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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 6 Jul 1938

Vol. 72 No. 4

Committee on Finance. - Vote 57: Industry and Commerce.

I move:—

Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £361,635 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníochta i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí Oifig an Aire Tionnscail agus Tráchtála maraon le hIldeontaisí-i-gCabhair.

That a sum not exceeding £361,635 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, including sundry Grants-in-Aid.

Deputies have, I am sure, noted the various details of the Estimate as set out in the Book of Estimates. The total of the Estimate for the year shows an increase of £52,169 over the Estimate for last year, an increase which is due mainly to the necessity for increased provision under three sub-heads:— sub-head A for Salaries, Wages and Allowances; sub-heads I and J for Exhibitions and Fairs, and sub-head M for the Production of Industrial Alcohol.

The increase under sub-head A, the sub-head relating to salaries, wages and allowances, calls for no special comment as it is due mainly to automatic increases in individual salaries. The total staff, as Deputies will have noted, has remained practically the same as in last year. There was a slight increase, the figure in 1937-38 being 587 and for 1938-39 being 595.

The increased provision under sub-heads I and J for Exhibitions and Fairs arises first because we decided to build an Irish Pavilion at the Glasgow Exhibition which is now proceeding, and, secondly, because it was proposed to have an Irish Pavilion at the New York World Fair which is to be held next year. It is the opinion of the Government that expenditure upon suitable displays at important international exhibitions is money well spent and will repay itself in increased trade and in increased tourist business.

The increased provision under item M for production of industrial alcohol is very largely a book-keeping item. The five industrial alcohol distilleries will be working continuously this year, and the increase in the Estimate is due mainly to the consequential increased expenditure contemplated in respect of raw materials. The Estimate is based upon the assumption that 35,000 tons of potatoes will be purchased. This is probably the last year that that particular sub-head will appear. On the assumption that the Industrial Alcohol Bill which is now before the Dáil will be enacted, that Bill will transfer the operation of the industrial alcohol enterprise from the Department of Industry and Commerce to the company to be established under the Bill. The total provision in respect of that service in this year includes a sum of £61,700 for capital expenditure. The anticipated receipts from the sale of industrial alcohol are estimated to reach £168,000.

There is on the Order Paper a motion in the names of Deputies Pattison and Davin that the Estimate be reduced by £100 in respect of item A. A motion of that kind is usually indicative, not of any desire on the part of the Deputies concerned to reduce the particular sub-head, but of their intention to raise some particular matter relating to the activities of the Department. I may say I have had no information that any particular matter is to be raised on the motion and, consequently, I cannot deal at this stage with whatever the two Deputies have in mind.

The activities of the Department of Industry and Commerce, as Deputies are aware, cover a very wide field, and it is not possible in the course of a short statement introducing the Estimate to make more than a very brief reference to matters of major impor tance or particular interest which arose during the 12 months since the Estimate for the Department was previously before the Dáil. The work of the Department in the promotion and development of industrial activities is still the most important part of its programme. Many new industries were established during the past year, and also during that period plans were prepared and completed which will result in the establishment of an additional number of new industrial enterprises during the coming 12 months. Perhaps it is not necessary, it is probably even not practicable, to refer to these developments in detail, but it is, I think, noteworthy that there has been no evidence of any slackening of interest in the industrial possibilities of this country. Quite the contrary.

It is true that during the earlier portion of this year the uncertainty which was created by the prolongation of the negotiations in London had a considerable adverse effect upon industrial output and industrial employment, which did not entirely disappear when the Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom was signed and published, due to the inaccurate statements which were published in the Press from industrialists and others, which had the effect of continuing the state of uncertainty, with its consequential ill effects. It is only now that a clear understanding of the position has been obtained in trading circles and the resumption of trade upon a more normal basis is taking place. Conditions here were also affected to some extent, and perhaps are still being affected, by international circumstances, which have produced in some countries a marked recession in industrial outlook and activity. It is to be hoped that the disimprovement in world conditions is only temporary. The new circumstances existing here make it possible for us, in any case, to face the future with confidence, in the belief that we will be able to overcome our difficulties and ensure a continuance of our industrial activities and industrial expansion.

The outstanding event of the year was, of course, the conclusion of a Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom. It is, perhaps, not necessary to refer to that Trade Agreement in detail. The details of it are, I think, well known to Deputies, and it was debated here on more than one occasion within the past couple of months. The length of the period during which the negotiations were in progress, and my preoccupation and the preoccupation of the senior officials of my Department with the conduct of the negotiations, upset the Department's programme to a considerable extent, and necessitated delay in respect of many matters, some legislative and some administrative, on which I had intended early action to be taken. The general election which took place last month was a further cause of upset, and it may be some time before we will be able to make up arrears of work on that programme.

During the course of the year, efforts were also made to put on a better basis our trade relations with the United States of America, with Australia, New Zealand, the Argentine, Brazil, and with certain other countries. There has been some evidence of a tendency on the part of some of our new industrial establishments to look abroad for outlets for their surplus production, and that tendency has increased our interest in concluding trade agreements with countries to which we exported very little heretofore. During the course of the year, also, efforts were made, by administrative action and otherwise, to secure an improvement in the quality and the variety of goods manufactured in Ireland.

In that connection I might make particular reference to the establishment of an advisory commission on industrial design. That advisory commission held its first meeting in November last. I do not think the importance of the work of that commission can be overstressed, and I suggest that the thanks of the Dáil are due to the many busy people who voluntarily agreed to act upon that commission, and who are devoting a considerable proportion of their time to its work.

The work of the Turf Development Board, which is also financed in this Estimate, proceeded during the year according to plan. Possibly the best compliment which could be paid to the board is to say that its work proceeded according to plan. As Deputies are aware, the Turraun Peat Works was acquired by the board in 1935, and has since been in regular production. The development of the bog at Clonsast, near Portarlington, which was commenced in 1936, is proceeding, and it is possible one machine will be in operation there towards the end of the coming production season. Another at Lyrecrompane, in County Kerry, commenced production during the present season. The board also co-operates in marketing hand-won turf produced by co-operative societies, but that function will be gradually relinquished by it and transferred to the co-operative societies themselves. During the next few years a considerable amount of attention will be paid to the survey of large bogs to determine their suitability for machine production, and in suitable cases the preliminary drainage of these bogs will be put in hands.

I do not know if the Dáil would wish me to give any detailed review of the Department's activities under the Factories and Workshops Acts, the Trade Board Acts, the Apprenticeship Act or the Conditions of Employment Act. Such a review might take a long time. But if any Deputy desires to raise any point in relation to the administration of these statutes I will deal with it in my reply. Similarly the operation of the Control of Prices Act might call for some comment. The new Act has barely begun to operate. I am glad to be able to report that there is some substantial evidence of increased public interest in the protection afforded through the powers of the Prices Commission and the Controller of Prices. The commission has been occupied with an investigation into bacon prices, and they are now, of course, facing the volume of new work falling upon them under the terms of the Agreement with the United Kingdom. Provision is also made in this Estimate for the Industrial Research Council. I do not propose to refer to that matter in detail as the report of the council will be available shortly. This deals fully with its activities under its various heads. There are, of course, many other activities of the Department of which Deputies are aware. If there is any desire to get any information concerning them or to raise any point concerning them I will be prepared to deal fully with such points when replying. I am merely at this stage drawing attention to the outstanding features of the Estimate and I formally submit the motion to the Dáil leaving for discussion later any matters in which Deputies might be particularly interested.

In moving the amendment standing in my name, that the Estimate be reduced by £100, I want first of all to say that I am one who fully appreciates that the Department of Industry and Commerce is a very big Department and that the Minister's job is not an easy one. I concede to the Minister, as many people in this country do, the credit that he is a very hard-working Minister. But I think even the Minister himself will agree with me that having regard to the matters which were brought to his attention by members of the Labour Party, particularly on the occasion of the last discussion on this Estimate, by this time there should be some overhauling and some improvement made with regard to certain branches of the Department. First of all I want to deal with the very important branch — the employment branch. To those Deputies in the House who have to deal with that branch I extend the greatest sympathy. As one who has had a good deal of connection with the work of that branch I want to say very definitely that it is time that the Minister would bring about some improvement so as to deal with the delay that occurs in regard to applications sent in by unfortunate citizens who have to try to exist on unemployment assistance. I could not describe strongly enough in any words of mine the hardships caused by those delays.

Unfortunately people with dependents have to wait for periods of two or three months before they know exactly what they are to be allowed under that Act. Frequently they are no sooner in receipt of that allowance than they are suspended because of the receipt by the Department of an anonymous communication sometimes to the effect that they are working and signing. At other times the communication is to the effect that they are not genuinely seeking work. I think that the question of anonymous communications should be very seriously considered by the Minister. After all, it is not fair to our people who are compelled to seek unemployment assistance that they should be the victims of people who, apparently, have nothing else to do to occupy their time but writing anonymous letters for no other purpose than to punish still further these unfortunate people.

Another aspect of the administration of the Act is in connection with the investigation of means. One finds frequently cases where the circumstances are exactly the same and yet the Department makes an assessment of the means which only provides ultimately for about half the maximum benefit to one applicant, whereas another in exactly the same circumstances gets the maximum rate. I have endeavoured to get from the Minister's Department some idea of the basis on which the means are assessed. I have been told that it is confidential and that it is a document that cannot be given to a Deputy or to anybody else. Yet I find without any difficulty I can obtain that information from another Department. It is understood that the same experts are, in fact, responsible for dealing with the means assessment in both Departments. Apart from the fact that you can get the documents from one Department and not from another, I see no reason why it should not be made available by the Minister's Department. My intention is, after all, to help not only those I represent, but the Minister's Department as well. I think the Minister should welcome information from any Deputy with regard to an injustice done to any citizen under the means test. I ask the Minister again to have some arrangement made whereby Deputies of this House ought to be trusted in confidence with this information.

Another activity of the Minister's Department is the inspection of workshops and factories. I think I could get a good many people to agree with me that the manner in which that work is carried out is farcical to a large extent. Any of us who go through the country and who go into some of the factories — even some of the new factories that we hear so much about — know full well the conditions under which workers have to carry on their work, and from enquiries we make we find that, in some cases, inspectors have never been seen. I have to complain also that I see no reason why an inspector, if he visits a district, should consult only the employers. I think that where the workers are members of a Trade Union or have some representative, if there is to be consultation at all, it ought to be on both sides. Also, under the Conditions of Employment Act, 1936, I have to regret the Minister's failure to give effect to the registration of agreements. I hope that is a matter which will engage his early attention.

I regret also to have to say, with regard to a very important new industry started in the city of Kilkenny — the only industry, in fact, that Kilkenny got as a result of the Government's intensive tariff policy — that great uncertainty prevails there in the homes of many workers who were employed in that factory. I know some of the young men in that factory who could have entered other employment a few years ago, but they thought that the establishment of this factory was going to give them better prospect in life. I know that the Minister is not in ignorance of the position, but yet I think it is my duty to refer to it on this Vote and to express the hope that the Minister's Department will have something done whereby more contentment and security are given to the people, both those who have invested money in it as well as those who are dependent for a livelihood on the wages they earn in the industry.

I just wanted to avail of this opportunity to bring these few points forward, and I want to say very definitely that I do not raise them in a destructive manner — a thing that is frequently easy to do, or, in fact, always easy to do. I want to say that, as a member of this House, I shall always be only too happy and willing to help the Minister or his Department in any way, but I feel very keenly with regard to many of our people who have suffered at the hands of the Minister's Department that he ought at this stage to have something done to avoid these unfortunate happenings in the future. I had an opportunity during the recent general election of quoting the many statements of the Minister on the problem of unemployment and the very definite solution he had for it, but I do not propose to quote them now. I wish to say, however, in regard to it, that I always held the view that the Minister's Department, the Department of Industry and Commerce, has as its main function the duty to inform the unemployed people where work is likely to be had, and that it was a kind of information bureau for the local offices of his Department. That seems to have been forgotten. I am not aware that even at the moment there is a register in each of the local offices to show people where there are likely vacancies. On the contrary, what we do find is that an unfortunate unemployed person is challenged frequently to know what he is doing to find work, and if he is not able to show a number of communications or letters from different employers, he is told that he is not genuinely seeking work and he is struck off and has to fill in an appeal form. Then, when a fortnight or a month has passed, it is a matter for a court of referees, and then sent up to Dublin, and if some little flaw is found in it in Dublin it is sent back again and there are more excursions very often between Dublin Castle and the local office before a decision is given. I think that state of affairs should not prevail in this Christian country of ours, and I think that the main function of the Department of Industry and Commerce so far as the unemployed are concerned is to make such information available and that every effort ought to be made to encourage employers to recruit the necessary labour through the Department's local offices. I hope that the Minister will give his early and careful attention to the points I have raised.

In the Minister's modest recital of the activities of his Department to-day — an unusually modest one — certain operations of the Department have been referred to. There are some that have not been included, and I want to make a plea for a part of the country and a constituency that has had no practical experience of the beneficent rule of the Minister through his Department. I stated some time ago in the House that I represented a constituency where the industrial policy of the Government had no local application or effect whatever, but that in fact we had had one industry for a considerable time that has practically disappeared. I refer now to the slate-quarrying industry in West Cork. In the decline that has taken place recently the result has been the unemployment of, I think, about 250 men, as far as I could compute the figures carefully, and we now find that local authorities through the co-operation of the Department of Local Government, which is probably in harmony with the Department of Industry and Commerce, are being advised and urged to use alternative roofing materials to slate. What represents the only industrial effort noticeable in West Cork has almost disappeared, and I should like to get from the Minister, during the course of this discussion, his views as to whether that condition of affairs ought to be permitted to continue. A number of the smaller quarries have completely closed down, and the one or two main quarries that remain are working with very heavily reduced staffs. Having regard to the fact that the State housing programme is still very far short of being completed, are we to understand that in future, roofing tiles of concrete and asbestos slates are going to take the place of Irish slates, even in the South, where the local material is entirely superior and where it also represents the only means of employment for a very large number of men. If that is so, I think it is a very bad situation, and the Minister should give serious consideration to it with a view to changing it.

I make a very strong plea here for the working men of West Cork who were employed in the slate quarries, and who have nothing to do now except to join in the painful processions to the labour exchange, and the weary pilgrimages to the appeal courts associated with the Unemployment Insurance Act and the Unemployment Assistance Act. I make the plea actually in the hope that the Minister has not entirely forgotten the slate deposits in West Cork and the need for giving to the local people, through the medium of an industry at their own doors, the opportunity of getting a reasonable living out of that industry in the future. I support what Deputy Pattison has said, and I want to express my own view that conditions at headquarters in regard to unemployment assistance administration seem to be nothing short of chaotic. The position is better than it was, but the position when the Unemployment Assistance Act was passed and for a very considerable time afterwards was indescribable. I think it is no exaggeration to apply that description to the situation. The sending of unemployed people from Pilate to Herod and from Herod to Pilate, and all the investigations and inquiries that had to take place in regard to the administration of this Unemployment Assistance Act, have made the position deplorable from the point of view of the people who had to try and get home assistance or some other charitable assistance in the meantime. I think a good deal of this would be found to be unnecessary.

I also want to make a protest against the very long time that it takes to issue a decision in cases in which a member of this House has made representations to the Department. It sometimes takes two or three months before a reply emanates from the Department, and then one finds that the matter has been examined a very considerable time before that. Is there no method in the Department of having correspondence brought up to date? If there is not, then the Department is a very antiquated and outworn one in regard to that particular aspect of its service. The whole position with regard to the Unemployment Assistance Act and its administration is still very unsatisfactory. I ask the Minister — and I do not want to ask him in any apologetic way, because I think it is the right of a member of this House — to look into this matter and see what is wrong at headquarters in connection with this whole matter. I am a member of a court of referees. I have seen recommendations or decisions of the court taken, and it was several weeks afterwards before they were either officially turned down or officially sanctioned. I think there is no need whatever for a situation of that kind, and I think it would be well if some people were occasionally made to understand in some way the agony and the misery that involved for the unfortunate people who are the victims of that kind of system.

I want also to add my voice to the plea that has been made that members of this House should have some opportunity of making representations in individual cases. It seems to me that our opportunities in that respect are largely if not completely barred. One writes a letter about a particular case, and the person's papers are suddenly called for from Bantry or Skibbereen or some other remote country town and taken up to headquarters. The investigation of the case proceeds in the absence of the person concerned. That is probably inevitable, but it is not inevitable that it should proceed in the absence of the public representative who is interested in that case and who desires to make representations on behalf of the particular person concerned. The fact is that the position of the people involved in certain cases — whether they arise from some particular mistake on the part of the recipient of unemployment assistance, or whether they arise from some particular action of his that is wrong and not in accordance with the Acts, or whether they arise from the activities of some malicious minded neighbour who is anxious to write a letter to the Department, very often to ventilate some private spleen arising out of another matter — is a very unenviable one. I think that there ought to be— as there is in the old age pensions branch of the Department of Local Government, and recently in the widows' and orphans' pensions Department — an opportunity for making personal recommendations in cases of that kind, and for hearing the pros and cons of the case discussed. If there is not, I adhere to the view that the position of the unemployed person whose case is being decided in his absence, and who has had no opportunity of making his particular point of view, or bringing any facts that are of weight to the notice of the people who are giving the decision, is entirely unsatisfactory.

I want also to call attention to a question that has been raised in this House very often, and over a number of years, and that is the position of the small farmer in rural areas from whom contributions under the Unemployment Insurance Act are extracted without any benefit afterwards. The man who has a small holding, sometimes with a valuation of £7 or £8, finds an opportunity of getting carting work from the county council for 14 or 15 weeks at a time, but when that employment is discontinued he almost certainly finds that, when he tries to get unemployment insurance benefit following the payment of the contributions referred to, he is refused. He is informed that he has work on his holding which he can go back to, and that consequently he is not entitled to make a claim of this kind. There ought to be some finality about this matter. If contributions are payable in respect of the employment, it is a very unsatisfactory position for such people to find that no benefits whatever are derivable from them. I feel that this matter ought to be looked into further, although it is a subject that has been discussed without very much result over a very long time. In fact it is one of the items that I have heard discussed on and off in this House since I entered it a number of years ago.

With regard to the main question of unemployment the position is of course most unsatisfactory. One is struck by the difference between the manner in which the Minister has introduced this Estimate and discussed it, and the tone and tenor of a number of statements that emanated from him a number of years ago. The position, according to the Minister for Finance and some of his colleagues, is that we have reached a point in this country where we regard unemployment as inevitable, as something in the nature of a visitation from God, which we have to accept and be thankful that it is not worse. That is a confession of failure which one would hardly expect to see so fully confirmed a short time after the animated hopes of general employment which were held out to the people of the country. I do not want to labour that point. The lesson is obvious to anyone who wants to face it in an unprejudiced and honest way, but it is certainly a lamentable state of affairs. It is more lamentable when the miserable and inadequate provision made for the unemployed people cannot reach them in any reasonable time, and when they are subject to all kinds of inquisitions and delays, exaggerated assessments of means and all the other things which have made some of us feel that there is very little sympathy in certain quarters for the unemployed people who have to look to the labour exchanges for whatever financial solace, and it is limited enough, they can obtain.

I strongly add my own views to what has been said by my colleague in regard to the manner in which the Act has been dealt with at headquarters. I feel that there ought to be some opportunity of establishing local machinery whereby cases of this kind could be quickly decided, rather than having the long wait and the unsatisfactory position that exists at the present time. I bring the facts to the notice of the Minister, and end with the hope that the idea, as far as industry is envisaged by the Department, will not be forgotten. In west Cork it is the main industry, if not the only one apart from agriculture, that existed there, and it is disappearing. I want to see whether the Minister has any views as to how that industry could be preserved and the men restored to their employment.

I inferred from Deputy Murphy's remarks that we have passed from Subhead A.

The practice is to discuss the amendment first.

To discuss industrial policy at the present time is like treading on eggs. To discuss it in circumstances when the Banking Commission's report is held up, and when general policy regarding industry, subsequent to the Agreement with Great Britain, has been so little expounded, means that we are treading on eggs. I do not wish to deal with that to any extent now, but I think the Minister ought to take the House more into his confidence as to what the general line of industrial development is going to be, following the Agreement with Great Britain. It was suggested to-day by the Taoiseach that before the Banking Commission's report is published — if it is to be published — some aspects of it may be such that Government action will have to be taken before the public are given— if they are to be given it at all — the report of that commission on some aspects of our economic position. I think the remarks of the Taoiseach to-day will add to the anxiety of some industrialists. If his remarks do not apply to the industrial side, but rather to the economic position, then, in the interests of manufacturers, the Minister for Industry and Commerce should, on this Estimate, tell us whether the Taoiseach's remarks applied to manufacturing business or not. I suggest that they did, because, as far as agriculture is concerned, it has at least been put back into the market in Great Britain that it had before being damaged, somewhat. As far as industry is concerned, some industrialists do not know exactly where they stand under the present Agreement. They are in the position, happily, that, in so far as the external market in Great Britain has been restored to farmers, the purchasing power of our people will be, to some extent, re-established. There are other industries, the boot industry, for instance, to which Deputy Pattison referred, in very definite difficulty as a result of the continuous keeping down of the purchasing power of the people during the last five or six years. It remains to be seen whether the boot industry can maintain itself to the extent that it has been established here.

It will require a certain number of months for a disclosure of the general report on the economic position made by the Banking Commission before anyone could make any kind of a fair estimate as to the future of some of the industries recently established. In the meantime, I ask the Minister for Industry and Commerce to do his part by shedding as much light as possible on the economic situation. Deputy Murphy stated that the Minister had made a rather mild statement on this Estimate, and that it was the first time that he had ever done so. All the rainbow colouring of the Minister has been dropped. That is no harm. We ought to be able to see things in a somewhat clearer light now. In relation to that, I might point out that particulars were published, beginning in 1933, dealing with a series of industries, and that was carried on for a few years. I should like to ask why these particulars have been dropped for one particular set of industries that are of very great importance, if our economic life is to be kept under review. In early issues, and up to last year, a statement about economic industries appeared in the Irish Trade Journal, giving particulars of the number of working days lost through trade disputes. The issue for December last instead of bringing these particulars up-to-date dealt with other industries. From March last no information is given about the number of days lost in trade disputes. The Trade Journal has been issued for two quarters of this year and that table has been taken out. The Minister must be aware that during the last five or six years the number of days lost each year owing to trade disputes has risen considerably. The average number of days lost each month was 8,450 in 1929; 6,451 in 1930, and 25,850 in 1931. In 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936 and 1937 there was a very substantial rise in the number of days lost. In 1933 the average number of days lost per month was 16,680; in 1934, 15,010; in 1935, 24,010; in 1936, 15,470, and for the first three months of 1937 about 13,000. There is a substantial increase every year in the position compared with pre-1931, and that is characteristic. I might say, of our economic situation at the present time. Why these facts should be so systematically hidden, by taking the different graphs, which were part of the planning of our economic situation, out of the returns is disconcerting.

At the present time the city of Dublin is faced with a bread strike and a milk strike. If the Minister tells us that there is no danger of that, everyone in the city will be relieved.

I mentioned that they were the only two.

There are usually more than that?

But bad as the other strikes are, both in their effects on the workers, on employers generally, and on the people who depend upon their products, the Minister will admit that a threatened bread strike as well as a threatened milk strike in the City of Dublin is of much greater importance than any other strike he could think of.

The Minister in dealing with his Estimates glosses over the fact of these substantially increased figures over a number of years in strikes. I raised the matter in order to ask him to let us have the facts, and it is only in the clear light of all the facts that anybody can help him or that he may get the criticism from the Opposition to steer him in anything like a proper course. I think we would like to hear from the Minister before he closes what exactly is the position with regard to the threatened strike for milk and bread in the City of Dublin.

We would also like to hear from the Minister why, now that the Prices Commission has been turned to the examination of quite a number of things, a list of which was given recently, he does not take some of the most important things first and why he does not get down to the really crying shame and that is the price of bread, I say the price of bread at the present time is a matter that is hitting every home in the City of Dublin and particularly the working-class home, and that before any elaborate work is taken by the Prices Commission in connection with any of the industries that have been marked down on its present list, he should get the Prices Commission or some other machinery to get down to the bottom of why the price of bread is so exorbitantly high at the present time.

The price of bread is fixed at the present time; it is controlled.

It is fixed at a price that is a scandal.

It is fixed according to the report of the Prices Commission.

Then the Minister, I suggest, ought to get some other machinery than the Prices Commission to go into the matter, because a thorough examination of the price of bread should disclose that it is unjust and unnecessary.

I merely want to draw the attention of the Deputy to the fact that that examination has been made and the factors which are responsible for the price of bread are known to those who have read the report of the Prices Commission. Further examination is not necessary.

If we are to judge the competency of the Prices Commission machinery to tell us whether an Irish industry should be continued or have its operations reduced or anything like that, by the work they have done on the price of bread, then the Irish manufacturers may have greater dangers in front of them than they know of.

The Deputy is misunderstanding the functions of the commission.

If the function of the commission as far as bread is concerned is not to see that the people who pay for their bread are not charged an exorbitant price, then I do not know what their functions are to be.

Their function is to see that there is not an exorbitant profit.

Did they examine the question of flour and bread?

We are talking of bread only.

Do I understand from the Minister that the Prices Commission has no function at all to see whether the price charged the retail buyer of bread is a reasonable price for bread or not?

They have, and they have done that.

Well, then, comparing the price of bread now with the price six or seven years ago, if we are to judge the capacity of the Prices Commission by their certificate given to the present price of bread, then I think that before Irish manufacturers are asked to deal with it the Prices Commission ought to be scrapped and some other machinery set up.

The function of the Prices Commission is to prevent too much profit to the manufacturers of bread.

My point is that the people are charged an exorbitant price for bread to-day in spite of the fact that they are asked to pay here £8,000 for the coming year to keep up a Prices Commission.

If that includes the profits of the millers we may get somewhere.

I think what we here are really concerned with is the scandalous price of bread at the present time. The profit of the millers has been reported on a couple of years ago. The blind eye has been completely put to that. But the thing I wish to keep before the Minister is the scandal of the price of bread at the present time, that is a thing that should not be delayed in having his attention.

Again, if there is a danger of there being a bread strike in the City of Dublin I would like to ask the Minister if he has no more helpful suggestion to make to the people wanting bread in Dublin than that which has been made from the Department of Industry and Commerce that they should prepare to do domestic bread-making.

A Deputy

There will be no milk to make the bread.

The present is not a time when we wish to hinder in any way the industrial policy of the Minister. There can be no satisfactory or real review of the Minister's policy until we have seen the Banking Commission's report and until we have had the assistance of that report as well as our own general experience here to relate to the general statements on the development in his policy that we expect to hear from the Minister if not this month, at any rate, within the next month or two, and the changes that are to take place in his policy as a result of the Agreement with Great Britain.

I want to deal with the matter that I gave notice of to the Minister by way of question yesterday. At the outset I want to say that in connection with the matter I am going to refer to I lay very little blame on the Minister himself. I quite agree that he was dealing with parties or individuals that might be a little bit too smart for most people. The situation that I am going to disclose seems to me extraordinary, and what I do blame the Minister and his Department for is to allow themselves to be used as a party to the ultimate end that was reached here. This is in connection with the slate quarries at Carrick-on-Suir. A grant of £4,500 was given.

A loan of £4,500 was given. The Minister referred in his answer yesterday to an amount of £2,250 of a grant. My information was that there were two grants, one of £2,500 and another of £1,500. The Minister might have omitted one of the grants by, perhaps, mistake or his figure may be correct. I am not in a position to dispute it. My information is that two separate grants were given. Before these grants were given I do not know what steps the Minister took when he came into office to see the position of this particular quarry, to see its financial standing, to see in what position it was to meet the obligations it owed to his particular Department. I do not even know what his powers were to examine the books, or if he had any. But there was an extraordinary position here. This is a cheque drawn on behalf of the Carrick-on-Suir slate quarries in favour of the Killaloe slate quarries, a cheque for £3,000. It is signed on behalf of the Carrick-on-Suir slate quarries by J.B. O'Driscoll, director, and William Blair, director, and endorsed on the back as having been paid on behalf of the Killaloe slate quarries, signed by J. B. O'Driscoll again.

The same state of affairs applies to another cheque of £419 13s. 6d., drawn in the same way and signed by the same individuals. The grants were given to develop this quarry. One grant was given for the erection of offices and the other for development. One of the conditions of this development was that a certain number of people be employed. I think 15 was the condition. There were never more than five employed, and those five were let go from the slate quarries and employed on development. When the inspectors or anyone of that type left the place, these people were brought back again on quarry work. The people in the quarry, both the foreman and the five people I have referred to, are prepared to swear an affidavit in that connection.

What was done in the way of development was this: The quarry was 300 feet deep, 150 feet to the water level, and 150 feet over the water level. It was always kept pumped out. When this company started to develop the quarry with your grants they placed over the one real bed in the quarry 4,000 tons of debris, in or about. That was taken and placed right over the bed. It is there yet. Into the quarry proper they heaped perhaps over 1,000,000 tons of debris over the water level. Out of the material over the water level the people who used to work in that quarry recovered a valuable quantity of slates. I might mention that when they did that everything was taken away, not even as much as a staple or a nail being left. The people there made a few tools for themselves. As I have indicated, they used to work in the quarry. They had no anvil or vice and no tools, nothing except their hands and a block of metal with a hole in it. They used that as an anvil and they constructed a vice with a tongs. With tools of that type they succeeded in selling £4,000 worth of slates taken from over the water level, and I may say they have not explored all the possibilities. Anyway, £4,000 worth of slates have been sold from over the water level. They have not explored it all, because it would be too expensive for them to get on to good rock. It would have been much easier to quarry on a new face.

I say that this was deliberate wreckage on the part of the company. It was a deliberate attempt, with the money of the State, to wreck this quarry. It does not require anyone with brains to realise what is the position with regard to the 4,000 tons placed on the top in the way I indicated. The first thing would be to remove all that. The worst thing they did was to fire all the stuff right into the quarry. Here you had quantities of loose stuff and you would have to remove all that again. There is danger sometimes when dealing with the solid rock, but it is impossible to do anything when you are dealing with loose shingle. The whole thing would have to be removed. I say there was a deliberate and successful attempt made to wreck this quarry and put it out of commission for all time.

In Russia wreckers have a short shrift. The only thing I am sorry about is that the people who did this job could not be treated as they would be in Russia. I will not say that the Minister or his advisers have a right to be treated as they treat them in Russia, but I think the Minister must not have exercised any due caution with regard to how this money was spent and what the supposed development was like. I know that one man, I think his name was Lavin, went down on the Minister's behalf on two or three occasions and always notified them that he was going there. Surely he must have seen what was happening if he has any brains at all. I understand one man from a Wicklow quarry, I think it is Shillelagh, and I think his name was Roberts, went down there and examined it—I am sure on the Minister's behalf. The Minister must have seen his report. When he went to the quarry the first thing he said, when he saw the 4,000 tons, was: "Good God, look at that." When he looked further into it I am sure there were more exclamations. I do not know what report he made.

This went on for a time until 1935, when there was a final burst up, and I believe the place went into liquidation and a receiver or somebody else was appointed. Somebody may ask me where did I get those documents, but I am not going to tell. I will tell the Minister all about it if he wants to know.

The Public Safety Act.

A lorry came from Killaloe to take away all the documents after it went into the receiver's hands. If they failed to collect them all, that is their look-out. These documents came into my hands within the last six weeks. The receiver, acting on behalf of the Department, evidently wanted to get some buyers and he began to touch people who would be likely buyers. He sent them to examine the plant, fittings, machinery and equipment. I have here a letter in reply to a telegram sent from the Carrick-on-Suir Slate Quarries to Killaloe warning them that a certain gentleman from Dublin had been on a visit the day before. This is the reply to the telegram:—

"William Blair, Esq.,

"Carrick Slate Quarries,


"Dear Sir,

"We received your wire on Saturday, also letter in confirmation this morning.

"We are doing nothing about Frame, as we think the best thing to do is to sit tight. However, Mr. O'Driscoll has gone to Dublin to-day and will probably be seeing Mr. Dempsey—

I do not know who Dempsey is, or whether he is from the receiver's or the Minister's Department.

"—after which he can decide for himself the best course to adopt. We presume the tenders will be considered in the near future."

Mr. O'Driscoll sat tight, evidently, and then he buys the whole plant and equipment for £104—I think you said that in your answer yesterday?

The figure was £104.18.5.

That figure is not correct. That was the net receipts of the Department, but that was not the price paid.

There was some more than that?

There was more than that paid.

I am not concerned with what it was, but I know it could not represent anything like the value of the machinery. I happen to know something about the price paid for that machinery and the cost of its erection. Here are some of the items:—

Three-ton Anderson-Grice all-steel electric derrick crane, 80 foot jib with a 20 h.p. motor d.c.; No. 2, 30 cwt. derrick crane, fitted for motor drive; No. 3, Anderson-Grice cross cut diamond saw, 36 inch blade with d.c. motor: No. 4, 3 ton overhead hand crane, 26 foot span; No. 5, d.c. motors, one 3 h.p. 500 r.p.m. shunt, starter; one 8 h.p. 750 r.p.m. shunt; one 10 h.p. 800 r.p.m. shunt, starter; one 30 h.p. 800 r.p.m. series, controller; one ¼ h.p. Keith Blackman forge fan; one generator, 220 V. 200 Amp., 675 r.p.m. switch board; one 70 h.p. motor, 380 V. a.c. slip-ring, 715 r.p.m. starter; one 30 h.p. motor, 380 V. a.c. slip-ring, 720 r.p.m. starter; No. 6, Reaveil air compressor, 220 cubic feet per minute; No. 7, air receiver 8 feet by four feet diameter; No. 8, 6 slate dressing machines; No. 9, heavy duty lathe, 6 ft. 6 ins. centres, 14 in. over bed; No. 10, hand or power drilling machine; No. 11, 3 ton Blondin rope crane, 440 ft. span; No. 12, quantity of 4 in., 3 in., 2 in. and 1 in. piping, wiring, loose tools and scrap, 262 yards trace, 2 ft. gauge, lorries and tip wagons.

I do not know what some of these cost, but the first item cost £1,250. Now, there are six or seven pages of these items; I do not wish to read out the lot but under office fittings there is an oak table, armchair, typist's desk, steel letter-filing cabinet, fire-proof safe, tables, chairs, stool, typewriter, electric kettles and lamps, 100 Amp. fuses, files and numerous other things. The garage and oil-house contained a number of tanks, one a 500 gallon petrol tank, steel barrels, etc. In the magazine there were lorry parts, copper strand, detonators and so on. In the engine house there was the Reavel air compresser, belting, lathe shafting and so on. In the shed there were brackets, pulleys, steel lorry, diamond saw and tables, piping, Ingersol Rand air hammers and chain slings. Outside you had turntables, galvanised water tanks, hundreds of yards of 2 inch piping air and piping water. In the old office there were shovels, diamond saw blades, field telephones, magnetos. All these items, running to six or seven pages, were sold for £104 net. Now, this is what I blame you for.

The Deputy must address the Chair.

Well, this is what I blame the Department for: There was machinery there worth thousands of pounds and it was all let go for £104.

It was sold by auction.

There was no "John Browne" there.

I did not catch that remark. I know there is a ring. Nobody knows that better than I do except Deputy Briscoe and Mr. O'Driscoll.

I never sat in with them.

It is an extraordinary thing that there was no commonsense in this matter. An agent of the Minister's should be there and should have bought in this plant. The wrong that has been done to the people of this district is a public and glaring one. It is nothing less than scandalous. Mr. J.B. O'Driscoll, of the Killaloe Slate Quarries, jockeyed the Minister into this and all these goods were let go. This is one of the gravest scandals of our time. I admit that the Department was dealing with somebody a little too good for them. He has got away with all this property. Large numbers of people are suffering huge losses over this. Families who managed to get a living there for hundreds of years have been deprived of their livelihood. Their only resource now is going round in gangs trying to get a living out of what other people threw into the water. These people who had been working there have managed since 1935 to get £4,000 worth of slate lifted up out of the water. That is stuff that had been thrown away. There is not as much as a nail or a slab there now and these people with their hands have taken up this property. They had no cranes, derricks or machinery, but with the most crude instruments they were able to go down there and take up from a depth of 150 feet £4,000 worth of property and sell it. If that is the way the business of the State is to be conducted, God help the State. I do not blame the Minister as much as I would blame him in other circumstances.

The Deputy does not quite know whom he is to blame.

Well, I have the documents here and I am prepared to give them to the Minister if he thinks anything can be done about it now, but I suppose nothing can. If it were possible it would be a good thing if we could get back some of the public money that has been gobbled up and squandered. The worst thing about it is the wrecking of the quarry and preventing anyone ever being able to do anything with it in the future except it is taken up in a national way. Why did not experts who knew their job get an opportunity of taking over and starting that quarry? Loans were given to people who were not able to play the game honestly. It is deplorable to think that all that vast equipment there should have been sold for £105. It was in the Minister's hands and he let it go. In doing so he condemned the people living in that neighbourhood and who have made their living out of that quarry to misery and unemployment for the rest of their lives. If I have ever read a history of utter disgrace and scandal it is this case. I never heard anything like it.

I would like to point out to the Minister the great defects in the Employment Act and especially with regard to arrangements with trade union organisations. At the moment, I understand, the only thing that can be registered is the wages agreement. I am sure the Minister knows that while wage agreements are brought up, there are also conditions of work included in the agreements, and so far as the Act is at the moment, the only registration is of wages agreements. If it is at all possible for the Minister to amend the Act so that agreements between employers and trades unions with regard to conditions and so on could be registered, it would avoid some of the unfair competition in the industries concerned.

I should like to refer to the point made by Deputy Murphy with regard to the delay in meeting the claims of men who are unemployed because their claims have to be investigated. I would suggest that there should be no difficulty in the case of a man who may be idle in the forenoon of a particular day and then get employment in the afternoon. What happens is that, very often, he does not report to the labour exchange that he has been employed on that day, and the result is that, after two or three days, that is found to be the case and his claim is held up for, perhaps, five or six weeks. I do not think there should be any difficulty in a case like that, and I certainly cannot see why a man should be cut off for six or seven weeks when all that is necessary is to deduct the payment for the one day. I think it should be easy to have some method of giving authority to the local people to deal with such cases. I have investigated many of these cases, and when I went to the labour exchange I have been told: "Well, tell him to sign on and we will find out about it, and he will find at the end of five or six weeks that all that will happen is the deduction of a day's wages for the day he was employed." I hold that that should not be necessary, and there is a great hardship in these people having to wait for six or seven weeks for the adjustment of a matter that could be settled by the local people. I should also like to stress again what I suggested as to the amendment of the Conditions of Employment Act so that the registration of these agreements should include conditions of work as well as wages.

In connection with this Estimate, I should like to call attention to subhead L, Minerals Exploration. The sum concerned is £5,500, and I should like to know what we are getting out of that. Is it really a matter of a number of inspectors travelling around the country, or are there annual reports? I put a question down on several occasions about the brick industry that existed as late as 20 years ago in County Galway. An inspector was sent down, and I was promised some copy of a report afterwards, but I never received it, nor did I hear one word about it. You will find, with regard to an industry like that, which was really a hand industry, that quite a number of people were able to make a good living out of it 20 years ago, and now we have the Minister spending this £5,500 every year and we get nothing for it. We have something here about an investigation in the Carrickmacross-Kingscourt area and the Slieve Ardagh area, but as far as I can see, instead of trying to resurrect these old industries that have been worked by hand and to put them on a more modern basis, the policy is to stifle these industries and to start industries of such a kind for the use of which practically all the raw materials have to be imported into the country. It should be the Minister's policy to try to resurrect all these old industries and to develop the natural resources of this country instead of starting new industries and importing the raw materials. We have these new industries being started, and the raw materials for them being imported, and then we find, at the end of a few years, that we have not got a market and are not able to use all the stuff we are manufacturing.

I am very pleased to hear that Deputy Gorey, for the first time, exposed the O'Driscoll racket. The O'Driscoll racket has been a well-known racket in this country for the past five or six years, and I feel that I can safely say that even now at such a late hour, if the Minister gets finished with the O'Driscoll party, he will find that the slate industry of this country will develop. Certainly it is indeed sad to see so many slate quarries in this country in the position in which they are. We find money expended on them — expended on them in order to close them down. That is the position with regard to every slate quarry in this country at the present time. You have slate quarries in Donegal — well, they are probably working fairly well at the present moment — but you have them in Mayo closed down, and the same is happening in other places. The only one that is going, practically at the present time, is the Killaloe quarry. The Minister shakes his head. What percentage of the houses, even of those for which grants are given by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, are roofed with Irish slates? I would say that the percentage is very small. They are roofed with a product which is entirely foreign to this country.

And no good.

Mr. Brodrick

They are roofed with tiles. There is no guarantee for them, and everything that is in that tile is foreign. The machinery is foreign and, up to two months ago, the cement was foreign. The dye that is in them is foreign, and it is juvenile labour. The only thing that is Irish in them is Irish sand. What I am pointing out is that you have a natural product of this country and there is no means of developing it. You have thousands of tons of slates that could be used in this country. People have tried to get them, and if you go through the country at the present day you will see numbers of houses with just the timber roofs on them, where there has been a delay of months and months in trying to procure Irish slates. They cannot get them, and they will not be allowed to use anything else except an inferior article which the people will not use.

The same thing applies to a lot of other industries. If you take the West of Ireland, you have a woollen industry there — a woollen industry that is situated in the centre of the country that produces one-sixth of all the wool produced in the whole country, and there you have that industry at the present time, with Irish capital in it, closed down. Is it the policy of the Minister or of his Government that industries such as that woollen industry, in the centre of County Galway, that produces one-sixth of the wool of the country, should be closed down at the present time? I think the Minister should be ashamed that such a thing should be allowed to go on.

Mr. Brodrick

Yes, he should be. Then you had the hosiery industry and other industries, practically every one of which was worked by hand up to 20 years ago, and there is no trace of them at the present time. If the Minister is to take his position seriously I think he should see to those industries and give them some help. Then you have boot and shoe industries established throughout the country. I see that there is one in Ballinasloe which is practically closed. Where such industries are established the Minister should at least see that the people who invest their money are protected, and that the managers who are sent over to manage these industries are men who know their business and are not going to exploit the people who invest their money in them. That is really what it means. That is what has happened in Ballinasloe and you have that industry practically closed at the present time. The same applies to the milling industry, and the Minister himself threatened here some months ago that he is going to continue with a strong hand to put out the small miller. The Minister cannot get away from that. He is going to continue with the strong hand, and every small miller throughout the country, even in the small co-operative mills of this country, if he mills over his quota, is brought into the Circuit Court and fined £80. The Minister said a few months ago:—

"I am going to continue that policy and put the small miller out of trade in this country in order to see that the Ranks and others are going to get their huge profits out of the Irish farmer."

Who said that?

Mr. Brodrick

You said it in the Dáil.

Will the Deputy quote the reference?

Mr. Brodrick

I will find it later and quote it for you, and in the Dáil, too.

You will have some trouble.

Mr. Brodrick

I will not. Members of the Minister's Party quite well remember it. If you did not say it, will you allow the small miller to continue on and mill as he likes?

Mr. Brodrick

You must have said it then.

Not, surely, as he likes. He must mill according to the law.

Mr. Brodrick

The law of the present Government is to put out of trade the small miller who mills the farmers' wheat.

On the contrary, the law was specially designed to protect the small miller. If there was no need for such protection, there would be no need for the law.

Mr. Brodrick

Why did you bring one of them into the Circuit Court then and get him fined £80?

Because he broke the law.

Mr. Brodrick

By milling the farmers' wheat. The Minister puts the small miller out just as he put the small curer out of business. Now we come to industrial alcohol. Under sub-head M we find:

Production of industrial alcohol: Estimated amount required on account of the cost of erection and equipment of five distilleries, and to provide for the working capital and the cost of supervision, operation and management, £213,900.

We were led to believe that these factories were in operation last year. There was one in operation in Mayo last year for a while, one in Louth, and two in Donegal—five in all.

Mr. Brodrick

When these factories were in operation last year we expected that their erection would have been paid for.

The bills might not have been paid.

Mr. Brodrick

What bills?

The cost of erection.

Mr. Brodrick

There is a sum of £214,000 outstanding.

Some might be outstanding for some years.

Mr. Brodrick

They must have been very costly if there is £214,000 outstanding after they had been in operation. We find that the Minister proposes this year buying 35,000 tons of potatoes to keep these five factories going at £2 per ton delivered at the factory. Although the Taoiseach said to-day that he was prepared to help, so far as possible, the producer in this country, all the producer will get out of these factories is £70,000 for 35,000 tons of potatoes. These are the figures given by the Minister himself. In any case, the cost is £214,000 this year for the buildings and there was a sum of £188,653 in the estimates last year for the same work. Is it fair to the producer that out of that expenditure he is only going to get £70,000? We have heard a terrible lot of sympathy expressed with the farmer for all he has suffered during the last five or six years. Now, when everything is settled up, the farmer who has the sympathy of the Fianna Fail Government is to get £2 per ton for 35,000 tons of potatoes.

The next thing we come to is turf development. Here we find an estimate amounting to £93,952, and last year we had an estimate for £105,042. This is the third or fourth year that this turf development department has appeared on the Estimates. Last year the Minister for Defence said that he hoped that great things would be done during that year and that the estimate for turf development would be reduced very much

I hope it will be increased very much in future years.

Mr. Brodrick

The burning of turf will not increase. It is not increasing down the country, at any rate. Any time that this Department has interfered in the production of turf so far it has been a failure. An Act was passed here providing that every merchant buying so many tons of coal should buy so many tons of turf as well, but it never came into operation because they knew it would be a failure. Judging by the way the Minister is acting in connection with turf development I expect it will be a failure too. It is going to cost the country something when we have an Estimate this year for £93,000 and an Estimate last year for £105,000. We should like to hear from the Minister how this industry is going to develop or how it is going to be a benefit to the country on the lines on which it is being carried out.

Some time ago I raised a question here as to a recommendation in connection with certain institutions which were being erected that turf should be burned in them when, as a matter of fact, no provision was made for the burning of turf in these institutions. As a matter of fact provision had been made for the burning of coal in these institutions, although a request had been made by the Department of Local Government that turf should be burned. The result was that alterations had to be made in these buildings in order to make provision for the burning of turf. Even if you take the labourers' cottages which are being erected in rural districts at present you will find that in no scheme is provision made for suitable grates to burn turf. If the turf industry is to give employment and to be a success we would like to get some return from it, but so far I have seen no return from this particular industry. I should like the Minister to show us in what way this industry is going to be a paying industry or is going to help the country.

I simply intervene to ask the Minister if he can do something for a very deserving class by way of giving unemployment assistance to fishermen who, although they may go out to fish under a share arrangement, may not catch anything. That is a very outstanding grievance of that class of men and a great deal of suffering has been entailed through that position of affairs. I would earnestly ask the Minister to devise some arrangement which will help them in that way. If he does so, a very serious grievance may be rectified. At present these men are not entitled to home assistance because the regulations more or less forbid its being given. These fishermen during this season are suffering extremely because of the lack of some arrangement of that kind and I would ask the Minister to devise some arrangement by which they could get unemployment assistance.

The Deputy is advocating legislation. I presume?

I think the Minister, after further consideration, should be able to make his regulations cover these men who are not getting any wages. Even though they may go out fishing, they would not get any return whatever for going to work. They would not be entitled to it, if they fish in shares.

The Minister, speaking at some of the functions held in conjunction with the opening of new factories, very often stresses the necessity for a balanced economy in this country. We have been pointing out here for the last couple of days the necessity for giving immediate help and relief to the agricultural community. During the past six years our agricultural prosperity has been seriously affected by the economic war, but that was not the sole cause of its serious depression. A very serious and unjust burden has been imposed upon the whole agricultural community by the system adopted here for the development of industry. As I said, we are given to understand that the Minister is working towards a balanced economy but, to my mind, if we are to continue to pursue the present methods, we shall have the most unbalanced economy on the face of God's earth because, as between agriculture and industry in this country, the balance is altogether in favour of industry. The Minister may feel proud of his industrial achievements, but any fool could have developed industry in this country if he were permitted to create monopolies and to ignore completely the interests of the consumer. The success of industrial development must be examined in the light of its effects on our primary industry, agriculture. To my mind this development has been a very serious burden on our agricultural community. In fact we have been completely weighed down by industry here. The cost of production for the farmer, the cost of his raw material, the cost of machinery necessary to operate his farm, on the one side, has forced up his costs of production so much that he finds himself with a very narrow margin, a dwindling margin, of profit. In fact it has dwindled so much that in a great many cases it has disappeared.

We have been asked by the Taoiseach here to-day what can be done to help agriculture here. It has been accepted by the Taoiseach that this country is dependent on the British market to dispose of its surplus agricultural produce. Therefore, we have no control over the price we obtained for that agricultural produce. We must take the price it commands there, a competitive price and a world price. The only redress left to us to-day, if we want to increase the margin of profit for the man engaged in agriculture, is to reduce his costs of production. That is within the control of the Government. Everything the farmer has to buy to-day is costing him too much. He is buying from monopolists in this country, and he is buying very often a rotten article at a price that is not a competitive price at all. We expect our farmers then to go into production and to compete in the open market against the world. How can we hope to succeed in that market? The disastrous result is that the farmer has been driven back into his shell. He has dropped production because he has been losing all along. You have killed his enterprise. You are not going to have any enterprise in agriculture here until you release that grip, that stranglehold, which your industrial development has on the farmer at the present time.

I shall give a few examples. Take the mowing machine. You have a type of mower produced in this country that is built on a pattern that is over fifteen years old. The modern machine that can be imported, the American machine or the Canadian machine, is imported on a tariff of 33? per cent. The farmers are forced to buy the Irish machine built on that obsolete pattern or else pay a tariff of 33? per cent. on a foreign machine. Is it for the purpose of developing this industry or for the purpose of bringing in revenue to the Government that the farmer is compelled to pay that tariff? If it is for the purpose of building up that industry, it is the duty of the Minister to see that the farmer gets a right article at the right price, that he gets an up-to-date machine, because otherwise the farmer cannot be expected to go into competition with the farmers of the world in outside markets.

Then take a manure distributor which, I submit, is a very important implement, because in any intensive system of agriculture it is essential that artificial manures should be used. It is absolutely essential when using artificial manure that it should be spread evenly and carefully over the soil to give the best results. The type of manure distributor made in this country is built on a pattern that was made 15 years ago. Tremendous improvements have been made in these types of machines in recent years, because, after all, artificial manure is a comparatively recent product, but we have still manufactured in this country a machine on a pattern that was obsolete 15 years ago. The policy apparently is to try to force the farmer to buy that obsolete machine, and then we expect him to go into competition on the British market against every other agriculturist in the world who has the very latest type of machine at his command at a competitive price. Take forks. There was a duty put on forks but we cannot make the head of a fork. The grains were imported and it was handled here in this country.


The handle was made here and what type of handle did you get? A twisted sort of yoke that, if you put any pressure on it, it smashed in your hand. It was of a coarse-grained, knotted type. Is there any machinery in the Minister's Department to ensure——

Does the Deputy think it possible to produce well any article he uses in this country?

I say it is——

The Deputy says that they are all rotten.

I say the fork handles were rotten. I know for a fact that this case was submitted to the Minister's Department. A man bought an Irish plough and two boards wore off that plough in a month. Every ordinary farmer knows that the board of a plough should last approximately for four or five months. He wore off two boards in a month. That case was handed to a member of the Minister's Party and to the Minister. The result was that the Irish firm sent another board to the man I referred to. The fact, at any rate, remains that on that particular plough the man were off two boards. I presume that in a great many other cases the same thing has happened, but the purchasers did not bother further about it. This particular man was rather keen on his job. He got in touch with his local Deputy, who reported the matter to the Minister's Department.

That is the type of sheltered industrial production that you have going on in this country, and that is the type of load that the agricultural community are expected to carry all the time. If there is going to be any success in an industrial way or any hope of prosperity for agriculture in the future, it must be seen to that the people engaged in industry here will produce decent articles, up-to-date in pattern and that they will be sold at competitive prices. We have the same thing with regard to everything that the farmer has to buy. Again, in the case of a plough, a grease cap for an Irish-made plough costs 1/3, while a similar article on an English-made plough costs 8d., although there is protection to the extent of 25 per cent. in favour of the Irish plough. Is it not the responsibility of the Minister's Department to see that when it gives protection to that kind of industry that the tillage farmer, for whom Deputy Corry is so much concerned, will be able to buy these articles at the right price — at a competitive price. Recently, the price of parts for English-made ploughs went up 10 per cent. on account of the increased cost of material and of production, and at the same time the price of the Irish articles went up 15 per cent. Is there any justification whatever for an increase of 15 per cent. as against the 10 per cent. on the imported article? Under the 25 per cent. reduction there was that margin to play with, and why should they get the opportunity of increasing the price by 15 per cent.? I do not know whose responsibility it is. I do not know whether the matter is going to be referred to the Prices Commission. If it is, then it ought to be dealt with in the light of the prices at which these types of articles can be bought abroad. Evidence may be submitted to the Prices Commission by those people that the articles, so far as they are concerned, cost them so much to produce. I hold that is not enough. In my opinion, the matter ought to be examined in the light of the price at which a particular article can be imported. If the farmer has to continue to carry his present load he cannot be expected to increase production. We all know, taking the aggregate figures in regard to our exports, that production from the land here has decreased enormously. There has been an alarming decrease, and to my mind the economic war is not the sole reason for that. A system has been adopted by the Minister of developing industries anyhow, no matter what the cost to the consumer is. He can say: "We have another industry to boast about."

Take the boot factories. We have an old boot factory down in Carlow. It was in operation there before ever Fianna Fáil was heard of. A number of boot factories have been established all over the country — in Kilkenny, Clonmel and other places. They are all on short time. Some of them are closed down at present because of over-production. What is going to be the final result of all that? The survival of the fittest, and the others to close down. It will be simply another few thousand pounds of the people's money gone west. From the Minister's point of view what does it mean? The loss of a few more thousand pounds in experiments to develop industry in the country.

What is the position with regard to the beet industry? They are Deputy Corry's favourite — the four beet factories. The first one at Carlow was established in the time of the last Government. I think I know as much about the beet industry as any member in the House — about the growing of it at all events. Three beet factories have been established by this Government. The price of beet has been in dispute. The price this year is still in dispute. There is one thing, to my mind, that is going to affect the price of beet now and in the future, and it is the lack of proper planning in the development of the industry. We are carrying on those four factories one dud factory, and the sooner it is closed down the better for the industry.

Which one is that?

The Tuam factory. Was it built for an economic reason or for political reasons? I think that the man who was responsible for the factory at Tuam should be examined immediately by some medical man. I think he ought to be a case for some medical institution — for building a factory there when you realise the type of land that surrounds Tuam. In view of that, how can you ever hope or expect at any time that you are going to get an economic supply of the raw material around Tuam for that factory? It is the height of absurdity to think that you can. I suggest that it was not built for any economic reason but from political pressure.

The Deputy is talking through his hat.

No man with any sense would think of building a beet factory at Tuam. I am firmly convinced that you will see that factory closed. I know more about beet than the Deputy. What has been the position? Deputy Corry knows that beet has had to be freighted across the country from the eastern counties to feed the Tuam factory. That has been the position. If the factory is going to continue it will not be economically possible to get a supply for it in the Tuam area. That is the type of industrial development we have to put up with in this country. That is the type of planning that will have to be dropped.

Ask Deputy Seán Brodrick if he agrees with you that the Tuam factory should be closed down.

Any man with any sense would agree with me. I do not know what the Deputy knows about it. I know something about what I am speaking of.

A Deputy


If you go to any responsible official in the sugar beet industry he will have to admit, if he is an honest decent man, that it was a rotten job to build a sugar beet factory at Tuam.

That is good.

Deputy Corry knows it. That is the type of industrial development you have had in this country and the type of planning that the country is suffering under. There is one section of the community that has had to carry the load all the time — the load of all this bad planning, bad vision, and no proper examination of the situation —no expert advice on the matter, but simply rushing in and galloping all the time, developing industries without any proper outlook. The people had to suffer and the people are going to suffer. The Minister and his Department are becoming a bit more sensible about it. They are beginning to realise that it is necessary to examine the situation; that it is necessary to have expert advice and to go cautiously. There is that improvement at all events, and there is that reason to be hopeful that things will be done in the future with a little more discretion.

The Deputy is just the type of farmer who is unfortunately the curse of this country. The Deputy is like the townsman who comes along and wants to import his rhubarb from abroad because he would not use Deputy Belton's rhubarb, and wants foreign apples because Deputy Gorey's apples are not good enough for him, and wants Russian oats and foreign wheat because any of the Irish stuff is not good enough for him. That is the mentality of Deputy Hughes in regard to industry here.

I am growing more wheat than Deputy Corry.

Unfortunately there are several farmers of that type here pretending to represent the farming industry.

And I grow more beet than Deputy Corry.

I wonder what is the policy of Deputies opposite in regard to Irish industry. You have Deputy Brodrick, on the one hand, complaining of certain industries in his constituency being closed down. We have their spokesman here, Deputy Dillon, shouting about the Galway hats. We have Deputy Hughes attacking the industries that are manufacturing agricultural machinery in this country. I should like to know definitely what is the policy of Deputies opposite regarding industry, and what is the idea underlying this kind of attack. Deputy Hughes has mentioned forks; spades and shovels were mentioned earlier this evening. Did Deputy Hughes ever take the trouble to examine the matter? I do not think he did. I went to some trouble in order to do so. On the other hand, we had two questions from Deputy Linehan this evening. He wanted to know what plan we intend to produce for the agricultural industry, and when we are going to end unemployment.

I do not think Deputy Linehan has spoken on this Estimate.

Not on this Estimate, but on the previous one.

This is not a serial story.

There were two definite questions put.

Not on this Estimate. This is not a serial story.

If Deputies opposite are in earnest or honest about ending unemployment on the one hand, and if on the other hand each Deputy opposite is going to get up in turn and attack every Irish industry started in this country to give employment to our Irish people——

To give employment!

Yes. That is on the very self same lines as Deputies opposite committed suicide here a month ago in order to try to give the civil servants more than they were entitled to. Now they want derating for the farmers with the money we prevented them from giving to the civil servants. On the one hand, Deputy Hughes says: "Oh, it is all right to start an industry if you give a monopoly," and on the other hand he complains in regard to his own little bit of Ireland: "There is too much competition in the boot trade; there was somebody idle in Carlow for a month."

I did not say any such thing.

That was the complaint.

It was over-production.


That is different from competition.

He came along then and talked about the beet factory in Tuam. He wanted to know was this factory put up for political or economic reasons. Was the Carlow factory put up for political or economic reasons?

Is it an economic success?

It was put up in order to keep his seat for the leader of your Party, and with "sugar" there for the Belgians in a disgraceful manner for a long period.

It always gets its raw material.

I know that, and I know that the curse of the beet growers of this country at the present day are the growers around Carlow who grow it for nothing. The one difficulty we have now in the Beet Growing Association is endeavouring to stiffen the backs of the Carlow growers. If you want facts I will give them to you quickly enough. They are running to the beet factories saying: "I will grow it."

They are lucky to have you for a champion.

We will keep you stiff whether you like it or not; we will have no blacklegs amongst you this time. One thing we can say about the Tuam growers is that they are prepared to stand in with their colleagues in looking for a price, and there will be no letters to the Tuam factory offering to grow it at 30/-. This kind of attack on Irish industry is just the type of attack that we had from the Curragh a few years ago when they wanted to import Russian oats to feed the race horses. They could not jump on Irish oats. There was the very self-same frame of mind behind that as there is behind Deputy Hughes's attack this evening. It is the very self-same frame of mind as that of the people who, when we started to grow Irish wheat, said they could not eat the flour made from it. That self-same attitude has been the curse of this country. That kind of thing has gone on in sæcula sæculorum. If anybody takes the trouble, as I have done, of investigating the position even of smaller industries, the position in regard to forks, for instance, and in regard to spades and shovels, what will they find? I prepared data for the Prices Commission in connection with that, and I found that forks, spades and shovels which are being sold in England at 45/- a dozen are being sent across here and sold at 38/-. I have got the invoices for both. That will perhaps surprise Deputies listening to me here.

That is the manner in which Irish industry is being sabotaged on the one hand, and on the other hand attacked in every possible way by Deputies opposite. Those industries are giving employment to our people. Perhaps what is troubling Deputies opposite is that unemployment is coming down because of the employment being given to our people in industry here at home.

Deputy Brodrick a while ago said that the Minister was out to close down all the rural mills. That is not in any way in accordance with the facts. We had the flour mills in Mallow working half-time in 1931. We had the flour mills in Clondulane closed down altogether in 1931. We had the flour mills in Midleton working one or two days a week. Our flour mills are now working full time, and working overtime in many cases. That does not bear out the Deputy's statement. The trouble is to nail those statements when they are made and where they are made. I am prepared to make Deputy Hughes a fair offer. Let him get his Canadian mowing machine, and I will get a Pierce one which is ten years old. We will test out the two and give him a fair run for his money with the old Irish machine against the Canadian one. Let him appoint his own judge. That is a fair offer for Deputy Hughes if he wishes to take it up. There is too much of the attitude: "Oh, this is an Irish article; have you not got anything English?" That is the same as Deputy Gorey's attitude to-day. He brings something to Dublin to sell, and when an old seonin shopkeeper looks at it he asks: "It is Irish?" It was not painted before being brought in. When Deputy Belton brings in something it meets with the same reception. It is the mentality of the seonin shopkeeper that is wrong, as well as the mentality of idiotic farmers who, when they go to buy a spade, a shovel, or a mowing machine, when told it is Irish, say that it must be wrong. The sooner that situation is ended the better. I had hoped that Deputies opposite would be educated now. They appear to be hopeless. I had a hope that after four or five general elections we would succeed in getting a number of new faces on the benches opposite and that there would be a different mentality there. The new ones appear to be worse than the old ones. We must only keep on taking them to the country until we get rid of the whole tribe.

I wish to deal with one other matter to which Deputy Brodrick referred. Deputy Brodrick or any other contractors that require slates can get all they want from West Cork. I should be glad to know if the Minister for Industry and Commerce has called the attention of the Land Commission to the slates that can be had in West Cork. I have had complaints that the Department of Lands has not put a slate on any of the houses it has erected. I know that Irish slates have been offered to several contractors.

Where will you get Irish slates?

Do you want them?

In West Cork.

Slates, I am talking about.

I am talking about slates, not loose tiles.

There are no slates in West Cork.

Neither are there any leaking roofs, as there are in some of your houses.

Any blackguard can say that. You would not say it outside.

I would not like to call the Deputy a blackguard.

You would not say that outside.

Any slates required are in stock and are advertised every day in the public Press. There are first-class slates, and there is no reason whatever why Irish houses should not be roofed with them. I think the Minister for Local Government would be lacking in his duty if he gave any further grants for houses, if they are not roofed with Irish states, when they are available. Some months ago I called the attention of the Minister for Industry and Commerce to the injustice that has been imposed on families who, owing to slum clearances, were removed from Cork City to houses built by the corporation outside the borough boundary. These people were put on the rural rate of unemployment assistance. That was the first knock they got. Then the ratepayers had to come to their assistance, so that the difference between the city rate and the rural rate is costing West Cork Board of Assistance £20 a week. On top of that, these people, who were reared in the city, are supposed to be farm labourers, and under the rural unemployment scheme, they are being deprived of unemployment assistance for three or four months. They are of no use whatever to farmers. Farmers would not look at them in their way. It is grossly unfair that these people, who have no hope whatever of getting rural employment, should be condemned — I cannot describe it in any other way— by the Cork Corporation and the Minister's Department to eke out such an existence.

I appeal to the Minister to have the matter rectified. I consider it grossly unfair that men who, through no fault of their own, because the houses in which they were living were pulled down and they were driven to houses outside the borough boundary, should come immediately under the rural rate of unemployment assistance, and then be deprived even of that for four months in the summer, on the ground that they are rural labourers when really they are not.

What about shifting the borough boundary?

The boundary can be shifted any time. I am not here to talk about the Cork Corporation, but about the injustice done to these unfortunate people by shifting them outside the borough boundary and creating the present situation. I do not wish to press the matter unduly, because it has been mentioned three times previously. I think Deputy Hurley also dealt with it.

As the attention of the Department has been drawn to the matter it should be rectified, because it is a gross scandal. It is unfair to the unfortunate people concerned, and also unfair to the ratepayers, who have to bear the burden. It is time it was ended. I hope some Deputy who knows something about industries will now take part in the debate.

I understand that we are discussing the Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce, and it occurs to me to point out to Deputies on the opposite benches, that of all the Estimates with which we have been dealing this is really one of the most modest. In 1929, the total expenditure on the Department was, approximately, £102,000. This year the Estimate is for £542,000, and I suggest that the increase, in view of what has been achieved by the Department, is a very modest one. If the Minister had come and asked for £1,000,000 more, in order to enable him to bring about genuine industrial development in this country, I would have said that that was an amount that was well worth spending, in order to end a position that was started by the former Administration.

If it were genuine.

It very ill becomes members of the Fine Gael Party to oppose this Estimate, especially if they recall the fact that it was the late Arthur Griffith who founded the industrial policy in 1905 at the Rotunda, when he announced the new policy of Sinn Féin which involved industrial development. We on this side of the House adopted and are carrying out his policy and carrying out his tradition and carrying out his beliefs. We have had a very difficult task, and in presenting this Estimate of an odd half million pounds a year, again an increase of only £440,000 over the previous period, it is well to look back at what the situation was before the new policy came into being. During the 10 years of the former administration over 117 factories closed, and this Government had to face the position of creating industrial production under circumstances which were in every way made as difficult as possible. Deputy Corry has spoken this evening of the mentality of the people towards Irish manufacture. Well, the mentality of the Irish people towards Irish manufacture was certainly lacking in what we may describe as a reasonable national spirit until this Government took office and changed the whole face of the country. I can recall incidents that occurred in my own particular experience of people who were offered English and Irish products in containers with the reverse label. That is, they were offered the English product in the Irish container and the Irish product in the English container, and they said the Irish product was far inferior to the English product, although they were actually examining the wrong article. That is the feeling we had to face when this Government took office. There was no preparation against world depression. There was no preparation made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce of the Opposition Party to face world depression by which, if circumstances lowered the income of those who received dividends in this country, there would be some alternative to fall back on here. There was no preparation made against war; no preparation made by which we could at least feed and clothe ourselves, and, I may remark incidentally, produce some of our power for our motor transport.

There was no preparation for anything of that kind. There was no variety of production in the country. More and more the country came to rely entirely on one form of production, on one form of export, and there were no alternative industries in order to produce general prosperity in the country and in order to give a general average level of employment, and when Deputies in the Opposition speak, Sir. on the question of emigration, they forget that they themselves ill-prepared the country to face any unusual economic condition that might arise in England whereby there would be a sudden demand for certain sorts of labour at inflated wages. They themselves failed to create a condition in the towns of this country whereby there would be some alternative employment which would maintain the people at home and give them an inducement to remain at home, and which would do something to restrain whatever emigration might be caused as a result of an unnatural demand for labour in England or in any other country.

There is another thing that might be emphasised here. We have had people complaining on behalf of the agricultural community of our industrial development, and it is interesting to know that when the last Government left office we had probably a less proportion of industrial production than almost any other agricultural country in the world. I challenge the Deputies to study the comparative production in Denmark or Holland or any other country engaged in the agricultural industry, and they will find that the countries with a more modern system of agricultural marketing than we have had up to to-day, because we had not a Government like the one in office, that those countries have had a very pronounced industrial development which constantly increased during the past 10 years, compared with agricultural development. The Government which took office in 1932 was naturally compelled to take reasonable risks. We had to clear the way for an entirely new form of economy in this country, and we had to face the position that there would be a large number of factories started in which there would be directors unacquainted with each other, in which there would be executives of labour not acquainted with their employees, in which a whole nucleus of works and executives would be brought together to operate the factory for the first time, and, having regard to those factors, I suggest the industrial progress of this country has been remarkable.

A number of Deputies on the opposite benches have referred, Sir, to what may be described as the growing pains occurring in certain industries Industry has had in many cases only three or four short years in which to develop and there are a number of factors for which the Minister cannot be directly responsible, for which the people of this country and those who have placed their money in industry are responsible, which have to be considered if the new industries are to prosper, such factors as rationalisation in industry, use of modern machinery, avoidance of overlapping in production by industries of the same group through mutual consultation with each other, the insistence that good wages and conditions should be given and, at the same time, if they are given, that the output per worker should be satisfactory. All these things are matters in which the Government should not and cannot, in a country which is not subject to social legislation, take a direct interest. It can only have an indirect interest, advise and suggest. There is every evidence in the country that these problems are being tackled and that if over-production occurs there is a way out for the members of that industry to avoid that over-production through mutual consultation with each other. The fact that there is over-production in the boot and shoe industry, to my mind, has no relation whatever to the Estimate being considered. It is a matter purely for internal concern in the industry itself and I fully believe that all those industries that are affected will study the problem and cure it as times goes on.

As far as the planning of industry is concerned, it is difficult in some ways for the Minister to reply on the question of how far industry has been planned because he is, naturally, speaking for his own Department. It is better, Sir, that those who have had some indirect part in watching the planning of industry should reply to the charge that industry has not been properly planned in this country. I challenge any of the Deputies on the opposite benches who themselves have taken part in industrial development, who have taken part in conferences, to deny that every care has been taken in connection with the promotion of industry, that the officials of the Department of Industry and Commerce are inexhaustible in their efforts to study every aspect of the situation both in regard to the price of the article when it finally reaches the consumer, the relative market available, the suitability of any one locality for the industry, the possibility of paying adequate wages; that of every single industry established in this country no industry has had a chance of being promoted unless it presents in writing proved facts with regard to those factors. Naturally, human nature being what it is, some of these statements have occasionally been exaggerated; difficulties always arise; problems arise in connection with the accurate carrying out of the promises made by any one industrial group, but, taking it large and wide, I would suggest, Sir, that the planning of industry has succeeded admirably in this country and that Deputies are too prone to examine cases on newspaper reports of an industry that happens not to be prospering at the present time and they are not aware of the many industries which are prospering and producing articles as good as any English article at a reasonable price to the consumer.

As far as price is concerned, I believe there is no need for anyone to take an extreme view of the situation. There is no need for members of the Government Party to deny that in the first years of the promotion of an industry the price of an article may exceed that which it would be if the industry had been long established and we who watched 117 industries closed in ten years, make no apology if, in the case of certain industries, during the first years of their development, the price of the goods produced in those industries was slightly in excess of what it would be under normal circumstances.

During the next five years, Sir, the Government will have an opportunity of stock-taking in industry, of ensuring that all the defects may be remedied and there is no reason to believe that there will not be a gradual diminution of the price to the consumer in the case of certain articles where initial development caused an undue increase in price.

I would like once more to repeat that an increase of £400,000 has had a remarkable effect on this country. It has established over 300 factories; it has increased the gross production of industry by many millions of pounds. The expenditure of a comparatively small amount of money in the form of increased staff of the Department and increased facilities for research of every kind has resulted in the most remarkable thing, has actually created for us a balanced economy and we on this side of the House will defend that very modest increase on the Estimate to the last, believing that it will result, in times of prosperity, and particularly in times of depression, in a more average prosperity for the whole country.

As an independent farmer, unassociated with any political party, I feel it is my duty to state very briefly my attitude, and the attitude of those who elected me here, towards industrial development. I have no hesitation in saying that my attitude, and the attitude of the farming community, towards industrial development is simply this, that industry must be developed, that industrial development must continue and must be pushed as far as possible until this country is as self-supporting as it is humanly possible to make it. In connection with industrial development, I feel that the Minister for Industry and Commerce deserves a certain amount of sympathy. He is faced with two great dangers. There is a danger on the right hand from those who are over-patriotic, overzealous, in promoting industry, those who, by their ultra-patriotism, are giving a certain amount of shelter and scope to unscrupulous people who wrap the green flag round them and who seek to secure huge profits by protesting that they are out simply and solely for the good of the country. It is the duty of the Minister, a duty which I believe he is capable of performing, to see that everybody who protests that he is out to help Irish industry and promote its development, is honest and straightforward.

On the other hand, you have a feeling which does exist, and which always existed in this country, of hostility to Irish industrial development. I do not say that that feeling exists on a very large scale, but it does exist to a certain extent, and, in so far as it exists, it should be curbed. I do not think that some of the speakers who criticised certain Irish industries to-day have been altogether animated by that feeling. I believe the criticisms of Deputy Hughes and Deputy Gorey were to a large extent constructive. I believe such criticism is absolutely necessary and desirable. It is not very easy, outside this House, to expose anything that is dishonest or unjustifiable in connection with an industry. It is right and proper that full use should be made of the privileges of this House by Deputies to expose, and bring to the Minister's and to the public notice, anything which they consider improper and dishonest, and I think, by so doing, such Deputies are assisting the Minister in promoting industrial development. The inefficient or the dishonest manufacturer is no use to this country, is no use to the Minister, and is no use to the policy of industrial development. It is only right, wherever possible, and particularly in this House, that he should be exposed. I think I have defined very briefly my attitude towards industrial development.

There is one question which I should like to bring to the Minister's attention, and that is, the question of dealing with unemployment. I hold that the policy of the Minister should be, not to provide maintenance for those who are unemployed but to provide regular, constant employment at reasonable rates. Socialists and people of that kind tell us that the duty of a Government is to provide either work or maintenance. I hold definitely that the duty of a Government is to provide work, and that providing maintenance is not fulfilling the moral obligation that rests on the Government of any country. The provision of maintenance may prevent death from starvation, but it does not prevent the moral degradation of our people, and particularly of our young people. The policy of forcing young people in country districts to travel five or six miles to the local town to draw a miserable, inadequate dole, and to spend two days in the week signing for and drawing that dole, is one which can only tend to demoralise our young people.

Any young man who has been forced to submit to that policy, who has been forced to attend at a labour exchange two or three times in the week and to hang around the towns and get into a state of compulsory idleness, is rendered unfit to be a useful citizen, and some machinery must be set up by the Government, some special department must be provided, which will tackle this problem in a business-like manner and so organise development services that will provide work for every unemployed person. Any man who finds himself out of employment should be in a position to report to the labour exchange and obtain employment within a day or two. There should be a State department which should make that its main object.

It may be asked on what lines should development schemes be advanced. The most important schemes in this country are concerned with the development and improvement of land, which is the country's greatest asset. There should be a special department to deal with the reclamation of land on a big scale, with drainage and improvement of every kind, so as to develop the country's most valuable asset and improve the greatest source of wealth we have in the country, which is the soil.

I have been tempted to make a contribution to this debate because of the feebleness, the futility and the presumption of Deputies I heard speaking from the opposite benches. When I came into the House the question of sugar production in the Carlow factory was being debated, and laboured in debate. It was being discussed by a Deputy who, I can testify to his own claim, can discuss sugar production and sugar beet growing not only as well as any member of this House, but as well as any man in Ireland.

A twist has been given to this debate by Deputies opposite, particularly by the youthful Deputy Childers. On listening to Deputy Childers one would think that we were born last year or the year before. One would think that we were not born in this country, that we did not grow up in this country, that we did not belong to this country, and that we had not our roots deep in the soil of this country. I want to tell that Deputy that I am not going to take the teachings of Arthur Griffith from a youth of his calibre.

Or from anybody.

I am not taking it from this youthful Deputy. We on this side of the House have the heritage of Arthur Griffith and we intend to uphold it.

I am glad to hear it.

One monument to Arthur Griffith and to Arthur Griffith's policy is the Carlow sugar factory. In 1925 experiments in the growing of beet were started and farmers were asked to grow beet. The farmers through the country were asked to grow sugar beet as an experiment to enable the Department of Agriculture to learn if the soil of this country were suitable to the growing of sugar beet. These experiments were carried out under definite regulations. Many members on these benches here grew an experimental acre of sugar beet in 1925. I challenge a single Deputy on the Government Benches to stand up and say he grew that year an acre of experimental beet. Go to the Departments where those experiments are recorded. I think they are in the records of the Department of Agriculture and you will find there the names of those who grew sugar beet but you will not find the name of a single Fianna Fáil Deputy who grew sugar beet that year. That was the start of sugar production. Now, we witness the impudence of the youthful Deputy Childers standing up and saying that the new industrial era started when the Fianna Fáil Party took office.

We on this side stand for industrial development. We give second place to nobody in that matter. But it is not industrial development or industrial production to impose tariffs for the purpose of revenue. The Minister has asked this House to pass tariffs on agricultural implements coming into this country. I have heard a lot of talk from Deputies opposite about Irish ploughs and foreign ploughs. We were even told by them that the people on the Fine Gael Benches preferred the foreign plough for no reason but that it was a foreign plough. Last week I wanted an agricultural implement. I tried every house in this city to get me an Irish one. They communicated with the supposed makers of these agricultural implements in this country and failed to get even one implement. I had to import it and pay on it an import duty of £5 10s. I challenge the Minister to tell me where I could have got a potato digger manufactured in this country. What justification has he for putting a tariff on an agricultural implement when that implement is not made here? That implement was delivered to me to-day. The firm that delivered it is Messrs. Thomas Linehan and Company, Capel Street, Dublin. I ordered an Irish implement but could not get it. I got the English implement delivered to me to-day and worked it to-day. I notice the merchant for slates has left. This youthful Deputy is going to teach poor common or garden Irishmen how to love their country and develop its industry.

It is an easy job.

I do not know the name of my friend up there. He is a newcomer, but will get plenty of time to make an intelligent contribution to this debate if he is capable of doing so. But there is no hurry. Interruptions and a desire for interruptions do not bespeak intelligence. In 1930 and 1931 I built houses and I roofed them with Carrick slates. That was before the Childers era of industrial development. I continued to roof houses with Carrick slates. I would never have roofed a house with anything else but Carrick slates. But, strange to say, in this age of industrial development I could not continue using Carrick slates because I could not get them. In 1931 and 1932 the slate quarries of Carrick were producing the finest slates in the world. I challenge contradiction to that. Why are they not being produced still? What king reigned in Ireland in 1935? Was it not during this famous era of industrial development that the Carrick slate quarries were closed down? I have it on good technical authority that the slate seams of this country are richer than those of Wales. Second to no seam in this country is the shale around Carrick. What happened in 1935? I have here a list of the selling out of the machinery, etc., in the Carrick slate quarry. That quarry was sold out lock, stock and barrel — everything for £104. What has the Minister to say to that?

It is nonsense in every respect.

I am glad to hear it. But, if I say to the Minister that I will take 100,000 Carrick slates 16 inches by eight inches, or larger, will he guarantee to deliver them, or have them delivered? Are there slates in the Carrick area? Is there not rock or shale in the Carrick area?

No, it is exhausted.

Since Fianna Fáil came into power the slates disappeared. As they say on the radio, I will now switch on to another station. I hope the Minister will listen in. Will the Minister supply me 100,000 slates, 16 inches by eight inches, from the Killaloe Slate Quarry? Silence. He will not, because they are not to be had. Is not that so? We are forced to roof our houses by concrete tiles because we cannot get Irish slate. Grants are given for housing, but if we put on the best roofing material, and if we have to import that because we cannot get the Irish material, do we not lose these grants? Is not that the position Is there any representative from the Local Government Department here? That Department made it a definite rule that the grant will not be paid unless the material where possible is Irish material. When you come to look for Irish slate you cannot get it. What else follows besides not getting the grant? If the grant is not paid, the builder also loses the remission of rates by the local authority. So that the builder is driven into a corner. He must use Irish material that he can get, but that is not the best, and then we have innuendoes thrown across the floor. Now, I say, in passing away from the slates, and without fear of contradiction, that Irish slates, of 16 inches by eight inches, are not on the market, and, if they are on the market, whoever has them for sale can have an order for 100,000.

Is it not an extravagant statement for this youthful Deputy to get up here and say that there was less industrial production in Ireland when Fianna Fáil came into office than in any other country in the world? He instanced Denmark among others. Denmark had not just recovered from a national war of independence and a civil war. I do not want to go over this ground — the sooner it is forgotten the better — but we had the innuendo in the Deputy's remark that the previous Government sat idle for ten years, and did nothing for industrial development, and that the country had to wait till a Fianna Fáil Government came into office to start industrial development. Is it not to the credit of the previous Government that they established the fact that we can grow sugar beet in this country — as heavy a crop as anybody can grow in any country in the world — that we can grow it with as high a sugar content, I believe, as any country in the world? That was not known until it was established by the experiments of 1925, which were so successful that the Cosgrave Government was prompted to establish the factory in Carlow, which was largely an experimental factory.

Now, let us find out the depth of the intelligence of those who shout about 100 per cent. beet production. I put this to the Minister, and I challenge him to refute it: that there is no country in the world that produces 100 per cent. of its sugar from beet, except those countries which have to do it as a military precaution. England tried it after the War, but had to stop it, except to about 30 per cent. — and why? Because it is too dear. A man can afford certain luxuries according to his station in life, and a nation can do the same; but a nation cannot survive if it is to engage in industrial pursuits, and all at a loss. Something must pay in order to make up for what has to be run at a loss, and while it would be sound economics in this country to produce about 30 per cent. or 40 per cent. of our sugar, it is decidedly not sound economics to attempt to produce 100 per cent. of our sugar. Why? It is for the reason that in no country in the world has sugar from beet been an economic success. I challenge the Minister, when he is replying, to say where in the world the production of sugar from beet has been economically profitable, and where it had not to get some help from the Government. The previous Government was wise in establishing the Carlow factory. Of course, the criticism of the people opposite was that it was a white elephant. The previous Government harnessed the Shannon, and that was a white elephant too; but these white elephants have become more numerous since the people who nicknamed them white elephants came to power. Not only that, but they would try to make the country believe that they, and they alone, are responsible for those white elephants that have changed their colour and are now not white any longer.

Deputy Cogan suggested an industrial department or, I suppose, a subdivision of the Department of Industry and Commerce, to help the reclamation of land because, he said, it is our greatest asset. Well, yes; it is very appropriate that we should have such a Department or sub-Department, and the first thing it would want to do would be to protect the land of this country from the ravages of the Minister for Agriculture. We had development in tillage in the last few years, but what was it but agricultural robbery? There was an extension of wheat-growing. Will any member of this House stand up and say that tillage was increased in this country in the last six years on the lines of good husbandry?

I think the Deputy ought to come back to Industry and Commerce. He is getting into Agriculture.

I just wanted to relate, Sir, as I have often related in this House, to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, that there is no Minister in this House who should be more anxious to have a prosperous agriculture than the Minister for Industry and Commerce, because the products of the factories that he alleges have been started — I think they have gone into thousands now — have only one market, and that is the market that agriculture provides. The reason that those factories are on short time to-day is because of the agricultural policy of the Government in the last six years, which has pauperised agriculture and left the agricultural community without the money to purchase the necessaries of life, as produced in these factories. A pauperised agricultural community is no market for any product, and that is why you are on short time to-day, and why the industrial development that was taken up at the time by the Minister and rushed through was ill-advised and wrong, because at that time a double burden was placed upon agriculture — the burden of bearing industrial development and the burden of carrying on the economic war. With agriculture impoverished, it is a very serious thing for the Minister for Industry and Commerce to pursue his old policy, but of course he is not pursuing it. What had been told to the Minister in this House for six years he would not listen to; but when he went over to negotiate in London he was told it there, and he had to surrender. Now we have, in our industrial framework in this country, the fact that before the Minister can impose a tariff he must submit it to the Prices Commission, and an Englishman can sit on that commission and show cause that that tariff puts the English out of court in competing in the Irish market.

There is not a word of truth in that.

Well, if not, the Minister should institute proceedings against the Government printers, who printed the document which he signed. Does he deny that, with regard to every tariff he has been responsible for putting to this House and imposing on goods coming into this country in the last six years, according to the Agreement he signed in London with the British representatives, that tariff, at an early date, must be reviewed by the Prices Commission?

That is an entirely different statement from what the Deputy said previously.

It is the same thing. The Minister was warned here for the last six years not to impose wild tariffs. Personally, I remember putting up to the Minister, and I put it up to him now, as a convinced tariff reformer and protectionist for Irish industry all my life — and I think that is a bit longer than the Minister has been in the whirlwind of politics — that before any tariff is imposed on goods coming into this country there should be a survey of the conditions in the country sending the goods in here and the conditions for the making of similar products in this country. Whatever advantage there is to the foreigner in the making of a product and sending it in here, a money figure should be fixed on that economic advantage that the foreigner has, and a tariff measured by that economic advantage would be justified. Then we have equal opportunities and, by the aid of that tariff, you put the Irishman competing with the foreigner for the trade in the Irish market. That is substantially what the British Prime Minister put up to the Irish delegation and which the Irish delegation, including the Minister for Industry and Commerce, agreed to and signed. You cannot get out of that.

Not a word of it.

It is the best thing that happened this country for a long time——

It has not happened yet.

——that you were put into traces and had to pull without getting over them. You are in the traces now and we will have to drive you.

You are dreaming.

I am glad the Deputy woke up.

He goes to sleep for the winter.

He was asleep.

Mr. Kelly

I think you are in bad humour.

I shall be very interested to hear the Minister explaining the disappearance of slates from Carrick. I shall also be interested to hear him explaining why we cannot get Killaloe slates. I shall also be interested to know what public money has been thrown down the gulley, ostensibly to develop slate production in those areas.

In Carrick?

And in Killaloe.

We shall talk particularly about Carrick.

In running over the surface, instead of going down where the good slates were, I should like to know what the Housing Board are doing. There are some large salaries being paid there.

I do not think that that comes under this Vote. I do not think the Minister has anything to do with that.

We have a Housing Board paid out of public funds. I agree that it is not under the administration of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, but the Department of Industry and Commerce and the Department of Local Government are very closely associated and dovetailed into each other in the matter of housing. I should like to know what that board is doing, or why, if there are Irish building materials, we cannot get them. Whom are we to approach to get them? I will keep away from the Housing Board. Is there anybody else who can tell us where we can get them, if they are obtainable?

Mr. Kelly

I told you before — Messrs. Brooks Thomas.

The Deputy is fond of a little dry joke now and again, but that is so dry that it did not draw a laugh from anybody but himself, and a couple of his colleagues who know as much about building as he does himself.

Mr. Kelly

You are wasting time here talking nonsense.

We shall be interested to hear from the Minister why he has tariffed agricultural implements, which are implements of production, and why we cannot get these implements when we go to the traders to secure them. They cannot secure them from the people who are supposed to make them. The answer they get from the supposed makers of these implements is that they have not gone into production. We have heard about spades and shovels. I visited a shovel factory not very long ago and gave an order for £20 worth of shovels and I could not sell them as scrap. My men would not work with them — they could not work with them. They would bend over like paper and you could bend them back again. But, because of that, I do not say that we should not make shovels. The spades also will bend backwards and forwards like a glove. Because of that, I do not say that we should not make them — I do not say we should stop in our attempt to make them. But I do say that the Department of Industry and Commerce should not only protect an article as regards price, but should take some steps to ensure that the public will get fair average quality at least.

I do not say that by way of criticism of the Minister or his Department. I am satisfied that the intention of the Minister was right, and that he would be one of the first to stop inferior articles being imposed on the public if he knew of them. I suggest to the Minister, as part of his machinery for industrial development, that in addition to protective tariffs for keeping out the foreign article, he should take some steps, and I am sure the proper steps will suggest themselves to the Minister and his advisers, to test the quality of the article that is being made here, so that people who may be opposed to Irish industry will not have an excuse for continuing their opposition and giving as a reason that the Irish article is no good. I know several articles that are no good, but I do not condemn the Minister's policy of industrial development by the aid of protective tariffs because I know there are certain products that are not worth the money. But the Minister should devise some machinery which will be a guarantee to the public that they will get something like value for their money and that will be a deterrent to people who want to get rich quickly by putting inferior articles on the market. I suggest in all sincerity to the Minister that he should look after that aspect of his industrial programme.

Generally, I am not only in sympathy with, but in whole-hearted support of industrial development carried out wisely and prudently. But there are many articles that we have always been getting in this country and that we should get when nature has endowed our country with the raw material for them. We should work it and produce those articles. Amongst them are slates, and Irish slates we cannot get to-day. I challenge the Minister to contradict that statement.

Listening to the Deputies on the Opposition Benches who spoke in the early part of this debate, I had formed the opinion that they had changed their attitude towards the industrialisation of this country, but as I listened to Deputy Hughes, I became disillusioned. During the recent election I became accustomed to speeches being made all over the country misrepresenting the efforts of men who are endeavouring to start and develop Irish industries here. Of course, I attributed that to the licence that the members of the Opposition evidently thought they were entitled to when they got on the hustings. Listening to the debate this evening, I came to the conclusion that some Deputies on the Opposition Benches were unfair to Irish industry. Deputy Hughes condemned very many of the articles that are required on a tillage farm, such as ploughs, mowing and manuring machines, forks and the handles of forks. I want to state that we in the County Meath have an industry which produces forks, and one which produces handles. I want to say that these forks are excellently turned out. I have heard the greatest praise for the material that is used in the handles. These handles are manufactured from seasoned timber, and they have not been turned out in the manner that Deputy Hughes would suggest. I cannot sit here and listen to the slanders that were uttered concerning the efforts of those men who have invested their money in these industries, and who have been carrying them on so successfully.

I suggest to the Deputies opposite that the proper method of approaching this matter is this: that if they find a percentage of Irish manufactured articles, in the early stages after the establishment of an industry, are of inferior quality they should draw the attention of the Department of Industry and Commerce to it. I know from experience that they are prepared to receive such reports and to see that the matters complained of are remedied. I will go further and say that, so far as I know, the people who run industries here have no desire to impose any inferior article on the purchasing community. I say that it is unfair to impute any such desire, such as we have heard from the opposite side, to them. I say further that it is quite unfair to make an onslaught on industry in general here.

Deputy Belton takes great pride in this, that the Opposition when in office established the Carlow beet factory. Whatever praise is due to them for that I am prepared to give it to them. Unless my memory is at fault, I think it was in the year 1927 that I heard Deputy Belton addressing a political meeting in my constituency and on my platform. I heard him then condemn the Carlow beet factory as a white elephant.

Never. I wish to contradict that statement. I never condemned the Carlow factory.

Read the reports.

Mr. Kelly

Deputy Belton further told us that he could not get an Irish-made agricultural implement that he required.

I said that I could not get a potato-digger here of Irish manufacture. Of course, the Deputy would not know a potato-digger although he was talking about agriculture.

Mr. Kelly

The Deputy's insults run off me like water. If the Deputy is as interested in the development of Irish industry as he would lead us to believe he is, one would imagine that it would dawn on him to gather together a number of his supporters who are in a position to invest money in Irish industry, and suggest to them that they should invest the money, which, possibly, they have now invested in foreign securities or in a foreign industrial market with falling dividends, in Irish industries at home. If he did that perhaps he would get an industry that would turn out a very efficient potato digger for him.

Why does not the Deputy do it?

Mr. Kelly

If you draw me now I will tell you what I will do. I think the Deputy is a champion interrupter. Great play was made about the slates that are being turned out from our Irish slate quarries. I wonder if Deputy Belton gets Irish material for every other part of the houses which he is erecting, except the roof. He tells us that he requires Irish slates and cannot get them. I should be glad to know from him if he is using Irish material in all the other parts of the houses that he is erecting.

Yes, and with bricks from the County Meath, what the Deputy is not doing in his own constituency — the Slane brick.

Hear, hear.

Mr. Kelly

The Deputy has got a "hear, hear" from the County Meath for making a misstatement. That is not correct. The brick yard is working and turning out the best quality brick. If Deputy Belton or Deputy Giles would take the trouble of going down to the brick yard to get first hand information for themselves they would not come in here to make those misstatements in an effort to destroy an Irish industry that is not looking for any benefit from anybody.

I was in the brickyard a fortnight ago and it was derelict.

Mr. Kelly

The brick yard is working. I would ask Deputy Giles to go outside this House and make the statement that he has just made that the brick yard is derelict. He is in a privileged position here, and it is quite unfair for him to avail of that privilege. If he goes outside this House and makes that statement; we can deal with it. He made statements during the general election and I had some difficulty in getting people not to take action against him.

On a point of personal explanation. I said nothing against the Slane brick. As a matter of fact, I have had delivered to me 50,000 Slane bricks, and they are good bricks. I said nothing against them.

Mr. Kelly

I am only referring to what Deputy Giles said — to the statement he made. He said that the Slane brick yard was derelict. It is not the first time he said it. I am glad that his statement has been refuted by Deputy Belton. It is what I would expect from a man who knows the difference — from a man who has been engaged in the erection of houses, and I am thankful to Deputy Belton for that. Listening to some Deputies, one would imagine that the Minister could start industries of his own accord, that he could come down and open industries in every town and village. The Minister cannot start industries of his own accord. He cannot use Government money, voted by the Dáil, for that purpose, nor can he nationalise industries. So far as the Opposition and the members of this Party are concerned, the policy is, I think, against the nationalisation of industries. Neither is the Minister disposed to bolster up inefficiency. I do not think that Deputies on either side would stand for bolstering up inefficiency or for the raising of prices.

I am afraid that the Minister, in his efforts to bring about the industrialisation of this country, has failed to awaken in the Opposition a sense of their duty towards their people. Before I was interrupted, I had suggested that Deputy Belton should induce some of his friends to invest their money in Irish industries. I suggest to members of the Opposition that they have an open field — a very extensive field — for their efforts in this connection. We would welcome their help because Irish industry at the moment needs help if it is to be built up. Now that we look for the awakening of a new civic spirit here, I do think that the efforts of the Opposition should be directed to helping out the industrial policy of the Government.

We are doing that.

Mr. Kelly

To a certain extent.

To a greater extent than you are doing it.

Mr. Kelly

There are certain people — unfortunately, they are supporters of the Opposition — who are prepared still to send their money across the water, where they will have an oportunity of losing it because of a falling market or reduced dividends——

That is very cheap.

Mr. Kelly

I do charge the majority of the Opposition with keeping aloof. They did not give us the help we expected from them, and I hope to see a change. We should join up to start a campaign not only to revive all the old industries in which Opposition Deputies claim to have such an interest, but to find the capital necessary for the starting of new industries. The Minister cannot start them. Industries will be started in the rural towns only by the effort of people living in those towns or people outside prepared to take the initiative and put capital into these ventures. The people of these towns need not be looking to the Minister. The sooner they cease looking to the Minister the better for themselves.

Then why boast about industrial development?

Mr. Kelly

The boot industry was mentioned in this debate. We in County Meath have a boot industry which was established since we came into power. The amount of employment given has not been up to the standard we expected. We want to assist that industry in every possible way, and I suggest to the Minister that he should make investigations in connection with similar industries with a view to ascertaining if any alterations could be introduced and full advantage secured to the towns where these industries are established. We in County Meath have got very efficient industries established since Fianna Fáil came into power. I have been told by the men in charge of one industry — they are Scotsmen — that the people employed in that industry have attained a higher standard of efficiency in six months than workers in the corresponding factory across the water attain in a number of years. People with a tradition in that industry across the water have not the same standard of efficiency after years of experience as is achieved by Meath workers in six months.

The other factory to which I made reference is not making the headway we expected, and we should like to find out the cause and see if it can be remedied. We know that, under the operation of the Agreement arrived at with Great Britain, the Prices Commission will have a say in the fixing of prices. However, the position will not be as stated by the Opposition — that the English manufacturer will be able to come in here and regulate matters to his own advantage. That will not be the case. Even before the Agreement was arrived at, it was frequently stated here by the Minister that it would be necessary for him, in the interest of Irish industry, in the interest of the consumer, and in the interest of efficiency, to examine all these industries, that he could not stand for inefficiency whether due to mismanagement or to ignorance. Generally speaking, while I deprecate Departmental interference in any industry, I believe a watchful eye should be kept on these industries in their early years so that some help may be given to them. It is not a matter of raising prices. The Prices Commission will see to that matter, but it is a question of examining the position and keeping a close eye on it.

I have converted at least one Deputy.

Mr. Kelly

I may be converted in regard to one industry, but I should like to point out that there are some old industries the directors of which have not the initiative to instal the up-to-date machinery which is necessary to enable them to keep pace with modern conditions. It is not the duty of the Minister to impose a tariff on the consuming public for the sake of bolstering up such an industry. It is a great pity that these men do not fall into step with the industrial policy of the Minister.

The work of the Minister's Department has been most successful, and I want to pay a compliment to the officials of that Department, particularly those in charge of the industrial policy, for the assistance they are giving those who are coming here to invest their money in Irish industry. I have heard most favourable comments on the efficiency of the officials of the Minister's Department. These comments came from men from England, Scotland and other countries who came here to discuss the possibilities of particular industries. They have paid tribute to the earnestness, keenness and general knowledge of the officials who were dealing with these matters.

The debate on this Estimate has wandered not so much over a wide field as in various directions. I was rather amazed by one of Deputy Kelly's statements. If I contradict him, of course it will be held that it is one of those things that cannot be proved.

Mr. Kelly

You should not anticipate.

I should like to have a bet with Deputy Kelly that there is more money invested in Irish industries by Deputies on this side of the House than there is by Deputies on the opposite side. I do not think that very much weight can be attached to Deputy Kelly's statements at the end of his speech if we are to take as much notice of his compliments as of the statement to which I have referred. As regards the statement that supporters of Deputies on these benches were still inclined to invest their money abroad and were in danger of losing it from falling dividends, I would say that amongst the new friends of the Minister for Finance, and amongst many supporters of the Government, there are just as many people who are anxious to invest their money abroad as there are amongst the supporters of the Party on these benches.

The way every debate develops here is rather remarkable. From one side of the House we are told that everything the Minister does is right, that everything his Department does is perfect and any criticism of it, particularly as regards industry, we are told, is high treason, slander of Irish industry, sabotage and nothing else. Mind you, I really think that there is one great lack at the moment amongst the general community and amongst the people who have commercial dealings with the new factories. It might be to everybody's advantage, to the advantage of the Minister and to the advantage of the community in general, if people who have a grievance, over a question of the quality or a question of the price of the products of the new factories, took the matter up directly with the Minister. The reason I say that is that I have come across one instance in very recent times in connection with an article produced here by a new factory which is entirely protected. The import of the article in question is prohibited. I suppose that owing to the fact that I do not use very much of these products I did not trouble very much about it, but the course the debate has taken here convinces me that the proper way to deal with these matters is to take them up directly with the Minister rather than criticise an article here.

I do not think there is any earthly justification for defending the policy of the Minister by the type of attack we had from Deputy Corry and other Deputies here. When Deputy Hughes spoke he gave definite examples of where he thinks inefficiency or inefficient production has taken place in Irish industries. It is not good enough for a Deputy of this House to get up afterwards and say that Deputy Hughes must be a bad farmer when he gives these examples or, when he questions the policy of the present Government in extending the beet factories, to suggest that he knows nothing about beet. I think the Deputy who was challenged in that way is one of the pioneers of the beet industry in this country. I do not think there can be any doubt about it. Long before anybody on the Government Benches could see any good whatever in beet production, Deputy Hughes and his colleagues in Carlow were pioneers of the beet-sugar industry in this country.

Another statement that rather amazed me came from a new Deputy. Several of his statements in fact amazed me. One would think listening to Deputy Childers that the entire industrial future of this country was settled, that every industrial problem of this country has, already been settled and that all this has been done in the last six years. He made his maiden speech here to-night and I am sure he made the same speech many times during the recent election. He mentioned 117 factories. I do not know if that figure has ever been investigated but it is a figure he mentioned time and again. He could not remember the number of new factories started since 1932 but he complimented the Minister on providing in this country employment that would keep the people of the countryside at home during periods when there was very attractive employment available abroad or when there was a great increase in employment abroad. He spoke of the way in which the Department of Industry and Commerce had succeeded in stemming the evil of emigration. If we take these statements at their face value, what are they worth? The policy of the Department has not succeeded in stopping the tide of emigration. I say that, not because I want to score a debating point over the Department, but merely to show that there is absolutely no use getting up here saying that the question of emigration or unemployment has been solved or that anything more than the fringe of these problems has been touched upon in the last six years.

He spoke about the provision of some reserves in this country in the case of war. It would be very hard to say if agricultural production in this country is not going to be increased, what other branch of production could be increased to such an extent that it would benefit us in this country if there was a great war. It is equally hard to see that the Deputy meant anything more than to get up and make a nice-sounding speech when he spoke of planned industry and of the people associated with planned industry. Personally I think that as far as discussions on industrial development are concerned, when we hear from the Government benches praise of industrial development, those Deputies should tell us what particular item they are referring to. They get up and make wild statements about all the industrial problems that have been solved in the last six years, that everything is all right now, but that everything was all wrong for the previous ten years, but they never gave the details.

Passing from that I should like to take one item in the Estimate that was mentioned previously, namely Sub-head L of the Estimate, dealing with minerals exploration. I see that under that heading a sum of £5,500 is being provided for mineral exploration in the Carrickmacross-Kingscourt area. Last year £3,000 was provided for that area and, apparently, this year the £2,000 not required for the Slieve Ardagh area goes up there. Seeing that that money is being provided, and that we have not heard anything from the Minister of the value that is being given for this £5,500. I wonder would it be worth while asking his consideration for a scheme of mineral exploration in my own constituency? I think the Parliamentary Secretary to the Department will agree with me that, at least, there is a tradition of mineral exploration in that area, that there are certain outward visible signs in our constituency of mineral development at an earlier period and that in that area within the past 100 years there were coal mines. Nobody seems to know at the present moment what the actual position of these coal mines is. Some people say that coal was never found there in sufficient quantities or of the required quality to make the working of the mines a commercial proposition. Others say that experts were brought across by the then Government 70 or 80 years ago and that they reported adversely on the mines, that they did so deliberately and that they had no intention of giving a favourable report.

At any rate, this sum of £5,000 is being provided for mineral exploration and it seems that it is all going to one particular area. Amongst the older people in my constituency there are some who remember when coal was mined in the areas to which I refer. I mention the matter now in the hope that when the Minister is spending money on mineral exploration in this country he will sometime or other give the possibilities of this area some consideration, that he will have these mines inspected, at any rate, and tell us whether there are coal deposits in that area in sufficient quantities to make the working of them an economic proposition.

There is a certain amount of what one might call popular outcry for it, because in various organs of the Press which circulate in that part of the country, we find occasionally articles by people who are apparently interested in Irish industry in which reference is made to these old coal fields. They are very hard on the various Deputies of that constituency as to why nothing is being done about them, but I suggest to the Minister that if he is going to spend money, of whatever amount, on mineral exploration, a survey, even if it is only a surface survey, should sooner or later be made of the land in that area because there is a belief, particularly amongst the old people, that it was a rich coal-bearing area and that it would have been a commercial proposition but for the action of Government officials of a period of 70 or 80 years ago. I think that particular area would have every claim for the spending in it of some of the money which the Minister proposes to spend, because I do not think we have suffered from over-industrialisation there. With the exception of the beet factory in Mallow, I do not think we have any major industry in the area, except industries that were there prior to the advent of the Minister, such as the mills in Mallow and one or two other knitting industries.

I would say that there is one feature of Irish industry that is not made perfectly clear to the public. I saw recently in a publication — I think the name of it was "Irish Industry"— a list of a number of new industries floated in the last few years, and a very serious complaint was made. No names were given — the industries were marked A., B. and C. It was stated that these industries had been established under and were protected by quota restrictions and high tariffs, that Irish moneys had been invested in them, and that they had not yet succeeded in paying a dividend. I think it will be found difficult to convince most of the people who buy articles manufactured here by companies which are protected by quota restrictions and high tariffs that these particular companies could not pay a dividend, because, rightly or wrongly, the impression is abroad that a certain section of the manufacturers of the country are taking advantage of high tariffs and quota restrictions to charge high prices and make excess profits. I hope that the system of sending these matters before the Prices Commission and getting early decisions will be gone ahead with as speedily as possible. I believe that every one of us could do a lot in this regard if, whenever we had a complaint as to either quality or price, we brought it up as soon as possible and justified the criticism we make in this House and outside it by proving what we say here. I believe it would be very helpful to Irish industry and its development if every one of us did that, whenever we felt that we had a grievance in respect of either quality or price.

I want briefly to direct the Minister's attention to the needs of my constituency and to ask him to consider the decentralisation of industry. I know that up to the present the Minister has kept in mind the decentralisation of industry, and has been establishing in different parts of the country, so far as lies in his power, the factories that are the product of the Fianna Fáil Administration; but I would impress on him the necessity for establishing as many of those factories as possible in places like County Mayo and districts like South Mayo and the Gaeltacht, where they are absolutely necessary. It is unnecessary for me to point out to this House, or to the Minister, the conditions under which a great part of the community down there live, or to stress the fact that it is essential for the majority of the farmers' sons in the Gaeltacht areas of Mayo to migrate to earn a living and that employment of some kind is needed by those people.

I do not for a moment criticise the policy of the Department of Industry and Commerce, because I think that Department has been the most successful of all the Government Departments, but I do ask the Minister carefully to consider the problems facing us in backward areas like County Mayo, and to divert factories that are about to be started to County Mayo, where the people are not able to live on the land on the small valuations which they have, and where you have farmers trying to eke out an existence on valuations of £3 and £4. Owing to economic conditions, it is essential for their sons to go to other countries and other parts of this country to earn a living.

These people in County Mayo, and particularly in South Mayo and the Gaeltacht areas there, cannot possibly exist on the land available there. These people are workers, and if there were valuations sufficient to maintain families in South Mayo, they would live on the land; but it is not there. The opportunities are not there, and these people have to try to make a living for themselves as best they can. Only a very short time ago, we had a terrible tragedy involving people from that district who were forced to go to other countries to make a living. Some of them from Achill lost their lives as a result of the economic conditions which forced them to leave the country to make a living elsewhere. It is a bad system, and one which no Deputy could possibly hope to uphold. It has, however, been the system for ages, and as a result, a number of people from County Mayo have lost their lives in another country. That cannot, of course, be attributed in any degree to the Minister's Department, nor do I suggest for a moment that it is attributable to any Department or any policy in operation here; but I do ask the Minister to consider the necessity for the decentralisation of industry in this country. The new industries should, as far as possible, be sent to those areas where there are migratory and unemployment problems; they should be sent to districts in which industries have not already been established. There is a possibility — I think a very strong possibility — of keeping those migrants at home.

Various means have been suggested by different people whereby those migrants could be kept at home. When that tragedy occurred in Scotland various remedies were suggested by the general public and by members of this House, but I think the best possible remedy would be to send more industries to the Gaeltacht areas, to congested areas like County Mayo, or any other area in which a migratory problem exists. I am sure the Minister has done his best distributing those industries through the country. Under the Minister's policy the towns and cities have got their fair share of the industries which have been established. I would appeal to the Minister to intensify the policy of distributing the industries amongst the rural areas, and in particular to intensify the policy of sending industries to areas which are densely populated like my own constituency of South Mayo, so that in future those migrants will be able to find employment in their own country.

I have heard it stated in this House to-day, particularly by the Labour Deputies, that proper measures have not been taken to deal with the unemployment problem here. I certainly have to compliment the Minister on the fact that we had to wait until he came into power to see where the unemployment lay in this country. We had to wait for the Minister to register as unemployed there people who, although they had occupation for a certain part of the year, were unemployed for three or four or five months. I know that in my own constituency a great number of the people who are referred to in this House as "unemployed" are not really unemployed in the strict sense of the term; they are people who are employed on their farms for perhaps six, eight or nine months of the year. They are farmers' sons who are employed on the farms for six or nine months of the year, and who for the remaining months are registered at the employment exchanges as unemployed. Those people are now classified as "unemployed." Prior to the coming into office of this Government they were never so classified, and it is not a strictly correct description. Those people are not unemployed; they are employed on their own holdings for six or nine months of the year. The custom was that they migrated for probably three months of the year, and for the remaining nine months they had work on their own farms. Through the policy of the Minister those people are now registered as unemployed.

In my area the vast majority of the people registered as unemployed come within that category. Formerly the custom was that those people would migrate to Scotland or England to find work during the period when there was no employment for them on the farms. They are now in the position that they are registered in the employment exchanges, and ask the Minister to provide employment for them if possible during those remaining months. They cannot really be classified as the unemployed of this country. They are people with partial employment and those are the people in whose interests I appeal to the Minister, further to intensify his policy of decentralisation of industry. In that way, those people who have only partial employment at the moment may be able to find work in their own areas. I have been listening for some time to a certain amount of critisism of the Minister's policy, from the Opposition Benches and from the Labour Party. I think that the most effective answer to the criticism, both from the Opposition and the Labour Party, is that a certain number of reasons have been given by the Irish people against those criticisms which have been made.

A Deputy

What are they?

In point of fact, 77 reasons have been given by the Irish people against what has been stated by the Opposition Deputies and the Labour Deputies. The Irish people have given 77 reasons; they have given 77 Deputies to this House to prove that the Government's policy has been right, and that the Opposition policy and the Labour policy have been wrong. I move to report progress.

Progress reported; the Committee to sit again to-morrow.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until Thursday, 7th July, at 3 p.m.