Committee on Finance. - Agreement with the United Kingdom (Capital Sum) Bill, 1938—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. The purpose of this Bill is to give authority for the issue out of the Central Fund of any sum, not exceeding £10,000,000, required to give effect to any Act of the present session, for the carrying out of the Financial Agreement which was made on the 25th day of April of this year between this Government and the Government of the United Kingdom. The Bill also provides a charge on the Central Fund for principal and interest on all securities issued under it. I do not think it is necessary for me to detain the House by making a long speech in regard to this matter. The terms of the Financial Agreement have been already approved of by the House, and the powers we are seeking under the Bill are those which it is desirable we should have in order to give effect to the decision of the Dáil in that regard. I may say that it is our intention at an early date to ask our citizens to assist the Exchequer in making good this payment, and I have no doubt our request will be very favourably received. I have no doubt that as on a previous occasion, when all Parties in this House were asked to assist in undertaking the conversion of the first National Loan their cordial co-operation will be forthcoming, and, therefore, I have no doubt whatever of our ability to raise the £10,000,000 required to fulfil the Agreement.

I have not been approached in connection with this matter, other than what has been stated by the Minister for Finance, in asking the citizens of this State to subscribe to a Loan for this purpose. No doubt, every person of goodwill who has the interests of the country at heart will recommend the acceptance of the Loan. In the new circumstances which will arise directly this Agreement is implemented, the prospects for the agricultural section of the community will be much more favourable. Those favourable reactions must affect, beneficially, industrial activities throughout the State and, in consequence, the filling of this Loan is a matter upon which any person, who has any knowledge whatever of business, in the best interests of the country, would be anxious to recommend to the people.

Has the Minister anything to say in regard to any suggestions made from other quarters, that the money should be raised in another way?

Yes, I have given the fullest consideration to a suggestion which, I think, appeared recently in the newspapers, and I am satisfied that this is the only way in which this money could be economically raised, and that it is in the best interests of our country that it should be raised by public subscription.

This Bill is, of course, absolutely necessary to carry out the Agreement. The raising of this money and the payment to Great Britain were agreed to by the House last week and as the Minister has pointed out, by accepting the Agreement it must agree to accept this Bill, and must also do its best to see that the money is raised. Otherwise, the Agreement could not be carried out. Whatever may be thought about the Bill, everyone must agree that the most must be made out of the Agreement. It is, I take it, a definite settlement between the two countries. On this side, we are glad that the Agreement was made with Great Britain. That, I think, is one of the best things about this Bill and I think we should help in every way to carry out the Agreement. The best thing about it is that practically the whole country is committed to it, and that, therefore, it will be carried out.

I have merely to say that what the Leader of the Opposition said is true, that no indication was given to any Party in the House that I would make a request for the co-operation of all sections. Therefore, I may say that I appreciate all the more the very ready, spontaneous and sympathetic reception which that request has met with.

Question put and agreed to.