I merely wanted to correct the impression that there was nothing normal in this country. There are a lot of things normal. This Bill proposes to collect £31,000,000 from the taxpayers. Let us view the capacity of the people to pay. According to Deputy Harris, since this Government came into office they have done a great deal for the people. They have done so much for them that taxation has increased by £7,535,000. Compared with last year, taxation has increased by £49,151. So far as the Government are concerned, they are collecting £7,500,000 more than was collected in 1931. I wonder will Deputy Harris go to the cross-roads, put that picture before the electors and ask them to pass a verdict? How are the Government justified in collecting that sum from people whose income has fallen so much?
We are told that agriculture is more prosperous. Deputy Harris did not say very much about wheat. I would like to hear the Deputy dealing with that as a national asset. I am sure the Deputy knows that 660,000 acres of land will produce all the wheat required to feed everybody in the State. If each one of the 550,000 farmers grew five roods of wheat there would be sufficient to feed the entire population of the State. The whole foundation for the production of our £31,000,000 of revenue is the agricultural industry. Cattle, according to Deputy Harris, are bringing in more money now because they are being more intensely fed, and they come more early to maturity. That is quite true if it could be done at an economic figure, but what is the position? There are three factors governing the present situation. The first is the restricted number of young cattle now available; the second is the demand for them, and the third is the quality and the numbers we have to sell, taking into consideration all the calves that have been slaughtered.
What is the average quality of the young store beast now brought on the market? It is not County Kildare, County Kilkenny, County Meath or County Westmeath that produces those cattle. They are produced in the Counties of Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Kerry, and Cork. The small farmers produce the animals that come on later as store cattle to the inland counties for grazing and are then exported. We know that the small farmers cannot afford to buy feeding stuffs in the way of linseed meal and maize meal in order to give them to the animals when they are young. The result is that when you go to a fair and examine the stock offered for sale it is not up to the average quality. The animals have had nothing but dry hay and water during the winter months because the farmers cannot afford to buy the food to bring them to the condition in which they would mean more money. It is all right for Deputy Harris and farmers in Kildare, Wexford and Kilkenny, where they can produce plenty of stuff on their own farms. If they have store cattle they can bring them to maturity and sell them at a good price. We cannot take these exceptional counties into consideration.
I would like to know from the Minister what he proposes with regard to the future. Deputy Cosgrave stated this evening that we have had annual surrenders in this State. That is the correct name for them. It may be a pretty tart expression, but it is a good thing to have the truth. We are tied down on our part but England is not tied down in her part. Does anybody suggest that when England has a monopoly of coal in this country the householder is getting his coal at a competitive price? He is not. England is getting the products of this country at a competitive price—as a matter of fact, much cheaper. Deputy Harris talks about the price of cattle. That is what I would call a qualified untruth. Deputy Harris knows as well as anybody either inside or outside this House that the price of cattle at present is subject to the collection of £4,500,000. Is not that money that should be coming in here? When you remember that the price of that stock is further depreciated by the cost of the machinery that is used in collecting it, how much does that mean to the farmer?
On my way from Donegal yesterday evening, I met a man who said that he was after paying £100 in duties on whatever amount of cattle he had shipped to England. I said to him: "What is wrong with you—do not you know that the Border disappeared last Saturday?" Apparently, he did not know that the Border had disappeared. Of course, we have not gone as far as Herr Hitler, but, as far as one can make out, it is something like that. We are told that the prices of cattle are good. That may be so. Perhaps, it might be even admitted that prices are very good, in the circumstances, but my point is that they are not as good as they ought to be.
The farmer gets a certain price for his cattle, but from that has to be deducted the price of the tariff, or tax, or whatever you like to call it, that goes to England—and that is approximately £4,500,000. The farmer in this country is losing that much. Deputy Mulcahy has stated repeatedly, in this House and outside it, that fewer people are employed on the land. What is the significance of that? Irrespective of what Party we belong to in this House, or what position we occupy in this House, what is the significance of the numbers of people who are leaving the country? Why are they going away? There is one thing that is traditional about the people of this country, and that is the love of the land here, even of the very worst parts of the land. You have the case of men going to California and living there under the very best conditions, and yet they come back to Donegal. I only state that point to show the passionate love that Irishmen have for the land. Should we not take serious cognisance of that; or is it just for party purposes, irrespective of what it might mean to the nation, that these matters are raised? As far as one can see, the policy seems to be : Do not settle this, that, or the other thing—let the country die. Who is to settle this? The young boys and the young girls are settling it. They are clearing out of this country and leaving us to do what we like about it. We can fight over the bones, but they have said "goodbye" to us, owing to the conditions.
It is not the first time that people have emigrated from this country, but I think it is the first time that people have emigrated from this country under such adverse conditions as obtain at present. Look at the position of the boys and girls emigrating from Donegal. They cross without a solitary friend to receive them. They have been told that they are going to a country with which they are at war. In the past, these boys and girls from Donegal went to America. It was a pathetic spectacle to see them go. Anybody who saw them go at that time knew that it was a terrible thing to see, but at least they knew that, where they were going, there would be friends to meet them—brothers, sisters, cousins, and so on—but where are they going now? They are going now to what we are told is the traditional enemy of this country, and to their own traditional enemy—to look for what? To look for the means of existence. Are they all going to get it? Not at all. Even in the heyday of the times when our people were going to America in thousands upon thousands, and perishing by the wayside, we did not hear of that. These people, however, are now going in their thousands to England to look for the means of existence.
What does this Budget provide for these people? In the course of the debate on the Budget, I gave the Minister particulars of a small bill of costs for groceries. Of course, the particulars that I gave the Minister could not be contradicted. It was a small bill of groceries, and it showed that what cost 9/10½ across the Border cost 12/10 on this side of the Border. Along with that, you have the agricultural industry, as is admitted by the Minister, down by, approximately, £104,000,000, and you have the agricultural labourers and other workers reduced in wages, in the cost of living, by somewhere between 5/9 and 6/- in the £. At the end of all of this, we issue a document—a new Constitution—and we purport to bring in the people of the Six Counties. What is the national policy of the Government? How are we going to bring these people in? Does this Budget bring them in? Does not this Budget, in the circumstances existing here, on its face, repel them? What policy has the Government with regard to Partition? What act of statesmanship has it performed in the past five years to bring about Irish unity? What is the policy to-day in regard to this Budget? There has not been one act of statesmanship in that regard in those entire five years. I venture to state, without fear of contradiction, that so far as the Six Counties and the Free State are concerned, the Border is wider to-day than ever it was. We are asked what is our policy. Very well. I am not here as a leader of this Party, but I am an Ulsterman. I am told, first of all, that there is a religious question to be solved. I do not agree with that. I have seen a speaker of the Northern Parliament named O'Neill.