Skip to main content
Normal View

Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 24 Nov 1937

Vol. 69 No. 8

Private Deputies' Business. - Standard of Living—Abolition of Duties on Foodstuffs—Motion (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:—
That the Dáil deplores the lowering of the standard of living of the community by Government action through the operation of taxes, levies, duties and like impositions on foodstuffs and other necessaries of life, and is of opinion that all such impositions should be forthwith abolished.—(Deputies McGilligan and Morrissey).

As I glanced through the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, and as I listened with no little care to the speech of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, I began to wonder whether we were discussing, as the motion on the Order Paper says, the standard of living of this community, or whether we were dealing with some completely foreign community altogether; whether we were discussing the affairs of the Irish Free State and the standard of living of the citizens of this State, or whether we were dealing with Kamchatka or Greenland or some place equally remote.

This is not a debate in which we want extracts from statistical figures. It is not a debate in which we rely upon figures at all. It is a debate in which every Deputy can readily come to a definite conclusion. It is a debate in which every Deputy who does his work as a Deputy, who knows the conditions of the people who have sent him to this House, and who knows the affairs of his constituency, can form an opinion for himself and can arrive at a sounder, a truer and a better-based conclusion by reason of his knowledge of existing conditions than he can from any figures which may be quoted from statistical abstracts or any other like documents.

I am not interested in general flights into the theory of political economy. I am not going to delay the time of the House or the procedure of this debate by pointing out that the Parliamentary Secretary, in attending the Barrington lectures which, I understand, he attended at one time, managed to pick up a very small, a very scattered and an entirely inaccurate knowledge of the dismal science of political economy. I prefer to appeal in this debate very much more to the knowledge that every Deputy has got of conditions in this State. If the State is flourishing so wonderfully and if everyone is so rich as the Minister for Industry and Commerce would ask us to believe, why are those things not borne out by the reports we have day by day from all parts of the country?

Our experience tells us that this country is getting poorer and poorer and that the inhabitants are getting poorer and poorer, and yet the Minister for Industry and Commerce would like us to believe that everybody is flourishing and that it is quite easy to carry on in this State; that the cost of living is not rising to any appreciable degree. If that is so, I would like to have some answer from the Government as to why it is that from body after body in the State you get a cry for increased pay or increased salary on the ground that the cost of living is getting so high that people are unable to carry on. Is it a fact that there is the strongest agitation at the present moment, sufficiently vocal to be heard at almost every street corner and to be read in almost every paper, on the part of the national teachers, demanding that their salaries should be increased, that their cuts, as they say, should be restored, on the ground that they cannot make ends meet owing to the increased cost of living? Is that wrong? Is that faked or engineered, and, if so, by whom?

Does any Deputy on the Fianna Fáil Benches deny that such an agitation is going on? Were there not questions in the House about it? Are these people entirely mistaken and is the Minister for Industry and Commerce right? Are they all flourishing, and is living just as easy for them now as it was three or four years ago? If so, I should like to know what is the meaning of the intensity of their agitation. Surely, better than any figures that can be produced and any argument that can be drawn from any figures, is the practical knowledge that where these people were some time ago able to make ends meet, they cannot do so now? The answer to that is that it is due to the increased cost of living. But they are not the only persons. You find that, perhaps not so loudly or vigorously put, but at the same time just as deep and just as determined, there is an agitation going on by the Civic Guards to have their pay increased, their cuts restored, so that they will be put back to the pay they had at an earlier date. On what ground do they base that? Upon precisely the same ground that the national teachers base their claim— that their pay is not now sufficient for them to make ends meet owing to the increased cost of living. Is that a genuine cry on their part? Are they in earnest in it? I do not think that anybody can doubt that it is a very genuine cry, that they really are speaking because they feel the pinch and that they have become vocal simply because the pinch has made them vocal. Take these two classes. One can speak as loudly as it likes. The other class speaks more hesitatingly owing to its position. But does anybody believe that these two classes, making their demand upon the same ground—the high cost of living— are not perfectly genuine in their demands? Against the practical experience of these two classes—the teachers and the Guards—are you going to put the speeches of the Minister for Industry and Commerce?

I notice that what has been said in this debate has had a considerable effect upon the Minister for Industry and Commerce, because the speech which he delivered in this House is very different in tone from that of his two speeches which he delivered the other night—one in Dublin and the other in Cork. When he was speaking in this House, everything was rosy, everything was for the best in this best of all possible countries. Outside, his tone was entirely different. Inside the House, the country was progressing in a wonderful way; more motor cars were being bought and because of that the country was extremely rich, there could be no poverty and the cost of living could not be hitting people at all. I wonder if anybody would walk in to a bank manager and say: "I am a very rich man; I own a motor car; you are entirely mistaken when you think I have an overdraft. Everybody who owns a motor car, according to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, is rich and, therefore, nobody who owns a motor car could possibly have an overdraft. Your book-keeping must, therefore, be wrong." Would that have very much effect on the bank manager? I wonder if the bank manager would be inclined to wipe out the overdraft simply on the theory that a man who owns a motor car must be very rich. That is the sort of argument which the Minister for Industry and Commerce, when inside this House, draws from statistics. Outside the House, his argument is completely different. Outside the House, he admits that the country is going very badly. He says, in effect, that a favourable answer cannot be given to the cry of the teachers and the Guards. He says that no money is now available without extra taxation and that extra taxation can be imposed only to relieve the unemployed, that no other case is so urgent. If this country is so rich as we were told it was and if the revenue is so buoyant as it was represented to be, why should it be necessary to put on extra taxation to raise a sum of £250,000, which was the figure given, roughly, by the Minister. Outside the House, the Minister changes the attitude which was taken up by himself and his whole Party. He goes back upon speech after speech made from the Fianna Fáil benches. At long last, he is a convert, though a somewhat belated one. He preaches the doctrine which. again and again, has been preached from these benches. What was denounced on our part as unsound and unnational is now preached by the Minister for Industry and Commerce himself. We have stated, again and again, that this country can only prosper if its main industry—the agricultural industry—is put and kept in a flourishing condition. We have, again and again, stated that, if this country be deprived of its main market, it is impossible for it to carry on successfully. In season and out of season, we have preached that doctrine. We have never tired of preaching it. On the other hand, the opposite doctrine has been preached, time and again, from the Fianna Fáil Benches. To begin with, we were told that the loss of our principal market was a blessing in disguise. We were told that it would hurry up the great transition which the Government wanted to effect. We combated these views and said they were entirely false. Now, we find that the Minister is a belated convert. I wonder if he has converted the Deputies on his benches. We have the statement that it is necessary for this country to increase its export to the British market. The Minister combined that with a statement which was very false. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has got a very faithless servant in his memory. It is unfortunate that he should have such a terribly bad recollection. The Minister stated in his speech in Dublin that, at the instance of the members on this side of the House, the British Government put taxes on stuff going from this country into the British market. That statement is entirely false. There is not the slightest shred of foundation for it. It is a figment of the Minister's imagination, as I think members of the Fianna Fáil Party and everybody else knows. The memory of the Minister played him false. In this House the leader of his Party proudly declared that he fired the first shot in the economic war.

He never said that.

President de Valera said he fired the first shot in the economic war.

Deputy Briscoe forgets that statement, too. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is not the only person in the House with a faithless memory. I wonder if the memories of the other members of Fianna Fáil are equally faithless.

Mr. Kelly

They are.

The Deputies opposite are a great lot—always forgetting what it is inconvenient to remember. That is a very fortunate state of mind. We had in this House, however, the proud boast of the President of the Executive Council that— and I am using his own words—he fired the first shot in the economic war. What has been the result? He was told then, as we tell him now, that this country cannot prosper until the agricultural industry is put properly upon its feet, and the agricultural industry cannot be put properly on its feet until we have an unrestricted entry into the British market. We can get that, as we are satisfied, by sensible negotiation with the British.

So long as the economic war was going on this country had, as I say, no chance. When the economic war was terminated, when peace was made between this country and Great Britain, even when, by the terms of the Coal-Cattle Pact, which ended the economic war, it was agreed that the sum of £5,000,000 should be levied off our cattle and produce going into the British market, our position was, to a certain extent, improved. I admit that we are not now as badly off as we were while the economic war was going on, but the economic peace which was negotiated by this Government, or by civil servants on their behalf, and which was ratified by this House, is an absolutely, hopelessly bad peace, and until those peace terms are completely revised and until we get, as we ought to get by sensible common-sense negotiations with Great Britain, free entry into the British market, this country cannot be put in the position financially in which it ought to be put. In consequence, the cost of living which is going up and up every day is pressing more and more heavily upon the people who are impoverished, first, by the war, and then by the peace made by the Government opposite.

I know the Government did not like that peace, and I am quite sure they would have liked to have got better peace terms than they did get; but they were the best peace terms they were able to negotiate. The world knows that Germany did not like the peace terms negotiated at Versailles, but she had to endure them. She is kicking against them and trying to have them altered, and until we kick against the peace terms negotiated between this Government and Great Britain, until we get terms of peace, final and lasting, giving us free entry into the British market for our agricultural produce, this country cannot prosper and this cost of living must press more and more heavily upon the people who are suffering from the effect of the Government's action.

One argument which has been put again and again from the Fianna Fáil Benches is: Look at the cost of living figure; they do not show any very tremendous rise. I wish to impress upon the House that so far as my constituency is concerned, so far as the people for whom and on whose behalf I am now addressing the House are concerned, the small farmers of County Mayo and the labourers and workers in County Mayo, because it is a constituency in which there are no large farmers, the cost of living index is not of the slightest importance. The cost of living index depends entirely on how it is weighted. Weighting is a technical term, but it means that in compiling the cost of living index, greater weight must be given to the prices of certain articles than to the prices of other articles. Greater weight, for instance, must be given to the price of bread than would be given to the price of some luxury article.

Motor cars.

They would hardly come in at all. If you weight, as the cost-of-living figure in this country is weighted, for the Civil Service, it is no index at all as to the rise or fall of the cost of living for the ordinary working man. If you want to discover the cost of living for the ordinary working man and the ordinary small farmer, you have to weight your figure in the cost-of-living index in a completely different way from the way in which you weight it when ascertaining the cost of living of the civil servant. That is not a mere argument on my part. It has been found so by practical experience. In Australia, where the courts were called upon to fix a minimum wage, the courts refused to act upon the cost-of-living index figure which was compiled for the Civil Service. They insisted on having brought before them a certain number of ordinary housekeepers who gave to the courts, on oath, the various items of their expenditure showing what it cost them to live. Later on, I believe, in Australia another index figure was arrived at. They have worked out a cost of living figure for the artisan and for the labourer, but in the beginning, when their cost-of-living index figure was compiled for civil servants, the courts refused to act upon it. The reason for that is perfectly plain and ought to be perfectly plain to any Deputy opposite.

Does the Deputy suggest that the present cost-of-living figure here was compiled for civil servants?

The Deputy is entirely wrong, of course.

Will the Deputy tell me for whom it was compiled?

Not for civil servants.

I beg the Deputy's pardon. It was compiled in order that the bonus for civil servants should be ascertained.

It was not. It purports to be based on a labourer's budget pre-war, and has no application whatever to civil servants, except that it is applied to their salaries.

That is simply a matter of fact on which I differ from the Deputy. I say that the figures here, and the cost of living here, are not weighted to the working man. The Deputy may say that they are. I say they are not.

They are probably not weighted for anyone. They do not purport to be weighted for civil servants.

I differ with the Deputy. That can be ascertained.

That is right.

I assert one fact and the Deputy asserts another. There is no use in asserting, one against the other.

A statement has been made from the opposite benches that the entire rise—sometimes they admit it, and sometimes they do not—in the cost of living is due to external matters; that there has been a cost-of-living rise all over the world. That is complete dust. I appeal to Deputies to take facts and practical experience that cannot be denied. We had figures quoted, and Deputies with practical experience, who live in the Border counties, made it perfectly plain that in the expenditure of money, and for the same amount of stuff, we had to pay £1 in this State for what could be got for something like 14/- in the Six Counties, and for something less in Great Britain. That is not due to any external causes; it is due to Government action. Apart from Government action, there is no reason why commodities should be cheaper in Belfast than they are here. No explanation can be given of the undoubted fact that the purchasing power of money in this State is far lower than the purchasing power of money in even the Six Counties. That is due to Government action. That is what the motion states. I should like to know if it is not due to Government action. In the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary, which lasted for nearly two hours, no attempt was made to explain that fact. If any other Deputies on the opposite benches or the Minister for Education intend to take part in the debate, perhaps some of them will explain what are the causes which make the cost of living so much higher here than in the Six Counties. Are any of them natural causes or are they due to Government action? If they are natural causes, I should like to know what they are. If they are not natural causes it must be owing to Government action. Take the price of one of the necessities of life. Bacon was regarded as one of the main foods of the people, indeed, it was the only meat which small farmers in the West and in other parts of Ireland took. Bacon has now gone to a price that is prohibitive. I should like if Fianna Fáil Deputies who come from country districts went into the houses of the ordinary £7 or £8 holders and asked them how often in the week they had bacon for dinner five or six years ago and on how many days they have it for dinner now. I venture to think the answer would be that five or six years ago there was bacon for dinner six days in the week, and that if there is bacon for dinner at all now, it is once a week.

It was Russian bacon.

Assuming it was, is it better to eat Russian bacon or starve? Deputy Munnelly does not wish to answer that question. One might even eat Russian bacon without becoming a Bolshie.

You might not live after eating it.

Possibly. I never tried it. It is quite obvious the Deputy has not tried it either. I do not wish to detain the House, but I think this is a debate in which every Deputy is in a position to use his own mind, his own judgment and experience. It is his experience and knowledge, what he hears from friends and acquaintances, and what he sees, that ought to influence his vote. Though he may have to enter the Lobby which his Party Whip directs, he will enter it with the clear knowledge and with the sure conviction that he is entering a Lobby where he is voting against his own beliefs.

If I had not the motion before me, but had been listening to the Deputy who has just concluded, I would not have known what the subject matter of the debate was. A short time ago a Bill was passed through this House, the title of which one of the Deputy's colleagues suggested should be changed. I think the title of this motion should be changed to what the Deputy's colleague suggested: "Don't cry little fish." The Deputy began by saying that the Minister for Industry and Commerce had wasted the time of the House by referring to the cost of living in different parts of the world—Timbuctoo and elsewhere. The Deputy suggested that the proper way to treat this motion was to discuss facts as they confronted us in this State; yet he had to go to Germany and to Australia to try to illustrate some of the points he wished to make. That is an example of the difficulty in which the Deputy and his Party find themselves in attempting to make a case for this motion. The Deputy asked what was the cause of the increase in the cost of living, and who was most concerned by the increased cost. He referred to the position as it confronted us some five years ago. I think he should have gone back much longer, back to 1912, when the wages paid to certain workers in this State were as low as 13/- for a full week's work. At that time the cost of living from the point of view of the index figures was at the very lowest. I challenge Deputies opposite to tell us if the lot of the majority was better when the cost of living was at the very lowest. I think that when the workers organised themselves and brought about an increase in wages, they at the same time brought about an increase in the cost of living. Nevertheless, they bettered their conditions. If we are to face facts, is not this a fact of importance: that, if a person has the money with which to buy the necessaries of life at a certain price, he is thereby in a better position than if he had no money to buy goods at a cheaper price. That is one fact that Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney lost sight of completely.

I do not know how the Deputy brought in the economic war and then the economic peace. I could not quite follow him on that. It seemed to me that he wished us to be back again to the period of the economic war, because, according to himself, he finds fault with the economic peace. I confess I do not know how that comes in, but that is what we had from the Deputy. What I am concerned with is the position as I see it. The Deputy appealed to the members of the House to see things with their own eyes and to listen to the things that they hear going on around them in their own neighbourhoods. I am quite satisfied that this motion was rushed in without thought and without consideration, and without any relation to the facts of the situation. I feel certain that if the Deputies opposite got the chance of reconsidering their position they would not introduce such a motion, and I think they would be well advised now to withdraw it.

Mr. Morrissey

Can Deputy Briscoe see this fact: that while the 4-lb. loaf is costing 1/- in Dublin, it is being sold outside of this State for eight pence.

I will deal with the facts. Deputy Morrissey wants support for his motion on this ground: that we should go back to the period of five years ago when the Party that he now belongs to set about improving the standard of living of the people here by taking 1/- off the old age pensioners.

Mr. Morrissey

The Party that the Deputy belongs to has taken a great deal more off them.

Another step that the Party opposite took to improve the standard of living was to make a cut in the pay of the Guards when Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney was Minister for Justice. This is the Deputy who is now crying about the pay of the Guards and wants us to go back to the period of five years ago because, he says, in the interval the cost of living has increased.

Tell us about the 4-lb. loaf.

The man who has a 1/- to buy the 4-lb. loaf at a 1/-is surely better off than the man who had nothing when the Party to which the Deputy belongs was in power to buy a loaf even if he could get it for eight pence. That is not the position now. The facts are these: that when this Government came into office it decided that, as far as the resources of the State would permit, provision would be made for everybody, and, under that policy, the people whom our predecessors neglected have been taken care of by us. When our predecessors were in office there were no pensions for widows and orphans, and what did it matter to people whether the 4-lb. loaf was 6d., or 8d. or 1/- if they had no money to buy it. This Government changed that, and decided that everyone should have a bit to eat. Deputy Morrissey is not satisfied. He wants us to go back to the glorious days of the past when the country was faced almost with a revolution because of the hopeless state into which it had been allowed to get by our predecessors. There is no fear of that now. The gentlemen opposite grumble because the cost of living is increased.

Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney referred to the civil servants and to the Guards in particular, but, as Deputy Heron pointed out to him, the cost-of-living figures are not based in relation to the salaries and wages paid to civil servants except in so far as the bonus is concerned. They are weighted down in a way altogether different from that which Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney attempted to show. Arising out of an interjection made by Deputy Heron, Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's argument was an attempt to prove that there were two facts in existence, one at complete variance with the other. The fact is this, that the majority of the people of this country are better off to-day. Last week we had a speech on this motion from Deputy Gorey in which he said that the business community was never better off than it is to-day, and that the members of it should be on their knees day and night thanking this Government for all it had done for them.

The profiteers.

That was Deputy Gorey's statement, so that whatever the reason be, whether it be profiteering or otherwise, and I am not saying it is, the business community must be satisfied with this Government.

They are in the minority.

At any rate, they are a considerable section of the people.

The Deputy is the poor man's friend.

Mr. Morrissey

Do not put him off the line that he is on.

The Deputy's interruptions do not worry me in the least. Deputy Gorey suggested, at any rate, that the business community had no grievance, and yet other members of his Party, when they get up to speak, say that the business community is being taxed out of existence. That is the kind of statement we get from them when new duties are introduced by the Government—that the business community is being taxed out of existence, that there is no security for investments, and that the country is going to rack and ruin. It seems to me that the Deputies opposite have to frame a special set of arguments for each matter that comes forward. Judging by Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's speech to-day, I do not think that he could have been properly briefed. If he had been, I do not think he would have made the statements that he did make. His speech was a hopeless one. For instance, the Deputy suggested that the question of who fired the first shot in the economic war had something to do with the matter we are discussing. He said that the President had admitted firing the first shot. I think that if the Deputy took the care to quote the President's statement from the Official Debates he would feel bound to withdraw that statement. If there has been an increase in the cost of certain things which has affected the cost of living, I maintain that there has been a reduction in the cost of other things, and if for the purposes of this debate it is agreed that there has been an increase in the cost of living, I hold that it has not had the effect of reducing the standard of living amongst our people. That is what those who are behind this motion are attempting to prove, that the standard of living has been lowered by the policy of this Government. I say that the standard of living in this country has definitely increased in the last few years. This is a point that was dealt with by Deputy O'Reilly in his speech on the motion. He asked what was the first essential needed to bring about an improvement in the standard of living of our people, and he answered the question himself by saying that it was the provision of good housing accommodation for them.

But first of all you would want to have a fire in the house.

Is it not admitted that the first thing you need is the house. I presume it will not be disputed that, during the few years this Government has been in office, it has done more to improve the housing conditions of the people than our predecessors did during the ten years they were in office. Is that denied?

We had to build up what you knocked down.

Deputy Giles need not tell me about what was knocked down or what was built up. I am talking about what this Government has done to provide housing accommodation for the poorer sections of the community.

Mr. Morrissey

And the people are so well off that they are unable to pay their rents.

I do not think that the Deputy could prove that.

Mr. Morrissey

Ask some of the members of your Party.

I say that does not apply to the City of Dublin, where a great number of houses have been built in the last few years, nor do I think it applies to the Deputy's own constituency.

Mr. Morrissey

It does.

I do not think it does.

Mr. Morrissey

I am sure of it.

Could he give us the figures of it?

We suspended four rent collectors in Cork because they could not get in any arrears.

I suggest that we should suspend interruptions, and give Deputy Briscoe a chance of speaking.

The Deputy over there, of course, was one of those who advised people not to pay their annuities.

That is not true.

The Deputy was one of those who went around the country advising people not to pay their annuities.

That is not true.

They are collected, anyway.

Yes, they are collected, but it was despite the Deputy's advice.

Our advice was that the policy of your Government was such that it prevented the farmers from being able to pay.

What was your advice?

The farmers were not able to pay. We asked you to put them in a position to pay by settling the economic war.

The Deputy must remember that there is a difference between now and three or four or five years ago.

At any rate, I am sure that Deputies will not dispute the fact that one of the fundamental conditions of good living for the people is to give them good houses in which to live.

Mr. Morrissey

And enough to eat?

Yes, enough to eat; but let us take one thing at a time.

Mr. Morrissey

A man can be hungry even though he is living in a good house.

A Deputy

Well, the Deputy looks well fed enough himself.

At least, I think that we have done a good deal to provide food and work, where it was available, and where it was possible to provide them, so far as our own resources would permit. I admit, and I have always said, that a lot more could be done, but, within the limits of our resources, I hold that we have done our best and that a considerable improvement has been made; and I say that when we compare the conditions to-day with those that obtained when we took over office, it will be found that the standard of living, generally, has improved in the whole Twenty-Six Counties. I am satisfied that it has improved. The gentlemen opposite make a comparison between the cost of essentials here and the cost of essentials across the Border. Will they go further and compare the conditions of unemployment across the Border and the conditions of unemployment here?

Mr. Morrissey


I am not at all afraid of Deputy Morrissey, and I do not think that he should look so fierce.

Mr. Morrissey

I am only looking at the Deputy with amusement.

Perhaps, but the Deputy does not care to answer the question I put to him.

Mr. Morrissey


The whole purpose behind this motion is to try to confuse the people by comparing the conditions of to-day with the conditions of ten years ago. There is no use in the people opposite trying to deceive themselves. They will not deceive anybody else, but at least they should give up trying to deceive themselves. I have not heard any serious suggestions from anybody over there to remedy the situation they have described to us. Not one of them has put forward any concrete suggestion. If I were a party to a motion of this kind, at least I should take the trouble to arm myself with some facts or some illustrations in support of the motion. I would come prepared with some facts as to what I would do. For instance, Deputy Corry got up here the other day and asked some of the people over there what taxes they wanted removed in order to have agreement on this matter. He asked, in effect, did they say that the flour-milling industry should not be interfered with, but nobody has answered him. Do Deputies over there agree that we should go back to the old system of importing foreign wheat, or does Deputy Morrissey agree that we should close down the beet factories? Does Deputy Morrissey agree that we should close down the beet factory at Thurles, in his own constituency? I do not believe that Deputy Morrissey would vote for the closing down of the Thurles beet factory.

Is the farmer getting the cost of production?

Deputy Morrissey has not answered the question as to whether the factory should be closed down. A Deputy speaks about the cost of production and so on, but, if so, will we not have to get a bigger price for sugar?

What about the profits of the company?

I cannot say. I am not a shareholder, but at least I will say that Deputy Brodrick should not make an interjection unless he knows about the matter himself. Deputy Brodrick should know that himself, or else he should not make an interjection of that kind. I will not make an interjection unless I am satisfied about my facts. However, apart from that, Deputy Morrissey will not answer my question as to whether or not the Thurles beet factory should be closed down, and that is what the motion implies. Is he standing for that?

Mr. Morrissey

I am standing over the whole motion and what it implies.

At any rate, we have this: that we are at liberty to go down the country—howling down the country, as Deputy Dillon says—and stand for the closing down of the beet factories.

Mr. Morrissey

You would be howling, whether you were at liberty or not.

The Deputy will say that, anyhow. The motion is in line with the Deputy's attitude. The motion says something, and it means nothing. Not one of the Deputies opposite has got up and said that they want any particular tax removed. Do the Limerick Deputies want the butter levy removed?

We want the world market price.

The world market price for the last five years?

Why did you not skin the calves?

Deputy Briscoe should not be inviting interruptions.

I am not inviting interruptions, Sir, but I am trying to deal with the arguments put up by the opposite side in connection with this motion, because I take them as being seriously meant. I am really trying to deal with the motion which, I will say, I considered as being seriously ment, and I am trying to deal with it in a serious way. I have not heard any of the Deputies on the opposite side speaking in a united way—if it is possible for them to be united on any matter—in connection with this motion. They have spoken vaguely about the whole thing but not one has told us what tax should be removed, except Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney to-day, who, I suppose, conscience-stricken, told us that it was in his period of office that the 1/6 boot allowance was taken off the Gárda, and he is using this motion as an excuse to argue that point. But he also forgets that it was in his period of office that a substantial cut was made in the teachers' salaries, and he is trying now to bring in that under this motion. He forgets, or neglects to say, that the cut was taken off during his period of office, and that the only reason it has been continued is to make a pension scheme sound.

The cuts are retained by your Party.

Yes, but I will not say for how long that will be so. I am asking you to choose between letting things stay as they are and getting back to the things that obtained that Deputy Morrissey, evidently, would like us to get back to, when there was a cut of 1/- on old-age pensions and all the other cuts. If it comes to that, and that one must stand between one and the other, I will stand for a little bit less for some gentlemen and a little bit more for those for whom no provision was made at all. As to this Utopia that Deputy Morrissey wants for certain people, I say advisedly and with consideration that, if this motion were by any misfortune to be carried by this House, it would be disastrous for the community and you would find Deputy Morrissey running at the head of a long line of people to get the position brought back to what it is to-day or would be if this were not to upset it. I want to hear some Deputies on the opposite side tell us what they want us to do. There was a tax on tea in the period of office of our predecessors.

Mr. Morrissey

When you came into office?

No, but there was a tax on tea during their period of office. We know you took it off, but during the greater portion of the period of office of our predecessors there was a tax upon tea. Is that denied?

There was never a tax on tea during that period?

It is denied that there was a tax on tea during the greater part of our period of office.

The greater part—but at any time?

You said during the greater part.

I withdraw that. There was a tax on tea at some time during his period of office.

Not as much as was imposed by the Deputy's Party.

The question of degree does not enter into it—the principle is there. The Party opposite took 1/- off the old-age pensioners and 1/6 off the policemen's boot allowance and, to make things better and to increase the standard of living, it put a small tax on tea for a short time. The fact is that the tax was there at one period. Now they come along and say: "It is unheard of, shocking, to be taxing anything in the nature of foodstuffs for the poor people." Does Deputy Morrissey really feel happy?

Mr. Morrissey

What has this to do with the tax on tea?

The Deputy wants the taxes removed, and I want to know why he wants them removed. I ask him was there ever a tax on tea imposed by the Cumann na nGaedheal Administration?

Mr. Morrissey

They took it off and you put it on again.

I should like to see it taken off, but it cannot be done at the moment. The Minister would be glad to take it off.

He took it off for the election.

The Minister has to provide funds for people for whom no provision was made previously. He has to provide funds by various ways and the tax-payers have to provide funds to build houses to improve the standard of living of the people which Deputy Cosgrave neglected when he was President.

To build Jewmen's factories.

Whether the factories are controlled or owned or associated with people of my persuasion or not, I do not think Deputy Giles need worry. There is nothing to prevent Deputy Giles from opening factories if he desires to give much-needed employment to people who have no work. I am quite prepared to be examined on my record in that regard, and I should like the Deputy to be in the same position. If the Deputy wants to sink to that level, the cross-roads is the place for him, not this House.

Where you should be.

I have always been at the cross-roads when occasion arose, and I have never been afraid or ashamed to go there. The Deputy will have an opportunity to go there. This is not the place to deal with that kind of talk. The standard of living has been improved also by the employment given in the new industries. I suppose the Deputy will not dispute that. Will Deputy Morrissey dispute that the standard of living of a great number of his constituents has been improved by the establishment of factories in his constituency? I do not think he will deny that; I do not think any Deputy will deny it.

I deny it, because there is no factory in my constituency.

That is your complaint. Another Deputy wants all the factories closed because they are increasing the cost of living, notwithstanding the fact that they are improving the standard of living. Deputy Fagan wants one opened in his area, because it will do the same thing which it has done in other constituencies.

There is one in Mullingar. Is not that in the Deputy's constituency?

You cannot have it every way. If the industries we are starting are contributing, to a certain extent, as they are, to increase the cost of living by the increased cost of commodities, and by that method have improved the standard of living of a great number of people—if that is the objection some Deputies have, and they want those factories to close down and want us to go back again to a free market and free trade, I say that Deputy Fagan should not ask for a factory in his constituency.

Is not the motion to lower the cost of foodstuffs, not the factories making nuts and bolts and pencils?

I do not think the Deputy read the motion. The Deputy could not have read the motion introduced by his own Party under the signature of Deputy McGilligan and Deputy Morrissey I will read it for him. (Motion read). One of these impositions was the imposition put on flour coming into the country. By keeping out flour and bringing in a certain amount of wheat, and growing our own wheat, as Deputy Corry illustrated in great detail when he spoke, we were enabled to open flour mills which had been absolutely out of operation and to improve others which had been only working part-time. What Deputy Fagan wants us to do now is to close those down.

Why is flour 10/- a sack dearer here than in Northern Ireland and Great Britain? Let us be practical.

If Deputy O'Leary and Deputy Fagan will speak one at a time or agree as to which interruption I shall answer first, I will do so. It is hard to answer two or three at the same time.

You do not understand me when I speak in Irish.

I understand your English and sometimes I understand your Irish. I am dealing with Deputy Fagan now.

Deal with the 10/- on the sack of flour.

When I finish with Deputy Fagan I will come to the 10/- on flour. Deputy Fagan has a grievance that no new industries have been opened up in his constituency. Deputy Morrissey has a grievance that too many factories have been opened up all over the country and that the community is paying too dearly for them, and that therefore the cost of living has gone up and the standard of living has gone down.

Mr. O'Leary interrupted.

Deputy O'Leary should give Deputy Briscoe a chance to make his statement.

I am sorry, but it is very hard to be patient.

I am sorry that I am so provoking to some Deputies. I am trying to deal with this matter in the only way in which I think it can be dealt with. It is hard enough to hear three Deputies speaking at the one time, but it is harder to hear somebody speaking when you are speaking yourself.

It is hard to hear what you do not want to hear.

Will the Deputy repeat it now?

I will. Fianna Fáil promised that by milling all our flour they would give the producer of live stock very cheap mill offals. Has that happened?

I have not the exact figures as to mill offals, but I know that when the Minister for Industry and Commerce was dealing with that matter a few weeks ago, he went to the trouble of getting the prices of corresponding items in a neighbouring country and comparing them with the prices here, and he was satisfied that the farmer was not paying any more for these offals than he would if he had to import them. Deputy Cosgrave's complaint was that the prices did not matter, although cheaper, because you could not get them at all. I found out afterwards that delivery could be got of these offals at the prices stated by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, which were in fact cheaper than the prices for similar items across-Channel.

Is the Deputy aware that the bag of flour is costing 2/8 more in the Free State than in England?

That is not an offal.

Deputy Keating has not yet spoken on this motion.

I will speak and I will talk common sense when I do speak.

I am asking the Deputy to restrain himself until he gets an opportunity to speak and then he can say all he wants to say. Deputy Briscoe is entitled to speak without interruption and so is every other Deputy.

Is he not asking for them?

The Chair is not going to be cross-examined by any Deputy. Deputy Keating had better realise that.

The Deputy will have to conduct himself.

He always did conduct himself where respect is due.

I am trying to make the point that the standard of living in this country has been increased. I admit, for the purpose of this debate, that the cost of living has gone up somewhat and is dearer, if you like, than the cost of living in other places with which comparison can be made. I say that the fact that the cost of living has increased does not necessarily mean that there has been a lowering of the standard of living. I say emphatically that the standard of living has been considerably improved since the policy of this Government has been brought into operation. I am trying to argue that and to illustrate it by the line I have taken. The interruptions prove that I might be right. It is quite true that flour is dearer here than elsewhere and that, if we went back again to the free importation of flour, you would have flour at a cheaper price, possibly, at periods. You might also have to pay a dearer price when the world price fluctuated against us but, for the sake of this debate, let us assume that the price of flour in other parts of the world is 10/- or 7/6 per sack cheaper than it is here. For the purposes of this debate I will concede that point, but the price we would have to pay for getting that flour cheaper is this: Firstly, we would not be able to grow our own wheat because we would have no means of milling it, as our flour mills would not be open; and secondly, the flour mills now in operation, giving much-needed employment at fairly reasonable wages, would all have to be closed down. That is the price we would have to pay. The actual fact is that the price of flour in the rest of the world is going up. There are periods, and have been periods, when flour outside the Free State has been almost as dear as in the Free State.

Yes. The price of foreign wheat in 1926 was 30/- and the price of flour then imported was 52/6. The price of foreign wheat in 1937 is 30/-, while the price of home-manufactured flour is 51/6. How much worse off are we?

We are 14/- a sack worse off.

We are 1/- better off although we are milling our own flour. Those are figures that Deputy Keating or any other Deputy can verify very easily. If they are not accurate, I shall withdraw them, and I shall make amends by having them withdrawn from the records of the House. These are the actual facts. In 1926, when we had not got the number of people in employment milling flour that we have to-day and when we had not got the acreage under wheat that we have now, we were paying 52/6 for imported flour. To-day, when we have flour mills working, which are giving this much-needed employment, and when we allow, as Deputy Corry and Deputy Gorey say, a handsome profit for the millers, the price of the home-manufactured flour is 51/6. I do not know whether it can be argued that that is one of the items that should be interfered with by this motion. As I said before when I referred to the sugar industry, Deputy Morrissey by his motion implies that the beet factories should be closed down.

We have too much of that.

Deputy Gorey has not been here for the last half hour.

That was a good job for himself.

If he had been here, he would understand and he would not interrupt me. Deputy Morrissey will not say that he wants them closed down but he implies it by his motion. When he was forced to give some answer he said: "Give the farmers more money for their beet."

Mr. Morrissey


Mr. Morrissey

I beg your pardon.

I am sorry. It was Deputy Keating said that.

"Give the producer more money for the beet." What is that going to mean? Either we close down the factories and oblige Deputy Morrissey, or we keep them open and make sugar dearer for the public, to oblige Deputy Keating.

When you were in opposition, you wanted to close down the only one we had.

When we were in opposition, we criticised the beet factory then in existence and we proved that we were right by doing what we did when we took it over.

You changed your mind.

We changed the ownership of the factory when we got there.

It is no longer in the hands of the foreigner.

We made it a State-owned concern instead of having it as a privately-owned concern.

Mr. Morrissey

And you substantially reduced the price of wheat.

We got a better price for our beet then, although the factory was supposed to be a white elephant.

I do not know whether I have made my argument clear to the Deputies opposite.

You could not make it clear. That is impossible.

Deputy Finlay has only just arrived. He is rather a large man and it would take him a long time to absorb some of my arguments, but I do not think that, as he has only just arrived, he should say that he does not understand it.

I am here long enough, considering your experience of beet and wheat. Your experience of beet or wheat would not get us very far.

A Leas-Chinn Comhairle, is Deputy Briscoe going to be allowed to make his speech? Is it the attitude of Opposition Deputies that nobody on this side of the House is to be allowed to speak without interruption? If they are going to take up the attitude that they will not listen to speeches from this side, then they ought to leave the House.

I was trying to deal with the motion in a manner which I thought would be understood by any person who wanted to understand what our attitude is. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney spoke this afternoon and begged some of us to contribute to the debate, so that we could satisfy him that we were giving the matter consideration in accordance with what we saw, what we heard, and what we felt. I am attempting to do that. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney is not here now, because his appeal was made with the same sincerity as that with which this motion was handed in. It was not sincere at all.

What about bacon?

I think I shall leave somebody else to deal with bacon. Deputy Gorey dealt with the bacon situation, and other Deputies also have spoken about it. I am not au fait with the bacon situation, as the Deputy well knows. What I want to find out is, what do the Deputies want? Do they want to take taxes off particular items or off all items? If they want them off particular items, why not say what these items are and be prepared to stand by the consequences with public opinion? Say what you want done, and then take the consequences with public opinion. We are taking the consequences with public opinion by opposing this motion. We are prepared to take the decision, in the face of public opinion, of voting against this motion. The Deputies over there do not want to do that at all. They want to have their cake and eat it. It cannot be done. You must either eat it and be done with it, or you must not eat it and have it.

Mr. Morrissey

Some people in this country are eating it and having it at the same time.

I do not know who the "some people" are. If the Deputy will be a little more explicit, perhaps I can deal with his remarks. I can deal only with interjections which have specific relation to specific cases.

Perhaps the Deputy would deal with the motion and not with interjections.

I am sorry, A Leas-Chinn Comhairle. I am not going to take up very much more of the time of the House. I want to say this: I realise my position as a Deputy of the Government Party. I realise that I— if I am selected ever again—or my Party will have to face the electors and ask them for a vote of confidence. I believe we will be returned to office——

The Deputy is an optimist.

——but we will have to do it on merit. When we were asking for the responsibility of office we said: "We are prepared to deliver the goods," and I believe we have convinced the people that we are at least attempting to deliver the goods. Deputies over there had their innings. I am not suggesting that Labour will not get here some day, and may not get on better than we have done.

They are preventing you from delivering the goods, according to the Minister.

I want to say that I do not know what the future holds, but I say this: I am convinced that the public generally are not as half-witted as Deputy Morrissey would think them, judging by the introduction of such a motion. The public know what has happened. The big majority of the public know it better than Deputy Morrissey wants to give them credit for. They have better housing facilities and cheaper rents. Does Deputy Morrissey think that has no effect on them? Deputy Morrissey made some very important speeches in this House from those benches over there. If he will look up those speeches he will find that to-day we are living up to what he then said should be done. Yet to-day he is sitting over there and criticising us for what, years ago, he thought should be done. I say that this motion is attempting to include in it the whole policy of Fianna Fáil as compared with the whole policy for which our opponents over there stand. If the Deputies cannot make for this motion a better case than they have made up to the present, if they cannot give this House any concrete statement as to what they think should be done, if they cannot state what items should be removed from the sphere of danger as regards impositions and taxes, I think the best thing they can do is to withdraw the motion from the House and let us get on to more serious business.

There has been a marked reluctance, on the part of those who spoke for the Government on this motion, to deal with the facts of the case as they are presented in the motion. For a number of years here we have been told that we are in the era of an entirely new life for the agricultural community; that the Government's tillage policy and other aids to agriculture have been of such a nature that agriculturists are now in a position vastly superior to what they ever occupied in their lives before. In order to appreciate the value of whatever assistance they gave to the agricultural community, we must examine what sum of money agriculturists have got for their production within the last year or two, and compare it with what they got five or six years ago. I find, according to a Government publication, that the value of agricultural goods consumed or utilised by others in the Saorstát than those who are themselves engaged upon the land amounted to £11,785,000 in 1929-30. That was at a time when what was called the home market was not reserved exclusively for the agricultural community. To put it more shortly, it amounts to approximately £11,750,000. Now, after efforts have been made to conserve the entire home market to the agricultural community, let us see what the value of that has been to them. In 1934-5 the value, according to this Government publication, was £10,064,000. Therefore, it would appear that notwithstanding the fact that you had reserved exclusively to the agricultural community in this country the entire agricultural goods that are consumed in it, we are down £1,750,000. In the following year the figure amounted to £11,207,000.

Deputies opposite, of course, are utterly indifferent to this situation. We listened here for the best part of half an hour to a Deputy who did not give us facts, and who gave us few arguments. The attention we get for this motion is that certain members of the Government Party leave the House when they are hearing unpalatable facts. I am giving the House now no information other than is provided by the Government itself. It shows that this farce of preserving the home market, in so far as it has been worked during those last few years, has resulted in agriculturists getting a smaller sum of money from the nonagricultural community of this country than they got five or six years ago. What has been the cost to the nonagricultural and to the agricultural community of those benefits which we were told were going to rain down upon the entire land of this country as soon as this change over took place? In the last two or three years we have been paying for flour something like 10/- a sack more than the world price for it in Great Britain. We are told there is immense benefit to agriculture. It is not shown by these figures. We are told it has given employment. To how many people? If my recollection is correct, at the time when the Tariff Commission was hearing an application from the flour millers for a tariff on imported flour, the numbers that were going to be put into employment if they got it would not amount to more than 200 over and above the number then employed. Let us put it at a larger figure; we will say that 500 people have been employed. Could they not be employed at a cost to the State of less than £1,500,000 a year? Could you not improve agriculture to any greater extent than is indicated by its receipts from the nonagricultural community showing a reduction in one year of £1,750,000, and in another year of over £500,000.

Is it not the duty of Deputies on this side of the House to quote those facts and bring them before the House? Is it not their duty to criticise the policy of the Ministry that has been responsible for them? I think we would not be worthy of being representatives of the people at all if we did not bring up those matters. What other item is there in respect of which the Government claim to have conferred a benefit on the agricultural community? There is the production of sugar. At what cost to the whole country? The difference in price between the sugar that can be landed on the quays in Dublin or in Cork and the sugar that leaves the factories after manufacture is about £16 a ton. You have 66,000 tons manufactured in those factories. Deputies will find that that amounts to £1,000,000 a year, and that is a concession to the agricultural community. Notwithstanding that concession and whatever advantages are in it, they are getting less in respect of the goods that they sell than they got five years ago. Notwithstanding the fact that they are getting less, we are told that their standard of living has increased; that they are more prosperous; that the country is more prosperous and that it is nonsense to talk about the increased prices they have to pay for flour and sugar. Sugar is costing at least 1½d. a lb. more than what it would cost if it were not for this experiment. Similarly, with regard to bacon, which has cost the taxpayer very considerable sums of money during the last few years. We do not find any improvement in the bulk sum of money that has been got by the agriculturist from the non-agriculturist by reason of these taxes and impositions.

Let us examine another side of the picture. We are told the country is more prosperous, that widows have been paid pensions, that unemployment assistance has been given, that the shilling has been restored to the old age pension. You would expect to find from all these dispensations from the Exchequer that there would be an improvement in the consumption of flour, oatmeal or bacon. What are the facts? The facts, as taken from Government publications, are decidedly interesting. I will deal first of all with the consumption of bacon in the year 1931. That is the year in which complaint is made that old age pensioners were not paid in full; it is the year in which unemployment assistance was not given out and it is the year in which widows and orphans had not yet got pensions. Notwithstanding all this, there was consumed in this country in these bad times a total of 825,844 cwts. of bacon. What was consumed in 1935? The total consumption in that year was 613,014 cwts. The consumption is down by a quarter. Assuming there might be a mistake one year with another, let us see the figure for 1936. The consumption is still down 200,000 cwts. The figure is at 611,000 cwts. We have gone down in the consumption of bacon by 25 per cent. Where 4 lbs. of bacon were bought in 1931, only 3 lbs. were bought for consumption in 1935-1936.

But the food value of the bacon has gone up by 100 per cent. as compared with the imported joss. Does Deputy Cosgrave dispute that?

In that case we should have consumed only 400,000 cwts.

This Government sees that everyone gets his fill—enough to eat.

The fact is that they are getting ¾ lb. of bacon where they used to get 1 lb.

But it is better bacon.

It may be; I am not disputing that. I want now to distinguish between argument and fact. The Deputy introduces an argument. I want to know whether or not the citizen who wants to buy bacon and who has only 8d. with which to buy it, finds it is any advantage to him to know that the ½ lb. of bacon that he will get now for his 8d. would be better than 1 lb. of bacon he could get in other years for the same money. Let the Deputy go and tell that to the people who find it hard enough at the present time to buy a piece of bacon. After all, we should not be speaking here of the benefits of democracy or of the rights of the people to select what they are going to buy and consume if we have a gentleman—no matter how exalted his position or how mayoral his office—saying: "No, sir, you have to be regimented; you have to eat what we direct you to eat; you will be allowed to eat nothing else, and you have to pay the price because we will insist on you paying it." Perhaps they might be told, "If you have not got it, you will go without it."

We say that they do not get joss, anyhow, and it is not a matter of "It is good enough for the Irish."

Of course, the people were quite entitled to vote for the Deputy if they wished to do so. The Irish people have perfect freedom in matters of that sort, but it will probably be found in parts of the country where there is much more Irish blood than there is in the Deputy's veins——

The Deputy is just as Irish as Deputy Cosgrave.

That does not matter. I want to tell the Deputy what the Irish people have a right to do.

The Deputy is quite well aware of what the Irish people have done and what they will do.

As regards this 100 per cent. advantage that we are told of, let us examine it from another angle. Irish streaky bacon was sold in mid-August, 1931, at 1/3½ per lb. In mid-August, 1937, it was sold at 1/8¼ per lb., and we are told it is 100 per cent. better.

I disagree.

Well, if the Deputy disagrees he had better go to the Industry and Commerce Department and tell them that what they printed in the Trade Journal in September, 1931, and September, 1937, is wrong.

I handle bacon and I know what the price is.

Irish shoulder bacon, as so recorded, sold at 10½d. per lb. in 1931 and at 1/2¼ in 1937—mid-August. Pigs' heads were sold at 5d. in 1931 and 6d. in 1937. So much for bacon and for the incredulousness of the interrupting Deputy. Our pig trade is such that during the last 12 months something happened in this country that never happened here before. We had to import pigs into a country in which benefits were supposed to be raining down on the farmers, and apparently they could not see them.

With regard to the consumption of flour, in the year 1931 it was 7,196,871 cwts. For 1935 the figure is 7,080,224 cwts. That shows a reduction in consumption of 116,647 cwts. Remember that this is a period in which people are more prosperous, their standard of living has gone up and they are able to buy more. It must be a great source of satisfaction to those who have been unable to buy either flour or bacon to know that there are people in Dublin or in other parts of the country able to buy motor cars who never bought them before.

And perhaps hunting horses.

It should be obvious to the Deputy that there are farmers who have benefited considerably through the Government's policy. They grew their own wheat and beet and gained by so doing.

Let me tell the Deputy who talks about hunting horses that if we have hunting horses we can ride them as well as pay for them. Let me come now to oatmeal. The total production in 1931 was 325,816 cwts. as against 290,751 cwts. in 1935. There is a reduction there of 35,000 cwts. I have dealt now with the price of flour, which has been increased by Government action; I have dealt with the price of sugar, which has been increased by Government action, and I have dealt with the price of bacon, which has been increased by Government action. If Deputies wish they will find in this year's Estimates a sum of £13,000 which is to be expended during the year on machinery which has been set up by an Act passed a few years ago dealing with pigs and bacon, and so on. The receipts in connection with that particular service will amount to something like £16,000. Even in the setting up of machinery, steps are taken to ensure that whoever has got to pay the Government will have a profit out of it. So far as one section of the community is concerned —the agricultural section—it is obvious from the figures I have given that they have less bulk money in respect of the goods they sell in this country than they had five years ago.

Let us examine for a moment how they stand with regard to the expenses of their production. Deputies who were in this House in 1931-32 will remember the agitation that took place for the derating of agricultural land. So much was the Opposition, which is now the Government, impressed with the necessity for relieving the costs of agriculture that they proposed a motion in this House that an agricultural grant, to the amount of £1,000,000, should be made available by the Government for the relief of rates. A sum of £750,000 was provided in the Budget of that year, 1932-33, for that purpose. That amount was denounced as insufficient. In addition to denouncing it, the Party opposite also criticised the taxation imposed to raise it, so that they had the best of both worlds. They said the amount was not enough and, in the second place, that we should not have taxed anybody for what we were giving. In their first year of office, they provided an extra £250,000. That was in 1932-33, but they never did it since. This year, the sum made available in relief of rates on agricultural land is £1,870,000, or £300,000 less than was provided in 1932-33. Whatever may be said in criticism of the policy pursued in 1931-32, in so far as agriculture was concerned, nobody is so foolish as to deny that agriculture was then in a prosperous condition as compared with the condition in which it is now. If Deputies want to test that, they can look up the publications which are issued by the Currency Commission, with which they will be supplied free on application. They will find that the index price for agriculture has gone down during the last few years by about 30 points. After the years pre-1931-32, and in that year, there was an average price of approximately £110 for agricultural goods priced at about £100 in the pre-war years, 1911-13. That price has gone down during the past few years as low as 83.4 and 83.5. The average for last year was about 90.6, so that if there was a case for relieving the rates on agricultural land in 1931-32, there is a far stronger case now. A different view is, however, held on the opposite side. Consequently, farmers are expected to pay more in rates during these bad years than they did five years ago. Of course, five years ago they were being promised that every possible trouble in this country would be settled. Farmers were to get £16 more for every person engaged on the land; taxation was to be reduced; thousands were to be put into employment and so forth. Recently, we were told in this House that farmers had to pay more for their forks, spades, shovels and agricultural machinery and that they had to pay more even for some phosphates. Occasionally, during the course of this debate Deputies on the opposite benches have made miserable contributions and, in trying to combat what has been put down in this motion, have sought to gain a political advantage by saying: "Are you going to close this factory or that factory?" In this Party, we are not making our living out of politics. We have come in here to represent the people and we are going to represent them, no matter what the political disadvantage be. We could still be on the opposite side if we had adopted the same course as Deputies on the opposite side have adopted in this debate or if we used the methods they used to get there. As soon as they got there, they found that a great many things were different from what they had thought.

Is it unreasonable on the part of a farmer to examine the returns of taxes collected, let us say, on forks, shovels and spades during the past few years? If he finds that the Government has collected practically the same amount of taxes on the goods coming in, has he not the right to say that that particular industrial activity has not yet made good? It is one thing to look at the returns and find that £3,000 or £4,000 has been collected on forks or shovels or spades. It is another thing to ascertain the price the farmer has to pay, over and above what he paid five years ago, for goods made in this country. I am quite agreeable to taxing farmers in respect of industrial expansion, properly planned, efficiently conducted and devised towards providing employment for the people, with fair but not exorbitant remuneration for those engaged in the management of these concerns—the boards of directors and others. But the farmers have good cause to complain if they see, year after year, sums of money being collected by the State ostensibly for the purpose of protecting industries but really as a means of raising revenue or for the purpose of subsidising some particular industry at a price which the agricultural industry cannot afford to pay. We were asked if we were going to close up places that were making bolts and nuts. I took out the figures regarding bolts, nuts and iron goods generally for the past few years. There is no improvement. The Government collected last year the same amount as they collected the year before. Has any attention been paid to that aspect of our great industrial expansion. Is it not viewed with a certain amount of indifference, if we were to take the case made by the last speaker, for instance. He practically said: "We must get money." He says that we had to tax tea. I have looked up the returns for tea and there is not a year in which the gentlemen opposite have occupied these benches that they have not collected money on tea. Even up to April of this year they were collecting money on tea.

I should perhaps apologise for not having the figures with regard to bolts and nuts, but, roughly, the position is that we collected something like £60,000 in the year 1935-36 on iron goods and something like the same amount in the following year. Having said so much, I will leave the matter at that, except to say that if Deputies think I have exaggerated in respect of the collection of customs duties on forks, spades, shovels, bolts, nuts, screws, and iron goods, I refer them to the finance accounts, published annually, for the last two or three years. There they can see for themselves whether or not I have exaggerated in that respect.

To come back to the purpose which animated the Government in devising those means of improving the position of farmers and of the farming industry here, Deputy Flinn, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, in the course of the discussion on this motion last week, said, at columns 1086 and 1087 of the Official Debates, 17th November, Volume 69:

"The pressure went on and on and the country did not break, and eventually we reached a condition in which the British Minister for Agriculture in the House of Commons said that he had failed completely, even for the interest of his own agricultural policy, in the efforts he had made. Let us quote Mr. Baldwin. Mr. Baldwin said:

‘We have put on all the taxes we possibly could put upon beef and we have not been able to raise the price in the market'."

We get occasionally comparisons between the price of fat cattle in this country and in Great Britain. The agricultural community in Great Britain had a complaint in respect of the price they were obtaining for fat beef. What position were the farmers in this country in considering that, at that time, something like £5 or £6 a head of a tariff was deducted from the price the farmer got in going into the British market? And that price very largely ruled the price he was getting here. It was said in the course of this debate that a quota had to be put on to help the British beef producers. Once before in this House I gave this information. I am quoting now from what is called Hansard, the Parliamentary Debates (Commons), Volume 292 of July 9th, 1931, page 803. The person speaking was Mr. Elliott, who was Minister for Agriculture. On the Cattle Industry (Emergency Provisions) Bill, he said:

"I will quote merely the case of New Zealand in regard to beef and the United States in regard to pork. New Zealand in the Ottawa year sent 377,000 cwts. of frozen beef. The estimates of the Dominion were that there would be an increase thereafter of 10 per cent. The shipments in 1933 on the basis of the Ottawa year plus 10/- per cent. would have been 414,000 cwts. But the actual shipments in 1933 were 700,000 cwts. In the first half of this year they have been over 500,000 cwts. and there is another 500,000 cwts. still to come."

Just at that particular time, this country was placed upon a quota in respect of supplies of beef and the one country more than any other responsible for the reduction in the exports from this country to Great Britain was New Zealand. New Zealand had made, or had got, a bargain at Ottawa. We had not, and it is to meet situations such as that that the farmers of this country have been plundered during the last five years, that the moneys they have got for what they have had to sell have been enormously reduced and that, in consequence, their purchasing power has been reduced; and it is no satisfaction to them to know that there are 200 or 300 more motor cars being sold in this country each month of this year than there were five years ago.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce, in speaking on this motion, cited the number of barrels of beer sold and gave the average for this year over and above that of five years ago. I have taken the trouble to reduce these barrels of beer to pints of beer and they would allow 40,000 persons to take an extra pint compared with what they took five years ago. Similarly with regard to spirits. Something like 2,000 persons have been consuming a glass of whiskey which they did not consume five years ago. That is not dealing with this motion. That is simply pointing to the fact that a certain limited number of persons are perhaps better off than they were; but, if you contrast those figures with the fact that our bacon consumption has gone down by a quarter, that we are not even consuming as much bread as we did five years ago and that the cost of bread, bacon, butter and all those other items, by reason of Government impositions, quotas, licences and so on, has increased to the people, there is unquestionably a case for this motion.

During the course of the election, a businessman told me about one article of diet in respect of which a quota had been fixed. He showed me what the price was. It was 2/6 for a certain quantity which, with duties and transit costs, amounting to 1/8, came to 4/2. A quota was imposed and it became the duty of businessmen to buy from the person who had the licence and the price went from 4/- to 7/6, 10/-, 14/-, and the last man had to pay even £1 for that article— onions or something of the kind, I think. What did the farmer get out of that particular cost? I am practically certain he did not get 5/- out of the £1. So it is with every single one of these Government impositions. It has ever been the case where the Government puts on impositions that the ordinary consumers had ultimately to bear the cost of them.

If we are to take the figures given, as to the great improvement in employment, what is being done with the money? They are not putting it into the banks. I have taken out the banking returns, and I find that only at one period during the last ten years have the deposits in the banks been so low as in September, 1937. When the Minister for Industry and Commerce tells us that the average deposits in the Post Office Savings Bank are higher than they were three, four or five years ago, let us examine what is inferred from that. Normally one would say that it means greater prosperity. The average lodgments of money in banks are no indication whatever of the prosperity either of the individual or of the country as a whole. If you want to get a real figure as regards savings, you have to get the account at the end of the year and compare it with another year. One gentleman has drawn my attention to the fact that though his income is £600 a year, his bank lodgments total something like £6,000 a year. I can quite understand that. Business transactions of one sort or another take place, and there are lodgments and withdrawals, and so on.

Twelve months ago, or on the Budget for 1936-37, the Minister for Finance gave figures representing three different institutions, the Post Office, the Savings Banks, and Savings Certificates, and compared them with what they were five years ago. I have taken the trouble to take out these figures. There was something like £13,000,000 in the Post Office in Savings Certificates or Trustee Savings, in 1931-32. That amount had grown to £18,000,000 in the year ending 31st March, 1936. One would say that it appeared as if they had done better in the last five years than in the first ten. The fact is that the last five years had the advantage of the accumulated interest of the £13,000,000, whereas we had to start from scratch, and we did not start on the 31st March, 1922. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance made very light of our adverse trade balance, which now amounts to over £20,000,000. It cannot be dismissed so lightly. He said in the course of the discussion that a country might be very prosperous, might be importing considerable quantities of goods, might have an adverse balance of £100,000,000, and still be rich. In the course of the discussion we have been occasionally reminded— I think it was by the Minister for Industry and Commerce—that he had no use for any book on economics. These are not the exact words he used, but something like that. He said that if Deputies consulted well-known books on economics they would find out this, that and the other. I noticed that when Deputy Norton was speaking down the country during the week-end he referred slightingly to a gentleman called Micawber. Micawber laid down a rule in economics that I think neither Stuart Mill, Locke, or any of the other authorities can dispute. It was a very simple rule. I am not giving the exact words. It was: "Income £1, expenditure 19/11, peace and happiness. Income £1, expenditure £1 and one penny, misery—ultimate misery."

We have been living during the last five years on a very big expenditure of public money. If the income of the people was equal to the taxation imposed, very well; if not, very bad. Obviously, no documents can refute the returns we got concerning the income of the agricultural community during that time. It has catastrophically declined. Have we got compensations on the other side? We have not. I venture to say, as I said during the general election, that, comparing 1931-32 with 1936-37, on our export of eggs alone we lost more money than is paid in wages in all the industries started over the entire country. It is our desire to see any industrial activity started in this country succeed. We are particularly anxious that it should succeed, because we were long enough on the opposite benches to realise that any loss sustained by the country, particularly any big loss, will ultimately react on every section of the community. Unfortunately, it always strikes most severely those least able to bear it. The poorest always suffer. In all the examples that have taken place of inflation of currency, those most affected and hardest hit were the poorest of the people, so that we have a particular interest in seeing that there will be no national loss.

We cannot look on, year after year, with the adverse trade balance going to practically £20,000,000, without reflecting that that cannot continue indefinitely. When we examine our sterling balances to-day, we find a reduction, so that it is obvious we have been trading on our reserves. While our dead weight of debt has increased, our deposits are diminishing. Our reserves have diminished. That is a situation, apart altogether from the terms of the motion, that the Government would be very well advised to consider, having regard to the fact that five years ago they considered the agricultural community required much more relief, in respect of rates, than was given them at that time. Matters have not improved during the last five years. The principal cause is the trouble we are in with regard to the export of agricultural produce, and the sooner the Government realises that the better it will be for them and for the country. The expedients of growing sugar beet, wheat, of subsidising tobacco, and all the other items are merely shillings instead of pounds. We are losing pounds in connection with this question, and until they take the advice that was given them from these benches more than once—to settle the economic war—so long will prices continue what they are, so long will consumption be reduced, the standard of living lowered, and the people taxed beyond their resources.

In reading over the motion before the House I had a good deal of difficulty in understanding what was the motive underlying the proposal contained in it. Until I listened this evening to Deputy Fitzgerald Kenney and Deputy Cosgrave, I must say that not only had I difficulty in understanding what the proposal meant, but I felt that if I were to interpret it, as I find it printed before me, I should say that it was one that would give rise to serious misgiving amongst the community generally. Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney stated that until we got free entry into the British market, by means of sensible negotiation, serious conditions would continue to prevail here. That, probably, gave me some insight to the real motive underlying this proposal, which reads:

That the Dáil deplores the lowering of the standard of living of the community by Government action through the operation of taxes, levies, duties and like impositions on foodstuffs and other necessaries of life, and is of opinion that all such impositions should be forthwith abolished.

If Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's real purpose is to get back to the British market by sensible negotiation, it is quite obvious that what he considers sensible negotiation is a reduction of, or the destruction of, every tariff and protection that makes it possible for industry to exist here, thereby handing back, as a bargaining asset, to the British a market here for their industrial products. That is to be the return, according to him, for the free entry which he assumes we will get for our farm products in the British market. If that is the real purpose behind this motion, then I say it is a matter of serious consequence for everybody in this country. We have to understand that, while our people had for generations been looking forward to, and working for, the freedom of their country that they had in mind not merely national freedom, not merely freedom in name, but that all sensible people always understood that to maintain national freedom it was necessary also to endeavour to secure economic freedom. What we find proposed here is a departure from all the theory and philosophy of what freedom really meant. In effect, it amounts to this: "Give back to an outside country the economic control of our affairs." What sort of freedom would we have left under these conditions?

Remember that all the magnificent benefits which the Opposition Party seem to think will accrue the moment that we get the right of free entry into the British market were ours for generations. The Act of Union, passed over 100 years ago, was heralded by its advocates as calculated to bring wonderful possibilities to the whole community in Ireland at that time— union with England, with all the advantages of that great progressive nation and empire and all its possibilities. In actual practice it was found that the benefits which were promised did not reach our people. What happened was that decay persisted during the whole period of the Union. Members of the House who had anything to do with the farming industry will remember that prior to 1921, except during the boom periods of the war, free entry into the British market did not bring prosperity and opulence to the farming community. It did not give the farmer opportunities to provide for himself or his family. The only advantage that the right of free entry to the British market gave to our people was to continue in a state of mere existence. In most cases the members of the farming community were unable to provide for their families. If it were not for the fact that America offered the possibility of favourable opportunities for the members of our surplus population who might go there and, as a result of their industry, send home fairly large sums of money to their people, the latter would not have been able to get an economic existence even though they had a free entry for their products to the British market.

If the main purpose of the Opposition is to do all the things that they set out in the motion for the purpose of reducing the cost of living, then I can see very serious consequences arising from it. If we are to sell our whole economic freedom merely for the purpose, at the moment, of reducing the cost of living, then surely it is quite consistent that we should go further in this motion and say: "Stop all industrial undertakings; stop all building concerns in this country, because every bounty given for the building of houses is a lien on the cost of living; stop paying the unemployed because that is an imposition that increases the cost of living; cut away the widows' and orphans' pensions because that is a lien on the cost of living; reduce, at least, the old age pensions because that is an increase on the cost of living: destroy all these things and do away with every social service that we are providing for the people. Do all these things for the one purpose of reducing the cost of living, because, in the opinion of the Deputies opposite, the cost of living is of much more importance than economic national freedom or the provision of social services for the people of this State. Having attained all that, we get a free entry into the great British market.

I would like to ask the Deputies opposite if they have examined the possibilities of that market. Have they gone to the people who are in a position to negotiate that free entry, and made arrangements to ensure that the things that they conceive as probable will become a reality? Having destroyed the industries that are here, and made available to the full the market that is here for British manufacturers, have they made arrangements by which the British Government will undertake, over a period of years, to give to our farmers a guaranteed price for the products they will have to sell? Have they got such an assurance from the British Government?

If it is their intention to destroy all that has been done and is being done under the economic policy of the present Government, surely it is reasonable to ask them to tell us what substitute they have ready to put in its place. According to the motion, we are now going to put everything on this altar of a low cost of living. We have reached the stage when we are going to produce nothing only agricultural products, because, under this proposal, every form of bounty on agricultural production must be set aside. We must stop the growing of wheat, barley and oats because the bounties paid on their production increases the cost of living. We must stop the growing of beet and the production of milk. We must stop the export of everything upon which a bounty is paid because the bounties increase the cost of living. There must be a drop in the prices paid for pigs and butter. In a word, we must go out of production of all these essentials. Instead of that, we are going to buy in the cheapest possible markets. Where are they to be found? England will not sell us wheat: she does not grow it. We will have to get it from Canada or elsewhere, and say to these countries, in effect: "We have come to make a deal with you; we are not going to be in competition with you; we are going to buy from you, and we will make a bargain with you." How can you make that bargain, and for what period of time; and what guarantee have you that, once our farmers have gone out of production, the price may not be very much higher than at the present time? That is the case with regard to wheat, and it is a similar case with regard to other items. Can you go to the producers of other commodities in, let us say, England—which country, I assume, would be the principal people you would be dealing with, from the nature of things—and say to them: "Now that we have stopped production in the Free State, will you make a bargain with us, and for what period of years will you continue the bargain?" Of course, it will have to be a cheap price; and, of course, you will say to them that, no matter what the cost of their production is —with this N.C., or this N.O.C., or whatever is this new tax that the British have put on—you are not prepared to pay a war tax, apart from the tax that the British need for protective purposes for their own commodities. Are you going to buy all these things from the British producers and to pay for these things to British industrialists? If you do not buy them there, I presume you will buy them from Japan and other countries that will be able to produce these goods at a fraction of the cost that the British industrialists can produce them at. If you do that, it is probable that England will not make the bargain with you that you want to make.

In proposing this motion, I suggest that you are making a proposal of far-reaching consequences. Where is your bargain or your plan? Surely we are entitled to ask: What do you propose as against this scheme of ours? One would imagine that it was only here that prices had increased. Only recently, the United States of America agreed to set up a commission of inquiry into prices there, and they were alarmed to find that retail prices had increased, since 1933, by 42 per cent. With regard to England, I cannot give you the exact percentage, but nobody will deny that the prices of commodities have gone up there: and is not this motion here just one more item in that ramp that you people, over there, have been trying to carry on for political purposes? Is there one little bit of sincerity underneath the motion—any of it? Is it not all a piece of political propaganda? I do not believe that the motion itself has been considered for one moment. Has it not been considered only from the point of view of whether or not it was feasible to get some political propaganda out of it?

I thought, when Deputy Cosgrave rose to speak here, that, at least, we would have some responsible statement made on this motion. Instead of that, Deputy Cosgrave started off by endeavouring to quote for us the amount of money that farmers received for their produce last year as compared with what they received in the years 1928 and 1929. Is not that a piece of cheap buffoonery?

The Chair objects to the word "buffoonery" being used in reference to a Deputy.

Very well, Sir, I withdraw the expression. However, Deputy Cosgrave knows the position very well with regard to the prices paid for the produce of the farmers in these years; but he then goes on to show that the amount of food-stuffs purchased in the Free State in the last five years has been reduced considerably. Amongst the items he mentioned were flour and bacon, but he must know perfectly well that the reduction, or the apparent reduction, in those commodities, is not due to the fact that the people are consuming less of these commodities, but that the farmer is now, so to speak, less of a shopkeeper than he was, and that the farmer is producing more wheat and grinding more of it and so on. The Deputy must know that the same applies to bacon. That was not a very good case for the Deputy to make. I suggest that it was just a cheap point, but that it is consistent with the purpose of this whole motion, which is for nothing else but political propaganda.

Now, when we go in for the production of this cheap food supply, and when we have put out of production all the people who are now engaged in tillage and the people who are engaged at the moment in industrial production—when we put all these people out of production as a result of this cheap food policy and put them on the dole —when we stop housing activities and so on—all in the interest of cheap living—what will be our position? Do we assume that these people can live by going around watching farmers getting fat on cattle production? I think we will have to go further. I think that cattle will have to be produced here more cheaply, and that will mean that we will have to acquire large ranches where the cost of producing cattle can be reduced to the minimum. That, of course, means that the small farmers must go, and then what is to become of them? When we have driven our people into that situation, as a result of this cheap food and low prices campaign, I suppose the Opposition will say, if people protest against it, that that is the voice of Communism, and I suppose they will send their secret emissaries around the country to the various churches, as they have done before, trying to have crushed out every outspoken voice on behalf of the people. That is what this scheme would lead to if the country were foolish enough to put it into operation or if you were seriously to put it into operation.

This motion calls for the removal of every tax, levy, and imposition on everything relating to foodstuffs. When Deputies are casting their vote on the motion or seriously considering it, I suggest to those Deputies, who are clear-minded and are in a position clearly to interpret the national mind and the national wants of the people, to consider this: that the best service they could give to the people of the country would be to remove the greatest imposition with which the people are afflicted—a group of politicians who are unscrupulous enough to put up a propaganda scheme like this to waste the time of the Dáil in discussing it with the full knowledge that, if it were adopted, it would mean the destruction of the whole economic life and independence of this country. I hope those who are capable of clear thinking and who know the wants of the people of the country will consider it from the angle from which I have put it to you, and I am perfectly sure the public want you to do that, and are tired of impositions.

We have heard something from Deputy Maguire with regard to the fight for national and economic freedom. I ask Deputy Maguire, or any other Fianna Fáil Deputy, does he seriously think that he has more national freedom under the Fianna Fáil policy than he had under the previous policy? Are we not every year compromising with that great enemy, as I suppose Deputy Maguire thinks, the British Empire? Since Fianna Fáil came into office have we each year compromised with them in order that they will take our live stock and live-stock products? Did we not compromise with them even with regard to coal, although the Fianna Fáil Government had a turf scheme and we were previously asked to burn more turf, and the cry was: "Burn everything British but coal"? What is the policy of Fianna Fáil to-day: "Burn no other coal but British coal: you need not burn turf; burn coal."

Deputy Maguire must have a very short memory if he has forgotten the statement of the Minister for Industry and Commerce about a week ago. What did the Minister say at that locked-up meeting? The Minister for Industry and Commerce said that only agricultural exports can save this country. Deputy Maguire asks what price are we going to pay for our exports to Great Britain. Until the economic war started no price had to be paid. When Fianna Fáil tried to get alternative markets, how far did they get? That is clear proof that there is only one market. I will just give Deputy Maguire a few figures. Our total exports in 1931 amounted to £36,340,000 and of these £34,985,000 worth went to Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In 1936 our exports were reduced to £22,504,000 and of these £20,000,000 worth went to Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Is that the market upon which Deputy Maguire does not agree with the Minister for Industry and Commerce? If we go over the live stock and other exports from this country it is plain to be seen that we have only one market for them. Even without that statistical abstract, it has been proved years ago by the present Government that there is only one market for our exports.

Dealing with the country itself, we have heard from Fianna Fáil Deputies that the cost of living is not going up. We have heard from Deputy Maguire that we are out to close up factories in this country. He believes that it is necessary for economic freedom to have those factories going. If he looks it up he will find that most of the raw material that we import from a so-called enemy country goes to keep those factories going. How much of the steel-work used by our farmers and used in the building of houses do we produce here? Do we produce any?

Would you blame us for the increased cost you are paying for it?

I am dealing with the Deputy's statement that our policy was to close these factories. That is not so. But we have no economic freedom in these factories, because we are importing the raw materials from a foreign country and all we do in most of these factories is to assemble that material. You have only to go down the country to see the conditions under which the farmers are living and the expense they are under. If you go to the small towns in which they deal you will find the differences to-day in the price of a sack of flour as compared with Northern Ireland. The Minister for Industry and Commerce stated here some years ago that his idea was to decentralise industry here. What is he doing at present? Is he not centralising industry in this country? Has he not mentioned in the Dáil that when the small millers down the country do over-milling of the farmers' wheat he is prepared to extract penalties from them? I know a small farmers' mill which was recently fined £83 for over-milling the wheat of the farmers who were the owners of that mill. Although they applied for an increased quota they were fined that sum in the court. That was done in order to stop that mill from milling the farmers' wheat and in order to stop the farmers from getting their flour at 14/- per sack less than they could get it from a Limerick mill. Does that not show that the cost of living has gone up? Is it not shown by the increase in the cost of flour amounting to from 10/- to 12/-. a sack? I know another mill run by private enterprise which was fined £70 for over-milling farmers' wheat, which was known to be millable wheat. That is the position we have in the milling industry.

Then let us take the farm implements which are used in this country. We are not producing them in this country and we know what the cost of them is. Everyone knows that the cost has increased very much within the last few years. Everyone knows that last year copper sulphate for the spraying of potatoes went up by 100 per cent. Yet we are told that the cost of living has not gone up. I mentioned in the Dáil some months ago that a clergyman in the West of Ireland had to appeal for help to a children's society in order to provide the children there with clothes. Is it not a fact that in that same district in the West of Ireland the only daily meal that the children got for a number of months was the school meal given to them? Then we are told that the standard of living has not gone down. Take the egg industry which is, at the present time, practically the biggest industry in this country. The bounty on eggs at present practically amounts to ½d. per egg. What is the reason for that? Has not the farmer and the taxpayer to pay that ½d. per egg? Why is it that, in order to export our eggs, we have to pay practically a ½d. per egg? I think it is time to cry halt. We are told here that the Government has done quite a lot for the working man. I admit that working men have good houses and that in rural districts these houses are let at a reasonable rent, but what is the use of a good house, even at a reasonable rent in winter time, if there is no fire in that house? What use are houses if the occupiers are not in a position to pay even for fuel for these houses? I may be reminded by some other speakers that we have a good industry in the West of Ireland in the beet industry. I know that the beet industry gives a fair amount of employment but does the production of beet pay the producer at the price he is at present getting? Does it pay the producer when the average yield per acre is eight tons and when the price is 37/6 per ton at the factory? In some cases I know that the freight on beet ranges from 10/4 to 11/3 per ton. Does that pay the producer, a net yield of £1 7s. per ton or something like £11 per acre? I ask any of those farmers on the Fianna Fáil benches, does that pay the producer?

Would it pay them better if you removed protection from the sugar industry?

I am speaking for the producer and I am trying to prove to you that his cost of living has increased. He has to pay more for his bag of flour and more for machinery and then for an acre of beet all he receives at the present time in some parts of County Galway is £11.

You are making the case that he is not getting enough of money out of his acre of beet?

I am making the case that he is only getting £11 per acre out of beet.

Would he be better off if the factory were closed down?

If he had only to pay the wage which the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance thinks sufficient for labourers, namely, £1 4s. per week, that acre of beet would cost him £13 to produce.

You are making the case for giving him a better price?

And still you ask that we should remove the tariff.

You could give him some of the increased profits of the sugar company, who are profiteering at a rate by which they hope to get back their capital in seven years.

Is your argument not in favour of reducing the tax on sugar and still you say the farmers are not getting enough for their beet? You cannot have it both ways.

A halfpenny per lb. on sugar may mean a lot, but the farmer is certainly entitled to be paid for his time.

Hear, hear!

I believe that he could be paid a better price by taking some of the profits away from the sugar company instead of enabling them to recover their capital in seven years, as some of the other factories have done.

But the Deputy is trying——

The Deputy will have to put his remarks in connected form. He will have ample opportunity of contributing to the debate if he so desires.

We have another industry in the West of Ireland, a bagmaking industry. For the information of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, I may say that in connection with the potato industry, both for certified seed and for the main crop, we use from 700,000 to 800,000 bags per annum. We have factories in Dublin and in the West of Ireland for the making of these bags, but, strange to say, the majority of the bags which are marked Irish Free State and exported with potatoes from Galway port, come from Dundee.

They are assembled in Galway.

They are not even assembled there. They are going with Irish Free State seed from Galway port to the Canary Islands and other places.

That is a very serious statement you are making.

I make it, and I will stand over it.

I hope you will—it will be examined.

It has been examined already.

Mr. Kelly

It will be examined again.

The Minister knows it, and his Department knows it. The Fianna Fáil Party have learned many things during the last four or five years, but they have still to learn a good deal more. One of their first aims was to decentralise industry. Now, you have to import flour for biscuits while the smaller millers are having more penalties extracted from them for over-milling. As regards the bag industry, the firm is being controlled by another big firm, and Fianna Fáil Deputies know that as well as I do. A good deal of capital has been made out of the increase in tillage since Fianna Fáil came into office. Deputy Maguire told us about the great number put into employment as a result of the increase in tillage, but he did not mention anything about the 60,000 or 70,000 who have gone to England.

Or the 250,000 who emigrated during your term of office.

In 1928 the total acreage under corn and root crops was 1,529,932, while in 1936 the acreage was 1,621,235, showing an increase of only 132,303 acres. In 1928 the area under wheat was 31,350 acres, while in 1936 the area was 254,521, showing an increase in the acreage of 223,171 acres. Although in all root and grain crops you had only an increase of 132,303 acres, in the case of wheat you had an increase of 223,171 between 1928 and 1936.

Why not take the acreage in 1931?

I am taking 1928 and 1936.

Because I got them here.

Take 1931.

I think I had enough trouble in getting 1928 and 1936. If we take 1928, you had 16,624 acres of beet and in 1936 you had 61,491, that is an increase of 44,863 acres. In all, taking the subsidised crops, wheat and beet, you had an increase of 268,038 acres. All over the whole Free State, in the other crops that are not subsidised you had an increase of only 132,000 acres, so that you have practically no increased tillage in this country under the Fianna Fáil policy. I say you have no increased tillage, because the growing of beet and wheat has been substituted for other crops which we think were just as valuable for the farmer. In regard to beet, I mentioned a figure of eight tons to the acre, and although some people may say it was the beet fly or the mangold fly that ruined the crop, I think the real fact was that there was not sufficient nutrition for the soil. I think it is the opinion of farmers in the West of Ireland that in order to have continued cropping of their land they must have farmyard manure.

We now come to the question of live stock. I think that no matter what Government action is taken in the stopping of the production of live stock, it will continue in spite of it, as some figures here show. In spite of the slaughter of calves throughout the country under the present régime, in 1931 you had 4,029,000 cattle in the country, and in 1936 you had 4,014,000. Even with all the cattle that were slaughtered, there was a decrease in the five years of only 15,000 head of cattle in the country. Now we will go back to pig production in this country. We all know that pig production has been a great industry. It has brought a good deal of money to the country. It gave a good deal of employment. In 1931 you had 1,227,000 pigs in the country, and in 1936 you had 1,016,512 pigs, that is a reduction of 210,491 pigs in that period. In 1931 you had 3,575,379 sheep, and in 1936 you had 3,061,512, a decrease of 513,867. If you take horses, even with the greatly increased tillage we hear of from the Fianna Fáil Benches time after time, in 1931 you had 449,697 horses in the country, while in 1936 you had only 423,529, that is a reduction of 26,168 horses inside five years. If we take 1931 as compared with 1935, there were 30,000 less horses in 1935, with your so-called increased tillage, than in 1931. When you had 30,000 less horses in this country, you must certainly have had a big number less employed in agriculture in the country. Taking poultry, in 1931 you had 22,782,229, and in 1936 you had 20,311,749.

What is it in 1937, I wonder?

There was, therefore, a decrease in poultry in this country of 2,470,480—practically 2,500,000—inside five years. I do not think it necessary for me to go any further. Taking the cost of living, it will be found that the rates in practically every county are increasing each year. Why are they increasing? They are increasing because there are more charges from the different institutions. I have been reading over an estimate for an institution in the West of Ireland. Last year the estimate was £7,000; this year it is £9,000 —an increase of £2,000.

The answer which the secretary gave to his members regarding the increase was that it was due to the increased cost of living and the cost of materials for the inmates of that particular institution. I believe that the number put into employment in industries in this country does not compensate for the increased cost of living. I firmly believe that some change should be brought about. The one change that I believe is necessary for this country is that there should be an end of that foolish—I say it is nothing else —economic war which was certainly started by the present Government. I say it is foolish because there is no need for it. If that was once cleared off from this country we would have a chance of free exports.

And free imports.

Imports of what?

Mr. Walsh

Bread, bacon, and so on.

The bacon trade was on before he was born.

Free imports of steel? Have we steel in this country? Are we not making penknives from Sheffield steel in this country?

Mr. Walsh


Are we not making razor blades from it? When the Deputy and the Fianna Fáil Party have left——

Mr. Walsh

Wait and see.

I do not think it would harm the industrial policy of the Government in any way whatever if the economic war finished, for this reason, that I firmly believe the present Government has not given sufficient attention to the natural resources of this country.

Mr. Walsh

That speaks badly for the Deputy's Party.

There is a number of slate quarries in this country. Why are they not worked? If you put up a building to-day you cannot get an Irish slate for it. What is the idea of importing cement from Belgium to roof the houses of this country?

What were the Deputy's Party doing for ten years?

Mr. Walsh

Congratulations! The Deputy is being converted.

Why not develop the slate quarries which are here? For the roofing of the houses that you pride yourselves so much on, the cement for those tiles is imported from Belgium, the dye is imported from Germany, and the steel work in which they are cased is imported from Britain, while you have slate quarries idle throughout the country. I hope that this motion in the name of Deputy Morrissey will be accepted by the Government. If it is accepted by the Government, I believe you will have what Deputy Maguire calls greater economic freedom. If accepted, it will be a step in the right direction.

Mr. Walsh

You will certainly have greater free trade freedom.

I spent some time reading the debates on this motion and I have had the pleasure of listening to Deputy Brodrick, who made a speech which was rather typical of the speeches on the Opposition side. His speech was partly in favour of the motion and partly against, but I would be inclined to think it was mostly against. Many of the points Deputy Brodrick made were ones that could be made from this side, in opposition to the motion. Indeed, similar points were made by some of the speakers on this side. Deputy Brodrick wound up his speech with a plea for the development of our slate quarries. He pointed out that the tiles used as a substitute to roof houses were composed of foreign materials such as cement and dyes. He made a plea for self-sufficiency, which we often hear condemned on other occasions by Deputies on the opposite benches. The Deputy talked of the low prices the farmers are getting for beet, and he said that even if sugar were to be increased by ½d. a lb. what about it; was not the farmer entitled to it?

Why not reduce the profits and let the farmers benefit?

The Deputy selected the one foodstuff, so far as I can recollect, that there is a duty on coming into this country. There is an excise duty on sugar imported, and it is the only foodstuff imported on which there is a duty. Deputy Brodrick said that duty was not high enough and we should put another ½d. a lb. on it, so that the farmers could derive some benefit. All the time he was speaking in favour of the motion and, no doubt, will vote for it. He made one of the most telling points against the motion, and he went further than any Deputy on this side would be prepared to go.

My main point was that the farmer should get more for his beet out of the profits.

If the Deputy would examine the balance sheets of the beet company and take all the profits made for the last couple of years and add them to the price of beet, it would mean a very small increase for the farmers. When Deputy Brodrick makes a point like that, it indicates that he is in a difficulty. He wants the farmers to get more for their beet. We all do. He wants to support the motion that there should be no increase in taxation, but the only suggestion he can offer to satisfy the farmers, and make the best case he can for this ridiculous motion, is that the farmers should get more out of the profits. If the Deputy takes all the profits and distributes them amongest the Galway farmers and tells them he has succeeded in getting this increased price for beet, they will not be very thankful, because there will not be much money to distribute.

The Deputy goes on to tell us that we are paying a bounty of ½d. on every egg that goes out of the country. When Deputies of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party are in a difficulty, they do not make any suggestions; they merely make statements. Deputy Brodrick made the usual statement that one would expect from a Cumann na nGaedheal speaker. He said: "It is time to cry a halt." That is the sort of expression we always get from Cumann na nGaedheal. They never suggest that we stop paying bounties, because that might not suit certain voters in, for example, Deputy Brodrick's constituency. You never hear Deputies over there saying the farmers are getting too much for their eggs or for anything else. We always hear the cry that the farmers are not getting sufficient and they should get more, and we are told that it is time to cry a halt.

Let the farmer do just as he wishes and he will not need any bounty.

That is the sort of solution we get from Deputies opposite—"It is time to cry a halt." The Deputy talked about sacks coming in from Dundee. I do not know if that is true, but I will not doubt the Deputy's word. I do not believe that he would say it if he did not consider it was true. His suggestion is that all the sacks required could easily be made in Athenry or some such town, and they would be used by the Irish farmers, and there could be good wages paid to the workers in Athenry.

I believe if the industry were encouraged there that the sacks could be manufactured and sold at practically the same price.

I know the Deputy would like to see good wages paid. So far as having sacks made at Athenry is concerned, we may presume that if this Athenry firm were to make all the sacks they would have to charge a little more, the farmer would pay a little more, and that would be the solution. I merely take those points as examples of the types of speeches we get from the Opposition side. To my mind they are speeches largely against the motion. I really have come to the conclusion that Deputies on the opposite benches do not know what the motion is about. Whoever drafted the motion does not seem to know what it is about. It is really very vague and nobody seems to know what it means. The fact is that most Deputies who have spoken did not confine themselves to the motion at all. They usually ended with a flourish like Deputy Brodrick, telling us to stop the economic war, as if that had anything to do with taxes and levies and impositions.

Another point that Deputy Brodrick mentioned was in reference to subsidised crops. How does he distinguish between the subsidised and the nonsubsidised crops? What is the difference between wheat and barley? Wheat is allowed in free, but barley is not, and, therefore, wheat is not as subsidised as barley. The Deputy could truthfully say that barley is a subsidised crop. We do not allow barley or oats in free of duty. For that matter, turnips is a subsidised crop because you cannot import turnips into this country unless you pay 8d. a lb. by way of duty.

Who wants to import turnips?

I know we do not want turnips; that is why we put a high duty on them. All this gives one an idea of the sort of loose talk that Deputies over there go on with. This is a motion that deals with taxes, and levies and duties and then, for fear they might miss anything, they mention impositions. What is an imposition? This motion is an imposition, if you like, but what an imposition is in that connection as set out in the motion, I do not know. I should like to know what the Deputies opposite regard as an imposition. They deplore the lowering of the standard of living. Deputy Brodrick referred to the standard of living, but almost every other speaker on his side spoke about the increased cost of living, which is not mentioned here at all. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, early in the debate, talked about the standard of living and quoted plenty of figures giving the source every time. With all the speakers we have since heard, we have not had a single thing contradicted that the Minister mentioned in the course of his statement. I heard Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney say that, whatever the figures might show, they all knew that the standard of living is going down. There is no use in trying to convince those people. It evidently does not suit their policy to be convinced on this point. Whatever the figures may show, it suits Fine Gael to believe that the standard of living is going down and they must maintain that. They bring in a motion assuming straight away that the standard of living has gone down. They have no proof of that but they say that everybody believes that it is gone down. What is the meaning of this expression "by Government action"? That is a thing about which I complained already to-day. In most cases, these things were done by the Dáil. I have here a list of tariffs imposed on agricultural imports. Everyone of these as put on in this House, all Parties agreeing. I do not remember that they were ever put to a vote. After all Parties have agreed to the imposition of a tariff, Deputies opposite come along and say that Government action is lowering the standard of living.

The motion refers to "taxes, levies, duties and like impositions." What is the difference between these? There is a difference between a levy and a tax and between a levy and a duty, but "tax" and "duty" are used very often in the same sense. What are the levies on foodstuffs at present? I do not know of any. I have not heard any mentioned by any member of the Opposition who spoke on this motion. But, as I pointed out, they did not speak to the motion. They did not talk of "taxes, levies, duties and like impositions"; they talked about the economic war and Newfoundland. There are no levies, so far as I know. I may be forgetting something but I should be very glad if any member of the Opposition would remind me. I do not know of any levy on any foodstuff at present. Therefore, there is no necessity to bring in a motion to have it removed. There are import duties on practically all the foods we produce here, such as beef, mutton, bacon, eggs, vegetables and fruit. But not a single member of the Opposition who spoke would suggest, that any one of these duties should be removed. If I were to put it to Deputies opposite that we should remove a particular tax, they, knowing that it does not make any difference what they say, might reply: "Remove it." But if they were asked to give their opinion conscientiously as to whether that duty should be removed or not, I am certain they would say: "Do not remove that duty because it should be maintained for the protection of the agriculturist." They have not suggested a single duty for removal, but they have introduced a general motion, and they go on talking, not about the motion, but about things that have nothing to do with it. When the question comes to be decided, they will gaily walk into the lobby and vote for a motion that they know would, if passed, be ruinous to this country. That does not worry them. It gives them an opportunity to make a speech about something else, and that is all they want.

All these duties and levies are, according to the motion, to be "forthwith abolished." I shall give the House a list of what we are to abolish forthwith if this motion is passed, but I shall deal with the motion more generally in the first instance. Nobody could expect this motion to be in any way intelligible or well thought-out. Before the Dáil had met at all after the general election, we had five motions circulated by Fine Gael. Why were they in such a hurry? I suppose they were afraid that the Labour Party would get in before them. They had motions put down dealing with the standard of living, rates, Civil Service arbitration and some other subjects which they wanted to talk about, and yet they did not know at that time what Government was going to be elected. They did not know that they were going to be in opposition. All they knew was that, if they were not quick, Labour might get in before them with these motions. They did not take time to draft the motions properly. They did not know what they were asking and, not knowing what they were asking, they talked about something else when this motion came to be discussed. Yet, when the motion is put, they will vote for it.

I read this debate right through. I started with Deputy Morrissey's speech, and the only thing I could mark as worthy of comment was this statement:—

"The Government fixes a guaranteed price for wheat, irrespective of what the world price is, and the miller is given full power here to get that increase, whatever it may be, out of the consumer of the flour or bread."

That is the sort of statement one would expect from Deputy Morrissey, who would make a statement regardless of the real facts—a good statement for his purpose, a statement to go down with his own followers throughout the country, who do not examine the facts and who are inclined to swallow that sort of propaganda. The fact is that our Irish wheat this year did not put any additional expense on the miller because it was bought, to the extent of 25 per cent., roughly at the world price of wheat and made good bread, although Deputy Gorey would hardly agree with that. I am judging from Deputy Gorey's speech.

You have only to look at me to know whether I am eating it or not.

Deputy Gorey's speech suggested that everything of Irish manufacture was inferior.

I do not say any such thing.

I shall quote from the Deputy's speech later. He is not the only one on that side who has an inferiority complex and who believes that anything that comes from England is better than that which can be produced at home. Deputy Morrissey says that the cash prices of boots and shoes are being kept down but the quality is not being kept up. When we produce figures to prove, so far as it can be proven by figures, that Deputies on the other side are wrong, that the prices of boots and shoes here are not higher than they were before the tariffs were imposed and not higher than they are in England or Northern Ireland, they turn round and say the quality is inferior. Deputy Gorey said that the uppers were all right but that the soles were soft. That is a damning form of praise, because a boot is not worth much without a sole.

I agree.

That is the sort of statement we get from Deputy Morrissey and Deputy Gorey. When it is proven that they are wrong, they say that the quality is inferior.

The prices are not the same, and you know it.

No matter what one says, they will find a way out.

The uppers were right before you were heard of.

There were good boots before I was born and will be after I am gone, but that has nothing to do with this motion. I do not think that Deputy Morrissey made any other statement worthy of comment. He was the mover of the motion, and we were anxious to ascertain what lead he would give and what he would suggest should be done. He talked about the price of coal, bad boots and so on, but he gave no suggestion whatever as to what should be done. He gave the general impression in his speech that he believed tariffs were bad for this country, but he did not go further than that. He merely gave that impression, but he made sure not to name any particular tariff that should be taken off, and no Deputy has so far done so. When he was asked to name an article which had definitely gone up in price and in respect of which he could show profiteering, the only article he could give was castor oil.

Deputy Linehan seconded the motion and, in his case, I again looked for some inspiration, some indication of what Fine Gael would like us to do. Again, I was disappointed. Deputy Linehan did, however, make one point. He said:

"If any of these taxes, levies or impositions are putting an extra shilling on a poor person which he cannot afford to pay, then I say such taxes, levies and impositions should be removed."

He said "if," but he does not say that they are. That is Fine Gael tactics. Do not offend any particular employer; do not offend any particular manufacturer, or the workers working for that manufacturer, but make that sort of vague, general statement. He did not say that these taxes and levies were putting an extra shilling on the poor person; he made the sort of speech that gave the impression that the cost of living is going up, with no definite statement, and so he got through with that "if" statement in the end. He winds up with this:

"If we are going to have any honesty here, if we are going to have any consideration for the poor people, if we are going to live up to these Christian democratic principles about which we hear so much, we should carry this motion."

I wonder how can anybody talk of carrying this motion which nobody on the other side has spoken to and of the meaning of which nobody has given any suggestion or indication. We have not been told what should be done under the motion, if carried. They have not given a single thing that should be done in that event. Then, having put up this motion and having debated it in a general way, without giving any indication of what it is about, he says that if we have any honesty, if we have any Christian democratic principles, we should carry it. Why should we? We have not been told why we should do so. No indication whatever has been given as to why we should, and yet we are told that if we have any honesty we should carry it.

The next speaker was the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and, as I have said already, he made an unanswerable case. He quoted figures, and Deputies afterwards referred to his statement in regard to motor cars. That, however, was only one instance of many. He gave what the people were consuming in many ways, what people had saved during the last three or four years, and many other figures which went to show that the ordinary person in this country had not a lower standard of living than they in 1931, and that, in fact, he had a higher standard. Opposition speakers grasped his statement about motor cars, and said that the Minister thought that the country was better off because there are more motor cars being sold; but he gave that instance as one of many. He gave the source for every figure he quoted, and Deputies have not come forward to contradict these figures.

Deputy Dillon, so far as I could find out from reading through his speech, never referred to the motion. He talked a good lot about Newfoundland and the conditions there, and about the economic war, as other Deputies did. He also talked on the old subject of bankruptcy. When Deputy Gorey was here before in 1932, he will remember that bankruptcy was staring us in the face. It was only three months ahead. In June, we were told it was to come in September, and, in September, it was to come shortly after Christmas. It was always three months ahead, and gradually it began to get further away, and now Deputy Dillon says in five years we are going to meet with bankruptcy. He is getting a little more sensible about it now. That was his speech—Newfoundland, the economic war and bankruptcy, but nothing about the motion.

Deputy Moore took Deputy Dillon up on that matter of world prosperity, and he again made a speech in which he gave the sources of his information and quoted from international documents. Not a single person on the other side has contradicted anything he said. There was one matter in Deputy Brennan's speech to which I wish to draw attention. The only thing I could regard as in any way referring to the motion was his statement:

"That kind of control which the Government has at the present time by way of levies to certain departments of the agricultural industry is leading the country into a rut."

To what did the Deputy refer? "Levies that the agricultural Department have are leading the country into a rut." As I have already said, I do not know of any such levies and none was mentioned in this debate. They are mentioned in the motion, and because they are mentioned in the motion Deputy Brennan concluded that Deputy McGilligan and Deputy Morrissey must have known of some levy and, therefore, he talks about a levy and makes the statement that it is leading the country into a rut. There is no levy at all. That was his only reference to the motion and the House can see what it is worth.

Deputy Gorey was the next speaker, and I think that for departure from the truth I have never seen some of the statements he made beaten in this House. He was talking about the Pigs and Bacon Boards and he said:

"The facts are that before these boards came into existence we were killing anything from 1,500 to 1,700 pigs a week. What are we killing for the last 12 or 18 months?"

He asks the question and nobody replies. He answers himself and says:

"From 700 to 800. We are killing half the pigs we used to kill before, and the same applies, I think, to nearly all the factories."

He corrected the last statement afterwards. It does not apply to all the factories, but does it apply to Deputy Gorey's factory? Not at all. Deputy Gorey may be drawing on his imagination, but he did not make any attempt whatever to find out what the facts were from the factory of which he is chairman and with the workers in which he is evidently not at all familiar. He made the statement, a statement like that which has no truth whatever in it, and thought that everybody would believe it because he was chairman. In 1934, before control came in, the Waterford factory, of which Deputy Gorey is chairman, killed on an average 1,039 pigs a week.

On an average?

The whole year through.

May I ask where you got the figures?

I got them in my own Department from returns made by your company when looking for a quota from the Bacon Board. Naturally they put the figures as high as they could for 1934. The average number was 1,039 pigs a week. What did they kill in 1937? They killed 1,074, so that they killed more pigs since control came in. Deputy Gorey stated that before the boards came into existence they were killing anything from 1,500 to 1,700 pigs per week, and that since then they were killing from 700 to 800. Was not that a good one coming from the chairman who should know all about the company?

Can the Minister not go back a little further?

The year 1934 was the year before control came in. I will get particulars for 1932, and some speakers next week can use them when the Deputy will be still further on.

Not a bit.

I sincerely hope that this motion will be finished before next Wednesday.

Then there will be an opportunity of dealing with the matter on some other debate. Deputy Gorey made the statement and the Irish Independent wrote a sub-leader about the villainy of the Government and the way in which-poor Deputy Gorey's factory was treated. I know that they do not want much of an opportunity to write a sub-leader in the Irish Independent against the Government, but I want Deputy Gorey and others like him in responsible positions to know that the statement that he made as chairman is without foundation. In 1934, they dealt with 1,039 pigs a week, and in 1936, 1,074 pigs. There was another point I was going to refer to but I will not.

I was going to talk about the strike. They dealt with 1,037 and one week with 1,038. They went back later, but not to 900.

The reason I asked the source of the information is that I want to know the authority for the figures the Minister is quoting. I also want the figures for 1936 and 1937.

They are supplied.

By whom?

Supplied partly by my Department and partly by the Bacon Board, which allocates a certain amount of an export quota to each factory, including Waterford. The Bacon Board also allocates home sales and the total killings. The Bacou Board knows exactly, not only the number allocated to each factory, but the numbers killed. These are the figures I am giving.

Would the Minister point to the portion of Deputy Gorey's speech in which he referred to the number of pigs killed in 1934?

He said before control.

I said a lot more.

I will deal with that, too. I know that you said a lot more, and a lot more foolish things, too.

It suits the Minister to say so. I know the source of the information.

No. I would not say it if it was not true. The Deputy continued: "The facts are that before these boards came into existence we were killing anything from 1,500 to 1,700 pigs a week." That was before 1934.

What is the particular application to the year 1934?

It was the last complete year before control came into operation.

Give the figures for other years.

I have not got them, but I will get them.

They might not suit.

The Deputy went on: "What are we killing for the last 12 or 18 months? From 700 to 800." All through 1934 there were 1,074 pigs and for 1937, to date, 1,038 pigs. These numbers are very different from the 700 or 800 that the Deputy mentioned.

I think the Minister is making a mistake. I know what I am talking about, and I know where the Minister got his information.

A Deputy

You could have checked the figures.

I know what I am talking about.

The Deputy went on to ask, "Why have the number of pigs fallen?" They have fallen for two reasons, according to the Deputy—"because of the price of the feeding stuff, and the fact that the animals fed on it did not give a return for the food they got at the price that had to be paid for it." Deputy Gorey and others in the same position have, by their statements that pigs are not paying, done a great deal to bring down the number of pigs in the country. Deputy Gorey does not know whether pigs are paying or not. How could the Deputy know whether they are paying or not? I keep pigs and I know that they are paying. I do not think Deputy Gorey keeps pigs. I do not believe he does.

If he does, he does not keep any accounts. The Deputy made the statement for political reasons and for no other reason. If he had any interest in the factory, and any interest in the shareholders or producers, he would try to encourage them, instead of putting them out of that business. The Deputy is more of a politician than chairman of a bacon company, and there are others like him who have done a lot to bring down the number of pigs being kept.

On a point of order, does the Minister contend that what I said a week ago had anything to do with the reduction of the pig population during the last two years?

That is a query, not a point of order.

Will the Minister answer that question?

The Deputy did not make the statement I refer to for the first time last week. He has been making that statement in public for the last couple of years as well as making it here. I say that that sort of statement, that the Deputy and others in a similar position made, has had a great deal to do with the reduction in the number of pigs. Anyone who keeps pigs and keeps accounts knows that pigs are paying, despite the wild statements that Deputy Gorey and men like him make for political reasons. The Deputy went on to talk of the profits of the factory. He said that they were making a profit of £1,500 to £2,000 a year on 1,500 or 1,600 pigs a week. They never had 1,600 pigs a week, but I will forgive him for saying that. The Deputy meant the period before control came in. I will tell him where I got my figures. I sent a man to Dublin Castle and I paid 1/- to see the balance sheet of the Waterford company with which Deputy Gorey is connected. In 1932-33, when there was no control, the Waterford factory made a profit of £11,058 or nearly £12,000. It was not £2,000 profit but £12,000. According to the balance sheet lodged in the Castle that was not an exaggeration, because when people lodge documents in the Castle they bring the figures as low as they can. I am sure Deputy Gorey is no more of a patriot than the rest of us in that respect. The amount was £12,000 and not £2,000. Yet Deputy Gorey made one of these wild statements which do a lot of harm and that no one will question. The Irish Independent wrote a sub-leader about that statement, that the factory was making a profit of £2,000 when it was £12,000. In the next year, again before control, the company made a net profit of £10,194, and the next year, again before control, they made £11,827, so that during three years in succession before control, the average profit was over £11,000. Deputy Gorey's statement was £2,000 before control and £16,000 since, or 8 to 1. Now what did they make since control? Not £16,000 but £13,156, so that the profits went up since control from £11,827 to £13,156, a difference of £1,500 and not £15,000, as Deputy Gorey said. These are the sort of statements that we get from Deputy Gorey, the chairman of the company. I can tell the House when the company lost. It lost when Deputy Gorey was looking after it and before Mr. Landy came there to manage it. The company lost £981 in one year, £768 in another, and £1,395 in another year. When the new manager came along it began to pay. Their profits increased each year from the time that the new manager came in 1930-31. In that year it made a profit of £4,107. The new manager cleaned up completely the mess that was there, and converted an annual loss, that was going on when Deputy Gorey was in charge, into a profit of £4,107. The new manager did that in his first year, and went on increasing the profits each year until 1936-37, when they reached the figure of £14,415.

On a point of order, would the Minister again read out the figures in the balance sheet for the year 1933-34?

The net profit in that year was £10,194.

I am just wondering what the Minister is reading from.

These are the returns that have been made to the Registrar of Friendly Societies, and I warn the Deputy to say nothing more on them.

According to the balance sheet, the profit for 1933-34 was £5,817 18s. 11d. If the Minister wants the figures I can refer to the balance sheets for 1931-32 and 1932-33.

As I have already told the House, I got these figures from the returns at the Castle. It cost me 1/- to get this certified document.

In 1931-32, according to the balance sheet, the profit was £4,374 19s. 5d.; in 1932-3 it was £5,657 3s. 8d., and in 1933-4 £5,817 18s. 11d. I think the Minister spent his 1/- very badly.

It is a pity the Deputy was not more particular when he was giving those figures on the first occasion. The figure that he gave then was £2,000.

Will the Minister justify the figures that he has given? He has talked about figures procured from Dublin Castle, and Deputy Gorey is quoting from the balance sheet of the company.

I think that we must depend on the returns made and lodged in the Department of Industry and Commerce, and must accept them as true.

Did the Minister speak of the balance sheet?

I am quoting from the column which gives the net profit on trade. I have given the figures for each year.

But the balance sheet is here.

I have here the audited balance sheets.

I think that the Deputy ought to get these things corrected if he can. If the Deputy is right, there will be money coming to me. Deputy Gorey left us under the impression that things were not too good as a result of control in the case of the Waterford factory: that they were not getting very many pigs compared with what they were getting before, and yet that they were making a huge profit, while they were not making a good profit at all before. In the annual statement of the company——

The Minister took a chance.

I did not. I want again to tell the Deputy that what I am quoting from is a certified document from the Castle. Anyway, I think I may go on. Prima facie any fairminded person will believe me rather than the Deputy because he admits that the statements he made here, on the figures which he quotes now, were a series of misstatements. On the last occasion he talked here of a profit of £2,000, but he admits now that the profit was £5,000 or £6,000.

These are the highest of the high ones.

I admit that if you go back to 1929-30 there were losses in the factory due to bad management.

There was no bad management in 1929-30.

We all know that there was bad management. Here is the statement made at the annual meeting of the company. The Deputy said that the net profit since control came in was £16,000. But here is the statement which appeared in the Waterford Star, a statement which was submitted at the annual meeting of the company. The net profit given for the year in that report is £14,415 14s. 7d. The Deputy says £16,000.

I will prove the £16,000, if not a lot more.

Then why do you publish these things in the papers? Why not tell the truth in the papers?

£14,415 14s. 7d. I think the Minister must not have read my subsequent speech.

I did. I have said already that the Deputy corrected himself when he came here the following week. Deputy Gorey gave the impression to the House that these boards have done no good for the producer. The report goes on to say: "If we were to buy pigs at that price which we had to do before the board was formed, you would not be paying within 15/- to 20/- per cwt. of the present price, which would make it entirely uneconomic."

Who wrote that?

That is the annual report of the Waterford factory, praising up the system under which pigs were got.

That is not the annual report.

It is given here as the annual report. Then there is the chairman's reference to the recent strike. I have quoted from the documents that I got at the Castle, I have quoted from the Waterford Star newspaper, and from every official document that I could get, and yet Deputy Gorey denies everything.

They are all wrong?

Yes, according to the Deputy.

In connection with the £16,000, why did not the Minister quote the explanation that I gave at the next meeting of the Dáil? I gave the whole facts in connection with that. Why did not the Minister quote that and tell us about the 2,443 cattle that had to be fired into the river along with the tins in which they were packed? Why did the Minister not tell us about the cost of the strike?

I will tell the Deputy why I did not do that. The Deputy knows himself that we are both negotiating on that very matter, whether they lost money on that item or not. I say that they did not lose money on it, and he says that they did.

Do not be trying to get out of it.

I know very well that I did not lose money.

We lost the money on your cattle that you paid £6 per head on and bribed the Kerry farmers—for fifty "bob."

Well, was not that a good price?

It was—at the expense of the people of this country. You bribed the Kerry farmers.

Well, I shall get back to that matter again. However, according to the motion, we are asked to take taxes off all foodstuffs coming into this country. Supposing we were to do so, what would happen? Do Deputies opposite realise what would happen in that case? I want Deputies to realise what would really happen if that were done. As I have said already, we have taxes, or, rather, import duties, on practically every agricultural commodity coming into this country, and the purpose of these taxes or duties is to protect our own producers. I want Deputies to realise that, if we take these duties off, our own producers would be put out of production. They would be unable to carry on. Yet, the Party opposite have put down this motion, and, evidently, want us to go ahead with the policy enshrined in this motion, as if it were a thing that could be done. Let us take one or two items. For instance, we put a duty on beef and mutton. Now, I got to-day's paper— to-day's Irish Times, as a matter of fact—a paper that, I am sure, Deputy Gorey will not dispute.

I never read it. I do not know that it exists. I have heard of it in my young days.

Well, I am glad that the Deputy will acknowledge even that much. At any rate, according to that paper, at the Manchester meat market yesterday chilled and frozen beef is as low as 4d. a lb.; and, of course, if we were to take the duty off beef or mutton, that frozen or chilled beef or mutton will come in here and be sold at that price, or, as a matter of fact, probably at a somewhat lower price, because the price there is regulated in the British market, and here it would probably be dumped in at a lower price. I do not know how our own people could compete with that price. Yet we are asked to take off such a tariff as that.

No. The only thing you were asked to take off is unconsidered or ill-considered tariffs.

Mention one of them.

The whole lot that you have put on.

Well, that is one.

You put a duty on bacon also.

Yes, in a proper way.

We put a duty on bacon.

Yes, but it was put on in what the Deputy calls an ill-considered way. We put it on in a proper way. We put a duty on the import of beef and mutton—incidentally, with the consent of the Party opposite—and now the Party opposite, according to this motion, wants it to be taken off. I have mentioned beef already, and here, I think, mutton is also mentioned, at 4½d. Are we to allow that to come in at that price and thereby wipe out our own producers? Of course I know that the Deputy does not want that done. All that the Deputy and other Deputies on the opposite side want is to talk about the motion, but if they were logical and meant what they say in the motion— that these duties should be removed and we should allow that beef and mutton in here—what would be the effect on prices?

Would it reduce the price to 4d.?

It would certainly bring it down, anyway.

Did the Minister ever hear of frozen beef coming into this country?

Where was it kept?

I do not think the Deputy was interrupted once while he was speaking, and I think he should give the same hearing to the Minister.

The Minister speaks of frozen beef coming into this country. It is an extraordinary statement.

Of course, frozen beef came into this country.

Where was it held?

It came into this country.

It was here, all right.

It probably came from some country that did not go in for slaughtering calves.

Yes, I shall deal with that point later on. One Deputy— Deputy Brodrick, I think—said that the number of cattle was very little lower than in 1931, but I remember Deputy Bennett, in 1933, and other Deputies like him, suggesting that we had so many cattle in the country that they were beginning to eat one another and that we could not get sale for them. We brought in several measures to deal with that situation, and I think we dealt with it successfully, in spite of the Opposition. The fact is that we now have no trouble in selling our cattle and that we can sell all we can.

A Deputy

Because you killed the calves.

One of the things we tried to do, in an effort to deal with that situation, was to encourage the use of veal, and I said, at the time, that the only way to get the butchers to take the calves was to give a bounty.

It was all buried.

No; some of it was given to dogs.

I am glad that the Minister admits that, at least.

I said before, if Deputy Bennett would only recollect it, that that policy was not successful. As a matter of fact, we did not get the people of this country to turn to the use of veal. As a matter of fact, last year there were practically no calves slaughtered, and the only bounty to be paid would be in the case of a dead calf, and surely nobody can object to a farmer bringing in a dead calf and getting a bounty for the skin? Probably we will take the bounty off next year, and then, of course, we will have another complaint from the Party opposite put on a tariff. As a matter of fact, one would need to study a table of logarithms in order to find out what was meant by their sliding scale of tariffs at that time. There were two long tables, as a matter of fact; but then we came along and put on a decent tariff on bacon and did not allow it in at all.

We prohibited it altogether.

You did—for a month— and then you had this sliding-scale tariff, which did not mean anything, because the importers were against you. Then, however, we came along and put on a real tariff. Let us suppose, however, that that tariff were to be taken off.

We do not want the tariff off.

The object of the motion is to take it off.

The motion refers to ill-considered tariffs.

I do not think the Deputy knows what the motion is. He is not reading the motion at all.

The motion deals with ill-considered tariffs.

The phrase "ill-considered" is not in the motion. That phrase may apply to the motion, but it is not in the motion.

I cannot see it.

The Minister must be blind. Of course it is. In any case, do not we all know what it means?

At any rate, Deputies must know that, if we take off the tariff we have put on foreign bacon, it would mean that foreign bacon would be coming in here at a much lower price than can be got for our own bacon.

We never want to see it coming in again.

I quite agree, but some of the Deputy's colleagues, I am afraid, do not see that. One point made by Deputy Dillon, in regard to this question of a tariff on bacon, was that we were putting on the price on our own consumers. That is not true. We are paying subsidies on the exports of bacon to cover the tariff. There is one thing, however, which we must admit—that the English price for our bacon is not good enough for producers here. I do not want to find fault with the British market at all, but I want to say this, it is not good enough for us. We want to get a better price than they can give. We have to do that in the case of many commodities. We have to bolster up the British price for eggs, butter, bacon, and many other things, because the price we get for these on the British market would never keep our producers going. It may be what you might call a capacious market, it takes a lot of stuff; but it does not give a good price—not good enough for us. Therefore we must subsidise our producers on the British market.

I hope you will bolster up the price of cattle.

I will come to cattle. I am leaving cattle until the last. According to the Irish Times to-day the price of Irish bacon in Liverpool yesterday was from 85/- to 89/-. That is not good enough for our producers. I will tell you how it works out.

You work up to the hypothetical price.

I will just leave that out. We will add that on afterwards, if you like. The average price for pigs to the producer at present is 66/- per cwt. In 1931, when Deputy Gorey's Party was in power, it was 46/-. That is just en passant. Yet they talk about the farmers getting poor prices. He is getting £1 per cwt. for his bacon more than he did when they were in office. One cwt. of dead pig produces between 80 and 85 lbs. of bacon. If we put the value of the offals against the cost of producing the bacon—we are not going to give the factories any more than that—it means that the factory has got that cwt. of bacon at 89/-. What is the factory's list price now? From 90/- to 100/-. They have their bacon produced at a cost price of 89/- and they are selling it at from 90/- to 100/-. I do not want to say this definitely, but I am told that factories even sell bacon, in fact nearly always, under the list price. Their list price anyway runs from 90/- to 100/- and the bacon costs them 89/-.

The list price is from 90/- to 100/- at present? Whose list prices are you quoting?

The average. As a matter of fact, I thought the Deputy might dispute that, and, therefore, I will show him two invoices I got from a person in Dublin to show what he paid for bacon to-day. He paid 90/- for one lot, and 90/- for another lot; he was asked 100/- for another lot, but he did not buy. That is what he actually paid to-day for bacon—90/-. I say that on the present price of pigs our factories are paying 89/- for that bacon. Therefore, they must get at least 90/- on the home market; they cannot take less. But they will not get that on the British market; they will only get from 83/- to 87/-, I think. Therefore, we must bolster up the price in the British market. We must do something to give the factories a little more on the British market, otherwise they could not export.

Who is bolstering them up?

We have to give something more. In the first place, out of the export bounty fund they get a certain subsidy on exports—an export bounty.

How much do you deduct per cwt. from the curers to make up the hypothetical fund?

That is not an intelligent question. I do not know what the Deputy means by that. As well as what they get out of the export bounty fund, there is a stabilisation fund created by the board, and the board sometimes takes a levy off the curers who are selling on the home market and gives it to those who are exporting.

They are taking it off the curers who are supplying the home market and giving it to those who are exporting?

What else can they do when the export market is not good enough?

What do you do?

We do our duty. We give a subsidy against the duty. We cannot be expected to do any more. I want to tell Deputies opposite that if they want to bring down the price of bacon on the home market we must stop exports, because the export price is not good enough for our producers. If we stop exports we may bring it down by a fraction on the home market. But Deputies would not preach that to their constituents, because if they did they would have nothing left. "Give us back our markets" is the only cry they have left. If they are beaten that way, do you think they could go on? They would have no policy at all. I want them to realise that, at present prices, bacon could not be sold cheaper on the home market than from 90/- to 100/-, because, as I say, the curer is paying 89/- for the bacon. Surely he could not sell less than from 90/- to 100/-.

Then suppose the duty was removed off butter, how would we be? For the last five years, for instance, we sometimes had butter coming in at about 83/-; it was as low as 70/- at times. Even to-day, in spite of the threats made by Deputy Bennett and some of his colleagues in Limerick and other counties about looking for the world price for butter, Australian and New Zealand butter could come in here and cut our prices. Anyone who knows anything about the question of butter could see that the rise during the last month was only a temporary thing—it just went up and it is down again. Again coming back to the Irish Times, in the Liverpool market yesterday New Zealand butter was sold at from 117/- to 121/-, and Australian at from 116/- to 119/-. Australian butter could be landed here as easily as in Liverpool, I suppose, at 116/- if we took off the tariff. What would become of the butter which we are producing, and not only that, but the butter we cold-store for the winter and for which we expect to get a better price than has been got up to this? This whole motion is absolute nonsense, and everybody on the other side knows it is. They do not want the duty taken off foodstuffs. They know very well that if they took the duties off foodstuffs no farmer here could live at all. Still they are going to vote for this motion—why, I do not know. I never heard a single reason why they should vote for it. Take poultry and eggs.

What about cattle?

I want to come to them gradually.

Wait until you get the 140/-.

On the Dublin market yesterday, Irish eggs were worth from 22/6 to 23/-. If there were no tariff on eggs, Australian best-grade eggs could come in at 15/-, in other words, 1/- per dozen less, and put our farmers completely out of production. That is what the Opposition Party are going to vote for—to take the tariff off eggs as well as everything else. The same thing applies to every one of our farm products. No matter what we are producing here, we are getting a much better price for it on the home market than the imported article can be got for. The imported article could come in in every single instance and cut the prices here and put our own farmers out of production.

Could you give an idea as to when these Australian eggs were laid?

I quote from the Irish Times.

What are Irish eggs in Britain at the moment?

They are not quoted at the moment, I am afraid.

They are more than 15/- anyhow.

Oh, yes, they are much better. They are probably about 21/-.

Therefore, your argument about the Australian eggs does not apply.

Would the Minister tell us what is the export value of our eggs for 1936-37 as compared with 1931?

I have not got that here but I gave it in the last speech I made. I already talked about barley and the same remarks apply to barley and to fruit. Deputy Gorey knows that we are not getting a very good price for our apples, and I hope to have something to say in that connection later, but what would it be if there were no protection? The same remark applies to tomatoes and vegetables. Here the other day Deputy O'Neill talked about imports of fish and asked what were we going to do about them. I suppose he meant that we should try to keep out fish. Is Deputy O'Neill actually advocating that we should, by some imposition, prevent fish coming in here and, if so, will he still vote for this motion? I may be coming before the House shortly with a proposal to protect fish and to keep out certain classes of fish. I can say that now, because there can be no forestalling in fish. If I bring forward such a proposal, will Deputies support me, if they support this motion? It would be absolutely illogical for them to do so.

Deputy O'Neill could.

Perhaps so; he is a man of great resource.

You have no fish here to start with.

We have.

A Deputy

We have a lot of cod.

I have read many statements by Deputies that the farmers are badly off, statements which show that they are altogether illogical in putting forward this motion. I have here the prices obtained by farmers for the week ending October 23, in 1931, with the prices for the corresponding week this year. I shall leave cattle to the last, because I want to say something special about cattle. In 1931 store sheep were fetching £1 19s. 6d. per head. Strange to say, in the same week in 1937 the price was exactly the same, £1 19s. 6d. Store pigs, 12 weeks to four months old, in 1931 were £1 4s. 3d. each and in 1937 were £1 11s. 9d. each. The price there is well up. Pigs over four months old in 1931 were £1 17s. 6d. and this year were £2 5s. 9d.

Did you kill any of the sheep?

We do kill sheep.

You did not kill them like you killed the calves.

Does the Deputy not eat chops? In 1931 porkers were quoted at 57/3 per cwt., and in this year at 65/- per cwt. In 1931 bacon pigs were 46/6 per cwt., and this year were 65/- per cwt. Farmer's butter was 10¼d. in 1931 and this year it is 10½d. Eggs were 1/4, and this year were 1/5. Fat sheep were 33/3 per cwt. in 1931, and this year were 42/3. Do Deputies think that we should bring these prices down to the 1931 level, because that is what the motion means? Is any Deputy prepared, or has he the courage to get up and say: "Take the tariff off sheep and let mutton comedown to the poor people," or "take the tariff off pigs and butter and let bacon and butter come down to the poor people"? Not a single Deputy would have the courage to say that, although they put it forward in a vague motion like this and vote for it. We know they have not the courage to do that, but yet they come in here with this vague sort of motion talking about taxes, levies and impositions, talking about the economic war, and telling us about how badly off the farmers are. When I quote present prices and compare them with the prices obtained in the corresponding week in 1931, I find that the farmers are getting more for everything except cattle than in 1931. They are getting more for sheep, pigs, butter and eggs, and of course we all know that they are getting a lot more for their green vegetables and fruit. There is no use in quoting figures to Deputies opposite. They will go out now, and it will just fall off them like water off a duck. They will still talk about the farmer being worse off than in 1931. We all know that the farmers were worse off in 1931. They got such a bad time that they put out Cumann na nGaedheal and they swore that they would never put them back again.

They were misled by you, but they are wiser now.

They are sticking to us all the same.

They will be finished with both of you in a short time.

I now come to deal with cattle. Cattle from one to two years in 1931 fetched £11 17s. 6d. per head, and this year during the same week they fetched £8 16s. 6d. per head. That is £3 per head less. Cattle two to three years were quoted at £15 in 1931 and this year £12 4s. 6d. Milch cows in 1931 fetched £19 14s. 0d., and this year £15 8s. 3d. In the case of fat cattle, the price was 35/6 per cwt. at that market in 1931, while at the corresponding market this year the price was 26/3.

That is nearly £5 on the week.

It is not £5; it is about £4 5s. on the average. If you take the number of store cattle exported from this country this year, the number of fat cattle exported, and the number of milch cows exported, it works out at about something under £4 a head. Take it at £4, and multiply that by 800,000, which I believe is roughly the output of cattle, and it is over £3,000,000. Against that we have halved the annuities for the farmers, and we have put £2,000,000 into the farmers' pockets for wheat, so in that alone we have done more for them than the loss on the cattle, and they have all the other things for themselves. However, that has not much to do with this motion. The question for Fine Gael to answer is this: Where those prices have gone up, do they want them to come down, because that is what the motion means if those impositions and taxes on foodstuffs are to come off beef and mutton and so on, in order to bring the prices down to what they were in 1931? Naturally, according to this motion, they would not like beef and mutton to increase in price, and if they want to vote for the motion they should be anxious for those to come down. I already dealt with the point about the price which the factories are paying for pigs. I tried to defend the factories because there is an investigation going on. The Prices Commission will be allowed to investigate this matter. In regard to the price of butter, before we took up office a system had been introduced here of putting a tariff on butter. Butter was stored here during the summer and sold in the winter. The price of butter went up in the winter to the consumer, but it all went into the pockets of speculators. Under our system it is quite different. We have a system under which the producer and consumer get the best possible value. There is a very small margin between the price which the producer gets for his butter and what the consumer pays for it. As I say, the consumer did not get as good value before this Government came into office.

With regard to the price of bread, again this is a matter which has been investigated, and perhaps rightly so, but Deputy Corry quoted figures from an official publication showing that in 1926 wheat was coming into this country at 30/- a barrel, and at that time there was no control of flour mills. The flour was imported at 52/6; it was produced at 52/6 by our own mills, and the loaf was 1/-. There was no investigation by the people opposite. Things were allowed to go on, and 1/- was paid for the loaf, but there is the greatest possible row now. I think that covers many of the points which have been raised about the price of food. I should like some speaker on the opposite side to tell us why we should accept this motion. It is all right getting up and saying: "Accept the motion," but I should like some speaker to tell us even this: Suppose it is carried, what are we going to do? They have suggested nothing we can do. They have suggested not one single tax that we should remit or reduce. They talk about levies. I do not know of any levies. They talk about those duties on foodstuffs. In regard to every single duty which I mentioned, Deputy Gorey and others said they did not want it taken off. They do not want any duties taken off; they do not want any taxes taken off, and there is no levy to take off. Yet they want us to vote for this motion. There is nothing whatever in the motion. I know it was ill-considered. There was a hurry about putting it down for fear the Labour Party would put it down before them. Even so, they might have withdrawn it, redrafted it on consideration, and given us something intelligent at least. I should have liked to hear what the Labour Party think about this motion, but they have not spoken. They are not shy, but they are cute.

When the Minister sits down he will hear it all.

We are keeping the good wine until last.

I am very glad to hear that they are going to speak at last. It was well they made up their minds to do so. Do the Labour Party want those tariffed industries? Even if they put up the prices of certain goods, do they still want them? They want social services. They speak about better wages. We must get certain taxation to pay for social services and so on, because our income from the tariffs is going down, and, therefore, we must have taxation to finance the social services. It may be awkward for the Labour Party to support this motion on that account, and I suppose it will be still more awkward for them to vote against it after all the row they made in the country about the cost of living. However, I am sure Deputy Norton will make all that clear if he is going to speak.

Another challenge.

If Deputy Norton gets up I also want him to say what he really wanted done about Japanese pottery. Does he want it kept out, as he seemed to imply in to-day's question, and does he want the poor man to pay more for his plate and jug?

He is paying at the present time.

I am not saying he is wrong in advocating that, but I should like to know whether he is advocating it or not.

Are you not taxing it at present? What are you talking about?

Do not get out of it that way. I simply want a straight answer to a straight question.

I never heard a straight question from the Minister yet.

I want to know whether the Labour Party wants it kept out, and wants the poor man to pay more for his jug and plate. I said here that our yield from customs was going down. On this same sheet of the Irish Times I see the revenue returns up-to-date, and the strange thing is that we have collected £1,000 more than we did up to this time last year, but customs have gone down and excise has gone down, which I suppose is a good sign, because if we are to believe what is being said by certain Deputies opposite—and I think they are right—if our industries are being built up, naturally our receipts from customs will be reduced, and therefore that is a sign, I take it, that our industries are being built up. We got an increase from motor duties. Deputy Gorey did not think very much of that, but, however, we got an increase. Deputy Dillon did not believe that, but we got it. I remember when Deputy Cosgrave used to sit here on this side he said many a wise thing. Of course, he said many a foolish thing, too, but there was one thing he said and I think there was a lot of wisdom in it. He said the best guide of all to the progress of the country was estates duty. Mind you, our estates duties are going up. They went up by £100,000 this year as compared with last year.

How much of it is provided by estates duty which was not on until last year?

Stamps have gone up too. Income-tax has gone up. Corporation profits tax has gone up.

Would the Minister say if that is correct about the estates duty?

I do not think so. There has been no change in the rate.

Last year a section was put into the Finance Act which made joint accounts—on which it was not usually collected before—liable for estates duty. Does that represent the increased estates duty now?

The cat is out of the bag now!

It was only estimated to bring in a small amount. Excise profits are gone down. That is another good sign. The Post Office is the same. The collection of land annuities has increased. Another good sign!

Thanks to the sheriff.

Every tax there that should go down, like customs, excise and so on, has gone down, and every tax that should go up, like estates duty, has gone up. I think it is a splendid certificate of efficiency for this Government—that return of revenue. I want to put some questions to the next speaker from the Opposition Benches. Can he produce evidence to rebut any of the statements made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce to show that the standard of living has not gone down— has, in fact, gone up? No evidence has been produced so far against the Minister's statement.

It has gone up in Dublin —there is no doubt about that.

Will any Deputy opposite tell me where there is a levy on foodstuffs and, if there is, will he advise us to remove it? I do not think there is any levy. Will any Deputy there mention what particular import duty he would like to see removed on foodstuffs? I mentioned every one I could think of, and Deputy Gorey and other Deputies opposite said: "Not that one." What one are we to remove? What tax should we remove? Deputies did not indicate a single tax that we should remove. So far as I can make out, no one wants any tax removed; no one wants any duty removed, or any levy taken off, if there is any levy. In such circumstances why should we, or anybody else for that matter, vote for this motion? If the motion were carried, what could we do? I think we should have more agreements in this House, and we should often agree with motions put in by the Opposition, if we reasonably could do so. If we were told in definite language what we could do, then perhaps we might accept a motion.

You promised to reduce taxation by £2,000,000 and you did not do it.

That is not the motion. We heard all about the economic war and extra taxation in Newfoundland and bankruptcy, but nothing at all about the subject matter of the motion. No one has made a case for it and, in such circumstances, I think no one should vote for it.

This motion by the Fine Gael Party was, I understand, submitted almost immediately after the recent general election. I cannot help imagining that, in the desire to submit the motion speedily, the Party did not give adequate consideration to its ramifications, to the implications which the motion carried, or to the consequences to the nation generally following the adoption of a motion of this kind. Let us assume, for argument's sake, that all these aspects of the question were considered and that the motion was submitted only after very careful and mature consideration by the Party. If we are to assume the latter, then I think we must make up our minds that the motion, and the mentality underlying it, are the clearest possible evidence that the Fine Gael Party have now become definitely a free trade party, because, underlying the motion and the speeches made in favour of it, has been a downright advocacy of free trade. I should like to know from the Party opposite whether they have now definitely run up the free trade flag and whether they realise all the implications to the nation by the adoption of a policy of that kind.

This motion, in my opinion, is part and parcel of the mentality which has been displayed by the Fine Gael Party in vigorously opposing the imposition of tariffs. This motion is just another effort by the Party to attack the policy of tariffs which are extensively supported in this country, not by one Party or group, but by a number of Parties and many groups, because it is realised, in the circumstances, in this country that we can adequately protect our industries only by preventing the dumping here of goods made in countries which have a long industrial tradition, made in countries where mechanisation has been carried to the acme of perfection, or made in countries where the wage standards of the workers are very much lower than those which obtain here. If we are prepared to permit this country to be used as a dumping ground for the produce of every other country in the world it will, of course, be possible for our people to live here and to purchase commodities more cheaply than they can purchase them to-day.

I gather that the mentality of the Fine Gael Party in this motion is that we should let in all commodities that can be imported cheaper than they are produced here; in other words, that every type of commodity which can be imported cheaply here should be allowed to be imported simply because it is cheaper. I would like to ask the Fine Gael Party where does that policy lead us to? What is the natural end of the adoption of a policy of that kind? In my view, it will mean that no native industry can survive if we are satisfied to allow this country to be made the dumping ground for goods produced elsewhere. It is true, of course, that by permitting that condition of affairs to continue we can buy commodities cheaply here; but then we will have circumstances where our people will be idle, where our unemployed problem will be serious, where those at present working will be disemployed and, notwithstanding the cheapness of the commodities available from other countries, our people will not be able to purchase them because there are no means by which they can obtain employment in a productive capacity in their own country.

But even if it were possible, on the pure arithmetic of the case upon which free trade is and always has been based, to argue that it had certain advantages in certain circumstances, I think we must take stock of the fact that we are living in an era when practically every country in the world has been compelled to adopt a policy of protection to one degree or another for its own home production. The outstanding characteristic of the economic nationalism that has developed during the past 15 years has been a determination on the part of almost every country to protect its own home market for its own produce and, at the same time, to use the surplus goods produced in order to dump these goods at bankrupt prices on other countries, with all the chaos that a dumping policy of that kind can cause in industries in other countries which are not protected by substantial tariff walls.

I should like to ask Fine Gael what country in the world to-day could stand on an undiluted free trade policy? What industries could stand in this or any other country if the respective countries in which these industries exist were not determined that their industries should be protected by the erection of substantial tariff walls? Whether we like it or not, free trade as an economic policy is dead to-day. It is impossible to revive it, and no ardent advocacy of free trade is possible in a world situation where every country is adopting protection to a greater and greater extent and where there is a world-wide determination on the part of countries to protect their own home market against dumping by other countries. And yet this motion and the speeches made in favour of it would appear to indicate that a Party here, which not so long ago was the Government Party, now believe that it is possible for us to maintain a free trade policy in a highly-protected world.

Nobody is arguing that.

I cannot imagine any sensible person arguing that, but that is the mentality behind this motion, and those are the lines upon which this motion has been supported.

Not at all.

Deputy Gorey has now been converted against this motion. This motion has no sanity and no sane economics, and it is part and parcel of the mentality which, during Deputy Gorey's absence from this House, the Fine Gael Party have displayed in opposition to the protection of industries from foreign competition and foreign dumping.

There is more than protection here; there is plunder.

We can deal with the plunder side of it later.

Look at the dividends they are paying.

Let us realise that it is quite impossible for this country to rely on a policy of free trade in a highly-protected world.

Why waste your time arguing that?

We all know that.

That is my complaint. I imagine you all know that, but why produce a motion of this kind and permit speeches such as have been made from the Fine Gael Benches in support of this motion?

Why denounce the Government because of the high cost of living?

Perhaps I should have consulted you as to what I should say.

I can speak for myself and anything I say here or in the country I am prepared to stand over.

Deputy Morrissey would, apparently, want to have his views recorded much more clearly in connection with this question of tariffs, because, in moving the motion, he said that the Labour Party here was the only Labour Party in the world to stand for tariffs, as if it were something objectionable to stand for a policy of protecting your own industries by the imposition of tariffs. What was the purpose of a remark of that kind by Deputy Morrissey except tariffs were objectionable to him or to the Fine Gael Party? It is remarks of that kind and speeches of that kind which, I say, justify us in interpreting this motion as advocating undiluted free trade. Deputy Morrissey could not have made any research into the policies of Labour Parties in other countries or he would scarcely have made a speech so obviously incorrect as that which he made. Labour Governments function in New Zealand, Sweden and Denmark, and, if Deputy Morrissey will take the trouble to go to the Library in this House, he will find a long list of tariffs that are in operation in each of these countries— tariffs which were imposed and increased by Labour Governments.

Mr. Morrissey

Without any safeguard for the consumer?

We shall deal with safeguards for the consumer later. If Deputy Morrissey is so much concerned about the consumer, why did he omit him when making his speech in favour of this motion?

Mr. Morrissey

Read the motion itself.

I have read the Deputy's speech. The Deputy said that the Labour Party here was the only Labour Party in the world which stood for a policy of tariffs. Even if that were true, I should still be proud to stand for a policy of protecting our own industries, but it is not true because, as I have explained, Labour Governments in New Zealand, Sweden and Denmark have already found it necessary to impose tariffs to protect their own industries, while in countries like Australia, America, Canada, France and Belgium, Labour Parties have, from time to time, when in office and even when out of office, either imposed tariffs or advocated the imposition of tariffs in order to stimulate their national industries. I hope that before he makes another statement in that connection, Deputy Morrissey will show a much greater knowledge of the policies of Labour Parties throughout the world than he could claim when he was introducing this motion.

The Labour Party, personally and collectively, take the view that free trade is not a policy which is feasible to-day for any country. It is particularly impossible in a small country such as this, with relatively undeveloped resources, with its industrial possibilities little more than scratched, and which is striving to produce many commodities for which it previously relied on other countries. Free trade, in my opinion, means a continuance of the policy adopted by the Fine Gael Party of allowing this country to be used as a dumping ground for the produce of every other country. Free trade will mean the closing down of our own industries and making it impossible for them to survive as against external competition. Free trade will mean more unemployment for our people. While it may mean cheap food for our people, we shall be-living in such conditions that our people will not be able to buy the commodities, cheaper though they may be than those produced in our own industries.

What about the sweat shops of which you spoke at one time?

The Deputy seems to know so much about them that he ought to make a speech.

I am quoting the Deputy.

You are wise in that. If you continue to do that, you will not go far wrong.

It was you described them as "sweat shops."

Deputy Morrissey thought that this motion provided an ideal opportunity for attacking the Labour Party. I do not know whether Deputy Morrissey's association with Deputy McGilligan on this motion is just an effort by Deputy Morrissey to prove that he has now swallowed the whole philosophy and policy of the Fine Gael Party. There was a time when Deputy Morrissey did not think so highly of Fine Gael or of the Deputy whose name is associated with his in connection with this motion. According to the Official Report of Debates, volume 20, column 40, Deputy Morrissey opposed the nomination of Deputy McGilligan as Minister for Industry and Commerce. He explained his opposition by saying that "the Cosgrave Government had failed in their fundamental duty to a large body of citizens." On that occasion, Deputy Anthony told us that there were 200,000 unemployed people during the middle of that summer. On a later occasion, Deputy Morrissey, speaking on the same subject—the nomination of Deputy McGilligan as Minister for Industry and Commerce —said:—

"I do contend that he (Deputy McGilligan) has never shown the least grasp of the position in this country from the point of view of a Minister for Industry and Commerce."

Later in the same speech, he said:—

"The Minister has never approached the question of unemployment from a humane point of view."

In the same speech, Deputy Morrissey said:—

"I say that this House will be doing a great wrong to a large number of citizens of this country if they put back into this position as Minister for Industry and Commerce a Deputy who has said and reiterated that it is not the duty of the Department or of the Government with which he is connected to find work for many who are on the verge of starvation."

Deputy Morrissey's opinion of Deputy McGilligan at any time does not seem to me to be relevant to this motion.

It is very nice for us to hear.

That is not my concern.

Mr. Morrissey

I thought 32/- a week was very bad until you fixed 21/-. If I said that about a man who was paying 32/- a week, what should I say about a Government that pays 21/-?

I suggest to Deputy Morrissey that he ought not to devote so much time to endeavouring to discover inconsistencies in the Labour Party's policy, or Labour Party utterances, while inconsistencies of the kind I have referred to exist in the official records of this House. It may be that Deputy Morrissey has converted Deputy McGilligan to his point of view. That may have happened, and if Deputy Morrissey has achieved that result, it is certainly an achievement of which he is entitled to feel proud; on the other hand, I imagine that Deputy McGilligan would stoutly resist any suggestion that he had been converted from the policy which Deputy Morrissey denounced in such unmeasured terms. I submit that I am entitled to suggest to Deputy Morrissey, when he goes looking for inconsistencies, that there is quite a tidy monument of inconsistencies available in the records of this House which show that Deputy Morrissey advocates one thing one day, and on another day can be induced to swallow his own words when the political wheel shifts.

Mr. Morrissey

Will the Deputy show where I am swallowing my own words?

I thought I had shown it already by proving to the Deputy that he is now associated, arm in arm, with a Deputy who, he said, was a Minister in the Government which had reiterated that it was not the duty of the Government with which he was connected to find work for many who were on the verge of starvation. If the Deputy cannot see the inconsistency there, I give up all efforts at trying to show it to him.

This motion has been availed of for the purpose of a general examination of the whole question of the standard of living of the people. Some speakers have taken the view that the standard of living has increased, while others have taken the view that the standard of living has decreased. That kind of argument has perhaps an academic interest for some people, but the point of view which concerns me most is that, whether the standard of living has increased or decreased, the fact remains that it is appallingly low to-day for tens of thousands of people who live in this country. Deputy Moore intervened on this motion and took us on an international review of the position in other countries. He quoted some of the Scandinavian countries and told us that Scandinavia to-day was reeking with depression, whereas if Deputy Moore had consulted any authority on the matter, had even gone to the trouble of looking up official statistics available in the Library here, he would have realised that the Scandinavian countries are the outstanding examples in Europe to-day of their capacity to manage their business constructively and to deal as democratic Governments with the social evils which affect these countries. Everybody who has attempted to write on the economic position in Scandinavia has paid tribute to the manner in which the democratic Scandinavian countries have been able to surmount their difficulties without resort to the evil of dictatorship which has afflicted other lands.

Does that apply to Denmark?

It applies to Norway, Sweden and Denmark, where, I suggest, the standard of living is substantially higher than it is here to-day, and Sweden is the outstanding example among that group of Scandinavian nations. Deputy Moore was not satisfied with an excursion to Scandinavia. He thought he would go to New Zealand as well and he painted a picture of coming bankruptey for that country, when, as a matter of fact, everybody who has any knowledge of the position, or who has taken any trouble to inquire into it, knows that New Zealand to-day is passing through a period of prosperity which it has never before experienced.

Mr. Morrissey

The Ottawa Pact.

No, the Labour Government. The population of New Zealand is approximately half the population of this country. Deputy Moore tells us that there is depression there and prosperity here, but a comparison of the depression there and the prosperity here might well make a number of our people wish they were afflicted with New Zealand depression instead of Free State prosperity. The rate of unemployment benefit in New Zealand was increased recently to £1 for a single man and 35/- for a married man, plus 4/- a week for each dependent child. When you compare 35/- a week for a married man, plus 4/- for each dependent child, with the 12/6 maximum unemployment assistance paid here, a substantial difference reveals itself. The unemployed father of a family of seven children receives three guineas a week in New Zealand and in Saorstát Eireann he receives 12/6 a week.

What does he receive for work?

I will tell the Deputy that if he will be a little patient. The New Zealand Government pays old-age pensions to women at 60 and to men at 65 at a rate of 22/6 a week and the pension payable to a husband and wife, when both are eligible for a pension, is £2 5s. per week. The widows' pension was recently increased in the case of a widow with dependent children from 10/- to £1 per week when the Labour Government took office, and in addition, a widow receives 10/- per week for each dependent child under 15 years of age. Invalidity pensions are payable in New Zealand, but, of course, they are not payable here. The rate is £1 per week to the man permanently incapacitated for work and in addition, there is an allowance of 10/- a week for the wife and 10/- a week for each child under 16 years of age. Some Fine Gael Deputy has asked what the rate of wages is. Under legislation passed in New Zealand establishing an arbitration board to fix basic rates of wages at a level sufficient to enable an adult male worker to maintain a wife and three children in a fair and reasonable standard of comfort, the basic rate fixed for the lowest grade of worker is £3 16s. per week.

Would they take any Irishmen over there?

It is a pity it is not nearer. I imagine they would have a good deal of trouble keeping them out.

Five members of the Cabinet are Irishmen, as a matter of fact.

The standard of living and the wages paid to agricultural workers will provide some food for thought for the Minister for Agriculture, and if it were possible for the Cabinet to do it, he ought to be sent there on an extended holiday.

What did the Deputy say the population of New Zealand was?

1,600,000. The minimum rate of wages for farm workers ranges from 17/6 for those under 17, to £2 2s. for those aged 21 and over. When you want to get a picture of what even capitalist newspapers think of this condition of affairs, you have only to refer to the Financial Times, which has admitted that the New Zealand Government is paying its way, and that the Labour Government there has been an outstanding success. The Irish Monthly, an organ edited by an eminent Irish Jesuit, has selected New Zealand as one of the countries which has set an example to all the Governments of the world in the handling of economic problems.

Mr. Morrissey

It certainly can afford protection.

Deputy Moore selected that country as one of the countries that was staggering on the precipice of bankruptcy, and he told us, in the face of these conditions, that we ought to be glad we were living in Saorstát Eireann to-day. I should like him to offer that suggestion to New Zealand workers, and to suggest that they might take our code, and our impoverished standard of living, and to let us have theirs. I imagine Deputy Moore would not have a cordial reception if he went to New Zealand on a mission of that kind. That shows you the foolish kind of economics that percolate into the minds of people who imagine that everything in this country is lovely. Deputy Moore is probably a reflex in some ways of some people on the Front Benches. Probably they imagine there is depression in New Zealand and prosperity here. There are many Irish workers who would prefer the New Zealand form of depression to the Free State form of prosperity. The Minister for Industry and Commerce spoke for a long time on this motion, and he seemed to me to work himself up to a high degree of enthusiasm at the fact that more motor cars had been purchased, more tobacco and more spirits consumed, as if these were a reliable test of prosperity so far as the working-class people are concerned. The motor cars which, apparently, are being used in increasing numbers, are being purchased by those tariff exploiters to whom the Minister referred at Cork a few days ago. Up to that time it was a kind of high treason amounting almost to sabotage, for anyone to suggest that anyone was exploiting tariffs here. Yet the Minister, having hotly denied that anyone was exploiting the tariffs, a few days ago went and announced that the Government would ruthlessly put down all this tariff exploitation by a few people who wanted to get rich quick. Probably these are the people who have been buying all the motor cars, consuming the tobacco, and treating themselves generally to spirits, apparently by exploiting the community's desire to protect home industries.

The serious portion of the Minister's speech was where he, in that kind of flamboyant cavalier way of his, declared that we were on the high road to prosperity; that our economic and social difficulties were at an end, and that, in fact, there was really nothing to worry about, so far as the standard of the prosperity of the people was concerned. The fact that more motor cars were purchased, more spirits and tobacco consumed indicated the manner in which the economic barometer moved. I suggest to the Minister that there are other tests which could be applied, and that they are better tests, tests which will give more reliable, though perhaps more heart-rending, results. What are the facts of the economic position in this country to-day? After all the after-dinner speeches about prosperity have been made, and when the platform orations about returned prosperity are over, the fact remains that there is a very serious economic problem here to-day. There is a very hard core of unemployment and a substantial amount of economic discontent here. According to the Department's latest figures there are now over 90,000 registered unemployed at the unemployment exchanges. These 90,000 people satisfied the Department that they are unemployed. Everyone knows the inquisition that is held on people before they can get even the miserable stipend that is given under the Unemployment Assistance Act. Most of the 90,000 are in receipt of unemployment assistance benefit, and very substantial numbers are compelled to support a wife and five children on the maximum benefit of 12/6 a week.

In a country that, according to the Minister, is teeming with prosperity, in a country which is using more motor cars, and consuming more tobacco and more spirits, the most that can be offered to an unemployed man, to keep himself, his wife, and five children is the miserable pittance of 12/6 a week. We are offering that to such a man, at a time when the price of the 2-lb. loaf is 6d.; when the unemployed man at the exchanges can get in cash or kind the equivalent of 25 loaves to sustain a family of seven for a week. How does that condition of affairs square with the prosperity that we hear so much about? Is not that condition of affairs a much more reliable test, as to the serious economic position which exists, than warped reports that could be got from the increased use of motor cars or a larger consumption of spirits and tobacco? To-day the unemployed man is compelled to provide for himself, his wife and five children on a pittance which will buy ten loaves of bread and 5 lbs. of butter. The State does not care where the money is to come for rent, fuel, light, clothes, footwear, school-books and the other commodities which should be found in a civilised homestead. The Minister tells us that 12/6 a week is all that the resources of the State could afford. Is that the kind of prosperity that exists in this State? Is that the kind of economic fabric he can give us after five years of Fianna Fáil government?

We do not need merely to take the figures in respect of unemployment to test the serious economic position that exists. Other tests can be imposed. The best test is emigration. Every day in the week, and every week in the year the position at the ports tells its own tale. Thousands and thousands of the virile manhood and womanhood are leaving to find employment in Great Britain. It is sought to justify that on the grounds that Great Britain is passing through a boom period and that what is attracting the manhood and womanhood of this country are the standards of wages that cannot be got here. Everyone knows perfectly well that if work was available here, at reasonable rates of wages, Irishmen and women would remain here, rather than be attracted elsewhere by higher rates of wages. There is no prosperity in the rural areas, and the unemployed are compelled to exist on the miserable pittance of 12/6 a week. It is the fact that they are condemned to try to eke out a livelihood on rotational schemes, for which they get, in many cases, not more than 12/- a week, and they are forced to select the emigrant ship as the lesser of two evils. I move the adjournment of the debate, as I understand there is to be some discussion about the Dáil sitting to-morrow.

There was an arrangement that the adjournment would be moved at 10 o'clock.

Debate adjourned.