Well, nobody will forget Deputy Corry for his ignorance. The article continues:
"Those three Parties cannot be got to agree on any mortal thing concerning their own country, which should have the first claim on their allegiance. They cannot be got to agree on any common line of policy to get rid of the sanctions which the British Government has imposed on the Free State, but they can all agree in aiding the British Government to impose sanctions on another country that has never done us any harm, a country, indeed, that has many ancient ties with our own."
They are right in saying that they did agree in aiding the British Government to impose sanctions on another country. Now, that form is reproduced in this House on this motion. I followed Deputy Dillon's long speech very closely to find if he would commit himself to any line; but he did not. On the other hand, with the exception of two back benchers, Deputies Moore and Corry, no Deputy on the Government Benches considered it worth his while to speak. None of those patriots who wanted to wade in the blood of Britain, and who have now allied themselves to Britain, thought it worth his while to get up and speak on this motion. Deputy Dillon made an attack, not on this motion, not on the proposal set out here, but upon the agricultural policy of the Government. If my eyes did not deceive me, I read in the public Press within the last two or three weeks, after the exist of Deputy MacDermot, who followed after me, where Deputy Dillon's Party had adopted that agricultural policy. Now, are we living in an age of pure deception?
There are a few other interesting points that I should like to hear something about. Deputy McMenamin, in speaking on this motion, talked about the select committee. Having quoted the first part of the motion, he said:
"That is the first part. I candidly say I do not like that at all, nor can I support it. I am not going to ask anybody in this country to support the continuance of the economic war."
This motion does not ask anybody to do so. However, he goes on as follows:
"My opinion is that they have borne it so long that they are no longer fit to bear anything. For that reason, I cannot understand why Deputies Belton and Kent put down the motion in this form. The second part of the motion says: `That the committee consist of 11 members who shall be nominated by the Committee of Selection.' What is this committee to do? They are to distribute the incidence of the economic war. Speaking for myself, if I were to help to distribute the incidence of the economic war, more than it is distributed at the present time, I would not be discharging my duty. I do not think there is one individual in my constituency, or in any constituency, who has not borne this burden up to the breaking point; and I think everybody would be delighted if some method were found to put an end to this thing."
The Deputy goes on to speak further, but I shall not burden the House with the whole quotation. However, I have quoted enough to indicate that Deputy McMenamin, representing the municipality of the County Donegal, will not support this motion. Now we come to Deputy McGilligan. It is strange that the echo of the voices of all these people, who make these sweeping statements on this motion, can still be found in the land where they have addressed meetings of farmers, telling them what they are suffering and their policy to alleviate those sufferings. Deputy McGilligan said:
"I do not see that it is possible to distribute more equitably the burden of the economic war."
Deputy Brennan said something similar. Now, we have Deputies Brennan, McMenamin, McGilligan, and Dillon. Well, let us see the authority that those Deputies have from their own people. I challenge contradiction on this. Organisations in this country are nearly all similarly constituted. There is an annual convention, or an Ard Fheis, held, and that is the supreme authority of that organisation. Those Deputies, whom I have just quoted, held that Ard Fheis last March, and I am going to quote a motion proposed at that Ard Fheis last March and carried unanimously. The motion was sent forward by the Cappawhite branch of Fine Gael, County Tipperary, Cashel district executive. I am quoting from the agenda, and this was given to me on Sunday last by a man who was at that meeting and who came up from the country to help the passage of this motion. He informed me that it was carried unanimously. This is the motion and I will ask anybody here to think it over and say how much it differs—if it differs even in a comma from the motion that I have put up here, seconded by Deputy Kent—the motion that Deputies on those benches said they will not support. Here is the motion:
"That as a result of the financial dispute between the Saorstát and Great Britain, the burden of the annual payments previously paid by the Saorstát as a whole is now borne by the agricultural industry and, in consequence, prices for agricultural produce have been depressed on the export market, and the home market prices with the exception of butter have been lowered to the export price level; that we call on the Government to remedy this injustice by shifting the burden from agriculture to the whole nation and that we suggest the most feasible way to do this is to increase the bounties to the level of the tariffs imposed by England."
That motion was carried by the Fine Gael Ard-Fheis last March and it was carried unanimously. I state emphatically that any member of the Fine Gael Party who votes against the motion that we have down here is betraying the trust given him by that Ard-Fheis. There is a mandate there to support a certain policy. That is the policy in the resolution I have just read. I will give way to any Deputy on those benches who can claim that he has authority to go against the direction of his own Ard-Fheis.
In, moving this motion I have kept as close to the exact wording as I possibly could. In my short address I did not mention the economic war. I did not mention any policy. I stated there the facts as they appeared to me and I asked for this select committee to be set up to investigate the incidence of these tariffs and to ascertain if there was anything in the allegation that agriculture is bearing the whole burden of the economic war. I submit that the Government Party did not face facts. They cannot face them, because the members on the Front Bench and the President himself have admitted so much that they cannot make a case against this motion. The President cannot make a case against this motion unless he wants all of us clearly and emphatically to see that he does not want the truth to come out. Of course the position has not been improved by the silence on the Government Benches. Labour, who are concerned about agricultural wages do not think it worth their while to speak on this motion. Surely Labour sees the relation between agricultural output, agricultural profits and the capacity of that industry to pay wages, large or small. But Labour, too, will not face the issue fairly and clearly. Deputy Moore paid me the more or less left-handed compliment of saying that I am an agriculturist and an economist and that, in his opinion, it would take ten years to carry through this investigation. Of course it would take ten years to carry through any investigation when you do not want to carry the investigation through. For example, if I wanted to walk over to the opposite door and started in the contrary direction I would never reach that door. That is the sort of investigation that Deputy Moore visualised and that is the sort of investigation that Deputy Corry had in mind when he said he could get a committee to do anything or to find anything he wanted.
No wonder that this House is getting into contempt in the country. Speak of the Dáil anywhere to a man to-day and the man to whom you speak laughs. Is there any wonder that responsible members of this House will go down the country, preach one thing there and come in here and do another thing? I have given quotations now that are irrefutable. Then red herrings are pulled across. Deputy Corry is an adept at that thing. He never gets up to speak on agriculture— and to speak intelligently on it—but he draws across the red herrings. He talks about John Bull's bullocks. Why is the Government subsidising the sending of bullocks to John Bull? The thing is a farce and it is about time we got down to business. Better send the bullocks to John Bull than old cows to Roscrea. Better send the animals to John Bull than to continue the slaughter of the innocent calves for 10/- of a subsidy on a calf skin that is not worth a tanner.
Deputy Broderick was quoted as saying that anybody who went in for the Government's agricultural policy made money. Of course you cannot argue on national affairs with men whose vision is not beyond the tips of their noses. Nobody can deny that when, in the first or second year of office of the present Government, they remitted the excise duty on tobacco grown in this country, it was giving the grower of tobacco a market worth 9/- to 10/- a lb. for tobacco of which the commercial value was only 5d. or 6d. The manufacturer would have to pay 9/- or 10/- a lb. for that. What happened? The grower and the manufacturer split the 9/- or the 10/- between them. The grower made a handsome profit, got money for nothing, and the manufacturer got money for nothing. The Minister for Finance wiped the cobwebs off his eyes the following year because he saw what the Exchequer and the country lost, and he realised he could not sustain that. Anybody who thinks nationally in economic or political affairs must look beyond his nose and it is no use thinking individually or selfishly of "What can I make if I do so and so?"
Even before the people now on the Government Benches thought that a plough was any use in the country, I advocated the policy of the plough, and I still advocate it. Deputy Corry put up a case about growing wheat and beet, doing more tillage. Suppose we all go in for a big drive in that direction, what will the produce be worth to you? It will be worth the international price, because the day we export it we must sell on the international market and we cannot get more than the international price.
I do not want to develop a discussion on that. I have mentioned it sufficiently to get to a point of relevancy in connection with the motion. Deputy Corry pointed out that the market we have got in the shape of a wheat market is compensation for what we lost on the export market in connection with our cattle and other farm produce. Let us visualise what the situation would be like if there were no economic war. I would like to know if the Fianna Fáil Party had in mind the agricultural policy they have put into operation before there was any danger of an economic war or, to give it its up-to-date name, before there was any danger of sanctions. Before the imposition of these sanctions by the Government's friend, John Bull, the Government had in mind the development of a scheme of tillage economy here. That tillage economy could not be put over unless an inducement was offered to the farmers, unless there was some indication that putting more land under the plough would be a profitable operation for them. All the inducements that have been given to increase the area under tillage would have to be given, and possibly more would have to be given, if there had not been an economic war, so that anything that has been paid to the farmers by way of subsidy for more wheat or beet or any of those things—more corn—would have been a necessary consequence of a Fianna Fáil tillage economy scheme.
With such a thing I would be 100 per cent. in agreement, but my point is that it is in no way a compensation for the losses entailed by the economic war. It is entirely irrelevant to drag that in. It would have to be done in any case if there were never an economic war. There would have to be some inducement to get farmers to till the land. If there had been no economic war the inducement would have to be even greater, because the old system of economy would be more profitable and a higher bid would have to be made by the Government to get the farmers to change their system of economy. That is quite obvious to anybody. But anybody whose mind is saturated with the philosophy: "I will get a committee to find anything" will not see that. We have had all this twaddle, this red-herring across the path, of "Look at what we have got for wheat." What was got for wheat was necessary in order to encourage the growing of wheat here and it was entirely apart from the economic war and the Government should have visualised that before there was any danger of an economic war or sanctions.
The same applies to beet and the little odds and ends that the Government dishonestly claim as a set-off to the economic war. If they feel there is any substance in their claim, why do they not accept this committee? If there is any truth in what Deputy Corry says, that they can get this committee, no matter how it is constituted, to report any way they want, why do they not get it? They are afraid of it; they know the position and they are afraid of the issue. They know that the report of any committee of 11 that takes evidence must be related to that evidence and they know that evidence can be put up that cannot be refuted by any hostile witness. There are Deputies who wonder if there are people ready to put up a case to this committee. I can assure them there are people ready to submit a case they can stand over and that cannot be refuted. I know a case has been put up to the Government by farmer supporters of their own, by, for instance, farmers from the County Meath, from Deputy Kelly's constituency. They met in Ballivor and they invited him to the meeting.