any country, and particularly from Great Britain, who will not admit that during the last ten years there has been an enormous improvement in our breeds of cattle. It would be well if the Ministry opposite and their supporters through the country took off their political spectacles and put on economic spectacles in dealing with the present state of the country.

Such statements as to put up the white flag in order to get out of this situation are all nonsense. Only a child would make that sort of statement. It is very much in accord with some of our earlier experiences in those large institutions in which young people of both sexes are assembled and in which the explanation always is "It was me done it, sir." There is a problem here and it is not confined to this country. It is a problem which, sooner or later, the collective wisdom of the peoples of those countries will be called upon to solve. We are not going to solve it by listening to such speeches as we have heard here this evening. We are not going to get it solved by a miserable contribution of £300,000 towards the price of cattle in this country. We are not going to get it solved by Ministers or Deputies saying that there will be an economic price given for cattle. The very terms of this Bill show the lack of confidence of the Ministry. In Part IV the Minister may fix a price. Under other portions of the Bill, if an unfortunate farmer or a registered slaughter-house keeper makes any mistake, whether through negligence or innocence—I think even the term "innocence" is in one of the clauses—he may be hauled before the District Justice and fined. But the Minister may in his discretion fix a price for cattle.

My principal objection to the Bill is in connection with its financial unsoundness. It means putting additional cost on the country. In their first year of office the Government collected £1,200,000 more than they could spend. Last year, they collected £1,500,000 more than they could spend. In the first two years, they put more than £500,000 in the Local Loans Fund and they collected £3,200,000, over and above what they required. Now, to solve the cattle situation they are going to tax consumers to the extent of £300,000. Where is this going to end as far as our own economy is concerned? It is bound to result in demands for increases in wages. Everybody who wishes the prosperity of the working classes is anxious for an increase in wages, but in the last analysis, unless the industry of the country can afford the increase, it is not going to be paid. Not alone in Great Britain but in America and Australia they have learned the evils of that policy and they are sweating under the difficult situations occasioned by indulging in a policy of that kind. Here are two Governments both of them deeply concerned with regard to this question, each of them endeavouring as far as they possibly can, according to the genius that is in them, to solve the problem. Almost at the same time as we have this Cattle Bill before us the British Government have a Cattle Bill before them. How many members or supporters of our Government read the discussions in the House of Commons in connection with the British Bill? What is their problem? We have been told by Ministers and Government supporters that the British market is gone. I read out this evening what appeared to me to be quite a different story in that connection.

Some two years ago, when this Government was only a short time in office, there was a Conference at Ottawa and there was some plain, straight talking over there. Amongst those who had to concern themselves with the economic situation there was the Chancellor of the Exchequer of Great Britain. I would recommend those who have time to read the story as presented there by the Chancellor of the Exchequer regarding the importation into Great Britain from New Zealand and Australia of butter and mutton to do so. I cannot remember, and it does not matter very much now, which of them doubled its exports in the short space of two years— either butter or mutton. It can be found in the report. In one case 568,000 cwts. were exported from New Zealand or Australia in 1929. In 1931 that export had gone up to 1,500,000 cwts. In the other case—either mutton or butter again—768,000 cwts. were exported in 1929 and in 1931 it had gone up to 1,500,000 cwts. So that in one case the export doubled and in the other case it had increased once and a half in the short space of two years.

I read out here this evening what transpired at Ottawa in connection with the export from New Zealand of beef—377,000 cwts., and 10 per cent. added to that. Normally that would mean that in the following year they would have a right to export 414,000 cwts., either chilled or frozen meat. They actually exported 700,000, and this year, for six months, they have exported 500,000 cwts., and they are expecting the other 500,000—so the Minister states—and there is another 500,000 cwts. still to come. What is the situation presented to us there? It is simply this: that during the last few years, while there has been an actual reduction in the consumption of beef per head in Great Britain, the imports into Great Britain of chilled and frozen beef have been on the increase. The percentage of frozen beef, which was 76 in the Ottawa year, is now 84. Frozen beef has gone up eight points. The percentage of frozen mutton and lamb in the Ottawa year was 73 and to-day it is 75. In Great Britain they realise fully and thoroughly the importance of British agriculture to Great Britain and they realise, whether we like it or not, or however much we may object to it, that we are almost essential to the beef production of Great Britain. The quality of our live stock is something of which they can partake. Even in their Bill—the Bill which has been introduced into the British House of Commons, and which, if not already passed, will pass very shortly—it is prescribed that, three months after an animal is imported into Great Britain, it is entitled to get a subsidy of 9/4 dead weight or live weight—I do not know which it is.

The reverse.

The reverse? The expert comes to the top as usual. Again, there is appreciation in Great Britain of the importance of the situation. During the course of his speech there the Minister informed the House that the wealth expended on agriculture in Great Britain amounted to £1,000,000,000. He said that the income derived from that was a matter of very great consequence to them. The revenue amounted to £180,000,000, and all their overseas investments, in respect of which they had to have some regard in making arrangements for supplies from Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the Argentine, amounted to £3,000,000,000 or £4,000,000,000, although the income in respect of it amounted to only £150,000,000.

His figures have been challenged.

Figures were challenged in respect of the number of persons employed and the net receipts; but these figures were not challenged— the sum of money that was invested outside the country and the income from it——

I do not see how the Leader of the Opposition can relate England's investments in the Argentine to this Bill.

That is what I am coming to. I said that from all the speeches we have listened to over the way the question was 180,000 or 200,000 head of cattle. Our export trade goes from 600,000 to 800,000 and that is the problem that concerns us, and not the internal problem. The internal problem is simple, but the external problem—the fact that we can make them pay, that they are willing to pay and that we should be able to get it out of them—is what should concern both the Ministry and those who supported them.

During the last few years, as I have said, there has been a very remarkable improvement in the quality of the beef produced here. It is that very superior quality which keeps us at the present moment in a market that is far more valuable, three times more valuable, than our own. We are concerned here with 180,000 head of cattle. The Minister expects to get a levy of £305,000. I think that the numbers he gave in respect of sheep were 500,000, but perhaps it is the other way about. Anyway it is 180,000 at £1 a head and 500,000 sheep at 5/-. Our exports to Great Britain are of consequence in a matter of this sort. In 1929 we exported 775,000; in 1930 almost 858,000; in 1931, 766,000; in 1932, 746,000; and last year, 589,000. That is the market that we are told is gone and that is going; and we are to concern ourselves here with our 180,000 head of cattle. To put that even in a school where children attend up to 14 years of age, they would laugh at it. £300,000 is the proposal put before us by the Ministry here to help, not alone beef, but mutton as well. Cattle alone are not the entire consideration. There would not be £200,000 in it for the cattle. Taking those figures and making allowance for the reduction which has taken place in the price, £6,000,000 were got last year from Great Britain and we should get practically £10,000,000 if it were not for the experiment in which we have indulged in order to show that we have lawyers in this country who can dictate political and economic policy. It is a new innovation in this country, or in any country, that the lawyers are the real politicians and the real economists, and those who make that case would probably not select the particular lawyers they selected to give them advice.

In the course of this discussion it transpired that in certain parts of England the purchases of beef had gone down by reason of unemployment and other reasons of that sort. It was, strangely enough, in the mining districts where we sold most of our cattle from this country, or rather it was in the mining districts where most of the cattle produced in this country were consumed. And I find on looking at our financial returns that we have received £205,000 in revenue from the tax on coal. I am quite sure in the excess of our patriotic zeal and political fanaticism that we are delighted at seeing the coal mines in England in such a position, forgetting that that £205,000 is lost to the farmers of this country, and moreover that when we buy coal on the Continent we deprive the farmers of this country of that money which we pay to the coal mines there and, at the same time, deprive them of a certain market in England.

We could do with a little less of that peculiar outlook. There is moreover an extraordinary feeling on the part of some people in this country who cannot get away from the slave mind and act in a way which would enable us to discuss this question in a business way and decide it on a business footing. What was the consideration that the British Minister put before the House of Commons in connection with this cattle question in Great Britain a short time ago? It was that they could not lose sight of the fact that they had foreign investments and that, however much they liked to help the farmers, there was the question of British money being invested in countries like the Argentine.

What is the case here? There is no country in the world dealing with Great Britain on a sounder economic basis than this country. There is no necessity whatever to bow your heads or your shoulders or your knees in dealing with Great Britain on an economic basis. Our trade is as indispensable to them as their trade is to us. They are richer, of course, and they must be laughing at us for the nonsensical way in which the Government here are handling this problem. When we went into this question first, nobody believed that a poll tax would be put on our cattle by Great Britain.

But there was more than that. We lost at Ottawa an opportunity of making a bargain with Great Britain which would not have us in the position in which we are now. New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and Australia could make a trade bargain with Great Britain. I am sure they are enjoying this conflict between Great Britain and ourselves and sending in their livestock produce. There is another reason why Great Britain should settle this question with us. It is this: no matter what any expert can say in England and no matter what any doctor can say there is no question that our fresh beef going over there is vastly superior in quality to anything that can be brought from the ends of the earth and it is to their own advantage physically and otherwise to deal with this country.

It would be very much better for us if we were to consider the terms upon which we might settle than to be considering this Bill. This Bill, a member of the Labour Party said, showed marked genius. That was the description given to it by a member of the Labour Party. The first publication of the Bill was over the radio last Friday night. But Deputy Corry said he had been looking at this Bill for weeks. I do not know whether the Deputy is an extern Minister or if the Government is taking his advice in these matters, or how it was he was able to see the Bill three weeks ago, but the fact remains that it was over the radio on Friday last, I first heard the terms of the Bill. This Bill is sandwiched with a gift to the poor— to a reserved class of the poor. Is the Minister aware of the fact that there are in this country people in receipt of an income smaller even than what is given in home assistance and smaller than what is given under the Unemployment Assistance Act? Is the Minister aware that there are a great many families throughout the country who if the Government desire to help the poor, might have been included in the list? Why were they excluded? What is the reason for it? Why were they excluded from this Bill that was so well drawn and so carefully manipulated by the Minister's draftsmen that we were told nothing was forgotten in respect of it? Is not that the case? Can anybody deny it?

We made up our minds within the last few years that relief in kind should not be given. There is no excuse for restoring relief in kind by this measure, none whatever. There is no guarantee that it is to continue. Far better would it be to give 150,000 persons in receipt of home assistance or unemployment assistance 1/- a week extra and let them buy where they like. It may be that some of them would not care for this. There is no indication in this measure that these people are going to get anything like good quality meat, none whatever. I have looked through the terms of the vouchers and I find there is no indication as to quality. Quantity is the whole thing. If I am not mistaken the Minister in the course of his speech used the following words: "It is extremely likely we will have to use first class quality meat immediately this Bill is passed." That does not indicate that it is to be first class beef afterwards.

I would like to know from the Minister whether he consulted the butchers and slaughter-house people when drafting this Bill. Because it is one thing to know that the law empowers the Minister to enter into contracts with the butchers and another thing to put that in a contract. I think it was Deputy Belton who mentioned that these Bills coming in such succession with a regiment of inspectors and officials right down along will bring us to the point that some time or another we will have a telephone in every house every morning ringing up Government Buildings to know if there are any new licences that the people have to take out that morning, as practically everything is to be licensed. You will have inspectors to the right of you, inspectors to the left of you and inspectors in front of you. I thought I was the only person who was persecuted through being surrounded by people reporting my movements to the Government. But the farmers are now in the same position. They will have their premises visited at any time. A farmer may be looking after his tobacco, or sowing his corn, or his other crops, or he may be engaged filling up those documents— the failure to fill, or an error in filling which may render him liable to a fine of £100. Yet if the inspector comes along and if he does not attend to him on the spot the unfortunate fat cattle that he has for sale may be saved from the death sentence and he may lose his money. Let it be noted that the Department of Agriculture will insist that the farmer will have written down for him exactly the moment that his animal is to be marketed and when the animal is to die.

Dr. Ryan


Dr. Ryan

It is quite the other way.

Supposing the animal is fat, the farmer has got to feed it and continue feeding it whether he likes it or not if the inspector says it is not to be slaughtered until a certain day. That animal has to get its ration from the farmer each day even though the animal is fit to be sold. Under this Bill, he will have to be kept on. This Bill does not solve the problem and it does not deserve any of the commendation we have heard about it. The problem remains to be solved. Just as they are trying to solve it in England, there is only one solution for it here.


If there were surrenders on the style of the New Zealanders, the South Africans, the Canadians and the Australians it would be much better for the people of this country. If there were surrenders like the surrenders of the people who got an export trade of 414,000 cwts. for the first year and 1,000,000 cwts. the next year that would be the sort of surrender I would enjoy. We were not told two years ago that we were to have these taxes on our live stock. At that time our cattle exports were £12,669,000. These are now down to £6,064,000. We were not told that there would be a quota here or there. Nobody ever told us there would; if there had been an agreement at Ottawa we would not have a quota now, and it would not be necessary for us to have this Bill. Whether the Ministry like it or not that is a problem they have to settle. They will have to settle more than that. We have got in this, as well as in every other business nowadays, to pay attention to the markets, see what the British requirements are, and produce these requirements. We can produce something that nobody else can produce. We have again to invite the farmers to produce baby beef; there is a market for it. The extraordinary thing I see in these figures of imports in connection with the British market is that London with all its wealth consumes something like 60 per cent. frozen or chilled meat; whereas in Manchester and Birmingham the percentages are 45 and 50. That trade can only be got by our producing in an attractive and marketable condition. We have to get these markets back in spite of any prejudice that may have arisen. We can only do that if, in our own interest, we deal with the matter in a businesslike way and with a businesslike outlook in connection with Great Britain. Our position is in no way subordinate to Great Britain. The Ministry thinks it is, and that is where they make their fatal mistake. That market represents something like 800,000 head of cattle, always more than our home market. If we had an increased demand in our home market of 800,000 head of cattle —a most unlikely possibility—we would still have that market open. That market could be had if there was sound commonsense shown on the part of the Ministry. They are adding, by this Bill, £300,000 to the taxation of the country; and eventually it is going to be £600,000. Every one of the measures the Government have brought in is going to add to the cost of living and is going to make life more difficult for our people. Over 300,000 people were in insurable occupations when this Government took office. They promised to add to that 86,041 persons. On the contrary, the Government policy is going to shatter the foundation of the State. It is too costly an experiment. However, we may seek to settle matters legislatively, and by Acts of Parliament with systems of inspectors and licences and so on, in the long run it comes to this, that the test of a country is how its people live; and the more cost caused by this system of inspectors and licences the less there will be for the people to enjoy.

Dr. Ryan

The arguments used against this Bill are that it will not achieve what we have set out to achieve. It is very difficult for any Minister, or anybody else, to deal with questions of that sort. All I can say is that I expect to achieve what the Bill sets out to do. If the Opposition say I will not achieve that, then the only thing that can decide between us is time. Everyone who spoke on the Opposition side made that criticism, namely, that we will not achieve the objects which this Bill was introduced to achieve. These objects are to get a better price for our cattle and to deal with the surplus. If the Bill will not achieve these objects, then I am wrong and the Opposition is right. But I say again time will tell. At the same time that they use that argument they all practically use another argument as well, namely, that we are going in for very stringent regulations. I said, in my opening speech, that I realised it was a difficult problem. Being a difficult problem I hope to succeed, in the only way one can succeed in such matters, and that is by provisions to deal with contingencies as they arise. There is to be registration of the butcher and people who buy cattle. These things are incidental to our Bill. If we are not to have a list of those who buy cattle for slaughter how are we to find out whether they pay the fixed price. If the Opposition is sincere—and none of them said he did not want to see this Bill passed and they all implied they would like to see a better price for cattle—why do they not give us the power to do these things. They profess to have great sympathy for the butcher. Deputy Cosgrave asked me if I had consulted the butchers about this Bill. As a matter of fact, I did. But if I did not I do not see why members of the Opposition should have such sympathy with them because, so far as our relations with the butchers go, they are far less stringent than in any of the Produce Acts passed by the late Government. If persons come along and say they want to buy cattle, I must register them. I cannot refuse. There is nothing stringent in that. We are told that the butcher will have to get an auditor to make up his accounts. What is it that we ask the butcher to do in this connection? We ask him to return in seven days from the end of the month the number of cattle and sheep he killed. The butcher dealing with seven or eight cattle and fifteen sheep does not require an auditor to make up these accounts. He is asked to make a return of the number of cattle and sheep he kills, within seven days from the end of the month. If he is not a good scholar he can take four days to make up the number and three days to prepare his return and send it in. We do not ask him to make a calculation of what it amounts to. We do not ask him to multiply the number of cattle by the number of pounds and the number of sheep by five shillings. We do all that for him. We send the bill and he gets seven days to pay. Surely there is no trouble in book-keeping of that kind. We cannot refuse to register him and we can only remove him for bankruptcy or fraud or things of that kind but for no other reasons.

Then the question arises as to the stringent regulations with regard to the marking of cattle. Deputy Cosgrave says the inspector may call on the farmer at the time when he is about to take his cattle to market so that he may lose his opportunity. In the first place, the farmer applies to us to have his cattle marked. I am sure that no Deputy has ever found an inspector from the Department of Agriculture unreasonable. If the inspector is told not to call on a particular day, or for three or four days, I am sure the inspector will facilitate the farmer in every way. Deputy Bennett said that for the last two months if a man came to market cattle he could only do it at night time and would have to bring a lantern. Does that mean that no man can buy cattle?

No; it does not mean that.

Dr. Ryan

Well, what does it mean? I have seen cattle on hot days coming out to grass long before dark. They may be hidden away for certain hours of the day but the inspector appointed will know something about that. And the inspectors will be appointed by the Civil Service Commission.

Will the farmer be informed what day the inspector is to call?

Dr. Ryan

The farmer will apply to have his cattle marked, and if he does not wish to have the inspector call for a few days the inspector will facilitate him. I am perfectly sure of that. There was some talk about surplus cattle. There were probably surplus cattle here, but what I stated was that there were no surplus stall-fed cattle during the period from January to May, taking the whole period together. There may have been some ready for market in January or March which had to be carried on until the end of May, but the fact was proved that there were no stall-feds at the end of May. We asked the organisation which was supposed to represent the stall-feeders to apply for licences and we gave them all licences applied for up to the end of May and they only amounted to about 230 altogether.

Does the Minister suggest that he supplied licences to all applicants?

Dr. Ryan

I say that we did at the end of May.

Do you mean to tell the House that no stall feeders were disappointed in getting licences for their cattle?

Dr. Ryan

At the end of May every beast in the stalls had been disposed of.


Dr. Ryan

Whatever Deputy Cosgrave may say about an expanding market in Great Britain, there is no doubt that any Deputy can go down to the Library and get the Trade and Navigation Reports and he will find from them that the imports of beef into Britain are declining. I do not care what speech Deputy Cosgrave may quote, any Deputy can find that for himself. A question has also been raised in reference to a man having his cattle marked and to the fact that he may not be able to sell them for 15 or perhaps 30 days after their being so marked. He may not sell them to a person for slaughter. That is, the person who slaughters the cattle cannot slaughter them except after the date at which they are marked but there is nothing to prevent a man selling his cattle to a dealer. The dealer may hold them over until the time comes when they may be slaughtered. What does the farmer do at the present time? If there are too many cattle on offer, and if the exporter takes a certain number and the butcher a certain number, there is a surplus left. We have tried to improve that situation by saying that we will mark cattle that are most fit for slaughter. We will certify for export the best cattle and keep the best cattle for home consumption, but the farmer has the same facilities as at present to sell to a dealer who may hold them over until they can be exported or slaughtered.

Can he sell them to an exporter if they are marked?

Dr. Ryan

If they are marked he can sell them to whom he likes but nobody can slaughter them before the date for which they are marked for slaughter. In fact, the butcher can buy them as long as he does not slaughter them before the date marked. Some Deputies talked about free meat being degrading. I think that matter has been dealt with sufficiently. Surely if we have surplus meat, we ought in the first instance to feed our own people well and let them get a sufficiency of the good food we have in this country. The big complaint we have always had against Great Britain has been that in time of famine she allowed our people to starve while she was taking food out of the country. I think if our people require meat, milk or anything else, we should give it to them first. Whatever means we adopt of giving it to them, at any rate they should get it. Deputy Cosgrave says that there were only two classes to which this meat would be given. Most of the other speakers thought that two were too many, but Deputy Cosgrave says we ought to have gone further. If he can define any other classes to which free meat should be given, that would form the subject of a very appropriate amendment for the Committee Stage, and I suggest he should put down such an amendment.

Deputy Belton says that the cost of beef and the cost of feeding stuffs should be fixed. His reason for that was that we had fixed the price of oats and barley. Later in his speech, Deputy Belton said that there was a lot of cattle left over last year and he said it was not the rancher who had his cattle but the ordinary farmer. In fact, I have often said myself that it is people who keep cattle who do the most tillage. That is what we are trying to do in all our cereals legislation—trying to make every farmer grow his own corn as far as possible. If a farmer with cattle has his own oats and barley, our cereals legislation does not matter in the least, because he is almost compelled, if he is to enter on it properly, to have sufficient oats. He will certainly have enough corn for his cattle, therefore our cereals legislation will not affect him in the least.

There will be no relation between the two fixed prices?

Dr. Ryan

I do not say that. I am not sure what the fixed price is going to be at all yet. That is a matter to be decided. On the whole there has been no serious criticism of this Bill. Nobody went so far as to say that some action was not necessary. In fact I think every Deputy on the opposite side admitted that action was necessary in connection with our cattle by way of increasing prices and dealing with the surplus. Some members of the Opposition did say that this Bill would not achieve its purpose and others, on the other hand, said that we were taking too many powers to deal with it. Which of them to believe I do not know or on which argument they wish to appear sincere, I do not know. Anyway, no constructive suggestion was made by which we could alter the Bill or achieve its purpose in any other way. There was of course the usual suggestion to stop the economic war but Deputies only throw that out when they cannot say anything else. There was no constructive suggestion of any kind. In fact most of the speeches were on the lines of Deputy McGilligan's speech. Deputy McGilligan spoke on the lines that he always pursues— personalities, abuse, and destructive criticism. Deputies opposite appear to be adopting the tactics of Deputy McGilligan, especially those of destructive criticism. We should like very much to have constructive criticism.

I should like to have some suggestions from the Opposition of a better way of dealing with the problem, or to have some suggestion put forward by which this Bill could be improved. I must say that not a single suggestion was made to me during the debate which would be a headline to me in framing any amendment. Very often during a Second Reading debate a Minister takes notes of criticisms made. He takes these notes back to his office and considers them and as a result he brings forward a number of amendments to the Bill. I have not got a single note from the speech of any speaker on the opposite side which would suggest any amendment of the Bill because, I suppose, members on the opposite side were incapable of putting forward suggestions.

You could not amend it. It is a new Bill you want.

Dr. Ryan

I should like to hear the Deputy suggest what the new Bill should be like.

Give us back the market we had when you came into office. That is what we want.

Dr. Ryan

Deputy O'Leary has started now.

You do not know anything about it. You do not have to make your living by it.

Dr. Ryan

The Deputy always reminds me of a thresher when he speaks. I have said that not a single suggestion was made to me upon which I could frame an amendment to the Bill. Therefore, as far as the Opposition Party is concerned, I go back to my office with the Bill without having heard from them anything on which I could bring forward an amendment. They certainly have not helped me to frame amendments to the Bill.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 53; Níl, 34.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cleary, Mícheál.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Daly, Denis.
  • Davin, William.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Donnelly, Eamon.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hales, Thomas.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Pearse Margaret Mary.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Walsh, Richard.


  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Belton, Patrick.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Broderick, William Joseph.
  • Burke, James Michael.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Davitt, Robert Emmet.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating. John.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • McGuire, James Ivan.
  • Minch, Sydney B.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Reilly, John Joseph.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Rowlette, Robert James.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Moylan; Níl: Deputies Bennett and Doyle.
Question declared carried.
Committee Stage fixed for Tuesday, 7th August.