Committee on Finance. - Turf (Use and Development) Bill, 1935—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. For the past four years the Government has been actively investigating the possibility of substituting a supply of home-produced fuel for imported coal. That investigation has ranged over all possibilities, and, as Deputies are aware, an active expert examination of our own coal deposits is at present proceeding. It appeared to us, however, from the beginning that the most likely possibilities of early development rested in increasing the use for turf as a fuel for household purposes. To that end we took steps designed to secure a substantial increase in the production of turf and in its use in various parts of the country. Measures designed to secure an increase in the production of turf were successful to some degree in the year 1933, when organised production first took place through the medium of co-operative societies formed for the purpose, and the turf produced was disposed of without great difficulty. In the year 1934, however, during which there was a substantial increase in the production of turf by the co-operative societies, a difficulty arose in the matter of marketing. The response of the coal merchants to the requests of the Department to make turf available for sale to their customers, and to assist our efforts to get people to use it, was disappointing. Out of some 2,250 coal merchants in the country, only 470 have applied and been appointed as approved turf distributors.

It became evident in 1934 that the Turf Development Board, which came into existence in that year and took over the activities formerly carried on by the Department, would require a very considerable increase in the sales of turf to enable it to dispose of the quantity produced by the co-operative turf societies and on their hands for the 1935 season. That failure to dispose of all the turf produced in 1934 had a very direct reaction upon the quantity of turf produced in 1935. For other reasons also the production of turf in 1935 declined. Because, however, of the increase in the price of coal which took place towards the end of last year, all the turf on the hands of the societies, whether produced in 1935 or carried over from 1934, has been disposed of during the course of the present season. If, however, the circumstances to which I have referred were not there, and if there had not been that decline in production in 1935, consequent on the failure to dispose of the 1934 crop, it is not improbable that a large surplus of turf would still remain to be disposed of.

During the period in which the co-operative turf-producing societies were being brought into existence, and the Turf Development Board constituted, a very considerable amount of work was done on the development of bogs in order to facilitate and encourage the production of turf. Large sums of money have been made available from the Exchequer for that purpose. The value of turf to the producers has been fully demonstrated, and all those societies are now in a position to reap in full the advantage of that development work to which I have referred.

We have encouraged those turf societies to increase their production for the 1936-7 season, and various additional measures designed to facilitate the operation of the whole turf scheme have also been applied. The Turf Development Board has been authorised by the Department to provide the co-operative societies with compounds for the ricking of turf and also with sheds which will render the societies largely independent of weather conditions during the marketing season. It is anticipated, therefore, that in the present year production in the areas in which those societies operate will show a considerable increase over production during 1935. The Turf Development Board will dispose, at the recognised price of 11/6 per ton, of good quality turf produced by the societies, provided that the turf is ricked in approved compounds in conformity with the instructions of the board; that it is placed in sacks and delivered on rail or canal or elsewhere as directed by the board; that the turf is delivered in such a condition as will satisfy the officers of the board as to the quality of the turf; and further, that the societies conform to such rules and regulations as the board lays down for the welfare of the turf industry and for the producers and consumers of turf. The demand for turf up to the present, however, would not enable the board to dispose of the production which is anticipated during the present year, and if steps were not taken to secure and guarantee a market to the producers, all the efforts of the board to stimulate production would be of little avail.

It is in order to guarantee a market to the producers that it has been decided to introduce this Turf (Use and Development) Bill. The purpose of the Bill is to make provision for promoting the more extensive production of turf for domestic and household purposes. One of its principal provisions, which requires in approved areas the compulsory inclusion of a proportion of turf with each ton of coal sold for domestic purposes, will ensure that turf producers will not be discouraged in future by any fear that their turf, when properly harvested, will be left on their hands. It is, perhaps, unfortunate that this Bill is introduced now after a campaign in certain newspapers for some time, which grossly misrepresented its provisions and the purposes behind it. We have had a number of fantastic statements published as to the intentions of the Government in respect of turf, and the manner in which it proposes to use the powers to be conferred by this Bill. I should explain that it has been found necessary to resort to compulsion in the use of turf for several reasons, but the primary reason is to ensure that the utilisation of fuel in the country will be done on a more economic basis than heretofore. It is intended that the compulsory powers will be used so as to avoid causing hardship, particularly upon those who are least able to bear it, that is, the poorer sections of the community.

The first principle upon which the powers proposed to be conferred by the Bill will be applied is that compulsion will be resorted to only where the cost of turf, value for value, compares favourably with the cost of coal, and in areas in which compulsion is to be put into operation, that condition can be satisfied without any difficulty whatsoever. Compulsion will be applied in the areas which are well served by suitable bogs, and in districts where the cost of the turf, having regard to its value as a fuel, will prove to be more economical for domestic purposes than coal. The degree of compulsion which it will be necessary to resort to will be very small. A very small quota of turf in relation to coal will dispose of the complete production of turf societies for some years to come. The Irish Independent has been harrowing its readers with tales of the alleged intentions of the Government to require the use of two tons of turf for every cwt. of coal purchased by a householder. I have no hope that we will get to that stage for a long number of years to come, but it might be interesting to reflect upon the fact that if we succeeded in doing that, we would also have succeeded in abolishing unemployment in this country entirely. It would take the labour of all the unemployed persons in the country to produce the quantity of turf necessary, if we were to make an order requiring the use of two tons of turf with every cwt. of coal. I think there are very few people in this country who would not be prepared to contemplate that possibility if it were to lead to the abolition of unemployment.

The Minister says it would lead to that. If so, why does he not do it?

My answer to the Deputy is that we hope to do it in due course, but it will take a considerable time and an amount of organisation, as well as the use of the powers proposed to be conferred in this Bill, to get to the stage at which that can be done. In fact, the object of the Bill is to give the turf industry a sound basis over a period of years to enable it to develop, and, in time, to produce sufficient turf to meet the requirements of those persons who can use it economically.

Efforts have also been made to misrepresent this Bill as likely to impose hardships on the poor, and particularly the poor of the cities. I have explained, however, that it is intended to use these powers for the purpose of ensuring the use of turf to a greater extent in the areas where it is more economical to use turf than to use coal, and in those areas, as Deputies are well aware, the poorer classes of the community always use turf at present. It is, therefore, entirely wrong to represent the Bill as being designed to impose additional hardship upon the poorer classes. We have had reference also to the physical difficulties that may arise if an extended use of turf is required, due to the greater bulk of a ton of turf than a ton of coal and the difficulty of storing turf in quantities in the smaller classes of dwellings. I can assure the House that the Government is fully alive to all those difficulties, and that the use of the powers in the Bill, or of other powers of the Government, will be directed in the light of that knowledge.

When speaking on the subject of compulsion in connection with the use of turf generally, it is, I think, necessary to stress the fact that turf as a household fuel is in no sense in the experimental stage, and particularly in those European countries where the deposits of turf are considerable. Turf has its place in the industrial life of two of the most highly industrialised countries in the world, Germany and Russia, and we are entitled in this country to look forward to a similar development. The Bill proposes that retailers of coal for domestic purposes and the purchasers of such coal shall be under an obligation to include with every ton of coal sold or purchased some proportion of turf, and it contemplates the fixation of certain areas within which it shall operate. These areas will be selected by the Minister for Industry and Commerce after consideration of the availability of large quantities of turf, either situated in the district or so situated as to allow of its easy transportation to the district. Moreover, the quantity of turf to be sold per ton of coal will vary having regard to the conditions in particular districts.

In any area scheduled for the purposes of the Bill, all coal retailers carrying on business in that area will be required to register, and only such registered retailers will be permitted to sell coal in that area. Penalties will be attached to any persons selling coal except those registered in the register to be set up under the Bill, and also to any person who buys coal for household purposes from retailers other than those so registered. The turf to be sold by these registered retailers will have to be obtained from an approved source, that is, from the Turf Development Board or a co-operative society authorised by the board, or, in the case of turf bricquettes, a limited company approved of by the Minister. These provisions are considered necessary to ensure that the Bill benefits organised production and that the turf supplied with coal by retailers will be subjected to supervision and be of the desired quality.

The winning of turf by mechanical methods, as practised at present in Russia and Germany, was recently investigated by a delegation which went on behalf of the Government to those countries. The results achieved by mechanical methods are so favourable that plans are in contemplation for a similar development in this country. To facilitate that, the Bill proposes to confer on the Minister for Industry and Commerce powers to acquire land and provide transport facilities on the recommendation of the Turf Development Board, so as to enable the board to acquire large bog areas for the purpose of winning turf by mechanical methods. Several extensive bogs have been surveyed with a view to ascertaining which of them present conditions most favourable for extensive machine production and a decision upon that point is to be expected in the very near future.

Turning to the Bill itself, the details of it, I think, require little explanation. Deputies will note that in the definition of coal we have used a form of words which have the effect of exempting sales of coke or of Irish coal from the provisions of the Bill.

Section 2 gives the approved sources of supply of turf under the Bill. The supervision of the Turf Development Board over the operations of the co-operative societies will ensure that only turf of good quality is supplied to the coal retailers for resale to their customers. Section 4 deals with the question of the appointed areas. It is necessary to have these separate appointed areas for a number of reasons. Firstly, because in a turf producing district a higher proportion of turf to coal would normally apply than would be appropriate elsewhere; secondly, it is necessary to curtail the length of haulage of turf so as to reduce transport charges. During the past two years the railway companies have carried turf at a flat rate of 6/- per ton, irrespective of distance. The railway companies state, however, that this rate has proved to be uneconomic. By making the compulsory provisions of the Bill apply to certain defined areas containing substantial stocks of turf, it will be possible to limit the average haul to comparatively short distances. This will enable the railway companies to quote rates more in conformity with the requirements of the turf industry and more profitable to the railway companies themselves. The present average rate of 6/- per ton expires in June next. The position will then be reviewed in the light of the provisions of the Bill. The fixity of the number of areas will also make it possible for the railway companies to organise road transport of fuel on a more satisfactory basis than has been found possible heretofore. Thirdly, it is desired to apply the Bill gradually, commencing with those areas in which turf is a familiar fuel, and periodically extending its operations as experience in this work grows, and supplies of turf increase.

Sections 6 to 9 deal with the arrangements for the registration of coal retailers. These arrangements follow the lines for registration procedure laid down in a number of other enactments which have proved quite satisfactory in operation. It is contemplated in Section 10 that a certificate of registration of coal retailers must be displayed prominently during business hours in the premises to which such certificate relates. The arrangement is, of course, necessary; it is only coal retailers who have complied with the provisions of the Bill who can purchase or sell coal. In section 12 there is a prohibition against the purchase of coal from unregistered coal retailers. Section 13 makes it compulsory on the coal retailer not to sell to a purchaser more than 2 cwts. of coal for consumption without also selling to him the prescribed quantity of turf appropriate to that quantity of coal and to the appointed area where the fuel is to be consumed. It will be noticed that there are provisions for exemption in certain circumstances; these exemption provisions are further dealt with in Section 17. It is possible that the full insistence on the compulsory provisions of the Bill would create hardships in the case of hospitals and certain other institutions; there is power of exemption to meet these cases. Section 20 and 21 make it possible for the Turf Development Board to acquire land for the sale and storage of turf, or to acquire land for any purpose connected therewith. Power is proposed to be given to acquire land from the Land Commission by agreement, and compulsorily from any private person.

The Minister has not explained Section 19 or the provision about the 2 cwts. at all.

I did not think any additional explanation was required.

Sections 22 to 26, inclusive, relate to certain records to be kept and returns to be made out by coal retailers. It was necessary to have these provisions in order to ensure that the provisions of the Bill should be definitely carried out. Section 27 provides the necessary powers of inspection and examination. It has been thought wise to avail of the services of the Gárda Síochána for this purpose. In the main they will be responsible for carrying out those duties.

I recommend this Bill to the House for the reasons which I have stated. It is designed to facilitate and encourage the greater production of turf and its more extended use as household fuel. I think there are few Deputies who will dispute the obvious advantages to the national economy of having a more extended use of turf instead of imported fuel. If this substitution can be carried out to any important extent, not merely will there be a considerable reduction in our balance of payments and a greater security in respect of continuity of fuel supplies in unusual circumstances, but also a considerable amount of additional employment will be afforded here in the winning of that fuel. The value of properly won turf for household purposes is well known. Weight for weight, turf may not be the same calorific value as coal, but it is suitable for most domestic purposes. It is true that in some areas and in some houses difficulties in its use may arise. These difficulties will be due to the absence of suitable storage and the absence of suitably designed grates or ranges. I may say that the Government, through the Industrial Research Council, has been carrying out intensive work upon the investigation of the most suitable type of range for the burning of turf; a very valuable report on that subject is at present with the printers and will be published in the near future.

If any of the public should be alarmed at the prospect of being required compulsorily to use large quantities of turf in the near future, I assure them that there is no foundation for their alarm. The actual quantity of turf which would be available this year, or next year, or for some years to come, no matter how successful our efforts will be to encourage fuel production, will be small in relation to our total fuel requirements. The purpose of the Government in the use of these compulsory powers is to ensure that as far as possible turf will be used in the areas where it is most economic to use it. There are wide areas in this country at the present time where the use of coal at the existing price is uneconomic as against turf at the present price. It should be possible to absorb in these areas a very large quantity of our total turf production with advantage. Then the matter of increasing employment with advantage to the people in these areas also arises. In a manner the operation of this Bill will avoid the uneconomic transport of turf over long distances to areas where the local production of turf may not be available. There is, of course— always has been and always will be—a very large market for turf independent of any measures which the Government may take to stimulate its production or to encourage its use. That market will also be supplied as in the past. The operations of the Turf Development Board through these turf co-operative societies, and the various steps which have been taken to standardise the quality of the turf and to ensure that it will be won and stored under appropriate conditions, will still continue. Turf users include those who buy turf for their own use and those who use turf won by themselves from bogs in their own ownership. The extended use of turf in areas where previously there has not been turf production, in areas where imported fuel was in use, will have very decided advantages for many parts of the country which are in real need of such an industry.

I think it is correct to state that the development of the turf industry benefits those parts of the country which are most in need of assistance. The turf-winning areas are, as a rule, the poorest parts of the country, and the people living in those areas have a very severe struggle for existence under any circumstances. The development of the turf industry will be a great boon to those people, giving them a new source of revenue which can be made permanent and expanding, and the purpose of this Bill is to ensure that the new revenue which has been flowing into those areas, in consequence of the efforts of the Department of Industry and Commerce and the Turf Development Board, will be made permanent and induced to increase to the benefit of the residents and the turf producers in those districts. The Bill is a simple one. Its provisions are obvious. The need for it, I am sure, is appreciated by those who are familiar with the conditions and who appreciate the advantage it will be to the country and to the people of the rural areas if the plans of the Government to extend the use of turf are successful. I recommend the Bill to certain Deputies in the House with confidence, and to others with hope.

The Minister said that what has been done in the past for the purpose of turf development has been done in order to put the development of turf here on a sound basis. As a matter of fact, all that has been done in the past is to endeavour to build up turf development on a basis of sound. The only remarkable thing about the Minister's contribution this evening is the remarkable absence of sound about what he had to say on this particular subject. It is also interesting to note that the Minister has found out a day upon which quite a number of the Deputies of this House, who know, from seeing it at their own doors, what has been happening in connection with the turf development scheme, cannot be here.

Why cannot they?

Because this is a Tuesday, and the Dáil is meeting on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and the Minister is aware that Deputies from distant parts of the country—particularly those parts of the country that are congested and poor and most in need of assistance from the development of the turf industry, as the Minister says—find it very difficult——

To tear themselves away from Punchestown?

——to get away from their own areas and to get up here to Dublin to spend three days. As to Punchestown I should like to ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce has he compared the money value to the pockets of the people of the horse-breeding industry in this country with the turf cutting industry of this country?

We are talking about another kind of turf industry now.

They are both turf industries.

Yes, they are both turf industries, but has the Minister weighed the two industries from the point of view of what they mean to the revenue of this country, to employment in this country, and to improving the conditions of the people?

They are not necessarily antagonistic.

They are not necessarily antagonistic, but the Minister can advise the organisers of a turf-cutting competition down in some of the Midland counties that the President and all the Ministers of State will attend at the turf-cutting competition, and he wants to sneer here this evening at Deputies who might want to take part in an annual demonstration affecting the well-being and the development of the horse-breeding industry in this country.

Good man! That is a great argument.

Well, at any rate, it is an answer to what the Minister says about Punchestown. Why must the President and all the Ministers announce to those who are assisting in the development of the peat industry in some of the Midland counties that they are all going to be present and have lunch on the bog, and then make reflections, and make no provision, probably, to send the President or any of his Ministers to Punchestown?

I would not be sure about that.

I would not be too sure about it, either, but I would be sure of this: that if they did go, they would not advertise it in the Press.

At any rate, we have a few that own a few horses.

They would not like the Fianna Fáil clubs to see a notification in the Press to the effect that the President and all his Ministers were going to Punchestown. However, so much for that. The counties in the West that are so badly off, according to the Minister, require to be assisted. Now, apparently, this Bill is a continuation of the experimental scheme that was started by the vote of money in June, 1933, for the provision of sacks and the organisation of co-operative societies for turf cutting. On that occasion the Minister for Defence told us that it was particularly intended to assist the poor districts in the West and the congested districts, where £1 was as valuable as £10 when you compare their conditions with the conditions here in the eastern parts of the country. Let us look, first, accordingly at the position from the point of view of these counties. You could divide the country, by a line separating Monaghan from Cavan and then passing to the east of Longford, Roscommon, Galway, Clare, Limerick and Kerry, into two areas. Let us call one the Western area and the other the Eastern area. The Western area is the area that was particularly indicated by the Minister for Education when he was introducing the Estimate in 1932, and by the Minister for Defence when he was supporting. It is the area in which by far the greatest amount of turf is cut. There is not a county to the west of that line in which, in the year 1934—the last year for which the Minister has given us any figures— there has not been a smaller amount of turf cut than there was in the year 1931, before the Fianna Fáil Party ever spent the taxpayers' money on turf development, on sacks, and on the additional drainage of bogs that we have heard so much about. In 1934 there were 108,842 tons of turf less cut in the Connacht counties west of that line than there were in 1931. There were 62,988 tons less cut in the Ulster counties, that is Donegal, Leitrim and Cavan. When we come to Munster we find that the people in Kerry were provided with 57,018 sacks under the Minister's scheme. But in 1934 they cut 35,203 tons less of turf than in 1931, before they got any sacks or had any considerable amount of the Minister's money spent on opening up the areas. Let us see the amount of turf cut in these counties, as compared with the eastern counties. In Connacht alone in 1934, 1,490,000 tons of turf were cut, or 108,000 less than in 1931. The total amount cut in Leinster, which includes Offaly, Westmeath, Kildare, and those places where the Minister expects the machine cutting to develop, was only 488,000.

Sacks or tons?

They got 31,614 sacks for the whole of Leinster. The Kerry people got 57,008 sacks and they cut less turf probably than they ever did before. At any rate, their cutting was down by 10 per cent. on what it was in 1931, and all that after a tremendous campaign had been carried out. Let us see what was expected and what was done. We must realise that this Bill, according to the Minister's explanation, is a continuance of the scheme enshrined in his sack policy and in his co-operative society policy. The Minister himself got on to the turf question very early. On the 11th May, 1932, when giving a review of all that was going to be done by the Fianna Fáil Party, which was at that time going to wipe out unemployment in eight months, the Minister turned aside in the middle of his litany to say:—

"We hope to give considerable employment in the production of peat as fuel. At present our efforts have been concentrated upon the methods of winning and marketing a first-quality peat. Considerable employment can be given in that direction, and a considerable improvement can be effected in the national accounts by reducing the imports of foreign fuel. If various enquiries which we are undertaking at the moment into the possibility of marketing peat in another form prove that difficulties have been overcome and that a method of doing so has been invented, we will be able to establish an industry which will be by far the most important in the country, and which will provide us with a fuel not merely as good, but better than coal. Those are some of the things we are planning."

These were some of the things they were planning in May, 1932. We have had deputations sent to Germany and to Russia. The Minister was talking about his plans. He has not taken our peat industry as a whole, and indicated the extent to which his hopes even go in the matter of the mechanical cutting and drying of turf; the position that co-operative societies may be expected to occupy in the full peat development; the position that is to be occupied by the ordinary cutters of peat, on whom the country to a large extent has had to depend up to date for the turf that they can buy and that they can burn. The Minister in no way attempts to review the industry as a whole although, as I say, he started, within a month or two after taking office, to place the importance of the peat industry in the particular perspective indicated by that quotation from the Dáil Debates.

The Minister for Education, acting for the Minister, in introducing an Estimate in 1933 stated that they were going to have a Press campaign, that they were going to supply sacks and to develop co-operative societies. In view of the fact that this Bill, according to the Minister's statement, is a continuance of the scheme that has been in operation, it is well to see how the scheme was attempted to be developed, and what exactly has taken place. At the first start-off, the Minister's attitude was that he was not going to ask the people to turn to turf as fuel until he had made arrangements, through coal merchants or other fuel merchants to have supplies for them when they looked for them. Having arranged that he arranged for facilities with the railway company, which, by the way, only apply to co-operative societies and do not apply to the ordinary turf cutter in the country. The co-operative societies, for whom grounds are being bought and sheds put up, have facilities provided for them by the railway company. But the ordinary turf-cutters, on whom the people in the greater part of the country have to depend for turf, get no such facilities.

Then a Press advertising campaign was started and in October, 1933, the taxpayers' money was being used to tell the people that turf made the sweetest-smelling and the most healthy of all domestic fires; that it was the ideal fuel for the living-room and the bedroom; and that if they used turf they would find it would mean better fires and smaller fuel bills, and particularly that it gave more employment. By December, 1933, after people had been able to contemplate the first touch of advertising enthusiasm by the Press, they were beginning to be infected and we have it reported in a Dublin daily newspaper that it was surprising to many that turf was so clean and economical, that there was almost no waste; that it burned considerably longer than other fuel; and that, of course, it was the most Irish of all the industrial enterprises. That meant, I suppose, that it was not run by Matz, Gaw, Yaffe, Mendlestein, or any of these industrialists. In addition, a large quantity of money was voted to distribute free turf. A sum of £13,000 was voted for the distribution of free turf to the poor in Dublin. I can only take it that that was part of the advertising campaign, because we have just passed through one of the most severe winters that anybody has remembered, and there has been nothing done to provide free fuel of any kind for the poor of Dublin. So that we must regard the money spent in the winter of 1933 on the distribution of free turf as part of the advertising campaign.

Some newspapers were getting infected with enthusiasm even earlier than December, 1933, because in November, 1933, we have a Dublin newspaper reporting that turf sales were booming. In January, 1934, the propaganda was continued. In reply to a Parliamentary question, the Minister told me one of the reasons why the Board of Public Assistance in Dublin could not get turf to supply to poor people except at a cost greater than that at which the Lord Mayor of Dublin was providing coal to the same people. The propagandist in the Minister's Department said, in the course of a reply to a Parliamentary question, that "the substantial demand for turf created by the Government scheme for encouraging its use has produced the position that the only source from which large quantities can at present be obtained for regular delivery in the City of Dublin is the Turraun Peat Works in Offaly." I can only regard that as part of the subtle publicity campaign in connection with turf.

By March, 1934, turf, according to the Government advertisements, was becoming popular in the towns and cities as the national fuel, and we have the statement: "The demand for turf this winter is reported as being unprecedented, and the prophecy is made that the demand will be greater next winter"—that is, in the winter of 1935. In the beginning of 1934, about this particular time of the year, it was announced that President de Valera would cut the first sod and inaugurate a turf-cutting competition which had been planned to be carried out on an extensive scale at Allenwood, Robertstown, County Kildare. All the members of the Free State Executive Council, as well as Deputies of all political Parties, we were told, "have signified their intention of being present." Shortly afterwards the advertisements started attacking the coal-using families. The Government advertisements said: "The coal-using families are not helping the nation's economic recovery." Now we have to try to buy coal in order to keep the bit in the farmers' mouths.

Is the Deputy going to read all the turf-cutting advertisements?

The turf-cutting industry is an important industry. The people who are depending on it are people who want all the help and assistance that can be given to them to enable them to make the best of the turf resources that they have around them. The Minister has indicated in his own statement how important they are—that is, in his previous statement he indicated it. There is very little in his statement to-day to indicate the importance of the industry or to indicate what the Minister is going to do for it and its development, except to push more money down into the kind of sink that he has prepared for the taxpayers' money in respect of this bog business that he has been messing about with so much.

Deputy Seán O'Grady, speaking in Ennis in October, 1934, said that in his particular area an experiment of an unprecedented nature was being conducted. In October, 1934, the historical instincts of the people were being appealed to. We had advertisements reminding the people that countless suns had crossed the sky since the elk roamed Ireland——

There are a few elks knocking around yet.

There are, and they are treading on people's toes just as the elks long ago, according to the Government propaganda, trod on whatever was lying there at the time —trod the earth of Ireland into the sweetest-smelling, the most useful and the loveliest fuel that ever was made. The representatives of the Turf Development Board had to go on the Radio, and we were told how turf was formed through the countless ages by the tramp of Finn MacCool and his countless legions, by gallant Red Hugh and his legions. In fact, the people were encouraged to buy turf even for literary purposes, because as the smoke went up the chimney it might bring back to one all those great old stories about our ancestors. So, nothing was left undone or unsaid by the Minister and by the Party to try to make a success of the scheme that they had put in front of them.

The Minister cannot say that this scheme was not criticised when it was first put up. The Minister for Education, acting for the Minister for Industry and Commerce, on the 22nd June, 1933, when dealing with this matter when the Estimates were first introduced, said:—

"I should like to emphasise in the beginning that this peat scheme is entirely experimental. It has been subjected to a great deal of criticism, indeed, to a regular barrage of criticism."

It was criticised by Deputies from every part of the country. The Minister was warned where he was going in so far as development was concerned, and where he was going in so far as the expenditure of money was concerned. But all this propaganda went on, and I deal with it at such length now, because this use of taxpayers' money and the long drawn-out campaign that was gone on with in this particular way affected such critical representatives of public opinion as the daily Press. We had the daily Press in their leading articles and in their special articles showing an intoxication from Government advertisements at a time when less turf was being cut in the country than was cut before the Fianna Fáil Party came into office. We had the daily papers in Dublin arguing, in relation to the Government's scheme:—

"From a general point of view, indeed, the turf campaign is the most reasonable and the most deserving of success of all its experiments for the development of the nation's internal resources."

—that is, of all the Fianna Fáil Government's experiments. Again, we have the comment—

"and it is a high tribute to the Government's campaign that in so short a time it has contrived to increase the use of Irish turf to so substantial an extent."

Can anyone believe that was written on 6th October, 1934, the year in which Fianna Fáil tinkering had reduced the cutting of turf by £219,000 below the figure it stood at before they came into office? That was written at a time when 180,000 tons less were cut in Connacht. That particular type of thing was continued until the Minister's new proposals come along. When the Minister's new proposals come along the Press take it up and say that the Minister's Bill is intended to give his second thoughts on the subject; that he is changing his policy; that he is going in for a greater development of turf winning by mechanical means. Considering the possibility of the new development arising out of the second thoughts of the Minister, we find this written:—

"Must we even write of the efforts of Mr. Barton and Mr. Andrews and their colleagues on the Turf Development Board, as sheer and irrecoverable losses? Not, one hopes, by any means! Overhead wires apart, there will remain a big field for native fuel consumption; and, when we get to work on our peat-fired generating stations, we shall be much wiser, though possibly somewhat sadder, advocates of native power resources. Satisfied to complete our education in the bitter school of experience, we may survive to be grateful not only to the big and far-seeing men who showed us the main highway"

—that has to be shown yet—

"but possibly to have a stray word or two of gratitude for others who showed us `how not to do it.' "

We wakened up in March, 1936, to find that the highfalutin things about the Minister's scheme being unprecedented and about the use of turf being greatly on the increase, and these intoxicating things sent out in Government propaganda in their advertisements and through the radio amounted to nothing more than to show us how not to do it. But the process of showing us "how not to do it" has cost a very considerable amount of money. The total amount spent up to the end of the year 1936 on travelling expenses, development and publicity, and other expenses, including sacks, amounted to £50,193; the total amount expended on relief amounted to £85,624. There was a considerable fall in 1934 in the cutting of turf and as the Minister remarked the work of the co-operative societies showed that they cut less in 1935 than in 1934. Yet the Minister's proposal is to continue increased expenditure on the work of organising these co-operative societies and in developing the turf industry with that particular kind of machinery for doing it. It has been shown that the co-operative societies last year only cut 150,000 tons—that is the statement of the members of the Turf Development Board. Public money is to be expended and the employment situation, so far as turf is concerned, shows, with regard to the rates of cutting under that type of organisation, that out of 3,309,000 tons of turf available they only cut 150,000 tons and that by people who got special recognition and special facilities from the railway company. The Minister, in my opinion, was doing nothing but disgracing his office when he appeared before the Dáil with a proposal of that particular kind, and is now, again, appearing before the Dáil with this proposal as a contribution on the subject this year, leaving so many blanks as he has left in his proposal. A certain number of people are registered in certain areas. I think the Minister should change his language in this matter, or should change his pronunciation of the word "register". He should call it "re-ges-ter" to distinguish it. He should say the new scheme has members on the "re-ges-ter."

How would the Deputy spell it?

The word is spelt in the very same way. The word is in the Bill. The Minister has spoken of a register. The experiment is being carried out in a State-wide way, and the Minister should find a special word for his area even if not a special spelling. But I am sure the translation Department, which writes the Irish speeches for Ministers, would give the English word a sufficient twist so that it would have a special pronunciation.

I am prepared to give local option in pronunciation.

Is the Minister prepared to give local option to such people as have centuries of tradition in regard to the use of turf? The Minister has indicated that, to some extent, his first line of approach, in putting this Bill into operation, is to prevent coal being used in parts of the country where turf is available. Is the Minister going to give local option, either to the people using turf or to the people who represent them on their local bodies, before he puts into operation an order of that particular kind? He already indicated that if he had to introduce compulsion, and he was thinking of it, he would prevent coal being used in certain areas where turf suitable was available. If we are to put any interpretation upon his remarks we can understand from him to-day that he is going to begin now. He is not quite sure how he stands with regard to places like the cities of Dublin and Cork. I ask him to take us into his confidence. The Minister is introducing a Bill with very wide powers for interfering with industry, and that an industry upon which some of the poorest parts of the country are depending. If he has got information with regard to the industry he is setting up in other parts of the country, he declined to give any information as to the number of industries set up in the Gaeltacht areas in Mayo, Clare, Donegal, Cork and Kerry. These are areas, which, to a large extent, as the Minister for Education explained, were depending on the turf industry because they could not get other industries. The Minister is interfering with the indus try of that particular class. He is reducing their output. He is robbing them of their market by diverting it to specially organised co-operative societies, and he is interfering in the ordinary domestic economy and domestic conveniences of the people. When doing a thing like that he ought to tell us the steps he proposes to take, or if he is only going to begin in certain areas and prevent coal being sold there.

What is the next type of order he will make? Is it to apply to smaller towns like Tipperary and towns in Offaly and places in the West of Ireland where turf is available, or is he going to regard Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford as places that will provide the biggest market? Deputy O'Sullivan asked the Minister to explain a particular section in the Bill which implies that bell-men in Dublin are going to be made buy turf with their coal. If the Minister does not contemplate, in the very near future, the application of this provision to the City of Dublin, why is that section put into the Bill now? If the Minister does approve of extending it to the City of Dublin sooner or later, will he explain how the bell-men are going to dispose of their turf if coal can be bought from them in smaller quantities than turf by their particular purchasers? The whole situation is going to be nothing but tyrannical. But if we fell into the hands of anything like an efficient tyranny we might say there is some compensation. But if the tyranny is going further to interfere with industry and the ordinary life of the people through the incompetence which the Minister and his turf officials have shown since they started upon this business in 1933, then he is asking too much and making too great demand upon the patience of the people. It was explained some time ago that the Turraun people were not able satisfactorily to dispose of the turf they were cutting, and the explanation given was that there was a preference in the country for hand-won turf. A statement was published in October, 1935, in some of the papers to this effect:

"Dublin is to have no more turf from the country, according to the latest decisions of the Peat Development Board. Coal merchants will, in future, distribute dearer machine-made turf from the Turraun Peat Works, and next season the Board will be in a position to provide supplies from its own bogs within easy reach of the city. Hand-won turf, after the experience of last year, apparently, must stay in the country, and the Board is to make an effort to dispose of the available stocks in the districts in which the turf is cut. Writing in this column on the slow progress of the scheme (38/1/'35), I stated that people who bought turf with enthusiasm during the early stages of the campaign had made up their minds to stick to coal owing to the consignments of wet sods which had been delivered to their homes."

That is, apparently, the product of the co-operative societies. I have heard complaints from people who endeavoured to buy turf in some parts of the country that they could not get suitable turf from the co-operative societies and that they had to go to the ordinary people who traditionally cut their turf and sell it in the small towns around. Nevertheless, the Minister introduces this Bill. Notwithstanding the complaints made with regard to co-operative societies, the co-operative society scheme is the scheme which is to have his approval. Judging by the statement which has been made, no turf will be regarded as bought, for the purpose of this Bill, except it is got through the Turf Development Society or through one of his co-operative societies. The Minister is disgracing his office when he deals with what he considers an important matter in the way in which he is dealing with this matter.

On the only occasion when I had the pleasure of speaking to Deputy McGilligan, except through those exchanges across the floor of the House which Deputy Dillon might call "discourtesies" if he could apply such a word to University representatives, my colleague said one of those good things with which he regales the wide circle of his admirers. Referring to the relative proportions of his and my contributions to debates in this House, he said: "You and I speak as much as any other two Deputies in this House." The joke, I need hardly explain to an intelligent audience such as I have here, is not on the Deputy's own eloquence but rather on the restful silence with which I, through so many hours, supported by my friend, Deputy Tom Kelly, kept a quorum in the House. Up to the present the arrangement has worked very well and, while my colleague has won admiration for his brilliance, I have won a considerable amount of goodwill by my want of it. Unfortunately it was made plain to me last week that there are dangers in the partnership or, at least, in a new interpretation of its terms by Deputy McGilligan. Last week the Deputy set out to make my speeches for me. If I make any speeches in this House, I want to make my own speeches and I want, especially, to make my own speech on this Turf Bill, because it affects very intimately the interests of women, and I speak as a woman.

When I had read the terms of the present Bill I felt like the "would-be gentleman" in Moliere's comedy which is to be produced this week-end by the Taibhdhearc Players in Galway. When this individual set out to be a gentleman, he got some masters to teach him the fashionable accomplishments, amongst others, that of talking prose. To his astonishment, he found that he had been talking prose all his life. I felt somewhat like that when I read this Bill, because I have been following its injunctions all my life. I was born —I am sorry to recall how many years ago, but I was forcibly reminded of their toll in filling in the census form —in an old house, where for 100 years the turf fires had never died out except on those occasions of domestic cataclysm when the sweep came. During my childhood and girlhood, I knew of no other fires than turf fires. Deputy Donnelly knows the house to which I refer and he is aware that turf fires burn there still. The pleasantest memories of my childhood are of sunny afternoons when the man and woman of the house gathered us children on the outside car and drove us to the "Mountain" to buy a stack of turf— a great bastille or fortress of turf which would serve the house during the winter season. It was not necessary then to have a Bill to deal with our transport problem, because on a certain day our friends from the "Brae Face" sent their carts, or came themselves with their carts, to the number of 40 or 50, and brought home our turf. You might have met on the Glen Road a long procession of carts bringing the turf to our big turf-shed. Then we had a dance in the evening. That is the sort of thing I think of in connection with turf fires.

When I got married, 30 years ago, I viewed the problem in a slightly different way. I remember saying to a friend, who was interested in poetry, that before I got married, May day suggested to me, May queens and May flowers and hedges white with May blossom. Later, I rather associated it with the fact that milk comes down that day in price 1d. a quart. In the same way, I had to approach the fire problem in my little house. Still, I stuck to turf—as the most economical and satisfactory fuel—though mostly, as the Minister's Bill seems to recommend, in conjunction with coal. After 30 years' experience, I find that the most satisfactory fire is obtained from the union of turf and coal, with a good backing of slack. It is not necessary for anybody to recommend to me the use of turf but I think that many people, to whom its use was new, were rather put off it by one or two things—one is that the average household ranges are not at all suitable for the use of turf and neither are the grates in the sitting-rooms. In this connection, might I point to—this was my chief object in rising to speak—some extraordinarily interesting experiments that are being made. The Minister spoke of what was being done by the Industrial Research Council. In Galway we had, in connection with this problem, an extremely valuable lecture delivered under the aegis of the Chamber of Commerce by Dr. Henry Kennedy.

I should like to read a quotation from the speech which appeared in the Connacht Tribune of Saturday, March 14th:—

"There is very good reason to believe that turf can be produced by mechanical methods in suitable bogs in this country in large quantities and at a price which will enable it to be delivered over wide areas in the country, and possibly over all areas, at a price more favourable to the consumer than the price of imported coal. There is, unfortunately, a considerable prejudice against the use of turf for domestic purposes against its powerful rival, coal. There are some grounds for this prejudice, owing to the design and construction of ordinary grates and ranges. These apparatus represent a miracle of inefficiency as far as the use of coal is concerned, but for turf they are still worse, because the problem of turf is very different from that of coal."

This is the important part:—

"We are in a position to say, however, that with new apparatus of recent design the problem of the combustion of turf has been solved in a very satisfactory manner. I have personal experience, in my office and in my home, of a new type of slow combustion stove, totally enclosed, which operates with extraordinary efficiency, cleanliness and economy. The cleanliness is remarkable; there is a complete absence of ashes or dust, as the ashes are caught in an enclosed ashpan, which is removed once a day or once in two days. In my home the stove burns continuously, day and night, the draught being reduced at night to minimise combustion. The stove ran for 100 days before the new year on two tons of turf. That represents very economical heating indeed.

"I may say that the efficiency of these stoves reaches the figure of 80 per cent to 85 per cent., as against 10 per cent. to 15 per cent. in the ordinary open fire. As regards cooking, equally satisfactory results have been obtained. A fairly heavy cooking programme has been carried out with a consumption of about 4 lbs. of good turf per hour. These results are extremely satisfactory, and it can be safely said that with such stoves and ranges heating and cooking can be carried out with greater efficiency, greater cleanliness and greater economy than with the usual coal-burning appliances."

Then he goes on to deal with central heating boilers. I am confining my few remarks to the point of view of the housewife in the modest middle-class house.

Although I have spoken up to this as a woman, I cannot forget I am a Galway woman. I have lived for 25 years in Galway, and I cannot but be interested in an industry that would have such beneficent economic effects upon Galway. The Minister stated that the turf scheme is now well in hands, and I regard this Bill as a step in the right direction, not only for increasing the production of turf as a source of revenue for the people, but for the money that will circulate in Galway. Connemara with the help of this Bill will "keep our home fires burning" in more senses than one.

Inherent in this Bill is a great programme of the national work, such as the draining of bogs, the making of bog roads, and small harbours—on coast or river bank—for turf boats, all of which will bring work to districts where, as the Minister pointed out, it is most needed. For these reasons I give my hearty support to the Bill, and I am very glad that the Minister has introduced it.

Deputy Mrs. Concannon spoke not merely as a woman, but in one particular sentence spoke as a very generous-hearted woman indeed, when she referred to the illuminating introductory speech of the Minister. That is one thing his speech was not. Listening to the Deputy when she came to what she described as the important portion of her speech, the one conclusion to come to was that there was no necessity for this Bill, and for the compulsory powers in it. She gave us an account of this wonderful stove that was capable of doing all the things she outlined. It is quite obvious that we are beginning at the wrong end. Deputy Mrs. Concannon must say, as I expect any intelligent Deputy would say, that we are beginning at the wrong end. We should start in using compulsory powers with the stoves because, as far as turf is concerned, they would not be necessary if we started at the right end. There would then be no need to refer to a prejudice against the use of turf. There is not a prejudice. There is only a prejudice against the use of turf where people are convinced that it is not suitable. I know numbers of people in the country and in towns who would prefer a turf fire if they had the chance of having one as against a coal fire. The prejudice does not exist except where people by experience learn that in the houses in which they have to live and the stoves they have to use, there is a considerable disadvantage in having to use turf.

Therefore, Deputy Mrs. Concannon has undoubtedly made an important contribution, but the conclusion from it is that this Bill should be postponed until there are proper grates and a reconditioning of houses. There is a big reconstruction scheme going on at present as far as housing is concerned, and this turf business has been before the Government and the Fianna Fáil Party for a number of years. Have they allowed their two sets of ideas to come into contact—the necessity for using turf and the getting of suitable grates for its consumption in the houses that have been erected as a result of that house-building policy? Has there been any evidence of that? It is quite obvious there is no plan, that the question has not been thought out. I welcome the very valuable contribution of Deputy Mrs. Concannon, because it proves—I think she will be fair enough to admit it—that the question has not received the consideration or the study we should expect it would receive if the industry is of the importance that the Minister stated. He spoke of important investigations— of epoch making investigations. These investigations and plans of the Government are often stated in a very striking manner, so as to lull the senses and to suggest that they are trying to get proposals into operation, but disaster follows the attempts to make them operative. What was the principal reason given by the Minister even as an attempt to justify this Bill? Practically that he had to introduce it to get a number of people who had got into an economic mess out of it by compulsory powers, people who were doped, as the Party was doped, and as a certain number of people in the country were doped by the propaganda of the Government in favour of the use of turf, without proper investigation being made beforehand. As a result these people produced turf for which there was no market. Is not that the situation?

The Minister said that the value of the production of turf had been demonstrated. What value? Not the selling value, because one of the reasons for this Bill is the fact that there was not a market, that there was higher production than there was a market for on the part of the companies or the Turf Board. That is practically the main reason for the Bill, apart from the general aspirations of which we always have experience from the Government Benches. As a result of the efforts of the Government, as a result of the subsidies they gave, and of the success that attended these efforts, there was no market for a certain amount of the turf that was produced, although, as Deputy Mulcahy demonstrated, from answers given by the Government to questions put in this House last month, in 1934 there was considerably less turf produced than in 1931. Deputy Mrs. Concannon spoke not merely as a woman, but as a Galway representative. I have no doubt she was perturbed that as a result of the Government's effort Galway had 39,000 tons of turf less produced in 1934 than in 1931.

If it is possible to produce a stove or grate suitable for turf not merely in the country, where you have open hearths, not merely where you have the kind of grate that is quite suitable, as you have in many country towns in rooms, but if it is possible to produce a stove or range for the use of turf in cities, why not push that end of the question? Why not make the use of turf really attractive and economic to the people? The proposition is there according to Deputy Mrs. Concannon but the Government blandly ignores it. Instead of taking the obvious step of doing that, they prefer their old method of compulsion. Listening to the Minister, we were bound to conclude that his policy of voluntarily promoting more production of turf had failed, that the voluntary system, the propaganda and various other efforts made by the Government, on the whole had broken down and that he is now compelled to substitute what he recommends to the House as the more efficient method, the method, shall I call it, of limited compulsion. But then, the organ of the Government stated as recently as the 18th March last:

"There is nothing new in the principle of the Bill for the compulsory use of turf. It might be said that it has been in the forefront of the Government programme for years."

The discovery of grates and all these new investigations do not influence the development of their ideas. Then the organ goes on:

"The attempts which have been made to put it into force on a voluntary basis have proved signally successful."

If that is so, what is the justification for the steps taken by the Minister? This is not the Independent which we have been told misrepresents the Minister and which incidentally merely dealt with the powers which are actually in the Bill. This is the Minister's own organ. Signally successful ! Yet the Bill according to the Minister is only to operate very gradually. What is the purpose of the Bill if this statement is true?

The Minister spoke of misrepresentation and wanted to allay fears and so on. Will he read over his speech and see if anything he said has allayed these fears? Did he give us any indication as to how the Bill was going to be worked beyond the most universal and vaguest of generalities —the vaguest generalities so far as the areas were concerned, with no indication as to the proportion of turf people would be compelled to use? The only time he became really definite was when he justified the charge made against him up to the hilt. He made the statement that anybody in this country would be glad to pay the price of using two tons of turf to one hundredweight of coal if that would rid the country of unemployment. Immediately before that he had said that it would rid the country of unemployment. What are we to conclude from that? It is his main business to make the beginning of an attempt to carry out his promise to rid the country of unemployment. He says that the compulsory use of turf on a large scale would rid the country of unemployment and that the country would be delighted to pay that price for it.

Then, listening to him in some other portions of his speech, one found that he has no intention of doing that. It is only in small quantities the medicine is to be given to the people. The compulsory drug is so strong that it dare not be given in large quantities. All through his speech, if he examines his statements, he will find that he has blown both hot and cold. Possibly the nature of his subject is responsible for that. At one moment you have him saying that there were immense revenues to be raised, that it was a tremendous contribution to the economic life of the country, a tremendous contribution to the relief of unemployment, a contribution that would help to set the balance—I presume the balance of trade—right. But then in order to meet the fears of the poorer classes of the population, it is only very gradually and on a small scale that the Bill will operate. It was impossible for anybody examining the Minister's Bill to find out how he intends to use the enormous powers that are entrusted to him and to the Government. It is to that the Minister should have devoted himself—to clearing up these points. He gave us the reason for the decline in production in 1935—I presume he means production by co-operative societies—in comparison with 1934. Well, their experience of the year 1934 was that they had produced more than they could get rid of, but in that same year, 1934, according to the official figures, there were some 200,000 tons less of turf produced in the country than in the year 1931. It was not, therefore, altogether a question of decline in production by co-operative societies. You had it all over the place.

As I have said, there was a number of important matters that the Minister might have cleared up—the important investigations going on in Germany, in Russia and here—so far as grates are concerned. Having regard to all the compulsory powers which they are seeking, they will probably finish up by compelling the people to eat the turf and burn the beef. They are going very largely in that direction already. Very shortly they may seek to prove that they can make clothes out of turf. As I say, they may attempt to make us eat the turf and burn the beef.

Surely the Deputy is not serious?

The Minister may make it serious for the people, but it is very hard to know what he may attempt.

It is very hard to take Deputy Donnelly seriously.

If it is an economic fuel in certain circumstances, why has not more use been made of it? There is no prejudice against it. If the advantages are there, I am convinced the people would use it. Nobody that I know in my native county objects to the use of turf. I am sure that Deputy Mrs. Concannon would thoroughly agree with me that if they can use it people will use it. Most people in this country prefer a turf fire in the grate to a coal fire. I say that is universal. Why then are they not using it? Because, under certain circumstances, it is uneconomic and because it is, from many points of view—as things are now and as houses are now built—unsuitable. After the speech that we have listened to from him, the Minister has no right to complain of the misleading statements which, he says, appeared in the newspapers about the Bill. If the newspapers which criticised the Bill wanted any justification for their criticism they could get it in the speech which the Minister made here to-day.

I am sorry that the Minister did not take the opportunity of answering a question that I put to him earlier with a view to clearing up what the exact position is. I gather that the position under the Bill is this: that in the case of quantities of turf sold by a retailer of less than 2 cwts. the provision either as regards the sale or the buying of turf does not apply. I take it I am correct in assuming that. I presume that has been introduced to meet the case of poor people who buy small quantities of turf from bell-men. That being so, how is that provision in conformity with Section 19 of the Bill? My difficulty is this: the bell-men have to buy from a coal merchant, and, according to Section 19, they are in the same position as anybody else buying more than 2 cwt. of coal in that they must buy turf with it. Therefore, bell-men, in order to be able to sell coal to the poor people, must also buy turf, but there is no method of their disposing of that turf because the coal they buy they can sell without any turf being sold with it. Is not that the position? For the moment, at all events, that position seems to require clarification. You are compelling people to buy turf, and there is no provision made as to how they are going to get rid of that turf in the course of their business.

We have the same position when we come to the areas. I do not know precisely what areas the Minister intends to apply this Bill to. He did not give us any instances. He spoke in a general fashion. Areas, for instance, where you have large supplies of turf may be poorly populated, and the turf from them will have to be disposed of elsewhere. But take the case of the ordinary country district where you have a certain supply of turf in the neighbourhood—within a distance of eight or ten miles—of a country town. What is to be the position there? What is the practice at present? The small farmer brings in a donkey rail or a horse rail of turf and he sells it to some person in that town. He can do that in future, I admit, but as far as I can read the Bill, if that townsman buys coal, as in most cases he must for ordinary domestic purposes, if he has a range in his house, he must also buy turf from one of the sources mentioned in Section 2—either the board or the co-operative society. If he buys coal, then in order to fulfil the provisions of this measure he must buy the necessary quantity of turf from one or other of these two sources. But, as I read the Bill, if he buys his turf in the way that he has been accustomed to buy it up to the present, he will not be complying with the provisions of the Bill. Is not that so?

He will not get credit for it.

That is right. Has the Minister thought of the effect that that is going to have on quite a large number of poor people in the country? He has not. Has he thought at all of the unfortunate people who have to sell the turf off their bogs? They are now practically cut out, and all for what? So that we can have the triumph of mechanisation. As the Minister quite properly said—I do not like to say that he slipped into saying it—this is a Bill to promote the organised sale of turf at the expense of the ordinary individual who goes into a country town and sells a donkey rail or a horse rail of turf. It is going to hit him to the extent that it is enforced: that is, in so far as it is a real Bill and it becomes really operative it is going to hit him.

The Minister told us that, as regards the production of turf, very successful experiments in the way of mechanisation had been made in Germany and in Russia. Not merely has the use of mechanisation been successful in Russia in the production of turf, but it has also been successful, its advocates hold, in the case of farming. The same example can be adduced by the Minister to apply to farming as a whole as well as to turf cutting.

Russia is a very big country.

What has that got to do with it? The question is this: mechanisation on a large scale will be more economic. That is the argument. Following the example of the country cited by the Minister, that applies to farming—where you have instead of small farms, farms of 1,000 acres run on the co-operative mechanised principle. Mechanisation applies there as well as to turf cutting. Because you have got that successful example from Russia, you are proposing to follow it here in the case of turf, and you thereby hit the individual— the small man who brings a donkey rail or a horse rail of turf to the country town. We have been told that, so far as accommodation and other difficulties are concerned, the Government are fully alive to them. I wish we could believe that. Nothing that the Government have done in their various spheres will convince us that they are fully alive to the difficulties or to the dangers of any problem. Even Deputy Mulcahy, in the course of his speech, brought forward a number of examples of the fanfare of trumpets with which the Government introduced their previous scheme as far as turf is concerned. Anybody at the time of the earlier scheme who doubted that the scheme was destined to be a complete success was greeted as a bad Irishman who wanted to run down Irish products. The same people who were so prolific in their promises and in their boasts at that time of what their scheme would do have now come forward with an entirely new scheme because the previous one failed. It failed from the commercial point of view, namely, in the selling and disposing of the article. The same people now expect us to take the word and the prophecies of the Government as a guarantee that the present scheme will be more successful: that it will be more sensibly worked than the one that failed. I have no doubt that the Minister can reply with the confidence on the support that he will get. It does not matter what he brings in, he will get the support of his Party for it. If he were to bring in a Bill to make the use of British coal compulsory in this country as distinct from Continental coal, he could even get the support of the Fianna Fáil Party for it.

If he brought in a Bill to make the use of British coal illegal in this country he would get the unanimous support of the Fianna Fáil Party. Each step would be for the salvation of the country! We are always told it is for the salvation of the country—that a new and untapped source of immense wealth is open for the country. We have been familiar with those particular slogans for the past four years, but we do not see the results. We do not see the results as far as the turf business is concerned, at all events. It is the organised industry that is to be helped—helped in every way—but unfortunately helped at the expense of the unfortunate small man in the district. What has been the result of the Government's efforts up to the present? The result is shown in decreased production. The heat value has been referred to. In the last couple of years I have asked a number of people in the country about it—people who use turf and coal. A large number of people in the country towns do that; it is quite a common practice. Generally they use turf in their living rooms because the grates there are suitable for it and they like it, but in the kitchen-range they have to use coal. The size of the house, possibly, and the absence of prior investigation on the part of the Government are responsible for it, but the people are compelled to adopt that practice. None of those people could tell me, with any kind of exactness, the relative heat values of turf and coal. They prefer turf—every one of them. They prefer even to go to a little more expense in using turf, but they will tell you they do not believe that 20/- for 20/- you get as much heat value out of turf, even in the living room, as you get out of coal. That is the view of a large number of people who, as I say, are in no sense prejudiced. They are people who use turf and will continue to use it.

Suppose this Bill happens to be effective in some of the areas in which the Minister in his carelessness will put it into operation. I must say I do not quite know what is in his mind in regard to this particular matter. As he did not explain it, it is very hard to come to any definite conclusion. There is, as I say, a tendency in the country to use turf if possible. Practically speaking, the farmers in my part of the country are thrown back on the use of turf; it is practically the only fuel they use. I know that conditions are different in other parts of the country. There are parts of the country in which the farmers are accustomed to use coal, but that is not so in my part of the country. My particular area, being eminently an area which is turf using, would be one of the areas scheduled, I presume from his statement, by the Minister. The only indication he gave as to what areas he intended to schedule was to say that they would be areas where turf is now used. That, of course, may not be his intention. That may have been said merely in order to calm the fears of people here in the city, and to prove how baseless were the charges made by certain newspapers against him. That may not be his intention at all, but I think the Deputies in the House will agree that the only indication he gave us as to the principle on which he would select the area was that naturally he would start with the areas which are already turf consuming. In that case, take the ordinary Kerry area. How is he going to deal with that? It is pre-eminently a turf consuming area. A large amount of turf is used in the towns wherever the people can use it. Turf is used universally by the farmers, but there is a certain amount of coal used in the towns. He is now going to increase the amount of turf used there, if that is one of the areas in which he will put the Bill into operation.

Kerry is eminently a turf producing and turf consuming area. The farmers are finding it rather difficult to get turf in some of their bogs owing to the present sale of turf in the towns. There are farmers who have to go eight or ten miles up to the top of mountains in order to get turf. That is no easy matter. The bogs are going further and further away from them, in the sense that they are being cut away in many cases. Before a process of that kind is accelerated, I would ask the Minister to pause a little. If you artificially stimulate the use of turf in such areas, you may easily have a situation created in some parts of the country where the bogs will be cut away, and in 10 or 15 years the people will be left without a suitable fuel. I am speaking now of what will happen if the Bill is operated and successful; I do not know whether or not it will be operated, but there are areas in which that danger may occur, and remember that the Minister spoke of those areas as areas in which he would enforce the Bill. I do not think there is any necessity for enforcing it in those particular areas. We had an introductory speech from the Minister in which he carefully avoided giving us any really relevant information, except the fact that the Government had induced companies to produce turf and had been unable to find a market for it. The Minister referred amongst other things, to giving tremendous employment. If the Bill is to be introduced as gradually as the Minister suggested in one half of his speech, it is not easy to see where the tremendous increase in employment is to come from. He cannot have it both ways. He cannot, on the one hand, try to allay the fears of a number of people—fears arising owing to the drastic use he may make of the great powers conferred on him by this Bill—by pretending that for a long time to come there is no cause for panic in that respect. That is more or less what he said; it was to be very gradual. If it is to be so very gradual, where then is the tremendous increase in employment to come from?

In another portion of his speech he was comparing the present economic value of coal with the present economic value of turf. One did not know whether the Minister was legislating for a distant but glorious future, when we are going to be self-dependent and no coal would be introduced—that day, he told us, would come—or whether he was dealing with the present; one did not know whether or not he intends to operate this Bill to a reasonably full extent. If he does, then the fears expressed are undoubtedly well-founded. If he does not, what is it all about? Where is he to get the additional employment? Where is our rectification of the balance? Where do you get it from? You can take either of those opposite conclusions—whichever you like—from the speech of the Minister. The Fianna Fáil Deputy will probably take both, according to the person to whom he is speaking. If he is speaking to a poor person in the City of Dublin he will say: “It does not mean anything. It will not operate. He said so.” If he is speaking to people in counties where they have more bog than they can utilise at the moment, as in the centre of Ireland, he will say: “It is going to operate to the fullest extent, and British coal is to be driven out.” Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party will be in the happy position that they can make one speech in Dublin and another down the country. As Deputy Donnelly knows perfectly well, that is an ideal position for a Fianna Fáil Deputy to be in.

We heard about righting the balance. Is that serious? If it means anything, it means that there is going to be a considerable diminution in the amount of imported coal used in this country. It either means that or the Bill is not going to be worth anything. If it means a diminution in the amount of imported coal used, what about the effect on the new coal-cattle pact? Co-operative societies may benefit because they will sell their turf, but the farmers will have so much less of a market for their cattle. The Department dealing with housing did not consult the Department of Industry and Commerce when laying down conditions for houses; did not, apparently, know that there was this turf scheme, and made no provision in the houses that are being built so rapidly all over the country—it is not only a question of the old houses, but the modern houses, where provision has not been made. The two Departments, the Turf Branch of Industry and Commerce and the Housing Department, were operating on two entirely unconnected lines, each blind to what the other was doing. But apparently, also, the Department of Industry and Commerce, with regard to turf, is quite blind to the coal-cattle pact, which is supposed to affect so beneficially the cattle trade of this country. It is no answer to tell me that it will not affect the amount of coal and, therefore, the amount of cattle, because its purpose is to affect the amount of coal, and the success of the Bill depends on the extent to which turf is substituted for coal.

This is a typical Bill of the Government's, introduced to give hasty remedy to errors they have made. As the Minister confessed, certain societies were induced to go into the turf business. They produced more than they could sell, and the Minister says that was a satisfactory experiment. I think his exact words were that they saw the value of turf production. What is the value of a commercial proposition when you cannot sell the goods? They were unable to sell the goods, and now, after the event, the Minister comes along and tries to remedy that position by his old method of compulsion. As Deputy Mrs. Concannon could tell him, the proper procedure was altogether different—if you are applying compulsion at all, apply it to the building of houses and the other will follow as a matter of course. I think that when I pointed that out as a sequence from, as something that could be inferred from the Minister's speech, I had, if one may judge by physical appearances, the approval of Deputy Donnelly for that argument. He may feel bound, in Party loyalty, to deny it, but he knows perfectly well it is true.

This is a typical Bill, hastily introduced to patch up for the time being the previous mistakes of the Government and relying, as usual, on the old principle of compulsion. You cannot get the people to do it otherwise, and you cannot persuade them, although I gather from the organ of the Minister— the organ of the Government, if not of the Minister—that the attempts made to put it into force on a voluntary basis have proved signally successful. That is the type of propaganda that pays no reference to facts at all, and it is the kind the Minister can heartily approve of. "Signally successful"— and the proof of the signal success is a compulsory Bill to try to infuse a little success into a plan that failed.

I really intended rising only to ask the Minister a few questions, and also to have the presumption to make a few suggestions, but, having listened to Deputy Mulcahy and Deputy O'Sullivan, I am tempted to join in the debate to a certain extent because of some of the comments they have made. It is perfectly obvious that these Deputies have absolutely no opposition whatever to this Bill, and it is further obvious that they have no case at all, because, after all, these two Deputies were two responsible Ministers in the Administration which had charge of the affairs of this country for about ten years, and their contribution to the debate to-day is proof positive that, during all the years of their administration, they never once gave turf, or turf development, any consideration whatever. The only consideration that turf development in this country is getting now is as a result of the efforts of this Government to deal with it. Deputy O'Sullivan amazed me when he more or less said, as his definite view, that we should not proceed with development of the use of turf because, very shortly, we would rue it when we found the farmers had no turf left to burn themselves, and when the country would be bereft of all bogs, particularly in his own area.

I did not say that.

The Deputy's statement amazes me for the simple reason that I always had the idea that we had tremendous resources of peat in the country, and that, for many generations to come, if we had no other fuel but peat, we would not be worried about ultimately running short of peat as a fuel. I am amazed to hear a responsible member of the Opposition say "Be careful; do not use too much peat; do not be in too much of a hurry, because, if you do, you will have no bogs left in the country and no peat in a short space of time." The Deputy, to a certain extent, has the same view as his colleague on certain matters. The chief objection which Deputy Mulcahy has to the turf development scheme is the fact that sacks are used under the scheme. Several times during his speech he indicated a great objection to the sack. I am wondering if that is not as a result of the fact that on one occasion in an election campaign of ours we had a heading on one of our bills, "Give them the sack," and that, consequently, the Deputy does not like the word "sack."

Deputy Mulcahy and Deputy O'Sullivan argue that in spite of the scheme the use of turf has fallen, the amount consumed has fallen, and so forth. I could take this argument as an illustration of how wrong they are. During their administration they involved the country in huge capital expenditure to develop a scheme for the production of our own electrical power. The main argument in its favour was that it was to generate electrical power from our native water power, or native fuel, and eliminate the importation of coal, and I could point out to the Deputy that, as he is well aware, notwithstanding the fact that the scheme was put through at enormous cost, the consumption of coal in the generation of electricity has gone up considerably. I would, however, be most unfair if I left the argument there, because it is obvious that, side by side with the increased amount of coal consumed in the generation of electricity, a great deal more electricity has been used all over the country. I could, therefore, argue in that manner and leave it, as they left it, an unfinished argument, and say that the whole Shannon scheme was wrong because it did not set out to accomplish what it was intended to do, namely, that the development of electrical energy in this country should be brought about from native fuel or native water power.

Deputy Mulcahy amazed me further when he said that another of his main objections to this scheme was that the Minister was going to interfere with the domestic economy and convenience of the poor people. I took down those words because they amazed me coming from the gentlemen who at one time took a shilling off the pensions of the old age pensioners. He did not consider that that was an interference with their domestic economy and convenience. These are the sort of arguments we get against this Bill.

But I want to get back to a few questions in connection with the Bill. There are a few suggestions that I have to put to the Minister. I want to know if he is aware whether the Turf Development Board has given any serious consideration to the use of turf in connection with the development of industries in the country. In that connection I would like to ask the Minister if the board has taken any serious view of the matter. It is obvious that we are now building up industries and that these industries will become useful and operative in our midst. It appears to me to be rather peculiar that, if we are to get our industries established, these industries should have to depend on the use of fuel absolutely outside a source over which we have no control. For the last few months I have been reading literature with regard to peat in industry. There is a very useful volume translated by a professor of the National University on the question of peat in industry. This was the work or the production of a great many research workers in a special field of research over a great number of years. These men had become possessed of the idea of peat being used to a great extent in industry where coal had hitherto been used. It is suggested that peat could be used in this way by utilising it in generating gas for fuelling boilers, or, on the other hand, to enable these industries to instal boilers suitable for the burning of peat, provided of course that the Turf Development Board could show or argue that in the making of the gas, from the calorific value point of view the gas would be equal to coal gas, or if not, that the Government would subsidise it to the extent required.

One of the things I missed from the Minister's speech is the matter to which I am now about to refer. I would ask him to go into the question, either now or at a later stage—can he give to the House an approximate figure as to the amount of peat that would have to be consumed to give a certain number of weeks' employment to a workman? In other words, how many tons of turf would have to be won and put into use as fuel to give employment to one man for 52 weeks? In that way we would have an approximate figure and we would get an idea as to what a certain tonnage of peat won and consumed would mean in the matter of employment. I believe if the board were to give some consideration to peat as fuel in industry, and concentrate on it in such a manner that peat could be supplied from the bogs adjacent to that industry—thus eliminating freight—that that would bring down the cost of peat as fuel to something that would be considered economic for such industries. I would also like to suggest that the Government should seriously consider getting subsidised or highly protected industries to use peat for a number of years. In that way those industries would be made independent of foreign fuel, and at the same time the increased use of peat would cut down our coal imports. I have been thinking these matters over in my mind, and I thought they were good until I heard Deputy Professor O'Sullivan, with all the authority of an ex-Minister, saying that we have no peat resources at all. I then began to think that I would get no answer to this question from the Minister. On the other hand, if our peat resources are as large as some of us had been led to believe, then, undoubtedly, we have resources in the country which would be of great use to the people in the future. Deputy O'Sullivan wound up his speech by saying that this Bill is unnecessary and silly, because, he said, if you reduce the use of coal imports you are going to reduce the sale of your cattle in the British market, which, after all, he said, is an important consideration. Now I would like Deputy O'Sullivan to look up the statistics and to see the increasing amount of coal consumption over a number of years. If the Deputy goes back over these statistics he will find that the coal imports have been going up quite a good deal. That being so, an increased use of peat would not make much difference in the sum total of the imports, but the use of the turf would make a good deal of difference in the matter of the employment connected with its winning. The development of the industry, if sponsored and kept going by the Government, as it will have to be in its initial stages, will mean a great deal of additional employment. I would be very glad if the Minister, when he is replying, would give us an approximate idea as to the number of weeks' employment that a certain tonnage of peat would represent. Perhaps he would say whether the Government is prepared to consider some scheme whereby our industries, subsidised and protected as they are now, will be made as far as possible to use peat fuel. Certainly a great many of us feel that these industries should not be dependent for their power upon the supplies of foreign fuel.

The speech of Deputy Briscoe rather amazed me. His cry of "back to the bogs" was surprising. I never thought that the day would come in this country when a Bill would be introduced into our Parliament purporting to solve unemployment by turning the people's eyes to the bogs of Ireland. During the days of our youth the great curse was "to hell or Connaught." In other words, we had this curse of Cromwell— back to the bogs. That was the curse that once fell on our countrymen. But now in this Bill we are all heading for the bogs. I notice that Deputy Briscoe wants a lot of information. He is desperately anxious to know many things. However, when Deputy Briscoe himself heads for the country he does not head for the bogs. The Deputy heads for somewhere where he thinks there is something more valuable than turf. He told us that the last Government did not give any consideration at all to the development of peat. The Deputy now wants to know the power of turf to produce heat, and he wants to know from the Minister how far its winning would go to solve the problem of unemployment. I thought that one of the main planks of the Deputy's Party in the General Election of 1932 was the solving of the question of unemployment. I think they promised to solve it in 12 months, but still it remains unsolved. They had a plan, they told us, to solve it. I was surprised to hear Deputy O'Sullivan say that the Government had not any plan in regard to the peat scheme. At any rate, I remember Deputy Briscoe and his Party had plans for making this country a land of milk and honey, but I remember, curiously enough, that in that plan there was not a word at all about turf. Does Deputy O'Sullivan think what would have happened to the Fianna Fáil Party if in the 1932 General Election the Fianna Fáil Party had put forward a plan for the solution of unemployment, and that that plan was heading towards the bogs? As a matter of fact, the most hysterical part of the community were the people of the bogs. But they were not hysterical on the question of solving unemployment by heading for the bogs. These people were all to be placed on the ranches or they were to gets jobs in Dublin. They were to be given land on the plains of Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, Limerick and Tipperary. I know this, that in Donegal, Mayo, Leitrim or any of the poorer counties there were no promises made by Fianna Fáil as to solving the unemployment question through work on the bogs. Not likely! I should like to see the Deputy or man, looking for votes in 1932, going to Donegal in order to solve unemployment on the bogs, and see how many votes he would get. Deputy Donnelly never mentioned it in 1932. Not he! Deputy Donnelly is too astute a politician to be guilty of such an error. Apparently, however, this is a ramshackle attempt now to mislead the people in these areas into thinking that there will be something for them as a result of this Bill.

Let us look at this matter. In the parish in which I was born an attempt was made some time last year, or at the end of the previous year, to form a co-operative society to deal with this question of turf. Of course the society never was formed. A Government inspector was sent down—I see, by the way, that there were some £50,000 paid in connection with this thing in salaries and wages last year—to tell the people to cut turf at 11/- a ton. This was told to the young men who were told in 1932 and 1933 that the day of emancipation was at hand, and who were told in 1935-6 that the whole problem of the future was solved. that the whole problem of unemployment was solved. They were told that they were to deliver turf at 11/- per ton. Of course, the Government can do it. The Government has got the people in such a vice that they can use a sledge-hammer. They can start a peat scheme and they can instruct the local labour bureau to tell the people that they will have to go out and work on the bogs, or else that they can stand idle and there will be no assistance for them. Is that what is behind this miserable thing? How has this matter been approached in this Bill, or how has it been approached in this House? Has the problem been approached in a business way? Deputy Mrs. Concannon dealt with a small part of the problem; but as a business proposal, how has it been approached? There was not one word as to the extent of the bogs in this country or their potential value, or how they can be developed economically. How long are these bogs going to last? What, for instance, is the position of vested estates, where the bogs on such estates are in the hands of trustees? This Bill proposes that the bogs can be acquired compulsorily, but can they? Are trustees to be asked to commit a breach of trust? Are they parties to a breach of trust?

Now, in 1936, after four years of this Government's administration, we get this thing to solve unemployment. This Bill will not solve any unemployment. The amount of employment given in connection with turf is very small. In my constituency, for example, it does not touch the question of employment at all. In that district the cutting and winning of the turf is performed by members of the family. The moment the turf is cut or thrown out by the men, the younger members of the family do the rest of the work. They toss the turf up, and it is handled and rehandled until it is dry. Children do that part of the work, and yet, according to the Minister, this Bill is going to do a lot to solve the question of unemployment in regard to our poorer people.

There is a way in which the Minister can do something for these poor people whom he and his Government have ruined and left in poverty. These people live by rearing sheep and cattle, and they are now in poverty as a result of the prices they are getting for their cattle and sheep. They and their children are suffering as a result of that, and yet this Bill is what they get as compensation. Let us take a few concrete examples of this, and test it. Take a man who sells 200 sheep. Let us assume that he is a man with a large grazing mountain and he sells 200 sheep annually. There is a tariff of 10/- per head, which means that he loses £100. That is on sheep alone. Will Deputies on the opposite side tell me how much turf that man will find it necessary to save in order to earn £100? He loses £100 on 200 sheep. That discounts the price of the sheep right away. It is a dead loss. Then, take his cattle, for example. These cattle are not value for sale until two years old. They are then bought up, and up to this year there was a tariff of £6 a head on them. Take the case of a man with a large mountainy bog farm, say, with a rent of £3 or £4 on it. Let us say that he rears ten stores annually for the past two years. At £6 a head of a tariff, that means that he has been losing £60 annually.

We cannot discuss every phase of the Government policy as against this Bill. Obviously, the Minister could not affect the price of cattle by this Bill.

I only mention it, Sir, because the Minister himself stated that it was hoped to solve the unemployment problem by means of this Bill. I think, Sir, that you were not in the House when the Minister moved the Second Reading of this Bill.

If the Minister dealt with the economic war, he could not do so in this Bill.

The Minister dealt with the question of economics. He dealt with the question of solving the unemployment problem, and I think it is relevant, Sir, to introduce the question here of why people are unemployed.

We cannot discuss this as against all the phases of the Government's policy. If we were to do so, we would find some other Deputy putting the case against the wheat policy or some other phase of the Government's policy. This matter must be discussed of itself.

I do not want to discuss it at all, Sir, but the Minister raised the matter of unemployment and employment in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, and that is why I introduced the matter. I have no desire at all to raise the matter, but the Minister himself raised the question of solving the unemployment problem, and accordingly I thought it was better to get at it. However, I did not wish to introduce it, and I do not wish to press the matter at all. It was a curious thing that, despite all these inspectors and organisers trotting up and down the country to various other constituencies as well as my own, there has been a remarkable falling off in the cutting and consumption of turf in those areas. For instance, in my own constituency a considerable amount of work was done during the season by the young members of the family in the saving of the turf and carting it off to be sold in the country towns, but now it appears that this interference by the Dáil has killed this business entirely —this business of having to put the turf in sacks and having to deliver it at 11/- a ton at the station. It would appear that that has reduced the price in the local towns accordingly. In 1934 it appears that there was a falling off of 54,000 tons less of turf cut than in 1931, and I know that the inspectors went down to my constituency. What is that falling off due to? Is it that everything that this Government touches seems to have a blight on it? Is it that people seem to think that there must be something wrong in it, or was it because the price there was 11/- a ton and that the price to the consumers here was 30/- a ton, and that the people said to themselves that they would not allow themselves to be tools for the middlemen? They have seen that kind of thing taking place in regard to other commodities every day. For instance, quite recently potatoes in my constituency were £3 a ton on the farms, whereas here in Dublin the same potatoes were £8 a ton.

It would be much better if the Government left this thing to other people. For the last two or three years we have been told every month that it is going to be a success. The only people I see who are doing well out of this are the people drawing salaries and wages and travelling expenses and the people looking for contracts. I see that on the 21st June, 1933, the political correspondent of the Irish Press wrote:

"I am able to reveal to-day details of a huge scheme, involving £160,000, which is at present being examined by the Government in connection with the proposals for the development of the peat industry. Professor Purcell, the well-known authority on engineering, has returned from Copenhagen, where he was sent by the Government some weeks ago, with encouraging accounts of the progress made by Denmark in the manufacture of peat briquettes. Simultaneously, a combine of British and Canadian industrialism, including a British peer, have been preparing plans for the starting of a similar industry here. These plans have been presented to the Department of Industry and Commerce. The matter was considered so important, in the light of the views of Professor Purcell, that a special meeting of the Trade Loans Advisory Committee was convened for Friday last and the project was discussed for several hours. Mr. C. Andrews, director of the Government's peat development scheme; Professor Purcell, and a representative of a London engineering firm, Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox, who gave an estimate for the installation of plant, gave evidence. The Government, it is reported, has been asked for a trade loan of £140,000, practically all of which would be used for the acquisition of plant and machinery."

That is rather significant, is it not? £140,000 for plant and machinery, and a representative of Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox present at the inquiry and giving evidence. There was none of that going to the bogs. I wonder who is getting the loot there? £140,000 worth of machinery and plant to be bought and at the inquiry was a representative of Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox of London, the big engineering firm. I wonder did somebody get a tip about the shares.

All this thing reads like a fairy tale. We are told that this is going to solve the question of unemployment and compensate the poorer parts of the country and the poor people of the country. Does anybody believe that? Will any Deputy tell his constituents through this House that this Bill is going to solve the question of unemployment? I do not see that this Bill will confer any benefit on my constituency. Deputy O'Sullivan referred to the possibility of the exhaustion of the bogs. That is the first question that will have to be approached as far as my constituency is concerned. Huge areas are already running short of turf and the people have to go long distances for turf for their own use.

It is very interesting to look at this Bill. There are 33 sections in it, and I am sure 32 of them deal with compulsory powers of some kind or another —with the thumb screw—to make the poorest parts of the country and the poorest people in those parts prosperous. Probably the way in which that compulsion will be applied is that machinery will be set up in the bogs somewhere. The people will be ordered to appear there on a Monday morning and, if they do not appear, their names will be struck off the unemployment register. Of course that is not set forth in the Bill. Deputy Donnelly will not mention that when he goes down to his constituency on the eve of a general election. He will say to the people: "Line up for the bogs, your salvation has arrived."

There is a way of doing this successfully, and that is by cutting out the enormous profit that the middleman insists upon and gets. I can never understand how it is that the people who really do the work on all our basic products get only a nominal return and that the middleman can make these huge profits. You can buy a ton of potatoes in Donegal for £3 10s., while they are selling in Dublin at the rate of £8 per ton. How is it that the poor people in Donegal can only get 11/- per ton for turf put in sacks and delivered at the station, and that in Dublin it costs from 30/- a ton upwards? If this thing is to be made a success the only way to do it is to give the people who produce the turf a fair return for their labour. If they are to supply turf at 11/- a ton, they will not do it. Their names may be struck off the lists at the labour exchange and left idle and hungry, but they are not going to work at that price—they could not be expected to.

Why has not the whole of this question been gone into thoroughly? There has to be considered, first, the area of turf available and then the possible length of time before the bogs are exhausted. Then there is the acreage of bog that can be acquired, even by compulsory powers, under this Bill. I referred already to the vested estates, where the bogs are vested in trustees for the use of the people on the estates. How are these trustee deeds to be violated and broken? Will care be taken to commence operations in a county where there is a considerable amount of bog, which will not be exhausted within a reasonable number of years? There is a big bog in the centre of Ireland and also in County Mayo. I do not know of any other county where there is a bog capable of being used for commercial purposes without imposing enormous hardship on the people occupying the lands in future generations. Assuming this scheme is gone on with without proper consideration, without a proper plan, and without taking a long view, what is going to happen to those people who will be dependent upon the bogs for their fuel in 100 years' time? I expect there will be some people living in these counties in 100 years time. How will they be expected to supply themselves with fuel? They will not be able to buy coal out of the money produced on the farm.

Sections 20 and 21 of this Bill empower the Minister to acquire from the Land Commission any bogs they may have. I would be glad if the Minister would tell us the area of bog held by the Land Commission and which they have at their disposal. That is one of the first things that should be considered in approaching this Bill.

Section 21 sets out:

"The Minister may, if and whenever he so thinks proper, on the recommendation of the board purchase by agreement or compulsorily from any person for and on behalf of the board any land which is required by the board for all or any of the following purposes, that is to say, the production, the preparation for sale, or the storage of turf...."

I know estates in my constituency where the turf is vested in trustees for the exclusive use of the people on the estate. If an inspector reports to the Minister that there is a quantity of bog there that can be used for the purpose of this Bill, can the Minister acquire that property? Sub-section (2) of Section 21 states:

"Every officer of the board authorised in that behalf in writing by the Minister is hereby authorised and empowered to enter on any land which is required by the board... for the purpose of making thereon any inquiry, investigation, or examination preliminary or incidental to the purchase of such land by the Minister."

Apparently this thing will be entirely at the discretion of an officer. Will that official make minute inquiry as to the local resources of bog available for the people on the estate? Those people purchased their land, and rents were fixed on the supposition that permanently there would be a supply of turbary for the use of the tenants. There may be a huge block of turbary vested in trustees for the tenants of the estate. Will all the facts be taken into consideration when the board's official visits the locality? Will he take into consideration that the turbary is vested in trustees for the tenants of the estate or will he act arbitrarily and say "It does not matter; I am taking over this property in order to develop it"?

In so far as this aims at developing our native fuel resources, I welcome it, but I wonder how far we can go? In the case of several counties of which I have knowledge, it cannot go very far. It certainly will not go any distance in regard to solving the unemployment problem. It certainly will not do much to relieve unemployment in my constituency. I know the entire county well and the capacity of the bogs and I know this Bill will not do much to relieve unemployment. I am not going to mislead the House or my constituents by asserting that it will. The Minister made it clear that he is anxious to assist the poor people and that this Bill aims at doing so by giving them employment. I declare that it will not touch the fringe of the unemployment problem, at least so far as my constituency is concerned. The whole thing is only a fraud from that aspect. If native fuel can be developed elsewhere, that is all to the good.

Is there any co-ordination at all between the different Government Departments? The Minister for Agriculture is agreeing to a tax in order that we may import more coal and export more cattle. The Minister for Local Government is building new houses and he has given no consideration at all to the provisions of this Bill. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is endeavouring to compel people to burn turf and he does not consider at all whether their economic position will permit them to do so. Has he given any consideration to the numerous people of very moderate means? Does he realise what it costs to take out the existing coal ranges and fit new ones for the purpose of burning turf? It would not be possible to erect a stove suitable for turf burning for less than £12. The old range when it is taken out will be worthless. Have the Government given any consideration to the losses householders will suffer if this Bill is enforced? Apparently if the people cannot do these things economically they have to bear the loss.

Anyone who understands what it means to burn turf will realise that one would almost require a stoker shovelling it on the fire from morning to night. The fact of the matter is that the heat is too concentrated and the turf will not last any time. Apparently that fact has not been considered at all. No assistance is going to be given to poor people who will have to take out their ranges and put in stoves in which to burn turf. I believe that in numerous cases in cities and towns people will not be financially in a position to do that and they will need some assistance. It may not be apparent to the House why there is such a huge fall in turf cutting in Donegal. In a period of three years there has been a decline of 64,353 tons. One reason is that many people have put in ranges and are burning coal; and there is another reason, and it is that our young men there were expecting something better. They were driven to such an hysterical state in 1932 that they were expecting something great would happen in this country, that there would be an end to all slavery in the bogs, an end to looking after sheep and cattle and saving turf. The young man of to-day is not going to bother himself wasting his time in the bog. He is suffering from a fit of depression, the result of Deputy Donnelly's activities for a couple of years prior to 1932.

If this Bill will help to reduce the imports of English coal I will welcome it. I would have no compunction at all in using every means to reduce English imports but in my opinion, what with coal and cattle pacts and other things, this is part of the general mess and I suppose it will not be any greater mess by throwing into it a few tons of turf. In my opinion something will have to be done to make turf-cutting more attractive so as to bring it to the stage it had reached when this Government came into office. The young men in the bogs expected something better from this Government. They have come to the conclusion that they will cut no more turf because the Government have deceived them. This Bill is going to impose great hardship on the people in the towns because no provision is made for granting assistance where people have to renovate their kitchens in order to burn turf. It would be nothing short of cruelty to ask poor people who have no means to pull out their good ranges and put in new stoves in order to burn turf.

I visualise one result of the Bill in Dublin will be that you will have people installing coke-burning stoves where they do not want to burn turf. This is really an economic proposition. Your economic laws will override any legislation we pass. You can use all the coercion you like in your 32 sections, but you cannot defeat economic laws. I would not be surprised if two years from now the trade returns show that there is a falling off in the consumption and the cutting of turf. You cannot make people use a fuel that costs more than they can afford. There is no use in the House trying to do that. You will have all the people who can afford it buying the stoves the Gas Company are supplying in order to burn coke. You will have all the ranges pulled out and these coke-burning stoves put in. The people will save a considerable amount in that way. This Bill will not compel the people of the Saorstát to utilise a fuel that they cannot afford to use. This Bill is, I think, more a piece of camouflage than anything else. The Government, by its policy reduces the income of the people and increases their cost of living and, now, they expect them to buy turf under a compulsory section of this Bill. It cannot be done. Experience will prove that that is true. It may be unpopular to say that, but it is right to say what is true whether it is unpopular or not.

I am one of the five Deputies in this House representing one of the greatest peat producing constituencies in Ireland, Leix-Offaly, in which is situated the Bog of Allen. I had not the slightest intention of intervening in the debate, and would not have done so, but for the admiration I felt at the valiant attempt made by Deputies on the Opposition benches to find fault with, and to say something against this Bill. Deputy O'Sullivan led the van, and now he has been backed up by Deputy McMenamin. I was wondering whether this Bill would go through without some references being made to the Fianna Fáil programme, and plans, and without the House being told of how the Fianna Fáil Party deceived the people The extraordinary thing in the speeches of Deputies opposite is the constant reference to our plans. Apparently Deputy McGilligan has coached Deputy McMenamin and taught him that if he cannot oppose a Bill introduced by Ministers on its merits, then he had better give it a political twist and have a crack at the Fianna Fáil plans.

Deputy McMenamin says that no members of the Fianna Fáil Party took any interest in peat development prior to 1932. I happened to be speaking on a Wednesday prior to the date on which a great turf cutting event took place in the country in the County Kildare. It is quite obvious from Deputy McMenamin's speech that he knows nothing about the peat industry in this country. If the Deputy would only travel 20 miles from the city of Dublin into the County Kildare, he will get sufficient information in a very short time to alter his views upon this matter. When he says that the Government took no interest in the turf industry up to recently, he is of course quite wrong. I saw the President and members of the Executive Council and, to their credit be it said, several members of the Opposition, present, at Allenswood on the occasion of a great turf industry display.

Anyone who knows Dublin City, and its environment, knows what an attraction it was years ago to see long lines of people with conveyances bringing turf to Dublin to sell to people in the back streets who could not afford to pay the price of coal at that time. That practically stopped, and would have gone, but for the efforts of the President and Ministers of the Executive Council in their successful efforts to put the industry again on its feet in the County Kildare. It is not the biggest industry in the country, but it is there at all events. They also put a stop to the hardship which formerly existed of people having to bring turf from long distances up to the City of Dublin and sleeping nights on their carts on the way. That has ceased. Deputy McMenamin made many criticisms on this Bill, but, at least, before making some of his statements, he ought to have tried to find out whether they were well founded. He ought to make himself up as regards the conditions prevailing in peat producing counties and not confine himself to West Tirconnail. There is no analogy between the Bog of Allen and the County of Donegal. There is more peat in the counties of Leix-Offaly than in the whole of Ulster. Peat production is not something done in a haphazard manner in Leix-Offaly.

As to the progress of the Government's peat scheme in this country, people could read in the papers how Deputies were sent to Russia to get what ideas they could, and to learn the latest methods from a country like that in the production of peat, and to get the best information possible as regards peat development. That certainly torpedoed the argument that this scheme was launched without due reference to the consequences. I listened to the arguments put forward to the effect that when housing schemes were being put into operation in the country provision was not made for peat fires. If there is one duty incumbent on an opposition, it is the duty of introducing amendments to Bills which have been introduced into this House. The obvious duty of an opposition is to see flaws in legislation, and to try to correct them by amendments which they could introduce, but apparently their sole inspiration, wherever they got it on this occasion, is to take another course. When a serious scheme like a housing scheme comes along it is not attacked on its merits, but when some Bill like this comes along, into which they think they can dovetail some criticisms out of their love of Ireland and their duties to their constituencies, they get up and say they do not think the Bill is for the benefit of the country now. They tell us that when the housing legislation was going through for the erection of houses in rural Ireland provision was not made for the consumption of turf in those houses. When labourers' cottages were being built in rural areas in Ireland everyone knew that the class of fuel that would be used would be turf. In the town of Birr it was mostly with the idea of the consumption of turf that houses were erected. The same is true in regard to Leix. While such argument may apply as regards Dublin, it certainly is not true on the whole as regards rural Ireland, and particularly as regards the smaller provincial towns where building is taking place.

Deputy McMenamin, also, said that I took good care to keep away from the turf industry scheme in 1932. But the first education I got in turf development was one Sunday afternoon when the Minister for Defence and three or four other Ministers were speaking at Ferbane. I did not make many speeches about it, but when the scheme was being criticised I often went down to Leix and Offaly and attended meetings there in connection with it. There were people at those meetings who did not support me or the Fianna Fáil Party, and I told them of the schemes we would bring in when returned to power. Supposing we did not bring in this Bill with a view to putting the turf scheme into operation one of the first things we would hear from the Opposition would be that we had turned our backs upon the promises we made in regard to our peat scheme. I remember a question being put on the Order Paper by Deputy Davin some time ago. It was in regard to sacks manufactured in reference to the turf development scheme. I do not know whether the answer was satisfactory or not, but there was a number of these sacks apparently left on hand.

I remember the afternoon the Minister for Industry and Commerce made that reply, and the interest it excited in the mind of Deputy Dillon. It was to him a question of ridicule. Somebody whispered in the Deputy's ear that there was no call for such a thing. The Minister gave a reply as regards the number of sacks that have been made and Deputy Dillon said we could make bathing costumes of them.

What are they doing with them in Kerry—57,000 sacks while they are cutting 35,000 tons less?

Cannot they transfer them to some other places where they are cutting more. Deputy O'Sullivan did not say that in the speech which he has delivered. We had the bell-men introduced during the debate. They will be switched on to the coal stunt for which Deputy Mulcahy was responsible some time ago. When he cannot get any kudos out of coal, it is justifiable for him to switch on to turf, just as Deputy McMenamin was justified in referring to 1932. Deputy O'Sullivan referred to the effect of this Bill on the coal-cattle pact. I cannot follow that argument. He also dilated on the fact that this Bill would not solve the unemployment problem. Nobody says it will. No Deputy has ever told the people of the country that a peat scheme alone would solve the unemployment problem. But if only six more men are employed as a result of this Bill, is it not better that they should be employed. If we were to follow to its logical conclusion the argument of Deputy McMenamin, we should never attempt anything. Here is, I suppose, the oldest industry in the country. Yet, it is the youngest and an attempt is now being made to give a fillip to it. I do not suppose that this Bill can be looked upon as a Party measure. I do not know whether the Party opposite propose to vote against it or not. I do not know what excuse Deputy O'Sullivan, Deputy Lynch or Deputy McMenamin would give for challenging a division on it. Deputy McMenamin would probably say that it fell far short of what was promised to the people of Tirconnail. I do not know what promise Tirconnail got. In Laoighis, where they are interested in the Bog of Allen, I know that I promised that something would be done regarding the drainage of bogs and that an honest effort would be made to have the turf industry developed and markets found. The Minister for Defence and I spent an evening around Ferbane and the President himself visited the constituency. I think that it is unpatriotic—to use a mild adjective—to sneer at any attempt being made by any Government to develop any Irish industry. If one Department has justified itself—I hope the Minister, who is present, will not mind my saying this—it is the Department of Industry and Commerce.

I do not think that he will mind your saying that at all.

It is the courteous way of paying a compliment to the Minister, more particularly when one is backing him. I do not agree with those people who find fault with compulsion. My grievance for many years has been that we have not had enough compulsion, particularly as regards the development of Irish industries, no matter what industries they are. If there had been more compulsion, there would have been more industry in the country. Deputy McMenamin has spoken in a silly, childish way about 32 clauses involving compulsion and one dealing with the acquisition of bog. There has not been enough compulsion as regards Irish industry and many countries have had to use compulsion for the development of industry. If there is compulsion, I think it is justified and I hope that more compulsion will be used in a wise and prudent but not tyrannical way.

Deputy O'Sullivan talked about the mechanised age and said we were aping Russia. It is no harm to be progressive. It is no harm to use processes invented by a mechanised age in order to go further, rather than adhere to systems which were out of date 50 years ago. I do not subscribe to the doctrine that everything should be done by processes invented during a mechanised age but, if progress is to be made, I do not think that fault should be found with us for availing of these mechanical processes. The analogy drawn by Professor O'Sullivan between Russia and this country was not, I think, a fair one. The extent of Russia is one matter and the extent of this country is quite different. I do not think that the Deputy was fair when he found fault with a system which is being tried out in this country, as compared with what is going on in Russia. Perhaps I misunderstood the Deputy but I do not think the analogy was fair.

I presume this Bill will go through. At all events, it will have my support. Deputy Cosgrave has now come in and I want to express the hope that, some day or other, it will dawn on Deputies opposite that they should stop twitting Ministers on the loyalty of the Party behind them. Would it not be a grand thing for the Opposition if there were a greater element of loyalty amongst themselves? We might then get a broader and more defined criticism of Bills. This sort of criticism is not going to get them anywhere. The final argument from the opposite side always is that the Minister has his majority behind him, that the Bill will go through and that the reverse will come about to-morrow. They, themselves, do not believe that and it would be more advantageous to the Government if they had a more constructive type of criticism than that. I appeal to Deputies opposite to stop that type of criticism and to help by constructive criticism schemes for the building up of Irish industry, no matter what industry it is.

One or two points of view ought to be voiced on this Bill if they have not already been voiced. This Bill is an interference with the citizen's ordinary right to purchase whatever commodity he requires. If he wants a particular type of fuel, he is now going to be compelled, unless he lives in an area which is not an appointed area or gets an exemption from the Minister, to purchase, in addition, a certain quantity of turf. A person may not have the necessary accommodation for the turf. His household requirements may not be such as would enable him to use turf to advantage. Nevertheless, he is bound to purchase it if he is in an appointed area, unless he gets an exemption from the Minister. Another feature of the measure is that while a normal mistake which may occur can be rectified by the Minister or his Department, any mistake made by a registered coal importer is regarded as wilful and, otherwise, unlawful. By no means the same provision is made for the convenience or defence of coal traders as the Minister makes for his own Department. This is, more or less, on a par with provisions in other measures of the same type. The Minister may correct a wrong entry in his register. No such power is given to a coal importer to rectify a mistake made by himself or an employee. The penal provisions of this Bill appear to have been so regimented as to have been taken almost out of the sort of law we would expect from Russia, Mexico, or some such countries. You have this clause:

(2) The Minister may at any time at his discretion by order revoke or amend an appointed area order and, in particular, may by any such amending order alter (whether by addition or subtraction or both addition and subtraction) as on and from a specified day, not less than one month after the date of such amending order, the area which is an appointed area by virtue of an appointed area order.

Every possible precaution is taken to let the Minister out. Applications for the right to be registered are dealt with by this peculiar form of phrase, "paying the prescribed fee." Every business in this country is going to be subject to the payment of certain fees which are to go into the Exchequer. The Minister is going to do a great deal for industry but, at the same time, he adds to the overhead charges on business by prescribing fees. We had the same thing a short time ago in connection with butchers, a fee having to be paid on each animal that went to their premises. A fee had also to be paid on licences in the case of cement and it turned out subsequently that that fee amounted to a tax on each ton of cement.

(2) It shall not be lawful for any person to carry on, in an appointed area, the business of selling coal by retail at any premises or place in such appointed area other than premises in respect of which he is registered in the register kept in pursuance of this Act in respect of that appointed area.

(3) Every person who carries on the business of selling coal by retail in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding £50 or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding three months, or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

I suppose the Minister knows that where penal enactments such as these are provided there is always a greater attempt at evasion than there would be if only nominal penalties were imposed. Why is it necessary in a case of that kind to put the maximum at £50?

(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to purchase in an appointed area any coal from a coal retailer who carries on, in that appointed area, the business of selling coal by retail unless such coal retailer is registered in the register kept in pursuance of this Act in respect of that appointed area.

The next sub-section provides:

(2) Every person who purchases any coal in contravention of this section shall be guilty of an offence under this section and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a fine not exceeding one pound for every ton or part of a ton of coal so purchased.

There is a later section from which it appears that it is not part of the business of the purchaser to find out whether or not the coal retailer was registered. Yet here is a sub-section which says that the purchaser may be liable. Is a purchaser to ask the coal retailer to produce the register for inspection before he makes a purchase? That will not occur in many cases. This goes a step further, and there is regimentation, not only of coal retailers, but of coal purchasers, and in addition it is implied that if a purchase is made from a person who was not registered the purchaser is liable to a fine not exceeding £1 for every ton or part of a ton purchased. That is the kind of regimentation that Deputy McMenamin referred to, when he pointed out that most of the sections in the Bill were concerned with compulsory powers and penalties. In prosecutions, in order to show the safeguards that the Minister has instituted on his own behalf, you have this clause:

(c) the court may, if it so thinks proper on the application of the prosecutor or of such coal retailer, amend the statement in such notice of any of the said matters of fact or of the quantity of turf which such coal retailer is required by such notice to obtain, and where the court so amends such notice, such notice shall for all purposes have and be deemed always to have had effect as so amended.

I would expect that the Minister or anyone on behalf of the board going into court would have had proof of the case properly arranged and it ought not to be necessary to make all these amendments in cases of that sort. I do not know what the Minister's intentions are in making exemption orders in respect of persons purchasing turf. If it means arbitrary power it is bad law. It means that there is a regular procedure to be outlined and that should be set out in the Bill. When it is not it is a great inconvenience to Deputies who get requests from constituents and people in business, either asking for exemption or making applications in respect to concessions. These matters should be regulated in such a manner that every citizen's application would receive the same consideration. Deputies might be otherwise employed than writing to Departments about such matters. As the section stands it would appear that the Minister has arbitrary and absolute powers in respect of exemptions. Whether the Minister intends to exercise them or whether he has a certain scheme in his mind, I think the House, people in the trade and the general public ought to know what the scheme is.

There is power to take lands, and there is the further power to take them compulsorily. The general impression amongst the people was that the bogs were regarded as conveniences for those engaged in the agricultural industry, and that they were needed for the supply of fuel for that industry. The mechanisation of that fuel may have some bad effects upon resources to which normally the agricultural industry might look. It may be that the Minister desires to ensure a larger quantity of turf being taken—such quantities as were taken before, and his Ministers brought a blast on the sound national economy there was in this country—and that he means to make up the leeway lost through his policy and that of the other Ministers. If that be so, we ought to be told. On the other hand, if the acquisition of land in this case means that an inroad is to be made on the capital quantity of turf in the country that ought to be conserved to the agricultural industry, then we have a new situation. The proceedings in respect to the acquisition of such property has another feature, as the Minister can negotiate with the Land Commission. One Department of Government negotiating with another for public property may be all very well, if the property is going to be used for the public interest, but if it is going to be sold, as in this case, for the benefit of a particular Department or sub-Department set up by the Government, we have a new situation. There is a board and other than that board, as far as I can judge from the Bill, no person is to be entitled to sell to coal retailers. That is business conservatism, that is monopoly, and the Minister's desire in this case will be to ensure, if he can, that it will be a success. He is not going to bother very much on whom liability for that success will fall, or, at least, the attempt made to make it successful, as long as it will not fall on the State or on his Department.

If, then, it would appear that, in order to facilitate the business of the board, the property must be acquired at a moderate price, I should take it it would be to the Minister's interests to see that it would be. As far as the public is concerned, it is entitled to have some better guarantee with regard to the sale of public property than that which is provided by one Minister negotiating with another. Is there to be any consideration for the needs of the agricultural population around that bog? Is there to be any advertence to the fact that the complement of turf in neighbouring bogs which are used by people of the locality may be nearing its end, and that it may be necessary to conserve the quantity of turf in local bogs in the interest of the people? No such safeguards, as far as I can judge from the measure, are provided in the Bill. There is every possible safeguard that could be thought of to ensure that coal retailers will obey the law and that they will be kept, by the various devices running through the measure, regimented in a manner in which no other business has perhaps been regimented up to this.

There are provisions in some of the Sections which give power to an officer of the board nominated by the Minister, an inspector, or some other officer of the Gárda, or an officer of the Minister's Department to go to coal retailers during what are described as office hours. The Minister has taken the precaution in connection with office hours to ensure, as far as he can, that these office hours begin with the opening of the officer in the morning and that they terminate at the hour of closing in the afternoon. If, as the Bill stands, one of these officers attends at the closing hour—let us say one o'clock on Saturday—the coal retailer is bound to give him whatever information he is asked for at that hour. I presume it is intended that the office should be kept open or at least that the coal retailer should remain there so long as is necessary to furnish whatever information is required. In one sub-section it is provided:

A demand under this section by an inspector, an officer of the board or a member of the Gárda Síochána, for the production of a record or document for inspection shall be deemed to have been duly made to the person liable under this section to keep such record or the record to which such document relates (as the case may be) if such demand is made verbally at such premises to any individual in the employment of such person.

Are we to take it that if an officer of the board, a member of the Gárda Síochána or an official of the Minister's Department, applies to an office boy, that he must get any information about invoices or any other documents that might be required, and that so far as the scheme for prosecution is concerned, everything is copper fastened on the part of the Minister in respect to this business? If that be not the intention, surely there is no necessity for drawing such a section as that.

A further section states:

The Minister may by order make regulations requiring registered coal-retailers to make periodical returns to the Minister showing the quantities of coal and of turf bought by them, the quantities of coal and of turf sold by them, and such other matters relating to the purchase or the sale of such coal or of such turf as the Minister shall think proper to specify in such regulations.

Could there be anything more exhaustive in the nature of requesting information from businessmen than to make application for returns such as those? If the Minister intends to get those returns in anything like the form specified in this Bill, certainly the clerical staff in every coal retailer's office will have to be increased by at least one man in order to get the information which the Minister requires.

I object to the Bill. In the first place, if the Minister means to develop the turf industry and the sale of turf in this country, the attempt should be made on a different basis to one of compulsion. It might be possible to make certain allowances, and by giving certain advantages to purchasers, to make the use of turf more attractive than it is at the moment, but to say that every person who buys a ton of coal must also buy a ton of turf, whether he has or has not accommodation to store it—unless he has sufficient influence with the Minister to get exemption from the Order—will mean that the time may come when people who are wealthy may have tons of turf piled up outside their residences and when those who are not wealthy may be faced with very serious inconvenience. Then there is the section under which business people are to be requested at short notice and under pain of certain penalties to give all sorts of information to an officer of the board, a member of the Gárda, or an officer of the Minister's Department.

Deputy Donnelly when speaking indicated that he had not been able to gather from the speeches delivered from the benches opposite before he rose whether that Party was opposed to the Bill or not. We have been informed now by Deputy Cosgrave that he objects to it. I must say that I personally had come to the conclusion from the speeches of Deputy Mulcahy, Deputy O'Sullivan and Deputy McMenamin that there was some opposition to the Bill from the Party opposite. I think their position is that they are anxious to oppose it because it is a Fianna Fáil measure but, warned by experience, they are not quite sure that this turf scheme may not be a success, and they want to preserve a safe line of retreat if it is going to be a success. Deputies will want to trim very quickly if they vote against this Bill now, particularly Deputies like Deputy O'Sullivan and Deputy McMenamin, who represent constituencies in which there are large turf areas.

What about a new plan or an addendum to the plan, for turf?

Certainly Deputy McMenamin or Deputy O'Sullivan will not go down to tell the people they represent what they tell us, that if we push this Bill through there is a danger of the turf supply being exhausted, and ask them what is to become of the poor farmers who are at present depending on turf for fuel if that happens. The Dáil Commission into the resources of Ireland estimated that we had some 300,000,000 tons of turf available for development in the country. If that is correct, we can leave it to our grandchildren's children to worry about the position that will arise when our resources in turf are exhausted. Certainly the question will not be one of immediate practical politics before then.

Deputy Mulcahy started his speech by a reference to statistics. One could have guessed that Deputy Mulcahy was bound to start with statistics. As usual he got his statistics all wrong. An enumeration is made every year by members of the Gárda Síochána, as to the quantity of turf won in that year. That enumeration is a very casual affair as Deputies can well imagine. In each area, the member of the Gárda appointed to carry out the enumeration, makes an estimate of the quantity of turf won in that year. From the aggregate of the estimates of all the enumerators a figure is prepared which is put forward to represent the quantity of turf won in that particular area or in the whole country in that year. That figure may be considerably wide of the actual production, and it cannot be relied upon as indicating, in relation to any one year, the precise quantity of turf won. In so far as that figure is of any value it can be taken to indicate, in comparison with the corresponding figures for other years, a trend.

Deputy Mulcahy proceeded to compare the figure for 1934 with the figure for 1931, but he forgot something that is axiomatic in the consideration of statistics. There is one rule which constitutes the pons asinorum for anyone who wants to study statistics, and that is that two figures cannot indicate a trend. Deputy Mulcahy compared the figure for 1934 with the figure for 1931. That comparison can prove nothing. Whereas that might be true in relation to any commodity, it is particularly true in relation to peat, because so many considerations determine the actual quantity of peat won in one year as compared with another that a comparison of the total production in one year with another has little significance. Weather conditions, and other considerations bearing upon the position of agriculture, and quite a number of factors operate to determine the quantity of turf won in one year as compared with another, and no conclusion can be made by comparing the total of peat produced as estimated in 1934 and in 1931. But you can arrive at a conclusion if you take the figures for a number of years and find out from them what the trend is. If Deputy Mulcahy had carried his investigations back a little further than 1931, he would have formed a much more reliable estimate of the trend.

There has been a decline in peat production since the State was established. The total quantity of peat produced in 1931 was probably half the total produced in 1921, and that decline in the total amount of peat won has continued throughout that period, due to causes which can be taken into account such as the installation of different types of ranges in houses, improved organisation on the part of coal distributors, and, I think, particularly in the western areas, to the development of road transportation. All these factors operated to decrease the quantity of turf won. We came in in 1932 with the intention, first of all, of arresting that decline, and, secondly, of securing the organised production for sale of greater quantities of turf. We have succeeded in doing that. A number of turf co-operative societies have been formed throughout the country. The members of these societies, at least, fully appreciate the benefits which this turf scheme means to them. These turf producers have been receiving, at periods of the year when they were in need of financial assistance, very substantial cheques from the Turf Development Board in payment for the turf produced by them and sold through the board.

In 1933, as I have already mentioned, all the turf produced by these societies was sold before the end of the winter season. The actual quantity sold direct by the Board, through coal retailers in Dublin, was only a small part of the total quantity of turf produced by the societies. In 1934 there was a very considerable increase in production, but sales fell off. They fell off for a number of reasons. One, I frankly admit, was that the turf co-operative societies in certain areas put bad, wet turf on the market. That went a long way towards destroying the goodwill which had been built up by intensive advertising and propaganda work in the previous year. There were perhaps other considerations also operating. The Turf Development Board, which only commenced operations in December, 1934, took action to deal with these societies. The powers which the Board will have under this Bill, and the powers which have been given to it otherwise, have been used, and are being used, to ensure that only the best quality turf will be produced by these societies and marketed through their organisations. But the result was that there was a carry-over of a substantial quantity of turf from 1934 to 1935. The carry-over did not worry us unduly nor is it to be regarded as a cause for the introduction of this measure. It has all been disposed of since. The quantity of turf carried over from 1934, plus the quantity of turf produced in 1935, has been disposed of already, and there is no surplus of turf now available. We consider, however, that it is possible to get a much greater production of turf, and not merely to get much greater production but to organise on a much more economic and rational basis the distribution and utilisation of turf.

Deputy Cosgrave asked a number of questions which I dealt with when introducing the Bill. If he had been a little more interested in the turf scheme than he was in the turf club earlier in the afternoon, he would have heard the various points to which he referred dealt with.

The Minister's impertinence is refreshing.

I am glad the Deputy finds it so. The fact, however, is that all the matters to which the Deputy referred, apart from the purely Committee Stage points which he raised, were dealt with by me when introducing the Bill. There is this intention behind the Bill: to ensure that turf will be used, and used to the greatest extent practicable, in the areas where it is most economic to use it, and there are many areas in the country where it is much more economic to use turf— areas from which it is made available through the machinery of the Turf Development Board—than it is to use coal at the price at which it is available.

I was reared in a bog and I do not agree with the Minister.

The Deputy is still in the bogs.

The Deputy does not agree with me on many things, but, as a rule, up to the present I think it has been shown that he has been wrong and that I have been right.

He has made a success of his own business anyway.

I have indicated already that it is the intention to use the compulsory powers to be conferred by this Bill so as to ensure the rational utilisation of turf. At the present time all the turf produced by the societies is distributed throughout the country at a flat rate per ton by the railway companies—an arrangement which proved unsatisfactory from their point of view. It is, on the face of it, irrational, because turf was being hauled long distances from the West of Ireland, and on the way up was passing trainloads of coal going down. We think we can arrange to secure the disposal of all the turf that is likely to be produced in this year and next year without any hardship to anybody, probably entirely in the areas where the utilisation of turf is widespread, and particularly where the poorer classes of the community use turf entirely.

Deputy Cosgrave, of course, objects to the use of compulsory powers at all. It is an interference, he said, with the ordinary citizen's right to purchase whatever commodity he pleases. Deputy Cosgrave is still pussyfooting with the principles of Victorian liberalism. Where has the ordinary citizen the right to purchase any commodity he pleases? In what country on the earth has the individual that right? From what does he derive the right?

Do not talk nonsense. The Minister does not know?

I do not know one civilised country where the State does not take on itself the function of regulating, in the national interests, the purchases of the ordinary citizen in some commodity. We are doing it here. In relation to a very wide range of commodities we are imposing restrictions upon the ordinary citizen's right to purchase whatever he pleases. We are doing it in the national interests, and it has been accepted by the people of this country as in the national interests.

Do not stupidly misinterpret what I said.

I will read the Deputy's words.

Will the Minister tell us in what country the individual citizen is bound to buy a similar quantity of coal and timber or something of that sort?

What the Deputy talked about was his objection to our interfering with the ordinary citizen's right to purchase whatever commodity he pleased?

And I say that there is no country in the world in which at the present time there is not a restriction imposed by the Government upon the ordinary citizen's right to purchase whatever commodity he pleases.

The Minister is unfortunate in his simile. Pussyfoot just found out that that was a wrong principle in America. Is not that so?

That may be so, but the Americans do not appear to have been entirely converted to that point of view.

It was a magnificent example.

We are interfering with the ordinary citizen's right to purchase whatever fuel he pleases because we think it best in the interests of this nation that we should develop to the greatest practicable extent an internal fuel supply. That is particularly so when we have available here resources in peat which, if they existed in any other country in Europe, would be the foundation of a great national industry. There are only a few countries in Europe where there are large peat resources. In Germany and in Russia, as I mentioned already, those peat resources, which are in quality and in extent far inferior to ours, have been made the basis of great industries of importance to those countries. In Russia alone they are producing from peat electric power to several times the extent of the total consumption of electricity in this country. In Germany, not merely are they producing electric power from peat, but there is a number of industrial concerns where peat is used entirely for power and heating purposes.

In those countries, they have developed the mechanical winning of peat to a much greater extent than we have attempted. We are only now developing the mechanical winning of peat. It is going to take some time before we can develop it to an appreciable extent, because the preparatory work which has to be done upon the bogs takes a long time. The peat briquette factory in Kildare, to which reference was made, commenced operations down there in 1935, and it was only I think last week that they produced the first briquette. The work of preparation in the bog, which gave very widespread employment in that area, occupied all the intervening period. Any Deputy who wants to get a picture of what can be done in the development of a large bog for the mechanical production of peat should take a trip down there and see what has been done. Through the Turf Development Board, we hope to commence in the very near future a scheme for the mechanical production of peat on a still larger scale and by a somewhat different method, but I am informed that it is going to take at least until 1939 to carry out the necessary drainage and preparatory work upon that bog before peat won from the bog will be available for sale.

A number of Deputies were concerned about the individual who wins peat from his own bog and takes it into the nearest town for sale. That individual is not going to be affected to any extent by the provisions of this Bill. There is, of course, nothing in the Bill itself which prevents any individual seller of turf from carrying on in the future as he has done in the past. It is true that to some extent the market which he has been supplying may be reduced by the operation of the measure, but the extent will be negligible. The people to whom such individual turf hawkers have been selling turf in the past are people who use turf almost entirely, and to whatever extent they use coal at all they will use a much smaller quantity of it than of peat. When purchasing that coal, if they have to purchase some turf as well, the limitation upon the market available for the individual seller will be so insignificant as not to matter. In fact the great majority of those individuals will benefit directly and indirectly by the extended use of turf which will result from the operation of the measure. Deputy Mulcahy made a long speech but I am not quite sure what it was about. He read out a number of advertisements published by the Department and by the Turf Board urging people to use turf, and he tried to make some jokes on the basis of those advertisements, but what the purpose of the whole business was I do not know. I think Deputy Cosgrave would be well advised to shut down that department in his Party's organisation which supplies those Press cuttings.

I agree with the Minister. As long as he makes the type of speeches he does make, and contradicts himself so often, he would keep ten departments going.

They think they are getting a ready-made speech handed to them, but Deputy Mulcahy would have made a far better speech if he had ignored the Press cuttings and come in here and said what he wanted to say. Instead, he read Press reports dating back to 1932, and where he was leading us I do not know. The logical conclusion, if Deputy Mulcahy has a logical conclusion, is that he was merely killing time in order to try to justify the propaganda section of the Fine Gael organisation which had carefully preserved those cuttings and advertisements.

It would be better if he had said nothing but let the people benefit by experience.

It would have been a lot better if he had said nothing. I am glad the Deputy agrees with me. It would have been better for the Party, better for the House, better for the country and better for himself.

They will not forget turf anyway when the Minister has finished.

It is not the intention to prevent the use of coal in parts of the country where turf is available. No doubt, the use of coal will be limited, but it will be a long time before we can completely prohibit the use of coal in any area, nor do I think that the quantity of turf which we are likely to produce this year will affect seriously the amount of coal we purchase for the purposes of the coal-cattle pact. The anxiety displayed by Deputy O'Sullivan as to the effects of this Bill upon the coal-cattle pact was the most amusing thing in the debate. I can also assure him, and the other Deputies who referred to the matter, that there is no lack of co-ordination in respect of Government policy. It happens that the negotiation of trade agreements, as well as the investigation of new methods of producing grates, ranges and other housing materials in the country, and the encouragement of the production of designs suitable to our needs, together with the implementation of the turf scheme, are all the functions of one Department, and there is not the conflict between Ministers to which Deputy McMenamin referred at such great length.

The object of the Bill, as I have said, is to secure that we will have, to whatever extent we can secure it, native fuel instead of imported fuel for household purposes. We can achieve that end by developing our coal resources, and these coal resources are being developed. There has been a very considerable increase in the production of coal here and we are, at the present time, spending large sums of money on the expert investigation of the coal deposits in Leitrim and in Tipperary. Whether these investigations will reveal the existence of coal in sufficient quantity to justify their commercial working on a large scale I cannot yet say, but, in any event, there is here in turf a fuel well worth developing and one to which our people are well accustomed. I think Deputy O'Sullivan was correct when he said that over a large part of the country the people would prefer to use turf instead of coal, and, that being so, there can be, I am sure, little objection to a Bill which is designed to increase its production. I want Deputies to understand that the main purpose of the Bill is to secure an increase in the production of turf, because, arising out of the experience of the past, the organisation of these turf societies, and the energy which the societies will put into their work, will depend very largely on the passage of this measure and the guaranteeing of a market for the turf they produce which will arise in consequence.

It is, I think, not appropriate at this stage to attempt to give, as some Deputies have asked, a general picture of our plans for the future in relation to turf. The development of turf production is necessarily a slow business. Nobody ever represented on behalf of the Government, as Deputy Mulcahy and Deputy O'Sullivan contended, that we would get all the turf production we required, and all the employment given in turf production, in a period of eight months. In any case, the opening up of a new bog for the production of turf, whether by hand or machine, involves at least a couple of years, preparatory labour, and an extension of the measures which the Turf Board is carrying out in order to increase production and spread it over a larger number of years is going to take time. It will be a slow business to increase appreciably the amount of turf won for sale, but the work is proceeding, and it is because we desire to see it proceeding upon a planned and rational basis that the powers proposed to be conferred by this Bill are necessary, so that not merely will production be encouraged, but distribution can be arranged upon a sensible and economic basis.

We see in these co-operative turf societies an essential part of the turf scheme for a long number of years to come. It is true that we are encouraging a private company to develop this patent of theirs for the production of turf briquettes, and it is also true that the Turf Development Board are at present concentrating to a great extent their energies, and are spending sums of money, on the investigation of the best methods of securing production on a large scale. But having regard to the period that must elapse before the first of these mechanical schemes comes into operation and having regard also to the total quantity of fuel which is required in the country, and, perhaps, the difficulty in finding suitable bogs in every area for the type of mechanical production that may be deemed best, it will be as long as any of us are likely to be interested in turf production before the utilisation of turf co-operative societies for the production and distribution of hand-won turf will become unnecessary.

Therefore, we have encouraged the societies to go ahead; we have assisted them with financial grants to enable them to get over difficulties; and we are arranging for the erection of sheds for storage purposes, for the provision of sacks, ricking compounds, and so forth, at the present time, because it is upon them that we must rely for the greater volume of turf production for many years to come. Therefore, this Bill is recommended to the House as an essential part of that scheme. Even though it may not be necessary to use these compulsory powers for some years to come, or, at any rate, to use them in any drastic way, nevertheless, the existence of these powers, the knowledge that the Government has the means to secure that the turf produced will be sold is necessary to encourage the turf societies to go ahead with the vigour with which we want to see them proceeding.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 53; Níl, 21.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Corbett, Edmond.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Doherty, Hugh.
  • Donnelly, Eamon.
  • Dowdall, Thomas P.
  • Everett, James.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hales, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Kelly, Thomas.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • MacDermot, Frank.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moane, Edward.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Murphy, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Martin.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.

Níl

  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Broderick, William Joseph.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Sir Osmond Grattan.
  • Keating, John.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • Morrisroe, James.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Davitt, Robert Emmet.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • Nally, Martin.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas Francis.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, John Marcus.
  • Rice, Vincent.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Little and Smith; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Nally.
Motion declared carried.
Committee Stage fixed for Tuesday, 5th May.